“Although I admit to wondering if the staff at Oakland somehow managed to acquire supernatural powers, I realize their many accomplishments are the result of applied talent, dedication and enduring tenacity. For that, I am forever grateful.”
— From an Oakland Parent
The faculty and staff at Oakland are the core of a nurturing and family-like environment that ensures that each child receives the attention he or she needs and develops into the best person he or she can be. Staff, from the laundresses and the maintenance crew to the teachers and the head of school, plays an important part in each student’s development. Each staff member knows each child’s name and unique strengths and weaknesses. Mutual respect is an important value at Oakland.
Oakland employs 11 full-time teachers and 2 teaching assistants. All Oakland teachers are certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia with endorsements in Special Education or their content teaching area. All have received extensive training in the methods and techniques needed to teach at a school for learning disabled students. 75% of our administrative and teaching staff have advanced degrees.
Interestingly, over half of our faculty members began their tenure at Oakland as residential instructors. Several went on to earn higher-level degrees and several taught at other schools – public, private and even college level. Why come back to Oakland? As one teacher said, “This is the place I feel most at home and where I can make the biggest difference in a child’s life.”
As part of their first year at Oakland, teachers are trained in The Oakland Way—the many longstanding, successful teaching methods utilized at the school—as well as how to assess a student’s needs and develop, administer and fine-tune an individualized program that will result in optimal progress. In order to carefully coordinate each student’s program and monitor progress, three weekly teachers’ meetings are held to discuss each student, to pool knowledge to address any concerns and to share successes. During the summer program, teachers’ meetings occur daily.
The residential staff plans after-school, evening, weekend and sports activities. Residential instructors live in the dorms, serve as dorm parents and work with children to establish and attain individual social and emotional goals. Residential and teaching staffs meet weekly to ensure that individual student programs are well coordinated. Ongoing communication among all staff members helps to provide a warm, caring and consistent atmosphere in which a child can flourish.
Oakland has a contractual agreement with a clinical child psychologist practice as well as a speech/language pathologist. Individual therapy, group therapy and speech and language therapy are available as needed and are billed privately by the provider. These professionals are valuable resources as they provide services on the grounds and conference regularly with teachers, residential staff and parents in a team-oriented approach.