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Ian Abrams, 2019 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist from Ridgefield High School.
Ian Abrams, 2019 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist from Ridgefield High School.
Ridgefield High School Announces First National Merit Scholar in Sixteen Years (Photo) - 11/16/18

Friday, November 16, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – The National Merit Scholarship program is designed to recognize academic excellence, and its standards are extremely high.  About 1.6 million high school juniors across the country take the PSAT; only 1% of those students achieve test scores high enough to become National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. 

For the first time in sixteen years, one of the semifinalists for the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program is from Ridgefield High School:  Ian Abrams.  Abrams will be the twelfth student from Ridgefield High School named as a semifinalist.  RHS’ last National Merit award winner was Ian Vanwyhe in 2002.

Interestingly, Abrams didn’t hear that he was a semifinalist from the school, which is how semifinalists are usually notified.  “They were supposed to send a message to the school but somehow that got lost in the mail or something.  I found out by reading it in the Seattle Times,” he laughed.

Busy as he is with academics, athletics and community projects, Abrams is able to manage all of his commitments quite well.  Abrams is enrolled in AP courses and maintains a 4.0 GPA.  Currently, he volunteers as a peer tutor for the high school’s Spudder Academy twice a week during some of his lunch breaks.  He is also a varsity athlete and captain of the cross-country team.  Last summer, he traveled to Belize to help build a school library with a humanitarian group.  His Eagle Scout project involved setting up an annual book sale and constructing decorative trees for the Lakeside Community Library.  On the day we interviewed him for this story, Abrams was emceeing the high school’s Veterans Day assembly.

The National Merit Scholarship semifinalist award is sure to be one of many recognitions for Abrams’ hard work.  Ridgefield High School and the Ridgefield School District proudly congratulates Ian Abrams on this remarkable achievement. 

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Boy Scouts lead the presentation of the colors at a Veterans Day assembly at Ridgefield High School.
Boy Scouts lead the presentation of the colors at a Veterans Day assembly at Ridgefield High School.
Ridgefield School District Honors Veterans at School Assemblies (Photo) - 11/14/18

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – Every school in the Ridgefield School District held a Veterans Day assembly to honor our fallen veterans and those still serving.  Each assembly was unique--performed largely by the students themselves.

South Ridge Elementary opened their assembly with a song titled Thank You Soldiers performed by third- and fourth-graders, followed by a short talk from guest speaker, Robert Anderson, a veteran who served in the Army and Army Reserve and parent of two South Ridge students.  A slide show honored veterans from families of South Ridge students and staff.

At Union Ridge Elementary, each grade participated.  Musical performances included a song in sign language and patriotic songs along with poetry readings and a slide show.  Handmade poppies of remembrance and thank you cards were distributed to veterans in the audience, and the Ridgefield American Legion led the presentation of colors.

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School’s assembly presented patriotic songs from the chorus and the national anthem sung by a student.  The poem In Flanders Fields was read, and the band performed two group numbers.  Thank you cards were distributed to veterans, who were then asked to introduce themselves and offer advice to the students.

At View Ridge Middle School, the Lewis and Clark Young Marines led the presentation of colors.  A flute duo performed the national anthem, and the chorus performed.  A student essay was read thanking veterans for their service.  In memory of fallen, missing or imprisoned military service members, the Missing Man Table ceremony, a symbolic single place setting at a table, was presented.  Finally, a slide show displayed photos of students’ family members who had served.

Ridgefield High School featured a presentation of the colors by the Boy Scouts.  Speeches were given by a veteran and by the event’s student emcee.  The high school choir performed the national anthem, and the symphonic band led patriotic songs.  A video remembering our soldiers concluded the assembly.

These moving ceremonies reminds us all to thank the veterans in our lives and to honor those who have passed.  Many thanks to the students and teachers who helped commemorate this special day.

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Levi Hipple
Levi Hipple
Ridgefield School District Honors November Employee and Students of the Month (Photo) - 11/13/18

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – On November 13, 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 Sarah Roberts, Special Education paraeducator at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  Said one staff member, “Sarah is an exceptional person.  Without fail, she daily shares her gift of spirit and generosity with the entire Ridgefield School District community.  It is no exaggeration to say that everyone loves her.  Sarah brings a heart, joy and enthusiasm to her daily life that is infectious and contributes to a spirit that has made our schools and our district a unique and special place to teach and learn.”

Another staff member described Roberts as a consummate professional.  “She is always diligent and creative in her delivery of lessons while individualizing her support to ensure success for her students.  Nearly without exception, her students have always shown tremendous growth under her tutelage.  Sarah is also naturally curious and is always reading and researching how to best provide instruction for her challenging students as well as her students with challenges.  On more than one occasion, I have suggested and encouraged Sarah to return to school to get a teaching certificate so she can lead her own classroom and share her natural gift as a teacher to a larger audience.”

While students love Mrs. Roberts, the school and district staff love and appreciate her as well.  For years, she has been a vital member of the school staff at South Ridge Elementary School, and now at Sunset Ridge Intermediate.  Her joyous and sincere interactions with each person makes them feel valued and important.  The staff at Sunset Ridge Intermediate is proud to name Sarah Roberts as November’s Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

Mason Roberts, a third grader, is November’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  The South Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Mason.  They write, “Mason Roberts is a young man that always follows the 3R’s.  He is respectful to his classmates and adults.  He is responsible in everything he does—doing his classwork, returning homework, assisting others and always speaking kindly to all.  His resilience shines through in his problem-solving abilities, he does not give up when presented with any kind of problem, and he is willing to compromise with the partners he is working with.  Most of all, he is a joy to be around.”

Nolan Erickson, a fourth grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  The Union Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Nolan.  They write, “Nolan consistently demonstrates respect, responsibility and resiliency.  He is extremely kind and polite with his classmates and teachers.  He consistently comes to school with a positive attitude and is a classroom leader.  Nolan helps other students during recess and lunchtime.  He is an excellent example of a kind, caring, thoughtful and hard-working student.  Nolan represents Union Ridge Elementary with a great sense of integrity and academic excellence.  Union Ridge Elementary’s Student of the Month award is well-earned by Nolan Erickson.”

Roman Matthiesen, a fifth grader, is November’s Student of the Month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  The Sunset Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Roman.  They write, “Roman is a very hard worker.  He is kind, considerate, sweet and funny.  He always is up for a challenge and will not move onto even the “fun” stuff until his work is done.”

Jordyn Davies, an eighth grader, was chosen at View Ridge Middle School.  The View Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Jordyn.  They write, “Jordyn Davies is very studious and is a wonderful example of how to get the most out of your education.  Jordyn takes pride in her work and thinks outside the box.  She is creative, inventive and ready to challenge her skills in all of her endeavors.”  Another staff member writes, “I have had the pleasure of working with Jordyn for two years in a row, and I am truly impressed with her growth in art and the thought she puts into her drawings.  We can’t wait to see where life takes Jordyn!”

Levi Hipple, a sophomore, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  The Ridgefield High School teachers and staff are very proud of Levi.  They write, “Levi Hipple has a perfect 4.0 GPA.  Levi takes advanced classes in both science and math.  In addition, he is involved in tennis and soccer, is the vice president of the Leo’s club and is active in 4H.  The reason he was chosen Student of the Month is not because of what he does but because of who he is.  Teachers describe Levi as “exactly the kind of kid you love to have in class.  He makes other students better.”  Another teacher says of Levi, “He is a polite student who strives for excellence,” and another says “Levi is a positive student who raises the bar for all students.”  We are proud of students like Levi Hipple and are honored that he represents Ridgefield High School as the November Student of the Month.

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 fifth year that Hurd has provided funding to support the district’s recognition program.

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Turkey Trot 2017 volunteers
Turkey Trot 2017 volunteers
Ridgefield's Annual Turkey Trot Set for November 22 (Photo) - 11/08/18

Thursday, November 8, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is hosting its second annual Turkey Trot Walk/Run on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018.  Proceeds and donations from the event benefit the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and the Ridgefield Family Resource Center. 

The race begins at 9:00 am and includes a 5K Family-Friendly Walk/Run and a 10K Run, both of which start and end at Union Ridge Elementary School in downtown Ridgefield.  Registration is $25 for adults, $20 for school district staff, and $15 for students.

Go to http://www.ridgefieldpsf.org/turkey-trot to register online or to download a registration form containing event details.  Registrations received by November 15th will include a T-shirt.

Race participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items when they pick up their race packets on Wednesday, November 21.  Food items will also be accepted during registration on race day.  All food items benefit the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.  Each food item donated will generate a raffle ticket entry for a drawing to win $100 worth of gift cards for local Ridgefield restaurants.  Winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony after the race.

Georgianna Jones, Foundation member and event organizer, is looking forward to another great turnout.  “This is such a fun, family-friendly event that provides a great opportunity to support Ridgefield schools and their families,” said Jones.  “We are proud to bring this event to the community each year.”

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is grateful for the support of its Presenting Sponsors, Krippner and Opsahl Dawson, its Supporting Sponsors, Northwest Funding Group, Inc., Draper Orthodontics, Royal Throne Restrooms, RPM Mortgage, Advanced Excavating Specialists and Ridgefield School District; and the many Race Sponsors whose support makes this annual event possible.

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Students in Kristen Matthews' yoga class form a mandala.
Students in Kristen Matthews' yoga class form a mandala.
Yoga for Kids (Photo) - 11/06/18

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – The students balanced themselves in the tree pose, like a line of somewhat shaky flamingos.  But the smiles on their faces said it all:  they were having a great time.  “Yoga is for everybody and for every body,” said instructor Kristen Matthews.  “I really love working with the kids.  They’re just so fun!”

While there are many yoga classes in the region, few of them focus exclusively on children.  Matthews learned yoga as a child herself, teaching herself yoga poses from a magazine article.  Now she is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher, with 595 hours of training. 

To study yoga and children’s yoga, Matthews made three trips to India and a trip to Mexico, staying a month at a time.  There, she felt the impact of yoga’s thousands of years of tradition and practice.  Matthews even had the opportunity to have a private teaching with the Dalai Lama at his temple in Dharamshala.   

Matthews explained that the teachings of yoga go beyond the poses, or asanas.  “Yoga is not a religion.  It’s not a sport.  The more flexible and capable I am with my body, I can achieve that much more.  I learn how to be peaceful and emotionally stable.” 

With three children of her own, she is proud to share the benefits of yoga with kids of all ages.  “I think it’s so important for children to have the tools that yoga gives you,” she said.  “Like ‘I’m having a stressful day, I can meditate it out.’  That’s what we need more of, we need more children who have these skills.”  And judging by the smiles on the faces of her students, there are more children having fun too. 

To sign up for Matthews’ children’s or adult yoga classes, register online at https://ridge.revtrak.net, click on Community Education and select Youth Sports.  Classes are listed under Youthful Yoga.

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Students on the STEEL Ridge Robotics team work together to problem-solve during competition.
Students on the STEEL Ridge Robotics team work together to problem-solve during competition.
Robotics Team Runs on Student and Mentor Power (Photo) - 11/05/18

Monday, November 5, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – When you think of robotics teams, you might think of BattleBots, the television show with robot combat.  “They spend $40K, $60K, $80K for these really fancy robots,” said Jeff Brink, the robotics team advisor at Ridgefield High School.  “Then they crush them and break them.”  But what if robots were builders instead of destroyers?  Now you have the concept of the STEEL Ridge Robotics team.

STEEL Ridge Robotics takes part in the national FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program.  FIRST works to get more students of all ages into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers by inspiring their interest and participation in activities like robotics.  At the high school level, students are designing robots for cool, interesting, science- based games. 

This year’s theme is Destination Deep Space, honoring the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.  In just six weeks, students will work with their mentors to build a robot that can accomplish the mission’s goals.  Previous years’ themes have included Steampunk (building a working airship), PowerUp (navigating through video game type activities), and Stronghold (storming the castle). 

Mentors are a critical part of the robotics team.  Adult mentors work with the team all year on a wide range of activities, including robot design, mechanism builds, and business plan creation.  Mentors come from many different fields, from electrical engineering to media, from computer programming to graphics, and they are always glad to bring more mentors aboard.  “These people are amazing, all the stuff that they can do.  Without them, our program doesn’t go anywhere,” Brink explained.

Competing is expensive; registration for all the season events is $10,866, which includes a basic robot kit.  While they do have some grants to support the team, they welcome local sponsors and donations as well.  For more information on how you can help, contact Jeff Brink at rink@ridgefieldsd.org">jeff.brink@ridgefieldsd.org.

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Counselors Ethan Mollet, Liam McKenna and Clexious Mendoza high-five Cispus students.
Counselors Ethan Mollet, Liam McKenna and Clexious Mendoza high-five Cispus students.
Cispus Students Thanks Their Counselors (Photo) - 11/01/18

Friday, November 2, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – When fifth grade students leave for Cispus outdoor school, they are going to an unfamiliar place, with many students they don’t know.  Camp counselors make the experience less frightening, helping fifth graders with everything from getting up on time to learning outdoor skills. 

Teacher Erika Muir brought her fifth-grade class to Ridgefield High School to say a special thank you to the counselors who made their time at Cispus special.  The students walked over from Sunset Ridge Intermediate School with handmade cards and Spudder colored balloons.  “So, why are we here?” Muir prompted. 

“To say THANK YOU!” the students responded.  Some students shared the things they appreciated about their counselors.  “How nice they were.”  “He helped me build a shelter.”  “She tried to help me fix my camera.”  “They got up earlier than us.”  There were a lot of smiles as they remembered their week at Cispus.

Muir shared her thoughts as well.  “I appreciate you because I was new to Cispus.  As a teacher, it was a little nerve-wracking to take kids out to the woods.  I appreciate how many ways you helped them, encouraging them, and hanging back with them on hikes.  Thank you very, very much.” 

The counselors—Mia Tomillo, Gracie Bisila, Liam McKenna, Ethan Mollet, and Clexious Mendoza—were excited to see their Cispus cabin groups again.  Some of the counselors had first been to Cispus when they were fifth graders themselves.  Some had never been before.  Tomillo said, “It was my first year this year, and it was so much fun!  I really liked being around the kids.  They were great!” 

The students and counselors posed together for a happy picture outside.  And as the kids left to walk back to their schools, the counselors made an impromptu line to high five them, adding another great moment to their Cispus experience.

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Ridgefield School District Schedules Patron Tour - 10/30/18

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – Ridgefield School District is scheduling a Patron Tour on Thursday, November 15 from 8:30 am to 11:30 am.  Bus transportation to the schools will be provided.

District and school administrators will lead participants on a tour of Union Ridge Elementary School, Sunset Ridge Intermediate School, and Ridgefield High School.  “This tour will give citizens an opportunity to get an inside look at the many wonderful things going on in our schools,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann. 

Citizens will also visit the former View Ridge Middle School to view the progress of renovation work currently under way to convert the structure into administrative offices for the school district and the City of Ridgefield.

Patron Tour participants will meet at the Ridgefield High School Commons at 2630 S. Hillhurst Road in Ridgefield.  Check-in starts at 8:15 am, and a continental breakfast will be provided before the tour.

To register, please send an email to communications@ridgefieldsd.org and provide the name and email address of each attendee.

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Trot_Registration_Color_(1).jpg
Trot_Registration_Color_(1).jpg
Second Annual Turkey Trot 5K/10K Walk/Run Scheduled for November 22 (Photo) - 10/29/18

Monday, October 29, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington –  The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is hosting its second annual Turkey Trot 5K/10K Walk/Run on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018.  Proceeds will benefit the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and the Ridgefield Family Resource Center. 

The race begins at 9:00 am and includes a 5K Family-Friendly Walk/Run and a 10K Run, both of which start and end at Union Ridge Elementary School in downtown Ridgefield.  Registration is $25 for adults, $20 for school district staff, and $15 for students.

Go to http://www.ridgefieldpsf.org/turkey-trot to register online or to download a registration form containing event details.  Registrations received by November 15th will include a T-shirt.

Non-perishable food items will be accepted during race packet pickup on Wednesday, November 21 and at registration prior to the race to benefit the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.  Each food item donated will generate a raffle ticket entry for a drawing to win $100 worth of gift cards for local Ridgefield restaurants.

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is grateful for the support of its Presenting Sponsors, Krippner and Opsahl Dawson, its Supporting Sponsors, Northwest Funding Group, Inc., Draper Orthodontics, Royal Throne Restrooms, RPM Mortgage, Advanced Excavating Specialists and Ridgefield School District; and the many Race Sponsors whose assistance makes this annual event possible.

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Attached Media Files: Trot_Registration_Color_(1).jpg
Union Ridge Elementary School students practice conflict resolution skills using the Peace Path
Union Ridge Elementary School students practice conflict resolution skills using the Peace Path
Peace Path Empowers Students to Resolve Conflicts (Photo) - 10/29/18

Monday, October 29, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – At Union Ridge Elementary School, students are learning how to resolve conflicts with one another using a tool called the Peace Path.  For the school’s counselors, the end goal is for students to become more independent in problem-solving, and Peace Paths are enabling students to do so.

During social emotional learning time, students are learning that conflict is a part of everyday life that can be addressed respectfully and resolved effectively using the Peace Path.  To use the Peace Path, they are taught how to use “I” statements and learn how to listen, cooperate, compromise and create plans together to resolve conflicts. 

The Peace Path is a physical activity.  It encourages both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.  Students who disagree stand face-to-face at the start of the path and move step-by-step along the guided path using the skills they learned in class until they reach a resolution.

To use the Peace Path effectively, counselors coach the students to use the following steps as they move along the path:

  • Cool Off - Take time to cool off.
  • Talk - Share how you felt.
  • Listen - Learn how the other person felt. No interrupting.
  • Brainstorm - Think of ways to solve the problem.
  • Agree - Choose an idea you both like best!
  • Treat each other with respect.

Not only does the Peace Path empower children with self-regulation and life-long communication skills, it also creates calmer and more productive classrooms, and can help resolve conflicts at home.

“The peace path is for learning how to treat others how you want to be treated,” said fourth grader Arielle Bauer.  “It taught me how to look at someone else’s feelings.”

Said fourth grader Zaine Maxwell, “The peace path is a great way to help me calmly solve problems I might be having with friends.”

"As counselors, we are looking to increase student empowerment by effectively using basic problem-solving skills,” said Amber Lutes, Union Ridge Elementary School counselor.  “We hope that students will come to know that having a problem with someone is normal and okay, and the Peace Path is an activity to help them deal with conflict in a kind and respectful way in all different areas of life.”

Michelle Lindbo, paraeducator at Union Ridge Elementary, designed and painted the school’s two Peace Paths last summer using ideas from the school counselors.  Each path is now available for students to use at each of the school’s playgrounds.

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Students get information from Pacific Lutheran University and University of Portland representatives
Students get information from Pacific Lutheran University and University of Portland representatives
Ridgefield High School's Fall Fair Provides Variety of Post-Secondary Opportunities for Students (Photo) - 10/28/18

Friday, October 26, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – Ridgefield High School’s Fall Fair was bustling with middle school and high school students on Wednesday.  With approximately 50 representatives on hand from a variety of universities, community colleges, technical schools, apprenticeships, military, employment and community service options, students were able to choose from a multitude of post-secondary opportunities to explore all in one place.

“We are fortunate to have wonderful support from our administration so we can incorporate the event into our school day,” said Amy McKenna, High School & Beyond Coordinator at Ridgefield High School.  “Since it is part of our day, all students cycle through the fair and are able to connect with as many programs as time will allow.  We even bus our eighth grade students up for the event!”

According to McKenna, Ridgefield High School students benefit from the Fall Fair because it encourages them to reflect upon and update their High School & Beyond Plan each year.

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Union Ridge Elementary's Purple Hand Pledge.
Union Ridge Elementary's Purple Hand Pledge.
The Purple Hands Pledge (Photo) - 10/23/18

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington – Walk the halls at Union Ridge Elementary School, and you’ll see dozens of purple handprints lining the walls.  The vibrant splash of color has a deeper meaning:  Union Ridge students are banding together for anti-bullying month. 

The Purple Hands Pledge started in Salem, Oregon as a way to encourage students not to use or tolerate violence.  The simple idea, “Hands and words are not for hurting,” became a nationwide movement.  

School counselor Niccele Dunn explained the purple hands.  “The students make a pledge not to use their hands or words to hurt themselves or others.  They trace and cut out their hands on purple paper, which we hang up connected throughout the school.”  It’s a visual reinforcement of the students’ pledge that they can see every day.

Volunteers from the Union Ridge Parent Teacher Organization came to help younger students trace their hands.  Students were able to cut out and decorate their handprints, so every handprint is unique. 

Paired with the orange anti-bullying ribbons tied to the school fence, Union Ridge is ablaze with color.  “I’m super excited to have a visual representation against bullying both inside and outside the building!” Dunn said.  “It has great impact!” 

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Third graders in Kari Hall's class at Union Ridge Elementary sample the books on the menu in the Book Cafe.
Third graders in Kari Hall's class at Union Ridge Elementary sample the books on the menu in the Book Cafe.
Tasting Books? A Recipe for Reading (Photo) - 10/23/18

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – Ridgefield, Washington –  Twice a year, Kari Hall’s third grade classroom at Union Ridge Elementary School in Ridgefield transforms into a café.  There are red and white checkered tablecloths over the desks, background music, and Hall is the chef for an unusual menu:  books.

Hall heard about book tastings from a friend who is also a teacher.  “The gist of it is to get kids excited about reading different genres,” Hall explained.  “Each table is its own genre:  fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, biography, and book series.  The kids have a big platter in the middle of their table with ten to twelve books on it.” 

“There’s a difference between tasting and eating,” Hall said.  “So you’re just getting a taste.  And the tasting consists of first, look at all the books.  Talk with each other about what you’re seeing, what looks good to you.  Then settle in on a book to taste.  Read about three pages of the book and take notes about your reaction.”  Students rotate from table to table to “taste” different types of books.

Each student records information in a booklet they can keep and refer back to.  Because all the books they use are from the classroom library, they can choose to continue reading any of those books at another time.  

Hall is glad the students enjoy the book tastings.  “Reading should be a joyful thing.  The more they get into the books, the more they’re talking about it, the more they become obsessed with reading.  And you produce these great readers by the end of the year.”  Hall’s creative book tastings are giving students a new appetite for books. 

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