Dr. Stephen Shipp, a respected scholar, teacher, and school administrator from Fairview, Texas, has been chosen as the first headmaster of the proposed Seven Oaks Classical School, which is expected to open in Monroe County in August of 2016. As headmaster, Dr. Shipp will serve as the school’s administrative leader and chief executive officer.
Dr. Shipp is currently director of Classical Academics K-12 at Responsive Education Solutions in Lewisville, Texas. In that position, he is responsible for supervising academics and professional development at six classical schools associated with Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative. Dr. Shipp has a Ph.D. in politics from the Institute of Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas, and has a master’s degree in ancient literature from the School of Classics at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
A contract for Dr. Shipp’s employment will be presented to the board of directors of Seven Oaks Classical School, Inc., for approval when the seven-member group meets on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at the Eagles Landing facility in Ellettsville. The board will also vote at that time to approve the purchase or lease of a building where the school is to begin its operation as a tuition-free charter school.
“We are very excited about the selection of Dr. Shipp to oversee our school and his willingness to serve,” said Terry English, a member of the Seven Oaks Classical School Board. “He brings to the job a high level of expertise and experience in charter school formation, operation, and oversight.”
The proposed contract which the board will consider calls for Dr. Shipp to earn $80,000.00 per year initially to guide the school, English said. A benefit package has also been offered to Dr. Shipp.
Open enrollment for the Seven Oaks Classical School’s fall session is continuing, and already the parents of at least 132 students have started the process to register their children for classes in kindergarten through 8th grade at the charter facility. Enrollment will continue through March 31, 2016.
“We’re very pleased by the early enrollment numbers,” English said. “Thus far, we’ve begun processing inquiries from parents in Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Clay, Greene, and Lawrence Counties. Ours is truly going to be a regional school. We are committed to bringing quality education to families who are seeking an alternative to public schools in the area.”
Seven Oaks’ curriculum will use the Latin language as a foundation for instruction in the liberal arts and sciences. “This approach to education has proven successful over the decades in a variety of settings and locales,” English said, “and has been crucial in developing analytical techniques, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and rhetorical skills in students. Instruction in Latin will begin in the primary school grades and will extend through high school.” According to English, ninth grade classes will be added to Seven Oaks Classical School’s offering as early as August, 2017. In each of the three years following, additional high school grade levels will be phased in.
English stated that the Seven Oaks enrollment policy, which has been approved by the school’s board of directors, will work as follows:
- The parent or legal guardian of any eligible student must fill out the Seven Oaks pre-enrollment form via the school’s website, or he or she may contact the board Vice-President, Matt Wolf, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-320-7155. Separate pre-enrollment forms must be completed for each eligible student even if he or she is from the same household. All pre-enrollment forms must be completed and received by Seven Oaks Classical School by 5 p.m. on March 31, 2016.
- Following pre-enrollment, an electronic version of the Student Application will be available via the school website or can be acquired by contacting Wolf. The Student Application must be received by Seven Oaks within 14 days after the student is pre-enrolled and contacted. After the receipt of the application by Seven Oaks, the student’s name will be added to the appropriate grade level listing.
- All applications received after the specified date on the acceptance letter will be placed on Seven Oaks’ waiting list in the order received.
- In the case where there are more eligible applicants than available spaces, a lottery will be conducted by random public drawing at a place set by the school’s administration. Seven Oaks will use a software program to facilitate the lottery process. A number assigned to the student’s name will be drawn for each vacancy that exists, and each applicant whose name is drawn will be offered admission. After the public lottery, notification will be made by telephone, e-mail, or U.S. Postal Service. Failure of an applicant to respond within 48 hours of the date of the telephone call or e-mail, or within three (3) business days of a post-marked letter, will forfeit his or her position in the application process. Parents or guardians notified by mail will be instructed to call the school immediately upon receipt of the notice in order to preserve their child’s position in the lottery. The remaining names will then be drawn and placed on a waiting list in the order in which they were drawn.
Other members of the board of directors providing oversight to the process are Matt Wolf, Lindsey Weaver, Brigitta Powers, Fred Prall, Jazzmin Vegeler, and Dr. William Scott.