Nurturing Responsible Leaders

Student Jobs at Blue Oak School

One of Blue Oak’s Seven Core Principles is that children learn by doing. At the Lower School, one of the ways children learn by doing is through their grade level’s job. Each classroom in the lower school has a specific job that is essential to our community. The students and teachers reflect on the needs of the community and think about what they can contribute. Each job helps our school function and instills in our students a sense of responsibility and commitment to our school community.

TK/ Kindergarten: Gardeners

1st Grade: Post Office

2nd Grade: Imaginarium Facilitators

3rd Grade: Sign Makers

4th Grade: Library Helpers

5th Grade: Leadership

From our gardeners to our sign-making shop and librarians, Blue Oak students eagerly embrace the challenge of making a meaningful contribution to our school. Along the way, they also develop leadership, planning, and problem-solving skills, and they apply their skills in math, reading and writing, and communication in authentic, real-world situations.

Family Groups

In an effort to strengthen interpersonal connections within the school community and promote cross-grade interaction, Blue Oak established school "families." Each family comprises a minimum of two to four students from every grade level, TK through 8, accompanied by approximately four faculty or staff members. These family groups convene once or twice monthly, typically during Friday morning community meetings. The structured activities during these sessions are designed to foster self-confidence, cooperation, inclusivity, and communication skills among participants across various age groups. Students remain in their same family group for the duration of their time at Blue Oak.

Community Meetings

Each week, Blue Oak Lower School students and Middle School students come together with others in their respective divisions to meet as a community. During these moments, students share with one another what they are learning, discuss community challenges, observe special events, celebrate achievements and enjoy singing together. Community meetings are an important opportunity for students to learn self-management as they collaborate to organize their collective learning community. skills as they Once each month everyone from across the entire school meets in one large Blue Oak community meeting. On these occasions we spend time connecting with others in our family groups.

Reading Buddies Program

The Reading Buddies program at Blue Oak is a well-established and long-standing tradition. Reading buddies are an opportunity for students across grade levels to come together around books. The frequency with which Blue Oak students read with their reading buddies varies by grade. Many students read with their buddies every week.

Reading Buddies program highlights literacy and offers students the opportunity to build their reading skills by offering fluent models, creating an authentic context, receiving one-on-one support and more. The Reading Buddies program also elevates our work as a school in a number of other ways.

Community building: Students meet other children outside of their grade level. Though it is uncommon in many schools, it is quite normal at Blue Oak to see children playing in a multi-age group. Games on the play yard typically consist of students from a variety of grades, with the older students often looking after the younger ones.

Leadership Development: Older students have the opportunity to mentor younger readers and strengthen their confidence as a reader and a friend. Younger students strengthen their confidence as readers while they read to the older students.

Empathy: Older students are called to consider what their younger buddy will understand and enjoy as they select books for reading buddies. Students connect to this empathy at other times, as well, like during recess play.