Tuesday, March 14, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Current View Ridge Middle School students will just miss the opportunity to move up the hill into the planned new 5th/6th and 7th/8th two-school facility on Hillhurst Road, but that does not mean they cannot have fun imagining how it will look.
LSW Architects, the design firm working on the Ridgefield School District project, met with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) students from Sheila Davis' and Tylor Hankins' classes on March 2 to share preliminary plans and solicit student ideas on classroom design. A bond to fund the new construction passed in February by a 68 percent vote of district residents. The new school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.
During the visit, students learned about green architecture and sustainable building techniques like the use of natural diffuse lighting, passive ventilation systems, green spaces, and local resources like wood when designing a building.
The students then designed a floor plan of their ideal school and/or STEM classroom utilizing green architecture design elements. After drawing their plans, students reviewed the floor plans and 3D views of the new school and had an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions. They also gained insight into the education and life experiences of the architects that led to their chosen career.
View Ridge eighth grader, Derek Kropp, enjoyed meeting the people who are designing the school. "I learned how much planning and measuring even before you build is needed, even looking at the soil to make sure the building will hold up," he reflected. He also said it connected well with what he is learning in his STEM class. "Since we're starting a new architecture unit, it was neat to see what all goes into it," he said.
Seventh grader, Katie Garcia, was interested in how the LSW architects use models as well as some of the green aspects of their work. "It's not just thought up, they have to think of all kinds of things such as conserving energy by using skylights for natural lighting," she shared. Like Kropp, she learned that there was much more to the process than she knew before.
Students were not the only ones who benefited from the experience. Architect Trevor Chayce was inspired by the students' thinking. "Seeing how engaged the students were during our presentations was a very rewarding experience," he reflected, "I was continuously impressed with how much the students knew and with the questions they were asking."
Chayce said that the experience gave the design team a fresh perspective. "In these types of opportunities, we try to engage the students and help them understand space and why we design in the way that we do. The goal is to excite and educate; however, we always walk away from these experiences learning a lot ourselves."
STEM teachers Davis and Hankins enjoyed working with LSW and saw this partnership as one that supports the work they do in the classroom. As Ridgefield continues to move forward building for the future, school district staff will take advantage of learning opportunities like these to enhance everyday classroom instruction.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- On March 13, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the March Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.
The Employee of the Month is Heather Brown, special education teacher at View Ridge Middle School. Heather is described as a passionate, unwavering advocate for her students, never losing focus on helping them grow academically and socially. She manages a caseload of 36 students, which routinely involves going through endless pages of paperwork. It's not uncommon to see her working past the end of the school day and on weekends -- planning, reviewing, writing IEP's -- ultimately doing whatever it takes to help kids succeed.
Heather has been a key part of View Ridge's enhanced reading intervention program, which has experienced tremendous growth this year due in large part to her efforts. Partnering with fellow teacher, Donna Allen, Heather helped implement a team teaching model that enables staff to provide access to core grade level instruction for more special education students.
Colleagues can rely on Heather to be a positive morale booster who is always smiling and can always find humor in a typical workday. Despite doing a job that would overwhelm most of us, she is the first to volunteer to help a co-worker, parent or administrator. Heather Brown is a fine example of the qualities we value in Ridgefield School District employees.
Students of the Month
Jacob Walker, a second grader, was chosen at South Ridge Elementary School. Jacob is a conscientious student who works hard and is ready to learn. He monitors his own work, making any revisions that are necessary. In addition, he always has a positive attitude, is patient with others and loves to help. Jacob's academic successes are proof of his strong work ethic and resilience. South Ridge Elementary is proud to name Jacob Walker as their March Student of the Month.
Ella Rorabaugh, a fourth grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary for her strong work ethic, the pride she takes in her work and always doing her best. What is particularly awesome about Ella is her thoughtfulness, patience and helpfulness to everyone around her. If someone is upset, she checks in with them to see if there is anything she can do to help. If someone is behind in their work, she offers encouraging words and assistance as appropriate. For the compassion and integrity she shows toward her fellow students, Union Ridge Elementary proudly congratulates Ella Rorabaugh as their Student of the Month for March.
Rachel Lindbo, a seventh grader, was selected from View Ridge Middle School. Rachel is a hardworking and intuitive student who strives to do well in everything she does. She takes pride in her work, gets along with her classmates and sets a good example as an overall good citizen. It is a pleasure to name Rachel Lindbo as View Ridge Middle School's March Student of the Month.
Nathan Ehline, a senior, was chosen from Ridgefield High School. Nathan is described by the staff at RHS as hard-working, helpful, respectful, constantly positive, a friend to all, and an "excellent example of Respect, Responsibility and Resilience." Nathan can be seen at all school dances and other RHS activities, at all football games playing in the PEP band, and at school concerts as a member of the RHS band program. Nathan's friendliness, considerate and kind manner, and positive outlook are qualities we all strive for. He is an excellent example of the many outstanding students at RHS and a well-deserving choice for March Student of the Month.
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, March 3, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- South Ridge Elementary and Union Ridge Elementary School first graders and their parents celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday this past week with a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast sponsored by Beaches Restaurant. The celebration is part of the nationwide "Read Across America" program that takes place annually on Dr. Seuss's birthday, March 2, to encourage reading in the schools.
Not only did students and parents enjoy a reading of Dr. Seuss' book "Green Eggs and Ham", they were treated to a delicious green eggs and ham breakfast served by Beaches Restaurant volunteers and by Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow and Ridgefield City Councilor Don Stose. In addition, each student received a free Dr. Seuss hat, and Beaches Restaurant provided door prizes.
Ridgefield School District is grateful to Beaches Restaurant, which has been sponsoring the popular gathering each year since 1996 to encourage parents to get involved in reading with their kids. Currently, 48 schools county-wide participate in the much-anticipated event.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for families to find time for a healthy breakfast. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more students are starting their day with a nutritious breakfast in their school cafeterias. To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available with school breakfast, Ridgefield schools will celebrate National School Breakfast Week during March 6-9, 2017.
The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign theme, "School Breakfast Challenge," reminds the entire school community that a school breakfast provides a healthy, energizing start to the day for students. Students will be encouraged to "Take the Challenge" from March 6-9. Elementary school students can earn stickers, bracelets and other prizes.
"A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education they can," said Connie Vowels, the district's Director of Food Services. "National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy and appealing choices we offer."
The district serves over 300 breakfast meals daily through the federally funded School Breakfast Program. School nutrition professionals in Ridgefield prepare breakfasts and lunches every day that meet federal nutrition standards -- limiting fat, calories and sodium -- and encourage students to choose from the nutritious fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered with school meals.
The district's breakfast menu choices include pancakes, French toast sticks, cinnamon rolls, and cheese melt sandwiches.
National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children and to promote the connections between eating a good breakfast with academic achievement and a healthy lifestyle.
The "Take the School Breakfast Challenge" is made possible by the nonprofit School Nutrition Association, Kellogg's and Potatoes USA. Parents and students can follow the fun on Facebook.com/TrayTalk.
For more information about schools meals, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/SchoolMeals .