Since 1920, Old Trail School has been educating and developing children (Early Childhood through 8th grade) to explore their individual talents, be curious about the world around them, think critically and act creatively, collaborate and cooperate with others, and gain the knowledge, values, character and resiliency they need to excel academically and lead meaningful, purposeful lives.  

As the largest and most established independent school in our region, Old Trail School offers exceptional resources for learning, doing, exploring, and problem-solving.  Our beautiful and welcoming 62-acre campus in Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a safe and invigorating setting for active learning, student investigation, imagination, creative performance, and athletic endeavor.  Our extensive facilities include technology advanced classrooms, well-equipped science labs, makerspaces where small groups of students work on problem-solving projects, art, media, and performance rooms and stages, athletic fields and courts, an educational garden, and a wetlands treatment system and greenhouse for hands-on lessons on environmental sustainability.

Our challenging, highly integrated educational curriculum accelerates learning and achievement across all grade levels, with 94% of our graduating eighth-graders reporting that they were accepted into the independent or private high schools of their choice.  In addition, each child’s character is formed through the School’s Core Values of Respect, Responsibility, Goodness and Service, so that she or he demonstrates solid character and conviction and matures into a thoughtful, independent leader—well prepared for high school, college and beyond.

We encourage you and your family to arrange a personal visit, so we can consider together how your child will grow, learn, and flourish at Old Trail School, and we look forward to working closely with you throughout our admission process.
Program Overview

Old Trail School offers four program levels, each designed with an age-appropriate curriculum to enhance learning, discovery, and personal development, yet which together provide a highly integrated education that accelerates academic achievement, independent thinking, and critical problem-solving.

List of 1 items.

  • Early Childhood (Ages 2 – 5 Years)

    During the earliest years of education, children learn to develop outside their family setting, building confidence and independence through creative play. Our Early Childhood Programs ensure that students learn more than just the basics: they learn a lifetime love for exploration through hands-on activities that build appreciation for the environment, healthy eating, community outreach, and more.

    The Early Childhood Program offers three program levels, each structured for a young child’s optimal cognitive, social, and emotional development.  Learn more.

    Early Childhood 2 Day Program (2-Year-Olds)
    The ECP 2 Day Program is perfect for children who are ready to grow in a safe, nuturing classroom environment. Children attend two mornings a week and engage in meaningful play activities that support exploration and the development of life skills and confidence.  

    *Children must be two-years-old by August 31.

    ECP 3 Day and ECP 5 Day (3-and-4-Year-Olds)
    Children learn, explore, and imagine in our creative classrooms. They start to build foundational literacy and math skills, as well as work with science, library, technology and language (Spanish) specialists.  Students experience a range of learning modalities: independent, with partners, one-on-one with teachers, and in small and large groups. Through writing, art and other creative projects, young children become authors, illustrators, investigators, painters, set and costume designers and actors. Imaginative thinking is enhanced with cooking experiences, field trips, gardening, guest speakers or readers, and participation in committee work.  Daily conversations and reflections are published to classroom blogs. Additionally, students in the 5-Day program begin physical education and swimming instruction.

    ECP 3 Day students attend School on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with morning and full-day program options. 

    ECP 5 Day students attend School Monday through Friday with morning and full-day program options.

    *Children must be three-or-four-years-old by August 31.
    Young 5s
    This distinctive program is designed for children who turn five-years-old during the spring or summer months and can benefit from a growing year to help prepare for kindergarten. Children are introduced to a variety of enriched learning opportunities both inside the classroom and throughout our campus. They build skills in reading, writing and math lessons with classes in technology, library and performing arts. Students participate in unique student-driven investigations and project-based committee units on harvest, communities, ponds, dinosaurs and careers. Creative exploration includes extensive art studio time, sewing and weaving, journaling, and cooking experiences. Students are introduced to the school community with recess on the kindergarten playground, lunch in the dining room and participation in service learning projects.

List of 1 items.

  • Primary School (Kindergarten – Grade 2)

    The Primary School offers a safe, supportive place for children to learn, grow, and build curiosity for life. Because these students perform best through hands-on learning, they are encouraged to try new experiences and engage in creative problem solving and sharing, all with support from our caring, expert faculty. Each student builds a strong academic foundation, supported by opportunities for the creative arts and self-expression and performance.  Service-learning projects, field trips, and structured classroom activities to promote emotional growth enrich the academic curriculum, as well as personal guidance to ensure the smooth transition into the Intermediate School.  Learn more.

    With words, numbers, drawings and dialogue students acquire creative problem-solving skills. Through online math applications, a traveling science lab and reading and writing workshops, students cover core subjects with learning that is far from basic. Additionally, students investigate farming by hatching eggs and planting flowers and vegetables. They study color with science projects covering chromatography and optical illusions. Students explore communities near and far with an extensive, participatory unit on Japan. The fifth-grade buddy system allows them to create relationships and collaborate with older students.

    Grade 1
    Students research and report on insects, wetlands and birds for an in-depth understanding of these related subjects. They step into the spotlight as public speakers with Friday Premiers for Parents, where students recite poetry and perform skits. Students grow, prepare and taste-test as they follow food from farm to table with Edible Education lessons. An extensive Writing Workshop, economics lessons, weavings, poetry, square dancing and classroom pets also add enrichment to our diverse curriculum.

    Grade 2
    Through a creative integration of science, social studies, math and language arts, students experience the year-long Project Ocean. Students investigate various habitats and ocean animals and collaborate with the Cleveland Aquarium. Students also work independently on research and technology projects creating digital storybooks and presentations. They become their favorite book characters and design and produce their own Peaceable Kingdoms and Queendoms. They become active participants in service learning by performing tasks that benefit both our school and the greater Akron community.

List of 1 items.

  • Intermediate School (Grades 3 – 5)

    In the Intermediate School, students build on the solid foundation and conceptual understanding they’ve gained in the primary grades. Visual and performing arts, foreign language, and technology all play an essential part in preparing them for the next steps in their education. With project-based group assignments and classroom discussions covering subjects from world geography to entrepreneurship, students learn teamwork and critical thinking.  They also begin to develop individual leadership and collaboration skills by participating in the Intermediate Student Advisory Committee (ISAC).  Students in this age group are easy to motivate, eager to try new things, and endlessly energetic—all of which make for a fun, active learning experience, both for them and for our faculty.  Learn more.

    Grade 3
    In addition to gaining proficiency in speech and letter writing, research skills, and geometry, students become resourceful learners by participating in a wide range of hands-on activities. Students bring history to life in a Frontier Day unit that includes visits to Hale Farm and Village, a canal boat ride, prairie biome study and the music, dance and dress of frontier times. They practice economics and entrepreneurship first-hand with a craft fair and bake sale. Students also host a unique 4-day residency focused on disability with the Dancing Wheels Company and School in Cleveland.

    Grade 4
    A step toward greater independence begins in Grade 4 when students begin traveling between classrooms for core subject instruction. They write poetry and short stories and then perform them for parents at their own creative coffee house. Student scientists research the mountain biome, test soil, explore dissection and take a wildflower hike. Grade 4 students become experts on Newbery literature, personal health, and U.S. geography, as well as topics of their own choosing.

    Grade 5
    Grade 5 students discuss current events and cultivate reflective thinking skills and a genuine interest in the world around them. As part of a year-long International Fair Global Awareness Study, students research and present comprehensive multi-media reports about their assigned countries. They explore the fresh water biome and take a two-night trip to the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center. With a choice of band, strings or chorus, students expand in their study and performance of music. Students are also introduced to team sports and mentorship with the Kindergarten Buddies program.

List of 1 items.

  • Middle School (Grades 6 – 8)

    Supported by a dynamic faculty and a caring culture, students in our Middle School take on adolescence in a stimulating and supportive environment. At these ages, students perform best when they’re given the opportunity to be curious and expressive, and our Middle School helps them develop these critical competencies as they further their academic excellence. In addition to challenging coursework in traditional subjects, they participate in elective courses, committees and advisory groups, clubs, trips, and athletic and academic competitive teams.  During these crucial years, we challenge them to take big risks, interpret and reflect on the world around them, explore their untapped potential, and solidify their core values for life—so that they will enter high school well prepared and highly confident.  Learn more.

    Grade 6
    In Grade 6, students learn to recognize and express personal experiences through writing in their unique voice. They communicate those voices in collaborative science and math projects including rocketry, probability and the origins of Pi. With the introduction of Student Council, clubs, and small Advisory groups, students can take on additional leadership roles. They also connect their classrooms to the broader world with organized outings and a week-long class trip to Chicago.

    Grade 7
    By scheduling elective courses, students have the freedom to pursue passions based on their individual interests as diverse as Mock Trial, Acting Improv, and Farmhands. Students can also form clubs based on interests of their own choosing. Students can participate in a variety of competitive endeavors—from athletic teams that compete throughout the area to a range of academic and arts competitions. Students also travel to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for a week-long trip focused on environmental education.

    Grade 8
    As students complete their final year at Old Trail, they continue to grow as learners and as individuals. Grade 8 students are encouraged to reach beyond the expected, to take risks, and to reflect upon their various experiences—including a week-long trip to Washington, D.C. They become proficient in academics, sports, leadership, and service. Students learn to analyze, to evaluate and to communicate educated thoughts and opinions, while learning empathy and how to conduct themselves thoughtfully in a variety of situations.
Old Trail School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability or age in the administration of its educational programs and activities, admission policies, financial aid program, athletic programs, or employment practices. Old Trail School admits students based on school reports, transcripts, teacher evaluation forms, test results, and student visit. Admission policies are non-discriminatory. The School strives to maintain a balance of boys and girls, and diversity in our classrooms. Please refer to the Old Trail School mission and vision statements for additional information. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact Sarah Johnston, Head of School, at 330.666.1118 or mail to: Old Trail School, 2315 Ira Road, P.O. Box 827, Bath, Ohio 44210-0827.

Susan Newman
Director of Enrollment Management

Robyn Kosco
Associate Director of Admission
330.666.1118 x341

Jacquie Matheny
Assistant Director of Admission
330.666.1118 x312
Old Trail School is an independent day school (toddler through grade eight) located in the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.