Seven Oaks Classical School to Locate in Ellettsville

The Seven Oaks Classical School board has voted to locate its charter school facility in the Eagles Landing building at 200 E. Association Street in Ellettsville. The board decided on Monday night to move forward with the acquisition and renovation of the building which previously housed an elementary school. The Seven Oaks Classical School is scheduled to open in August of 2016 and will admit children in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Beginning as early as August, 2017, ninth grade classes will be added to Seven Oaks Classical School’s offering at the Ellettsville site, according to board member Terry English.

The Seven Oaks board has also approved the immediate spending of up to $10,000.00 for the architectural firm of Odle, McGuire, and Shook to begin drawing up schematics of the Eagles Landing building and to prepare an estimate of renovation costs. “There is a significant amount of work to be completed on the building before it can open in the fall,” English said. “But we’re committed to completion of the task and we very much look forward to welcoming our first students.”

The Seven Oaks Board also voted unanimously Monday to approve a contract with Dr. Stephen Shipp, a scholar, teacher, and school administrator from Lewisville, Texas, to serve as the school’s first headmaster. He will work as the school’s administrative leader and chief executive officer.

Dr. Shipp is currently Regional Director of Academics at Responsive Education Solutions in Lewisville, Texas, a company which operates over 70 charter schools in Texas and Arkansas. In that position, he has been responsible for supervising six classical charter schools. 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 history from the School of Classics at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

“We are very excited about the selection of Dr. Shipp to oversee our school and his willingness to serve,” English said. “He brings to the job a high level of expertise and experience in charter school formation, operation, and oversight.” Shipp is expected to begin his Seven Oaks duties on March 29, 2016.

English noted that open enrollment for the Seven Oaks Classical School’s fall session is continuing and already the parents of at least 137 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.”

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  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.