Given the current obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the unpredictable nature of what lies ahead for next school year, and the need to dedicate our facilities to our current program, we have decided that it is in the best interest of Oak Hill Academy to delay the opening of our Socrates High School to an undetermined date in the future. Until then, we continue to believe in the Socrates school philosophy and trust that the best is still to come.


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. Click here to learn more about how Socrates High School is Different.

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