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Ridgefield School District is celebrating Youth Arts Month during the entire month of March.  For classes and events, visit the Community Education page on the district's website at www.ridgefieldsd.org and click on Ridgefield Youth Arts Month 2018 Catalo
Ridgefield School District is celebrating Youth Arts Month during the entire month of March. For classes and events, visit the Community Education page on the district's website at www.ridgefieldsd.org and click on Ridgefield Youth Arts Month 2018 Catalo
Ridgefield Celebrates Youth Arts Month (Photo) - 02/14/18

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Ridgefield School District is celebrating Youth Arts Month in a big way this year, joining with local businesses, organizations, the city of Ridgefield and local artists to offer an abundance of opportunities for children and the Ridgefield community to discover their creative side through art and music throughout the entire month of March.

The school district established Ridgefield Youth Arts Month to support the district's commitment to deliver personalized learning experiences for each student through appreciation of the arts as well as to increase support of the arts throughout the community.

To celebrate Youth Arts Month, Ridgefield Community Education is offering a phenomenal array of classes for the community and for kids of all ages. Many classes are free! View the activities by visiting the Community Education page at www.ridgefieldsd.org and click Ridgefield Youth Arts Month 2018 Catalog.

All classes require online registration and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you find a class full, sign up for the wait-list. With enough interest, a second class may be added! Visit www.ridgefieldyoutharts.com for updated information.

Choose from a variety of classes in arts and crafts or music and dance. Get involved in theater arts productions like "Junie B. Jones" or "The Little Mermaid". Take in the District Art Show or the many musical concert performances scheduled throughout the month showcasing the talents of our amazing students.

This year, Ridgefield School District and the Ridgefield Lions Club are pleased to present a special performance by three award-winning blind musicians, Mac Potts, Nick Baker and Brent Gjerve in an amazing piano concert, "3 Grands Concert & Benefit" on Sunday, March 18 at 7:00 pm at the Ridgefield Performing Arts Center. Be prepared for a unique, awe-inspiring performance by these talented musicians. Proceeds benefit Ridgefield High School's scholarship program and the Ridgefield School District's music program. Tickets are now available online at ridge.revtrak.net.

Be in the know! Join Ridgefield Community Education's mailing list to receive periodic updates and reminders. Simply email "Add me" to terri.cochran@ridgefieldsd.org. A variety of Winter/Spring classes is now being offered. View them on the Community Education page at www.ridgefieldsd.org.

Questions? Call Ridgefield Community Education at 360-619-1303 or email Terri Cochran at terri.cochran@ridgefieldsd.org.

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Sydney Dean
Sydney Dean
Ridgefield School District Honors February Employee and Students of the Month (Photo) - 02/14/18

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- On February 13, 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 Sara Eastham at Union Ridge Elementary School. Sara is an outstanding member of the Union Ridge Elementary community. She is constantly stepping up and volunteering her time, talents, and skills for the betterment of the school. A member of the school's Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) team, she volunteered to take the lead in planning and presenting the school's PBIS assemblies. Her ability to tap in to what children find interesting and enjoyable makes the monthly assemblies a favorite activity for all. Sara is also a leader in her second grade professional learning community and is a mentor to a new teacher.

The Union Ridge staff is grateful for all that Sara does to make the school a great place for students. It is with pride that we congratulate Sara Eastham as February's Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

Marlena Hernandez, a fifth grader, is February's Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School. Marlena's growth throughout the school year is an inspiration to all. She comes to school with a smile on her face every day, ready to learn. Marlena is kind to everyone, is respectful to her peers and teachers, and participates in class discussions. Her joyful attitude towards learning lifts the mood in the classroom and contributes to a positive environment for everyone. Marlena's commitment to school, paired with her positive attitude for learning, make her a perfect choice for South Ridge Elementary's Student of the Month for February.

Jack Rorabaugh, a second grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary. Jack is an outstanding student and a kind-hearted leader among his peers. With his warm and friendly demeanor, he reaches out to everyone and is a friend to all. He holds high expectations for himself and is quick to take initiative no matter what the task. A creative and critical thinker, Jack continually looks for ways to solve problems outside the box. He is also an extremely hard worker and pushes himself to achieve. The staff and students at Union Ridge are thrilled to name Jack Rorabaugh as its Student of the Month for February.

Lucas Allmaras, an eighth grader, is View Ridge Middle School's Student of the Month. Lucas is an excellent student and role model. He is also a strong athlete and leader in the wrestling program. Lucas works well with others and is always respectful and courteous. He consistently contributes to a positive learning environment and maintains high expectations of himself by welcoming feedback--even seeking it out--and grows academically as a result. View Ridge Middle School is pleased to recognize Lucas Allmaras for February Student of the Month honors.

Sydney Dean, a sophomore, was chosen from Ridgefield High School. When asked to describe Sydney, teachers say that she is hardworking, respectful, dependable, ruthless in her learning, and demonstrates the 3 R's (respectfulness, responsibility and resilience) on a daily basis. One teacher describes Sydney as "the kind of student who makes me a better teacher." Sydney is in the jazz band, playing alto sax, is involved with Knowledge Bowl and plays tennis. Outside of school, she is involved in 4H. Students of the Month at Ridgefield High School represent less than 1% of the total student body, and Sydney is truly deserving of the honor for the month of February.

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 fourth year that Hurd has provided funding to support the district's recognition program.

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Student members of Ridgefield Superintendent Nathan McCann's Student Advisory Council, create a design plan that professionals will utilize to landscape open space around View Ridge Middle School.  The project will benefit the Ridgefield community and wil
Student members of Ridgefield Superintendent Nathan McCann's Student Advisory Council, create a design plan that professionals will utilize to landscape open space around View Ridge Middle School. The project will benefit the Ridgefield community and wil
Ridgefield Students Shape Design of Community's Open Space (Photo) - 02/08/18

Thursday, February 8, 2018 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Imagine a meeting of professional architects and landscape designers planning the design of open space for the Ridgefield community. There's nothing out of the ordinary about that--until you take a closer look and realize that students are creating the designs, and the professionals are paying close attention.

Ridgefield School District's 2017 Bond Project is in full swing with four construction projects in the works: the 5-8 schools complex, Ridgefield High School expansion, security upgrades at two elementary schools and the repurposing of View Ridge Middle School.

Recognizing that the repurposing project at View Ridge does not include bond funding to landscape the open spaces around the school, Superintendent Nathan McCann turned to the 12 students in his Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SSAC) for ideas. The council, which meets monthly with McCann, is comprised of students from Grades 4-12 representing each of the district's four schools.

With the professional support of architects and landscape designers, McCann met with his SSAC students in January and presented them with a unique challenge: To design and construct a park in downtown Ridgefield utilizing the open spaces around View Ridge Middle School, relying primarily on the volunteer efforts of professionals and the Ridgefield community.

The open space in need of landscaping includes the nearby baseball field, the school's open space fronting Pioneer Street, and the hillside on 5th Street.

Not only were the students eager to tackle the project, they came up with some impressive ideas for the design team, including a community garden, a playground for early learners, and an amphitheater, to name a few. The kids were excited for the chance to provide ideas that would not only benefit their community but leave a lasting personal and positive legacy in Ridgefield.

"We're very excited and appreciative of the work that they're doing, and this is happening with students as young as fourth grade," said McCann. "Watching them in their groups looking at some layouts and doing some greenlight thinking, it's pretty inspiring to see what they create when you give them just a little bit of guidance from professionals."

LSW Architect, Trevor Chayce, was impressed with the thoughtfulness that the students integrated into their ideas. "They're thinking about the big picture, about everybody that's using the space, not only kids coming to play but even the users of the new renovated building, including the early learning components and everything about the site," he said. "Everything that they're generating here today will be utilized in the final design. We'll be able to work with this team and refine a lot of the ideas to be reflected on the site in the future."

Payton Grimm, a sixth grader at Union Ridge Elementary, shared her group's design plans for the open space. "We're trying to incorporate the community into the extra land around the school, bringing in a community garden, benches and play structures for everyone to use," she said. "I feel like it's a wonderful opportunity to make my mark on the community because I feel like it'll be here forever."

Jacob Bell, a sixth grader from South Ridge Elementary, was equally excited. "I think it's really awesome that I actually got to be here, and I think this is going to be a really cool project to be a part of."

"It's really great for these younger kids to be a part of what's coming for the future of the community," said Jolie Gullickson, a junior at Ridgefield High School. "The best part is being able to work with them and knowing what their input is on what's yet to come and just making sure that we keep Ridgefield the way it always is because it's growing so much."

In the coming year, the students will continue to collaborate with landscape designers and architects to refine their ideas, and as their plans move forward toward implementation, get community organizations on board and increase volunteer support. Estimated completion of the landscaping project is January 2019.

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Grace Melbuer, sophomore at Ridgefield High School, placed first in the school's Poetry Out Loud competition.
Grace Melbuer, sophomore at Ridgefield High School, placed first in the school's Poetry Out Loud competition.
Ridgefield High School Students Shine in Poetry Out Loud Contest (Photo) - 01/26/18

Friday, January 26, 2018 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- On Wednesday evening, January 18, over two dozen Ridgefield High School students braved the 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.

Grace Melbuer, a sophomore, earned first place, with a recitation of Rita Mae Reese's poem, "Dear Reader." Natalie Dean, a senior, finished second. Davin Tjia, a sophomore, and Kendall Davis, a freshman, tied for third-place honors.

"Poetry is a unique art form that allows for the expression of ideas and opinions," said Melbuer. "I appreciate Poetry Out Loud at Ridgefield High because it gives students the opportunity to expose themselves to the wonderful art while practicing their memorization and public speaking skills."

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 fifth year that Ridgefield High School has 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.

To prepare for the competition, all RHS English students selected and memorized a poem chosen from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems. 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 once again from the professional guidance of Katherine Murphy Lewis, co-founder of the non-profit arts group, From the Ground Up. Murphy Lewis worked with groups of RHS students, presenting workshops and tutoring small groups in individual classes to prepare for the contest. 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.

The district is grateful to the staff at The Old Liberty Theater, who hosted the competition. We congratulate Grace and wish her the best as she advances to Poetry Out Loud's Southwest Washington Regional Finals at Educational Service District #112 on January 30th at 5:00 pm.

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Ridgefield High School Students Selected for Local, State Band Honors - 01/26/18

Friday, January 26, 2018 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Nine students from Ridgefield High School were recently honored for their accomplishments in music.

Congratulations to freshmen Alina Fabyanchuk and Eireann Van Natta; sophomores, Samantha Fenton, Emma Thulin, Spencer Hess and Emma Schmidt; juniors, Ellie McCann and Anthony Paepcke; and senior, Hannah Farley. All were selected for the 2018 North County Honor Band.

On Saturday, January 20th, the students performed in the group's annual concert at Hockinson High School. The free annual concert was open to the public.

The North County Honor Band is made up of middle school and high school students from Hockinson, Prairie, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, La Center, Woodland, Camas and Washougal high schools. Applicants are chosen based on their musical accomplishments and band director's recommendation.

Students selected for the opportunity receive a quality band experience that challenges them as musicians of a high-level honor group, performing with their peers from other school districts and working with esteemed guest conductors--this year, Dr. Rob Davis, director of bands at Lower Columbia College, and Dr. Rodney Dorsey, director of bands at the University of Oregon.

Two of the RHS students were also selected for the Washington All-State Small Schools Wind Symphony. Samantha Fenton (flutist) and Emma Schmidt (clarinetist) will perform with the ensemble at the 2018 Washington Music Educators Association Conference in Yakima, Washington during Presidents' Day weekend.

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View Ridge Middle School students Cayden Lauder (left) and Kaison Apol prepare their robot at a FIRST LEGO League competition in Olympia in December as their teammates (far left) look on.
View Ridge Middle School students Cayden Lauder (left) and Kaison Apol prepare their robot at a FIRST LEGO League competition in Olympia in December as their teammates (far left) look on.
View Ridge Middle Schoolers Participate in FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition (Photo) - 01/19/18

Friday, January 19, 2018 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Last month, two robotics teams from View Ridge Middle School participated in a FIRST LEGO League Robotics qualifying competition at Washington Middle School in Olympia.

The VRMS Rebels (also known as "The Squishies") and VRMS Rebels Too (also known as "The RoboRebels") are coached by View Ridge English and history teacher, Raechel Cowell.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit international youth organization founded in 1989 that operates the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League, JR. and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions.

FIRST LEGO League team competitions require student teams (in Grades 4-8) to design, build, and program a robot using Lego Mindstorms technology and drive it to complete challenges on a table-top playing field. This year, teams were also presented with a real-world problem (hydrodynamics) and were required to develop a solution by collaborating with community members and doing research culminating in a presentation to judges at the competition.

The competition helps participants learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM) along with creativity to solve a problem. Along the way, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications and presentation skills.

In addition, by embracing FIRST's Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork. The event provided the middle schoolers with the opportunity to meet students from other schools, get to know their teammates better and to have fun.

At the competition, both teams faced numerous challenges required of their robot. After selecting specific challenges to work through, the students set goals, all of which they were able to accomplish. "THAT was very exciting," said Cowell. "The students worked hard and made effective use of downtimes to make programming changes. One team actually changed their robot design during downtime!"

"When we finally got to see our robot do the first challenge successfully, it was really cool," said Parker Staker from the RoboRebels team. "The best aspect of the competition was when we were pressured for time and within hours, made the robot able to do two more challenges than what we came in with. It was fun to see the saw blade attachment that I made work and help the robot do the challenge."

In the end, View Ridge ranked 27th and 28th out of a field of 33 teams. "However, I am very proud of them," said Cowell. "They weren't trying to win necessarily, but had the full spirit in them to do their best. The students enjoyed themselves," she said, adding, "Many would have been happy simply designing robots and programming them. Students simply love to do this stuff."

The View Ridge robotics teams gratefully acknowledge the support they received from Ridgefield High School's Steel Ridge Robotics Team (Coach Jeff Brink and students Jake McCarthy and Eli Holter) and parents Chad Stryker, Mitzi Staker, and Timm Sowders.

"Being my first year doing robotics, I really enjoyed myself and found the entire robotics community very supportive," said Cowell.

FIRST LEGO League is an alliance between FIRST and the LEGO Group. It was founded in 1998 by FIRST founder Dean Kamen and owner of the LEGO Group, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen to engage children in playful and meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology.

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