About Us

Deeper Learning at Old Trail

We take learning out from behind desks and into the wide-open spaces of our unique 62-acre campus nestled in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Because a child’s youngest years are critical for their lifelong success, we make the most of every learning opportunity—from incorporating social studies lessons during harvest on our campus farm to testing water quality in our local stream. We know that when learning becomes meaningful, its impact ripples for a lifetime.
Because they feel known and cared for, our students trust that their teachers have their best interests at heart, allowing students to fully open themselves up to true learning that is far from a typical private school education. These relationships and experiences build the foundation for academic achievement at Old Trail and beyond.

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  • Welcome From the Head of School

    Welcome to Old Trail School!
    Your interest in an Old Trail education illustrates your desire to immerse your child in deeper learning experiences and closer relationships with expert teachers. These intangibles are the core of our approach at Old Trail School and how we expound on our mission to develop intellectually curious, independent-thinking students.
    Our picturesque 62-acre campus in Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers students access to learning experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. Our faculty and students regularly go beyond the classroom to explore the outdoors as an asset to their academic endeavors and their overall wellness. And because we believe it’s our responsibility to teach environmental conservation, we integrate sustainability into all aspects of the School, including the curriculum.
    Since our founding in 1920, Old Trail School has preserved important traditions built on the philosophies of John Dewey and Maria Montessori, while simultaneously creating programs that embrace the future. We moved our campus to our present setting nearly five decades ago, and although our school has evolved over the years, one quality has never changed: our commitment to academic excellence.
    I’m proud to say that the best way to distinguish our students is by their lifelong love of learning. They are curious. They think. They question. And we offer them numerous academic opportunities and a varied curriculum, from early childhood through eighth grade. Our location, our facilities and our technology, arts and athletic programs all contribute to a well-rounded and rich academic community.

    Our students raise their voices to ask bigger questions and go on to scale bigger obstacles. That’s because, from the moment they join our community, they begin gaining the confidence, knowledge and skills to thrive—not just at Old Trail School, but also in high school, college and the rest of their lives.
    Old Trail School is truly a special place. I invite you to contact us to schedule a visit to our campus. We would be delighted to welcome you to our School.
    Sarah Johnston
    Head of School

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  • Mission and Core Values

    Old Trail School is a vibrant educational community focused on academic excellence. We develop intellectually curious, independent-thinking students who emerge with a passion for discovery, critical thinking and collaborative learning.
    Old Trail School Core Values: Respect, Responsibility, Goodness and Service

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  • Affiliations and Accreditations

    Old Trail School is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS) and Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS.)

    ISACS requires that the school undergo a comprehensive, rigorous and thorough process of school improvement every seven years involving broad participation of school personnel, the board of trustees, and major constituencies. This process:

    • Certifies that the School is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and operates sufficiently independent of all other organizations to determine its own mission and program.

    • Requires that the School undergo a financial audit on a periodic basis and respond to any recommendations by the auditors.

    • Requires a survey of the School’s constituencies be undertaken as part of the accreditation process.

    • Attests that the School has a fully developed and disclosed mission and philosophy of education, and that its programs are in congruence with that philosophy.

    Every seven years, the ISACS self-study and external review process covers all major aspects and programs of the school, citing strengths, challenges faced, and recommendations for improvement.  As part of the accreditation cycle, the School completes a comprehensive self-study and other tasks which are then reviewed by a visiting team.  The visiting team is comprised of volunteers put together by ISACS, consisting of professionals, including classroom teachers, who understand and appreciate independent school qualities and contributions to American education.  Accreditation is approved (or not) by the ISACS Board of Trustees based on the visiting team report and ISACS Accreditation Review Committee’s recommendation and findings.

    Click here to learn more about ISACS accreditation.
Old Trail School is a private day school for preschool through grade eight students located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.