School Vision: Open Alternative School (OAS) was founded in 1975 to provide a child-centered holistic educational experience that nurtures the mind, body and spirit of each child. The OAS philosophy recognizes and supports each child as a unique individual while helping them develop a broad range of skills and attributes needed in a democratic society. A solid academic program is key for acquiring essential knowledge and skills and is backed up by an instructional approach that supports children in becoming intrinsically motivated and responsible for their own learning. The OAS community strives to live by our collective values, modeling and integrating these values in all facets.
In the classroom: Teachers create a nurturing atmosphere where children feel supported to take developmentally appropriate risks while developing academic competency and intellectual capacity. Traditional academic curriculum, like math, language arts, social studies and science are often integrated into projects, field trips and outdoor experiences making these subjects meaningful and relevant to student’s lives. Group projects provide opportunities for collaboration, leadership, and problem solving. Multi-cultural understanding, environmentally sensitive practices and global awareness are cultivated through special programs. An open classroom policy, where parent volunteers provide regular classroom support, raises the adult-student ratio giving teachers the ability to create exciting and effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning.
Service Learning Projects: Civic engagement, human dignity, social justice and responsible citizenship are explored through service learning activities. Throughout the year, students engage in a variety of activities designed to teach personal empowerment, community service and environmental or political activism. Feelings of hope, inspiration and empowerment are essential for creating a healthy and positive global outlook for today’s children.
Social-Emotional Learning: OAS uses innovative programs such as Core Group and Peer Mentoring to focus on building a caring inclusive community. Children learn tolerance, compassion, and respect while seeking diplomatic solutions to conflicts. Through open discourse, children are empowered to think creatively, ask questions, speak with integrity, look at issues from a variety of viewpoints and support one another’s personal development.