Academics at Oakbrook are project-based, yet rigorous. Students are exposed to a wide range of subjects including the arts, world languages, and technology beginning in preschool. Throughout the lower school, students are accelerated in math and reading to build a strong foundation of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while building confidence and creativity through project-based learning. The arts are integrated into core studies as students act out historical events. Parents enjoy volunteering at the many special days in the lower school where students become famous Americans in a wax-museum, participate in a Greek Agora, or actually walk in the shoes of their ancestors who arrived at Ellis Island. The Charlotte Mason philosophy in the lower school provides students with the right blend of a classical curriculum within a progressive instructional methodology. See the Charlotte Mason Approach for more information. Oakbrook lower school students consistently score in the top 15% in math on national achievement tests.
The middle school experience at Oakbrook Prep blends the fun of the lower school with the rigor of the upper school. Starting in 5th grade, students branch out from the self-contained classroom and receive instruction from subject-matter specialists. Middle school students take eight classes so they can explore their interests in a variety of electives. The Christian Education curriculum focuses on providing students with a contextual understanding of the bible, an overview of the Old Testament, and establishing a mindset of service above self. Middle school students continue their study of a world language focusing more on reading and writing. Acceleration in math and reading continues in middle school with an option for students to take pre-algebra in 6th grade. The middle school science curriculum moves from a breadth approach in 5th grade to a depth approach with earth science in 6th grade, life science in 7th grade, and physical science in 8th grade. While building content knowledge in science is important in middle school, the main goal is to build a strong foundation of scientific thinking through project-based learning and science fairs. Oakbrook middle school students regularly receive top honors in regional and state science, math, and robotics competitions.
The upper school experience at Oakbrook Prep focuses on preparing students for their college of choice. Starting in 9th grade all upper school students begin exploring college and careers through a unique program to Oakbrook called College Connect. Upper school students take seven classes on a modified block schedule. The upper school at Oakbrook is similar in many respects to a college experience in that students have lectures and labs, can begin taking college level classes in tenth grade, and are treated like young adults by the faculty and staff. Students must take a unit of Christian Education for graduation. After taking a New Testament survey, students may choose from a variety of offerings such as ethics or apologetics. The focus of Christian Education in the upper school is to help students apply biblical understanding to life. Students may take world languages all the way through the AP level and participate in annual exchange programs. Oakbrook offers a full array of more than 20 AP classes for students to choose from and does not strictly track students; it is part of the Oakbrook culture that all students have the potential for advanced level work in their areas of strength. For highly motivated students, Oakbrook offers the Global Scholars Institute. Students who successfully complete the Global Scholars track are prepared to enter selective universities and earn the AP International Diploma. Oakbrook is also one of the first schools in the country to offer a special credential called the AP Cambridge Capstone. The senior project is a hallmark of an Oakbrook education. Every senior is required to complete a capstone project that involves independent research, project management, mentorship, and service. Because of the accelerated curriculum, several Oakbrook graduates matriculate to college at or near a sophomore standing.