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 is an increasingly powerful way to learn and that there is great value in creating an online learning environment is built on the traditions of independent schools and girls' schools.
In the summer of 2009, the School was officially incorporated, and planned for pilot courses for the 2009-2010 school year. The School’s initial courses focused on upper-level course work, and began with a strong commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. During that year, six additional schools joined the School as consortium members, making a large commitment to the development of the School and the ability for the School to grow in its critical early years: Atlanta Girls’ School (Atlanta, GA), The Ellis School (Pittsburgh, PA), Hockaday School (Dallas, TX), Marlborough School (Los Angeles, CA), St. Mary’s Episcopal School (Memphis, TN), and St. Paul’s School for Girls (Baltimore, MD). In addition, the School began expanding its consortium through a Charter Affiliate program, which allowed schools around the country to help build the academic program and enroll students in courses. That year, twelve schools joined the School as Charter Affiliates, helping the network stretch to Massachusetts, Virginia, Minnesota, Louisiana, New York, and New Jersey. The School also hired one of its original Trustees and an experienced teacher and administrator from Harpeth Hall School, Molly Rumsey, as the interim Director for the 2010-2011 school year.
During the 2010-2011 school year, the School expanded much further. Two additional schools became Members of the consortium network: Miss Porter’s School (Farmington, CT) and School of the Holy Child (Rye, NY). And, twenty-four additional schools became Charter Affiliates, including the first network schools in Hawaii, Washington state, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Under the leadership of Mrs. Rumsey, course offerings were greatly expanded to include additional AP offerings, and to offer the School’s first courses in the Arts. During the fall of 2010, the School offered its first professional development course to great success and accolades. By the end of the 2010-2011 school year, more than two hundred teachers from four countries (the United States, India, the United Kingdom, and Canada) and twenty states had taken professional development courses. Mrs. Rumsey also set the groundwork for a successful new OSG Summer program and for expanded professional development offerings. In November 2010, the School hired Brad Rathgeber, the School’s first President of the Board of Trustees and an administrator at Holton-Arms School, to become the School’s first full-time Executive Director, effective for the start of the next school year.
In the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, 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 OSG Summer, and expanded professional development courses, including 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 courses were expanded to meet the needs of the consortium schools, including the addition of expanded STEM offerings, language offerings, and AP offerings. And, the professional growth and learning opportunities were expanded in order to help guide the independent school community through transitions to online and blended learning environments. The Board of Trustees also approved a program for boys, to be called the Online School for Boys for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
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 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 co-ed program: the Online Independent School. Co-ed 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.
In 2017, as part of the work in personalized learning, 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.