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REPORT OF GIVING 2019-20

When I was asked to write a letter for the annual Report of Giving, I did what I would normally do: reflect on the past year. I would think about the traditions and rituals that mark the triumphant end of a school year, most particularly graduation. Sending another class off to college while the remaining classes advance with pride and expectation to the following year. When I reflect upon this past year, COVID-19 blurs everything. The 2019-20 school year was unfinished. We left campus abruptly in March, and we never returned. The remote start of the school year had the same unfinished feel to it, yet it brought great satisfaction, too. We had faced COVID-19, and still managed to thrive, as a school and as a community. Those reflections brought a range of emotions to mind, and the emotion that stood out for me most is gratitude. Gratitude for this community’s remarkable generosity — generosity of spirit, action and financial support – throughout the year. Our community came together like never before during the pandemic, and no words can properly express my gratitude.

As a testament to the strength of our community’s belief in our mission and the outstanding work of my colleagues, more than 1,645 donors donated $9,084,357 to RE in 2019-20: a new record during unusually challenging and uncertain times. These numbers reflect many generous gifts to REinventing Excellence, our campaign, and to The Fund for RE, which raised $3,000,670 and is only the second time in our history that we have surpassed $3 million in the annual fund!

In the shadow of COVID-19, we pressed on with the projects we had already begun. The largest of which is the Constance & Miguel Fernandez STEM Center, made possible by many generous donors who are listed in this report. The STEM center was opened to our community in August, and it is magnificent. This building is a jewel in RE’s crown for generations to come, and will forever change how our students learn and experience the sciences, technology, engineering and math at RE and beyond.

I invite you to read through this report of giving. On each page, you will find the mission of our school reflected and embraced by all those who work here, send their children here or who graduated from RE. We are RE, and we are proud!

Gratefully,

Stephanie G. Townsend, Head of School

Uncompromising quality

Whether in-person or online, Ransom Everglades maintains its commitment to creating the best possible learning environment for its students.

In the face of a global pandemic, REmote RE launched on March 12, ensuring the continuity of instruction even when our students and teachers were off-site and our campuses closed. In creating a robust virtual learning experience, Ransom Everglades was guided by the same principles that have distinguished RE throughout its history.

Maintaining our commitment to experiential learning

Maintaining our commitment to experiential learning

Experiential learning and a spirit of inquiry define the Ransom Everglades experience. Even in a remote learning environment, students and faculty remained invested in these experiences, and faculty adapted their approaches to meet the students where they were.

  • Building on the success of the annual RE Energy and Climate Change Symposium (REECCS), faculty and students worked together to ensure that the RE community could still view – and interact with – students’ work virtually. They created a number of remarkable virtual museums, showcasing more than 350 projects.
  • Middle school visual arts teachers and students assembled this remote gallery of paintings, photographs and other art so the RE community could enjoy the creations of RE's sixth through eighth graders without visiting campus.
  • Upper school student editors of The Catalyst newspaper took the paper online for the first time. The paper features a series of articles on how students and faculty adjusted to REmote RE, as well as incisive news, features and opinion pieces on a host of complex issues, including tokenism in the classroom, the need for LGBT+ history in RE's curriculum and gentrification in Coconut Grove.
  • Expanding on the website started by students in Greg Cooper's Roots and Legacy of 9/11 class last year, students compiled an oral history this year. They conducted virtual interviews with RE alumni and faculty to collect their recollections and then added an "In Their Words" section to the class’s roots and legacy website.
In 2019-20, RE invested $17.8 million in instructional programs.
Designing thoughtful professional development

Designing thoughtful professional development

As many classes, workshops and conferences moved online in recent months, faculty continued to benefit from professional development opportunities virtually, on subjects as wide-ranging as remote instruction, diverse and inclusive teaching, service-learning and assessment. These experiences inspired faculty to imagine new and engaging ways to deliver content, whether in an in-person or remote learning environment.

  • More than 75 faculty members participated in our four week in-house technology sessions led by our own faculty Technology Task Force. They focused on developing strategies and proficiency in the use of digital tools to create robust, interesting, engaging and yet still clear and understandable, learning experiences.
  • More than 30 participated in at least one class for faculty with the Global Online Academy, and some did several; more than 20 attended STLinATL, a virtual conference held at Woodward Academy focused on STEM, equity and distance learning; 13 world languages faculty members attended a several-day workshop on teaching for proficiency; at least 12 attended conferences or seminars related to diversity, equity and inclusion; 11 took college courses; 10 attended the “deep dives into virtual learning” seminars offered by International School Services; six did AP workshops with the college board; and many others attended various conferences, workshops, institutes and webinars.
  • At least 12, for each of four nights in July, discussed Supreme Court cases from the court’s recent term with our upper school Dean of Studies Greg Cooper, and several dozen participated in discussions of our community summer reading, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, with Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement Carla Hill, and History and Social Sciences faculty member Dr. Brandon King.
In 2019-20, RE invested $225,000 in professional growth.
Reimagining our use of technology

Reimagining our use of technology

Building on the strength of existing educational technology at RE, faculty and administrators worked together to create a dynamic learning environment at home for all students.

  • To ensure equity of access and a smooth experience for the entire community, the school surveyed families to assess and meet any technology needs.
  • Beyond online instruction, faculty and administrators created enhanced opportunities for community engagement online. From assemblies, clubs and office hours to after-school athletic department workouts and REboot (a daily physical activity that took place before advisory), students remained connected to each other and our faculty – and kept the bonds of our community strong.
  • Moving into the summer, Ransom Everglades launched a virtual book club for middle and upper school students, including books such as Dear Martin by Nic Stone, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.
In 2019-20, RE invested $965,000 in technology.
Transforming our campus

Transforming our campus

To match the exciting innovation happening within our classrooms, Ransom Everglades is upgrading facilities, buildings and spaces as a part of REinventing Excellence. The school also invested in materials and plans to create a safe educational environment in anticipation of the return of our teachers and students to campus.

  • RE opened the Constance & Miguel Fernandez STEM Center and the new parking lot on the La Brisa property in advance of the 2020-21 school year. The STEM center is home to interdisciplinary maker spaces, expanded laboratories for teaching and research, a multi-purpose auditorium and collaboration spaces for students and faculty.
  • The Board of Trustees paused new construction projects through the summer to focus expenditures on those needed to create a safe and socially distanced learning environment.
  • The school invested in cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), UV cleaners and fine-particle filters for the HVAC system, electrostatic cleaning devices and additional cleaning staff.
In 2019-20, RE invested $19 million in facilities, which include new construction, and $200,000 in COVID-19-related expenses.
Expanding our impact in the community

Expanding our impact in the community

Because of the collective action that RE community members took this year, Ransom Everglades’ reach into the community extended far wider than ever thought possible.

  • Families responded to the global pandemic through the sale of donated art, letter-writing campaigns, food drives, hand-sewn masks, blood drives and fundraisers. Similarly, alumni made a powerful difference with their work — whether it was serving on the frontlines, lending support to those in need, sharing their expertise or creating opportunities for meaningful connection.
  • Ransom Everglades community members also came together to support a seven-week program to distribute weekend food bags to 200 families with children from Frances S. Tucker Elementary and other parts of Coconut Grove.
  • At the end of the school year, Ransom Everglades Middle School won first place in Dream in Green’s 2020 Green Schools Challenge in recognition of year-long sustainability efforts that culminated in a successful student-run campaign that eliminated juice boxes from the Everglades Campus.
In 2019-20 RE community members donated $43,139 to the Feed the Grove program.

Our graduates reflect

“Now more than ever, it’s crucial that we seize the privilege that has been our education and extend it into the world. This way, we lend a voice to those who may not have been so lucky. Really listen to others, collaborate and cooperate until you find solutions that work for everyone, because they’re out there. We live in a society … let’s create one that we can all be happy with.”

— Natalia Lopez ’20, Valedictorian

“There’s not another place in the world with such encouraging, dedicated teachers, who truly care about our personal well-being. You are the ones who developed our intellectual curiosity, and we owe all of our present and future success to you.”

— Dylan Tie-Shue ’20, Salutatorian

“Now that I have time to reflect, I realize how supported I felt during my entire seven years there. Everyone is so supportive and caring and just open-minded. I think it’s an amazing community and an amazing place.”

– Asher Lieberman ’20

“What’s particularly special about Ransom Everglades is it’s not just you. The administration, the faculty, they’re all aware of what you’re going through, so you can literally talk to anyone, and they’ll be there to help you no matter what.”

– Becca Fisher ’20

REinventing Excellence:

The Campaign for Ransom Everglades School

Our curriculum, classrooms and approach to technology are evolving to meet the needs of the current moment. We are providing our students with new tools and modes of thinking that will help them navigate the shifting terrain of a complex and dynamic world.

Progress

Timeline

Honor Roll of Donors

For a complete honor roll of donors, click below. In the interest of protecting donors’ privacy, the online Honor Roll of Donors is password protected, and the hint to access the document is:

What is the name of RE's magazine? The Ransom Everglades ___. *

* The password is case-sensitive and begins with a capital letter. Trouble accessing the report? Email us at advancement@ransomeverglades.org.

The Fund for Ransom Everglades

The Fund for Ransom Everglades affords RE the flexibility not only to respond to immediate needs in the life of our school but also to amplify the resources available to every student. This flexibility was more important this year than ever, as we put your gifts to work immediately when Ransom Everglades launched REmote RE nearly overnight. We are grateful to every donor who makes a difference in the lives of our students.

Giving highlights

Thank you from Ransom Everglades

Thank you to our volunteers!

We are very grateful to our

34 Trustees

125 The Fund for RE parent volunteers

21 REPA executive committee members

34 Alumni Board members

202 Class Agents

25 Reunion Committee members

for their tireless dedication to RE.