Boarding Program

For Oakland’s boarding students, learning doesn’t stop when the school day ends. Our residential program is designed to enhance each child’s personal growth and happiness through after school, evening, and weekend programming that works in concert with his or her individual instruction plan.

Oakland School's boarding program gives students a home away from home.

An Immersive Experience

Dorm life is intentionally designed to strengthen time management, conflict resolution, team building, and independent living skills; every effort is made to create a home-like atmosphere in our single- and double-room dormitories. Residential instructors serve as the heart and soul of our boarding program. They provide a safe and structured atmosphere and the consistency and emotional support every student needs. Communication is critical for the well-being of our boarding students, so our residential instructors also act as an informational hub, maintaining a high degree of communication with other staff members and parents to ensure each student’s success.

Oakland School students enjoying one of the dorm common areas.

Personal Growth

Like our academic program, Oakland’s boarding environment is goal-oriented. Each child works with our residential instructors to develop personal goals for the year. This could encompass building intangible skills like self-advocacy and self-care, developing better study habits, or working to make new friends. Then, we reinforce positive progress toward these goals with a variety of dorm rewards.

Oakland School teaches students about responsibility through leadership opportunities.

Leadership Opportunities

Dorm Council affords boarders the opportunity to not only gain leadership skills, but also impact and shape their residential experience. Older students may be nominated for the Leadership Club, taking on the responsibility of planning and helping run special activities as well as mentoring younger or struggling students.

Oakland dorms give students an area to rest and play.

The Benefits

Boarding at Oakland provides an exceptional opportunity for children to mature, become more self-sufficient, and prepare for middle school, high school, college, and beyond. Oakland’s program offers opportunities to try new things, meet new people, develop new skills, and form lifelong friendships. 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.

Activities and Excursions

In addition to horseback riding and other extracurricular activities available to all students, our boarding students enjoy trips to sporting events, educational visits to museums and art galleries, hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or simply enjoying a movie night with pizza. Evenings and weekends are filled with activities that encourage a healthy and balanced lifestyle, including outdoor and seasonal recreational activities like bike riding, nature study, fishing, camping, swimming, skateboarding, and gardening. On Sunday mornings, students may participate in the non-denominational service in the historic Union Mills Church.


Sourcing locally whenever possible, our kitchen staff takes great care in crafting balanced, healthy meals. Breakfast includes a wide selection of hot and cold options. One or more entrées and a variety of vegetables are offered at lunch, along with a salad bar and fresh fruit. Dinner usually consists of an entrée, vegetables, salad, and dessert. Residential instructors eat as a family with our boarders, encouraging students to try new foods and practice good table manners.

Study Hall

Boarding students have three proctored evening study halls each week.