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Oak Knoll School Blog

Top Reading Picks for Black History Month from an Oak Knoll Junior

Posted by Cora Laborde '25 on Feb 15, 2024 9:12:27 AM

Oak Knoll student Cora Laborde ’25 said, “I think books are knowledge, but also vessels of personal experience and culture that can invoke empathy, which is crucial when embracing diversity and inclusion.” With that in mind, she has curated a short list of great books celebrating Black History Month.

Here are Laborde’s top five picks and her own words on why they were most appealing.

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Topics: history, student advice, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Black History Month

Calling a Snowday: Unique Considerations for Independent Schools

Posted by Chris Starr on Jan 23, 2024 3:22:38 PM

Perhaps it’s 8:30 p.m., and your preferred method of emergency notification buzzes to inform you that your child’s school will be closed tomorrow due to inclement weather. Alternatively, the notification alerts you to a late start or early departure the following day. 

Snow day decisions bring glee and unexpected freedom to even the most dedicated students. Still, on the part of many parents, they bring anxiety over last-minute schedule changes, not to mention second-guessing whether the school has made the right call and whether other schools in the area are making the same decision.

While the decision to interrupt in-person school due to inclement weather is challenging for all school administrators, it is especially complicated at an independent school due to various unique considerations. Four distinct characteristics of independent schools make them particularly cautious regarding impending weather.

 

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Topics: private school, snow, safety, Community

Oak Knoll Jingle Books: 10 Cozy Holiday Reads

Posted by Chris Starr on Dec 14, 2023 11:21:33 AM

Enjoy some cozy downtime with your youngster during this Holiday Season with any of these “Jingle Book” recommendations from Lower School Librarian Betty Castello. Let them form the basis of new bedtime traditions this year and for years to come. They can also make excellent Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers for the young ones in your life. 

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Topics: christmas, elementary school, parenting, kindergarten, activities with kids, family

Discover, Grow, and Thrive: The Benefits of an Oak Knoll Education

Posted by Kelly Dun on Nov 29, 2023 10:59:09 AM

One of the things that I have loved most about my twenty-five years in independent school admissions is watching new students and their families fall in love with their new school. Of course, families and applicants do their research beforehand, talk to current families, and ask many questions to get to know and trust a school throughout the admission process before ever deciding to enroll. More often, though, their experience as a member of their new school inevitably turns out to be even better than they ever could have imagined!

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Topics: education, independent catholic school summit nj, private school

7 Technology Non-profits to Support This Holiday Season

Posted by Chris Starr on Nov 20, 2023 1:51:58 PM

For almost a decade, Oak Knoll has published a Christmas Tech Guide capitalizing on the expertise of our Lower School Technology Integrator to recommend educational technology gifts for young people. This year, as a slight twist on the concept, we are providing a list of seven nonprofit organizations that work to provide educational technology tools, resources, and training to women in technology, older people, and students who are across the digital divide. Perhaps this list will inspire some of us to donate this holiday season to one of these non-profits in honor of someone we love and in place of a Christmas present.

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Topics: technology, christmas, STEM, community service, giving

Improve Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills

Posted by Chris Starr on Nov 1, 2023 2:10:48 PM

Those who struggle with Executive Functioning can often face challenges with activation (getting started on a project), focus (avoiding distraction), effort (following through on tasks), emotion (self-control and self-regulation), and action (monitoring progress and staying on track).

In a webinar for parents entitled “Executive Functioning 101,” Oak Knoll Upper School Academic Support Counselor Kelly Ross explained, “Executive Functioning is critical for social behaviors, emotional well-being, and goal-directed behaviors.” She stressed that under-developed executive functioning skills are not a character flaw, but a neurological issue, that can affect social emotional skills across the board, but can be improved through targeted assistance.

Though Ross works with Upper School students at Oak Knoll to recognize areas for improvement and assist them in honing their executive functioning capabilities, she offers this advice to all parents on how they can support executive functioning skill development at home.

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Topics: parenting, tips, building confidence, academics, executive functioning

Beyond the Classroom: Oak Knoll's Holistic Approach to Education

Posted by Kelly Dun on Oct 16, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Oak Knoll is an environment that nurtures each child's growth, not just academically but in all facets of life. We firmly believe in the idea of "actions, not words," a philosophy that encourages students to embrace new experiences, venture out of their comfort zones, and not fear failure.

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Topics: all-girls, coeducation, admissions, independent catholic school summit nj, private school, building confidence

Do You Have a Media Use Agreement at Home?

Posted by Chris Starr on Sep 29, 2023 9:10:00 AM

Technology is everywhere and has become an essential aspect of our school, home, personal, and business lives. Walk into most pre-K or kindergarten classrooms today, and you are likely to see interactive whiteboards, students utilizing iPads, robotics activities, and other tech-based learning aids and apps. By high school, students are engaging in ever more complex uses of technology to learn advanced coding, engineering, 3D modeling, and all manner of internet and artificial intelligence-based research techniques.

The proliferation of technology in education and the need to support healthy media use has prompted many schools to adopt acceptable use policies and other guidelines for supporting mental, physical, and social-emotional growth in the real world measured against the many hours students spend surfing the digital world. 

The Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Business School have joined forces to create the Digital Wellness Lab, and their “Best Practices for Digital Wellness” calls for families to mirror the work of educators by sitting down with their teens to create shared media use agreements in the home.

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Topics: technology, parenting, activities with kids, health, mental health, family, safety

How to Feel at Home in a New School Community

Posted by Chris Starr on Sep 11, 2023 10:04:44 AM

Labor Day has come and gone and school children across the country are back in class. Joining a private school at any grade level can be a social adjustment, as it can also be for new parents and guardians as they get to know a brand new community and school culture. Will I fit in? How can I get to know others in the community? How involved should I be with the school and other parents?

Fortunately, private schools like Oak Knoll offer a variety of mechanisms and activities to help new parents feel at home and a vital part of the school community. If you are joining a private school community for the first time, or switching to a new school, note the following ideas to more rapidly get involved, stay in touch, and leave a lasting impact on your new school community.

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Topics: private school, Community

Podcast: Meet the Newbies (5:49 mins)

Posted by Chris Starr on Sep 11, 2023 9:45:15 AM

Welcome back to a whole new season of the Happy Kid Project. Throughout the upcoming school year, we hope to bring you a variety of student voices so you can hear in there own words how Oak Knoll is a school that cultivates people with purpose. But seeing as school only just began, we thought we’d use this episode to introduce you to some wonderful adults that are just joining the community. We couldn’t get to them all, but here are just a few of our new faculty and staff as we came together the week before school began to get to know each other and the school during orientation and in-service days. You will find a complete list of new faculty and staff, along with their credentials, here.

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Topics: back-to-school, podcast, Community

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