Navigating Identity and Celebrating Success in College


Learn more about college at Ridgefield Academy! We invite you to visit the campus November 21 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to discover our approach to the formative college years. This open day is for families interested in admission to grades 4 to 8 for the 2022-2023 school year. Three thematic stations will be presented: science, technology and athletics.

Middle school is a navigation of change in many ways, starting with the transition out of elementary school and ending with the transition into high school. With a variety of changes occurring at the same time, it is especially important that children are in a supportive school environment, one that devotes significant resources and attention to the middle years. A healthy school environment fosters the emergence of confident and confident graduates ready to succeed in any high school.

At Ridgefield Academy, the first step in creating a healthy college environment is understanding who college students are and the issues they face. According to middle and high school principal Clinton Howarth, one goal in recent years has been to educate teachers about development at different ages.

At a recent Take-A-Look event on Tuesday, Howarth said: “We have to operate from a place of understanding that the dominant narrative in a college student’s life tries to resolve the question of ‘Who am- I?’ This will play out both as a student and as a developing person.

In college, academic strengths, interests, and learning styles are better defined. When students start to stand out in different fields, the desire to belong and to “fit in” often emerges naturally. The default safe option is to try to be like everyone else.

Ridgefield Academy’s approach encourages the opposite: embrace individuality, rather than stifle it. Each student has the opportunity to take risks and take on new challenges, as well as experience individual success in areas where they feel comfortable and thrive.

“All of our collaborative work – teachers, coaches and counselors – is about celebrating and recognizing the individual strengths of each child,” Howarth said. “We help them find the time and space to celebrate their own unique qualities.”

Celebrating success is just as important in college as it is in the younger years. For many students, college is often the first time school-related anxieties have appeared. Students adjust to a different school environment and heavier workload, seek to maintain positive relationships with their peers, and consider the upcoming transition to high school. In an age when trust can be compromised, a strong support system that values ​​each student and celebrates their successes is essential.

So what should you look for when considering options for your child’s high school education?

  • An environment that values ​​individuality. Your child is someone who should be celebrated for their unique strengths, interests, and passions. In a small school with a low teacher-to-student ratio, teachers can get to know each child in their classrooms. When teachers know each student, they can meaningfully engage with them, ensure that individuality is celebrated, and minimize the collective desire to fit in with the crowd.
  • A strong and diverse college program. A full and comprehensive academic and extracurricular program balances providing students with challenges and opportunities for individual success. Every student should be a thinker, reader, artist, athlete, musician and scientist during the school day.
  • A connected school community with leadership opportunities. In an Intentional Preschool – Grade 8, high school students are the leaders of the school community. Programs that connect older and younger students contribute to a positive school community and empower all high school students to assume leadership roles.
  • A high school placement process that is committed to finding the right person for each child. As a child nears the end of the preschool through grade 8 school journey, they are often ready for a change. A Preschool Environment – Grade 8 provides an opportunity for you, your child, their guidance counselor or the senior school principal and local high school principals or admissions counselors to collaborate and assess which high school environment will be suitable. the best for your child. The placement process should help your child find a high school that will meet their needs and give them the space they need to keep growing.

Register for the Middle School Minded Open House at Ridgefield Academy here and discover other upcoming virtual and in-person admission events here.

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