One Schoolhouse began as the Online School for Girls in the winter of 2009. Four independent girls’ schools -- Harpeth Hall School (Nashville, TN), Holton-Arms School (Bethesda, MD), Laurel School (Cleveland, OH), and Westover School (Middlebury, CT) -- formed a non-profit consortium to become the world’s first single-gender online school and the world’s first online independent school: the Online School for Girls. They came together with the common beliefs that online education was an increasingly powerful way to learn and that there was great value in creating an online learning environment is built on the traditions of independent schools and girls' schools.
In the early years, the School expanded rapidly. During the 2010-2011 school year, Molly Rumsey, an original Trustee and an experienced teacher and administrator from Harpeth Hall School, served as the interim Director. By the end of Mrs. Rumsey's tenure, the school added eight founding schools and thirty-six affiliates, and had started a professional development program.
The School hired Brad Rathgeber to be the first Executive Director for the 2011-2012 school year. In his first two years of leadership, the School's enrollment doubled each year, and the School expanded student course offerings even further, adding Foreign Language courses, new STEM offerings and additional social science courses. The School also launched successful collaborations with the National Association of Independent Schools, the National Business Officers Association, and many regional independent school associations. And, in October of 2011, the School was given full accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
By the start of the 2013-2014, the Online School for Girls had established itself both as an exceptionally high quality academic program and a thought-leader in online and blended learning. Student and professional development courses expanded to meet the needs of the consortium schools. The School also began a journey into the field of personalized learning, discovering how a learner-driven pedagogical approach could more fully meet the mission of the School, and, more generally, the promise of independent schools to value the uniqueness of each child. The School embarked on a three-year plan to change its pedagogical approach to a personalized one.
Building on the great success of the school in the first six years, the School embarked on strategic work to expand opportunities in 2015. In the winter of 2016, the Board of Trustees approved a new mission and a new name for the School, launching One Schoolhouse, and a new all-gender program. All-gender courses launched in the fall of 2016 to great success, with higher than expected enrollment.
One Schoolhouse also became widely known as a leader in the field of personalized learning in 2016-2017, becoming the first fully personalized independent school in 2016. And, the School launched programs to help educators at independent schools understand the promise of the field, and publishing articles about the work.
By 2017, the School committed to two core competencies around which all learning at the School is organized.
Online learning is essential for college readiness, and students in our courses practice competency in:
Engaging constructively in a diverse and changing world. Students develop an inclusive world view when they encounter people and ideas that are different from their own, practice empathy, work collaboratively, defend their position with facts respectfully, and demonstrate mastery through real-world application. By engaging in activities that make learning relevant, students practice intellectual curiosity as they assimilate facts to solve an interdisciplinary problem, analyze a new situation, create meaning from a range of sources, or build a tool.
Gaining academic maturity. Courses are scaffolded to promote iteration and designed to reward persistence. Students practice responsibility, intellectual adaptability, interpersonal flexibly, self-regulation and organization, and a range of communication skills. Because students are given voice and choice in how they access new knowledge, practice new skills, and self-assess for understanding, they set measurable goals around efficiency and effectiveness.
In 2018-2019, the School launched an innovate elective program that allows students to choose a course in an area of deep interest in the fall semester, and have the opportunity to apply that knowledge through a design or research seminar in the second semester.
In 2019, the School merged with the Independent Curriculum Group (ICG), bringing the talent and resources of ICG together with the School's for the benefit of the independent school community worldwide.