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Newly-designed logo for Ridgefield School District's new 5-6 school, Sunset Ridge Intermediate School, scheduled to open in Fall 2018.
Newly-designed logo for Ridgefield School District's new 5-6 school, Sunset Ridge Intermediate School, scheduled to open in Fall 2018.
Ridgefield School District Announces Name and Mascot for New Grade 5-6 Intermediate School (Photo) - 11/16/17

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- The Ridgefield School District announced today that Sunset Ridge Intermediate School has been selected as the name for its new Grade 5-6 school currently under construction. The new school mascot? The coyote.

The district announced the news at its regular Board of Directors meeting on November 14.

The school name was selected from 222 nominations received from the Ridgefield community and submitted to the school board for consideration. In keeping with the names of the existing district schools, "Ridge" was a requirement in the name, along with "Intermediate School". Patrons submitted nominations during the month of October.

In its discussions, the Board sought to name the school after a feature unique to the school site and paid special attention not to duplicate other school names within the region.

Student input was key in selecting the school mascot. Student entries for mascot nominations were required to have connections to regional history, a potato heritage, local wildlife, geographic features and Success Bound attributes (being respectful, responsible and resilient). Students were also required to provide explanations to support their nominations.

A total of 105 mascot nominations were received. School administrators collaborated with student leaders from the district's two elementary schools--South Ridge Elementary and Union Ridge Elementary, and the top two choices were presented to the Board for final consideration.

The district is grateful to all participants who took the time to submit nominations and comments to help inform the district in the selection process.

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School and View Ridge Middle School will occupy the new Grade 5-8 schools complex, which is scheduled to open in Fall 2018.

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Gregg Ford
Gregg Ford
Ridgefield School District Honors November Employee and Students of the Month (Photo) - 11/14/17

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- On November 14, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the November Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.

The Employee of the Month is Gregg Ford, social studies teacher at Ridgefield High School. A dedicated teacher for the past 39 years, Gregg is well-respected among RHS students, staff and community members. He teaches all levels of social studies, including AP classes, and always with a positive attitude and with a passion for the subjects he teaches. Students appreciate his availability before school and even during lunch.

Outside the classroom, Gregg coaches the boys track team year-round. Last spring, the team brought home the state championship under his leadership.

Gregg Ford exemplifies the qualities of many of the outstanding employees at Ridgefield High School and is deserving of the honor as Employee of the Month for November. We congratulate Gregg for the many contributions he brings to RHS and to the school district.

Students of the Month

Katelyn Crouch, a fourth grader, is November's Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School because of the way she exemplifies the 3R's on a daily basis. She is responsible in class, in school and in the community. She is respectful by including others in activities. Finally, by completing her class work, staying focused and working through challenges, she is resilient and encourages others to do the same. By bringing her personal best and encouraging others around her by example, Katelyn Crouch is South Ridge Elementary's choice for November Student of the Month.

Ashlynn Bredemeyer, a fifth grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary. Ashlynn has been a Tater Tot since kindergarten. She is a good student, showing perseverance and thoughtfulness in her school work. She is known for her kindness and is helpful in class and in other settings. A quiet leader and a helpful friend, Ashlynn leads by example in modeling the expectations of the classroom. Union Ridge Elementary is proud to name Ashlynn Bredemeyer as its November Student of the Month.

Adaya Stewart, an eighth grader, was selected from View Ridge Middle School. Not only is Adaya an excellent student with a quick wit; she has a generous and kind heart. Eager to lend a hand, Adaya frequently reaches out to new students to help them catch up on work and offers to help teachers with daily tasks. She is respectful and expertly mitigates conflicts among her peers. Adaya pushes herself academically, and her creativity shines through in her school work. She is a joy to have in class and is a role model for teachers and students alike. View Ridge Middle School is proud to select Adaya Stewart as its Student of the Month for November.

Ian Abrams, a junior, was chosen from Ridgefield High School. Ian is an exceptional student . He carries a GPA of 4.0 and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is currently taking three AP classes, along with physics and third-year Spanish. He is also involved in cross country and track. Ian was instrumental in starting the peer-to-peer lunch time tutoring program at RHS, volunteering his time to help students needing academic assistance.

Many staff members describe Ian as an "awesome kid." Teachers describe him as diligent, kind, respectful, responsible, and resilient. One teacher saw him defend another student who was being bullied, and another commended him on his work ethic and gentle personality. It is without question that Ian Abrams is worthy of recognition as Ridgefield High School's Student of the Month for November.

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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Ridgefield Elementary Schools' Holiday Bazaar Scheduled for Saturday, December 2 - 11/13/17

Monday, November 13, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- It's a Ridgefield tradition. Both elementary schools in the Ridgefield School District will hold their Elementary Schools' Annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, December 2 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at View Ridge Middle School.

The bazaar will take place during the city of Ridgefield's annual Hometown Celebration.

All goods available for sale at the bazaar will be created by students at both schools. The bazaar, which is student-led, gives students a fun and educational experience by providing them an opportunity to create products and learn to market and price them in a real marketplace environment. Products will include handmade crafts and non-perishable goodies, all priced at $20 or less.

The district is grateful to the Union Ridge Elementary School PTO and the South Ridge Elementary School PTA for organizing this event.

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A pair of steel sculptures graces the entryway to South Ridge Elementary School's new building.  The public artwork, designed by Washington artist, Stuart Nakamura, was dedicated on November 2.
A pair of steel sculptures graces the entryway to South Ridge Elementary School's new building. The public artwork, designed by Washington artist, Stuart Nakamura, was dedicated on November 2.
Public Artwork Dedicated at South Ridge Elementary School (Photo) - 11/06/17

November 6, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- South Ridge Elementary School students and staff celebrated the dedication of public artwork in a presentation on November 2, organized by the school.

The artwork, entitled "Confluences" is a gateway feature created by Stuart Nakamura, a Washington artist who has designed work for a number of school districts in the state, including Federal Way Public Schools, Northshore School District, Richland School District, Seattle Public Schools and Bethel School District.

A committee made up of Ridgefield community members, teachers and school district administrators selected Nakamura from a roster of artists maintained by the Washington State Arts Commission.

The arts commission provided the funding for the art project from the "percent-for-art" funds from the state's Art in Public Places program (AIPP). When recent new school construction at the district's two elementary schools (South Ridge Elementary and Union Ridge Elementary) was completed, both schools qualified to receive the state funds to have public artwork installed at each school site.

Alan Adams, art teacher at Union Ridge Elementary, is credited with applying for the public artwork funding at both schools.

"Confluences" is a pair of stainless steel sculptures depicting bird species relevant to the Ridgefield area, inspired by the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge according to Nakamura's Artist Statement. "The reeds represent the wetland flora found in the Refuge, and the birds (red-tailed hawk, killdeer, red-winged blackbird, and Norther flicker) are species found at the refuge and at the school."

The Artist Statement continues: "The title, "Confluences" comes from the notion that like the Columbia River and the dozen or more streams and rivers and all their flora and fauna that conjoin with the great river along its journey to the Pacific Ocean, the various communities served by South Ridge Elementary School merge together at this facility and become as one."

Students supplied the words that are etched into the granite at the base of each sculpture. The sculptures are placed directly across each other on both sides of the main entrance to South Ridge Elementary's newest building in an east/west orientation, in contrast with the north/south direction of the entry way.

"The design has a pronounced visual lean," according to the Artist Statement, "so when placed opposite each other, one leads to the classroom and the other leads towards the open fields to the south--signifying the confluences of approaching and departing students and staff during the school day."

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Ridgefield High School Steel Ridge Robotics team members (from left) Shelby Bruhn, Stella Blystone, Caroline Ceravolo, Emily Davis, Olivia Waldron, Molly Holbrook, and Ayla Davis participate in Girls Generation Robotics Tournament in Portland.
Ridgefield High School Steel Ridge Robotics team members (from left) Shelby Bruhn, Stella Blystone, Caroline Ceravolo, Emily Davis, Olivia Waldron, Molly Holbrook, and Ayla Davis participate in Girls Generation Robotics Tournament in Portland.
Ridgefield High School's Robotics Team Gears Up for New Season (Photo) - 11/01/17

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Ridgefield High School's Steel Ridge Robotics team is revving up for another busy and challenging year. This will be the team's second year of competition.

In its first year, Steel Ridge Robotics (Team #6343) scored well in numerous qualifying rounds in the Pacific Northwest District's robotic events held last spring in Wilsonville and Lake Oswego. The team also earned honors as "Highest Rookie Seed" and received the "Rookie Inspiration Award" during these events
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These wins advanced the team to the district championship in Cheney, Washington. Had the team qualified in Cheney, it would have been among the 41 teams from the Pacific Northwest District to move on to compete in the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition in Houston, Texas. An impressive first year in competition.

The robotics competitions are organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) a not-for-profit organization based in Manchester, New Hampshire that designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in the STEM pathways (science, technology, engineering and math), while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills.

The competitions challenge high school students and their adult mentors to work together on a common real-life engineering problem--to design and build a robot in six weeks using a standard "kit of parts" and following a set of common rules. The project culminates in robotic competition where teams drive their robot in a sophisticated field game designed to bring out the best in every participant.

Steel Ridge Robotics is coached by Jeff Brink, RHS physics and chemistry teacher. Assistant coaches are Steve Rinard, RHS teacher in math, engineering and computer science; Chris Shipp, RHS Woods/Metals teacher in the school's Career & Technical Education program; and John Harvey, RHS English teacher who has previous FIRST Robotics competition experience.

Team members have been busy in the current preseason. They recently attended FIRST Fair's annual robotic workshop in Gladstone, participated in an off-season robotic event called Peak Performance in Seattle and supported their all-girls team at the Girls Generation Robotics Tournament in Portland. In December, the team will visit the Boeing facility in Gresham.

In early January, team members head to Skyview High School to work with Skyview's robotic team, the Stormbots, at an event to kick off the robotic build season. There, they will learn to do some prototyping, hone their skills in game play and learn strategy development. More importantly, they will learn the rules and requirements of "Power Up" the new field game selected for this year's competitions.

Starting January 6, the official start of the build season, the team will have six weeks to build their robot for competition.

"After the build is done, we switch to the competition season," said Brink. "That's when the Drive Team begins practices and starts preparing for the robotics events."

Competitions for the Pacific Northwest District will take place in Lake Oswego and Wilsonville this spring. Qualifying in these events will advance teams to the District Championship in Portland where they will compete to qualify for a spot in the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition in Houston in April.

Steel Ridge Robotics is grateful to the expertise of their mentors for support and guidance in the following areas. Chad Stryker, electrical hardware engineer at Tektronix, Inc. and Rich Recker, project manager at Autodesk, Inc. mentor the Controls team. Kris Holter, machinist/fabricator at Applied Motion Systems, Inc. mentors the Mechanical team. Rob Costa, systems analyst at Fidelity National Financial mentors the Programming team. Finally, Donald Nelson, fabricator at Boeing, mentors both the Drive and Mechanical teams.

Team sponsors include the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Boeing, Holbrook Concrete Construction, Inc., Elkhart Plastics, Inc., the Kirkelie Family, Applied Motion Systems, Inc., and Autodesk, Inc.

If you are interested in sponsoring or mentoring the Steel Ridge Robotic team, please contact Jeff Brink at 360-619-1320 or jeff.brink@ridgefieldsd.org.

Good Luck, Steel Ridge Robotics! Go Spudders!
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Example of a winning student entry from South Ridge Elementary School for Certified  Kind Classroom Challenge.
Example of a winning student entry from South Ridge Elementary School for Certified Kind Classroom Challenge.
Ridgefield Sixth Graders Shine in Certified Kind Classroom Challenge (Photo) - 10/27/17

Friday, October 27, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Sixth graders at South Ridge Elementary School are excited. Not only did they attend an advanced movie screening of the film "Wonder" this week at a local theater, but they also got a chance to interact afterwards with the cast and film crew via live streaming video. The official release of the movie is scheduled for November 17.

The film is based on R.J. Palacio's book, "Wonder," a novel that tells a story of Auggie Pullman, a tough, sweet 10-year old boy born with distorted facial features and his struggle to be treated normally. Told from Auggie's point of view and from the perspective of others, the story describes how one community struggles with empathy, compassion, and acceptance, teaching the reader these qualities as well.

The novel has inspired a "Choose Kind" movement across the country, spreading kindness in classrooms and communities nationwide. Earlier this year, the entire sixth grade class at South Ridge Elementary registered to participate in the Certified Kind Classroom Challenge, which uses the novel to encourage students to learn about kindness and to "Choose Kind."

The challenge, now in its third year, is sponsored by LionsGate Films, Gap Kids, Walden Media, Participant Media, and Random House Children's Books.

"Students and staff have embraced Palacio's feelings about the power of words," said Cheryl Shaw, South Ridge Elementary School sixth grade teacher. "So this year, we challenged all South Ridge sixth graders to make a difference and pledge to Choose Kind."

To qualify for the certification, classrooms participate in any of three different activities that help students explore kindness in daily life. Special prizes are awarded as incentives for the students. South Ridge's sixth grade classes chose to participate in all three activities.

What captured the attention of the campaign sponsors were the sixth graders' entries for Activity #2, called "Precepts to Live By."

This activity was inspired by a character in the novel, Auggie's English teacher, Mr. Browne, who introduces his students to his personal precepts--kindness, hopefulness, the goodness of human beings, the strength of people's hearts and the power of people's wills. This activity asked students to identify their own original principles to live by and the ways they "Choose Kind" on a daily basis.

The posters that the students created made quite an impression.

In early October, South Ridge Elementary School sixth grade teachers Cheryl Shaw and Linda Wear received the news that their classrooms were chosen as Activity #2 winners. Their classrooms won 50 tickets to the advanced movie screening along with an option to purchase additional tickets, making it possible for all of South Ridge Elementary's sixth graders to attend as well.

The classroom challenge continues. The sixth graders are currently working on Activity #3 to "Fill a Jar with Kindness," which asks students to fill a jar with a small object (like marbles) each time an Act of Kindness occurs in the classroom.

Submitting a photo of the filled jar qualify them for prizes as well. Winners of this challenge will be announced in April 2018.

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