At The Orchard School, our mission is to develop and educate the whole child. We are a non-sectarian, independent school, committed to advancing each student’s academic success, self-confidence, open-mindedness, ethical character, leadership and love of learning.
Q&A with The Orchard School:
What makes Orchard unique?
The Orchard School is a progressive, nonsectarian, independent school founded in 1922. For nearly 100 years, we have been the leader in Progressive education in Central Indiana. Utilizing our 43-acre wooded campus, our nationally-recognized programs are designed to develop and educate the whole child.
We provide a transformative and foundational education for students in preschool through eighth grade. We believe in engaging the natural curiosity of students in an active, child-centered and experiential learning environment. Students love Orchard because their individuality is honored, and the academics are challenging, yet fun, creating a love of learning that is fostered by teachers who know them well.
Our small student to teacher ratio affords dedicated teachers the emotional space to create meaningful relationships, building an inclusive and accepting community. All this takes place in a warm, nurturing community where diversity is evident, recognized and celebrated.
What is Orchard’s age/grade range?
Multiage Preschool (age 3-5) through Grade 8.
What is your enrollment policy? Are there any key dates parents should be aware of?
Our goal through the admissions process is to help you determine if The Orchard School is the best educational fit for your child and your family. The Admissions Team is here to help you through this process. Orchard does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or age in its admissions process, its programs, or its activities.
There is limited availability for the 2020-21 school year, we encourage you to inquire with [email protected] asap with any questions. The 2021-22 school year is currently enrolling! Go Owls!
Does Orchard offer financial assistance?
We believe that the best way to prepare students for the real world is to have a student body that mirrors the diversity of the world around them. We strive to achieve a community that is representative of all ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and other types of diversity.
Last year, Orchard awarded nearly $2 million to 30% of the student body through the Flexible Tuition budget. The average income of a family receiving tuition reduction is $92,000 and the income range for families qualifying for Flexible Tuition is less than $10,000 – $240,000. The qualifying income varies depending on the number of children in a family and other factors.
What are the standard school day hours?
School day hours are 7:50 am – 3:20 pm.
Does Orchard offer before/after school care? Does Orchard offer afterschool activities?
Orchard’s Extended Day program offers numerous options during before- and after-school hours. Kids Connect’s Multiage Preschool – Kindergarten, 1st-2nd Grade, 3rd-4th Grade, and Teen Connect (5th-8th Grade) programs provide a full range of developed activities and also provide the structure to connect students with clubs and classes, athletic programs, and events. These programs are available from 7:00 a.m.- 8:00 a.m. and from 3:20 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. An additional fee is assessed for Kids Connect.
*Before-care and clubs and classes are currently not an option due to COVID-19. After-school care is available
Is there a uniform or dress code?
No strict dress code. Along with honoring the natural curiosity of students, we also pride ourselves on giving students opportunities to express themselves.
How many children attend the school? How many students are in the average classroom?
Average of 550. 16-18 class size.
Does Orchard have a homework policy?
Homework is assigned to reinforce classroom work; to challenge and enrich students academically; and to foster self-discipline, organizational skills, and good study habits.
Does Orchard offer support for students with special needs?
An essential part of being a progressive school is our commitment to continual growth and refinement of the art and practice of what we do. A case in point is the evolution of the Learning Support program at Orchard. It should go without saying that differentiation and modifying our lessons and assessments to make certain that every student can successfully demonstrate what they understand and what they know is the responsibility of every single teacher in the building.
What specialty classes / extracurricular activities does Orchard offer?
The Orchard Extended Program provides quality before-school, after-school and summer opportunities for both the Orchard children and the community.
Our Extended Program is dedicated to providing a safe and accepting environment where children can learn, grow, play, and explore. Our primary objectives are to support The Orchard School mission, extend the excellence of the academic school day, and develop good citizens by emphasizing the teaching of social skills and reinforcing The Orchard School core values: friendship, fairness, honesty, responsibility, self-discipline, respect, trustworthiness, compassion and integrity.
Our claim to fame is that our kids ask to stay and don’t want to leave. Kids and adults alike love the programs and activities and value the time spent together.
The Orchard School athletics program offers a wide variety of extra-curricular sports experiences for children in grades 5 through 8. This program strives to provide a positive atmosphere in which a child has the opportunity to develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually in a supportive, safe, yet competitive environment.
We have a “no-cut” policy at Orchard, and all interested students who choose to participate are evaluated and placed on an appropriate skill-level team whenever possible. Individual and team skills and strategies will be developed and enhanced along with a regular emphasis on good sportsmanship and positive representation of an Orchard student-athlete.
Are there any new features at The Orchard School?
We are currently in a capital campaign here at Orchard. “Celebrating our Roots and Cultivating for the Future” has an $11 million overall goal to support faculty and students, green initiatives, technology improvements, and three new natural playgrounds. In February, donors raised enough money to complete a $1.5 million state-of-the-art LEED-certified Makerspace. Last month, we reached our goal of $1.4 million to complete three new natural playgrounds that will serve as additional outdoor learning spaces for years to come. Outdoor education and hands-on learning are staples of The Orchard School and these additions will strengthen those principles.
What extra safety measures is Orchard taking during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Here are a few of The Orchard School’s key initiatives in order to make sure students are healthy, happy, and engaged during the 2020-21 school year!
Students’ emotional well-being is a top priority as they ease into a sense of normalcy with their peers and teachers. This has been the most anticipated return to school in nearly a century. However, it’s imperative that the curriculum provides daily opportunities for students to reflect, take brain breaks, and practice mindfulness as they navigate a new landscape. Creating a comfortable learning environment where students love school is the surest way to achieve strong academic outcomes.
For the first time in more than 20 years, all of Orchard’s faculty and staff will be trained in Responsive Classroom. This will help us continue the important social and emotional work that students will need now more than ever.
There have been many necessary upgrades to our facilities over the summer. We have updated our school-wide air filtration systems for improved air quality, and installed systems that reduce the distance that viruses can spread, and also increase the sanitation of surfaces. We also installed touchless faucets, toilets, urinals, soap dispensers, and hand sanitizers throughout the building in order to minimize the need for touching shared surfaces.
Finally, our new natural playgrounds are almost finished, and these updated spaces will include three amphitheaters that can be used as additional outdoor teaching spaces. Our 43-acre campus with woods, fields, a track, and outdoor spaces will continue to be a central part of our progressive program which is developmentally appropriate and aligned with our curriculum.
More at ORCHARD.ORG/BACKONCAMPUS
Who should parents contact for more information about Orchard?
Our admissions team would be glad to chat with you at [email protected]. 🦉😁