Heritage Oak offers a well-rounded program that includes extras that are not offered at many other schools. A personalized curriculum is emphasized with enrichment teachers for art, music, violin and band instruction, French, Spanish, debate, computers, physical education and etiquette. The use of interactive white boards as well as hand-held student response tools with texting options allows for lessons to be interactive and students to be fully engaged. Middle school students utilize their own iPads (provided by the school) that are integrated into their day. Students in grades 4-8 participate in after-school sports leagues and a wide range of after school extra-curricular programs are available for students of all ages.
The faculty at Heritage Oak is trained to use positive reinforcement to encourage behavior which is both productive and socially acceptable. Our discipline policy is clearly communicated and is consistent and firm, yet gentle. Children thrive in a setting where they know their boundaries and what is expected of them. Our students are rewarded for doing the right thing, not simply disciplined for poor behavior.
Parents are encouraged to become involved. We do not require service or volunteer time from our parents but if they wish to help the teachers, chaperone field trips, provide a service, etc. their help is welcomed. All parent volunteers must participate in a background check through the school.
Parents are required to attend Back-to-School Night in September along with Personal Learning Plan conferences in November. They are invited to various events including our Welcome Back Celebration, Father-Child Pumpkin Carving Event, Mother-Child Event, and Homecoming game. Also, Heritage Oak has a Parent Assistance League (PAL) which is an organization of parents who meet once a month to discuss programs and initiatives for the school.
In addition to the one hour per day spent on math lessons, math is integrated into other subjects. Students are encouraged to apply their math skills when studying music, science, social studies, geography, etc. Probability, logic, and statistics are included in our comprehensive math curriculum. Heritage Oak standardized test scores in math, across all grades, routinely averages above 90% and graduates are usually placed in honors math programs at their high schools of choice. McGraw-Hill textbooks are used in the classrooms. Supplemental, interactive software called “First in Math” is also utilized as part of the school’s comprehensive mathematics program.
The school makes every effort to keep parents informed about their child’s school life. A weekly e-newsletter is used to remind parents of significant events. Grades and homework are posted online and are available anytime for review. Teachers send letters and emails home and make phone calls to parents on a regular basis. Conferences are always available upon request. In addition to the personal communication, the school publishes an annual report and sends notes home when necessary.
In 2014, Heritage Oak released a mobile application which is free to all families. This application allows for parents to have immediate access to campus photos, videos, the school calendar, grades, homework, and additional resources.
The happiness of our students and the satisfaction of their parents are the key measures of our success but we have “outside” indicators as well.
National testing is an indicator of our school’s achievements. Students begin to take these assessments in the pre-kindergarten program and routinely score above 90% in math and reading. In addition to fine academics, our physical education and art programs continue to receive noteworthy awards. Our physical education program has been honored as being one of California’s top Presidential Physical Fitness programs. Heritage Oak students participate in various local, national and international art competitions that showcase their hard work and skills. Our Debate team regularly places in the Orange County Debate League Championships and our instrumental music groups have won various awards and have performed at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Our students also regularly place at the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair and the Orange County Science Olympiad. Finally, Heritage Oak was named a national Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education.
Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) were implemented in 2010 as a way to individualize each student’s learning program. We know that each child has unique skills and areas of growth, and PLPs help to reinforce these areas. Begining in Junior Kindergarten, teachers develop a plan for each child which focuses on three areas. One is an area of strength, where students are given an opportunity to work on something that they enjoy. Another is an area of opportunity, for which students will work to succeed in areas that they may have difficulty with in the classroom, academically or socially. The last is an area of growth, where students work to improve an area of testing that they struggled with the year prior. Our main goal is to ensure that students are continuing to grow individually, while fostering their love for a particular subject.