Ridgefield Community Education Offers Winter Classes

Check out Ridgefield Community Education’s list of winter classes offered in December and January.  You can also find this schedule on the district website at www.ridgefieldsd.org.  Go to the Community Education page and click on the Happy Holidays button.

Giant Book Sale Today

The Giant Book Sale to benefit the library starts today at 3:00 for members of the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, donors, and teachers. Not a member? No problem – buy a membership at the door. No scanners please.

Tomorrow the sale opens to everyone at 9 am. No scanners in the children’s area please.

At 2:00 on Saturday the winner of the Priscilla Guessing Contest will be announced, and the winner of the Ridgefield Quilt will be picked. Chances on the quilt cost $5 and may be purchased right up to the drawing.



View Ridge STEM Class Builds and Races Dragsters

In Tylor Hankins’ eighth grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) class, students are troubleshooting their dragsters.  “It’s still going in circles.”  “I think it’s too heavy in the front.”  “This part keeps the wheel from moving.”  The big race is only a few days away, but there are lots of problems left to solve.

Hankins’ class worked in teams to design and build their own dragsters.  The challenge:  to be the fastest car to make it 20 feet down the hallway.  Bonus points if the team could get it to stop within one foot of the finish line.  The students built driverless cars using VEX robotics parts from dozens of bins:  metal brackets and bars, sprockets and gears, wheels, motors, and more.  Working in the programming language RobotC, they programmed the driverless cars to run the short course.

Because all the cars were unique designs, they all had different results—some intended, and some not intended.  Hankins moved from group to group, helping them pinpoint the issues and find the best solution.  As they tried different solutions—changing the programming, shortening the frame, reconfiguring the gears and wheels—they went back out to the hallway for test runs.  One went a short distance before crashing into the wall.  Another didn’t go at all.  And it was back to the drawing board.

“This project has a lot of problem solving, a lot of variables, and a lot of failure,” Hankins said.  “But when there are problems, they can figure it out.  This is the first real robot that they’ve built.  So it’s a learning process.”  Their next projects will be making BattleBots (robots that compete with each other) and a factory work cell (a mini-factory that can manufacture blocks with specific features).  The dragster project gives students the mechanical and programming skills they’ll need for future builds.

The diversity of dragster design means the students will have an interesting race day, with four wheeled cars vs. six wheeled cars, long dragsters vs. compact ones.  “It’s a fun project,” Hankins said.  He watched as another group’s dragster sped down the hallway and cruised just over a foot past the finish line.

The students checked the distance.  “Is it a foot?  It’s more than a foot.”  They look disappointed.

Hankins smiled.  “You’re close, guys, really close.  You’ve almost got it.”  The students picked up the racer and headed back into the Fabrication Lab, excitedly discussing ways to solve the problem, ready to try again.

Ally Ravelli, Carlie Madsen, and Quincy Woltersdorf show their dragster.


The Fabrication Lab is filled with bins of parts and tools for use in robotics projects.


Students test race their dragsters on the 20-foot hallway track.

Getting Ready for Hometown

They were putting up the tree at Overlook Park this morning when I happened to walk by.

Lifting the Tree

It’s u[!

Now the fun part begins: securing it and stringing the multiple lights that make it so festive. Thanks to Scott Anderson of RS3 Homes who donated the tree.

This Saturday is Hometown, a celebration started 20 years ago by forward-thinking citizens like Allene Wodaege who wanted to provide residents with a local tradition so they wouldn’t have to drive into Vancouver. It’s a full day of fun, and with Rosauers opening this weekend Ridgefield is going to be a busy place.

Here’s the schedule of events for Saturday.

9AM: The day begins with the Ugly Sweater Fun Run with Ridgefield Runners. Visit runridgefield.com to register. There is a special prize for the Best Ugly Sweater!

9AM-3PM: Continue the fun in the Holiday Food & Gift Marketplace at Overlook Park, sponsored by Columbia Credit Union. Shop Farmer’s Market vendors, Holiday gifts and decorations, roasting nuts and more under large canopies with outdoor heaters. Live music from singing groups and bands from Sunset Ridge, View Ridge & Ridgefield High School will fill the tent from 10 to 3.

9AM-4PM: Visit the Ridgefield Community Library for hot cider, cookies, and crafts as well as a Used Book & Gift Sale sponsored by the Friends of Ridgefield Community Library.

10AM-1PM: Find live Reindeer at Allstate Insurance on the corner of Pioneer and 5th Avenue.

11AM-3PM: Get creative with holiday-themed games, crafts, cookie decorating, a 20th Anniversary Scavenger Hunt and more fun in the Holiday Kid’s Activity Center at Tailored Fitness.

Noon-3PM: And let’s not forget about Santa! Head over to Old Liberty Theater for pictures and more activities. Bring your own camera and take pictures with Santa for free, sponsored by Ridgefield Mini Storage.

4:30PM: Enjoy the Tree Lighting Festival with a holiday dance-performance from DanceFusion NW, community sing-along with Bethel Church, hot chocolate from Trinkets Tearoom and cookies. You can enjoy the Tree Lighting from the comfort of the adults-only Windy Hills Wine Garden area. The Wine Garden will be open from 2-6PM.

All day activities are everywhere with downtown businesses decorated, open and ready with sales, give-aways, hot cocoa and Holiday Village displays with activities like kids games and crafts at Hookum Brewery and a Christmas Shop with holiday arrangements, gifts and hot cider at Ridgefield Floral & Gifts. You can tour the town on the Port of Ridgefield Holiday Trolley Rides with Rudolph from noon to 3 and see musical performances on the street corners by the Ridgefield High School Jazz Band. And, don’t forget to cast your vote in the Holiday Decorating Contest!

End your evening by attending the Acoustic Guitar Summit at Old Liberty Theater. Enjoy an annual concert favorite with a winter inspired sound scape from Grammy-winning guitarists Terry Robb, Mark Hanson and Doug Smith at 7:30pm.




David Taylor Recogntion

David Taylor

Come celebrate the service and retirement of Councilor David Taylor with cake and light refreshments, Thursday, December 5th, 5”30, in the Columbia Assembly Room at the RACC, 610 Pioneer Street

City Council member David Taylor is a long-term Ridgefield resident and has been involved in numerous local civic activities including Lion’s Club of Ridgefield, assistance with View Ridge Middle School Aviation STEM classes, and organization of the Ridgefield Community Garden. Councilor Taylor has also been instrumental in arranging the 4th of July F-15 Flyover of Ridgefield.

Join us as we recognize Councilor Taylor’s twelve years of service in the Ridgefield City Council and congratulate him on his retirement.

Creating a More Inclusive Classroom with Co-Teaching

When teachers Megan Suarez and Dana Swensson attended a training on co-teaching, they were so excited they couldn’t wait to get back to their classrooms to implement it.  Suarez is a special education teacher and Swensson teaches a traditional third grade class at South Ridge Elementary School.  The co-teaching model allows them to teach all of their students together, in a unified classroom without barriers.  No matter what level a student is academically, they get to spend time with peers and achieve at their own level.  And they have seen immediate results:  student math scores have improved, and the class has become more inclusive overall.

Suarez and Swensson grouped students with similar skill sets together.  Then they created teaching stations in different areas of the room.  Each group circulates through the same teaching stations.  At one station, students work as a group on a list of problems; at another, they use laptops and headphones to do independent math games.  Swensson teaches multiplication to one group at the whiteboard, and Suarez helps other students use colored squares as a visual way to solve problems.  Every student goes through every station—and each station can be customized to that student’s level of learning.

There is a very wide range of abilities in the classroom, but the activities run seamlessly.  Suarez explained, “I’ll typically start each group with the same problem.  If they struggle a little bit, I can either re-teach or work on the fundamental skills.  If they do fine or notice some mathematical challenges, then I can go a little deeper.  I can really tailor to each group.”

Teacher Dana Swensson works with students on multiplication at one station.


Megan Suarez works with a group of students using colored squares to visualize multiplication.


Another group of students plays a math game on laptops.

Another group of students plays a math game on laptops.For many years, students who required specialists in learning disabilities, in advanced learning, or in English as a second language were separated from their classmates, pulled out of class for focused learning time.  Often it put them further behind, because they were missing the day-to-day instruction that other students received.

Now with co-teaching, all students get to spend time learning together in the classroom.  Students who need help still receive specialized learning time during WIN (What I Need) time each week, but the majority of their day is spent with a group of students in their grade level.  “Now I only work with them for a very small percent of the day,” Suarez said, “to help build some of the basic skills that they’re missing.”

With two teachers in the classroom, students get more focused attention for each lesson.  “It’s not exactly one-on-one.  But the small groups allow more time to meet the needs of the kids,” Swensson explained.  While they had only a partial year of co-teaching last year, classroom and standardized test scores improved.  “We noticed once we started this teaching model that they got the best scores they’ve ever had.”

Swensson and Suarez enjoy working together, being able to support each other and plan together for their classes.  And they see benefits for their students as well.  “The kids like working with another teacher,” Swensson said.  “And they enjoy getting to work in a group, getting to collaborate.  Students aren’t excluded; they get to be included with their peers.  It allows them to be part of a more positive community.  They’re all a part of this together.”

Thought for the Week

An Ode to Fred Meyer

You’ve served me well for 17 years, but now it’s time for me to move on.

I can’t say I’m sorry to see you disappear from my life.

The new ‘improvements’ you’ve made means I now spend twice as much time on my grocery shopping. And why did you do away with some of my favorite items, only to add more unhealthy pop and flavored waters?

The checkout stands with a moving belt sound like a good idea on paper, but when there’s no one at the end of the belt to bag up the groceries it means the checker has to come out of her station to bag them. And the weighing device in the bulk items area is often not working or out of paper. For a brand new machine this is disgraceful.

You’ve done some things right – I love the idea of giving free fresh fruit to children and the fresh produce area is very nice.

But now it’s time for me to move on. Rosauers – here I come!

Rosauers Grocery and Pharmacy will open this weekend with all kinds of specials events and sales. Come and check it out!

Volunteers Needed for Walk & Knock Food Drive on Saturday, December 7th

Volunteer to help with Walk & Knock, Clark County’s annual food drive, on Saturday, December 7th.  All it takes is a half-day of your time but can make a huge difference for many.

Walk & Knock is one of the nation’s largest one-day food drives and takes place each year on the first Saturday of December in Clark County.  It solicits charitable donations of food for the Clark County Food Bank to help those in need across our community.

Last year, more than 283,000 pounds of food was donated county-wide (9-12 tons collected right here in Ridgefield).  The success of every Walk & Knock food drive is attributed to the many volunteers who selflessly donate their time each year.

The Ridgefield Lions Club is the major facilitator for Walk & Knock in the Ridgefield community.  If you’d like to help, please sign up as either a driver or walker on their website by clicking HERE .

All volunteers are to meet at the Sunset Ridge Intermediate School/View Ridge Middle School campus at 3215 S. Hillhurst Road, on Saturday, December 7th at 8:15 am.  Volunteer help is needed from 8:15 am to 12:30 pm.  Lions will provide coffee/hot chocolate/donuts to start the day and provide a light lunch around noon.

Volunteer drivers follow a specified route, assisted by walkers who pick up donations.  Vehicles return to the school campus to unload donations.  Most drivers finish their route by noon.

Volunteer walkers go door-to-door to collect the food bags, placing them in the vehicles.  It is ideal to have two walkers per car for the collection of food.

Other ways volunteers can help:

Sorters help unload the food bags from the vehicles, sort the food and pack them into food boxes.  Loaders carry the packed food boxes to waiting semi-trailers bound for the food bank.

If you are not available to volunteer on December 7th, you can fill a grocery bag with non-perishable food or personal hygiene items and leave it on your doorstep by 9:00 am that morning or make a monetary donation on Walk & Knock’s website at http://walkandknock.org.   100% of all donations stay right here in Clark County!

To learn more about the Walk & Knock food drive, visit their website or call 877-995-6625.

More Info on Meaningful Movie

Here’s more information about Wednesday’s Meaningful Movie, ‘In Pursuit of Silence:’

This week we have a treat in store with you with a thought provoking meditative film “In Pursuit of Silence” and two speakers who have very different areas of expertise.

Paul Donavan, Sc.D. is the Secretary General of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineers. Although Dr. Donavan has a broad background in acoustics, his particular areas of expertise include tire noise, sound intensity methods, aeroacoustics and wind tunnel testing, and structure-borne sound. He received his Doctor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specializing in Acoustics with research in urban sound propagation and he will be sharing data of noise levels around Ridgefield.

Our second guest is the Reverend Yuki Sugahara from the Oregon Buddhist Temple. He is originally from Shimane Prefecture located just north of Hiroshima. In 2009 Reverend Yuki came to the United States to attend the International Ministerial Orientation Program at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, California. Rev. Yuki also obtained a B.A. in Human Studies (major in Buddhist Studies) from Musashino University and M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Musashino Grad School.

It will be a very interesting juxtaposition between the scientific and the spiritual. This is great film to bring the young people in your life to as it will be an opportunity to get their questions answered about Buddhism and the physics of sound. We hope to have a roboust discussion on this Thanksgiving Eve.

Doors open at 6:30, movie starts at 7:00 at the Old Liberty Theater in downtown Ridgefield.

Toy Drive at Acero Apartments

The folks at Acero Apartments are partnering with KGW and trying their best to provide them with a truck load of toys for those in need. If anyone would like to drop off any brand new but unwrapped toys through December 12, they are welcome to bring to any location listed below (please verify business hours before stopping by):

*Acero Ridgefield Apartments

4125 S. Settler Drive

Ridgefield, WA 98642


*NW Rose Real Estate

414 Pioneer Street Suite 201

Ridgefield, WA 98642


*Ridgefield School District

510 Pioneer Street

Ridgefield, WA 98642


*Bethany Vineyard & Winery

4115 NE 259th Street

Ridgefield, WA 98642

SOCKtober Sock Drive Update

Stephanie Brown’s RISE class at Union Ridge Elementary held a SOCKtober Sock Drive in early November to collect socks for the Ridgefield Family Resource Center and the Council for the Homeless.  Last year, they collected 2,000 pairs; this year, the goal was set at 3,000.  With the help of a grant from sock company, Bombas, they came very close to reaching it.

With assistance from student leaders in Mrs. Morris’ and Mrs. Couch’s class 1,694 pairs of socks were collected.  Combined with Bombas’ donation of 1,000 pairs, SOCKtober brought in a grand total of 2,694 pairs of socks.  Half of the donations will be donated to the Ridgefield Family Resource Center and the other half will go to the Council for the Homeless.

Stephanie Brown, Special Education Teacher, is proud of the students in the program and grateful for the donations.  “We can’t wait to do it again next year!” she said.


Stephanie Brown and her students celebrate another successful SOCKtober Sock Drive.

Oregon Coast Aquarium Brings Flippers, Fur and Fun to South Ridge Elementary

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is hours away from South Ridge Elementary School—but the coast felt a lot closer when Aquarium staff came to visit.  They brought a fun program, “Flippers, Fur, and Fun”, to entertain and educate students on marine mammals.

Excited students could hardly sit still as videos of animals at the Aquarium played on the big screen.  They started learning with photos of animals that live at the Oregon Coast Aquarium:  Pacific harbor seal, Boots and Pinky, and a California sea lion named Max.


The Oregon Coast Aquarium van traveled from Newport to share fun facts on marine mammals.


Students learned the “Seal Shimmy”, a dance like the Hokey Pokey for marine mammals.


Both types of animals are marine mammals, which means they live a lot of their lives in the water, but they are warm blooded, breathe air, and have hair or fur.  Other types of marine mammals include polar bears, sea otters, and whales.

But how do you tell harbor seals and California sea lions apart?  They needed two volunteers to help.  Two students, Jonah and Reese, offered to help demonstrate the differences.  They were escorted behind a screen to get ready for their part in the show.

The other students spent some time doing the Seal Shimmy (a dance similar to the Hokey Pokey, but with flippers, whiskers, and blubber going in and out).   And they tried to figure out ways that marine mammals are able to live in the ocean.  (Fur protects them from the sun, flippers help them swim, blubber keeps them warm, and whiskers help them navigate in the water.)  The kids even practiced using their arms as flippers, swaying back and forth as if they were swimming.  Then it was time for Jonah and Reese to come back onstage.

Kids laughed with delight when they saw Jonah and Reese in costume—one as a Pacific harbor seal and one as a California sea lion.  Each student took a turn coming forward to show the characteristics that distinguish each animal.  Then they learned how those animals are cared for at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The learning included some hands-on time, where students could see how they measured up to life-sized inflatable seals and sea lions.  And they got the chance to examine animal biofacts:  seal and sea lion pelts, skulls, and bones.

With so many opportunities to learn and explore, the Aquarium brought the shore right to South Ridge’s door.  And when the show was over, they packed everything back into their sea blue van, ready to drive to the next group of students.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is located in Newport, Oregon.  For more information or to plan a visit, check their website at aquarium.org


Two students volunteered to wear costumes as part of the “Flippers, Fur and Fun” show.


Tables of biofacts display a large sea lion skull and a harbor seal pelt.


Thought for the Week

            Paul Harvey

Paul Harvey wrote this in 1964 for his radio broadcast, ‘Now You Know the Rest of the Story.’ That was 55 years ago. Read it and tremble.

“If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’

“To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’

“And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

“If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

“Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.

“If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet? I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as thee way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work, in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing on what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”

Meaningful Movies

Meaningful Movies is showing the film ‘In Pursuit of Silence’ this coming Wednesday at 7pm at The Old Liberty Theater. One of the world’s foremost authorities on sound mitigation will be on the panel that leads a discussion after the movie.

Doors open at 6:30 – come buy a treat and/or beverage and talk with your neighbors before the movie. It’s free, but donations are very welcome.

Empty Bowl Event Set for Saturday, December 7th