We have enjoyed a terrific summer and hope that all of our Ridgeview families did likewise. We continue to work hard to improve our facilities and our academic offerings. As you return to the school this September you will notice new flooring in the lobby areas and a handful of new lockers upstairs. As many of us have noted, there was a time not very long ago that we could stand in the Registrar’s Office and see seven different types of carpet some of which was installed in the 1970s. The lockers, most of which we continue to use, were taken out of the original Fort Collins High School when Ridgeview opened in 2001. We have installed high-definition interior signage to keep our students, parents, and faculty apprised of upcoming events. We have added courses in robotics, computer science, programming, molecular biology, and AP environmental science. This year will see the return of Humanities Day, and a visit by our keynote speaker Anthony Esolen. Additionally, we will be hosting several faculty and student-led colloquia throughout the upcoming year. There is a great deal that has been planned for 2016-2017, and we are excited to share it all with you.
While few students look forward to the end of summer with anything like the excitement that they look forward to the beginning of summer, we have enjoyed the opportunity to meet with some of our new and returning students. We have spent days and nights together enjoying the beauty and diversity of our state with them over the course of the past several weeks, and were even able to catch the beginnings of the Perseid Meteor Showers. We have hiked to the top of Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, completed our traditional sunrise hike to the top of Bible Point with Student Council, played paintball in Dacono, gone spelunking at Fulford Cave and camped at Sylvan Lake State Park with the tenth graders, played in the pool at City Park with the seventh graders, and as this goes to print, we will be hiking Mt. Bierstadt in the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area with our seniors. We are looking forward to a day at Lory State Park with the eighth grade, as well as the senior lock-in, which will occur at Sky Ranch in the Roosevelt National Forest. It may seem strange to some that we should spend so much time outdoors, but it is disheartening to pause and consider that only about ten percent of American teens spend time outside every day. According to the Harvard School for Public Health, “American adults spend less time outdoors than they do inside vehicles – less than five percent of their day.” We hope to make some small impact in changing that, and the more time we can spend getting to know our students around a campfire, the better able we will be to know them in the classroom. To quote Henry David Thoreau, “Fire is the most tolerable third party.”
We invite all of our Ridgeview families to come, mix, and mingle at our annual Open House on Wednesday, August 31st between 4:00-6:00pm at the school. This will give students and parents an opportunity to meet teachers and administrators, find classrooms, drop off school supplies, and hear about the year ahead. It will also be a great opportunity to learn more about college advising, athletics, and the many clubs and other activities Ridgeview offers its students throughout the year.
For all parents with a morning or two to spare, we will be hosting both a weekly and a monthly book group to explore Ridgeview’s educational philosophy and the ideas that animate our teachers and students. We encourage both new and returning parents to consider signing up for these groups as it is a good chance for them to come to know the school in a more meaningful way and to interact with the Principal. The first weekly parent book group will examine the idea of shared inquiry and will occur on Wednesday, September 9th from 8:00-9:00am. The first monthly parent book group will have us reading excerpts from Seneca and will occur on Friday, September 30th at 9:30am. Finally, the Principal’s Coffees are an opportunity for parents to hear about what is happening at the school and ask any questions they may have. The first Principal’s Coffee will occur on Friday, September 9th at 8:00am.
The faculty have been hard at work these past few weeks preparing for the return of their students. They have reviewed what to do in emergencies, relevant policies, set up their grade books, written syllabi, prepared their classrooms, heard from parents, alumni, and board members; met with their colleagues in departmental meetings, reviewed new textbooks, and spent a great deal of time reading and discussing important texts with one another. They have read about George Washington and the role espionage played in the Revolutionary War, and they have held deep and philosophical conversations about the nature of conversation, the trivium, the differences between classical and modern education, as well as the relevance of a shared cultural inheritance. To take direction from Francis Bacon, they have read “not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.” In short, they have given a great deal of thought to the education of your children, and many of us have been fortunate to spend no small amount of time outside. We could not do what we do without the faculty we have. They are an incredible group of people willing to sponsor clubs, chaperone trips, organize Student Council and Student Ambassadors, take endless photos and videos, and work into the night to ensure that our students have a first-rate experience while at Ridgeview. I begin this year grateful to our parents for having entrusted their children to us, and for this remarkable faculty that lives the types of lives that we are trying to model for our children. I look forward to seeing all of you very soon.
Principal D. Anderson