Author Archive for jessica

Five Oaks Academy Receives the W. Keller Kissam School of Honor Award

The Five Oaks Academy’s faculty, students, and parents were ecstatic to learn that the Academy had received the W. Keller Kissam School of Honor Award for 2020. This honor, given by the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA), was established to recognize the member schools who have demonstrated extraordinary academic service to their school community and to the SCISA organization as a whole.

Executive Director, Dr. Spencer A. Jordan, stated that “Five Oaks Academy was being recognized for the school’s cutting edge interactive academic programs as well as the school’s commitment to STEM education initiatives.”

This honor is particularly notable as it is the highest award given by SCISA, an organization that is comprised of over 120 independent schools in South Carolina. Five Oaks Academy is one of two schools to receive this honor this year.

Congratulations to the Five Oaks Academy Teachers, Administration, Students, and Parents whose unwavering dedication to excellence earned this honor.

Read SCISA’s press release in its entirety below.

P.O. Drawer 690, Orangeburg, S.C.  29116 (803) 535-4820/4821  Fax (803) 535-4840


Date:  November 12, 2020                                              Contact: Sally Faulling                                                                                                            803-535-4820


          Five Oaks Academy of Simpsonville was presented the prestigious W. Keller Kissam School of Honor Award by the South Carolina Independent School Association.  The award was presented to Kathleen Trewhella-Grant, Head of School, at the association’s annual Fall Heads’ Conference meeting last Thursday, November 5, 2020.  The conference this year was held as a virtual event.       

         The award was established to recognize the member schools who have demonstrated extraordinary academic service to their school community and to our association as a whole.  Executive Director, Dr. Spencer A. Jordan, stated that Five Oaks Academy was being recognized for the school’s cutting edge interactive academic programs as well as the school’s commitment to STEM education initiatives.  

Additionally, Five Oaks Academy was recognized for their overall commitment to parental involvement  and community centered outreach education.  For these reasons, and many others, Five Oaks Academy exemplifies honor in all they do. 

Founded in 1965, the State of South Carolina incorporated SCISA as an exclusively educational organization with the responsibilities of establishing accreditation standards, coordinating academic and athletic competitions, and providing professional development for member organizations.

FOA Alumni Makes the St. Joseph’s JV Football Team as Their First Female Kicker

Girl power is alive and kicking with former Five Oaks Academy student Lily VanPelt. Lily is a Sophomore at St. Joseph’s Catholic School and has made their JV football team as their kicker!

When she was in the FOA Middle School, she wrote a narrative essay on her goal for being the first female kicker in the NFL. Lily also made a goal post on the soccer goal here at FOA for her 8th-grade project. Lily’s mother, Michelle VanPelt said, “She has worked so hard to learn it and has been fearless, defying expectations and winning over skeptics, all while playing major travel soccer and taking honors classes at St. Joe’s. The Varsity coach told me how incredible mature she has been communicating with him and I thought “Thank you, FOA!”

Lily has shown her poise and toughness during their games by handling missed snaps and tackles. Congratulations Lily on this amazing accomplishment! We are so proud of you!

Connecting Community Through Giving Back 

In true 2020 style, our holiday celebration will look a little bit different this year. Although we cannot all gather to hear our students sing songs that bring in the holiday season, we can pull together and make a difference in our community by supporting local charities who have been hit hard by the pandemic. Collection bins will be set out in each carpool line. Join us in giving back this season!

Mark Your Calendar!

November 30 – December 4 – Harvest Hope Canned Food Collection – We will have a canned food drive that will deliver to Harvest Hope. Our MS students worked at this charity pre-COVID. Canned good donations will be accepted from November 30-December 4.

December 1 – December 30 – Visit the FOA tree (decorated by FOA students) and FOA Girl Scouts Troop 3250 tree at the Hyatt Regency Downtown

December 7 – December 11 – Paved Paws Animal League Pet Supplies Collection – Paved Paws, Animal League, a local animal charity, needs food and supplies. Needed supplies include: blankets, toys, dry food, canned food, and clumping litter. Donations will be collected December 7 -11. You can purchase food through FOA Amazon Smiles to support two charities at once! Visit:

December 14 – December 17 – Art for Acts of Kindness – Student’s Artwork Collection – “Little Bits of Happy” Greenville distributes children’s artwork to those in need in the community. We will have a collection during the week of December 14-17.

December 17 – Knit Hat Collection for Miracle Hill – Ms. Amy will be teaching classes to students to knit hats and will also have 2 demonstration craft making sessions from 8:30am – 9:30am for parents on
November 12 (Register: &
November 16 (Register:
FOA will be donating those hats to Miracle Hill.
Visit: for a supply list.

Tutu Desk Campaign Update

Five Oaks Academy Upper Elementary student, Magdalene, created this amazing video to support and raise awareness of the TutuDesk Campaign.

Thandi Tutu-Gxashe, CEO of Desmond Tutu’s Tutudesk Campaign “Tutudesk Campaign 2020,” visited Five Oaks Academy in the Fall of 2018. She spoke to our students about the shortage of over 90 million desks in sub-Saharan Africa and her Campaign’s mission to provide 20 million Tutudesks to 20 million children by 2020. Thandi Tutu-Gxashe is the daughter of the highly influential leader of the antiapartheid movement in South Africa, Desmond Tutu. Her passion for education and drive to address the vast shortage of desks in sub-Saharan Africa was an inspiration to our students.

Since her visit, FOA has been heavily involved in raising awareness and funds throughout South Carolina for the “Tutu Desk Campaign.” As a school, FOA students have raised $3,226.11 over the past year and a half through lemonade stands, bake sales, and specially-designed T-shirts that have helped raise awareness and funds. FOA also played a role in recruiting both public and private Montessori schools throughout South Carolina via the South Carolina Montessori Alliance to participate in reaching a goal of $20,000. 

The Tutudesk is an environmentally-friendly, light, portable desk that children can use at school or at home, in regular classrooms or outdoors. The organization’s goal is to improve the lives of African children, their communities and countries, and to make Africa a more globally competitive continent by impacting education and literacy.

To donate to the FOA student campaign, visit…/tutu-desk-campaign-2020.

For more information about the global campaign, visit

Día de Los Muertos Celebrations at Five Oaks Academy

Maria Montessori was a strong advocate for peace education. At Five Oaks Academy, students build their cultural competency by learning about the many cultural traditions around the world and appreciating their differences. Promoting diversity and understanding of other cultures teaches the Five Oaks Academy Spanish Program’s core value of offering the children a real-world impression of the Spanish speaking cultures worldwide.

As part of the Spanish curriculum, students at Five Oaks Academy will explore the holiday Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, through stories and activities in class such as making alebrijes, cempasúchiles, and papel picado! This holiday, recognized by UNESCO and with origins in Mexico, is celebrated globally with colorful costumes and decor, singing, dancing, and more.

Read More→

Community Day Success!

Thank you to all of the Five Oaks Academy parents, alumni, and community members who came out to help during our Fall 2020 Community Day! Together we accomplished so much and had a lot of fun along the way!

A special thank you to FOA parent Hilary Bean, of Hilary Bean Photography, for taking these beautiful photos!

A Letter of Support from our Curriculum Council

Internationally Known Artist, Eva Oliver-McGill, Explores Her Creative Process with FOA’s Upper Elementary and Middle School Students

Creativity is woven through the entire experience at Five Oaks Academy. It begins on a sprawling 11-acre campus with a hiking trail that runs alongside a bustling creek. It then winds its way into classrooms filled with hands-on materials and a process-based learning experience that engages each student.

As a S.T.E.A.M accredited school, skills such as creativity, problem-solving, empathy, teamwork, and critical thinking are infused into every aspect of the classrooms at Five Oaks Academy. The Academy hosts special guest artists and innovators throughout the year as part of their rich creative curriculum. Recently, local artist Eva Magill-Oliver took students on an artistic journey of discovery. Known internationally for her design collaboration with Nike, Anthropologie and a French linen company, Eva gets her inspiration from the natural world. With her guidance, students gathered images of interesting colors, textures, and patterns to create personalized inspiration boards. She then demonstrated different techniques with liquid watercolors, allowing students to experiment with color and collage papers together in new and unexpected ways.

This nurturing and inviting atmosphere is an environment that stimulates students’ natural curiosity and invites them to explore learning in a meaningful way.

Five Oaks Academy’s welcoming natural environment, research-based curriculum, and hands-on materials engage all learning styles, appeal to the senses, and cultivate the perfect setting for critical thinking and the creative processes.  

Five Oaks Academy’s Middle School Receives 2020 Best of Simpsonville Award

SIMPSONVILLE March 23, 2020 — Five Oaks Academy, Inc. has been selected for the 2020 Best of Simpsonville Award in the Middle School category by the Simpsonville Award Program.

Each year, the Simpsonville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Simpsonville area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2020 Simpsonville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Simpsonville Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Simpsonville Award Program

The Simpsonville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Simpsonville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Simpsonville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Simpsonville Award Program

MPIA Focusing on “The Adolescent Brain: The Emotional Years”

Please join the PTO on Tuesday, January 14 at 8:30 am for an informative MPIA focusing on the Adolescent Brain featuring special guest Dr. Caitlyn McLear with Synergy Psych, LLC!

Dr. McLear looks forward to sharing her expertise in the adolescent brain that will give great insight into these self-conscious and emotional years. She will also discuss the effects of Social Media on the brain and its effect on risk-taking behavior at a time when reasoning and risk-taking don’t align. 

We will provide coffee and treats in the main house prior to her presentation. This event is open to the public. If you are not a current parent, please call the front office if you would like to attend this educational event. We hope to see you on January 14!