Small classes at Rancho Santa Fe School yield solid results


By RSF Education Foundation

Throughout the state and the country class sizes are on the rise. Classes of 30 or more are normal. Educators are stretching already taxed resources to transition to new standards. At the R. Roger Rowe School (Ranch School) average class sizes remain at 18 students per class. The difference here is the school’s unique partnership with the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation (RSFEF), which has increased its grant to the school to $1.1 million for the current school year.

Irene Dickson, a Ranch School parent, said “We came to this school from a district with middle school classes of 42 students in a class, and here the average is less than 20!” Ninety-six percent of funds from the RSFEF provide for teacher salaries keeping class sizes small and providing for specialized teachers that further reduce class sizes. Without the RSFEF, our average class size would be 32 and our teachers would have less support diminishing their time with each student.

Differentiated teaching for each child

Our students have the benefits of teachers who have the time to teach to each student’s changing needs. “Having 16 students in my class I’m able to meet their needs every day,” commented Lauren Stevenson, a kindergarten teacher at the Ranch School. “I get to meet with each child independently and work with them and push them in a differentiated way.” Small classes mean one-on-one attention from teachers, leading to higher academic performance across all grade levels.

Highest scoring School District in San Diego County

Students at the Ranch School have achieved scores in the top ranking of the state since 2003 when the testing began. Our school had the highest District Academic Performance Index (API) in San Diego County this year. The Middle School achieved its highest API score to date of 957. The Elementary School ranking was also 957, giving the school a top ranking in the State of California. Rankings established for “Similar Schools” in the state are 10 out of 10 for both the Elementary and the Middle School. This is the highest achievable score when compared to state schools with similar demographics.

Additionally, on the California Standards Tests (component of STAR) over 90 percent of our students scored at a level of proficient or above for the 2012/2013, as they did the previous year. This demonstrates that our school maintains a rigorous and effective curriculum.

High caliber teachers who engage our students

“Having as few students as we do, allows me to keep everybody engaged,” remarked veteran Fifth Grade Teacher Steve Riviere. The Ranch School attracts and retains high caliber teachers like Mr. Riviere who place great value on the opportunity to teach a smaller number of students. But this wouldn’t be possible without the support of the RSFEF. Please help us retain this level of teaching.

The RSFEF is asking that each family contribute their “Fair Share” cost per child of $1,709 ($1,140,000 divided by 667 students). This year the Cap & Gown level is $2,000 per student and the Benefactor level is $3,000 per student. The Foundation also relies heavily on the philanthropic contributions of the Scholars’ Circle. This group comprises 20 percent of the school’s families and local businesses who make multi-year commitments of $35K or more that fund 50 percent of the total grant to the school.

Your donation needed by Red Envelope Friday

“We rely on contributions of all sizes,” remarked RSFEF Chair Lynn Frank. “We ask that you give at the level where your passion for our school meets your ability to give.” Please contribute to the RSFEF by Friday, Sept. 27 – Red Envelope Friday. We encourage all school families to participate. Community and corporate donations are also encouraged. For questions or more information please go to or contact the Education Foundation at 858-756-141 x208. The difference is you