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Academic Excellence

 
 

A Tradition of Excellence ~ A Future of Success

Academic achievement is only truly sustainable when a student’s interest in school is authentic and joyful. Our mission as educators, therefore, is two-fold: (1) to set up our students for continued success once they leave OLMC, and (2) to impart to them a lifelong love of learning. We accomplish both by training students in the enduring habits of intellectual rigor: curiosity, open-mindedness, willingness to change one’s point of view, diligence, patience, and attentiveness.

AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH

The world is becoming increasingly global and complex, meaning the problem-solvers of tomorrow will have to be unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries. Our approach specifically teaches students how to think across subjects, applying what they’ve learned in one class to the problems raised in another.

THE WELL-ROUNDED STUDENT

We won’t let students merely settle into their strengths and avoid their perceived weaknesses: Those who excel in science do not get to sit mute during music class just because they don’t think they can sing, and those who write poetry for fun do not get a pass in Algebra because they believe themselves to be “bad at math.” Instead, we expect students to delve as deeply as they can into every subject. We know tentative students are almost always more capable than they believe themselves to be, and we teach them how to find the artist, mathematician, musician, or writer within.

We also give our students an encounter with disciplines that might be a bit unexpected, but that we’ve found contribute to a well-rounded education — subjects such as drama, gardening, cooking, and etiquette. In this way, they are even more prepared to live life to the fullest.

INDIVIDUALIZED INSTRUCTION

At OLMC, we believe every student has untapped intellectual potential, and it’s our responsibility to help them reach the highest possible heights of academic success. We treat each child as a unique and precious individual and tailor his or her educational experience accordingly. Our optimal class sizes allow us to get to know our students well, and we delight in providing a personalized education to each one of them.  For example, our teachers offer students customized “recommended reading” lists, one-on-one math and science instruction, and individualized Latin assignments, to name just a few.

UNFORGETTABLE FIELD STUDIES...

We believe students will never truly achieve academic excellence if they only learn from textbooks and lectures. They can’t take ownership of the knowledge that is being passed on to them unless they actively investigate. That’s why we provide real life encounters with the subjects we study. When they learn about animal husbandry and horticulture, we take them to a farm; when they learn about ancient art, we take them to the Met; when they learn about the American founding, we take them to Philadelphia. Our field studies help make school come alive for students, and serve to increase both their joy of learning and their mastery of the material.

...AND TREASURE HUNTS

OLMC has the great fortune to be located in one of the nation’s most interesting regions. We’re situated no more than 50 miles from some of the richest natural wonders in the country. We’re within driving distance to priceless works of art and sites of global historical and religious significance. And between New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey’s own institutions of higher learning, we can easily partake of educational resources second to none in the world.

Our location is a blessing that very few in this world will ever know, and at OLMC we do not take it for granted. We seek out every possible opportunity for our students to soak up the treasures around us, and their education is greatly enriched because of it.

WHAT ABOUT STANDARDIZED TESTS?

Our students perform well on standardized tests, which is in keeping with the trend that classically educated students outperform their peers on these exams. In fact, our students take more rigorous standardized tests than those offered in most schools, including the National Latin Exam. 

However, we spend far less time than most schools “teaching to the test,” because we believe it’s counterproductive. Students become bored, which then turns their brains into sieves — even if they retain material for the exam, they’re investing nothing in their long-term intellectual well-being. 

Therefore, while we spend adequate time familiarizing our students with what to expect on standardized tests, mostly we prepare them to score well by fostering critical thinking and attention to detail. In this way, our students can succeed on these exams and then move on to the more important things of school, like engaging their curiosity.


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