Student Support

The mission of Oak Knoll speaks to the development of the whole child – intellectually, spiritually, physically and emotionally. In partnership with the faculty, Student Services in the Lower School meets this mission by working collaboratively to provide guidance to students, parents and teachers in a variety of ways, including:

  • Anti-Bullying Curriculum
  • Character Strong, an evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum
  • Academic and social-emotional counseling services
  • Individual and small group reading support
  • Secondary school application support for Lower School boys
  • Interdepartmental collaborative educational support

The Student Services team consists of the Assistant Division Head of the Lower School, a State Certified School Counselor, and a State Certified Reading Specialist who work to ensure a nurturing and supportive environment for all students pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. The school values open communication between home and school and works diligently to ensure that parents are informed and involved in all social, emotional and academic affairs regarding their child. Additionally, the student services team collaborates with teachers to ensure personal academic success for all students.

Character Strong

As they enter a fast-changing world, children today are faced with many challenges, or “opportunities.” The Student Services Department strives to encourage and empower students’ holistic success by proactively weaving social-emotional learning and character education into the daily fabric of all school activities and events.

To this end, the school counselor teaches the evidence-based social-emotional curriculum, Character Strong, to all Lower School students throughout the year.  This curriculum focuses on developing resiliency and emotional intelligence through 10 character traits (Courage, Respect, Perseverance, Gratitude, Honesty, Kindness, Empathy, Responsibility, Cooperation, Creativity). Additionally, the Student Services Department is committed to raising awareness about diversity and inclusion, and, thus, selected the Character Strong curriculum for its focus on supportive conversations surrounding social justice.

Advisory Groups

All students in grades 5 and 6 participate in advisory groups. Each advisory group is led by a teacher, and groups meet regularly to enjoy conversation together and to discuss various topics on the minds of middle school students.

Heard on the Podcast

Episode 9: Parenting During the Pandemic Part I

Published March 4, 2021

This special four-part parenting podcast will cover all your burning questions about how to best protect and support your child’s mental health, their social life and development, and the ins-and outs of virtual learning during the pandemic. Part I features Melissa Nelson, Oak Knoll's Lower School Guidance Counselor, who talks about the pandemic's impact on the mental health of our youngest learners and how parents can support their child during this time.
Episode 2: Understanding Re-Entry Anxiety in Children

Published August 20, 2020

We sit down with Oak Knoll's new Lower School Guidance Counselor Melissa Nelson on re-entry anxiety in children as they return to campus this fall under COVID-19 restrictions.

More Episodes