Oakwood's Upper School serves students in grades 9 through 12. Our course curriculum is designed to teach students to think critically, to analyze and evaluate information carefully, and to be open to understanding new ideas. A key strength of our program is our small class sizes and dynamic teachers and curriculum. For its size, Oakwood Friends School has a surprisingly extensive selection of elective courses and opportunity for students to design their own Independent Studies.
Because the school’s mission aims to educate the spirit, scholar, athlete, and artist in each student, all are encouraged to take many different kinds of classes each trimester from International Relations to Robotics to Animation to Greek Philosophy. We take pride in the fact that many of our students push themselves to participate in courses and teams that aren’t in their natural area of comfort. Both electives and yearlong courses bridge traditional areas of study with contemporary global issues.
The Core ESL Program at Oakwood Friends School is a bridge between students' current English language proficiency and full integration into Upper School academic life. Students take ESL Grammar, Reading, Writing and a speaking and listening class called ESL Lab. The program covers the four language skills--reading, writing, listening and speaking--and it delves more deeply into English grammar. The entire year introduces students to the way high school works in the United States, and it provides valuable information on culture and customs in the U.S. and at Oakwood Friends School. Moving on from the Core ESL Program, students take standard English courses and, occasionally, even AP English. Through rigorous reading and writing, Oakwood Friends School ESL aims to move English language learners past basic competence to high-level critical reading and writing and eventual success at top American universities.
It has by now become a commonplace to talk about how rapidly and deeply the world is changing. Economic and political events in countries thousands of miles away affect everyone, often immediately. Recognizing this, Oakwood Friends School developed its Global Affairs Certificate Program. Students graduating with a Global Affairs diploma engage in rigorous academic work in conjunction with practical experience.
This program involves completing coursework from classes such as Ethics, Asian Religion, International Relations, Cultural Anthropology, Modern Middle East, Postcolonial Studies, Revolutions in Three Countries, Economics, Greek Philosophy and Globalization. The program offers Mandarin Chinese as a language option. The program wraps up with individualized capstone research projects in the spring of senior year.
Robotics provides students interested in mathematics and science an opportunity to study theory, design and application. This year-long course is divided roughly into three sections. An explosion in wireless technology coupled with decreasing size and cost of hardware has sparked a sensor revolution. We are hard-pressed to function for even a few hours without benefiting from embedded sensor technology. With this in mind, we will spend one term exploring the design, construction and implementation of a variety of sensors. During a second term, the class focuses on the planning, building, programming and testing aspects of robotic design. The final term of robotics challenges students with a balance of theory and engineering application. We cover topics in statics, kinematics, vector and calculus-based physics, basic electronics, Boolean logic gates and Arduino circuit design.
The Upper School Academic Support Center is open to any student who has a mild, documented learning difference or who struggles with attentional challenges. Academic Support teachers develop a personalized instructional program and meet with students three times a week during the academic day. Our Learning Skills teachers work in 1:1 or 1:2 settings with students who have a diagnosis of a specific learning difference and who will benefit from support in applying compensatory strategies and in receiving targeted remediation to achieve optimum success in our college preparatory curriculum. Focus Instruction teachers work with students in small multi -age group settings to provide support primarily in the areas of planning, organization and work completion. Students are introduced to these programs during the Admissions process.
The social, ethical, and intellectual values of Oakwood Friends School are directly informed by Quaker values like simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. We follow in the Quaker tradition of calling on each member of the community to develop individual interpretations of these testimonies. We actively strive to instill an ethic of service into our students, and encourage them to think for themselves. All students engage in community service throughout the year, culminating in senior year independently-designed service projects.
Throughout our educational program, connections to the larger global community can be found. At the upper levels we offer courses that prepare students with the requisite knowledge and perspectives to understand contemporary global relations, culminating for some students in independent research projects leading to a Global Affairs Certificate. Outside of class, students reinforce this with clubs like Model United Nations, Academic Worldquest, Human Rights internships with the United Nations Association-Mid Hudson Valley and Global 20/20. Our school community itself, with its wide and deep diversity reflects the desire we have to promote global understanding. At all levels, courses are aimed at the moral and philosophical growth of students and by design, emphasize depth over breadth.