The Center at Ridgefield Academy (RA) underpins our collective efforts to provide an innovative, 21st century education that will mold our students into lifelong learners with the ability to collaborate and adapt in an increasingly dynamic and global workplace. Our curricular content is thoughtfully formulated to be evidence-based, service-oriented and tailored to individual learners at each grade level. As the world changes, so must the education we provide in order to equip our students with the necessary skills to not just survive but thrive in the face of a future not yet imagined. The Center at Ridgefield Academy’s purpose is to bring this and the mission of RA to life.
The Center achieves this mission by adhering to the following principles:
By integrating learning specialists, speech language pathologists and psychologists/counselors into the RA campuses, our students are supported in ways that facilitate their individual learning experience without sacrificing undue time among their peers. We are able to perform in house speech screenings and intervene quickly when a parent, teacher or student identifies/uncovers difficulties. Continually exploring successful teaching and learning methodologies affords our faculty the opportunity to create a classroom that is not only engaging, but ensures that each child, regardless of ability, is taught in a way that is meaningful and relevant to them. Today’s students are going to face future challenges, jobs, technologies, and methods of communication that we have yet to conceive. To meet these challenges, students will need more than just facts and figures. They will need to know how to reason, evaluate, and explore. They also need to nurture their creativity and build their confidence in order to challenge traditional means of problem solving and hone skills to innovate. By helping our students learn HOW to learn through the variety of programs implemented by the Center they will be equipped for what ever lies ahead.
Curriculum Design & Development
The Center works with faculty from all grades to ensure that our content matter is thought provoking, appropriately challenging, and accessible to all students. A comprehensive mapping of the K-8 curriculum preceded the development and implementation of a Thematic Curriculum beginning with our 5-8th graders. This thematic shift highlights RA&'s deliberate interdisciplinary approach/intentional connectedness. In addition, numerous reading, writing and math curricular changes were made to enhance our students experience learning these critical skills. With an initial focus on the STEAM subjects (science, technology, arts, engineering, and math), the Center has worked with faculty as they adopted a new math program and has developed a five year course of study for Middle and Upper School students on computer science-based topics. While STEAM represents a particular way that subjects at RA intersect, through its curriculum review the Center works to increase the opportunities for interdisciplinary connections throughout the entire curriculum.
Faculty Growth & Development
Our teachers are a vital part of our community of learners. As the world continues to evolve, teachers need to be supported through targeted professional development activities in order to gain the emerging skills and strategies that will help students succeed. Through the Center faculty interact with each other and observe one another's classes/students to glean ideas/techniques across disciplines and observes students to ensure our teachers have the necessary support to teach students in diverse ways that ensure that every student is engaged as they progress through the RA curriculum. Each semester/school year, faculty members are hand picked to perform as Center Ambassadors and use/execute the learning philosophies learned by participating in national conferences. Our faculty have become experts in learning so that our students can become experts in which ever field they chose and have the tools to do so.
Since 2015, the Center has implemented numerous initiatives within each of these principles and continues to evolve/looking forward to the next 5 years.
Director of The Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning, Basil Kolani reflects on a movement involving some high profile names in the math education world towards data fluency and away from the "geometry sandwich," the traditional progression from Algebra I to Geometry to Algebra II.
Director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Basil Kolani shares his thoughts on challenging conventional education.
RA's Third Annual Interdisciplinary Week once again proved to be a great experience in learning for our students!
It was a contest of words at the annual RVNA Spelling Bee fundraiser and Basil Kolani proved he was speller supreme as he was crowned the winner! Congratulations Basil!
The Center supports RA Reads, an initiative to share what faculty members are reading with the RA community. This latest book from the RA Reads list, iGen by Jean Twenge takes a look at this generation of children, how they are growing up in a world very different than those before them and how we need to understand them.
Exciting things continue to happen in The Center. Center Director Basil Kolani introduces Center Podcast, We RA Learning Community!
Whisper phones are being used by our Grade 2 students - providing many benefits and a whole lot of fun while they read!
Director of The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning Basil Kolani shares how recent public events sparked his own thoughts on how RA empowers their students.