- School Info
OUR MISSION IS CLEAR AND VITAL...
Our Mission is Learning
Located in the Capistrano Unified School District, Oak Grove Elementary School opened its doors in September 1996 with much fanfare, and 16 years later it continues to be exceptional. High academic and behavioral standards for students and staff, and tremendous parent and involvement, combined with a clear mission of teaching to the whole child are hallmarks of Oak Grove. The school’s baseball theme that is integrated throughout campus is apropos; Oak Grove is a team of students, staff, and community. Recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2000, 2004 and 2012, all team members continue to learn and grow together.
Setting high standards and expectations for all is one of the foundational philosophies at Oak Grove. The acquisition of basic skills, fundamentals, and creating a solid academic base is essential for success at every academic level and in life. Staff members have a clear understanding that it is essential to prepare students to become life-long learners in an economy that is rapidly changing and for careers and industries that might have yet to be imagined. Using data generated from both formal and informal assessments allows teachers to strategically pinpoint areas of strength and areas that need more focus, design and plan effective lessons, and identify students that may need additional intervention or enrichment. Over the past 11 years, Oak Grove’s Academic Performance Index has grown from 839 to 873. To meet the needs of our diverse English Learner (EL) population, Oak Grove’s Bilingual Community Services Liaison works closely with our English Learner Development (ELD) Instructional Assistant, ELD Advisor, staff, and parents for EL students to remove language barriers from learning as well as increase parent involvement of EL students. Oak Grove’s students with special needs easily participate in general education classes and programs; the special education staff meets weekly to discuss student services, upcoming issues, and collaborate with general education staff. These weekly meetings allow for immediate adjustments and flexibility to ensure student success.
Recognizing that learning is a life-long process, staff members regularly participate in professional development during Articulation and Collaboration for Excellence (ACE time) and during district sponsored Professional Growth Academies. Teachers have received training on differentiated instructional strategies, Cognitive Autism Training (CAT), Guided Language Acquisition Development (GLAD), SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observational Protocol), Illuminate (data program), and effective use of benchmark assessments to improve student achievement.
Oak Grove develops and reinforces high standards of behavior through a systematic approach. Expectations for school behavior are clear and are rooted in Character Counts! and Bucket Filling (based on the book Have you Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud). Individual classes use grade level appropriate activities that reinforce positive character traits and management systems are often thematically linked to the school’s baseball theme. Teaching strategies to resolve conflicts begins in kindergarten and students in grades 3-5 are aided by PAL (Peer Assistance Leadership) Managers at recesses. During the week, students that exhibit positive behavior or growth are selected to lead the Pledge of Allegiance over the PA system; victories both big and small are celebrated and reinforced. Reciting the pledge as a school also demonstrates a school-wide commitment to good citizenship. On Fridays, the entire school community gathers for the morning assembly and students are publically recognized for their accomplishments.
Research shows that parent involvement has a significant impact on student achievement and all members of the Oak Grove staff encourage and nurture this important partnership. Parent volunteers, family members, and Oak Grove Alumni are evident everywhere on campus. There is rarely a day or hour when there isn’t at least one parent in the grade level pods working on projects for teachers or working with groups of students. Last year, Oak Grove volunteers logged over 4,775 hours. Oak Grove’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) works tirelessly to support and enhance the school’s instructional programs. The PTA raises funds for music instruction for students in kindergarten through third grade (CUSD only funds music for grades 4-5), classroom technologies, Art Masters, United Streaming and The Frieda Belinfante Class Act Music Program. They support and schedule assemblies such as the Imagination Machine and a Red Ribbon Week BMX Bike Show and recently added a Dad’s Club with the goal of increasing male participation on campus and to assist with safety issues in the parking lot. A separate organization, Oak Grove’s Foundation, assists in supporting 5th Grade Outdoor Science Camp, technology purchases, and staff development. Classes offered through Adult-Community Education (for students of all ages) are well-attended by the Oak Grove community, and wraparound services such as the Family Resource Center (which offers parenting and social skills classes) are located on campus.
Oak Grove staff prides itself on providing the best academic program possible but one that also teaches to the individual needs of the whole child. Student leadership skills are developed through student council, peer tutoring, and PAL. Recognizing the Greek idea of “Fit Mind, Fit Body”, students in grades 1 through 5 participate in the annual “Turkey Trot” (a quarter mile obstacle course with the winners earning a frozen turkey), and last year, 48 third, fourth and fifth graders joined the Kids Run OC Marathon Program. Parents and other community members work closely with staff to provide service learning experiences: Jump Rope for Heart, School Beautification, Pennies for Patients, Spark of Love Toy Drive, Shoes for Japan, and the Second Harvest Food Drive. Learning experiences that have a positive impact on student achievement also include the kinder-garden which provides a hands-on approach to math and science in a real life setting as well as the monthly fifth grade business fair. This entrepreneurial role-playing allows students to understand first-hand how a business works as each student creates a business plan, advertises, and prepares to sell their product.
By working as a team with the community, teaching to the whole child, and embracing the belief that ALL students can learn, grow and soar, the staff and community truly implements the Oak Grove Mission statement: “To help children learn, to learn more tomorrow than they learn today; and to learn more next year than they learned this year.”