Ridgefield Sch. Dist.
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RHS Girls Volleyball finished the season undefeated and placed in the top-12 at State
RHS Girls Volleyball finished the season undefeated and placed in the top-12 at State
Ridgefield School District finishes exemplary Fall Sports season, introduces Gymnastics for Winter Season (Photo) - 11/19/14
Wednesday, November 19, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-After a successful winning fall season, Ridgefield School District's sports program now sets its sights on the excellent upcoming winter season including an all-new sport, Gymnastics, added to the existing Spudders' line-up of Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, and Wrestling.

"I am incredibly proud and extremely impressed of the performance of our entire athletic program including both the coaches and student athletes of all of our Ridgefield teams," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent. "You can see the hard work being put in by our athletic department by utilizing the Core Covenants to create an environment where our players and coaches dedicate themselves to exemplary performance both on and off the field and courts."

Debbie Bentler, Ridgefield's Athletic Director, along with the Superintendent and Ridgefield School District Board of Directors brought in assistance from Proactive Coaching, a firm that specializes in unifying and strengthening school athletic programs. "Proactive Coaching helped provide additional guidance to our athletic program from seventh grade through high school which has reinvigorated both our coaches and student athletes," said Bentler. "This work helped us make significant improvements across the board to our already-outstanding sports program."

RECAPPING THE DISTRICT'S FALL SEASON

CROSS COUNTRY

The RHS Cross Country runners ranked among the best in District 4 with Bailey Birch landing the #1 spot, Lexi Rutherford at #3, Silas Griffith at #4, and Vanea McDaniel at #12. The Girls team came in second in the District meet. Seven girls and two alternates went to the State Competition for the first time in nearly a decade for the Girls Cross Country to qualify as a team for State.

Angela Shields, the Cross Country coach for four years in track and three years in cross country, points to extensive training for the team's outstanding performance which included a trip to a running camp in Montana coached by Pat Tyson, Gonazaga University's Cross Country coach. "We coached the students all summer with runners showing up at 8 a.m. three days a week to run and perform Cross Fit exercises," said Shields. "In addition, we held destination runs where the teams would run to a specific location and be treated with coffee or sno-cones; we found those runs to be quite motivational for the kids."

In addition to working with high school students, Shields recruited new cross country members from the middle school. "I stood up on a table at the middle school at lunch and asked the students if they were interested in joining the high school cross country team," explained Shields. "So many middle school students joined that we had a solid team of 11 seventh and eighth graders making this year the first time we've ever had a complete middle school team."

Shields couldn't be happier with the performance of the Cross Country team. "I'm elated and thrilled for the program," she said. "Going to state is great, but the effect making state has on the program increases the expectations of both the students and the community for the program for the future, too, which is fantastic!"

Shields works closely with her assistant coach, Natosha Buruse. "Natosha has been an integral part of the program's growth and success," she said. "It has been an honor to be able to coach this amazing team with so much support from my student athletes and their parents." Shields was selected as Cross Country Coach of the Year for the Greater St. Helens League (GSHL).

FOOTBALL

RHS Football finished with a winning season of 5-4 after a final game against Hudson's Bay. Dan Andersen, the head coach for RHS football attributes tough play performed by our team's offensive line and running backs along with strong defense leading the team to their victories this season.

GIRLS SOCCER

The Ridgefield High School Girls Soccer team finished 11-1 in the GSHL league as the League Champions and received the #1 seed. The team ranked as high as #2 in the state in 2A Classification. Coach Robby Trimbo was selected as Girls Soccer Coach of the Year for the Greater St. Helens League (GSHL).

VOLLEYBALL

Girls Volleyball Spudders were GSHL Champions finishing the season undefeated with a 12-0 record and receiving the #1 seed in the District Tournament. Ridgefield placed 2nd at District and in the top-12 at State. Team leaders for the Spuds included Madi Harter with 45 aces, Ali Serface with 54 stuff blocks, Sam Rice with Bella Gama combining for over 500 assists, and Syanne Chandler with Maddy Campbell combining for more than 300 digs on defense. Throughout the season, both Bella Gama and Shyanne Chandler were selected as WIAA 2A Athletes of the Week. Sabrina Dobbs, RHS Volleyball Coach, was selected as Volleyball Coach of the Year for the Greater St. Helens League (GSHL)

BOYS GOLF

Boys Golf had two golfers finish in the top 20 at District - Logan Moses and Andy Besel. Both players may qualify as alternates at state.

WIAA ACADEMIC RECOGNITION

In addition to being exemplary athletes, our student athletes also demonstrate their ability to be excellent students. The following teams received WIAA recognition for their academic performance:

Girls Cross Country - 3.79 GPA
Girls Soccer - 3.49 GPA
Boys Golf - 3.33 GPA
Boys Cross Country - 3.24 GPA
Volleyball - 3.16 GPA

A WORD FROM OUR ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, DEBBIE BENTLER

The entire fall season went incredibly smoothly. Four of our five programs qualified for post-season competition. The Spudders hold two league championships in volleyball and soccer. We were one runner away from champions in cross country. Football finished with a winning season and truly improved over the course of the season.

Regarding Cross County, Angela's done a fabulous job building the program from 17 students to 30 in just three seasons. This incredible growth is due in large part to her close connection to the kids and focus on continuous training.

In addition, our soccer and volleyball teams ranked in the top five of the 2A classification. Ridgefield was well-represented in All League selections with 3 Coaches of the Year, 3 League MVP's, eleven 1st Team, seven 2nd Team and six Honorable Mentions. The overall performance of our fall athletic program is one that our community can and should be incredibly proud of.

WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW - INTRODUCING GYMNASTICS

In addition to our annual sports of Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, and Wrestling, Ridgefield School District has officially added a new sport to the Winter line-up: Gymnastics.

GYMNASTICS

Previously, student athletes in gymnastics performed through a district cooperative with another school, but this year, Ridgefield High School has brought the team in-house. In order to make gymnastics an official Ridgefield School District sport, Torri Tjensvold and other parents approached the Ridgefield School District Board of Directors to present the high level of interest in the sport.

Richard Samuels, coach of the RHS Gymnastics Team, has coached the team for seven years in as part of the cooperative. "I feel very good that we're now an official Ridgefield High School team," said Samuels. "These young ladies put in the effort and deserve to have an equal standing to the other sports in the Ridgefield roster."

Samuels discovered his love for gymnastics at a young age when asthma prevented him from participating in track, but he found that he could participate in gymnastics, "The sustained energy in gymnastics is different." After participating for years, he developed a love for teaching and enjoyed helping other learn which motivated him to pursue coaching.

The Gymnastics Team has set its sights high on making the inaugural season for the team an excellent one. "We are really appreciative of the support of the high school and superintendent for our program," said Samuels. "We hope to see our Ridgefield fans watch our Spudders perform and compete at the Naydenov and Northpointe Gymnastics Centers."

Throughout the gymnastic program's participation in the cooperative over the years, Ridgefield student athletes have been incredibly successful in the sport. Just last year, Kylee Tjensvold, daughter of Torri, went to the state competition and was the district bar champion. "Having the sport officially recognized is a huge deal for the girls," said Torri. "Kylee has always wanted to be able to wear a Ridgefield letter shirt."

Torri expressed her gratitude for all the support she and the other parents received in making gymnastics an official team. "We want to thank the Board, Debbie Bentler, and Dr. McCann for all the time and effort they put into this for us," she said. "The girls really appreciate it and so do the parents."

COMMENT FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

"Our student athletes are outstanding examples of what it means to be both an excellent student and to excel as an athlete through hard work, too," said McCann. "Ridgefield School District looks forward to an exciting winter sports season following up our outstanding fall program's performance."

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Perla Mendez (12), Rolena Crandell-Bash (12), and Thomas Young (12) give their presentation on different types of learners
Perla Mendez (12), Rolena Crandell-Bash (12), and Thomas Young (12) give their presentation on different types of learners
Students at Ridgefield High School take Teaching Academy to help them become teachers after they graduate college (Photo) - 11/10/14
Monday, November 10, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-Ridgefield students interested in becoming teachers can receive college credit and actual in-class teaching experience by taking an innovative new course called Teaching Academy at Ridgefield High School.

Stefanie Foster teaches Family and Consumer Science classes at Ridgefield High School including Independent Living; Fashion and Clothing; Food and Cooking; and now, offered for the first time in the 2014-2015 school year, Teaching Academy. Offering a course like Teaching Academy at a smaller school district like Ridgefield doesn't happen without significant planning. "Typically, bigger districts like Evergreen, Vancouver, and Battle Ground offer this course to students interested in becoming teachers because they have the necessary resources," said Foster. "Personally, I loved the idea behind it - giving students an up-close and personal experience of teaching - so I prepared the course materials and received certification from the state to offer the class this year." Foster earned her certification over the summer to teach the course, and worked closely with Mary Thompson, a family and consumer science teacher at Heritage High School in the Evergreen School District, to get extra advice and tips.

During the first semester, students study teaching theory and learn how to differentiate their own personal teaching techniques. Students research and determine what type of learner they are so they can know how to teach different kinds of students using their own strengths and weaknesses. "We've been doing a lot of in-class discussions about the different types of learners," explained Foster. "We've always known that some students learn visually while others learn by doing, but now we've discovered that some students prefer to learn through movement, using logic, music, and many more." There are total of eight different kinds of student learners.

By the second semester, high school students will team up with teachers at Ridgefield's elementary schools and middle school to perform in-class observations. As interns, students will spend four days a week visiting classrooms. During observations, Teaching Academy students will study the teaching style, environment, classroom culture, and professionalism of their paired teacher. As the semester progresses, students will take part in actual teaching. "We don't want the interns just performing menial busy work," said Foster. "The student interns will perform instructional tasks where they will be actively involved in teaching." Ridgefield teachers interested in participating in the Teaching Academy program can contact Stefanie Foster directly.

Kayteln Harris, a senior, took Teaching Academy because she plans to become a teacher after graduating college. "Previously, I took a child development course to learn about kids, and this class helps me learn how to teach them," said Harris. "I like younger kids because you can be so much more creative with the curriculum; personally, I'm very verbal and open and I think that will help younger kids learn."

Thomas Young, also a senior, wants to become a music teacher of students from any grade. "I play three different instruments and want to share my love of music with students," said Young. "Music is my life's passion and to have the opportunity to share that passion motivates me." Currently, Young volunteers to teach classes with Phillip Scamahorn, one of the district's music directors, and Dr. Frank Zahn who was Young's first music teacher in Washougal.

The Teaching Academy course evolved from a program developed in South Carolina designed to recruit high school students into a teaching career after the state realized it was facing a shortage of teachers. In Washington State, efforts were made to create a "grow-your-own" model due to impending teacher shortages. In addition to receiving high school credit for the course, students taking Teaching Academy also receive course credit for education courses recognized by Washington State universities and colleges.

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Sarah Adams, Timothy Rozmaity, Eliso Castillo, Rhylee Haensel, and Natalie Stephens, sixth graders, take notes of the Kindergarteners' ideas
Sarah Adams, Timothy Rozmaity, Eliso Castillo, Rhylee Haensel, and Natalie Stephens, sixth graders, take notes of the Kindergarteners' ideas
Chromebooks and the Cloud enable a school-wide collaborative writing project at South Ridge Elementary School (Photo) - 11/03/14
Monday, November 3, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-The entire teaching staff of South Ridge Elementary School collaborated to create an innovative school-wide writing project that will involve every student from Kindergarten through sixth grade and last the entire school year.

Each grade level will work as a team to contribute writing to the story from beginning to end which will also include student-drawn illustrations. "This year, our staff meetings focused on the new common core writing standards, and we wanted to incorporate authentic writing from our students by having the entire school community involved in writing a book," said Cheryl Shaw, a sixth grade teacher at South Ridge.

In addition to increasing students' writing skill, the project offers other benefits as well. "The project builds community pride and grade-level interaction among peers by including both students and staff," said Janice Sauve, South Ridge Principal. "In addition, the project focuses on Common Core Writing Standards for K-6 and Learning Standards for the Arts K-12."

Sixth grade volunteers visited Kindergarten classrooms to help guide the students through developing the story. In Ana Hochhalter's Kindergarten class, the sixth graders helped the students brainstorm a variety of different story concepts including: how to progress the plot of the story so far, how to add climatic elements, and how to introduce new characters.

From Kindergarten through sixth grade, students use Chromebooks and the Cloud to share ideas and advance the story. "The technology helps students publish as well as write the story, and also increases the students command of keyboarding skills," said Sauve. "In addition, the Cloud help students interact and collaborate with one another by allowing them to share their ideas over Google Apps." In Art classes, Heather Fukuchi, South Ridge's Art teacher, will have students draw illustrations for the book as throughout the school year.

So far, sixth graders have developed the initial story based on an old man who lives by the river in a shack who kidnaps a roadrunner, South Ridge's mascot. "We started by brainstorming the exposition and background of the story including introducing characters and setting," said Shaw. "The students started brainstorming and when one of them mentioned 'Birdfest,' the story idea just developed quickly from that point."

After developing the concept, students used Chromebooks to create descriptions of the old man, the shack, and the other characters involved in the story. Students then worked in groups to revise and edit the story. "I want all the students to have the opportunity to put their voice in the story," said Shaw. "As the story continues from grade level to grade level, we would like to add characters based on animals found at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge as well as local businesses and other local places to be used as settings in the story." The year-long project will culminate with a completed book filled with illustrations by the end of the school year.

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Janice Sauve, Principal of South Ridge Elementary School
Janice Sauve, Principal of South Ridge Elementary School
Two Ridgefield schools receive School of Distinction Awards (Photo) - 10/30/14
Thursday, October 30, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-Two Ridgefield schools - View Ridge Middle School and South Ridge Elementary School - were selected by the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) in partnership with the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA), and Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (WSASCD) as 2014 Schools of Distinction in an announcement made Tuesday, October 28.

This is the third consecutive School of Distinction Award for South Ridge Elementary School, having also won in 2012 and 2013, and the first for View Ridge Middle School. In order to receive a School of Distinction Award, schools must demonstrate outstanding improvement in reading and math scores sustained over a five-year period. Schools of Distinction represent only the top 5% of schools in Washington State for improvement at their respective levels.

"For these two schools to receive School of Distinction Awards demonstrates the dedication and hard work of our teachers and staff, district-wide, to increasing student learning," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent of Ridgefield School District. "Receiving these awards provides proof of the team effort put forth by every staff member throughout the district to creating an environment where students can excel."

The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) in partnership with the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA), and Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (WSASCD) recognize schools in the top 5% of improvement for their levels to receive the School of Distinction Awards.

The 2014 School of Distinction award winners include 54 elementary schools, 22 middle / junior high schools, 17 high schools, and 8 alternative schools. Greg Lobdell, President of CEE noted, "These schools are from all regions of the state, all sizes of towns, with a range from 2.7% to 100% poverty and enrollment of English Language Learners as high as 40%. These schools demonstrate that significant improvement is occurring all across our diverse public schools."

Each regional Educational Service District throughout the state will be hosting an award ceremony to recognize the SOD award winners within their districts. Dates will be announced in subsequent, regional press releases.

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Deputy Pete Olson and his K-9, Tau, help hunt down and arrest drug dealers
Deputy Pete Olson and his K-9, Tau, help hunt down and arrest drug dealers
Ridgefield's middle school students learn to say no to drugs and alcohol by celebrating Red Ribbon Week (Photo) - 10/27/14
Monday, October 27, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-Students learned the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse by celebrating Red Ribbon Week at View Ridge Middle School with dedicated classroom lessons and a visit from a Deputy Sheriff Pete Olson from Washington County's Sheriff's Department in Oregon.

Throughout the week, seventh and eighth graders learned about the dangers of drugs and alcohol in their classes. In math classes, students calculated percentages to analyze tobacco statistics and how tobacco is a leading cause of cancer. Students received lessons about methods they could use to help deny peer pressure and prevent the use of drugs, alcohol and risky behavior in the LifeSkills curriculum taught during Physical Education class, while students studied drug and alcohol advertisements in Language Arts and Social Studies classes to see how words can be used to manipulate the psyche of readers. Students signed pledges on a banner vowing remain drug- and alcohol-free which the school will display for the entire year in the commons area.

On Thursday, Sheriff's Deputy Pete Olson from Washington County in Oregon spoke to seventh and eighth graders about his role as a K-9 unit who helps close down drug manufacturers and arrest drug dealers. Olson is married to Vicky Olson, an English Language Learners (ELL) Paraeducator at South Ridge Elementary School, and their sons, Nathan and Dillon, are eighth and fifth graders in Ridgefield School District, respectively.

Olson spoke to students about the risks of drug use and the different types of drugs and their effects on the human body. Students asked questions including what breeds of dogs the department uses to hunt drugs, how officers train their dogs, how many drug cases Olson has helped close over his career, how difficult it is to interrogate someone, what is a gateway drug, and what is the best part of his job. Olson said chasing down suspects in his car is one of the best parts of his job.

Olson always wanted to become a member of law enforcement, "I want to be the guy who wears the white hat who makes a difference helping people." In order to become a member of the K-9 unit and manage a drug-sniffing dog, Olson had to serve in the department for five years and complete an intensive application process which took several months. "Everyone wants to work as a K-9 unit," explained Olson. "The dogs come home with their officers, and the dogs must receive constant training to remain vigilant and dedicated to what they do."

Olson offers tips for parents to ensure their kids refuse to use drugs:

* Parents should have open communication with your kids: talk about the dangers of drugs and how harmful they can be for users.
* Parents need to know the friends of their children. In surveys, students report their friends as the people who can most influence them to use drugs.

"With supportive parents and good decision-making skills, kids can always make the right move to not use drugs or alcohol," said Olson.

This is the fourth year View Ridge Middle School has celebrated Red Ribbon Week. "Students really like learning about the material and have come to look forward to it each year," said Kirstin Kunihisa, school counselor for View Ridge. "The students raved about Deputy Olson's presentation."

In 1985, the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth joined with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to create Red Ribbon Week in honor of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena who was killed in the line of duty fighting the influx of illegal drugs from Mexico. Each year, students and citizens worldwide celebrate Red Ribbon Week from October 23-31 dedicated to Camarena and all victims killed as a result of violence stemming from the illegal drug trade.

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