A season of change One of the really great things about working in education is that teachers (and even administrators) have the best seat in the house to watch young people grow and change. Most of the time, these changes happen in the course of the school year; quite often, depending upon the age group, students seem to blossom and grow before our very eyes – almost in a matter of hours! Schools themselves undergo similar changes (although almost never in such a rapid fashion!). Forest Ridge is no exception, as you will read in the pages of this edition of The Ridge Report. In her article, Sr. Diana C. Wall will detail the changes ahead in the Admission and Advancement Offices. As you know, Sr. Diana herself is changing roles as she leaves Forest Ridge after having been called by the Society of the Sacred Heart’s Provincial-Elect, Barbara Dawson, RSCJ, to serve on the U.S. Provincial Team in St. Louis. While I am saddened at the notion that Sr. Diana will be leaving us this summer, I am delighted that she will serve as a member of the Forest Ridge Board of Trustees and will continue to provide her dynamic expertise to Forest Ridge in her new roles. I am equally thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Regina Mooney as our new Director of Institutional Advancement. Dr. Mooney comes to us from a distinguished fundraising career at two girls’ schools on the East Coast, in addition to her significant work at the collegiate level at Reed College and several universities in California and Minnesota. No doubt you will find Regina a dynamic addition to our community. I have included her bio here so you can get a better sense of the gifts she will bring to Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. Regina Mooney is an educational administrator with experience at both colleges and independent schools. Raised in Connecticut, Regina earned a B.A. in philosophy and environmental science at Southern Connecticut State University before entering Yale Divinity School in 1976. Upon receiving her M.Div. she became a lay minister at the Newman Center at St. John’s College in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Realizing she was gravitating toward more scholarly passions, Regina pursued a Ph.D. in theology and social ethics at Claremont Graduate University, receiving the degree in 1992. Her dissertation, titled “Transgression as Transformation,” dealt with the intersections of
mystical experience and political choices. She has written on the subject of the relationship of crucifixion piety and violence as well as the psychosocial development of female mystics. Dr. Mooney has taught religion and philosophy at Harvey Mudd College, Mount Holyoke College and Reed College, where she was also vice president and dean of student services and lecturer in philosophy and religion. Transitioning to the independent school realm, she began her career in development at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, before taking the helm of the development office at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Reflecting on her experience as both an academic and an administrator, Dr. Mooney has often said that, while her favorite thing in the world is to think about problem solving, “the actual practice of solving problems, creating systems that set institutions on course to achieve good things for real people motivates my thinking toward action. The science and art of administration require collaboration, empathy, backbone and vision. These combined elements make problem solving both challenging and rewarding.” Currently, Regina Mooney is the chief development officer at the Stoneleigh-Burnham School. She is a member of the Council on the Advancement and Support of Education and the Association of Fundraising Professionals and past vice president of the American Academy of Religion - Western Region. She is on the board of Yale Divinity School and is a board member and chair of the Development Committee for International Bridges to Justice, an international prisoner advocate organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Mooney has a 17-year-old son who, she claims, is always providing her with opportunities to think, love, worry, risk, laugh and engage. At present she plans to arrive in mid-July. I know you will welcome her warmly and support her in her work for us. Mark Pierotti Head of School
A new model
for the Admission Office at Forest Ridge Diana C. Wall, RSCJ, ’82 (Broadway) Director of Advancement
Over the past two years Forest Ridge has transitioned into an Institutional Advancement model for Admission, Communications and Development. As we continue to develop efficiencies in our organization to accomplish critical strategic objectives – to attract qualified students, enrich relationships, maximize communication and enhance fundraising capabilities – we are modifying this model to build an intentional admissions marketing approach to address the differences associated with marketing to middle school and high school students and their parents. In light of this, the Executive Administration Team (Mark Pierotti, Don Anderson, Carola Wittmann, Julie Grasseschi and I) believe restructuring the Admission Office to report to the directors of the Middle School and High School will facilitate clear and direct communication between those departments and address the age-appropriate needs of each group.
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Over the past year, it has become clear to both Nancy Harty and Jasmine Reyes ’03 in the Admission Office that there is a need for admission-specific marketing. In response to this we are piloting a new model, shown below. We believe this structure will allow for building meaningful relationships with our external partner schools and our current families. It is our goal to make this process as seamless and transparent as possible. To this end, I am pleased to announce we have hired a Director of High School Admission, Shana Rolax Abner ’94, and a Director of Middle School Admission, Tara Dean Waller. As an alumna from the class of 1994 and a member of the Board of Trustees, Shana brings a deep knowledge of the value and meaning of a Forest Ridge education. She has firsthand
Tara has earned a B.A. in mass communication and an M.P.A. in public administration with a concentration in marketing from Louisiana State University. She has volunteered extensively and was actively involved in her community while raising her three daughters: Megan (9), Ashley (7) and Lauren (6). Eager to get back into the workforce since relocating to the Northwest with her husband, Steven, and their family, Tara is excited about joining the Forest Ridge Admission team. Together, we believe Shana’s and Tara’s skills will complement one another to build a strong community outreach program with PNAIS and Archdiocesan partner high schools and middle schools, as well as with corporate relocation directors. We envision this as an extension of our already successful Communications and Marketing Department efforts.
Shana Rolax Abner ’94 Director of High School Admission
Both Shana and Tara officially start on July 1, but they will be on campus prior to that to transition into their new roles. We are excited to have them both join Forest Ridge. Please warmly welcome them and support them in their work with the Admission Office.
experience with the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria, as well as with the breadth and depth of the national and international Sacred Heart Network. Having worked most recently as a regional marketing vice president with the multinational corporation Sodexo, Inc., Shana also brings 12 years of marketing experience with Washington Mutual Bank. Her expertise will be instrumental as we take a more intentional marketing approach in the Admission process. As a graduate of Forest Ridge and a Seattle University Sullivan Leadership Award recipient, Shana is an enthusiastic advocate for Forest Ridge; she credits her preparation here as the foundation for her success in life. In addition to her career, Shana and her husband, Jason, have four young boys: Jaisen (6), Moriah (4) and twins Christian and Aubrey (16 months). Shana is looking forward to being back on “the Ridge” once again. Tara comes to us with 11 years of admission experience in higher education, most recently as director of admission at Rollins College in Florida, where she managed student recruitment and admission selection for their undergraduate program, as well as supervised their admission staff. She also brings admission experience from Loyola University, New Orleans, and Louisiana State University.
Tara Dean Waller Director of Middle School Admission
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for helping us reach our Annual Fund goal!
This year, with your tremendous support, we have not only met our Annual Fund appeal goal of Janet Burns Annual Fund Director
$440,000 but have surpassed expectations with a total of $465,885, which is 106 percent of our goal! Parent participation reached 70 percent, alumnae participated at 9 percent, and our dedicated faculty and staff participated at 100 percent for Annual Fund 2011-2012!
These donations are used to support your daughter’s education in so many ways. For example your support made possible great productions, such as “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” Your support provided funding for the Women as Global Leaders program, which offers students real-world experience with the Peace and Reconciliation program in Israel and the West Bank. And you made it possible for Forest Ridge to offer experiences through the Outdoor Education program, such as the hike through the Ape Cave (the longest continuous lava tube in the United States). Your dollars also helped keep our faculty up to date with cutting edge
methodology and technology. These valuable programs simply could not be achieved without the support of our parents, the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, students, parents of alumnae, friends of the school and grandparents. Thank you! If you have not yet had an opportunity to give to Annual Fund 2011-2012, it is not too late. Please go to Giving on our website at www.forestridge.org or email Janet Burns janetbu@ forestridge.org . Next year’s Annual Fund kickoff is September 24, 2012.
Auction and Fund-A-Need Update: I. Auction:
Auction 2012 - Create! raised more than $168,000! Net proceeds benefited the operations budget and allowed for the purchase of three new computers and a new printer for the Auction Office. Thank you to the 70+ volunteers who made the Auction possible! Save the Date for next year’s Auction on Saturday, March 16, 2012.
• A pproximately $72,075 (not including corporate matching gifts that may apply) was raised in the Fund-A-Need portion of the Auction, benefiting the Fine Arts Department at Forest Ridge. • A new schedule has been outlined for directing Fund-A-Need fund-raising efforts for the next six years. This plan ensures that all departments within the school will receive funding on a rotational basis. The plan for future dispersal is as follows:
Auction 2012: Fine Arts Auction 2013: Athletics
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Auction 2014: Science Auction 2015: Technology Auction 2016: Math Auction 2017: Humanities Auction 2018: Fine Arts (and the cycle begins again …)
III. The Procedure for Distribution of Fund-A-Need: Proceeds will be distributed according to the following guidelines: • The MS and HS directors will oversee these funds and authorize their distribution. • The first $15,000 will be placed in a common restricted account for major expenditures. • The balance of the account will be evenly distributed between the MS and HS divisions and distributed at the discretion of the MS and HS directors. • Teachers must apply to their director for dissemination of funds. • All funds must be used solely for curriculum enhancement (not for trips or professional development, etc.).
and where that leads
Dr. Carola D. Wittmann Director of the High School
In the September 2011 Ridge Report I challenged myself and all of us to be “passionately curious.” Reflecting back on the 2011-2012 academic year, I am both humbled by and grateful for the many ways in which high school parents, faculty, students, staff and administration embraced that challenge.
From students who, for the first time in their lives, danced in front of a live audience or turned out for athletic teams, to seasoned athletes and performers; from passionate teachers and staff members who accompanied students on class trips, chaperoned Winter Ball, Prom and Congé, attended theater arts performances and concerts; to parents who joined our book discussions or served as volunteers; to those who served on committees and school teams - these examples and others too numerous to list reflect the individual commitment to being passionately curious, to be willing to listen to one another, draw insightful conclusions and realize that excellent education is never a ‘done deal.’ Rather, it is always characterized by its fluidity and openness to change and thoughtful evaluation of data. During this school year, our biggest collection of data occurred through the Intervention and Research Project at Stanford University School of Education, or, as we refer to it, “the student survey.” A total of 162 high school students took the survey in late January, a time frame carefully selected by both Stanford and Forest Ridge to avoid exams, breaks and class trips. The survey’s more than 180 questions covered areas such as academic engagement/worries and physical/mental health; student goals and student perceptions of school and parent goals; cheating behaviors; the usefulness of homework, as well as beliefs about the care and support given by teachers; finally, the survey also included openended questions. On May 9, we hosted Dr. Denise Clark Pope, who introduced us to the Challenge Success work a year ago. This time, Dr. Pope presented to high school students and faculty during a school assembly; in the afternoon, she met with high school faculty, and in the evening she shared the results in a presentation to high school parents. Due to Stanford’s ownership and confidentiality of data results, we are not allowed to share Dr. Pope’s PowerPoint presentation; instead, here is a big-picture summary of the major survey categories and a broad overview of the next step. More detailed information will be published at the beginning of the next school year. What was the big message? The big messages summarized by the survey results were about sleep, making choices and decisions about how to spend one’s time, noting the inefficiency of multitasking during homework, and that changes around stress and mindsets around success involve all constituencies: students, faculty/school and parents.
What does that mean for Forest Ridge High School? To us it means that we need to continue to STOP and reflect; as teachers, parents, staff and administrators, we are called to model to our students how to define success for themselves, not according to someone else’s standard. We have heard our students, and as a high school we are in the final phases of making appropriate changes to our grading scale; the revised scale will be published and in effect in August. In addition, we have committed to publishing a paper calendar overview in the high school building as a visual reminder of some of the months when there is that perfect storm of assignments, tests, athletic events or theater and choir rehearsals. We want that visual, that visible reminder to hold all of us accountable for the choices we make. What is the family’s role? Listening to Dr. Pope we were reminded that, as the adults in our student’s lives, we have to practice what we preach: to avoid overscheduling; to choose health and well-being over fitting in one more appointment; to limit media time, even to unplug, at least for 20 minutes prior to going to sleep. And last, but certainly not least, we need to, as Denise Pope puts it, “debunk the college myth.” Contrary to the 1980s and 90s, when colleges were looking for the student who was involved in “everything,” today’s college and university admissions officers look for a student who can be passionately engaged in one or two endeavors, thus demonstrating initiative and passion. That also means finding the right fit for each of our students, something our college counselors are always striving for. With a focus on modeling engagement and choice, we, families and school alike, become our students’ best advocates. When Forest Ridge High School students were asked to assign qualitative descriptors to their high school, these three terms were listed first: caring, community, family. Families take time to be together; community members may agree to disagree but nevertheless strive for a common goal. We have come a long way since last September toward our goal of continued growth, and we look forward to continuing our development. August’s Ridge Report will communicate the specifics of our action steps and how they are aligned not only to the survey results but also to the Goals and Criteria of a Sacred Heart education. Until then, thank you for your trust. It is the ultimate gift. Happy summer! The Ridge Report 5
Wonderful new (old) image
welcomes visitors to campus
If you have been on campus recently for Ring Ceremony, Dean Shoemaker’s retirement festivities or the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie, you may have noticed a new (old) addition to the Sacred Heart Center living room: a new (old) statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! Since its arrival last year, the statue has been living in the back of the Chapel. In an effort to find a more prominent location on campus, the statue was moved to the bottom of the stairs in the Sacred Heart Center, across from the front desk. So how did this statue of the Sacred Heart make it to Forest Ridge? Following the closing of Kenwood (a retirement facility for RSCJ in Albany, New York,) in 2010, a letter was sent to the heads of all Sacred Heart schools in the United States, inviting them to claim a piece of Sacred Heart art for their communities. Forest Ridge Head of School Mark Pierotti jumped at the opportunity. The statue made the long trek across the country, from Albany to Bellevue, WA, (or “Belleview,” as the shipping label said) and arrived in an oddly shaped box (see photo above). The statue was carved in 1900 by prominent ecclesial woodcarver Frederick A. Brunner, who also wrote “Manual of Wood Carving and Wood Sculpture.” When the statue arrived at Forest Ridge, we did not know much about it. Recently, we were contacted by Brunner’s granddaughter, who is in the process of tracking down her grandfather’s art. Brunner has carved many of the statues in Sacred Heart schools across the country, as well as some statues in churches. At more than 110 years old, the statue looks a little worse for the wear. This summer, as many of us are relaxing, the statue will take a summer retreat to North Bend for a much-needed makeover, courtesy of designer and maker of fine furniture Jonathan Seaton (who is also the husband of Forest Ridge Music Director Alison Seaton). Jonathan will also build a base for the statue. We are lucky to have such a talented woodworker in our community. Jonathan, who helps build sets for Forest Ridge plays and musicals, made the credence tables and welcome podium for the Sacred Heart Chapel. When you see the statue, you will immediately notice the outstretched hands of Jesus. On the bottom of the statue, the inscription, in Latin, reads: “Venite ad me omnes,” which translates as “Come to me, all.” This is an adaptation of Matthew 11:28, which reads, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Tanya Lange Campus Minister
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What a wonderful image to welcome our families and visitors to campus!
Women as Global Leaders looks ahead to
This June marks the completion of three years of Forest Ridge’s strategic initiative Women as Global Leaders. At the May 2012 Board of Trustees meeting, Mark Pierotti and I shared the lessons we have learned and our aspirations for what we hope will be an ongoing conversation about this exciting and progressive initiative. The chart on this page illustrates the evolution of programming. Kisha Palmer Program Director Women As Global Leaders
The focus of Women as Global Leaders is each student at every stage of her development, from middle school through high school and beyond. The inclusion of the alumnae perspective and their leadership is a facet we are thrilled to build upon, especially since Forest Ridge alumnae of every age are involved in an array of amazing endeavors. What better way to model the female leadership we aspire to cultivate? In the next three years of Women as Global Leaders, we look forward to deeply weaving the mission of the Women as Global Leaders initiative within the fabric of Forest Ridge. Looking ahead, it is important to consistently ask ourselves as an institution, How does “x” contribute to/ impact/influence or distract from the vision of empowering Women as Global Leaders? Next year, as we move into our third year of Peace and Reconciliation and our inaugural year for both Resources and Sustainability, and Global Health, we will have many opportunities to ask these questions. As the opportunities grow to include the expertise and passions of our faculty, alumnae and friends, the possibilities increase exponentially. As with all new programming, the opportunity is in building bridges, as well as inviting community participation. In other realms of new programming, I will be working closely with the Middle School and the High School to expand our speakers and special guest programming with an eye towards building summer offerings not only for students of Forest Ridge but for the greater community. It is an exciting time to be collaborating with members of our community to position Forest Ridge as the region’s preeminent educator of women as global leaders. Thank you to the students, families, alumnae, faculty, staff and friends of Forest Ridge who have believed in this strategic initiative and who have given their resources generously to build toward the vision of Forest Ridge Women as Global Leaders. I look forward to next year. Happy Summer!
Photo by Tanya Lange
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My heartfelt thanks Cynthia Seely Parent Association Co-President
As I write this, it is the third week of May, and we are marking the beginning of the end of the school year: the Board of Trustees Dinner, Dean Shoemaker’s Retirement Party and Ring Ceremony. There is more to come. Each of these rituals and ceremonies reminds us to pause and reflect on the milestone or other momentous occasion that is occurring. They help us to remember what is important. They cue us to feel the myriad emotions that accompany times of great transition: joy, sadness, uncertainty, pride, hope and love. I am feeling these acutely this year, as I have a graduating senior and an eighth-grader moving up to the high school. When I got home this evening, after watching both my daughters perform in the One Act Plays, I ironed Jennifer’s white graduation gown. At first, I wished that I had sent it to the dry cleaner – because they know better how to iron clothing and get the pleats in the front just right. But as I ironed those pleats at 10:30 p.m., I was happy that I was the one doing the ironing. It made it real. My oldest child is growing up and will be going to college in a few short months. I need to pay attention. The graduation rituals remind me to pay attention. For the Parent Association, one of the end-of-year rituals occurred May 24: our Volunteer Appreciation Tea. It was a celebration of the symbiotic relationship between the Parent Association and the school. We need each other, and it is wonderful when we acknowledge that fact! Today was a ceremony of our appreciation for each other. Amy Anderson and I thanked the members of our Executive Board, who truly made our job easier this year, and we thanked the mothers who served as parent representatives. We thanked all the parents who helped out in any way at the school – by licking envelopes, bringing food or chairing an event. We gave special thanks to Mark Pierotti, Julie Grasseschi, Carola Wittmann and Sister Diana Wall for their wonderful leadership this year, and they, in turn, enthusiastically thanked us for our efforts on behalf of the school. May I say it is marvelous to be appreciated! It reminded me of the fact that you truly do receive more when you give of your time and energy. I know this intellectually, and I have learned it at various times throughout my life, but today was a wonderful reminder. It has been a great year serving as co-president of the Parent Association. My heartfelt thanks to the school and to all the parents who helped make this a wonderful year. Best wishes for a restorative, fun and sunny summer!