Over 35 years ago, a group of forward thinking teachers here at Ohlone agreed that there must be a better way to educate 20th century students. They went through a three-year consortium and afterwards agreed to embark on a new journey, a new direction in education. The seeds they sowed are the same ones that we harvest and replant today in the 21st century.
Originally, such educational reforms went by such terms as Open Classrooms, Open Philosophy, Whole Child, Developmental Approach, Differentiated Curriculum, and more. They all mean basically the same thing: that we embrace a philosophy built on the uniqueness of every person, the trust and respect that every person deserves, and the need to develop the whole child. As a result, we spend a proportionate amount of time giving students the tools to navigate life, as well as the curriculum. We actively give our students opportunities to be trusted, learning from our errors in "teachable moments". We also call each other by our first names since we realize that respect is something that is earned and not given due to a position. These are just a few examples of how the philosophy can be witnessed.
At the root of our philosophy is a set of guidelines called the "Core Values". These have become our conscience so to speak and keep us true to our mission. They include the need for trust, the use of developmental approaches, the addressing of all aspects of the child, the use of cooperation and collaboration techniques, the value of the parent-teacher partnership, the importance of using relevant and meaningful curriculum, and the use of a variety of forms of on-going assessment. These are all manifested in a variety of ways on a daily basis in each classroom. They are the "core" of the Ohlone experience.
The philosophy goes well beyond the classroom though. It can be seen in the large levels of parent involvement, both in leadership roles and as volunteers. It can seen in the nature of efficient and positive communication that goes on continuously between all members of the community, even when delivering difficult messages. It can be seen in the tremendous effort that is given to including everyone and working together for the benefit of both the whole of the community and all of its components. It is an example of the best of what public education has to offer.