Located on two campuses totaling 90 acres in beautiful, Sarasota, Florida, The Out-of-Door Academy (ODA) is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school serving over 750 students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. At ODA, students are happy, engaged, and excited about their academic and personal growth. Talented and dedicated faculty members challenge students to reach their maximum potential while providing a high level of support. The school’s rigorous and innovative academic program ensures that learning is both meaningful and lasting. Offerings in the arts and athletics enrich the ODA experience and provide opportunities for students to discover and develop their unique interests and talents. Graduates leave ODA not only academically prepared but also with the strength of character and passion for learning that provide a strong foundation for their future success in college and in life.
ODA was founded on Siesta Key in 1924 to serve students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. In 1996, a second campus in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota was acquired to accommodate the addition of an upper school. Over the past ten years, the school has experienced steady and impressive enrollment growth from 550 to over 750 students. The campuses have also evolved and developed in response to the growth. Today, the five-acre Siesta Key campus is home to the Lower School (PK-5), and the 85-acre Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch houses the Middle and Upper Schools. Facilities include interactive technology in every classroom, a fine and performing arts center with a black box theater, a full-size gymnasium with a wellness center, a lighted stadium, tennis courts and playing fields. The campus’s newest building, the Dick Vitale Family Student Center and Dart Foundation STEM Center, which opened in August of 2015, provides a collegiate atmosphere with flexible indoor and outdoor spaces where students can work, collaborate, and socialize. On the second floor of the building are state-of-the-art science laboratories, math classrooms, and a STEM project lab that provide students with a variety of research and project-based learning opportunities that integrate the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The Out-of-Door Academy is accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) and the Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC), and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Cum Laude Society, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and a number of other professional associations.
The Upper School
As an independent, college preparatory school, we provide an environment in which students strive to achieve their highest academic goals and to build character through a strong program of academics balanced by the arts and athletics. The Upper School is comprised of over 300 students in grades nine through twelve and 31 full-time faculty members. The Upper School curriculum fosters skills in critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The inclusive and close-knit community of the division reflects the school’s core values of respect, integrity, service, excellence, and responsibility—values which are lived every day by students and faculty alike. In addition to bringing expertise in curriculum and pedagogy, teachers develop meaningful and lasting relationships with students in the classroom, on the stage and on the playing fields. As a result, students are known and cared for throughout and beyond their time at Out-of-Door.
Accordingly, students feel the intellectual and emotional security necessary to explore new areas, take reasonable risks, and ultimately make the most of the educational opportunities afforded to them. Adults and students enjoy a mutual respect, feel a sense of ownership and pride in the school, and consistently strive for excellence both personally and as members of the broader Upper School community.
The Florida Council of Independent Schools Visiting Team lauded the school in January 2016 for its “exceptionally positive learning environment characterized by mutual respect between faculty and students, carefully maintained facilities, and a demonstrated commitment to the core values.” Teachers and staff, who bring a breadth and depth of experience from both local institutions and the best independent schools across the country, are committed to their ongoing professional development. ODA provides generous support for professional growth ranging from funding for regional and national conferences to 100% tuition reimbursement for the pursuit of advanced degrees. A leadership development program provides a curriculum, mentoring, and coaching for aspiring leaders.
Academics. The Upper School’s college preparatory curriculum is grounded in high academic expectations, interdisciplinary work, and collaboration. The development of critical thinking skills, the ability to communicate and collaborate, and creativity are emphasized over the pure acquisition of information alone. Technology is integrated throughout the curriculum, with classrooms outfitted with Mimio interactive learning technology and teachers utilize traditional, blended, and online learning formats. All upper school students bring Macbooks or iPads to every academic class. Twenty Advanced Placement courses and many Honors courses allow students opportunities to pursue a variety of interests and the highest level of academic excellence. At the same time, the school is mindful of the importance of balance in students’ lives and limits enrollment in AP classes to two courses for sophomores, three courses for juniors, and four courses for seniors. In 2016, 104 students took 217 Advanced Placement exams, and 87% scored a 3 or higher. That same year ODA had 22 AP Scholars, 6 AP Scholars with Honors, 10 AP Scholars with Distinction, and 3 National AP Scholars. A comprehensive curriculum guide can be downloaded online here.
The Arts. Participation in music, theater, and the visual arts through both arts-focused classes and interdisciplinary curricula allows students to hone their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, exercise their imaginations, collaborate with peers and adults, develop independent thought, and express themselves creatively. Additional goals for students include developing a deep appreciation for the arts, gaining the ability to speak with confidence about a given craft, and understanding the influence of the arts on the world both currently and historically. ODA’s arts faculty, all accomplished artists themselves, is diverse in its pursuits and seriously engaged in the arts community on the local and national level. A sample of course offerings include studio art, sculpture, film studies, graphic design, video editing, photography, theater, vocal music, wind and jazz ensembles, and orchestra.
Athletics. Athletics play an important role in the life of The Out-of-Door Academy and its students. Consistent with the school’s core values, student-athletes bring the same dedication and discipline to athletics that they take to their classrooms and performance venues. In return, they take away not only great skill development and accomplishments but also critical lessons in sportsmanship, teamwork, healthy competition, and winning and losing with grace. Upper School students participate in 13 interscholastic team sports, including football, cheer, soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, tennis, golf, baseball, softball, cross country, and track and field. Since the varsity athletic program's inception in 1996, teams have won 52 District, 11 Regional, and 8 State individual championships. Notably, the school was awarded the Rozelle Sportsmanship Award by the Florida High School Athletic Association in 2014 for exemplary sportsmanship among its players, coaches, and spectators.
The Student Experience. Beyond the school’s three pillars of academics, arts, and athletics, Upper School students benefit from additional opportunities in a variety of different extracurricular areas. Students build relationships and gain leadership experience in over 50 student-run clubs and activities, including the Investment Club, Global Citizens Club, Literary Magazine, the Spirit Club, and the Gay/Straight Alliance, to name just a few. Service, one of The Out-of-Door Academy’s five core values, is a critical component of the Upper School experience. Internal and external community service and service learning opportunities help students connect with people of different backgrounds and encourage them to become positive leaders who give back to their community. Finally, although ODA’s Upper School is still relatively young, a number of important traditions bind together generations of current students and alumni. Convocation begins the academic year with formal recognition of seniors as the leaders of the school; Homecoming and the Family Picnic bring together students, families, faculty, and alumni to celebrate the strength of The Out-of-Door community; and senior-kindergarten buddies and Big-Littles, which pairs seniors with freshman, reinforce ties across grades and divisions.
Student Support. The Upper School’s four-year advisory program, based on best practices and current research, is a hybrid design with a dedicated ninth-and-tenth-grade team of advisors and rotating eleventh-twelfth-grade teams. Advisors connect daily with their advisees, allowing them to come to know this small group of students well and to be the primary advocate, counselor, and point of contact regarding each student’s growth, development and overall well-being. Students’ social-emotional health is further reinforced through the counseling and wellness programs, which work directly with students in individual and group sessions and also offer campus-wide programs for students and parents in the form of speakers, seminars, and workshops on adolescent development topics. In addition, the Director of Upper School Counseling and Academic Services provides support for all students directly and through partnerships with classroom teachers. Students with specific learning needs receive additional support and targeted programming to ensure their academic success.
College Counseling. ODA employs a five-year developmental college counseling program that was specifically designed to help deconstruct and de-mystify the college admission process. Three full-time college counselors and one staff member work with students and families beginning in their eighth grade year to begin general education about the college process. Over the next four years, the program becomes increasingly in-depth and detailed as counselors meet and partner with students to help them discover which colleges and universities will fit their academic and professional aspirations but also ensure they are happy and connected as they embark on their college career. ODA students go on to a variety of institutions ranging from Ivy League universities to highly selective liberal arts colleges to universities around the country and overseas. Recent college acceptances can be found online here. The Class of 2016 matriculated 75% to private institutions, and 80% of seniors ventured out of state for their college experience. Since the inaugural graduating class in 1999, 100% of graduates have been accepted to a four-year college or university, and since 2009, over 90% of graduates have been awarded unsolicited academic scholarships.
The Upper School Physics & Chemistry Teacher will join Out-of-Door at an exciting time and will be instrumental in the ongoing, qualitative progress of the division. Following a period of robust enrollment growth, it is anticipated that the Upper School will reach its maximum enrollment of 320 in the 2017-18 school year. The division’s facilities, staffing and program have grown alongside its enrollment, with the aforementioned opening of the new STEM and Student Center as well as the addition of numerous Advanced Placement and Honors courses.
The next phase of the Upper School’s growth and evolution will bring continuous improvement to a number of program areas. The academic program will be further enhanced by leveraging the new facilities with more faculty and course offerings in STEM subjects, expanding the use of technology to enhance classroom experience, and developing additional avenues for students to experience learning in real-world, hands-on settings. A new academic schedule, which has been implemented for the 2016-17 school year, includes longer class periods and dedicated time for student clubs and activities. This integration of student activities during the school day, combined with a larger enrollment, will create more offerings and increased involvement in the arts, athletics, service, and other extracurricular activities.
Other strategic priorities for the Upper School include building a more rigorous and innovative curriculum; creating a more inclusive school community; increasing the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the student body, faculty and staff; and strengthening the school’s commitment to wellness.
Like all Out-of-Door faculty members, the candidate should expect to develop healthy and lasting relationships with students, inspire them to reach their full academic and personal potential, live the school’s mission and core values on a daily basis, and contribute to the broader life of the school community, including coaching and leading extracurricular activities.
Reporting to the Science Department Head and the Head of Upper School, the Upper School Physics & Chemistry Teacher will be responsible for the following:
- Full-time faculty position in the Upper School Science department starting August 2017
- Instruction of five (5) courses including regular Physics and regular Chemistry. These courses are taught to mostly juniors and sophomores respectively
- Candidates who can teach Physics and Biology instead of Physics and Chemistry, are welcome to apply, as are candidates who have the ability to teach Honors Chemistry and/or AP Physics 1
- Promote a growth mindset about best practices and important trends in curriculum, pedagogy, educational technology, and extracurricular activities
- Model the school’s core values of respect, integrity, service, excellence, and responsibility and foster a culture in which students, faculty, and staff are known, valued, challenged, and supported along their unique educational journey
An energetic teacher who is able to promote STEM collaboration, as well as, the effective use of technology in science education
A passionate teacher who promotes excellence, innovation, continuous improvement, and risk-taking
An educator who leads by virtue of being an active and engaged presence in the daily life of the division and whose style is rooted in transparency, honest communication, and collaboration
Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred
Experience in teaching in an independent, upper school setting
Experience in the development of curriculum, arts and athletic offerings, and extracurricular activities
A successful track record of working effectively with a wide range of school constituents, including faculty, staff, students, and parents
Skills and Knowledge
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes
A broad and deep knowledge of traditional and emerging curricular and pedagogical trends, current thinking about best classroom practices in teaching and learning, and the use of technology to enhance the student experience
The ability to work successfully with a wide range of people from different backgrounds and to understand, respect, and acknowledge their unique perspectives, ideas, aspirations, and needs
A thoughtful teacher who embraces managed risk-taking, is not afraid to experiment with new ideas, and is excited by the opportunity to help a well established and thriving independent school reach new levels of success
An honest person who will live the school’s values and who effectively blends candor, care, and empathy in dealing with others
A flexible, open-minded individual who is comfortable with ambiguity, sees the “grays” rather than simply the “black and white” of various issues, and possesses the courage to follow through on his or her convictions
An educator who delights in working with students and is committed to their holistic growth by balancing academic achievement with involvement in the arts and athletics, character development, and wellness
A contributor to the broader life of the school community including coaching and leading extracurricular activities
An educator who inspires students to reach their full academic and personal potential
An approachable person who builds meaningful relationships, listens well, and respects differences of opinion
Compensation: Competitive with comparable independent schools across the country
Travel: Occasional travel between campuses may be necessary. Participation in grade-level field trips is required where applicable
Education: Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred
Location: Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Other: Candidates of color are encouraged to apply
May Now Be: Physics Teacher; Chemistry Teacher; Science Teacher; Biology Teacher
Posted: January 23, 2017
Deadline: Application deadline is Friday, February 10, 2017