Healthy food, better lighting welcome students to Ridgewood
Construction continues at Ridgewood High School in Norridge on Aug. 15. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:11AM
Healthy lunch options and an abundance of natural light will greet Ridgewood High School students this year.
The school, which serves Norridge and Harwood Heights, opens its doors Tuesday, Sept. 4, for the 2012-2013 school year.
Organic Life will serve up lunch and snacks.
“They provide a more nutritional, balanced menu,” Superintendent Robert Lupo said of the Chicago-based company.
The change to a more healthy menu was a student-driven initiative. The change is part of the overall wellness program the district has pushed, Principal Jennifer Kelsall said.
Improved natural lighting is part of that program. Summer construction included bumping up the main entryway a floor to allow in more light.
The district also received money from the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission to install a new roof, ventilation system and windows.
“We should realize a 25 percent savings in energy costs,” Lupo said.
As with other construction projects over the last four years, the district will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, given to projects that identify and implement environmentally progressive methods.
One of the biggest improvements is the redesign of an entire corridor dedicated to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program. The space will accommodate new Engineering by Design classes and those pertaining to computer-assisted drafting and construction principles, part of a four-year program.
“This could be a seven-year program if we bring in the elementary schools,” Kelsall said.
For the last two years, the district has developed partnerships with its elementary feeder districts to make the transition to high school smooth.
Kelsall said teachers from the various districts focus on math, science, English and social studies and look for ways to meet new educational standards.
“The teachers value that,” she noted. “Teachers from Leigh and Giles (grammar schools) brought their students to the high school for 90-minute workshops.
“The kids see what’s expected of them, and the teachers learn how to help them make that transition to high school.”
Ridgewood High School also has to make room for more advanced placement students. The number has more than doubled, to about 300, since last year.
“It’s exciting because the kids experience the rigors of college-level classes, but they still have that daily support system of their teachers,” Kelsall said. ~.