Elizabeth Black, Dean of Faculty & Curriculum

The liberal arts student sees the big picture. The individual facts and subjects that she learns find their broader meaning when seen in light of the true, the good, and the beautiful.
Oakcrest School respects the dignity of each human being and is committed to his or her personal growth and flourishing. Our educational vision is grounded in a deeply Christian understanding of what it means to be a human being and to be a woman, as revealed in Sacred Scripture and presented in the teachings of the Catholic Church. With our all-female faculty and decades of experience in single-sex education, we are also especially suited to help young women flourish.

Our liberal arts curriculum is at the core of our person-centered educational endeavor. Liberal arts, as their name suggests, are the studies that free a person from ignorance and uninformed opinion by training her to inquire into and understand the very principles of knowledge: to think logically, to look carefully and listen reflectively, to dialogue with others, and to discern the essential from the inessential. The student of the liberal arts is not content to unreflectively assimilate facts and information presented about a subject; rather, she has the discernment necessary to evaluate sources and to think for herself.  Understanding that knowledge is no fragmented assortment of data, the student of the liberal arts sees the big picture; she finds the broader meaning of individual facts and subject areas when she sees their relation to the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

A liberal arts education teaches the tools of learning. These tools, commonly referred to as the Trivium, are: Grammar (the art of observation, categorization, and memorization), Logic (thinking clearly and well), and Rhetoric (persuasiveness and beauty in expression of thought). These tools prepare the student to contemplate truth, to understand and explain the world around her, and give her the skills necessary to learn anything throughout her whole life. For these reasons we give them priority over technical training. The liberal arts are essential preparation for any profession because they teach effective thinking and communication, and a student of the liberal arts can acquire subsequent training in particular fields more easily because she has acquired the tools of learning. Nevertheless, liberal arts have as their proper aim the pursuit and attainment of the truth simply because it is good in itself. 

The Trivium also roughly corresponds to the stages of human intellectual development. The Grammatical stage coincides with our 6th grade year, while the Logical stage begins during the 7th, and continues through the 10th grade. The Rhetorical stage coincides generally with the 11th and 12th grade. While these stages of human development are not strictly delineated and the corresponding tools are in fact each needed in every stage of learning (even in the senior thesis), they do express the broad curricular and pedagogical needs of students as they develop and suggest areas of emphasis for different age groups. Our curriculum follows this general division, while always recognizing that each student’s path of learning is unique. 


Why Do All Oakcrest Students Study Physics?

Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives—choice, not chance, determines your destiny.
—Aristotle

What makes Academic Advising at Oakcrest So Special?

Academic Support

Oakcrest provides a comprehensive academic support system for our students. Oakcrest faculty are dedicated to promoting engagement and understanding in the classroom. In cooperation with the Dean of Faculty and Curriculum, our Learning Specialist works with teachers to support students with a variety of learning styles, and social, physical and emotional needs. We aim to build resilient students who:

  • Engage actively in the learning process
  • Believe learning is based on personal motivation, perseverance, and effort
  • View mistakes as part of the learning process
  • See the teacher as a supporting adult
  • Understand their unique learning styles
  • Proactively seek help when they need it
    • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS/CASI), Oakcrest School is a member of the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE).