OAKWOOD FRIENDS SCHOOL (2008)
22 Spackenkill Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12603
Oakwood Friends School’s roots go back to 1796, when a group of Quakers, prompted by the de- sire to provide “useful and necessary” learning to both sons and daughters, opened Nine Partners Boarding School in Millbrook, New York. After some years, the school began to decline, and it was laid down as a Yearly Meeting school shortly before the Civil War. Soon thereafter, western New York Friends opened a Yearly Meeting boarding school, Oakwood Seminary, at Union Springs on Lake Cayuga. In 1920, faced with waning enrollment and a disastrous fire, its board and the Yearly Meeting decided to move and rebuild the school in Poughkeepsie.
A coeducational, college-preparatory, boarding, and day school for students in grades six through twelve, Oakwood is chartered by the Board of Regents of New York State. Friends’ philosophy shapes the purposes and guides the life of the school. The school program includes un-programmed meeting for worship, meeting for business, and daily exposure to Quaker testimonies in its curriculum and community life. Seventy-five students and more than fifty faculty members and their families reside on the campus, creating a vibrant, multi-age residential community that is joined each day by an additional one hundred day students who hail from surrounding towns and counties. Oakwood Friends School is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), and it holds membership in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Friends Council on Education, as well as other professional organizations.
Oakwood Friends School, guided by Quaker principles, educates and strengthens young people for lives of conscience, compassion and accomplishment. Students experience a challenging curriculum within a diverse community, dedicated to nurturing the spirit, the scholar, the artist and the athlete in each person.
In seeking to fulfill its mission, Oakwood Friends School
- Provides rigorous academic preparation based on primary texts and hands-on learning. Respects the mind and imagination of students and focuses on intellectual skills and habits. Encourages powerful thinkers whose abilities are nurtured through artful teaching, thoughtful assessment, and individual attention.
- Fosters an accepting environment based upon the Quaker principle that each individual is worthy and capable of meaningful insight and truth.
- Provides an array of opportunities in the arts, athletics, and learning experiences beyond the campus to encourage creativity, self-expression, cooperation, and teamwork.
- Guides students toward the responsibilities of community life and community involvement, through leadership and service both on the campus and beyond.
- Creates and sustains a vibrant residential and educational community that embraces students in grades six through twelve as well as faculty and families representing every stage of life and a diverse range of experiences, backgrounds.
Since its founding as a Friends school, Oakwood has been devoted to the fundamental Quaker belief that there is “that of God in every person.” In putting that belief into practice, Oakwood remains firmly committed to its long-standing goal of supporting an inclusive, diversified community of students and staff in an atmosphere of mutual respect and enrichment. Oakwood Friends School provides equal opportunity in the administration of its admissions, educational, and hiring practices.
Functions of Board Members
The Board of Managers is responsible for the oversight of the school. Members attend board meetings and serve on committees. Board members also provide a means of communication between the school and Friends and local meetings. The board makes an annual written report to the Yearly Meeting.
Organization & Method of Appointment
The Board of Managers is made up of twenty-five persons, selected by the following groups:
- The New York Yearly Meeting appoints a minimum of thirteen members of the Religious Society of Friends and up to a maximum of twenty when needed to fill the full complement of twenty-five managers. Board members are initially appointed for a three-year term. Seven of these individuals are appointed to concurrent terms on the school’s board of trustees.
- The Board of Managers appoints up to five persons as at-large members, from among those who have sincere interest in the school; they need not be Friends.
- The Oakwood Friends School Alumni Association nominates up to five persons who are alumni of the school and who need not be Friends to be alumni managers. The board approves the appointment of alumni managers.
All appointments, by law, must be confirmed at the next meeting of the board. No member may serve more than three consecutive terms without retirement for at least one year. Information about persons appointed by the board will be forwarded directly to the clerk of Yearly Meeting.
The trustees of the school, appointed by New York Yearly Meeting, have the power to sell, mort- gage, lease, or otherwise use and dispose of the property and of the corporation as they shall deem best suited to the purposes of the Board of Managers. A trustee’s term expires with the expiration of his/her term as manager.
The Board of Managers makes its own bylaws and operates by them. It appoints its officers and committees and designates a member to represent Oakwood Friends School on the Nurture Coordinating Committee. All meetings of the Trustees and of the Board of Managers and of its committees are conducted in the manner of Friends.
The regular meetings of both the trustees and the managers are held on the campus of Oakwood Friends School, as follows:
- The last weekend of September
- The last weekend in November or the first weekend in December
- The last weekend in January, at Oakwood Friends School
- The last weekend of April, to include the selection of officers for the coming academic year (next-to-last weekend if Easter is the last weekend), at Oakwood Friends School
An annual contribution to Oakwood Friends School is provided in the Operating Budget. In addition, the school is the designated beneficiary of certain trust funds administered by the Yearly Meeting trustees.