Amid the craziness that was 2020, many local families found themselves looking into private school options for the first time.
When considering private schools in the metro area, the admired institutions with excellent reputations likely come to mind. But as parents struggled to find workable situations for their children last year, the majority of those schools continued to carry long waitlists. Additionally, some students have found that they are not suited for traditional education.
Fortunately for families, there are several out-of-the-box education options now available in Oklahoma City. We break down just a few of the schools that have recently opened in the 405 and are providing the community with much-needed diverse choices.
Wildflower: An Acton Academy
6000 NW 120th Ct., OKC, wildfloweracton.com
The mission of Wildflower is to inspire each child and parent who enters its doors to find a calling that will change the world. The academy uses the latest in educational technology for self-paced mastery of reading, writing and math skills, and holds Socratic discussions about heroes, history and self-governance in order to hone critical thinking skills and the ability to powerfully think, write and speak. Wildflower utilizes hands-on project-based “Quests” to master the tools and skills needed to solve problems in the real world. School founder Brooke Ogle said, “I started Wildflower: An Acton Academy in the fall of 2020 to help my children (and others, too) develop meaningful real-world skills. I wanted our kids to grow up learning to thrive using their creativity and unique gifts. Wildflower helps kids capitalize on their creativity to find their calling and make a difference in the world.”
The Beacon School
2700 S Boulevard, Edmond, thebeaconschool.net
Focused on project-based learning and implementing many of the most popular elements of the world-renowned Finland education system, the Beacon School is dedicated to meeting individual children’s needs. It offers both full-time and homeschool blended options, as well as fluid grade levels. Piper Riggs is a mother of two current students and said, “We love Beacon because it’s more than a school; it’s a community of families who are striving daily to lift one another up, while educating. It’s a place where curiosity is applauded and discovery encouraged. We choose it because we know our kids are receiving an education that is teaching them to think strategically and become leaders at an early age.” The founder of the Beacon School, Emily Jensen, says she founded the school because, “I could not find exactly what I was looking for in a school for my own two children. I wanted to create an environment with a healthy blend of learning methodologies to create a whole-child educational experience. Amazingly, we have grown by 400% since our first year in 2019. This growth trend has been a strong indication to me that families in OKC and the surrounding areas are looking for flexible and creative schooling solutions for their children.”
Odyssey Leadership Academy
100 E California, OKC, odysseyleadershipacademy.org
Modeled after schools and universities such as Stanford, MIT, High Tech High and Mount Vernon, Odyssey Leadership Academy (OLA) offers many specific strategies to education, including small class sizes, hands-on learning, showcases for creative expression, an emphasis on socio-emotional well-being and a caring community. Students will also experience daily mentoring, three travel experiences per year, advanced college-level courses, service leadership opportunities in the local community, apprenticeships with real-world experts in a wide variety of fields and robust independent study options tailored to their individual passions. “We started OLA because we believe there is a better story to tell in education,” said executive director Dr. Scott Martin. “We believe that the formation of healthy human beings in their most formative years is top priority. That is why, at OLA, we put human flourishing at the center of our vision for what education should be. We honor every student’s voice, believing they have something to teach us. We celebrate their learning and give shape to the imagination by offering moments of wonder and engagement within a shared sense of purpose and connection.”
111 Premier Pkwy, Norman, labschoolok.com
With class sizes that max out at a 12:1 ratio all the way through high school, the Lab School exists to bring children out of the classroom and into the love of learning. Its focus is freeing up students to explore, ask questions and learn to understand the “why” behind the actions of civilizations. By tailoring the core subjects to children’s unique learning style, teachers work to bring forth the very best results with what makes the most sense to each kid. Founder Renee Roberts said, “The Lab School was founded to give children an opportunity to learn using all of their senses in a small environment, while still maintaining a rigorous academic education. PE, art, foreign languages and music, coupled with all of the core subjects, help us achieve this goal. We have seen students crippled with anxiety come out of their shells and thrive. We have seen children who were unable to read not only come up to level, but surpass their class level within one year. Our students have expressed their love of our approach because it is hands-on.”