This fall, school started three weeks later than scheduled for the 235 children attending Seven Oaks Classical School near Bloomington, Indiana, thanks to a delayed state loan to fix up their building.
Faculty gave students academic camps from August 15 to September 6 while construction crews added drop ceilings, repainted and repaired walls, installed a new fire alarm system, and brought everything back up to code. Bloomington’s school district had decommissioned Seven Oaks’ building in 2002, so it sat idle until this summer, when Seven Oaks claimed it.
Putting together a new school like this, both mentally and physically, approximates a modern barn-raising. Seven Oaks’ volunteer board of private citizens, who have spent years processing thousands of pages of regulatory grunt work to secure their K-8 school’s charter from the state, also organized community work days to paint, move in furniture, and sundry other mundane but necessary tasks.
Headmaster Steven Shipp went from zero to 235 students in the six months between taking the job and opening the school’s doors. He moved his wife and five children—with a sixth tiny person arriving in March—all the way up from Texas so he could helm the school. Within himself and the 18 teachers he hired he seeks an entrepreneurial, American spirit that rejoices at taking on worthy challenges to better their families, neighbors, and country, he said.
“I’ve told each of them during the hiring process there are two sorts of teachers,” he said. “The kind that wants to step into something settled and carry on the pattern that’s in place, and then there’s the one with the old-fashioned pioneer spirit who wants to step into the wilderness and make something bloom.”
Read the rest of the article at The Federalist, here.
[Originally published on October 13, 2016]