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Oak Knoll School Blog

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

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

Podcast: Dance the Night Away

Posted by Chris Starr on Mar 28, 2023 1:38:22 PM

Join us on Friday, April 21st at 7:00 pm in the Mother Mary Campion Performing Arts Center where multiple creative arts disciplines will converge for our annual Dance Concert. Listen to this short podcast as Creative Arts Teacher Carlee Bennett describes what's in store! Admission is free but reservations are recommended. Call 900-522-8150 or email carlee.bennett@oakknoll.org.

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Topics: performing arts, Summit NJ, the arts, fine arts, podcast, Community, creative arts

Podcast: A Vision for Community Impact

Posted by Chris Starr on Mar 1, 2023 12:50:53 PM

During a recent three-day Community Impact Symposium in Washington DC, four Oak Knoll High School students gathered with students from across the country to share ideas on how they could make more positive and systemic changes in their school and local communities.

The goal was to work in teams to identify various approaches taken to local, state, and national levels and work with their schoolmates to draft a vision statement and action strategy to take back home to Oak Knoll.

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Topics: community service, building confidence, growth mindset, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, podcast, social justice, Community, leadership

Support the Vulnerable in Turkey and Syria

Posted by Chris Starr on Feb 13, 2023 2:58:08 PM

Earthquakes are perhaps the world’s most terrifying natural disasters. They trigger the fight or flight mechanism yet neither is possible and aftershocks can continue for days. On February 6, while most people were fast asleep in the area, a massive quake occurred devastating vast sections of Eastern Turkey and Northern Syria. So far the death toll exceeds 35,000 souls and is expected to reach 50,000 or more. Millions have been left without shelter, belongings, and utilities. The cold winter weather is expected to kill many more of the unsheltered. The best way you can help the victims is by contributing financially.

One of the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching is the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable. It states, “A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring.” From the comfort of our suburban homes, so many miles from the devastating quake, it is not likely we can physically lend a hand in the rescue and recovery effort, but we can certainly give of our financial resources. Donating cash, rather than sending food, clothing, and other goods, helps organizations on the ground purchase locally, respond more rapidly, and jump start the economy in the process.

Here are some reputable charities that have hit the ground in both nations and could use your financial support.

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Topics: community service, mission, faith, religion, giving, social justice, Community

10 Ways to Find and Support Black-Owned Businesses Near You

Posted by Chris Starr on Feb 9, 2023 1:26:44 PM

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2002 to 2017, the number of Black-owned businesses with employees increased by 31.2%. While this is something to celebrate, the pandemic has disproportionately affected Black-owned businesses. A higher percentage of Black-owned companies shuttered during the pandemic, and of those that did survive, only 10% described their business as “profitable and growing.”

By intentionally seeking out and supporting Black-owned businesses, we can help to reverse this trend, inject more equity into equality, and do our part to combat structural inequities that have plagued Black business owners for centuries.

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Topics: Summit NJ, entrepreneurship, things to do, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Black History Month, social justice, Community

10 Books to Read with Your Pre-K Child This Christmas

Posted by Chris Starr on Dec 21, 2022 2:11:02 PM

We recently posted a blog entitled, Reading Aloud to Your Pre-Kindergarten Student. Yes, research supports the notion that this act improves cognitive development, but who needs an excuse to cuddle up with a wee one during the holidays or any other time of year!

As a follow up, Lower School Librarian, Betty Castello, put together this list of some of her favorite holiday-themed book recommendations for the little elves in your life. Book descriptions are courtesy of amazon.com.

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Topics: christmas, elementary, elementary school, parenting, reading, kindergarten ready, activities with kids, pre-kindergarten, family, winter break, Community

2022 Tech Gift Guide for Kids

Posted by Chris Starr on Nov 21, 2022 3:00:00 PM

It’s time to give our loyal blog readers the edge on locating the best education technology gifts for their budding Scientists, Technologists, Engineers, Artists, and Mathematicians.

Every year, Santa’s Chief Technology Elf Bernard creates a list of recommendations for Santa. Miraculously, that list has somehow fallen into our hands every year for the past seven years. 

This year, Santa’s North Pole Server (the one Santa uses to store and manage all the millions of Christmas lists he’s sent) was attacked. About two weeks ago, an unidentified elf opened a malicious email causing all the data on this precious server to be encrypted. 

This ransomware attack put the whole Christmas operation in peril with The Clause Family and all the elves rendered incapable of checking any lists, checking them twice, and finding out who's been naughty or nice. CTE Bernard reached out to the expert tech team at Oak Knoll who were able to track down the malicious code and decrypt the data without the need for a single bitcoin in payment. As a thank you, Bernard voluntarily shared his tech recommendations (which are normally for Santa’s eyes only) with the Oak Knoll community with the caveat that we use it responsibly.

When asked if Bernard would also share the list of who’s been naughty or nice, he flatly refused. We’ll just have to assume everyone in the Oak Knoll community has been nice this year (which we think is a pretty safe bet.)

Here’s Bernard the Elf’s suggestions for best tech-related education gifts this Christmas Season across a variety of price ranges.

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Topics: technology, robots, christmas, STEM, activities with kids, steam, executive functioning, Community

8 Resources for National Native American Heritage Month

Posted by Chris Starr on Nov 16, 2022 12:12:34 PM

The start of November kicked off National Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It is a time to recognize Indigenous people's history, culture, and contributions. Additionally, part of Native American Heritage Month involves reckoning with the past.

Here, we've curated a variety of resources for parents and teachers who would like to initiate conversations and learn more.

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Topics: parenting, thanksgiving, activities with kids, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, Community

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