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Eugene's Oak Hill School gets a grade change

Oak Hill School
Oak Hill School
An aerial view of Oak Hill School's 72-acre campus

A private school near Lane Community College in Eugene is closing its doors to high schoolers as of the fall.

Founded in 1994 by Ed King of King Estate Winery, Oak Hill School serves students from pre-K to 12th grade. Late last month, the board of seven directors voted to end the high school program.

James Pearson is the Director of Admissions. He told KLCC, “COVID really changed the landscape, I think, in secondary education. There are so many more options. People became comfortable with distance learning, online learning, asynchronous learning.”

Pearson said nine seniors will graduate this spring. Oak Hill is helping current high schoolers transition to other schools. He said there are wait lists for all the younger grades, adding, “Right now in our lower school, in elementary school, we have about 97 kids. Three years from now, you know, that might be up to 150, 200 kids.”

Pearson said focusing on pre-K through 8th grade will allow them to expand some language, outdoor and tech classes.

Rebecca Trojan’s three children have all enjoyed the private school. Her daughter attends South Eugene High School, and her eighth-grade son planned to leave Oak Hill after this year. Trojan said they felt their children needed to be around a bigger group of kids as they got older.

She told KLCC she’s excited for her third child, a second grader. “Some of the teachers, like the amazing PE teacher Jen DeLuca will be able focus on K though 8, rather than being spread all the way through K through 12," she said. "The languages, which have always been a really big part of Oak Hill, they do Mandarin Spanish and French, I think now they’ll be able to do more with that.”

Oak Hill’s 72-acre campus is on the site of a former farm. The school prides itself on its outdoor and nature programs, languages, and low student-to-teacher ratio.

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.