We often brag that “there are no desks at The Outdoor Academy” and while we may be found sitting in circles at tables, more often we are using our 180 acre campus as our classroom. You will not be surprised to find our students chasing their Natural Science teacher through the woods to find a beautiful bed of mushrooms, reading poetry on the dock with their English teacher, or debating articles for Environmental Seminar sitting in the meadow. While maintaining an honors level curriculum, we believe the more engaging and hands-on our classes can be, the more motivated and excited our students become. Accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) the credit for our courses will transfer directly to your high school transcript. Many of our classes follow a curriculum similar to that of a traditional sophomore year. However, our teaching style is inclusive, Socratic, engaging and experiential.
Select 9th and 11th Graders
Most of the students who attend The Outdoor Academy are in 10th grade, however, we have been able to enroll select 9th and 11th graders if we are able to match their curriculum and social needs. If you are interested in attending OA during your 9th or 11th grade year, please contact our Admissions Director and Dean of Academics. In that conversation we will discuss your course needs, how we can support them at OA, and any adjustments that might be made to your schedule to accommodate a semester away. We will likely need to speak with your academic adviser at your sending school to ensure that attending OA for a semester will not create any future challenges to your schedule. Being such a small school, we are both flexible in our curriculum content, but also limited in the number of courses we are able to offer. We are very thorough in this conversation, and thus, have had great success with the 9th and 11th graders who have attended OA.
Socially, it is important to remember that many developmental changes are occurring during these three years of high school. Because we are such a small, close knit community, you must be comfortable having peers from varying ages, backgrounds, and sending schools. It is our objective to cultivate friendships beyond these differences and community relationships not solely based on what grade a student is in. However, it is important to consider what social impact or difficulties you may have in this environment. If you are interested in attending OA, please discuss these considerations with our Admissions Director.
Independent Study at OA
We strive to offer an engaging and comprehensive curriculum that covers the content of an honors level sophomore. However, because we enroll students from over 260 different sending schools, there may be some course requirements that we are unable to accommodate at OA. For example, we do not currently offer any courses in Chemistry, Physics, or World Languages other than French and Spanish. For students who need to take a course outside of our curriculum offerings, we have seen great success with these three options:
1) Take the course at another time in your schedule perhaps the semester you return, or the following year.
2) Consider if you are able/willing to take this course over the summer.
3) Discuss with our Dean of Academics how you can take this course online, or with support from a tutor, during your semester at OA.
All online courses taken at OA will be considered an “Independent Study” and will be completed during the “Choice Period” in the morning schedule. This is a time when students typically take care of personal needs such as doing laundry, calling home, writing letters, etc. so it is important to consider the sacrifice of this time if choosing to take a course online. All online courses or private tutors must be coordinated and paid for by the families. Our Dean of Academics is an excellent resource if you are considering online or tutoring options for your semester at OA and will need to discuss this plan with you. It is only possible to take one Independent Study while at OA, and it is vital that the student is highgly organized, self-motivated, and driven enough to manage this time independently.