The winter sports season is underway, which means equestrian students find numerous opportunities to improve their riding skills with lessons, trail rides, weekend trips, and more. The OVS Equestrian program emphasizes athleticism, horsemanship, patience, compassion, perseverance, and hard work. Students learn to care for their horses, and enjoy time spent in the barn with close friends — both human and equine. Follow our latest updates from the program on both campuses on our equestrian Instagram page at: https://www.instagram.com/ojaivalleyschoolequestrian/
Ojai Valley School Summer Camp is just around the corner, and online registration is now open!
Our flexible schedule allows day and resident campers to enroll for 2, 4, or 6-week sessions between June 24 to August 4, 2018
With 75 years of camp experience, Ojai Valley School offers an enriching summer program with hands-on academics, classes and fun activities for students in grades PK to 10.
We also offer specialty camps for Equestrian, Robotics, English as a Second Language, Leadership Training, and Fine Arts.
Visit summer.ovs.org for more information, & to register.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Dear Parents, Alumni, and Friends:
Our resident students, faculty, and horses safely evacuated from the Upper Campus last night in advance of the approaching Thomas Fire. There have been no injuries and our students are safely housed at the Lower Campus, which is not under threat from the fire.
It is with a heavy heart, however, that I inform you that our Upper Campus has been severely damaged in this devastating fire. Both the Lucila Arango Science and Technology Center and the Grace Hobson Smith girls’ dormitory were destroyed.
Fire crews were able to save Wallace Burr Hall and the boys’ dormitories, as well as the stables and art building.
In the spirit that has long guided Ojai Valley School, we are confident that we will recover, rebuild, and become stronger as a school and a community.
We are strategizing now about how we will complete the school year for Upper Campus. Please know we will continue to keep you informed as more details become available, including campus-specific instructions about how we will close the semester.
For now, we ask for your patience and your support – especially for our students, faculty, and resident staff as they grapple with this tremendous loss.
We are in close contact with fire personnel and have been advised to continue sheltering residents at Lower Campus as the danger to our immediate location has passed. Due to the poor air quality, and the desire to minimize the affects of road closure, we will cancel school tomorrow. It is our hope that we will be able to open school for Lower students on Thursday, but we will send another email tomorrow when we know more about the condition of the valley.
We hope you and your family are safe and secure.
Michael J. Hall-Mounsey
Ojai Valley School
The OVS Equestrian staff began evacuating horses from the Upper Campus just as the Thomas Fire started in the nearby community of Santa Paula. All were safely evacuated. Some are now being sheltered at the Lower Campus, and 38 others have been relocated to three ranches in Santa Ynez.
“They are all out in the open with plenty of room to move and fresh air to breath,” said Equestrian Director Stephanie Gustafson, who is staying in Santa Ynez with the horses, two other OVS equestrian instructors, and her daughter, Emma, a current senior at the Upper Campus. “I feel so blessed to have been provided this sanctuary by people who love OVS as we do. As Emma said when we looked at the damage to Upper, ‘it’s okay mom, OVS is more than just buildings.”
November – From community service projects to science labs, analytical essays, woodshop projects, fall sports contests, college early application deadlines, outdoor education trips, and the annual Turkey Trot fundraiser, Ojai Valley School students have tackled a full month of academics and co-curricular activities!
Students ventured into the outdoors for fall camping and backpacking trip. See photos from the fall camping trips in the Images of OVS gallery, including pictures of the second-graders trip and photos from a high school backpacking trip to the Eastern Sierras, where ten high school students explored icy lakes, trails lined with golden aspens, and cloudless nights shimmering with stars.
Visit the outdoor education page to see the list of upcoming 2017-2018 outdoor trips and offerings of weekend adventures.
For only the second time in Ojai Valley School history, the girls’ cross country team took part in CIF preliminaries on Saturday, a race that drew more than 3,000 high school runners from across Southern California. The girls qualified for CIF a week and a half earlier, placing 2nd overall as a team at the Condor League final at Besant Hill School.
Paced by sophomores Avery Colborn, Jolene Fan and Caspian Ellis, the girls ran strong at the CIF preliminary, toeing the line against more than more than 160 runners from 22 schools, nearly every one with a larger student population. The OVS girls neared or bettered their personal best times for the season on the dusty Riverside Cross Country Course, and all gained invaluable experience running against high-caliber competition at a meet that featured some of the fastest runners in the nation.
“The competition was fierce,” said Caspian, who ran cross country for the first time this year. “I am so overwhelmed by how amazing every single runner there was and I only hope that our small but mighty team will continue to qualify for this competition for the rest of my years in high school.”
Read more about the girls’ season in a story on the student journalism website, On The Hill, by runner and student journalist Avery Colborn.
Ojai Valley School’s high school robotics teams launched their fall competitive season this past weekend with the more experienced of the two squads placing first out of 15 teams from across the Southern California region.
“Both teams learned a lot and took a lot of notes, and hopefully we will be more competitive as we progress through the season,” said coach Chris Westcott during Monday’s morning announcements at Upper Campus. “We had really good programming, and we were one of the only teams that already had an autonomous program laid out for the season.”
Seventeen students have been preparing since mid-September to compete in the Greater Los Angeles FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a series of competitions aimed at teaching students the value of hard work, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving in robotics. The OVS students, who are divided into two teams, Spudnik and Spudbot, traveled to Los Angeles on Saturday for the first of four robotics contests.
The first competition, called Meet Zero, is not scored or factored into the overall rankings for the season. But it gives teams an opportunity to trouble-shoot their systems —
and scout the competition. The second competition will be held in two weeks on December 2 at Marlborough School in Los Angeles.
Competitive robotics is gaining popularity with 24 countries now participating globally. Those teams are presented with a common challenge and rules in September, and then given several weeks to organize, strategize, order equipment, and build their robots. This year, the challenge involves, among other things, programming a robot to capture, manipulate, and move various objects in a confined space with points awarded for different processes. Students also will be required to present their engineer notebooks, and, in between matches, participate in interviews and potentially gain points by promoting robotics and mentoring other competitors.
See more photos here: Robotics competition photos
Ojai Valley School is one of the few equestrian boarding schools in California with stables on campus, allowing middle and high school students to walk from class to the barn to ride nearly every afternoon, in place of sports or P.E. Students find numerous opportunities to improve their riding skills in a program that emphasizes athleticism, horsemanship, patience, compassion, perseverance, and hard work.
Students begin riding in prekindergarten and continue riding once a week through third grade. They then have the option to continue riding in place of P.E. or a sport through 12th grade.
As a United States Pony Club Riding Center, OVS gives students the opportunity to earn their Pony Club certification, as well as to ride with the OVS Competitive Team. With a highly experienced staff and barns and arenas at both our Lower Campus (PK-8th grade) and Upper Campus (9th-12th grade), OVS welcomes students of all skill levels.
Learn more: OVS Equestrian Program
There are these amazing moments that happen at OVS all the time. On Wednesday, November 8, our Pre-Kindergarten students took their woodshop projects — individually crafted little wooden OVS school buses with wheels and pull cords — for a spin around the central campus quad. As the 3-year-olds sprinted with giggles and glee, Assistant Head of School Mike Mahon queued up the central campus sound system to play, of course, The Wheels on the Bus Go Round.
Just another great day gleefully learning and enjoying education at Ojai Valley School.