Farragut Rotary, Ridgedale School renew partnership

Tom KingFarragut

A productive, fun and beautiful partnership fell victim to Covid-19 in the spring of 2020 – along with an untold number of changes in every aspect of our lives. From 2016 to March 2020 the Rotary Club of Farragut was a Partner in Education (PIE) with Ridgedale School at 4600 Ridgedale Rd.

As of September 13, 2023, this partnership is again a reality. Rebecca Bitner, Ridgedale’s principal, and David McGinnis, its dean of students, attended Farragut Rotary’s regular meeting at the Farragut Community Center. After the meeting they met with club president Val Privett, president-elect Teri Jo Fox, and past president Tom King, the club’s public image chair, to discuss next steps and possible projects and programs.

Last week the club’s board of directors met and endorsed the resumption of this partnership. “We are glad to have the opportunity to partner with Ridgedale again as our previous relationship was extremely beneficial. The current Bitner administration is doing a tremendous job and we will be happy to partner with them to continue their success,” Privett said.

Ridgedale is one of a very few schools in Knox County Schools that is not a true “neighborhood school” and does not have a parent-teacher group. The reason has to do with the makeup of its students – they live all over Knox County.

“The administration and staff of Ridgedale are extremely excited about reuniting with the Rotary Club of Farragut. The support and services provided by the Rotary Club will bring new opportunities to our students, staff and community,” Bitner said. “This is great news for our school and students.”

The school’s current enrollment is 85. It is a unique mix of middle school alternative students (grades 6-8) and K-12 (or ages 5 through 22) students with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Here is how Ridgedale defines these two groups:

  • The Middle School Alternative Program provides an opportunity for students in grades 6-8 to continue their education during a long-term suspension from their base school.
  • The Special Day School Program provides services for students, ages 5 through 22, who are eligible for special education services or may be suspected of having a disability under IDEA. Students in our day program receive individualized support for the development of behavioral, social, emotional and academic skills.

Learn more about this unique school by visiting its website here.

Tom King is a career journalist and a past president of the Rotary Club of Farragut, which meets each Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Farragut Community Center, 239 Jamestown Blvd. If you want more information about Rotary or are interested in attending a meeting or joining, please email Tom or text him at 865-659-3562.


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