Congratulations to the Class of 2018! Click here to see pictures from graduation, the awards ceremony, and events throughout the year.
OVS Summer Camp is in full swing! Swimming, horseback riding, archery, robotics, woodshop, art, giant lawn games, sports and camping … it’s no wonder we’re having the #BestSummerEver!
This week, we’re wrapping up our first session of 2018. But with 4 weeks left, there’s still time to join us. Learn about our programs and register at summer.ovs.org. Choose to be a Day Camper or keep the party going by choosing Resident Camper to sleep with your friends in our dorms right here on campus!
Follow our summer adventures on Facebook @Ojai Valley School Summer Programs, and on Instagram @OVS_Summer_Camp
Summer is an ideal time to rest, reflect — and read.
On both campuses, the OVS faculty have developed comprehensive summer reading lists for students across the grade levels. Students entering grades 3-12 have required summer reading and younger students in grades PK-2 have recommended books to explore.
This year, the Upper Campus students and faculty selected The Circle by Dave Eggers as the all-school summer reading book. A suspenseful, dystopian novel, The Circle tackles contemporary and relevant issues, including surveillance, privacy, democracy, the darker side of the Internet, and the intrusion of technology in our lives.
Summer reading lists also include assignments by grade, including classics such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for 10th graders, as well as modern titles including last year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead for 11th graders.
Most Advanced Placement students have assignments over the summer as well, including AP Calculus students have a long list of math problems to tackle before classes begin in September.
Full lists by grade can be found below:
• 9th – 12th grade: Upper Campus Summer Reading List
• 3rd through 8th grade: Lower Campus Summer Reading List
Ojai Valley School Summer Camp is just around the corner, and there is still time to enroll!
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.
Our high school equestrians returned from a magnificent spring break trip to Portugal, which provided a wonderful opportunity to experience dressage on highly-trained Lusitanos in the most amazing setting imaginable! The equestrian center, Quinta do Rol, is part of a much larger ranch set amid rolling green hills that grows apples, citrus and wine grapes. “The facility, the horses, instructors and accommodations were superb and every rider came away from the experience having learned and experienced new things, from learning to canter, flying changes, tempi changes, piaffe, passage to an exhilarating ride on the beach,” said Equestrian Director Stephanie Gustafson. Students Ivy Sun, Sharon Ye, Cici Feng, Lico Chan, and Morgan Dreier toured extensively in the region, visiting royal palaces, monasteries and charming fishing villages. They finished the trip visiting Sintra and Lisbon.
With only a week to prepare after Spring Break, our combined middle and high school equestrian team—Lilli Trompke, Jaclyn Sersland, El Giguire, Hannah Little, and Anna English—hit the ground running for the annual two-day Pony Club Mega Rally in Los Angeles. The riders were judged both on their riding and stable management. For tack room organization and cleanliness the judge’s comment was “perfection.” The first day of jumping was a bit less than perfect, but the riders discussed what went wrong and managed those issues on the second day of jumping with clean rounds. Overall, OVS finished in 4th place. The team finished 2nd in Horse Management.
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/
Click here to see photos from the Equestrian Portugal Trip.
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.”
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
In honor of banned books week, middle school teacher Marsha Hoem discusses how students in her classes explore concepts of utopia, conflict, and freedom in the language arts curriculum
By Marsha Hoem
Many of the books we read in seventh and eighth grade are also, coincidentally, on lists of the most frequently challenged or banned books in this country. I didn’t load the curriculum this way intentionally, really, except that I was looking for well-written and provocative books for middle schoolers, and many that fit my criteria have also been lightening rods for the First Amendment.
Eighth graders are currently reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, so they spent a couple of weeks beforehand researching the concept of utopias before diving in. It’s an idea that has shaped American literature from its beginnings – from John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” sermon to the persistence of “The American Dream.” So we consider the full range of its influence – in painting, history, poetry, children’s literature, and so on, and then we try to boil it down to the question “Is it possible?” Or, was Plato right when he said that a utopia might only ever exist “as the structure of a just man’s mind”?
In answer to Plato, this class wrote:
“I agree with him because there will always be conflict, and there will always be people who have different views on the world…without conflict and problems, we as humans [would] lack a purpose in life because we wouldn’t have things to learn from.” ~ Leila Duarte
And: “I think that a truly equal utopia will never be accomplished…We need people with differences to help us, in a way, to have new, more innovative thoughts…If we didn’t argue, we wouldn’t have that much passion, since we would have nothing to feel passionate about, and without passion, we would not have the will to progress.” ~ Charlotte Sedlak
They get it.
Many of the books in our curriculum tend to question society as it is or as it might be: Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, Night, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men... though we read plenty that is not so dark to balance things out. The rationale for reading these works is validated for me every year when students see that the ideas of uniformity and perfection that are the inspiration for most utopias, easily flip into autocracy, propaganda, and loss of freedom in all realms because human beings are hard wired for change and to see things differently.
The history of banned books inevitably generates questions in the classroom as students see that trying to control the human instinct to question things as they are is almost always futile. Differences of opinion and of personality – this is what makes things interesting and beautiful. Fahrenheit 451 is the perfect book for introducing these ideas, first, because Bradbury was such a large-hearted poet – full of love and truth, and secondly, because what he writes is so rich and layered with riddles, questions, allusions. When they see the place he was writing from – love of mankind, of books, of the texture and quality of life – set against the apprehension of what could happen in a totalitarian, technological state – something connects. The fact that Fahrenheit 451 is an extended ode to love, language, and nature resonates, and so knowing it was verboten reading makes the light switch go on. Why is knowledge considered dangerous? If conflict is a constant, how do we deal with it? Is conflict necessary for a healthy society? These are the things we wrestle with in room 27 – the “big fish” questions. …
October 28 – As we conclude the first quarter of the academic year, we want to thank our students and parents for joining us during fall Family Weekend. We hope you were able to conference with teachers about your student’s individual progress in the first quarter of the school year and enjoy time with other OVS parents as part of our evening events. It was, from our perspective, a wonderful weekend in which our middle and high school families came together for a community dinner at the Upper Campus on Friday night, followed by musical performances, and a full line-up of Saturday events.
On both campuses, we celebrated student achievements in academics, equestrian, athletics, and fine and performing arts. Our elementary and primary students took center stage for our own production of The Boulevard of Broken Megapixels. Thank you to Mr. Andy Street for pulling together yet another wonderful performance that showcased the talents of our youngest students.
In the coming week, our 8th graders will travel to Washington D.C. for an exploration of United States history. Half the senior class will submit college applications for their top choice schools through early action and early decision admissions. And our cross team teams will head to the league championships in hopes of earning a CIF berth.
Check out the website calendar for detailed information about other campus events, outdoor trips, and more. Please see pictures from Family Weekend on the OVS website; more will be added next week from the elementary play.