Ridgefield Sch. Dist.
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Superintendent Nathan McCann
Superintendent Nathan McCann
South Ridge Elementary School Selected for National Title I Distinguished School Award (Photo) - 09/18/17

Monday, September 18, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- South Ridge Elementary School in the Ridgefield School District has been selected for the 2017-18 National Title I, Part A Distinguished School Award. The school district learned of the news last week from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

South Ridge earned the national designation for placing high on the list of U.S. schools for demonstrating a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized and multi-tiered systems of approach for student success, and strong partnerships between the school, parents, and the community.

In addition, it earned recognition in the state of Washington as a Distinguished School for its Title I, Part A program for its exceptional student performance in English Language Arts in Smarter Balanced Assessments based on student growth percentiles (SGP) and state average scores for two or more years.

According to OSPI's Washington State Report Card, the percentage of third-grade students at South Ridge meeting standard in Smarter Balanced testing in English Language Arts exceeded the state average in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 by 22 percentage points or more.

"The South Ridge staff works extremely hard to support all students," said Todd Graves, South Ridge Elementary School principal. "As we pursue our goal of becoming the state's premier district, I would like to thank the entire roadrunner community for a job well done! Go Roadrunners!"

"The award reflects South Ridge's unwavering commitment to do whatever it takes to help its students excel," said Tiffany Gould, Ridgefield School District's Federal Programs Director. "South Ridge maintained exceptional student performance even through the recent rapid enrollment growth it has experienced."

Gould also attributed the school's success to the strong partnerships that teachers and staff have with parents and the community.

Since 1996, The National Title I, Part A Association has been selecting examples of superior Title I, Part A schools from each state for recognition through the National Title I, Part A Distinguished School Program. In addition, each state recognizes individual Title I, Part A programs based on a combination of student academic success and creative and innovative programs that contribute to their success.

Said Superintendent Nathan McCann, "I am proud of the hard work and dedication demonstrated by the South Ridge staff and students and am pleased that they are being recognized for their efforts in earning this exceptional national designation for their school."

The school will receive a $10,000 award for the national recognition and $5,000 for its statewide recognition. A team representing the school and school district will be recognized at the 2018 National Title I Conference in Philadelphia in February.
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Ridgefield High School ninth graders at Spudder Frosh Camp.
Ridgefield High School ninth graders at Spudder Frosh Camp.
Ridgefield School District Assures Valuable First Day Experience for New Students (Photo) - 09/12/17

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- In the Ridgefield School District, August 29 at first glance would have seemed like a typical first day of school at View Ridge Middle School and Ridgefield High School.

However, the only students making their way to class that day were seventh graders at the middle school and ninth graders at the high school. The students knew that the day would be focused entirely on them, and they had the school and the staff all to themselves.

Each year, the first day of school at the district's only middle school and high school is devoted to welcoming new students transitioning from elementary to middle school and from middle school to high school. Students brand new to the district are also included in the first-day experience at both schools.

Known as "Assurance Day" at View Ridge and "Spudder Frosh Camp" at Ridgefield High School, the day is designed to provide an opportunity for incoming students to get familiar with their new school, cycle through their classes, meet their peers and get to know their teachers and the school staff. It provides fun, interactive activities throughout the day, and also gives students a chance to hook up with their future mentors--leadership students at both schools who help ease them into the middle school and high school experience.

The following day, the students join the rest of the student body at their respective schools when fellow classmates in the upper grades return for their first day of classes.

At Ridgefield High School, National Honor Society students were on hand ready to help the incoming freshmen navigate their way through their first day of high school. Ninth-grader Ethan McQuivey commented on his experience. "It feels like a new adventure that has already been guided in the right way."

"The enthusiasm and increased confidence we saw from our new students at the end of the day was a stark contrast from the nervousness they exhibited in the morning," said Tony Smith, Principal at View Ridge Middle School.

For seventh graders, it was clear that Assurance Day was both valuable and meaningful. Max Daniels said, "It helped because I knew where all my classes were." Wyatt Bartroff commented, "Having eighth graders help us out was great because they could tell us important things we needed to know."

Said Madison Wilkins, "I was nervous about not being able to find things, but Assurance Day made it really easy," and according to Jack Brown, "It was less crowded, so you could get around more easily."

"I was really impressed with both our new students and especially our eighth grade Leadership students, who worked hard all day long helping our seventh graders learn the routines and expectations of our school," said Principal Smith. "I think every one of our new students already has a fellow student to go to if they need anything."

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Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent
Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent
Ridgefield School District Announces Efforts to Recognize September as Attendance Awareness Month (Photo) - 09/06/17

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Ridgefield School District has joined a nationwide effort to celebrate Attendance Awareness Month in September, pledging to raise awareness about the value of regular school attendance, with a special focus on reducing chronic absenteeism in the new school year.

The district recognizes that good attendance is essential to academic success, but far too many students are at risk academically because they are chronically absent. Chronic absenteeism is described as missing 10% of the school year, or about 18 days for any reason--excused or unexcused. Research shows that is the point at which absenteeism begins to affect student performance.

Nationally, 5 to 7.5 million students miss nearly a month of school in excused and unexcused absences every year. In 2016, the chronic absenteeism percentage for the state of Washington was 16.7%. Ridgefield was slightly better at 16.4%.

Starting as early as kindergarten, chronic absenteeism predicts lower third grade reading scores. By middle school, it's a warning sign that students may fail key classes and drop out of high school.

Chronic absence disproportionately affects children from low-income families and communities of color, creating attendance gaps that exacerbate achievement gaps in local schools. This is not just a matter of truancy. Many children, especially in the early grades, miss too much school because of chronic health problems, unreliable transportation or housing moves--barriers that city agencies and community partners can help families address.

"School is a child's work," said Ridgefield School District Superintendent Nathan McCann. "Coming to school on time and ready to learn each day is a habit that will lead to success in all areas of our kids' lives."

In September, schools, city agencies, community nonprofits, faith-based groups, businesses and others around the nation are committing time and resources to raise public awareness, map local attendance gaps and work with community partners to improve school attendance starting as soon as children enter school.

During Attendance Awareness Month, the district is asking community leaders, parents and students to help stem chronic absenteeism by building a habit and a culture of regular attendance.

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Members of Ridgefield School District's Superintendent's Student Advisory Council in 2016 who developed the concept for Experience Ridgefield
Members of Ridgefield School District's Superintendent's Student Advisory Council in 2016 who developed the concept for Experience Ridgefield
Experience Ridgefield Set for Saturday, September 23 (Photo) - 09/05/17

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- Get ready for some old-fashioned, small-town fun as the Ridgefield School District prepares to host its second Experience Ridgefield event on Saturday, September 23. The community carnival, set to take place at Ridgefield High School from 3:00 -- 7:30 pm, celebrates Ridgefield's proud past, prosperous present, and promising future.

"We are all very excited for Experience Ridgefield," said Bonnie Harris, Executive Secretary for the Ridgefield School District and the event's coordinator. "This is truly an event where there will be something for folks of all ages to enjoy. We will have numerous food vendors, music, games and activities, a game truck, potato sack races, inflatables, arts and crafts, a selfie photo booth, many exhibits and displays, a Mr. Potato Head Contest, and much more."

In addition to all the food, music, and fun, the Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC) will be sponsoring a "Stuff the Van" campaign to collect personal hygiene items, non-perishable food, and new coats for the center.

In the evening, families can enjoy a showing of "The Goonies" under the stars at the district's football stadium.

Experience Ridgefield was born from a concept developed by the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SSAC) consisting of twelve students--each representing one of the district's four schools who meet monthly with Superintendent Nathan McCann to provide the district with advice and feedback. The group also completes a project each year that contributes to the betterment of the community.

When board members, Scott Gullickson and Joseph Vance, sought ideas for a way to bring the community together at a district-hosted event, McCann turned to his group of SSAC students for their input. The students developed the highly interactive, carnival-like event, making it representative of everything that makes Ridgefield unique. They wanted the event to capture everything they loved about their community. Appropriately, they named it "Experience Ridgefield."

The event, launched last year, was a phenomenal success. The students' efforts in marketing and promotion brought in more than 40 vendors and lead sponsorship by Holbrook Concrete Construction Inc. with assistance from The Historic Sportsman's Steakhouse and Saloon. This will be the district's second year hosting Experience Ridgefield. It is thankful to Holbrook Concrete Construction Inc. for once again being this year's lead sponsor.

"I'm very proud of all the creativity and planning put in by the students in developing this large-scale community event that celebrates the spirit and pride that makes Ridgefield such a wonderfully unique place to live," said McCann. "We appreciate the generosity of our partnering sponsors and the many local businesses, civic groups, and public entities for supporting Experience Ridgefield."

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Citizens for Ridgefield Schools members (from left) Allison VanArnam, Jim Maul, Tevis Laspa and Kent Landerholm, accept the Partner of the Year Award from Superintendent Nathan McCann at Ridgefield School District's Convocation event.
Citizens for Ridgefield Schools members (from left) Allison VanArnam, Jim Maul, Tevis Laspa and Kent Landerholm, accept the Partner of the Year Award from Superintendent Nathan McCann at Ridgefield School District's Convocation event.
Ridgefield School District Honors Employees with Exemplary Service Awards (Photo) - 08/31/17

Thursday, August 31, 2017 -- Ridgefield, Washington -- The Ridgefield School District honored three employees with Exemplary Service Awards at their Convocation event on August 23 as they welcomed staff returning from summer break for the new school year.

Steve Rinard, teacher at Ridgefield High School, received the Exemplary Service Award for certificated staff. Described by colleagues as thoughtful, hard-working and dedicated, Rinard took the lead in developing the math components of the STEM Engineering classes in addition to taking on coaching duties for RHS football. Well-respected among students, staff and families for always putting students first, Rinard was selected as deserving of the award in this category.

Chris Poppert received the Exemplary Service Award for classified staff. As Director of the Ridgefield Family Resource Center, Poppert received the award for the time and energy she dedicates to help connect students and their families most in need with essential supplies and services. Additionally, her efforts in nurturing the relationship with Family Solutions, a private, non-profit community mental health agency, led to a full-time district-based mental health counselor this year.

The Exemplary Service Award for Partner Agency Employee was presented to Nicole Bartroff of Chartwell's Food Services for going above and beyond when it comes to serving students. Bartroff's exemplary quality is demonstrated by how much the students love to engage with her. Described as a "magnet" to kids, she is the caring "lunch lady" who encourages them and ensures that they are taken care of. In addition, Bartroff was selected to receive the award in this category because of her great smile and positive attitude on the job even on the most challenging days.

The district also presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Dawn Gaspar for her leadership in the Ridgefield High School Boosters and numerous community endeavors, and the Partner of the Year Award to Citizens for Ridgefield Schools whose outstanding support contributed greatly to the successful outcome of Ridgefield School District's 2017 Bond Program.
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