Ranger High Tech Academy - STEM School - A Parent's Perspective

The Application Process

On Jan 29, 2018, I filled out an application for my 1st grade and 3rd grade student to attend a new public STEM school in North Ridgeville, aptly named the Ranger High Tech Academy, or RHTA, as they call it for short. I'm not sure how they chose who got in. Application questions were pretty basic, and answered by the kids. What do you want to be when you grow up? What are your hobbies? That sort of thing.

I didn't know a lot about the school, as it had only been in operation for about 5 months at that point. The next step was an informational visit the school. Parents listened to a presentation given by the principal as the “learners” went to a classroom-style evaluation, where they would participate in a RHTA activity, to see if that type of environment would be a good fit for them.

Both of my kids were put in peer groups, and were given an experiment to do… I believe they had to make a rip-cord style device, with the goal of being the fastest. My son was very excited that his group was the fastest on their first try. My daughter was thrilled with the entire process. If it was fuzzy before, this day made it clear that both of my children wanted to attend this new STEM school.

The Selection Process
To be honest, I had a feeling my son would get in, but not sure about my daughter. She is notoriously reserved in group settings, and on her application, I think she said she wanted to be a ballerina. Not quite the STEM-based career I thought they'd be looking for. So, imagine my elation when I found out in the beginning of April, that both of my children had been accepted! Not only would they be going to this awesome new school, they do be doing it together! (In North Ridgeville, some grades are in entirely different buildings, and my children had never went to the same school at the same time before.)

For those interested, its it's worth noting that the RHTA is the only open enrollment school in our district. I suspect they may get more funding for the school this way, but I'm not sure.

This project is an example of the daily outside-of-the-box
learning that takes place at Ranger High Tech Academy. 
Learner Life At Ranger High Tech Academy
A day or two before school started, there was an open house. And, it turns out that you're supposed to go for the entire time, not stumble in late because your kids took too long to eat dinner. Whoops. Previously, North Ridgeville open houses had always been drop-in style, so that threw me. The teachers seemed very nice, and genuinely thrilled to be teaching there.

It's a very relaxed school. My 4th grader thought it was cool they didn't have assigned seats and didn't have to walk in straight lines everywhere. My 2nd grader was excited to make new friends. And, while it's still early in the year, they both love their new school.


  • They both are learning Spanish, which I believe isn't offered at the other schools in our district until 8th grade. 
  • They don't have typical homework assignments, but rather can pick from a chart of things they would like to do to keep their brains sharp (solve a real-life math problem, build something with Legos, etc.)
  • They are encouraged to read every day. My 4th grader has a goal to read 40 books this year. My 2nd grader sets her own goal of how many minutes she wants to read each month.
  • It's noisy! Unlike traditional schools, where teachers talk and students listen, there is a buzz of cooperation and teamwork when it comes to learning. 
  • My son created (or helped create) a bookmark with his name & a famous quote etched onto it. I'm not sure, but this may have been done with one of the 12 or so 3D printers at the school. 
Quotes From My RHTA Learners
“The only thing we don't do is take timed tests.”
“Before teachers used to tell us to do something, and that was it. Teachers here tell us WHY we need to do it.”

Overall, I LOVE Ranger High Tech Academy so far. I'm so thankful my children are fortunate to be a part of this exciting, new learning experience. :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts about Ranger High Tech Academy. Leave a comment below!

Coupon Code for 50% off at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago

Something about school starting up puts me in the mindset to really focus on making the most of the time I spend with my kids. This usually makes me think about vacations. Particularly ones withing driving distance. And, naturally, I think of the amazing time we had at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago, and instantly want to go back again.The kids had a blast there. The drive from Cleveland was easy peasy. And, Chicago is such a beautiful city.  

As luck would have it, we actually are going back… fingers crossed, very soon, as Legoland has generously given me an Annual Pass Membership. Even better, I’ve got a 50% off deal FOR YOU at  LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago!  

Just go to http://bit.ly/2P0SzGU and SAVE 50% on individual Ultimate Annual Passes and Legoland’s NEW Transferable Annual Pass Package which has been specifically designed for parents who plan to send their child to the Legoland with a grandparent, nanny or friend!



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·        Unlimited admission for one year after your first visit - no restrictions!
·        A FREE activity pack for each child
·        Invitations to exclusive events
·        40% off friends & family who visit with you
·        10% off on birthday parties
·        Discounts in our LEGO Store & coffee shop



What’s not to love?! Hey, they’re only little once. Might as well make the most of it and visit http://bit.ly/2P0SzGU to SAVE 50% on your Legoland Annual Pass!

Have you ever been to Legoland? What about Chicago? What did you think? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one.

3rd Grader Boys - Reading Aloud Reading List

First of, let me say that of course this list can apply to both boys and girls. These books in particular are books I've read aloud to my son in 3rd grade. He's a voracious reader, so there's no doubt he could have read these on his own, but some of these might be better suited as silent reading books for grades 6-12. I'll be updating this list as the school year progresses.

The Gauntlet
by Karuna Riazi
304 Pages
Lexile Score: HL700L
"A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair." - Goodreads

Middleworld
by Jon Voelkel
416 pages
Lexile Score: 690L
"Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones meets Clash of the Titans! Fasten your seat belts for a heart-stopping ride of suspense and terror, set against a background of haunted temples, family secrets, ritual sacrifice, and adolescent angst, as a pampered, pizza-eating Boston teenager fights to survive in the teeming jungle and save the modern world from the Ancient Maya Lords of Death. It transports the reader to a world in which the Maya deities still have power and influence, where time and space are in flux, but where even a fourteen-year-old from the outside can become aware, and find wisdom and love, if he can but open his eyes to the magic around him."



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