Dr. Joey Lipp, Director and Lead Educator at the Socrates High School, offers an introduction and invites your questions.

The Socrates School is Oak Hill Academy’s vision for secondary education. Serving grades 9-12, the school reimagines what high school is today. Instead of a restrictive curriculum and hierarchical teacher-student relationship, the Socrates School will emphasize personalized learning, or the tailoring of instruction to individual interests and needs. Students at the Socrates School will have the flexibility to pursue their own passions at their own pace, all with the support of dedicated faculty mentors. They will graduate with a love of learning and a determination to take on the challenges of an always changing society.

Given the circumstances around COVID-19, Oak Hill Academy has decided to delay the opening of the Socrates School to September of 2021. However, after experiencing the last few months and how the pandemic has changed the face of education, it has become clear that the Socrates School’s small, personalized approach is the ultimate solution for education regardless of these extenuating circumstances.

Top NJ Independent school's distinguished socrates school at Oak Hill Academy
  • Mission & Vision

    Mission Statement

    Socrates students will transform their world as they discover the powers within their personal strengths. They will think, create, fail, recover, and will be immersed in an atmosphere of rigor, reflection, challenges, and achievement. The Socrates School will exist to help students discover their joyful purpose.

    Vision Statement

    Oak Hill believes that all children have an instinctive need to learn, a natural curiosity, and a desire to do work of significance. Our intention is to combine the strongest possible academic atmosphere with a supportive, caring environment in an effort to develop self-confident, motivated students who have a love of learning.
  • Reimagining High School

    Reimagining High School

    Many high school programs today are not equipping students with 21st  century skills. Teenagers are disengaged by traditional instruction that requires rote memorization and results in only short term knowledge. The information they study usually has no application value. Rather, students today must be challenged with a curriculum that is both rigorous and meaningful. A personalized approach to learning allows for not only some choice in topics studied but also flexibility in when, how, and to what degree these topics are pursued.  Top Private School Monmouth County Oak Hill Academy Student This personalized approach is vital if high school students are to experience productive learning. Elliot Washor, a leading expert in education reform, describes the following conditions as central benefits of small, personalized high school work:  
    1. Relationships: Do my teachers care about my interests and me? Can I work with and learn from adults who share my interests?
    2. Relevance: Do I find what the school is teaching to be relevant to my career interests?
    3. Choice: Will I be able to choose what, when, and how I will learn?
    4. Challenge: Do I feel sufficiently challenged in doing this learning and work?
    5. Practice: Will I have an opportunity to engage in deep and sustained practice of those skills I wish to learn?
    6. Play: Will I have opportunities to explore and ot make mistakes without being chastised for failing?
    7. Authenticity: Will the learning and work I do be regarded as significant outside of schools?
    8. Application: Will I have opportunities to apply what I am learning in real-world contexts?
    9. Time: Will there be sufficient time for me to learn at my own pace?
    10. Timing: Can I pursue my learning out of the standard sequence?
      No other high school in this area can provide these benefits. Therefore, we have reimagined high school to give students the best opportunity to receive a meaningful education at the Socrates School. 
  • Curriculum
    The Socrates curriculum will consist of five “blocks,” each of which is designed to establish a framework of knowledge from which the student can explore his or her individual passions in greater depth.  
    1. The Socrates Block  Subjects covered in this block include social studies, philosophy, literature/language arts, and history. With such programs as the Gates Foundation’s Big History Project and the Great Books Program, the student will cultivate skills necessary to make evidence-based analysis of the impact and significance of the humanities.
    2. The Academic Block Subjects covered here include science, mathematics, and foreign language. An online teacher backed by an OHA mentor will guide the student through courses provided by the Laurel Springs School, Middlebury Interactive Languages, and Johns Hopkins University.Student of Oak Hill Academy's Socrates School
    3. The Elective Block To cater to personal interests, the student will take one elective per semester through Laurel Springs. Examples include Computer Science & Coding, World Religions, Fashion & Interior Design, Archaeology, Painting, Biotechnology, and Philosophy.
    4. The Exploration Bock With a Project-Based Learning model at its core, which organizes learning around a project to promote critical thinking and student autonomy, this block will have the student use prior knowledge from other blocks to embark on investigations of his or her choosing. The goal of these experiments and research is to think critically and address real world problems. Moreover, students will declare a life mission early in their junior year as a way to guide their final years of exploration at Socrates. Their mission will also lead to a roadmap of where they ought to be headed after Socrates.Best Monmouth County Private School Oak Hill Academy Female Student
    5. The Flex Block Here the student has the opportunity to step out of the traditional student role and experience personal development, physical well-being, and service to others. The student may choose to learn a new sport or assist in after school activities, like tutoring, drama, or yearbook.
      The Socrates School will also use a unique assessment method known as the Mastery Transcript Consortium. An E-Portfolio will be maintained by the student, diving deeper than just traditional letter grades to include videos, writing samples, and records of activities in creating a more holistic account of the student’s achievements. This portfolio will be particularly advantageous during the college admissions process, where colleges are increasingly looking for well-rounded and ambitious students.  Finally, in addition to these five blocks, students will have the opportunity to partake in internships and apprenticeships with professionals in our local community. These could include financial institutions, hospitals, theaters like the Count Basie, service organizations, and news outlets.
  • Meet Dr. Lipp, Director & Lead Educator

    Dr. Joseph Lipp to Lead Socrates School

    Dr. Joey Lipp of The Socrates School at Oak Hill Academy
    Dr. Lipp is a classical scholar and educator in the humanities with a terminal degree in his field, 14 years of classroom experience, and numerous teaching awards.
    He earned his Ph.D. in Classics from The Ohio State University, where he also taught in the Department of Classics, 2008-2018. At OSU he served as the lead instructor for a full roster of classics courses: all levels of ancient Greek and Latin, Greek and Roman civilization, classical literature, ancient Mediterranean religions, Greco-Roman sports, mythology, and classical philosophy.
    At OSU, Dr. Lipp won an Outstanding Faculty Award through the Office of Student Life (2014), and was twice one of only 10 finalists, out of a pool of 1,000+, for The Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the highest pedagogical award for non-tenured faculty (2017, 2018).
    Additionally, he served on the teaching faculty of the Departments of English and Ancient & Modern Languages at The Columbus School for Girls (in Columbus, Ohio), where he taught critical reading, Latin, and humanities. Most recently, he is a faculty member of the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University; there, he teaches senior seminars on broad topics such as gender and love using classical literature, philosophy, and religion as critical lenses through which to view ancient and modern human experiences.
    Beyond teaching, Dr. Lipp has led educational teams on projects aimed at teaching and academic excellence, such as redesigning faculty evaluation and compensation processes, and implementing strategic plans in independent schools. He is currently researching conceptions of hope in Greco-Roman literature.
    Dr. Lipp resides in Ocean Grove with his wife (Shanna) and three boys (Isaac, Hayden, and Eli), where he also owns a coffeehouse, Odyssey Coffee.
  • A Day at the Socrates School
    The following is a sample schedule for a student’s day at the Socrates School. However, students will have the flexibility to alter this schedule as they see fit, perhaps spending more time on the Exploration Block one day and more time at an internship the next. With the guidance of faculty and small classroom settings, schedules are intended to fluctuate and keep the learning environment both stimulating and adaptable for students.   
  • Why the name “The Socrates School?”
    Socrates’ greatest contribution to fellow learners is his theory of questioning, which we now call the Socratic Method.  To gain true knowledge, Socrates believed that an issue must be broken into smaller questions.  The answers help the thinker recognize contradictions and distill reason.  Therefore, at the Socrates School we use this method in class discussions and problem solving.  Our two humanities courses “Big History Project” and the “Great Books Program” are grounded in this methodology.  It asks students to hold ideas up to light and challenge, question, test, and hypothesize about them.  Students who can ask deep questions and also sit back and listen while learning from others, afford the opportunity for deep and rewarding thinking.  Focus is taken off simple content recall and assessment practices that are outdated.  Given this task of practicing creative thinking, the learner can develop outstanding writing, speaking, and listening techniques along with social emotional people skills. At the Socrates School we prepare students for a world that now rewards people for what they can do with what they know, how they  believe in the world, and how they adapt.  Our motto remains:

    “Imagine the Future”

    Our young people will be responsible for that future and they will be prepared for the challenges ahead.
  • Socrates School: In the News
  • COVID-19 & Fall 2021 Opening
  • Open Houses/Info Sessions
    To receive more information on admissions, complete this form and/or attend one of the following Socrates School information sessions or OHA open houses. 
    Oak Hill Academy's open house of their best private school in NJ

    Open Houses/Info Sessions

    Socrates School Information Sessions, each at 10:00 AM:

    1. September 26 (Saturday)
    2. November 21 (Saturday)
    3. December 12 (Saturday)
    4. March 6 (Saturday)
    5. April 17 (Saturday)

    Oak Hill Virtual Open House Dates (Pre-K to H.S.): *Pre-Registration is required.


    1. October 24 (Saturday) 10:00 AM
    2. January 9 (Saturday) 1:00 PM
    3. March 16 (Tuesday) 6:00 PM

    Oak Hill Small Group Meeting Sessions (Pre-K to H.S.): *Pre-Registration is required.


    1. December 4 (Friday) 9:00 AM
    2. February 19 (Friday) 9:00 AM
    3. May 14 (Friday) 9:00 AM
  • Application Procedures
    Monmouth County Independent School's Socrates school student



     2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR

    I. Open House & School Visits a.) Oak Hill Academy holds regularly scheduled virtual open houses and small group meeting sessions throughout the school year. These provide a good opportunity for prospective parents to speak at length with school leaders and staff.


    OHA Virtual Open House

    • Saturday, October 24, 2020  ..10:00 am
    • Saturday, January 9, 2021……1:00 pm
    • Tuesday, March 16, 2021…….6:00 pm

    Socrates only Information Sessions

    • Saturday, September 26, 2020….10:00 am
    • Saturday, November 21, 2020….10:00 am
    • Saturday, December 12, 2020…..10:00 am

    OHA Small Group Meeting

    • Saturday, March 6, 2021………..10:00 am
    • Friday, December 4, 2020….…9:00 am
    • Saturday, April 17, 2021………..10:00 am
    • Friday, February 19, 2021……9:00 am
    • Friday, May 14, 2021……..….9:00 am
    b.) Visits to Oak Hill Academy after school hours are available by appointment. During your visit you will be given a tour of the facilities by a school leader. Visits must be prescheduled by contacting the office at (732) 530-1343 or emailing admissions@oakhillacademy.com
    II. Parents are asked to follow this procedure when making application to Oak Hill Academy.
    1. Visits to the school (virtual open house, information session, personal tour) are          encouraged prior to application.
    2. Please complete and return the application form with a non-refundable check in the amount of $75 payable to “Oak Hill Academy”.  (current OHA students exempt)
    3. Please submit a copy of the student’s last report card and most recent standardized test scores along with this application.
    4. A writing sample in the form of a 350 word essay to be submitted on the following spectrum of topics:
      1. What event in history would you change and why?
      2. What current problem in society would you like to solve and why?
      3. Do you have a passion?
      4. What is it and how would you like to study and learn more about it?
      5. Open topic of student’s choice.
    5. After Oak Hill Academy has received this information, we will confirm the entrance test date. Students have the option to submit scores on the SSAT exam in lieu of the OHA entrance test.
    6. The teacher recommendation form included in your application packet should be  completed by one of your child’s present teachers and sent directly by the teacher to Oak Hill.  We request this form be returned prior to the entrance test date.
    7. After the entrance test has been reviewed and all materials have been received, an interview with the Headmaster will be arranged in order to hold final discussions and go over test results.  Students are requested to be present at the meeting.
    8. Finally, a decision will be made regarding acceptance, and admissions materials will be sent if applicable.

    III.   Policy
    1. Applications are considered based on date of application, with preference given to Oak Hill families.
    2. Tuition Assistance is available to qualified applicants on a limited basis.

    IV. Transportation State law in New Jersey, Bill S 789, requires school districts that transport public school students to also provide busing for private school students, within a 20-mile radius.  Where it is not feasible for a local Board of Education to arrange for transportation, parents are given a reimbursement of approximately $1000. by the Board.  Your local Board of Education can tell you whether they provide busing to Oak Hill Academy and the times and route applicable for you. Oak Hill Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, or religion in any of the school’s admission policies, academic programs, or extracurricular activities.
  • Admissions Forms
    Top NJ private school students at Oak Hill Academy

    Submit hard copies of all forms to the Admissions Office at 347 Middletown-Lincroft Road, Lincroft NJ 07738

  • Tuition and Fee Information


    • Application and Entrance Test Fee$75 (waived for current OHA students)
    • Comprehensive Tuition$26,300  (includes online course fees, technology, books, materials, activities, trips, clubs, and security)
    • Tuition Refund Plan – As a means to protect the school and parent’s mutual interests, OHA offers insurance through the Tuition Refund Plan. Please see the participation requirements below for each payment plan.


    At Registration$2,000 Enrollment Deposit is due directly to Oak Hill Academy with the signing of the Enrollment Contract (not included in the plans below). The enrollment deposit will show up as a credit on your Smart Tuition account.

    A. Ten Month Payment Plan

         With this plan, parents pay the tuition and school fee in 10 monthly payments.  Payments are due the first  of the month starting May 1, 2021 through February 1, 2022.  If enrolling after May 1st, payments will be spread over remaining months of the plan with the ending date still 2/11/22. Smart Tuition will charge a $50 administration fee per family. Participation in the Tuition Refund Plan is required.

    B. Two Payments Plan

          With this plan, parents pay the tuition and school fee in two payments, which are due by August 1, 2021 and December 1, 2021. Smart Tuition will charge a $50 administration fee per family. Participation in the Tuition Refund Plan is required.

      C. One Payment Plan

            With this plan, parents pay the tuition and school fee for the year in one payment by May 1, 2021. The administration fee charged by Smart Tuition will be waived in this case. In addition, participation in the Tuition Refund Plan is elective.

    Parents are able to access and manage their SMART TUITION accounts as well as make payments on-line at: www.parent.smarttuition.com

    SMART TUITION FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
    Parent On-line Enrollment Procedures for SMART Tuition


    A tuition assistance program is available to help families of qualified children meet the cost of an Oak Hill education. Eligibility is determined through application and submission of financial documents to School and Student Services (SSS) and Oak Hill Academy.  See separate documents below for details.

    Socrates Tuition and Fee Information (pdf)
  • Additional Information
    We have compiled the following resources if you are interested in further understanding our educational philosophy, including such concepts as personalized and project-based learning. 
    Distinguished NJ co-educational independent school male student speaking

    Distinguished NJ co-educational independent school male student speaking

    • Personalized Learning 
    Video – What is Personalized Learning? What does Personalized Learning Mean for Students?   Bringing the Core Four Home: Helping Parents Understand Personalized Learning
    • Project-Based Learning
    Video – Project-Based Learning: Explained Project-Based Learning for the 21st Century: Skills for the Future
    • Mastery Transcript Consortium
    Video – The MTC’s Goal and Vision
    1. https://mastery.org/
    2. https://mastery.org/why-the-transcript/
    3. https://mastery.org/higher-ed-in-focus/
    • Great Books

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