Introduction to Our North Star
Since 1963, Lake Ridge Academy has sought to send into a changing world confident young people of integrity who think critically and creatively while embracing the joy of lifelong learning.With a focus on social, emotional, and academic growth, Lake Ridge students graduate from our institution as well-rounded learners and people. With our past and present in mind, we collaborated with our current parents, faculty/staff, alumni, trustees, and students on our shared vision of what great learning looks like at Lake Ridge Academy. Through this effort we created the North Star, a comprehensive description of what is important to all of us and defines us as a K-12 independent school. What we found to be the most important to our community was student wellness and belonging, academic excellence, and building relationships. Through small class sizes, dedicated faculty and staff, unique learning opportunities, and a tight-knit community, Lake Ridge Academy is committed to our vision and excited to share it with you.
Elements of the North Star
Lake Ridge Academy is uniquely positioned for success as the only K-12 independent school on Cleveland’s West Side. The area is growing quickly, with a strong influx of prospective independent school families, yet we face growing competition for students from high quality public and faith-based schools. Given that these options are either free or much less expensive than Lake Ridge, it is increasingly important that we continue to offer our community a school experience that they cannot get elsewhere.
This observation affirms our commitment to continuous evaluation of our programs, ensuring that they are distinctive, superior, relevant, and aligned with our mission. This process requires strategic choices, as no organization can thrive when it tries to be all things to all people. For Lake Ridge to continue to thrive, we must build on our history of excellence and articulate a clear vision for future success.
Leading With Relationships
We are a community that builds relationships through meaningful personal connections. Relationships between and among students, teachers, and families are all critical to our culture and learning environment. A commitment to small classes led by exceptional teachers who know their students well results in a deeply personal and challenging educational experience. We believe that academic and social belonging is deeply entwined in a student’s identity, so our relationships must demonstrate the value that a diversity of experiences, perspectives, and individuals bring to our community. Our knowledge of students as individuals means we can build a dynamic and responsive academic program. This commitment to leading with relationships extends beyond the classroom. Our relationship with the natural world will be increasingly cultivated on our 93-acre campus that can be used, expanded, and leveraged into learning experiences that no other school in our region can match. The advantage of our K-12 community is the opportunity to engage in consistent cross-grade and cross-divisional interactions, building opportunities for leadership and collaborative learning. We will share our resources with the community beyond Lake Ridge, and create learning experiences for our students that exist beyond campus. This emphasis on our school as a community of learners authentically builds the collaborative and interpersonal skills needed for our interconnected world.
Exceptional Educational Outcomes
At Lake Ridge Academy, students thrive in an environment of intellectual inquiry and academic challenge. Families with high standards purposefully seek us out to provide an engaging and appropriately challenging educational experience. We believe that each student is an individual, with unique abilities, strengths, and interests that, when leveraged, lead to optimal learning outcomes. Our campus will strive to be an increasingly collaborative environment where students and teachers co-design learning experiences. Varied assessment practices will reflect student mastery of content and skills. Students will learn through experiences that intersect with their curiosity and interests, so that learning is authentic, relevant, and important to them beyond graduation. We will tailor the learning experience to foster students' curiosity, while cultivating their ability to think critically and creatively. We prepare students to succeed at a wide range of colleges and universities, and will sustain high expectations that equip students to lead in a changing world.
Wellness and Belonging Are a Priority
At Lake Ridge, supporting the social and emotional health of our students and community enables our exceptional educational experience. As emerging research indicates, learning and emotion are intertwined, and a successful learning environment requires the well-being of everyone. Supported by the serenity of our 93-acre campus, we seek to weave cognitive, physical, social, and emotional wellness into all aspects of the Lake Ridge experience. To achieve this, we recognize that feelings of belonging and practices of inclusivity must be a part of all that we do. Diversity in all forms prepares students for a changing world, and so we must honor the diverse perspectives and experiences within our school, and seek to better understand those not reflected on our campus. A community where every individual feels a strong sense of belonging is one where the joy of teaching and learning thrives.