Over the past three weeks it has once again become clear how Ridgeview is different and what it is that makes it special. While children throughout America will spend a minimum of fifty percent of their waking hours between the ages of five and eighteen in a school, Ridgeview’s students and families unarguably get more for their investment. For any student willing to avail himself of the opportunities and test himself against the rigors of a classical, liberal arts curriculum, Ridgeview remains an undiminished beacon.
Throughout our faculty training, we were introduced to passionate, positive, and enthusiastic teachers who had come from Indiana, Massachusetts, California, and elsewhere to be at Ridgeview. Not simply to teach somewhere, but to be here; and not only to teach, but to start clubs, create new electives, go on camping trips, and share in the hundreds of adventures our students will partake in over the next twelve months.
They have seen the photographs of our students summiting fourteeners, playing paintball with their teachers, spelunking, or completing a ropes or land navigation course. They hear about a school that begins teaching Latin in kindergarten, that introduces students to the Greek alphabet in third grade, that emphasizes phonics, cursive, primary texts, Socratic discussions. They are intrigued by a school that does not beleaguer their teachers with requirements for daily lesson plans and instead allows the personality and personal genius of the teachers to work within a framework to engage students, create memories, and change lives. They are surprised that a place still exists that rejects the Common Core and the myriad of other educational fads that have made a wasteland of so much of public education, or that having taken the risk to get a serious degree does not prohibit their employment at Ridgeview. Here, their intellectuality and curiosity are advantages, and we engage them in discussions about John Adams, the American founding, the notion of patriotism, the importance of imagination, the difference between schooling and education, the enduring relevance of culture, the manner in which one teaches and the ways in which one learns, and the challenges of modernity and relativism. Throughout our faculty seminar reading, we treat teachers like adults and foster the sorts of conversations with them that we wish to see them foster in our children.
Over the course of the coming year, we will leave our classrooms open to members of our community. We invite you not only into our classrooms, but into our community whether by attending the parent reading groups that occur both weekly and monthly, the various events that see us drawn together whether they be concerts, recitals, principal’s coffees, the Turkey Shoot, or any of the other multitudinous events that showcase our incredible curriculum, our talented teachers, as well as the commitment of our community and the enthusiasm of our volunteers. There are many new faces with us this year, and I encourage everyone to make your introductions and find some way to support the remarkable project that is again underway at Ridgeview Classical.