Ridgefield Sch. Dist.
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Kelly Macdonald, new principal at Union Ridge Elementary
Kelly Macdonald, new principal at Union Ridge Elementary
New Principal Named for Union Ridge Elementary (Photo) - 05/18/16
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - Ridgefield, WA - The Ridgefield School District announced on Thursday, May 12 that Kelly Macdonald will be the next principal of Union Ridge Elementary. Macdonald, a Ridgefield resident, currently serves as the vice principal at Hockinson Middle School. She will officially begin her duties in Ridgefield on July 1.

"Words can hardly express how excited I am to work with the talented staff at Union Ridge. The Ridgefield School District has a reputation for outstanding academic excellence. I plan to do all I can to continue this achievement," said Macdonald.

"We are extremely excited for Kelly to join our team. Her extensive experience, strong commitment to building relationships, and advocacy efforts on behalf of all students, makes her ideally suited to this position," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent.

Macdonald was drawn to the job because of Ridgefield's growth, focus on continuous improvement, and a future of unlimited possibilities.

"There is something special happening in the Ridgefield School District. There is a great feeling of unity and a focus on excellence," she said.

Macdonald has been in education for 17 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University as well as a Master's Degree in Special Education from Washington State University - Vancouver. Also, Macdonald has an endorsement in English Language Learners and training in Orton-Gillingham strategies for dyslexia.

A veteran teacher before she moved into administration, Macdonald has taught kindergarten, first, and third grades. She also served as a reading specialist and as a student advocate.

Macdonald has a reputation for building relationships and working collaboratively to achieve successful outcomes.

"I am eager to meet our students, staff, and families and begin to build relationships with the Union Ridge community," she said.

Mrs. Macdonald has been married to her husband, David Macdonald, for 30 years. They are the proud parents of five children ranging from 20 to 29 years of age, as well as three grandchildren.
RHS staff members
RHS staff members
Ridgefield Schools Continue to Excel (Photo) - 05/10/16
May 10, 2016 -- Ridgefield, WA -- For the second year in a row, South Ridge Elementary School earned an Overall Excellence award from the State Board of Education and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Overall Excellence honor is reserved for the top 5 percent of schools in the state. The Ridgefield school is the only elementary school southwest Washington to earn the distinction for the past two years.

"South Ridge Elementary has a strong sense of family, a desire to collaborate, and a willingness to do whatever it takes for kids. The South Ridge staff works extremely hard to monitor student progress along the way and fill any gaps they discover. I believe South Ridge is the perfect example of the saying, 'It takes a village to raise a child.' The teachers at South Ridge embrace this idea as evidenced by everyone jumping in to help students succeed," said Todd Graves, the school's principal.

Janice Sauve, the school's former principal and the district's director of professional development, shared Graves' enthusiasm. "The South Ridge staff continues to learn and grow with their students. Their excitement for the next challenge is an important element in creating the academic atmosphere for student success."

The awards use the State Board of Education Revised Achievement Index and are based on statewide assessment data for the three previous years. The Achievement Index measures school performance, emphasizing improvement and recognition. Schools cannot be listed as Priority or Focus and must have at least 95 percent participation on state tests to qualify for recognition.

"The Achievement Awards recognize schools and educators making a difference in student outcomes. Award recipients are schools that have made measurable progress helping students prepare for college, career, and life," said Isabel Muñoz-Colón, State Board of Education Chair. "The Achievement Awards are one way we can learn more about the successful strategies Washington schools are using to help our kids."

While South Ridge is carrying on a proud tradition of excellence, they also continue to show continuous improvement as well. The school also earned an English Language Arts Growth award, based on their high three-year average Median Student Growth Percentiles.

Ridgefield High School, which received an Overall Excellence award last year, once again performed remarkably well. With the transition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, high school students last spring were not required to take the test for graduation purposes. Therefore, only nine high schools in the state met the 95 percent participation rate required to be eligible for Washington Achievement Awards.

Nevertheless, Ridgefield High School's Composite Index Rating of 8.48 was the fifth highest overall rating among the state's high schools, and second highest for comprehensive high schools in the state.

"The staff at Ridgefield High School have created a strong culture of collaboration centered on student learning. Our teaching teams have invested a tremendous amount of time in aligning their curriculum to standards and teaching to best practices," said Tony VanderMaas, the school's principal.

Additionally, Vandermaas identified the counseling department's efforts as critical to the school's success. "The counseling team has been instrumental in building a system of support for our students, focusing on career and college readiness, and assuring an extremely high percentage of on-time graduates."

The Achievement Index is the only statewide school accountability system recognized by both the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Board of Education. The Achievement Index measures student proficiency in math, English language arts, science, student growth, and college and career readiness. Educators, families and community members can use the Index to identify areas of strength and improvement in Washington's schools.

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Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent
Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent
Ridgefield School Board Adopts Pursuing Premier (Photo) - 04/25/16
Monday, April 25, 2016 -- Ridgefield, WA -- The Ridgefield School District Board of Directors adopted Pursuing Premier, the district's goals and planning blueprint during their regularly scheduled meeting on April 12. The board's adoption marks the conclusion of a lengthy process to refine the school district's goals that began in August 2015. The outcome is a bold document that provides direction for the district's pursuit to become Washington state's premier school system.

"In order to achieve excellence one must pursue it with vigor. Our entire board is steadfast and united in this pursuit and want every student to know they have our support," said Scott Gullickson, the board's president.

"Ridgefield is a very special place. Our community spirit and commitment to a future of unlimited possibilities are unparalleled. It is that incredible support that allows us to look boldly to the future," said Dr. Nathan McCann, the district's superintendent.

Pursuing Premier identifies four focus areas that are critical to the district's aspirations:

* Quality instruction that ensures research-based instructional practices are implemented in every classroom;
* Educational programs focused on supporting the growth and development of the whole child;
* Learning environments that promote appropriate risk-taking and prepare all students for success in the 21st century;
* Community partnerships that promote collaboration and enhanced communication and provide additional learning experiences for Ridgefield students.

The district's four identified goals include:

* Achieve high outcomes through quality instruction, personalized learning, and continuous improvement resulting in success for every student;
* Provide safe, inclusive, and supportive environments that nurture the well-being of the whole child;
* Provide collaboration and communication opportunities with families, staff, and the community resulting in strong partnerships;
* Close the disparity gaps by ensuring high expectations, removing barriers and providing opportunities for all students.

Each goal includes a set of strategies as well as identified indicators that serve as measurements of success.

The process began with staff throughout the district developing draft iterations of a purpose statement to replace the district's mission and vision statements. Board members reviewed and fine-tuned the purpose statement, before approving it in November 2015. Throughout the winter and early spring members of the district's leadership team met regularly to develop the document. Chris Griffith, the district's assistant superintendent, facilitated the process.

"I am very pleased with the collaborative process that led to Pursuing Premier. It has the fingerprints of our staff, students, community members, and partners," said McCann. "I am particularly grateful for the work undertaken by Mr. Griffith and our principals. The discussions our leadership team engaged in were some of the most thought-provoking and enjoyable I have experienced as a school administrator."

To learn more and view the document in its entirety, visit http://www.ridgefieldsd.org/about-us/district-mission.

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