Tuesday, February 14, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- On February 14, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the February Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.
The Employee of the Month is Chris Poppert, Director of the Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC). Chris joined the district as a paraprofessional at Union Ridge Elementary School in 2011, and over the years, has proven to be an incredible addition to the staff. She is described as compassionate, caring, thoughtful, hard-working, energetic and enthusiastic -- a team player, with a unique ability to take the initiative in helping to get things done on time and in a professional manner. She is friendly, with a quick, warm smile and a keen sense of humor that endears her to everyone she works with.
Above all, her commitment to children is unmatched. Students respond positively to her and enjoy working with her. Currently, as Director of the RFRC, she uses these special qualities and her background in youth counseling, mediation and crisis intervention to work with social service agencies, public and private, to coordinate the valuable resources necessary to enable all Ridgefield students to be successful in school.
Ridgefield School District is pleased to honor Chris Poppert as February's Employee of the Month for her experience, commitment and dedication to Ridgefield's students and their families.
Students of the Month
Trenton Wagner, a fifth-grader, was chosen at South Ridge Elementary School. Trenton is described as a hard-working, excellent student. He is a model of good citizenship in the classroom. Whenever other students need assistance, he readily steps in to help. South Ridge Elementary is proud to name Trenton Wagner as their February Student of the Month.
Danica Allen, a fourth-grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary for her willingness to help others and completing tasks asked of her. In all areas of the school, she is courteous and shows respect for others. In addition, Danica demonstrates great leadership working in groups with her classmates. By being safety-conscious and taking the initiative to help out without being asked, she sets a good example for other students. Union Ridge Elementary congratulates Danica Allen as their Student of the Month for February.
Adriana Garcia Gonzalez, an eighth-grader, was selected from View Ridge Middle School because she is a wonderful example to her peers. In addition to ensuring that her work is completed to the best of her ability, she is always friendly and helpful. She makes her school's learning community a better place to be. Adriana demonstrates perseverance, curiosity and concern for her classmates and sets a good example that is reflective of all View Ridge Rebel students.
Caitlin May, a senior, was chosen from Ridgefield High School. An excellent student, Caitlin is kind to others, is cheerful, helpful and enthusiastic. She is involved in yearbook, school photo club, theater, and also serves as a mentor at RHS. In her spare time, Caitlin volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club in Vancouver, helping to tutor youth with their school work. Ridgefield High School proudly congratulates Caitlin May for being an outstanding representative of the many fine students at RHS.
Ridgefield School District is grateful to its sponsor, the historic Sportsman's Restaurant and Lounge, a local Ridgefield business owned and operated by Terry Hurd. This is the third year that Hurd has provided funding to support the district's recognition program.
Friday, February 10, 2017 -- Ridgefield, WA -- As part of the newly-adopted "Evade and Defend" school safety protocol, the Ridgefield School District is teaming up with Ridgefield businesses to provide safe havens for students in the event of school emergency situations.
"RSD Safe Place" placards will designate participating Ridgefield businesses as places for students to shelter in the event of a school emergency. For students who decide to leave campus to escape a dangerous situation at school, these designation placards will help them find safe places within the community where they can wait until circumstances at their school are resolved.
Howard Anderson, the district's School Resource Officer, suggested the idea after hearing concerns at an informational meeting for parents regarding the new school safety protocol. "Parents were a bit unsettled at the thought of their children leaving campus with no location in mind during an emergency," said Anderson. He discussed his idea with Assistant Superintendent, Chris Griffith, and the district came up with the distinctive RSD Safe Place placard for businesses to display in their windows.
In partnership with the "I Love U Guys" Foundation, the school district adopted the "Evade & Defend" safety protocol this school year. It provides guidelines derived from the Standard Response Protocol (SRP), an all-hazards, evidence-based approach to school safety based on recommendations from law enforcement agencies experienced in handling a wide variety of emergencies.
School administrators received training in Evade & Defend in August, and teachers and students received training in September. Shortly thereafter, the district provided parents with information on the new safety protocol during informational parent night meetings.
The school district will provide additional training for students and staff to include information about the "RSD Safe Place" designations and will work with local businesses to help account for students they shelter during school emergencies.
"Our number one priority is student and staff safety," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District's superintendent. "We have strategically engaged with our local first responders, amassed valuable information, and enhanced relationships that make it easier to keep our campuses safe."
Thursday, February 9, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Tatum Howlett, a senior at Ridgefield High School, has received an award for her artwork in the 2017 Washington State Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Her entry, "Bernadette & Raymond Get in Trouble," won a Gold Key award in the Comic Art category.
Tamara Hoodenpyl, Visual Arts Instructor at Ridgefield High School, received the news early this month. "I am so proud of Tatum," said Hoodenpyl. "She's a dedicated, hard-working artist. She has proven that with focus, great things can be achieved."
"Winning a Gold Key is such a great and exciting honor, and my confidence as an artist has increased tenfold," said Howlett. "I'm excited to see where my future opportunities will take me!"
Howlett, along with dozens of other exceptionally creative students from across the state, will be recognized at a reception in Seattle on Sunday, February 19 at the Cornish College of the Arts. A gallery exhibition open to the public will display the winning entries February 13-17.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7-12. Last year, students submitted nearly 320,000 works of visual art and writing to the Scholastic Awards. More than 85,000 works were recognized at the regional level and celebrated in local exhibitions and ceremonies.
The top art and writing at the regional level advanced to the national stage, where 2,500 works earned National Medals. National Medalists and their educators were celebrated at the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
"Tatum's work is worthy of this honor," said Tony VanderMaas, Ridgefield High School Principal. "RHS is blessed to have such creative students. We are committed to offering quality programs for students gifted in the arts."
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Seventh grader, Micah Ross, representing View Ridge Middle School, received a perfect score in the first of three meets in this year's WordMasters Challenge, a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually.
Ross competed in the challenging Blue Division of the competition held in December at the middle school and earned a perfect score of 20. He was one of only 18 seventh graders nationally who achieved this result.
Ross attributes his strong vocabulary skills to his love of reading, especially fantasy and sci-fi. Eighth grader, Natalya Wilson, also achieved outstanding results in the meet. Both students were coached by View Ridge Middle School teacher, Donna Allen.
WordMasters Challenge is a verbal reasoning program specifically created for students in Grades 3-8 who are motivated by the challenge of learning new words and who enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies that express various kinds of logical relationships.
The program is an exercise in critical thinking. It encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies. Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically.
The top 10 scores from View Ridge Middle School's December meet were submitted to the WordMasters Challenge website as a team score. The report that was generated announced the names of the highest-scoring schools and individuals nationwide.
View Ridge Middle School Principal, Tony Smith, learned of the vocabulary program from one of his new English teachers. "Kerin Motsinger had used this program in the past at her previous school," said Smith. "She thought it would be a good support to our students pursuing broader vocabularies."
There are three 20-minute analogy-solving meets per school year. View Ridge Middle School will hold two more meets: one this month and another in April. After all three meets are completed, WordMasters Challenge will publish cumulative statistics and recognize 100 of the most outstanding schools and 200 individual students.
Said Smith, "It's great to see students like Micah have an opportunity to show they are not just outstanding students at View Ridge but nationwide as well."
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- The deadline is closing in quickly for voters in Clark County. Election Day is Tuesday, February 14, and only a few days remain to vote on Ridgefield School District's bond measure, Proposition 2.
If approved, the Ridgefield School District bond measure will:
Reduce overcrowding so the school district can continue to keep class sizes small; modernize classrooms that reflect best practices in education; enhance security and improve safety upgrades on all campuses; and be fiscally responsible by using funds from state and city, thus reducing taxpayer cost.
More information on the Ridgefield School District's 2017 bond program can be found by visiting http://www.ridgefieldsd.org/2017-bond-program--3
A 60 percent supermajority (2,247 YES votes) is required for Ridgefield's school bond measure to pass. In addition, at least 3,744 votes must be cast either for or against the bond measure for the results of the election to be considered valid.
Ballots returned by mail need to be postmarked by February 14. Ballots can also be dropped off at the Clark County Elections Office by 8:00 pm on Election Day or at one of the ballot deposit locations listed on the Clark County Elections website at: https://www.clark.wa.gov/elections/ballot-deposit-locations.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Ridgefield School District has earned a place on the College Board's 7th Annual AP (Advanced Placement) District Honor Roll and is one of just five public school districts in Washington state to earn this distinction. The AP District Honor Roll recognizes school districts across the U.S. and Canada for increasing AP access to these students while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher.
The school district earned a place on the College Board's AP District Honor Roll in 2013 as well.
"As an AP District Honor Roll recipient, our school district is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds," said Ridgefield School District Superintendent Nathan McCann.
"This is a great honor for our school," said Tony VanderMaas, Principal at Ridgefield High School. "I am grateful to the individual AP teachers for their hard work and dedication in engaging students in this rigorous college curriculum. All the great teaching that occurs in our school district prior to students taking their AP courses provide a solid base of learning and allow our students to score well on the AP exams."
In 2016, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admission process.
"Congratulations to all the teachers and administrators in this district who have worked so tirelessly to both expand access to AP and also to help students succeed on the AP Exams," said Trevor Packer, the College Board's head of AP and Instruction. "These teachers and administrators are delivering real opportunity in their schools and classrooms, and students are rising to the challenge."
Inclusion on the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2014 to 2016, looking across 37 AP Exams, including world language and culture. Districts were required to meet the following criteria:
Increased participation/access to AP by at least 4% in large districts, at least 6% in medium districts, and at least 11 % in small districts;
Increased or maintained the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students taking exams and increased or maintained the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students scoring 3+ on at least one AP Exam; and
Improved or maintained performance levels when comparing the 2016 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2014 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70% of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.
The complete list of recipients for the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found at: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/score_reports_data/awards/232608.html
Friday, January 27, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- On Wednesday evening, January 18, over two dozen Ridgefield High School students braved the ice, slush, and pouring rain to take center stage at The Old Liberty Theater to recite the works of both famous and lesser-known poets in the school-level round of the national Poetry Out Loud competition. Autumn Bochart, a senior, earned first place, with an uplifting recitation of William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud."
Cristyn LaChaine and Astro Bock, both sophomores, finished second and third, respectively.
Poetry Out Loud is a national contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. The program, which debuted in the 2004-2005 school year, has exploded in popularity, with more than 3 million students representing 10,000 schools participating over that time.
This is the fourth year Ridgefield High School competed in the Poetry Out Loud contest, and members of the English Department continue to be impressed each year with the quality of the presentations given by their students.
"Poetry Out Loud is a great opportunity for our students to hone their public speaking skills and share a little poetry within the community of learners," said Tony VanderMaas, Ridgefield High School Principal. "This year, we heard some of the best poetry presented."
Autumn Bochart reflected on her first-place win. "At first, it was a challenge, but over the years, it got easier," she said. "Poetry is such an important but unappreciated art form, and it is wonderful that RHS requires this because it is something most students would get no exposure to otherwise. Poetry can have a lasting impression, especially on impressionable high schoolers."
Brittany Rodin, RHS English teacher and program organizer, agreed. "The students personally select their poems, giving them control over the direction of their literary exploration and a unique opportunity to connect deeply with a single work," she said.
To prepare for the competition, all English students at RHS memorized a poem chosen from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems. In the two weeks leading up to the winter break, English classes held competitions where students recited their poems in class. Students were evaluated on their physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and ability to convey the poem's meaning to audience members. Classroom winners and a wild-card advanced to the school finals.
This year, students benefitted from the professional guidance of Katherine Murphy Lewis, co-founder of the non-profit arts group, From the Ground Up. Murphy Lewis spent three entire days at RHS presenting a poetry workshop to large groups and then following up with tutoring small groups in individual classes. The English department was able to bring Murphy Lewis in through a grant from the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and a generous donation of her time.
Finalists deserve extra commendations for their resilience, as multiple snow days disrupted the schedule of classroom competitions and the final round. In addition, the RHS Performing Arts Center was fully booked, preventing rescheduling of the final round there. Despite all of these challenges and the short notice of the rescheduled finals, nearly all of the finalists were able to compete.
The district is grateful to the staff at The Old Liberty Theater, who volunteered, at a moment's notice, to host the rescheduled final round. In addition to extending their hours, they even provided a poster and show tickets as an added prize for the first-place winner.
Bochart advances to the Southwest Washington Regional Finals at Educational Services District 112 on Thursday, February 2 at 5:00 pm.
Friday, January 27, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- On January 19, 2017, the Office of the Washington State Auditor released its Financial Statements Audit Report for the Ridgefield School District for the period September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016.
According to the audit report, the financial statements submitted by the school district "present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Ridgefield School District No. 122." The audit report identified no significant deficiencies in internal control and disclosed "no instances of noncompliance or other matters that are required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards."
"We continue to make improvements in our financial reporting processes," said Paula McCoy, Ridgefield School District's Director of Business Services. "We take seriously our responsibility in providing and disseminating to the public, accurate accounting and financial information."
"We are committed to maintaining good stewardship of taxpayer dollars," added Superintendent Nathan McCann. "I am grateful for the continued hard work of our Business Services team."