The mission of Ridgeview Classical Schools is to develop the academic potential and personal character of each student through academically rigorous, content-rich, educational programs.
- Dedicated to Truth and Virtue
- What is Ridgeview?
- Resolution Against Common Core
- Mission Statement
- Vision Statement
- Philosophy Statement
- Academic Standards
- Character Education
- Learning Environment
- Study Skills
Ridgeview’s unabridged Latin credo is neque popularitati neque utilitati at veritati virtutique dedicatum. Translated into English, this means, “Dedicated not to popularity or utility, but to truth and virtue.” Herein, ‘dedicated’ does not have a commemorative sense. Instead, it expresses what individuals working and studying at Ridgeview are dedicating their lives to. These lives are not dedicated to what is popular, because what is popular is so rarely good. Neither is what is popular typically permanent; evanescence is almost a requisite condition of popularity, and Ridgeview is a celebration of permanent things. Moreover, an education chosen purely for practical or utilitarian ends, lacks the epistemological humility to be the one best suited to arranging human affairs, securing liberty, answering the accursed questions, or allowing individuals to develop their quiddities and explore the fullness of their potential. By contrast, we acknowledge that we are at work with those for whom this time may be the last time wherein every choice need not be determined according to strict economic calculations. This education, because it is holistic, must consider the totality of the person and not merely his role as a student. This pedagogy concerns not only how information is communicated, but in ascertaining what manner of living is best. It is an education that inculcates in people an interest in truth, and as such, acculturates them in a disposition anathema to apathy and relativism. It aims to produce people accountable to virtue who reject the solipsistic supposition that such ideas originate within them solely as a result of their own genius. Ridgeview is, as much by its rejection of popularity and utility as by its embrace of truth and virtue, committed to remaining a haven for those genuine individuals who want an education corresponding to their condition as such.
Ridgeview is an inadvertently countercultural institution. It is not idiosyncratic or eccentric for the sake of appearing different, but because we adhere to traditions and believe that education ought to convey a comprehension of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, Ridgeview appears out of step with society at large. While greater educational choice has resulted in an explosion of gimmicky curricula, Ridgeview has as the author of its curriculum the steady erosive power of time. What remains true or worthy of our contemplation after centuries, remains worth teaching. We persist in a belief that given a properly developed historical imagination, history can teach powerful lessons. We believe that there are forms of authority external to ourselves, and that it is foolish as well as dangerous to disparage religious conviction. We believe that virtues trump values, that there is a comprehensible order in the world, and that reason gets us a long way, but not all the way. We believe that we are obliged to treat one another as ends and not as means, and that our thoughtful and humane participation in the present determines our future.
This form of education is possible only by the combined and coordinated efforts of parents, teachers, and students. At base, the parent’s role in this is to behave paternally and support the style and manner of instruction they have chosen for their child. The teacher is expected to dress, speak, and conduct himself in a manner that shows that being here is a calling and not simply a vocation. The student must bring good character, curiosity, initiative, and work ethic. Each of these constituencies must have conversation as a common interest. Each must want Ridgeview to become the public square, a place of both study and deliberation, that exists for everyone’s edification. Each must be committed and contribute unabashedly to the greater public good. It is not enough for the administration or the faculty to endorse these goals – the community must live by them. We must all reject utilitarianism as an unsuitable end of education since despite our best laid plans, we cannot know what we will be. We may be a son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, father, mother, but these are circumstantial roles. Whether we are the best version of ourselves in any of these roles is determined by how we commingle knowledge with experience, and the manner in which we cultivate our life with some measure of wisdom. Wisdom is about how we will live, and how we will live is a more pressing concern than the comparatively narrow concern of how we will make our money. While money is necessary, and capable of great good, we must be prepared to live a good life whether riches come to us or not. We must develop the capacity to balance overlapping areas of our lives within the finite framework time and mortality impose. The intellectual, social, physical, spiritual, and mental aspects must all be fed, and what we feed these different dimensions of our lives informs our capacity for fulfillment, contentment, and Eudaimonia.
The cultivation of this community depends upon our not recklessly pursuing an ever-larger enrollment. There is a size beyond which we cannot do what we do. Our goals require a measure of intimacy. Instead of pursuing greater numbers, we pursue greater purpose. Those whom we are most desirous of, are those who understand clearest and are most grateful of what we offer. People who can be mindful, conscientious, appreciative, deliberative, considerate, respectful. These qualities are the precursors of wisdom, and the necessities of paternalism. That we insist on these, and eschew shallowness, pettiness, self-entitlement, apathy, pretentiousness, and ingratitude focuses us on our commitment to the development of both intellect and character, but always of character before intellect.
In this endeavor, we are ever conscious of posterity. Institutionally speaking, we do not live for today. The seeds we plant in education take time to yield the desired fruit, and we know that those with whom we work are not yet who they will finally be. Such a recognition calls for compassion and leniency, as well as the humility to acknowledge that there is much about our endeavor that is unknowable. Nevertheless, Ridgeview must have as its primary constituency people interested in leading a life of the mind. Those adults who are held up as models must live lives worthy of emulation. Each of us must have a regard for his surroundings. Where we study and what we write on our walls informs the culture we immerse ourselves in. The art we look at, the music we listen to, the books we read, the people we befriend – all of this is our education, and no part of it is insignificant. It is because of this that a vigilant regard for truth and virtue is at all times and in all things pertinent, and it is for this reason, that Ridgeview chooses these to which to dedicate all of its considerable efforts.
Ridgeview Classical Schools
Ridgeview offers an education that is rarely matched by other schools within the charter school community. It distinguishes itself first by its unequivocal commitment to the classical tradition. In this sense, classical means that Latin is taught from kindergarten, Greek is taught from third grade, and students learn root languages before they are taught derivatives such as French or Spanish. They learn to develop a thesis, to exegize a text, and to order their thinking, writing, and presentations according to a classical order of arrangement.
Students are taught many subjects, but they are taught that a comprehension of any topic proceeds by first understanding its grammar, then its logic, and finally, that it can be articulated by a skillful resort to rhetoric. They acquire specific knowledge through a curriculum that professes an adherence to the unabridged and original Core Knowledge sequence, Singapore Mathematics, American Cursive as outlined by Michael Sull, Riggs phonics program, martial arts, visual arts, music, and conceptual science. Ridgeview is unique in its commitment to the liberal arts. It does not abide by gimmicks, fads, or trends. Its curriculum gives equal time to the humanities and the natural sciences. It is also unique in its belief that an American exceptionalism exists and is worthy of examination and reverence, and that through a proper understanding of one’s country, genuine patriotism is both possible and admirable. It respects character above intellect and seeks the fullest moral development of each of its students.
Ridgeview spends a great deal of time selecting its teachers, developing them in an effort to retain them, and insists that they inculcate in their students a love for the life of the mind. At Ridgeview, they should not only read books, they should love them. The teachers should know their students, and no student should graduate who has not proven him or herself to the Principal, who shall have taught them for at least one semester prior to their graduation. Ridgeview aims to transform more than minds. It aims to build a community through its curriculum, its teachers, and its ethos that transforms souls. To this end, every student is required to write a senior thesis answering the question of what is essential to the good life and present and defend it to an audience of their peers, the faculty, and assembled members of the public. Seniors are also required to undertake a leaving exam in order to graduate. There is no bluffing one’s way through.
Only the thoughtful and sincere can expect to survive being passed through this rigorous sieve. Ridgeview, quoting Aeschylus, has frequently noted that its motto was “we learn by suffering,” and there is a certain truth to it regardless of how uncomfortable the modern world finds such a perspective. There is also, however, true comradery and collegiality fostered at Ridgeview. The nearly 60 faculty members are an intellectually diverse group, and yet all are brought together in friendship through texts, barbecues, conversation, tea, and not infrequently, the beauty of the American West. The location of Ridgeview is not unimportant. The most is made of it by ensuring that students do not take it for granted. Camping trips are organized, parents are drawn out to the mountains and the prairies, and whether in a classroom or around a campfire, the great conversation continues slowly and organically building up an authentic sense of community. The students and the faculty are pushed, and in that sense they all learn by suffering, but they are also drawn together by mutual pursuits, and they are ones that allow for a certain flourishing of the human spirit.
The ability to do well at Ridgeview is the same ability that allows one to either be alone with himself or be truly capable of abiding friendships. Our students go to great colleges, join the military, and do great things with their lives when they leave here, but we do not deceive ourselves that we planned for them to become this or that. We endeavored to create individuals worthy of inheriting liberty and responsible enough not to be destructive with it. Rather than creating doctors, lawyers, or engineers, we focused on empowering self-examination, integrity, initiative, self-reliance, and honorableness.
We believe in old things that have lost meaning in this world. We believe in virtue, good and evil, right and wrong, honor. We conceive of ourselves as an Ionia – a refuge from the technological and relativistic hedonism that marks out modernity. Our students and our faculty are not troglodytes left behind, but intelligent souls wise enough to know that there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge, and clever enough to discriminate to the benefit of themselves and their society. We want to show students the world, both through books and through travel. We want for them to have the opportunity to touch the history they have studied, and to see firsthand the places great authors have labored to describe. We are a small school who knows our students intimately, and as a result, we are capable of guiding them, instructing them, and not infrequently, of loving them.
The Ridgeview Classical Schools Board of Directors adopted the attached resolution against the Common Core:
Ridgeview Classical Schools
Resolution Concerning Common Core and PARCC Assessments
Adopted by the Board of Directors on October 3, 2013
WHEREAS, parents in Colorado were granted the ability to choose the education they felt was suitable and appropriate for their children, and that this was acknowledged by the state legislature as a right in the Colorado Charter School Act of 1994, specifically granting local control over schools to include "diverse approaches to learning and education and the use of different, proven, or innovative teaching methods," and allowing "the development of different and innovative forms of measuring pupil learning and achievement;"
WHEREAS, Ridgeview Classical Schools have successfully pursued and proven the value of rigorous academic standards in a program that combines academic and character education, as well as an appreciation of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful that is possible only through a classical, liberal arts curriculum that treats the individual student as an end in himself and as the inheritor and future steward of a rich legacy dominated by the ideas and values of our Western heritage;
WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards, while potentially exceeding previous state standards in certain respects, do not accurately assess the rich curriculum that has been conveyed to Ridgeview's students, nor does it value any of the intangibles that make up much of a liberal arts curriculum;
WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards run contrary to the idea of education being either a private or a local matter, and are contrary to the idea of the states as "laboratories of democracy," as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis articulated in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932) in describing how a state may, "if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country;" and that the Colorado Charter School Act effectively chose to provide precisely such a laboratory when it noted that "different pupils learn differently and public school programs should be designed to fit the needs of individual pupils and that there are educators, citizens, and parents in Colorado who are willing and able to offer innovative programs, educational techniques, and environments but who lack a channel through which they can direct their innovative efforts;" and that charter schools like Ridgeview are the innovative programs that legislators had in mind;
WHEREAS, Ridgeview Classical Schools has reviewed the content standards of the Common Core and found them wanting as well as identifying the ineffectual protection of student's privacy and the exceedingly expensive technological requirements necessary to administer the tests, and found the Common Core and its associated assessments to be of a significant disadvantage to Ridgeview's students and community;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Ridgeview Classical Schools board of directors hereby express their general opposition to the imposition of the Common Core State Standards for two reasons: (1) because charter schools should retain greater autonomy that would be provided for under Common Core; and, (2) because Ridgeview is able to pursue a better education for its students that is more rigorous, less costly, less intrusive, and more accountable. Ridgeview remains, as it always has, committed first and foremost to its students, and to fully living up to its mission and philosophy.
On behalf of the Ridgeview Board of Directors,
Kristina Menon, Board President
It is the philosophy of the Ridgeview Classical Schools that all students benefit from a rigorous, content-rich, educational program that develops academic potential and personal character. The school will provide an environment that fosters academic excellence through the habit of thoroughness, the willingness to work, and the perseverance to complete difficult tasks. Through a defined traditional, classical-liberal curriculum students will be prepared to become active, responsible members of their community.
It is the philosophy of Ridgeview Classical Schools that all students benefit from a rigorous, content-rich, educational program that develops academic potential and personal character. The school will provide an environment that fosters academic excellence through the habit of thoroughness, the willingness to work, and the perseverance to complete difficult tasks. Through a defined traditional, Classical-Liberal curriculum students will be prepared to become active, responsible members of their community.
Ridgeview Classical Schools will uphold high academic standards for all students regardless of background, socio-economic status and ability. The curriculum will be content-rich, following the Classical-Liberal, traditional educational model, with provisions to challenge all students to fulfill their individual academic potential.
- Objective standards will be monitored and maintained as defined by the Charter School Law.
- Promotion and graduation requirements will meet or exceed PSD/state requirements.
- Students shall take the defined curriculum and must earn promotion and graduation.
- The student schedule will be predominantly occupied by the defined curriculum.
- Students will be assessed through class-work, regular assignments and periodic tests, the levels of which will be calibrated against District, State, and National norms.
Ridgeview Classical Schools’ environment and curriculum are designed to promote and build strength of character in students.
- The values of a democratic society will be identified and clearly taught.
- Administrators and faculty will encourage and model habits of honesty, respect, social responsibility, and self-discipline to promote these traits. Students will be given opportunities to practice and develop these traits.
- Outstanding people will be used as role models throughout the curriculum to teach character.
Ridgeview Classical Schools will promote a safe environment that fosters learning and character development.
- There will be a defined standard of appearance and a regulated campus.
- Positive student/parent/teacher relationships will be fostered.
- Extra-curricular activities will be encouraged.
- Success in our rigorous academic program is dependent upon consistent student effort and completion of assignments.
- The faculty will be a unified group of professionals focused on student achievement.
Ridgeview Classical Schools will provide the opportunity for all students to acquire the mastery of study skills, which make learning possible and encourage self-motivation.
- Study skills, e.g. time management, research skills, note-taking, will be integrated throughout the curriculum.
- Teachers will evaluate the mastery of study skills.
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