Ridge Academy celebrates milestone

April 4, 2011 8:03:00 PM PDT
Ridge Academy on Chicago's South Side is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. The school is also celebrating 100 percent college placement among its graduates.

Ridge Academy, located in the Beverly neighborhood, was established by a group of parents and designed by educators to create a learning environment that honors each child. Each class is usually made up of between eight and 17 children.

"If you have some trouble in whatever subject, Ridge Academy can help with that," said student Vinny Mendez.

"We look at total child, not just academics but also spiritual and physical," said James Bobbitt, founding parent.

The school separates itself from other learning institutions by offering a scholarly approach to education in small, multi-cultural settings. The rigorous curriculum places high emphasis on critical thinking and independent learning.

"It is a strong academic program for the children. We want those standards to be very high. We want it to be done in a way that is respectful to individuals," said Principal Ken Koll.

"I feel so safe and comfortable coming here. The teachers are just great," said student Imani Shamsuddin.

Jenny English has two children, a girl and a boy, at Ridge Academy.

"Every month that they were here, they jumped a whole grade. They came timid, very afraid to learn, didn't think they were very smart. And now my 12-year-old is saying he's smart, he knows he's not stupid," said English.

Tuition is half the price of other private schools. But parents must still sacrifice to send their children to Ridge.

"We don't do a lot of dinners, we don't shop. But guess what? We do a lot more quality stuff at home," English said.

"They pretty much challenge you a little bit but later on you might get the hang of it," said Chloe Julia Phoenix.

At Ridge Academy they focus on how the brain works, not on how to work the brain.