Ridgefield Sch. Dist.
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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.

Ridgefield High School Winter Athletes Distinguish Themselves in the Classroom (Photo) - 04/24/16
April 24, 2016 -- Ridgefield, WA -- Spudder boys' and girls' basketball, cheer, gymnastics, and wrestling teams earned plenty of accolades on the courts and mats, but it is their collective classroom accomplishments that may be most impressive. All five varsity winter sports' teams at Ridgefield High School received the WIAA "Distinguished Academic Honors" award, by earning team Grade Point Averages of at least 3.0.

"Academic success is a source of tremendous pride for Spudder athletes and coaches," said Debbie Bentler, the district's athletic director.

Ridgefield's Athletic Core Covenants stress that academics are to remain each student athlete's top priority. "We had five wrestlers and one gymnast competed at state at the conclusion of the season, and we are certainly proud of those athletic accomplishments. To achieve that level of success while also performing at a high level in the classroom is even more impressive."

The Ridgefield School District athletic guidelines require students to pass all classes to be eligible to compete in contests. This expectation fosters a culture of pursuing excellence on and off the courts. Coaches and athletes are embracing academics, as evidenced by this year's team GPA's:

* Girls' Basketball (3.44GPA) - 15 team members in the program having 3.5GPA or higher during the first semester

* Cheer (3.40GPA) - 10 student-athletes in the program having a 3.5GPA or greater during the first semester

* Gymnastics (3.39GPA) - 4 participants in the program earning a 3.5GPA or higher during the first semester

* Boys Basketball (3.24GPA) with ten athletes in the program possessing a 3.5GPA or higher during the first semester

* Wrestling (3.16GPA) - 8 wrestlers in the program earning a 3.5GPA or higher during the first semester

The time commitment of daily practices and games throughout the season can create challenges for student athletes to keep up academically. Coaches have begun including study halls as part of the weekly routine to help support students.
Girls' basketball coach Tom Klutz is especially pleased with the commitment he saw from his team in the study halls. "It was really well attended by the kids, and they appreciated the time to work on their academics." Klutz went on to add, "Study halls were great for our team as the kids helped one another on homework assignments, which helped to create a family atmosphere."

Bentler echoed that sentiment. "The desire our student-athletes have to excel academically has shown to truly benefit our athletic programs. Study sessions have created great bonding experiences within teams."