Tag Archives: University preparatory school

Ridley Becomes the First Visible Wellbeing™ School in North America

Three years following the launch of our Strategic Plan, Ridley is confidently enacting our mission to inspire flourishing lives in a novel and intentional way. Recently, our school launched an exciting two-year partnership with Professor Lea Waters (PhD), a leading researcher and global expert in the field of positive psychology – making Ridley the first Visible Wellbeing TM Foundational School in North America.

Developing well-rounded individuals has been a focus at Ridley for over a century, however, over the past five years we have deliberately and consciously applied the science behind positive education – the notion of improving students’ emotional, psychological and physical well-being in order to help them flourish in the classroom and in their lives.

In 2012 Ridley began to effect applied positive psychology methodologies, such as Martin Seligman’s PERMA-V model, which breaks down the core elements of psychological well-being and happiness. Since then, our faculty has been participating in professional development, becoming deeply familiar with key frameworks and integrating them into their classrooms, on the sports field, within the boarding houses and even in their own lives. Today, it would not be out of the ordinary for one to walk into the Grade 3 class to witness mindfulness breathing exercises taking place, or to hear students at the lunch table talking about their top character strengths.

With this school-wide exposure to positive psychology, the introduction of a dedicated Upper School Counselor and the PERMA-V model being adopted by faculty and Ridleians alike, it became clear that Ridley was quickly becoming a leader in positive education within North American schools. It was with this realization that we decided to embark upon a fundraising effort to bring a world-class expert in this field to Ridley. With the support of our generous community, Ridley successfully raised more than $100,000 towards a ‘Positive Education Fellowship’ during the 2016-17 Annual Fund campaign.

The search for the most suitable positive psychology expert, who would advance our school’s mission, led Ridley straight to Professor Lea Waters.

    

Although she playfully refers to herself as a “pracademic,” Professor Lea Waters is more formally a psychologist, researcher, author and facilitator who specializes in positive education, positive parenting, and positive organizations.  She is the Founding Director of Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Melbourne – where she has also published over 90 scientific articles and book chapters in 21 years. Professor Waters is the President of the International Positive Psychology Association, has affiliate positions with Cambridge University and the University of Michigan and is the Ambassador for the Positive Education Schools Association.

Among her many contributions to the field, the multi-award winning research professor has designed and developed a framework known as Visible WellbeingTM (VWB), which is an approach that combines the science of well-being with the science of learning and teaching to make well-being visible in all classes and across co-curricula. Over the next two years, Professor Waters will bring her scientifically-grounded techniques in VWB to Ridley, which will enable teachers to use the learning process itself as a delivery mechanism to build student well-being. Unlike some rigid curriculum, VWB is a flexible approach which can be applied in a trans-disciplinary manner across all grades and amongst faculty and staff. With the VWB approach, academic learning and well-being are truly integrated and produce a positive feedback cycle.

Professor Waters’ drive to develop the VWB approach was in reaction to staggering global rates of teen depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide. According to the World Health Organization, 10 to 20 percent of children and adolescents experience mental disorders worldwide. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death amongst 15 to 19-year-olds. Ridley responds to this teenage need for support, explains Head of Upper School, Michele Bett, “At Ridley, we believe a child’s physical and emotional, psychological well-being will underpin everything they do – not just in school, but beyond school.”

To launch VWB at Ridley, Professor Waters recently spent two days facilitating faculty and staff workshops. During these dynamic sessions, she introduced concepts such as the SEARCH Framework, which helps identify character strengths, as well as delivery methods and measurement techniques for VWB. Professor Waters also shared why she was keen to partner with Ridley. “What made me feel that [Ridley] would do well by Visible Wellbeing is that I know that the intention of Ridley is truly and genuinely to make flourishing lives. It’s not just a statement on a document…The school has the right structure, it has the right people, it has the right ethos…From an organizational psychology perspective it ticks all the checklist of organizational readiness for change,” says Waters.

Professor Lea Waters facilitating Visible WellbeingTM workshops with faculty and staff.

“I truly feel that the adoption of Professor Waters’ Visible Wellbeing approach and positive education expertise will provide the exact direction, resources and consistent language that our community requires to forge ahead as the trailblazer for positive education in Canada…and North America for that matter,” remarked Headmaster, Ed Kidd. Ridley looks forwards to enhancing the student experience through this ongoing VWB initiative and to sharing our outcomes with other schools around the world.

Ridley faculty show off their copies of The Strength Switch by Professor Lea Waters (PhD), the selection for this past summer’s professional development reading.

“This is a world-class school to take on this new innovation and to marry together the science of learning with the science of well-being to help everyone thrive at the school.” – Professor Lea Waters (PhD)

Get to Know Your Prefects: Graham D. ‘17

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 11.00.18 AMIntroducing Graham Devitt ’17 – a Prefect who has grown during his Ridley career – from Lower School, through to Upper School. Read how he has been driven to succeed during his time at Ridley and where he hopes his future will lead him.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because it is one of the best schools in the area. I am a day student and choosing to go to Ridley was an easy decision, as it is both academically and athletically renowned. Ridley presents unique opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else and I knew it would be a great fit for me!

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Yes, I felt prepared coming to Ridley. I came in Lower School and integrating into the culture was much easier there. I was a bit nervous going to a new school – as Ridley’s reputation preceded itself – but as soon as I arrived I was accepted and became immersed in Ridley life.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite faculty member is Mrs. Roud. She taught me Grade 10 History and is also my housemaster. She has helped me evolve academically, in addition to encouraging me to push my limits and become a better person. She has helped me with everything from school work to personal projects and has always been a very caring and dependable person. I look forward to working with her to make Dean’s House and the rest of Ridley as enjoyable for everyone else as it has been for me!

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What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I think the greatest challenge has been making the most of all the opportunities Ridley presents. On top of academics, athletics and extra-curriculars, Ridley provides many other opportunities to advance and develop one’s education. Being able to – on top of everything else – go on exchanges, participate in service trips, and apply for awards is definitely a challenge, but one that can be extremely rewarding.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment would be winning the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize to travel to Europe during two weeks in the summer and visit various WWI and WWII memorials and battle sites. Although it took a substantial amount of work, the payoff is extraordinary and I am proud to have won this prestigious award.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience is going to camp at the beginning of every year. Getting to know all the new boys and doing everything from wake boarding to zip lining is both a fun and involved adventure!

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What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is being a part of a house. Being a part of Dean’s House and playing the other houses in sports, participating in house events and BBQs is truly a unique experience to Ridley and one that I thoroughly enjoy!

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

I am looking forward to being a role model to all younger students and especially the new students this next year. Showing students how to make the most of Ridley life, do well in school, and more importantly, enjoy all the other aspects of Ridley – from sports, to dances, to trips – is something I’m looking forward to. The opportunity to lead others and help them make the most of there time here will be very rewarding.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

As you progress through Ridley, you gain more independence. This parallels life in university and beyond. In addition, Ridley life is very different than other schools. From simple things like waking up for class on your own, to tasks like touring prospective students, Ridley reinforces qualities and values that many kids don’t learn until much later in life. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go on to university to get a bachelors and most likely a master’s degree. I haven’t quite chosen what my degree will be yet but it will be something within the social sciences for sure. After that my only ambition is to move to a big city and start working. Wherever that takes me, we’ll have to see.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Make the most of Ridley. However you ended up here, you are extremely privileged. Understand this and take all the opportunities you can, because soon enough you will be finished Ridley and those opportunities won’t be there. If you balance your academics and also have fun, Ridley will be one of the best experiences you will have in your life.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Hannah B. ‘17

Meet Hannah Bradley ’17. This school Prefect has dedicated her Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 3.47.16 PMtime to giving back in the local community, and in her final year at Ridley, she’s hoping to give back to the students.

Why did you choose Ridley?

My mother teaches French in Lower School for Grades 6 – 8. From working at the school, she knew what a great place Ridley was and she wanted to send my sister and I here.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I didn’t go to Ridley as soon as my mom was hired… so I was so excited when I found out I was finally going to Ridley. It was always my dream to come to Ridley and it has certainly lived up to all my expectations.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite faculty member (other than my mom of course) is Ms. Barranca because she makes everything fun. She is also a super nice and cool person. She makes me laugh all the time (not always on purpose).

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I was always very shy as a kid so I was not highly skilled in making friends and I kept to myself a lot, so one of my biggest challenges has probably been making friends. Meeting new people each year at Ridley has helped me get used to making new friends.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at the school has been joining groups like Green Tigers, Positive Space Group and the Syrian Refugee Committee. I have always liked doing good things for other people and the planet, but it’s hard to know what you can do to help. Working with a group of people to make the world a better place is a lot easier and a lot more fun than doing it on your own.

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 What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

 One of my favourite Ridley experiences has been joining Film Club. I have only been in Film Club for one year, but I love it a lot. I don’t take any art courses, so it’s a good way for me to stay creative. We have a good group of hardworking, dedicated and fun students, working together to make a short film.

Another one of my favourite activities at the school is the Alzheimer’s Society activity. We go to a local nursing home and spend time with the residents there. Most of them have Alzheimer’s or another strand of dementia. It is a very rewarding experience and the residents are a lot of fun to hang out with. Some of my best friends are at the nursing home. I think they do more good for me than I do for them.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is the variety of activities offered at the school, there is truly something for everyone. There are many arts programs and lots of sports teams to join. There are also many community service opportunities. The variety of activities attracts a variety of students which creates a more diverse community.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

I am very excited to plan fun things for the student body to do. I am also looking forward to having a chance to give back to the school that has given so much to me. I am excited to meet the new students and I am looking forward to being someone they can turn to for help in their first days at Ridley and throughout the year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has helped me learn how to manage my time, as Ridley life gets very busy, very quickly. Learning time management will probably help me a lot in university and with adult life.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go to university for life sciences or perhaps medical school. I am interested in becoming a doctor or a medical researcher. I might also go into neuroscience.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The beginning of the year is nothing like the end of the year, and this is a good thing. At the beginning of the year, you’ll probably feel intimidated. You’ll have to make all new friends and you’ll be far away from home. You might even have to start speaking your second (or even third) language. All of this can make feel nervous or scared. These feelings will go away very soon. People are very friendly at Ridley, so you’ll make friends in no time. Once the year starts and you start participating in sports or activities, you’ll have something to be interested in and it’ll give you something to look forward to each day. Before you know it, the year will be over and you’ll think back to the first day of school and feel good that you accomplished so much in one year.

Ridleians Take Action in our Community

Within Ridley, a thriving community, comprised of students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, exists. This community works seamlessly to create an environment in which our school can flourish. Beyond Ridley’s gates, exists another community – our local community. With such importance placed on community service and contribution, it is imperative for a strong relationship to exist between Ridley and the local community.

Ridleians are introduced to community service and partnership at a young age. Ridley hopes that from these experiences and opportunities within the community, our students will become global citizens and will continue to live out our motto – Terar dum prosim.

Just recently, our Grade 6 students participated in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Exhibition, where they took action to solve local and global issues. This proved to be a wonderful opportunity for our students to become passionate about our world, and work to solve issues that struck a cord with them.

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As the end of the year approaches, our Grade 9 & 10 Civics classes stepped up to the very same challenge. For their summative project, these students were asked to look at our local community and focus in on an issue. In groups, they were then asked to choose a topic based on their own personal interests. Some topics included: environmental conservation, gender equality, animal protection and pollution.

The students were required to explore their topics of choice. Students researched their topics, conducted interviews with community leaders, asked their peers to complete surveys and went into our local community to find out more. From their research and findings, the students set a goal and devised a plan of action. Students set out to raise awareness for their cause, inform the community of local issues, donate to local organizations and even use art forms to share a message.

Upon completion of their project, 28 groups gathered in the Great Hall to share their projects and spread awareness for their causes. It was incredible to see so many students come together to discuss local issues and how we can solve them.

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Following the exhibition, we sat down with six groups to learn more about their topic and how they contributed to our community. These six groups paired with organizations, such as Youth Unlimited, Pathstone Mental Health, the City of St. Catharines, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Brock University, Marz Homes and Canadian Tire, for resources and information, donations and in some cases, the opportunity to collaborate – now and in the future. View the video on the community action project.

The community action project allowed students to exercise one of Ridley’s core beliefs – that a commitment to service and social responsibility will help build a flourishing life – while completing their course. Our school encourages all Ridleians to take action, just as these students have, and contribute to our local community and beyond.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 

Slam Dunk for Ridley College and OSBA

The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) welcomes Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team into its elite Canadian league.

After more than a decade-long run as one of most competitive basketball teams in the CISAA and following a record-breaking season ­­– winning six tournaments and three major titles ­– Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team has been formally accepted into the OSBA for the 2016/2017 season.

The OSBA is an elite league, governed by Ontario Basketball that helps prepare players for post-secondary, national and international levels of competition. The goal of the association is to increase the number of quality basketball players competing in Ontario and to promote the Train to Compete (T2C) stage of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model – of which Ridley was an early adopter and remains a proponent of, school-wide.

The team’s promotion means that the Ridley Tigers will not only compete against top basketball prep schools from around the Greater Toronto Area, but the athletes will also participate in at least three international showcases and host several others throughout the year. Ridley will become the first and only IB Continuum school that is a member of the OSBA, offering the gold standard in academics and athletics in Canada.

“We are excited to add an outstanding institution like Ridley College to the OSBA. We are confident that Ridley College will be able to provide student-athletes with a world-class education, as well as a high-quality basketball experience that supports their development.”

– Carmelo Mallia, Manager of High Performance at Ontario Basketball and OSBA League Commissioner.

With support from the current coaching staff, Ridley Athletics has hired Mr. Tarry Upshaw as head coach of the new OSBA team. Coach Upshaw’s dynamic career has included coaching at the professional national and international level; coaching national team programs in Hong Kong, China, Jamaica and right here in Canada. His wealth of experience in developing young athletes and his relationships in the basketball world will be invaluable as the school’s basketball programme continues to develop into one of the best in the country.

“This is a natural progression for us as an institution with the right people in place at the right time,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “I am very excited about the support network we have in place for our student athletes, and adding the competitive environment of the OSBA will no doubt challenge all of us to become even better at what we do,” he added.

Read the St. Catharines Standard’s article.

Ridleian receives prestigious Loran Scholarship

The Loran Scholars Foundation is an organization, dedicated to the success of Canada’s most promising young students. Since 1988, the Loran Scholars Foundation has sought out students who demonstrate character, service and leadership, and helped support them in their post-secondary careers. Since their inception, they have invested in over 500 Loran Scholars and granted thousands of additional scholarship prizes.

Each year, the Loran Scholars Foundation receives over 4,000 applications. After a long process, which includes a multiple-essay application and an intensive interview process, only 30 are selected and named Loran Scholars. Those 30 individuals each receive a renewable undergraduate scholarship, valued up to $100,000, for the duration of their four years of post-secondary education. In addition to the monetary support, these scholars receive the opportunity to intern abroad for three summers, receive residency support and are connected with a mentor for the duration of their education.

This coveted scholarship can change the life of a student and can open doors to opportunities that they never thought were possible. This year, we are proud to announce that Ridleian, Grace Lowes ’16, has received the Loran Scholars title. During her Ridley career, she has truly embodied what it means to be a true Ridleian. In her time here, Grace has co-founded the Model U.N. group, formed a Days for Girls charitable activity on campus, been an active member of clubs such as the Syrian Refugee club and Positive Spaces Group, and has helped lead the school, during her final year, as a Prefect, among many other accomplishments. Grace has become a leader, an activist, a humanitarian and a proud member of the community in her years here at Ridley. We know that Grace will continue to lead and inspire change throughout the course of her post-secondary career and beyond.

The road to becoming a Loran Scholar is not an easy one, but Grace has truly earned it. This year, the Loran Scholars Foundation received 4,273 applications from students across Canada and only awarded 31, making Grace one of the top 0.7 percent of Canadian students from that pool.

Check out the articles about Grace’s achievement and the Loran Scholars Foundation!

To read the Globe and Mail article, click here.

To read the Welland Tribune article, click here.

 

Lower School students fuse their passion with science

On January 29th, 32 Grade 7 students eagerly lined the halls of Lower School, ready to showcase their scientific reasoning. For the past three months, these students have been exploring self-assigned hypotheses and investigating possible conclusions for the 9th annual Lower School Science Fair

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For nearly a decade, the Lower School Science Fair has encouraged young Ridleians to discover their interests and fuse them with science. Students aren’t assigned an area of study, but instead, are asked to find a topic that they are genuinely curious about. Using the online application, Science Buddies, each student answers a number of questions, rating their level of interest for everything from microbiology to psychology and even the television shows they enjoy watching. Upon completing the online application the students is then provided a list of possible science projects and topics to consider, each one relating to a topic or field that he or she enjoys. This not only creates a broad spectrum of science experiments, but also motivates the students to challenge themselves and make discoveries of their own.

According to Mr. Ben Smith, Pure and Applied Sciences Subject Coordinator and Lower School Science and Math Teacher, the main goal of the science project is not to be proven correct in their findings, but to propose a question and provide a reliable answer. “It’s just as important to fail as it is to be proven right,” says Mr. Smith.

In 2014, Jaden Kidd ’19 had a theory that bioluminescent algae, if placed in mason jars, could provide an alternative to electricity in countries with limited access. Despite his hypothesis being proven incorrect and the algae not producing the expected results, he went on to receive the Biology Award at the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair – success is achieved through the findings and the knowledge that accompanies it rather than a proven theory.

For the past three months, the students worked in class to complete their projects, with the help of Mr. Smith. Students began with their hypotheses, predicting the conclusions of their experiments, and then proceeded with their studies. On the day of the Science Fair, after three months of hard work, these Ridleians presented their findings to curious members of the community.

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This year, judges, parents and the staff of Ridley College were blown away by the projects that our Grade 7 students produced. The students dove into the project, showcasing research that spanned a wide range of topics. Some students focused on chemistry, while others focused on the human brain. Some discovered their experiment was a success, others did not have the same outcome. Despite the results, each student was left feeling proud of their work and many intended to continue their research out of pure curiosity.

We are proud to announce this year’s winners:

First Place: Syni Solanki  – Graphene and Water Desalination

Second Place: Sakura Telfer – The Science of Spherification

Third Place: Spencer McLean – Video Game for the Blind

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These three students, along with our runner ups (Olivia Grubic; Memory Recall, Jacob Lytle; Sunflower Pith Water Filtration, and Ciara Blew; Margarine vs. Butter), will apply to represent Ridley at this year’s Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Congratulations to all Grade 7 students, who not only challenged themselves, but also discovered their own personal passions.