Before leaving the lobby, the plaques recognizing our student’s academic achievement and character are noteworthy for two reasons. First, Ridgeview, like so many other schools, wishes to highlight those students who have endeavored to earn the best grades and thereby distinguish themselves. These names extend as far back as the first semester of Ridgeview’s first year. Second, and perhaps more importantly, academic achievement never supersedes considerations of character. Even the valedictorian and salutatorian are not determined without a consideration of the student’s character, and students of the quarter are chosen by the faculty and regarded as exemplary with respect to not only Ridgeview’s academic standards, but the school’s emphases on leadership, character, and ethics.
One observation many parents make about the elementary cafeteria is that there is no evidence of a hot lunch program. This is something that sets Ridgeview apart from many of its contemporaries: the desire for active parental involvement. To this end, Ridgeview also does not participate in a bussing program. We want for parents to parent and for teachers to teach. The less ownership we take from the former, the more we can contribute to the latter. The parent who packs a lunch and arranges a ride to school is much more likely than the parent who does neither of these things to read with their child, ensure that their homework is completed, and properly address any disciplinary infractions. The austerity of our lunchroom and the transparency of our classrooms is evidence of Ridgeview’s desire to be in partnership with parents interested in a classical education.
There are three digital monitors in the public areas of the school, and the first that guests generally encounter is located in the lobby. These monitors serve to help keep our community informed about opportunities and upcoming events. For instance, Ridgeview boasts two separate parent reading groups, the schedules for which are advertised on these monitors. In a weekly group, parents read the same excerpts and selections that faculty read in their biweekly seminars. These excerpts are chosen for their pedagogical and topical relevance. For example, the parents and faculty this year have read pieces examining the state of culture, patriotism, education versus schooling, and the development of the moral imagination through literature. A monthly reading group takes on longer works, and spends greater time with a single author. This year parents have read works by Hannah Arendt, Søren Kierkegaard, Thomas Paine, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Leo Tolstoy. In hosting these groups, it is our wish to foster intelligent and humane conversation among all those who contribute to the education of Ridgeview’s students.
These monitors also advertise a wide variety of other activities such as mock trial, Madrigals, Veritas, Math Counts, Chess Club, the Turkey Shoot, the Post Solstice Solace, Humanities and Science Days, the concerts, plays, musicals, and other auditions that routinely take place, college visits, Quill Club, and so many of the other events that crowd Ridgeview’s calendar and keep these hallways occupied throughout the year. In watching these monitors, it is readily apparent that there is more happening here than any one person can participate in; but in looking about the lobby, it is equally apparent that there is something for which every student can be recognized.