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Apple Distinguished School Application


Competency Education

At Ridgewood, we realize that our students enter high school with unique talents and different sets of skills.  Drawing from best practices across the country, we created a program that views ninth grade as both a transitional and foundational year. Ridgewood High School considers what students need to keep them in school as well as prepare them for college and careers.

Ridgewood has created a structure in which a team of teachers is responsible for ensuring that each and every student gets off to a great start their freshman year. The freshman team is comprised of a group of teachers representing the following core subjects: English, Math, Social Studies, Science and Wellness. Additionally, this team works closely with the division head of curriculum and instruction, world language teachers, and special education teachers. Together, they track student progress, and focus on data to make changes to each students program as needed. Our freshman students receive foundational skills to be successful in high school, while preparing for the world beyond our walls.

The program uses advisories to help students develop the habits or 21st-century skills they will need to be successful in high school as well as college and careers. Each student has a 1:1 advisor, someone who meets every to check in. Within the advisories, students develop their personalized learning plan. Each semester, the advisers facilitate student-led conferences which allows students to reflect on their academic, personal, and social goals.  They create a digital portfolio that has evidence of their learning throughout the year. The portfolio will contain artifacts of their academic competencies, personal reflection on strengths, challenges, and career exploration.

In addition to advisories, freshman students have access to an intervention time every day called “WIN” time (What I Need).  This time allows for re-teaching, reinforcement, enrichment, extra help or time in order for each student to show mastery. The entire Ridgewood High School faculty is dedicated to celebrating student’s assets and creating successful high school students and are dedicated to helping students create meaning connections.




College And Career Readiness

Illinois PaCE: Postsecondary and
Career Expectations

The Illinois PaCE Framework provides guidance to students, families, and educators on what types of experiences and information a student should have in order to make the most informed decision about college and career planning beginning in 8th grade and through high school. This framework is organized around three key areas:

  • Career Exploration and Development
  • Postsecondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection
  • Financial Aid and Literacy

We are happy to share Ridgewood High School’s PaCE framework below. 

PaCE Framework

Career Pathways




Ridgewood High School Reimagined

Among the many lessons learned during COVID, Ridgewood High School has recognized that flexibility is critical when it comes to the success of our students by awarding them educational opportunities outside of the classroom.  Our goal, for every student, is for them to gain the skills necessary to leave Ridgewood High School college and career ready.   

With this in mind, we have evolved our 2020-2021 schedule to better fit the needs of our students and overall goals.  The 2021-2022 schedule will allow flexibility for our students to pursue things like resource labs, self-directed projects, career exploration, robust science labs, small group sessions with teachers, hands-on activities, and more.  Additionally, we know many of our students feel obligated to work to help support their families and this schedule will support them.  This mandatory “Flextime” period (period 9 or 10) will be based on student need and will offer a taste of choice and freedom to students while still allowing structure.

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