Volleyball Faces Rival This Weekend

140927_Volley Ball 013ccOctober 10 — The girls’ varsity volleyball team is gearing up for what promises to be a tight contest this weekend against Providence. So far the girls have experienced an up-and-down season with dominant wins over Besant Hill and Midland, only to fall this past week to Dunn and Laguna Blanca. The JV team will start at home Saturday against Providence, followed by the varsity squad at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the OVS boys’ club soccer team played its second match this week which ended in a tie against Oak Grove. Up next: Soccer will play on Garden Street on Saturday, October 18.

At the Lower Campus, the Middle School volleyball and soccer teams played their first games and show promise for the season ahead. The boys’ soccer team will play away next Tuesday, October 14, against Crane at 4 p.m. and then face Santa Barbara Middle School on the road on Thursday. Girls’ varsity and JV volleyball teams will play next Thursday, October 16, at different locations.

Visit the website calendar for game times and additional information.

This Month at OVS

IMG_3829October 16 – OVS elementary students in grades 3-5 embraced their fall camping trips this month, spending time laughing, learning and exploring with their peers on multi-day trips to the California coast. Second-grade students camp overnight, some for the first time, on the OVS Lower Campus.

At Ojai Valley School, we strive to develop the intellectual and personal growth of all of our students – and Outdoor Education is a core part of that experience. The Outdoor Education program on both campuses introduces students, grades K-12, to the stunning mountains, canyons, deserts, and beaches in the West, while teaching students how to respect and care for our fragile environment.

Elementary camping trips provide an opportunity for students to develop their independence and teamwork. Students pitch tents, cook meals together, hike, swim, splash in the surf, and reflect on their experiences in writing journals. Check back this week for additional images from the fall elementary trips.

Cross Country Girls Continue Winning Streak

XC1October 16 – OVS cross country runners continued to dominate the fall season with both the boys’ and girls’ teams posting strong showings at Midland School on Wednesday, with the girls coming away with their second consecutive team victory of the season.

Led by second-place finisher Momoe Takamatsu, the girls’ team took first overall in their second Condor League meet. Momoe led the OVS girls on a fast course at Midland in the Santa Ynez Valley with a time of 22:08. She captured first place at the first league meet at home two weeks ago, finishing in 23:51. Sophomore Gilim Bae, senior Vivian Yan, junior Ally Feiss, and junior Iris Hou rounded out the top five, as the girls’ squad bested three other Condor League rivals.

On the boys’ side, senior Andy Cheng was the Spuds’ top finisher in a fast and highly competitive race. Juniors Adam Zhao and Victor Gong ran strong races for the boys, and Johnson Wang and Wonjun Han rounded out the top five finishers for OVS.

The next meet is scheduled for Wednesday, October 29, at Besant Hill School in Ojai at 3 p.m.


High School Students Reflect on Trip to Eastern Sierras

rainbow fallsOctober 10 — Our Upper Campus students returned to campus following a fabulous week at Rock Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, just northwest of Bishop. Their first two days were filled with hiking excursions to Rainbow Falls, Mono Lake, and lakes in the stunning John Muir Wilderness. They’ve also enjoyed some relaxation time in camp and at the hot springs near Mammoth Lakes.

Upon returning, the juniors were asked to reflect on their experiences as part of a writing assignment for Mrs. Wilson’s English class. Wrote one student: “Although the hiking is a little harsh, we should never give up because there are always beautiful things waiting ahead for us.”

Wrote another student: “Somehow, magic happens on camping trips that easily allows us to make more friends and understand our classmates better. . . . We depend on and support each other whether it’s by loaning a new student an extra water bottle or holding another’s hand to walk along a log to cross a river.”

Click here to view a full gallery of pictures from the trip.

Little Engineers

Notes 10_10 STEM1October 10, 2014 – At first glance one might think that Dana DeYoung’s class is full of college or graduate-level students learning advanced concepts in structure, engineering, and problem solving. These aren’t college students they’re first graders and kindergarteners at our very own Lower Campus.

Just like Ryan Lang’s 6th grade class piggy backing off the survival techniques from the book “Hatchet,” Ms. DeYoung has also taken interdisciplinary learning to a whole new level in her classroom. Students began the year by reading the children’s classic, “The Three Little Pigs” and then set out to engineer structures that could withstand a wolf’s huffing and puffing, as replicated by the harsh wind of a hairdryer. Ms. DeYoung used this story to teach her little engineers about critical thinking and problem solving as well as the basics of architectural structure.

Other projects included building small hand-held catapults, which the students then used to launch marshmallows over the historic Welsh castle build decades ago by OVS students employing a similar kind of experiential learning.

Ms. DeYoung was inspired by the STEM-based projects being tackled by students in the OVS Middle School  and sought to bring similar creative applications of science, technology, engineering and math to her classroom. STEM education has rapidly become one of the biggest areas of exploration for students today, and Ms. DeYoung is aware that her students will encounter a vast number of educational and career opportunities that revolve around STEM.

The approach, even at the youngest grade levels, is also in keeping with the progressive educational philosophy that Edward Yeomans brought to Ojai Valley School as its founder. No doubt Yeomans would be proud to know that his passion for hands-on learning is still embraced on both campuses.


Middle School Students Dive Into Fall Camping

DSC01792October 3 – Middle School students ventured to the beaches, islands, and mountains of California last week for their fall camping trips. The 8th graders enjoyed a full week at Hume Lake in the western Sierras, while the 7th graders (pictured above) spent a week camping, snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking at Santa Cruz Island off the coast of Ventura. The 6th graders spent four days at Montana de Oro State Park on the central coast.

The students faced some challenges — including curious island foxes roaming their camp sites on Santa Cruz and rigorous day hikes. But they also enjoyed getting down and dirty in the mud of the Kings River,  splashing in the surf and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

“When we first arrived, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The beaches were beautiful and full of color,” wrote 6th grader Jocelyn in a class essay after the trip. “I am so lucky I had the chance to go there. I learned to persevere through all of the hard times, whether it was bugs or hiking, and I learned that friends make everything better. I really hope that someday I can come back and experience all of this again.”

See pictures of these trip on the Images of OVS page.

CLICK HERE to watch video footage from the kayaking trip.

5th Graders Develop Leadership on Ropes Course

ropes courseTeamwork, leadership, collaboration, problem solving – these are all skills we want OVS students to master and last week our elementary student leaders took a leap forward in their development of these skills during a Ropes Course challenge at the Upper Campus.

The fifth graders spent three hours tackling various initiatives on the low elements of the Ropes Course, which are designed to teach perseverance, effective communication, and trust. The “all aboard” challenge stretched the group’s problem-solving and collaboration skills as they figured out how to squeeze all 12 students on a small wooden platform.

“As a class our goal was teamwork and growth in leadership,” said fifth-grade teacher Michele Floyd, who heads up the Elementary Division at the Lower Campus. “We had many opportunities to discuss the styles of leadership we saw and what worked best.”

Ojai Valley School built the Ropes Course at the Upper Campus to spur character growth in students across grade levels. Middle and high school students, as well as summer campers and members of two university soccer teams, participate in Ropes Course challenges throughout the year.

“Where else can you experience a hands-on activity that actually builds teamwork, leadership and many other skills?” Mrs. Floyd said. “This is the very ‘stuff’ you can’t teach out of a book. We have an amazing opportunity to get our students outside, off technology, and engaging with each other. One of my students said, ‘These are tools we can use for the rest of our lives.’ It’s also an opportunity for kids to shine and step into a leadership role in a way they may never expect.”

Mrs. Floyd takes her class to the Ropes Course at the beginning of the academic year to set the stage for the leadership roles she asks her students to take on during the year. It is also a perfect time to work on community-building skills so her students are better prepared for their fall camping trip their roles as Character Captains who play a role in conflict resolution for the elementary grades.

At the end of the year, the fifth graders will visit to the Ropes Course again and exercises will be focused more on facing and overcoming personal and group challenges in preparation for their transition to middle school.


Coastal Cleanup Day

IMG_8890September 25 — Last weekend students from the Upper and Lower campuses participated in the 30th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. This statewide initiative to preserve and protect our coastal environment is close to the hearts of many OVS teachers and students, who enjoy surfing and swimming at the beautiful beaches just 20-30 minutes from our two campuses. Many of those members of the OVS community stepped out to join forces for Coastal Cleanup. It is just one of the community service projects in which students have the opportunity to participate throughout the year.

“I believe these initiatives are part of the philosophy of educating the whole child,” said Laurel Colborn, Assistant Head of School at Upper Campus. “Community service is at the heart of the kinds of opportunities that we want to provide our students.”

Click here for more info about the Coastal Cleanup

Students Cross Interdisciplinary Borders with Watershed Project

September 10, 2014 – Environmental science, literature, physical education, outdoor education, commerce, economics, and ancient history are some of the main ingredients to Ryan Lang’s exploration of the local watershed. This year log project takes sixth grade students on an adventure through our local ecosystem where they travel through time to get a glimpse of what life and the Ojai Valley was like for the Chumash Indians who settled the land thousands of years before Europeans made their way across the great oceans of the world.

Survival is a topic of constant discussion while the students are out on location around the Ojai Valley exploring the differences between modern day water usage and the one-with-nature perspective held by our ancestors.

Ryan Lang’s watershed curriculum is highly complimented by Vanessa Herrera’s sixth-grade reading list that includes the Newbury Award winning young adult’s novel “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. Under Mr. Lang’s guidance, the students practice survival techniques they learned while reading the story of thirteen year old Brian Robeson who faces life or death in the Northern Wilderness. Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash, carrying nothing but the clothes on his back and a hatchet.   Following in the footsteps of Brian, students work together to create shelter structures and build tools out of natural resources, all while learning how to be aware of one’s physical surroundings.

As the students return back into modern day, they follow the watershed to Friend’s Ranch, where the bigger picture is unveiled; how does the natural water system effect agriculture, economy and commerce? A tour of the citrus packing house at Friend’s Ranch reinforces the concept of water conservation as they’re educated about the cost of water usage and the business practices that take the citrus from the orchards to distribute in our local and international supermarkets.

Ryan Land & 6th Grade

watershed hatchet

Lower Campus Residents Enjoy a Fun-Filled First Weekend



September 10, 2014 — It was a great first week in the dormitory for our youngest resident students at the Lower Campus. We are thrilled to welcome such a wonderful group of  genuinely nice kids, who are quickly understanding that we are one big happy family here at OVS!

While their 89 high school counterparts at the Upper Campus prepped for fall camping trips,  the 29 residents in grades 5-8 at Lower Campus became acclimatized to dorm living. That is really what the first week is about — getting oriented to OVS and getting to know each other well. As such, the week was full of name games, dodge ball, gaga, tennis, pool time, and our first study hall. Everyone is learning the ropes and getting acquainted with each other.

On Friday night, we started the weekend out with the Back to School Social at the pool for day and resident students. It was fun for all that joined in with great snacks and goodies from our kitchen. The residents had sleepovers in their friends’ rooms and enjoyed a nice sleep-in on Saturday morning. Then it was off to Ventura for some shopping, followed by town time and recreational swimming in the afternoon.

Saturday evening we all walked to the Besant Meadows for an evening hike on a beautiful Ojai night!

Sunday we were off for a tour of Ojai and then to Ventura Marina Park and Beach for the afternoon. We played soccer, zip lined, swam, walked around the marina, played Frisbee, and just enjoyed the day!

Copyright © 2014 · Ojai Valley School · 723 El Paseo Rd. · Ojai, CA 93023
Lower Campus     (tel) 805.646.1423     ·     Upper Campus     (tel) 805.646.5593
Made in Boulder Creek, CA