Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ridge Creek School's Running Club Participants at the 5k Etowah River Run

With five students finishing in the top half of a 600-person, charitable run, the
Ridge Creek Running Club made a strong showing at its first outing. The
5k Etowah River Run is an annual event staged to raise money for a worthy
environmental cause. Participants come from all over the southeast to lend
their time, muscles, and feet to help finance the clean-up and maintenance of
the Etowah River and watershed, a vital water source and recreational area
for Lumpkin and surrounding counties. With 600 participants, the course was
packed, and, yet, several RCS Running Club members managed to make
strong finishes. 3 student club members completed the race in the top 100
and 3 others placed highly in the top half of the field. With this run under
their belt, club members are looking forward to their next challenge, a 5k run
benefiting efforts to fight childhood obesity to be staged this coming weekend.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ridge Creek School Academic Department: Overview

Ridge Creek School Academic Department: Overview

Mission: The academic department at Ridge Creek School has one abiding, unerring goal. We are determined to help each student to achieve his or her highest academic potential. Our commitment to instilling a sense of academic pride and a passion for learning into the consciousness of each child that enters our classrooms leads, in most cases, to the fulfillment of this goal and to the creation of life-long learners, who become considerate, analytical, and self-educating adults. The process that leads to the realization of this objective begins when the child first enters the RCS classroom.

Admission Skill Assessment: Every student’s skill level in every grade appropriate subject is thoroughly assessed in the first few days of class attendance.

Individualized Plan of Study: With this skill overview in hand, teachers begin an individualized plan of study for the student, which highlights strengths in order to build the student’s self-confidence, and creates a positive, success-oriented relationship to the academic journey. With this established, the teacher and the student create a structured plan designed to address any skill-level deficiencies that may exist in the particular student’s education.

Addressing Educational Challenges: This may include, but is not limited to, remedial classes and special educational adjustments, tutoring, and/or classroom accommodations.

Special Educational Provisions: Ridge Creek School maintains a “Learning Center” manned by a special education specialist whose primary task is to work with students whose needs are more challenging than can be met in the standard classroom. Each student with a specific need is ample time each academic day to work with educational professionals that are dedicated to his or her success in intensive, one-to-one sessions.

Teacher Qualification Standards: All Ridge Creek School educators are qualified to the designation and strict standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Unique Teacher/Student Relationship: Teachers are encouraged to build a professional rapport with each of their students in order to gain an understanding of the therapeutic issues of their students. The therapeutic boarding school environment is especially conducive to this important aspect of our educational plan. Teachers share most meals and many activities with their students, gaining insights into personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. In addition, the student becomes familiar with the teacher as something beyond a classroom pedagogue. This leads to a solid teacher-student relationship and builds trust and understanding, which, in turn, helps the educator form a complete picture of the “whole” child.

Interdepartmental Coordination: The academic and counseling departments at RCS work side by side to coordinate reasonable expectations for each individual RCS student. This interdepartmental cooperation is key to the success of the student academically as well as therapeutically. For instance, if a student is addressing a particularly difficult and stressful therapeutic issue, the rapport that has been built by the teacher with the child and the communication between the child’s counselor and the teacher, enable both to meet the emotional and educational needs of the child in such a situation.

Experiential Learning/Course Related Fieldtrips: At Ridge Creek, we believe that learning is a cooperative, participatory, and experiential journey. To this end many of our classes highlight in-class participation, as well as fieldtrips to course related exhibitions and venues each semester.

Small Class size/teacher to student ratio: Our small class size and teacher to student ratio ensure that every child is has the opportunity to become fully involved in the classroom and fieldtrip experience.

College Preparatory Academic Benchmarks: At Ridge Creek School, students are required to reach individually structured scholastic benchmarks. Our academic program is centered on a rigorous college preparatory program of study that is demanding and rewarding. This being the case, dedication, effort, and motivation to improve are important factors in our curriculum and are highly considered in our educational rubric. We want to enable a paradigm shift in the academic life of our students.

Voluntary and Mandatory Academic Support: If a student is struggling with completion of his or her assignments and class work and/or simply refusing to work to their potential, our teachers have the option to remove distractions and privileges in order to redirect the efforts of these students. For example, if a student falls behind with two or more homework assignments for a particular class, fails to complete an important project, such as a research paper, on time, or drops below a 70% average in a class, the student is mandated to attend tutorials and study sessions with a trained academic support team. In extreme cases of defiance and negligence of educational responsibilities, students find that they are held on campus during school breaks in order to refocus on their scholastic needs.

Executive Functioning Skills: All Ridge Creek students attend Executive Functioning class, which, in conjunction with their therapeutic counseling, develop solid organizational, study, and life skills that, when adopted, can make a great difference in the scholastic and social life of the student.

SAT Preparation: Ridge Creek School provides classes dedicated to the preparation of students for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. These classes include skill tutorials, vocabulary development, and test-taking techniques.

The tools and guidelines above provide our educators with the ability to reach their students and guide them to a level of success in school that is lasting and life-changing. Further, our teachers are enabled to achieve a level of professional triumph that is found in few scholastic environments. As a result, the Academic Department at Ridge Creek School achieves its goal with the preponderant majority of our students. This is validated by the success of our graduates in their post Ridge Creek educational experiences.