Frequently Asked Questions
Will my child follow his or her sending school’s curriculum or the OMS curriculum?
Your child will follow the sending school’s curriculum for each of his or her individual courses while here at OMS. Our goal is to cover your child’s curriculum in a manner similar to that of his or her sending school teacher. We work to keep your student on track or ahead of his or her sending school classmates. In the case that a student is ahead, we also look for ways to enrich the curriculum.
What courses do you facilitate at Okemo Mountain School?
We work to facilitate any course that a student is taking at his or her sending school. However, given the broad spectrum of elective courses that are offered at the various schools with which we work, it is not always possible to do so. Additionally, it may be in students’ best interest to focus on core curriculum and leave elective courses to fall and spring. We facilitate all courses within the departments of English/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies/History, and Mathematics. We also facilitate Spanish and French and have dedicated staff members to teach these courses. We facilitate courses in Visual Arts, such as drawing and painting, printmaking, digital photography, graphic arts, and fiber arts. We facilitate computer and technology courses as well. Beyond these courses we will make our best effort to facilitate other courses, but cannot guarantee having the appropriate staff each year. If your child has an elective course that cannot be facilitated here, we can offer alternatives from our own curriculum for them to take during their time here. We also encourage the exploration of online courses if your child has a specific interest in a subject that is not facilitated here.
How do I approach my child’s sending school?
We recommend introducing the idea of your child attending Okemo Mountain School early to your child’s sending school. We know that sometimes as a parent you might be apprehensive to approach your child’s sending school about OMS – particularly if it is a new school for your child – but we find that beginning the conversation early is best. You can use the letter to educators enclosed here, as well as the collaboration agreement and Vermont State Statute, to introduce the idea. However, your child’s teacher will not fill out the Collaboration Agreement until the same school year in which they are attending OMS. We also encourage you to provide our contact information so that they can reach out to us if they wish. Additionally, if you meet any initial resistance to the idea, please let us know if you would like us to reach out and make contact first to further explain the program. As we move into the fall OMS will reach out to your child’s sending school to begin the process of collaboration. You will also want to reach out to your child’s sending school to remind them of your child’s plans to attend OMS. During the fall and throughout the winter, you as the parent may at times act as a liaison to facilitate the transfer of information from sending school to OMS.
What should I tell my sending school about how to best collaborate with OMS?
Sending schools collaborate with us in varying ways. At a minimum, we require a course outline or syllabus and a student copy of the textbook. Some schools also opt to send more – daily assignments, tests, quizzes, major writing assignments or projects, and midterms. We also leave open the option of who will grade the student’s work. However, we feel that in most cases it is most fair for the student to be graded by our teachers while they are here. If your school is open to suggestion on how to collaborate, the best case scenario is one in which each sending school teacher provides a course outline, two copies of the textbook (one for the student and one for the OMS teacher), a clear indication of the content and format of assessments (either in the form of actual copies of assessments or copies of review sheets), and is open to weekly communication with our teachers. We do administer midterms here at OMS if requested by the sending school. However, we request that we receive either the midterm a week in advance of when it is going to be administered or a thorough review packet well in advance. This allows our teachers to ensure that your child is amply prepared. We believe that this is the best way for us to ensure that material is covered and assessed in a similar manner, which will ensure a smooth transition home. It is important that our teachers are able to move through the material for each child at a pace that matches the ebb and flow of training and competition schedules. When teachers are given the latitude to move through material at their own pace, they can forge ahead through material and then back off a bit during the height of the competitive season.
What if my school asks me to withdraw or un-enroll my child?
This is a common formality for most schools and is a function of the fact that, without being withdrawn, each day that a student is at OMS shows up as an absence from his or her sending school. Many schools ask a child to withdraw but are still open to communication – this is important. Please encourage your school to remain open to communication from OMS. It will make your child’s transition home much easier and in turn make the sending school teachers’ jobs much easier. Additionally, sometimes being withdrawn de-activates a student’s log-in to their electronic assignment board – “Blackboard” or “E-Chalk” – ask your school to keep your child’s log-in active if at all possible.
How long should I enroll my child at OMS?
Many factors may play into the decision of how long to enroll your child at OMS. We encourage everyone to consider the full Winter Term option for their child. This option allows a child to most fully take advantage of what our program offers. Academically, it gives our teachers here the most latitude to tailor the work load appropriately to the student’s training and competing schedule and also allows students to get to know their teachers before the chaos of the competitive season. Athletically, it gives the student a strong pre-season period in which to work on dry land conditioning and on-snow fundamentals before moving into the competition season. It also provides time at the end of the season to continue the cycle of training with an eye on preparing for the following winter. However, if the full Winter Term is not an option for your child, the next best options available are the 3 month Target Terms – A or B. Target Term A works out best for U16 athletes and Target Term B works out best for U14/U12 athletes and Snowboard or Freestyle athletes. We keep the option of Target Term C open mainly for our youngest athletes. However, this year we have increased Target Term C in length to eight weeks. Please feel free to discuss enrollment options further with us before deciding.
What is the daily schedule like for my child?
Academic classes are conducted daily Monday – Friday from 12:20 – 5:37 in six, 37 minute blocks, with an 80 minute block dedicated to dryland conditioning and special programming. Athletic on-snow training takes place in the mornings Tuesday – Friday. Students arrive at OMS at 7:30 am Tuesday – Friday, participate in dry land training, and then head to the mountain for on-snow training. They return to school by 12:00 pm for lunch, which they bring with them each day, and then attend classes. Students are responsible for cleaning duties throughout the week and must complete these on their assigned day before leaving school for the day. Pick-up and drop-off is at OMS. All students should be picked up by 6 pm.
Where will my child live while at OMS?
Most children live with a family member while at OMS. Either they are from the local area or a parent, grandparent, or extended relative stays with them locally for the winter. However, students who do not have this option available are housed with host families. Some host families have children in the school currently or are alumni families. Others have younger children in the weekend program at Okemo. Others yet are staff members or Ludlow community members with whom we have had a relationship who enjoy hosting students from OMS. If you are in need of a host family for your child, we will provide you with contact information for a few possibilities and help make an initial connection for you. Beyond setting up the initial contact, all arrangements are made privately between you and the host family.