The day students of the 2019-2020 school year are making history.
The number of day students at Ojai Valley School hit a whopping 48 this year, the highest ever at OVS Upper Campus.
“Overall, we have 104 enrolled students at Upper: 48 day and 56 resident,” said Director of Advancement and Admission Tracy Wilson. “It’s double the number of day students we had six years ago during the 2014/15 school year.”
For the past three years, Ojai Valley School has been making efforts to increase the day student population.
With the help of increased advertising, an emphasis on middle school matriculation, and the vast array of enriching and educational opportunities OVS has to offer, the amount of day students is at an all time high.
A large factor in the rise of day student population is the amount of OVS Lower Campus students enrolling at Upper.
“We’ve steadily seen an increase in students coming to Upper from Lower in recent years, including 70% of the graduating 8th grade class last spring,.” said Ms.Wilson said.
On top of matriculation from lower, word of mouth from faculty, students, and alumni has also been a major contributor to the growth.
“We have a good program and I think people look at it and they want some of that for their children,” said Assistant Head of School Crystal Davis.
Key factors of the OVS philosophy are community and the strong idea of love and family. This has touched many families, alumni, and members of the Ojai Valley and encouraged them to advocate for OVS.
On top of the admissions office, parents are a large component to the increase in day students.
“I would also attribute the increase in day students to tremendous advocacy by our current Upper parents,” said Ms. Wilson, “as well as faculty members at both the high school and middle school divisions talking up the strengths of the Upper Campus program in the broader community.”
As the day student community increases, faculty and administrators have put in great efforts to make sure the day students feel welcome and included at all times of the day, not just from 8-5.
Day students are encouraged to stay for meals, go to weekend activities, and attend after school enrichment activities with the resident students. This encouragement has strengthened the community by creating closely knit friendships between day students and dormers and has made it so more day students are seeing all that OVS has to offer.
“Because there are so many day students, we want to create a more interactive, inclusive community where we get the day students involved in the things we’re doing, no matter what time of day or night it is or weekends,” Head of School Craig Floyd said. “We’re starting to see more and more students partake in the weekend activities because it is a viable option for them now rather than just hanging out at home or doing something else.”
OVS administrators believe that student involvement from both day and boarding students will make OVS’s program stronger and more appealing to students. This is evident with sophomore Violet Ruby, who has been both a boarding and day student at OVS.
“I really love being a day student because I get to go home every night and see my family, but I’m able to stay on campus when ever I feel like it and spend time with my second family: my friends,” Violet said.
The friendships and bonds between boarders and day students is part of what makes OVS unique, but unfortunately, resident numbers have not been following the same trends as the day student numbers.
“The boost in the day student population comes at a time when OVS is struggling to maintain and grow its residential population,” Ms. Wilson said. “We attribute that to both a trend of fewer international students, especially from China, and our own challenges following the Thomas Fire.”
The Thomas Fire struck in 2017, burning several signature buildings at OVS, including the girls dorm. This devastating loss had a major impact on the OVS community but together they were able to push through and complete the school year.
A series of portable trailers were brought, installed, and customized to feel like home for the dormers who would return to school and live in what is now called “The Village.” But despite the fact that huge efforts were put in to quickly reopen second semester and get OVS running again, enrollment took a hit.
The year after the fire, the resident number decreased significantly. Ojai Valley School is working hard to construct the new girls dorm and increase the resident population in the years to come.
OVS is making a huge effort to show that it is a loving, supportive, and caring school to all people, and the school hopes that in the coming years resident numbers will grow just like the day student population.
Junior Carson Strassman arrived at the Upper Campus as a freshman and since then has taken full advantage of all that OVS has to offer including the rigorous academics, garage band, and outdoor education.
“Ojai is such a beautiful, loving, and spiritual place so I applied to OVS, I love it here and will be attending OVS for all of high school,” said Carson.Share