Individualized Academic Program
Planning a student’s curriculum begins during the admission process. Through one-to-one interviews with the Head of School, Dean of Studies, and Dean of Students, we explore the young man’s perspective on education through his learning profile, experiences, interests, and goals for the future. Parental input, along with a review of records and testing, helps the Dean of Studies determine overall academic needs. Based on this information, as well as initial testing, a program of coursework is planned that matches the student’s learning goals.
The next stage begins as each teacher reviews the student's profile and then assesses his knowledge and skills in the subject. Together, teacher and student set the direction of the course. Oxford teachers are experienced at working with students of varying backgrounds and needs, and student input is integral to this process.
Oxford teachers want to be sure that each student leaves Oxford with the thinking, organizational, and communication skills necessary for the challenges in his future. Each student will need to communicate effectively through the written and spoken word, to use technology to find and demonstrate knowledge, to evaluate sources of information, to think critically, and to solve problems. He will also need to be able to organize his time and materials, and to retain, demonstrate, and use new learning. These fundamental skills are built in to each course at Oxford. Students who feel they need more support may opt to take our Study Skills course.
Equally important to the one-to-one classroom is the structure of the academic day. Each period of instruction is 20 minutes long and is followed by an hour of study time. This enables students to immediately practice newly-learned concepts and effective time management in a quiet, orderly environment. In the Donald K. Miller Study Center, each student has his own desk with a bookshelf and computer access. Study halls are proctored by faculty, and access to the Internet is monitored.
One reason students thrive at Oxford is because they can work at their own pace. Our teachers adapt coursework so that it suits each student’s aptitudes, interests, and needs. Rather than teaching a one-size-fits-all course, we have an array of texts for each subject. Additionally, teachers work with students to identify the most appropriate starting point. Regular assessment provides each teacher the opportunity to make adjustments as necessary.
Frequent feedback helps students see a direct link between effort and achievement. Based on weekly tests and assessments, teachers compose comments reflecting progress, lauding accomplishments, and making suggestions for improvement. These comments are shared with students through the advisor system and with parents via email. Independent study privileges are awarded for consistent effort. But feedback goes both ways — Oxford teachers expect students to ask for help when necessary and to advocate for themselves to improve their classroom experiences.