Lake Ridge Academy started in the neighborhoods of Elyria, when a stranger knocked on the door of an area businessman and wondered if they could create a better place to educate children. Soon they, and a third founder, were opening their homes to invite neighbors, friends, strangers and whoever would come, to hear the dream of an independent school. This dream to start a school not for the affluent, but for those parents that desired an exemplary learning environment where their children would be known, became a reality because of the efforts of these families.
The school that emerged from these meetings and opened its doors in 1963 has gone through many changes. So has our world. Though we talk about living in an increasingly small world, the truth is that though our world may have “shrunk,” many of us have lost touch with the neighbors next door. While in our neighborhoods our sense of community is being lost, at Lake Ridge Academy who we are begins with a community.
We are a diverse community of families who seek an outstanding educational experience for our children. We are a community of students who thrive in a learning environment where we are known, loved and held to a high standard by our teachers. We are a community of mentors, of scholars who value an intense intellectual debate as much as we cherish a child’s smiling face. We are also a community that embraces our cultural differences and believes that understanding and appreciating those differences makes us better world citizens.
Within this caring community of learners, we offer an educational experience that few schools can match. From the time our students start kindergarten, they are immersed in an inquiry-based education to pique their innate curiosity. Beginning with the youngest, our students learn to ask good questions and how to find answers, essential skills in an ever-changing world. This approach to education helps us to develop independent learners and to fulfill our mission of developing confident young people who think critically and creatively.
We have followed the wishes of our founders by offering an exemplary developmentally appropriate college preparatory curriculum. We are a school where hard-working students excel. Our graduates are known for their outstanding communication skills and ability to think and work independently. While we offer a number of unique programs, like a K-12 foreign language program and our entrepreneurial studies program, we ground our students in the basics.
Understanding the importance of math and science in the 21st Century, we continue to be a leader in math and science education in the Cleveland area. Beginning in kindergarten, our math program lays the foundation for understanding algebra, geometry, and calculus. Our high achieving math students begin taking algebra in sixth grade. Our advanced Upper School students are offered independent studies in Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations. Taking advantage of an 93-acre campus, with woods and pond that serves as an outdoor laboratory for our K-12 students, our environmental program begins with labs in kindergarten and ends with our Upper School’s Honors Environmental Studies class. Our Upper School offers honors and AP classes in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We also offer our students unique courses like Anatomy and Physiology and Developmental Biology and Embryology for students interested in the medical profession.
Our Fine Arts program is one of the areas best. Believing that each student at Lake Ridge Academy possesses their own unique set of artistic talents and skills, our arts programs begin in the earliest grades. From kindergarten through eighth grade, we engage our students in a multitude of art media, musical arts and regular performances. In the Upper School, students enjoy a wide-range of offerings from AP Art to Musical Theater Lab. Our newly developed jazz program hosts visiting professors from area colleges to work with our young performers. Last spring, our first Jazz Fest brought over 300 participants who enjoyed an evening of art and music. Our Thespian Society has produced incredible musicals like Little Shop of Horrors and dramas like our state award winning production of David and Lisa.
The accolades our academic programs have received do not stop there. Our graduates will tell you that the outstanding education they received at Lake Ridge Academy more than prepared them for the rigors of college. They will tell you that the opportunities that they had in and out the classroom gave them an advantage over their college classmates. They will also tell you that what they miss most about Lake Ridge Academy is the love and support that they felt within this community, a community with the values of integrity, respect, scholarship and personal best at its core.
It is was the desire for such a place that brought Charles Small to the home of Herbert Kaatz that Saturday morning in the spring of 1961 looking for support to start a school for his children with small classes and intensive education. It was what led these two founding fathers to the door of the third, Scribner Fauver, with this vision of a college preparatory school for the west side. Today, Lake Ridge Academy has fulfilled that dream.