OVS Equestrians are riding high at the start of the spring sports season! Click here to learn more about the OVS equestrian program, which offers unique opportunities for beginning and intermediate riders on both campuses, including competitive riding through the U.S. Pony Club in the middle and high school grades.
Each year, our Middle School students have the opportunity to experience a week in a foreign country during Spring Break. In recent years, we’ve sent Spuds to the vast metropolises of China and the jungles of Costa Rica.
This April, 14 students and 4 faculty members traveled to the volcanic island nation of Iceland. The group kicked off their adventure with a dip in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s geothermal pools famous for their warm, aqua blue waters and healing properties.
On their first full day, the Spuds toured Reykjavik — the country’s capitol and its largest city — stopping to visit Parliament, old harbor area, the shopping district, and more.
In the following days, they explored sights such as: the Kerio Caldera; the Gullfoss, Seljalandfoss and Skogarfoss waterfalls; Geysir & Seltun geothermal areas; Thingvellir National Park; Kleifarvatn Lake; Vidgelmir lava cave, and lots more.
Hikes to volcanic craters & glaciers, as well as rides through the countryside on Icelandic ponies, rounded out an amazing trip. Icing on the cake: a birthday celebration for one of our students, complete with giant candles!
Click the link below for a gallery of photos:
By Junior Emma Gustafson (L14)
In recognition of its long-standing commitment to environmental conservation, preservation and sustainability, Ojai Valley School has been named a California Green Ribbon School, the state’s top honor for environmental excellence in education.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the Green Ribbon awards Friday, lauding more than two dozen California schools and school districts for reducing their environmental footprints and engaging students in environmental literacy.
“Through their environmental practices, the schools and districts we honor today are teaching students to be responsible stewards of our precious resources,” Torlakson said at the awards ceremony, held at Redondo Union High School. “I commend their commitment to instill policies and habits that will continue our forward progress in establishing healthy campuses and communities.”
OVS was one of three schools in the Ojai Valley, and one of seven independent schools statewide, to earn the Green Ribbon designation.
The award – the result of a lengthy application process spearheaded by OVS Director of Technology and Sustainability John Wickenhaeuser – acknowledges efforts at OVS in recent years to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and promote environmental and sustainability education.
“I feel very, very gratified that somebody has recognized our school initiatives of the past several years,” OVS President and CEO Michael J. Hall-Mounsey said. “And, I was very grateful to Mr. Wickenhaeuser for leading our efforts and for submitting the very detailed application on our behalf.”
Earlier this school year, Wickenhaeuser put together a 48-page application that showcased a host of environmental initiatives launched at both the Upper and Lower campuses.
For example, in response to California’s ongoing drought and keeping with OVS’ commitment to sustainable practices, the school set out several years ago to reduce water usage on its campuses and facilities, replacing grassy areas with mulch and drought-tolerant plants, installing weather-based controllers, and optimizing irrigation.
In addition, the school installed a state-of-the-art irrigation system in its equestrian riding arenas on both campuses, and replaced the fine dusty sand in those arenas with a new footing made from a mixture of quartz sand, polyester and synthetic materials. The move drastically reduced the need to water the arenas to keep down dust.
Taken together, those conservation measures have saved nearly 10 million gallons of water since 2013.
In other areas, OVS four years ago installed a 1,001-panel, 274-kilowatt solar array that produces more than 95% of the electricity at the Upper Campus. The solar panel project has reduced electricity use and green house emissions by 56%, and OVS hasn’t had to pay an electric bill at the Upper Campus in more than three years.
Another important part of OVS, and an important criterion for Green Ribbon School recognition, is environmental education.
Outdoor education starts in pre-kindergarten and continues through the 12th grade at OVS, featuring multiple camp trips each year to national and state parks, mountain ranges, and campsites close and far.
Those trips are meant to be fun, for sure. But they also are in keeping with the school’s fundamental commitment to use the outdoors as extended classrooms to teach students the importance of conservation, preservation and good stewardship of the land.
“One of the areas in which we [OVS] are most successful in and where we truly stand out from any other school is in our outdoor education program,” Wickenhaeuser said. “The breadth of it is pretty extraordinary.”
Over the past two years, OVS has partnered with the National Parks Service on their “Hands on the Land” initiative, which brings restoration work to the Channel Islands.
Funded by the National Environmental Education Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency, the grant has been used by students and teachers on both campuses to access the islands and use them as living laboratories, tackling projects including working on-site in nurseries, removing invasive vegetation, and gathering and compiling plant restoration data.
Students in grades four to 12 participate in those excursions, taking trips to the islands throughout the year. So far this school year, fourth grade students and AP Environmental Science students have taken trips out to the islands to remove non-native species.
And, even as the Green Ribbon awards were being announced, OVS fifth graders were on a trip to Anacapa Island to continue the restoration work as part of the federal Hands on the Land grant.
OVS is hardly done.
The school plans in coming years to continue with water and energy conservation, recycling, and develop more partnerships such as the Hands on the Land effort.
“I think the thing that really pleases me about this is to have a third party recognize and validate what we’ve been doing as a school, and it’s broad based,” Wickenhaeuser said. “It’s not just one person who was doing this. This is something integrated into the experience at Ojai Valley School for a long time.”
Read more OVS student journalism at On The Hill – OVS
OVS Summer Camp Expands Offerings for 2017!
Since 1943, Ojai Valley School has welcomed summer campers from around the world. Our traditional Summer School & Camp is an ideal setting for day and overnight campers, ages 8-16, to develop academic skills in language arts, science, technology, and math while participating in fun-filled afternoon activities that include archery, swimming, sports, dance, cooking, and more. Campers are grouped by grade level and hands-on courses are designed to make learning fun. We also offer a Junior Camp for younger day campers, ages 3-7.
For summer 2017, which begins June 25, we are excited to announce a new and revised line-up of fun and enriching academic offerings and afternoon activities. These include: Digital Storytelling, Kitchen Chemistry, Math Boost, Making Music, Ocean Study, and more. Click here for a list of morning classes and afternoon activities.
Ojai Valley School also offers specialty camps in robotics, equestrian, and English language studies. Students spend their mornings immersed in hands-on instruction in these specialized fields, then join peers from the traditional Summer School & Camp in the afternoon to participate in camp activities.
Our flexible schedule allows day and resident campers to enroll for 2, 4, or 6-week sessions between June 25-August 5, 2017. We are excited to welcome new and returning campers, who together develop independence and form lifelong friends in a safe and supportive environment. Learn more and register today at https://summer.ovs.org/
March 2 – OVS students have been greeted with record rain this winter, then patches of sun. They have been able to see how those conditions have nurtured their winter garden beds and pushed the seeds planted in October into budding little seedlings.
At the Lower Campus, grades PK-8, students in each class maintain a raised garden bed in the center of campus. The beds were constructed by students in the woodshop and produce grown by students will eventually make its way into the campus kitchen. Last fall, students planted cauliflower, peas, kale, radishes, carrots, chard, beets, herbs, lettuces, sweet peas, sunflowers, and, of course, Spuds as they are the school’s mascot!
Final exams for high school students are scheduled to begin on Monday, December 12. Students are encouraged to prepare well in advance for these tests, which end the first semester. To assist students, teachers hold review sessions before and during finals week. Click the PDF link below to see the schedule of review sessions:
In a generation of kids who don’t rely on classic clocks to tell the time, Ojai Valley School Lower Campus and guest artist Chuck Burright are bringing clocks back into the lives of students. Read more in a story on the OVS student journalism website, On The Hill.
OVS equestrians concluded a great month of riding and outdoor adventures in October. Demonstrations at Family Weekend on both campuses came on the heels of a 4-day camping trip in the mountains above Santa Barbara. This year’s equestrian program is full to capacity, with almost 50 riders split between the middle school and high school. This is in addition to our younger riders, who get in the saddle regularly as part of the Pre-K to 3rd grade curriculum.
OVS welcomes riders of all levels and offers students opportunities to practice dressage, jumping, trail riding and more, all within steps of their classrooms. OVS equestrians can also take advantage of clinics and join Pony Club.
At OVS, we offer an Outdoor Education program that rivals any independent school in the nation. Our mild weather provides ample opportunities for students to venture into the mountains, deserts and beaches of California throughout the academic year.
In the fall, high school and middle school students venture out for multi-day base camping trips and weekend trips for mountain biking, surfing, rock climbing, mountaineering, horseback riding, and kayaking.
See more photos of our recent outdoor adventures:
Click the PDFs below to see the list of upcoming 2016/17 outdoor trips:
Get ready, get set — and get your gear. As students prep for the start of the new Academic Year, which begins September 4-5, we have some tips, reminders and supply lists to share with families. This fall, students in grades 7-12 will be required to bring a laptop or tablet to school. Check out the supply lists on the Resources page for details on necessary school supplies and other must-haves to start school.