Academics

Learning at Olney

A Unique Educational Experience

Olney’s curriculum builds upon our 178 year tradition of academic and intellectual rigor, spiritual inquiry, environmental stewardship and interpersonal learning. Our progressive educational structure not only covers traditional high school level courses and content — students will take Algebra, Physics, Spanish, Calculus, etc. — but also offers students the unique opportunity to engage in collaborative, project-based “Endeavors” that will not only foster and challenge their creativity but also include real world practicality.

While enrolled in their “Endeavors,” student will have the opportunity to earn a series of “Olney Letters,” which function as credits for achieving a level of proficiency in a particular topic, theme, content section or skill associated with an academic subject.

The Value of an Olney Education

A Foundation for the Future

Our primary academic goals at Olney Friends School are for students to be well prepared to succeed in college; to develop a love of learning through a balance of individual and collaborative work; to develop the skills of clear thinking, reading, speaking, and writing in a broad range of relevant subject areas; and to apply what they have learned in useful ways.

While our students generally spend between two and four years with us, our belief is that Olney provides the foundation for graduates to excel in all areas of life. Our curriculum and community are intended to foster personal and interpersonal growth, whether it be socially, physically, environmentally, economically, spiritually or academically.

One of the requirements for graduation at Olney is acceptance to a four-year college or university. In recent years, our alumni have studied at a variety of institutions, ranging from smaller, private liberal arts colleges to art and design schools to metropolitan research universities. For a complete list of college acceptances in the last six years, click here.

What are "Endeavors?"

An Outlet for Exploration

Our primary academic goals at Olney Friends School are for students to be well prepared to succeed in college; to develop a love of learning through a balance of individual and collaborative work; to develop the skills of clear thinking, reading, speaking, and writing in a broad range of relevant subject areas; and to apply what they have learned in useful ways.

While our students generally spend between two and four years with us, our belief is that Olney provides the foundation for graduates to excel in all areas of life. Our curriculum and community are intended to foster personal and interpersonal growth, whether it be socially, physically, environmentally, economically, spiritually or academically.

One of the requirements for graduation at Olney is acceptance to a four-year college or university. In recent years, our alumni have studied at a variety of institutions, ranging from smaller, private liberal arts colleges to art and design schools to metropolitan research universities. For a complete list of college acceptances since 2009, click here.

What are "Olney Letters?"

An Opportunity for Mastery

Simply participating in Endeavors will not earn a student academic credit. Rather, Endeavors provide an opportunity for students to learn safely without feeling that they are being judged, and without competing against other students.

The earning of academic credit happens when a student is ready to demonstrate mastery of particular content or a particular skill; we call these pieces of content and these individual skills “Olney Letters.” Descriptions of the Olney Letters are readily available, published both digitally on our website and physically on campus so that it is clear what requirements are needed to earn each. Mastery of all the Olney Letters assures that each student is an accomplished learner and is well prepared for college. Students earn approximately 100 Letters each year, across the entire spectrum of the academic and social curriculum.

So, what exactly are Olney Letters?

While students traditionally take semester or year-long “courses,” Olney focuses on encouraging students to master the individual components of the content found in a particular subject rather than simply strive to earn a particular grade in each “class”. For example, instead of taking a course titled “Outline of World History,” Olney students have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the themes, topics and units generally found in such a course, including:

– Historical Theories and Methodologies
– Geographic Terminology
– World Geography
– Political Geography (U.S.)
– Political Geography (World)
– Physical Geography
– Governmental, Political, Economic and Civic Terminology
– Humans and their Environment
– Culture
– Geography and Life
– Neolithic Revolution
– Scientific Revolution
– Industrial Revolution
– Information Era
– Ancient Lifestyles

Proficiency will be demonstrated through a presentation, project, paper or, in some cases, the successful completion of a written or oral examination. By deconstructing the traditional academic architecture, Olney allows students to explore and better interpret the interplay within and between various disciplines.

Successful completion of each Olney Letter will result in a score of “Proficiency,” “Mastery,” or “Mastery with Honors”.

Where We Learn

A Living Laboratory

Olney is home to several academics buildings — the Main, the Stillwater Science Center and the Music Box — but having abundant local resources allows our students to use our 350-acre campus and the surrounding areas as a living laboratory. From broiler house construction projects on the farm and water quality monitoring on nearby Captina Creek to creative writing workshops in the Collection Room and wilderness survival education at Raven Rocks, Olney students are able to explore their intellectual and creative journeys both inside a traditional classroom setting and out.

Academic Advisory

Navigating Your Olney Journey

Each student is assigned an academic advisor. The advisor is the parents’ first point of contact with the school about academic concerns and the student’s first source of help with resolving academic questions. Students meet weekly with their advisors (and as needed, throughout the week) to discuss social and emotional well-being and academic progress.

To learn more about our academic advisory program, please contact Joe Sullivan, College and Academic Counselor.

College Counseling

Preparing For Life After Olney

Through the Olney Friends School curriculum, students are preparing for college at all times. However, the formal college counseling program begins in the junior year and continues with greater concentration in the senior year through the College Class Endeavor as well as individual meetings with the college counselor.

Olney Friends School offers SAT and TOEFL test preparation courses to second-semester juniors and first-semester seniors.

Students do not have to attend university directly from Olney Friends School, but all students must participate in the college process and be accepted to a four-year college or university to graduate. Click here to see our recent college acceptances.

Just as Olney Friends School values each student individually, recognizing their innate strengths and specific needs, we seek to help them find colleges that are good matches for them academically, socially, and financially.

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Olney Friends School is an independent, co-educational, college preparatory boarding and day school offering individualized instruction in small class settings for grades 9-12.

Phone: 740-425-3655

Fax: 740-359-4015

The Main Office is staffed seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. till about 10:00 p.m. when school is in session. The administrator on call is available for emergencies 24 hours a day during the school year at 740-359-4015.

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