Oakland’s residential program is designed to enhance each child’s personal growth and happiness. Every effort is made to create a home-like atmosphere in the small dormitories that have both single and double rooms. Dorm life is carefully planned to provide the structure, consistency and emotional support that every student needs.
A highly-trained staff of residential instructors lives in the dormitories and runs the after-school, evening and weekend recreational programs. Oakland competes with other schools in basketball, soccer and cross country. In addition, there are intramural sports, including basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball and tennis. All students are encouraged to participate regardless of experience or athletic ability.
Oakland’s boarding school environment is goal oriented. With the help of the residential instructors, each child develops personal goals for the year. Many of the rewards in the dorms are based on the student’s progress toward meeting these goals. Residential instructors provide a safe and structured atmosphere as well as maintain a high degree of communication with other staff members and parents, all of whom are encouraged to participate in each student’s successes.
Older students may be nominated for the Leadership Club, taking on the responsibility of planning and helping to run special activities as well as mentoring younger or struggling students. Dorm Council is another opportunity for children to gain leadership experience. Great emphasis is placed on responding positively to desired behavior. As a result, children learn to be good citizens and to be kind and helpful to others.
Oakland students are immersed in an environment that promotes character development. The “Character Counts” program serves as the framework for an emphasis on trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. These values are reinforced both in and out of the classroom. Boarding students are enveloped by these values at all times and, therefore, boarding at Oakland provides an exceptional opportunity for children to mature, become more self-sufficient and to prepare for high school, college and beyond. The benefits of a boarding education also include the opportunities to try new things, meet new people, develop new skills and have fun and form friendships that are lifelong connections. Parents routinely remark on the transformation they see in their children’s confidence and sense of responsibility as a result of 24/7 immersion in the Oakland environment.
Oakland’s 450-acre rural setting is the setting for a wide variety of outdoor and seasonal recreational activities such as bike riding, hiking, nature study, archery, fishing, camping, swimming, rollerblading and skateboarding. Friday nights are movie nights complete with popcorn and soda.
Open fields and numerous trails are ideal for horseback riding. Approximately 75% of Oakland students take part in a year-round horseback riding program offered at no extra cost. Students learn horsemanship, go on trail rides and take full care of the more than sixteen horses on the grounds. Horse shows are staged twice a year, with all riding students participating. An important activity at the school, riding helps children learn how to listen carefully, follow directions and take on additional responsibilities. Many students become expert riders during their stay at Oakland and develop a life-long love of riding.
Evening and weekend trips to sporting events, educational visits to museums and art galleries, community service, hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains or just taking in a movie and a pizza all are part of the recreational program. Fine art, cooking activities and arts and crafts are offered several times a week. Residential instructors organize and supervise clubs including music, drama, chess, model building, ceramics and more.