Seven Oaks Receives Large State Grant

 By Kate Nielsen Photos [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

By Kate Nielsen Photos [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Seven Oaks was awarded a grant of nearly $900k on Friday. The school applied for the grant under the Quality Counts Indiana Charter School Program Grant. The Quality Counts program is intended to support the opening, expansion, or replication of high-quality charter schools. The funding will extend over a four-year period and will help Seven Oaks grow its academic program as the school continues increasing enrollment and adding grade levels. The money will allow Seven Oaks to provide additional instructional staff; professional development opportunities; admissions software; instructional technology; science, fine arts, and physical education equipment; and additional books and instructional resources for both teachers and students.  

Seven Oaks Wins Lawsuit

 Image from blogtrepreneur.com/li

Image from blogtrepreneur.com/li

On Thursday, September 6, the federal district court judge dismissed the lawsuit against Seven Oaks Classical School. The school's primary focus has been and always will be on providing a high-quality classical education to the students who attend our school. We are not surprised by the dismissal of this suit, as its claims were baseless. Even so, it is a relief to have the matter settled. 

The court's favorable decision will allow the school to focus without distraction on its core mission of training the minds and improving the hearts of young people through a solid education in the liberal arts and sciences. Seven Oaks appreciates Grace College’s ongoing support in authorizing our charter, which allows us to continue offering this kind of education as an open-enrollment, tuition-free, public school. 

Back-to-School Night Postponed to September 12

Given the week's weather forecast, Back-to-School Night is postponed until Wednesday, September 12, 6:00-7:30pm

Parents will have the opportunity to see firsthand what their children have been working on, the expectations of the classroom, and the flow of the school day. 

If you have any questions for one of the teachers in the meantime, please do not hesitate to email the teacher directly. 

Enrollment grows (again) by 50%

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Seven Oaks Classical School has seen exceptional growth for a second year in a row. This year's enrollment is up by 50% over last year's count, jumping from roughly 220 to 340. This is after growing approximately 40% the previous year from an opening enrollment of around 160 in 2016. Last year, this meant we were the fastest growing 'A'-rated charter school in the state. 

Not only is Seven Oaks growing in number, but it is also growing in grades. The school started in 2016 with kindergarten through 8th grade. Last year, it added 9th grade and this year 10th. The school will continue to add a grade each year until it offers a K-12 classical education. As a chartered public school, enrollment is open and parents pay no tuition. 

Notwithstanding this growth, the school is committed to remaining a community school. It plans to limit long-term growth. Seven Oaks want to become a school of around 700 students. The goal is 50-60 students at each grade level so that the education remains on a human scale and students are known by name. 

Book Talk by Leading Children's Author

We invite you to join us for a conversation with Dr. Matthew Mehan about the power of poetry and the imagination to form habits of love, friendship, and self-government.  

Seven Oaks is hosting a book talk by Dr. Matthew Mehan this Saturday on the theme of poetry, imagination, and leadership. Mehan is the author of the newly released Mr. Mehan's Mildly Amusing Mythical Mammals, a book of children's poetry.
The book is currently the #1 bestseller in children's poetry on Amazon and sits among the top 5 in all of children's literature. Through poems and oil paintings that instruct and delight, the book weaves a story of friendship between the Dally and the Blug.  

Where: Seven Oaks Classical School
When: Saturday, August 25, 6:00-7:30pm

Public Info Meeting: June 28 @ Stinesville Lions Club

Seven Oaks invites prospective families to come for a public information meeting on Thursday, June 28, at 6:30pm. Dr. Shipp, the school's Headmaster, will give a presentation about the school and then answer any questions families may have. The meeting will be held at the Stinesville Lions Club (8060 N Stinesville Rd, Stinesville, IN 47433).

Sign-up Now Open for Back-to-School Camps

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The sign-up form for our back-to-school camps is now open. Click here to access the online form. 

Seven Oaks will offer camps in reading and in math to students entering grades 1-6. New students who want to get their feet wet in our phonics and math programs, and returning students who would benefit from the extra practice, are invited to apply. 

For students entering grades 1-2,  there will be a single two-week camp that includes both math and reading. The cost for the two weeks is $170. For students entering grades 3-4 and 5-6, the camps are one-week each and cost $85 each. Payment by cash or check is due by the first day of camp. Checks may be made payable to Seven Oaks Classical School.

Camps will run 9:00am-1:00pm, Monday-Thursday, the weeks of July 23 and July 30. For students entering grades 3-4 and 5-6, the math camp will be the first week and the reading camp will be the second week. Students in these grades may sign up for one or the other, or both. 

Sign-ups will be processed in the order received. Space is limited. 

Awards Ceremonies & Academic Showcases

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The 2017-2018 school year wrapped up with a series of Academic Showcases and Awards Ceremonies. Separate ceremonies were held for K-2, 3-5, and 6-9. Students received awards for outstanding character and academic achievement. Parents also enjoyed a window into aspects of the curriculum that make Seven Oaks a unique place to be. They saw sample artwork and Latin translations. They heard songs and poetry recitations. The second grade class recited the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The third graders composed a presentation about black holes and prepared their own dramatized rendering of Horatius at the Bridge. And, with graduation caps for the occasion, the kindergartners celebrated the completion of their first year of formal education.  

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Seven Oaks Hopes to Open a Preschool this Fall

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Seven Oaks Classical School will open a preschool this fall if there is sufficient interest in the community. If you are interested in enrolling a child, let the school know by completing this brief interest form.

The preschool would prepare students for the academic program of Seven Oaks Classical School.* Just as the school builds upon the Core Knowledge Foundation's K-8 Core Knowledge Sequence, so the preschool would build upon the Core Knowledge Foundation's Preschool Sequence.

Fast Facts

Ages: At least 4 years of age by August 1 of the year of enrollment.
Cost: $150/week for full-day program + $40/semester supply fee
Hours: 7:30am - 3:30pm
Days of operation: same as the school (no summer option will be available)

If there is enough interest, the school may offer half day options as well. Parents are encouraged to indicate their preferences using this interest form. The school plans to decide by Friday, May 18, whether there is enough interest to open this fall and what options will be made available.

Annual Authorizer Site Visit Coming Up Soon

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In ongoing efforts to strengthen Seven Oaks Classical School, a representative from the charter authorizer will be at the school on Tuesday, April 10. Mr. Tim Ziebarth would like to meet individually with parents, staff, faculty, and other community members in the afternoon from 2:30-5:00 to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the school. If you would like to schedule a time to meet, please contact Lorraine Bingham at charterschools@grace.edu or call 574-372-5100 ext. 6196.

Kindergarten Open House this Monday

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Seven Oaks Classical School is holding a Kindergarten Open House. Join us this Monday, February 5, from 4:00-6:00pm! Prospective parents are invited to learn about our innovative option in public education. Curious about charter schools? about classical education? Come find out more. As an open-enrollment public school, families from all backgrounds are welcome to attend. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet our kindergarten team, see the classrooms, and discuss the curriculum. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Spelling Bee Finals

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This year's participation in the National Scripps Spelling Bee was another Seven Oaks first. Class bees were held earlier this month. The school-wide bee was on Wednesday and included three students each from grades 3-8.  

Seven Oaks congratulates this year's winner of the school Spelling Bee, 8th Grader Morgan McGowan! She will be representing our school at the Regional Spelling Bee on February 10th. In second place was 3rd Grader Wally Paulsen, and in third place was 5th Grader Mackenzie Eads.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in the bee!

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9th Grade Receives Backstage Tour for Performance of Julius Caesar

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Last week, the 9th graders had the opportunity to attend the invited dress rehearsal for Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at Indiana University. They were also given a guided tour of the backstage and scene shop from the Technical Director of the production. Seven Oaks Classical School is very thankful to Paul Brunner and the rest of the theatre department staff at IU for welcoming us into their theatre.

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2nd Graders Enjoy Hands-On Science Experiment

Mrs. Walcott's second grade class has spent the last two weeks learning about mixtures, solutions, and compounds. The class concluded the unit with a science experiment. Students successfully grew crystals around wires from a solution of borax and water. They wrote about the experiment in their science notebooks and drew pictures of their jars. After soaking over 24 hours, the students dumped the water and were amazed at the crystals they had grown. The students again logged their observations in their science notebooks. After the crystals dried, they were packaged up and sent home for their families to see. Best of all is the students' growing sense of wonder and love of science!

Enrollment Beginning for 2018-2019

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For Returning Students...

As long as current students indicate their intent to return by Friday, March 9, 2018, they are guaranteed a seat for the 2018-2019 school year. Click here for an Intent-To-Return Form. For further details, see the Admissions page of the website. 

For New Students...

The initial application period for new students runs from Monday, December 4, until Friday, March 9. To apply, click here for a brief Intent-to-Enroll Form. Anyone who submits an Intent-to-Enroll Form during this period will receive equal consideration. After the initial open enrollment period ends on March 9, the school will tally the number of applicants per grade. For grades where there are more applicants than openings, a public lottery will be held on March 19 to determine the order of admissions.

Applications received after March 9 will be be processed in the order in which they are received. For more details about the school's admissions policies and procedures, see the Admissions page

To Find Out More...

Public Information Meetings
Mon, Dec 11 @ 6:30pm (campus)
Wed, Jan 10 @ 6:30pm (Monroe County Public Library)
Thu, Jan 25 @ 6:30pm (campus)
Sat, Feb 24 @ 4:00pm (Ellettsville Branch Library)
Thu, Mar 8 @ 6:30pm (campus)

Campus Tours
Wed, Dec 13 @ 8:30am
Fri, Jan 12 - Coffee w/ the Headmaster @ 8:00am, Tour @ 9:15am
Fri, Jan 26 @ 8:30am
Mon, Feb 26 @ 8:30am
Fri, Mar 9 @ 8:30am

Shadow Day
On January 4, from 8:00am-11:00am, prospective parents and students are invited to come for Shadow Day. Visiting students will have the opportunity to shadow a Seven Oaks student. Parents are invited to meet with the Headmaster over coffee and snacks, then take a campus tour. Drop-ins are welcome for those whose schedule doesn't permit them to stay for the entire time. Click here to RSVP for Shadow Day. 

Kindergarten Open House
In addition to Shadow Day, prospective kindergarten families are invited to a Kindergarten Open House from 4:00-6:00pm on Monday, February 5. 

Other questions? 
If you have other questions, or if these meeting and tour times do not work for you, please call the school at 812-935-5003 or email info@sevenoaksclassical.org. Click here for details about the enrollment process. Click here for the latest information about public meetings or school tours. 

50,000 Book Donation

 The week before Thankgiving, Dr. Shipp and Mr. Riffel drove down two moving vans full of books.

The week before Thankgiving, Dr. Shipp and Mr. Riffel drove down two moving vans full of books.

Seven Oaks Classical School's library has received a major boost. Through the determined effort of Seven Oaks parent, Dana Geldhof, we opened a small school library this fall. Mrs. Geldhof has now orchestrated a windfall for our little library.

Mrs. Geldhof secured a $1500 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and then a $10,000 Smithville Communications Library Grant. Meanwhile, St. Joseph's College in northern Indiana had closed. The college's library was acquired by Mr. Rob Knight of the Book Bin out of Indianapolis, who has now donated half of the books to Seven Oaks. That includes an estimated 50,000 volumes, mostly in the humanities. 

The collection is a treasure trove. It contains reference works, classic literature and poetry, biographies, collections of historical documents, children's books, and more. In addition to books, we acquired 48 boxes of musical scores from the college's collection of sheet music.  

Cicero once likened a home without books to a body without a soul. This is even more true of a school. At a time when books are on the decline, Seven Oaks Classical School is proud to celebrate good books, and the good habits that are cultivated through the reading of books. 

 Seven Oaks teachers couldn't wait to begin looking through the boxes. 

Seven Oaks teachers couldn't wait to begin looking through the boxes. 

 Unloading the 22' and 26' foot trucks was no small task. Many thanks to the volunteers who hung in there till the job was done. 

Unloading the 22' and 26' foot trucks was no small task. Many thanks to the volunteers who hung in there till the job was done. 

 Miss Holland is thrilled at the 48 boxes of sheet music that came with the books. The very first piece that we found was the full score for Mozart's  Requiem .  

Miss Holland is thrilled at the 48 boxes of sheet music that came with the books. The very first piece that we found was the full score for Mozart's Requiem.  

Encouraging Progress in Lawsuit

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Today, Judge Magnus-Stinson of the Southern District of Indiana issued a ruling on Seven Oaks Classical School’s motion to dismiss ICPE-MC’s lawsuit against the state of Indiana and Seven Oaks Classical School. In the ruling Magnus-Stinson dismissed two of the three claims in the complaint. The case will proceed for a further discovery of facts, but now with a narrowed focus.

Last March, Seven Oaks Classical School, a public charter school, found itself party to a lawsuit brought by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education-Monroe County (ICPE-MC). ICPE accused the school of following Indiana’s charter law, but found fault with that law because it allowed all accredited 4-year colleges in Indiana to become authorizers. That includes Grace College, which happens to be a religious college. Grace followed the standard state procedure to become an authorizer, and has now authorized four public charter schools in Indiana, including Seven Oaks Classical School. ICPE alleges that Grace’s involvement in the authorizing process violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Indiana Constitution. 

“I find it curious that this suit was brought by a group that claims to support public education. We’re a public school that offers parents the option of a classical education in a small-school environment,” says Stephen Shipp, Headmaster of Seven Oaks Classical School. 

“So far,” Shipp says, “the parents of over two hundred students have decided that Seven Oaks was the best option for their child. As we enter enrollment season for next year, I’m encouraged that the court has so far ruled in our favor.” 

The federal district court has now dismissed two of the three claims brought by ICPE-MC for lack of constitutional merit. That includes the claim that Seven Oaks’ payment of a state-authorized administrative fee to Grace College violates the Establishment Clause. As for the remaining complaint about the state’s granting of authority to Grace to issue charters, the court offered no support for ICPE-MC’s argument. The court has only said that it is unable to decide the issue based only on the allegations of the complaint. The trial will proceed to discovery with a narrowed focus.  

“I look forward to our final vindication after the court has the facts it needs to reach its final ruling,” says Matt Wolf, president of the Seven Oaks board. “In the end, we trust that the court will affirm the constitutionality of the Indiana’s charter law.”  

Click here for copy of the decision. 

Seven Oaks Pauses To Honor Veterans

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On November 10, Seven Oaks observed Veterans Day. Over thirty veterans and active duty personnel joined us as students paused from their regular schedule to honor those worthy of honor through songs and readings. Major General Courtney P. Carr, Adjutant General of Indiana, offered a few words, thanking our guests for their service and reflecting on the importance of cultivating virtue. 

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