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Distinguishing Characteristics

Orchard House School is committed to fostering each girl’s intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, emotional integrity and physical well-being. We are proud of the many key areas that set us apart from other educational institutions.

School Community and Culture

Students at Orchard House School learn to foster respect and understanding by valuing and respecting individual differences. In addition to the typical markers of diversity—race, religion, socioeconomic status, ethnicity and family structure— we seek diversity in learning styles, ability and achievement as well as social and study skills. The Admissions' Committee deliberately accepts girls who represent variances in the areas of academics, introversion and extroversion, social skills, learning styles, study skills and leadership skills. We are not looking to accept just the top 10% by ability or academics. 

 

Social Skills

Brain and human dynamic research (Deak, Davies) supports the belief that all children, girls in particular, learn best in an emotionally safe environment. Rather than dismiss or devalue differences, Orchard House girls learn to process differences directly and respectfully. Positive social and group skills are taught through the general curriculum, cross-grade peer relationships, Morning Meetings, Leadership, homerooms, and sports teams.

 

Learning Environment and Risk Taking

Girls at Orchard House School naturally take greater risks academically, athletically, socially, and creatively because the learning environment is based on curricular demands that are the same for all. Because all girls take drama, even the shyest girls learn to speak in front of an audience. The same applies to visual art, dance, and music, which are not optional. Many girls who have never played team sports before play them at OHS because the teams are open to all. Many continue on to play sports throughout their high school careers.

Research and Methodology

Orchard House School is designed for what works best for girls. This intentionality is seen from the initial admissions process, through the day-to-day experiences, to final graduation. We know that girls grow best and develop confidence through experiences that foster competence. Girls’ connections to the real world and to the people around them are critical to personal engagement and success. Building on and using those strategies deliberately, we focus on questions that foster personal growth as well as the development of thinking and learning. We want our girls to develop a strong, authentic sense of self along with the confidence, tools, people skills, problem-solving ability and critical thinking to go out into the larger world and make a difference.

Leadership Program

Leadership is at the heart of an Orchard House School education. Leadership is a four-year program designed to foster the strong, healthy development of each girl, teach her real world tools for success, and help her develop a global connection to the world. Some classes are taught specifically on Friday afternoons during the Leadership block, while others are included in the day-to-day curriculum. Leadership imparts 21st century skills with seemingly disparate topics like service learning. financial literacy, the use of hand tools, health, ethics and decision making, specific art projects, public speaking and speechwriting.