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Dana Ziemer presents to the Ridgefield School Board
Dana Ziemer presents to the Ridgefield School Board
Ridgefield School District Set to Host 2017 Bond Community Forum (Photo) - 09/26/16

September 26, 2016 -- Ridgefield, WA -- The Ridgefield School District will host a community forum on Tuesday, October 4 at Ridgefield High School from 5:30 -- 7:00 p.m., providing community members an opportunity to learn more about the 2017 bond.

Last May, following more than six months of intensive work, the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) delivered a report and recommendations to the Ridgefield School Board, requesting the board to put a bond on the February 2017 ballot.

A unique feature of the CFAC's process was their purposeful engagement of the whole community. They hosted a community forum in March, held staff presentations at the school sites, provided updates to area business groups, and utilized a subcommittee structure to survey and interview parents, staff, and other stakeholders.

"This really is the community's bond. We wanted to get as much input as we possibly could," said Dana Ziemer, the group's co-chair.

The CFAC recommendations included the construction of a new fifth and sixth-grade intermediate school and seventh and eighth-grade middle school at the district-owned property across South Hillhurst Road from Ridgefield High School. The two schools would share certain core facilities, such as food service, library-media center, and a black box theater to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The CFAC also strongly encouraged the district to continue pursuing the partnership with the City of Ridgefield to develop an outdoor recreation complex on the same property to be used by the school district, area athletic organizations, and the general public. The joint project has the potential to save taxpayers $5 million by constructing shared spaces.

Additionally, the CFAC proposes expanding Ridgefield High School to accommodate an additional 500 students. This project would focus on spaces for the fine arts, special education, science, a new library-media center, and more general education classrooms.

In the bond package, both Union Ridge Elementary and South Ridge Elementary receive safety and security upgrades, and a portion of the existing View Ridge Middle School is repurposed for an expanded community education program and the consolidation of district administration and support services.

The estimated cost breakdowns by project are:

Facility Need Cost Range
New 5-6 and 7-8 School Campuses $70,447,279 $73,969,643
New Addition at RHS $22,051,180 $23,153,739
Safety/Security Upgrades at South Ridge $493,482 $542,830
Safety/Security Upgrades at Union Ridge $510,325 $561,357
Repurpose View Ridge Middle School $1,894,981 $2,084,247
Total Cost Range $95,397,247 $100,311,816


In June, board members authorized district administrators to begin the planning and design for the new 5-6 and 7-8 schools complex. After four months of work, including many stakeholder engagement meetings, the district wants to move forward with the community to gather more information and feedback from citizens on the progress made to date.

"For more than a year, the district has been preparing for this community bond project. I am exceptionally grateful for the many staff, parents, and residents who have contributed their time and energy to develop a series of recommendations that serve our growing community. We continue to make significant progress with planning and design, and I look forward to hearing from community members as they provide valuable input," said Dr. Nathan McCann, the district's superintendent.
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Members of Ridgefield's SSAC
Members of Ridgefield's SSAC
Experience Ridgefield Set for This Saturday, September 24 (Photo) - 09/21/16

Ridgefield students are busy putting the final touches on Experience Ridgefield, a community carnival conceived to celebrate the hometown spirit that Ridgefield is known for throughout the region. Experience Ridgefield will take place at Ridgefield High School (2630 S. Hillhurst Road) from 3:00 -- 8:00 p.m.

Experience Ridgefield was developed and organized by students in the district's Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SSAC). A dozen students, representing each of the district's four schools, meet monthly with Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent, to provide advice and feedback to McCann. Each year they are also asked to work on a project that contributes to the betterment of the community.

Experience Ridgefield was born from that concept. Gwen Harris, an eighth-grader, and a member of the SSAC is proud of all the work she and her colleagues have invested in creating Experience Ridgefield.

"As a group, we have been working hard on making Experience Ridgefield a memorable event for the whole community. I am excited to help with this event and extremely excited to help supervise the free childcare we are providing for all toddlers to 5- year olds," Harris said.

The students ensured the event would include activities for every interest. Harris pointed out some of the highlights, which include a game truck, laser tag, athletic skills stations, arts and crafts, dance and music performances, many food vendors, and much more.

Experience Ridgefield's theme is Past, Present, and Future and the students worked hard to honor the community's proud past. The event includes such activities as a Mr. Potato Head contest that will use real potatoes and potato sack races.

Wyatt Holbrook, a sixth-grade member, added, "We committed to making sure there were events and activities for everyone in the community. I'm proud of what we have accomplished and believe it captures Ridgefield's spirit. And I'm really proud that my family's business, Holbrook Concrete Construction, has been a part in helping make this event a reality."


Students dedicated multiple monthly meetings to brainstorming ideas that would adequately capture everything they love about Ridgefield. The group settled on Experience Ridgefield as the event title, determined to host an event that was highly interactive and representative of everything that makes Ridgefield unique.

The students participated heavily in recruiting the vendors, marketing and promoting the event, and securing sponsorships.

"I'm very proud of the work put in by all the students to create a large-scale community event that celebrates the spirit and pride that makes Ridgefield such a wonderfully unique place to live," said McCann.

More than 40 vendors will be participating in Experience Ridgefield. Holbrook Concrete Construction is the event's lead sponsor, with assistance from The Historic Sportsman's Steakhouse and Saloon.

In addition to all the food, music, and fun, the Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC) is sponsoring a "Stuff the Bus" campaign at the event. The RFRC is in need of personal hygiene items, non-perishable food, and new coats.

Families will be able to complete the day's activities by enjoying the movie Back to the Future under the stars at the football stadium.

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Standard Response Protocol
Standard Response Protocol
Ridgefield School District Introduces Standard Response Protocol to Enhance Student and Staff Safety (Photo) - 09/19/16

Ridgefield, WA, September 19, 2016 -- In an effort to enhance student and staff safety at all campuses, the Ridgefield School District has partnered with the "I Love U Guys" Foundation to adopt the Standard Response Protocol (SRP).

The Standard Response Protocol allows for a shared lexicon by all schools, staff, students and parents. Unlike past practice, SRP allows the district to prepare for a wide variety of emergencies.

Work related to this effort began last year when the school district closely analyzed emergency responses and actions related to various events. In January of 2015, the district organized a Rapid Response Active Threat table-top exercise in partnership with Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA), the Ridgefield Police Department, Clark County Fire & Rescue, the La Center Police Department and Phoenix Security. Considerable time was then dedicated to locating and reviewing various tools to streamline and unify the district's response to emergencies. This work led the Ridgefield School District to the "I Love You Guys" Foundation and their vast array of resources.

"Our number one priority is student and staff safety. Adopting the Standard Response Protocol enables us to use a shared language that our law enforcement and other first responders are familiar with. Chris Griffith, our assistant superintendent, has done an excellent job leading this effort. We have strategically engaged with our local first responders, amassed valuable information, and enhanced relationships that make it easier to keep our campuses safe," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent.

Griffith led a three-member team that participated in a national school safety symposium in Columbine, Colorado in July. The team brought the information back to the district and led training for all administrators in August. All teachers were trained in early September, and all Ridgefield students will be receiving training in the following week.

"The training in Columbine reinforced just how important school safety is," said Griffith. "I am excited to see that the Ridgefield School District has adopted universal language and procedures that can aid students and staff should emergencies present themselves. Working closely with our local first responders has been a wonderful experience. They care so much about the safety and security of our kids. I am so proud of the effort put forth by everyone involved."

At the core of the SRP are four actions. Each action has specific language that must be used followed by directives that clearly tell staff and students how to respond.

The four actions are:
* Lockout. This action is followed by the directive: "Secure the perimeter" and is used to safeguard students and staff within the building.
* Lockdown. This action is followed by "Locks, lights, out of sight" and is used to secure individual rooms and keep students quiet and in place.
* Evacuate. This action is always followed by a location, and is used to move students and staff from one location to a different location in or out of the building.
* Shelter. This action is always followed by a type and a method and is the protocol for group and self-protection.

By using the standardized language of the SRP, the district believes that all participants will clearly understand the action and response expected of them. A district-wide adoption will allow parents to reinforce these actions with their students regardless of what school they attend. SRP provides our emergency response partners (police, fire, medical) with a clearer picture of specific emergencies unfolding at our schools.

If you are interested in learning more about the Standard Response Protocol, please visit the Foundation's website at: http://iloveuguys.org/srp.html

Attached Media Files: Standard Response Protocol
Whos_Your_Legendary_Teacher.jpg
Whos_Your_Legendary_Teacher.jpg
Ridgefield School District Celebrates Legendary Teacher Day on September 22. (Photo) - 09/19/16

September 19, 2016 -- Ridgefield, WA - The Ridgefield School District Board of Directors proclaimed Thursday, September 22 as Legendary Teacher Day at a regular board meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2015 to honor teachers who impact their students' lives.

"Almost everyone remembers at least one K-12 teacher who made a dramatic difference on their life and their perspective in a positive way," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent. "The goal of Legendary Teacher Day is to offer folks an opportunity to recognize teachers who influenced them in their lives by telling their stories."

On Thursday, September 22, the Ridgefield School District invites community members, staff, teachers and students to share stories of their legendary teachers on a special Facebook post which will be made on the district's Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/RidgefieldSchools. "We encourage everyone to share their story even if their Legendary Teacher doesn't teach at Ridgefield," said McCann. "Legendary Teacher Day is about great teachers and how they influence us wherever they teach."

As a way to motivate the Ridgefield community to share their Legendary Teacher stories, Dr. McCann, along with each of the board members, shared their own Legendary Teacher stories:

* Dr. Nathan McCann, District Superintendent
"My legendary teacher is Mr. Walter who taught 11th grade United States History when I attended Middlebury Union High School, part of the Addison Central Supervisory Union School District. Mr. Walter is why I became a teacher. He wasn't a particularly large man in stature, however he possessed a presence that commanded the class's attention. He wasn't autocratic -- each student got the sense each day that this was our class, not just his class.

Mr. Walter served in the Vietnam War, and I believe his experience there shaped his commitment to making sure students understood the responsibilities living a democracy requires of its constituents. We regularly debated issues in class with Mr. Walter expecting his students to develop and present well-thought positions on the issues -- it didn't matter which side of the issue we came down on, it was how we put in an effort to understand the issue.

He was the first social studies teacher I remember who would use stories in his lessons which made history come alive. His class nurtured my love for history which resulted in my own journey to teaching history before becoming a superintendent."

* Scott Gullickson, Board President
"My legendary teacher is Joshua Record who taught second grade when I attended Eugene School District. In an era when there weren't many male teachers, Josh was a young, energetic guy from Michigan who loved his Wolverines football team. He taught topics that weren't typical in the other second grade classes in our school -- working on basic math facts until they became second nature for his students, and holding math competitions with 100 equations to see how many problems we could complete in a given amount of time. He gave us M&M candies to fuel our brains while we worked on math.

Other projects he taught us included: learning to play chess, roasting a pig underground, and building geometric domes. Josh would often stay after school so students could learn more about other topics including oceanography, cars, forests, construction, creative writing, sports, and even luaus.

Josh was likable, passionate, and ahead of his time -- he understood how to drive and motivate kid. He was always teaching and we, as his students, were always learning and we even thought it was fun the entire time. Mr. Record was an amazing teacher who definitely had a huge impact on my schooling and willingness to explore and learn. I can't thank the man enough."

* Jeff Vigue, Board Vice President
"My legendary teacher is Mr. Mattson who taught 10th grade social studies when I attended Nokomis Regional High School. He had a passion for history and collecting historical memorabilia. One day, he held a show-and-tell in class where he brought Dwight D. Eisenhower's Five Stars to class. The passion with which he told the story of how he acquired them excited me to learn more about history. His storytelling techniques kept the class interested and engaged -- he spoke to us instead of at us."

* Joe Vance, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Mrs. Moore who taught fourth grade when I attended Chief Umtuck Elementary School in Battle Ground School District. My family had just moved to Washington from Montana, and Mrs. Moore made me feel loved and welcome. Honestly, I can't remember anything specific about the subject material she taught me; what I remember is how much I enjoyed attending school because of her. She made me feel like I was smart and that I was supposed to be a good student. Her dedication to her students helped me focus and try harder so I could meet her expectations of us."

* Steve Radosevich, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Harry Burridge who taught physics when I was in 11th grade at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis School District. When I entered my junior year, I wasn't particularly interested in science. I enrolled in physics primarily because of the Mr. Burridge's reputation as a great teacher. What made his class so compelling was the energy and passion he put into teaching the subject -- he taught with a depth of expertise and desire he developed his enthusiasm with his students.

The aspect of his teaching that impacted me most was his ability to connect the concepts of science to its application by utilizing guest speakers; field trips to businesses and university research centers; and projects which connected the science he was teaching to major advancements that were changing the world at the time. Taking his class strongly influenced both my interests and my pursuits following high school."

* Becky Greenwald, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Mrs. Lukehart who taught eighth grade Honors English when I attended the McMinnville School District. All teachers teach, but there are some who can change a person's life for the better. Mrs. Lukehart changed my life. She had such a friendly and fun personality which everyone loved. She never asked for too much, but she always expected students to do their best and always held us accountable for our work and our actions.

She had the ability to make her classes interesting and fun whether it was making jokes about different issues, sharing a story from her life, or just through her easy-going personality, she had a way of keeping the classroom's attention and focus. She made learning grammar and reading classic novels exciting and enjoyable -- she was absolutely one of the legendary teachers in my life."

The Ridgefield Board unanimously approved Legendary Teacher Day as resolution number 2016-2017-001.

Attached Media Files: Whos_Your_Legendary_Teacher.jpg
Stuff_the_Bus.png
Stuff_the_Bus.png
Ridgefield School District to Host Experience Ridgefield (Photo) - 09/15/16

September 13, 2016 -- Ridgefield, WA -- Get ready for some old-fashioned, small-town fun as the Ridgefield School District prepares to host Experience Ridgefield on Saturday, September 24. The community carnival, set to take place at Ridgefield High School from 3:00 -- 8:00 p.m., celebrates Ridgefield's proud past, prosperous present, and promising future.

"We are all very excited for Experience Ridgefield. This is truly an event where there will be something for folks of all ages to enjoy. We have numerous food vendors, live music on the main stage, games and activities, including a Game Truck, Laser Tag, gymnastics, flag football, a golf chipping station, potato sack races, inflatables, arts and crafts, many exhibits and displays, Mr. Potato Head contest, and much more," said Bonnie Harris.

Experience Ridgefield was developed and organized by students in the district's Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SSAC). A dozen students, representing each of the district's four schools, meet monthly with Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent, to provide advice and feedback to McCann. Each year they are also asked to work on a project that contributes to the betterment of the community.

Experience Ridgefield was born from that concept. The Ridgefield School Board, led by Board members Scott Gullickson and Joe Vance, were looking for a way to bring the community together at a district-hosted event. McCann turned to the SSAC students to develop the carnival, and they certainly delivered.

Students dedicated multiple monthly meetings to brainstorming ideas that would adequately capture everything they love about Ridgefield. The group settled on Experience Ridgefield as the event title, determined to host an event that was highly interactive and representative of everything that makes Ridgefield unique.

The students have also been heavily involved in recruiting the vendors, event marketing and promotion, and securing sponsorships.

"I'm very proud of the work put in by all the students to create a large-scale community event that celebrates the spirit and pride that makes Ridgefield such a wonderfully unique place to live," said McCann.

More than 40 vendors will be participating in Experience Ridgefield. Holbrook Concrete Construction is the event's lead sponsor, with assistance from The Historic Sportsman's Steakhouse and Saloon.

In addition to all the food, music, and fun, the Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC) is sponsoring a "Stuff the Bus" campaign at the event. The RFRC is in need of personal hygiene items, non-perishable food, and new coats.

Families will be able to complete the day's activities by enjoying the movie Back to the Future under the stars at the football stadium.

"I'm grateful for the generosity of our partnering sponsors and the many local businesses, civic groups, and public entities for supporting Experience Ridgefield," said McCann.

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Kerin Montsinger and Tom Zimmer
Kerin Montsinger and Tom Zimmer
Ridgefield's New Teachers Go to School (Photo) - 09/06/16

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - Ridgefield, WA - Tuesday, August 30, was the first day of school for students in the Ridgefield School District (RSD). But for teachers new to the district, their first day came two weeks earlier. On Monday, August 15, district officials welcomed nearly 30 new teachers and administrators as the district kicked-off its four-day New Employee Induction program--developed to offer additional support to new teachers and administrators.

The program, now in its second year, provides certificated employees new to Ridgefield, the opportunity to become familiar with the district's instructional framework, teacher supports, and learning culture. Washington state, like most states in the nation, is experiencing a serious teacher shortage that is making it more difficult to find new teachers as teachers retire. In rapidly growing communities like Ridgefield, that challenge is compounded by the need to also fill many new classrooms just to accommodate student growth.

"Teaching is an intellectually demanding profession that has gotten significantly more complex over the past 15 years. In addition to being content specialists, teachers are expected to be data analysts, possess strong counseling skills, and individualize learning to an increasingly diverse student population. This reality demands that we provide well-conceived supports to retain teachers and enable them to flourish professionally," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield's superintendent.

This summer, the district hired two staff development specialists to further enhance the induction program by providing instructional coaching and mentoring supports for Ridgefield educators. Nathan Lee, who has worked at South Ridge Elementary for eight years and, Elisa Smith, a veteran educator with 15 years of middle and secondary-level experience, most recently in the Evergreen Public Schools, are leading this effort.

Lee saw this opportunity as the ideal next step in his career. "I'm looking forward to being in position to create more efficient systems to better support teachers as their responsibilities grow," said Lee. "And It's exciting to know that by supporting teachers, I will still be serving students."

When Smith saw the position, she was immediately interested. "I'm going to get to learn so much. The opportunity to get to work with, watch, and support other teachers on a daily basis and then be able to extend that learning to the rest of our staff is really exciting," she said.

Even before the job was official, Lee and Smith began working collaboratively to ensure that the district's induction program would meet the needs of teachers.

"New teachers want to know how to start on day one. Providing our new staff with the time to get prepared, learn about the district, and offering reassurance that they have our support is critical to getting the year started on the right foot. We wanted to make sure our program focused on doing those things and doing them well," said Nathan Lee.

The program has received strong praise from teachers. Kerin Montsinger, a veteran middle school teacher who moved to Ridgefield this summer from a suburban Chicago school district was particularly impressed with the welcoming environment that Ridgefield provided to new teachers.

"The people welcoming has been wonderful. Staff go out of their way to introduce themselves. It really feels like they want me, not as a person for the position," said Montsinger.

Tom Zimmer, a high school physical education, health, and leadership teacher who previously spent time teaching in Vancouver Public Schools and overseas in Seoul, South Korea, valued the benefits from having time to really learn about the district before students arrived.

"I appreciate that everyone has the same message and communicates the expectations clearly. It makes it very comforting," noted Zimmer.

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