Superintendent’s Update to Families – February 23, 2021

 

 

 

February 23, 2021

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Today, we welcome back our second cohort (Tuesday/Friday) of eighth-grade students, completing middle schools’ in-person return to hybrid learning.  Just moments ago, Clark County Public Health released the weekly COVID Activity Rate…137.0 per 100,000.  As I shared last week, a rate below 200 allows us to bring our high school students back.  With great enthusiasm, we will welcome the first of two cohorts of Ridgefield High School students back to the building on Tuesday, March 2.

When RHS students return on Tuesday, they will experience a six-period day.  I am pleased to share that VRMS students will also shift to the six-period day, beginning on Monday, March 1.  You can find the updated daily secondary student schedules for both hybrid and Ridgefield Remote on the lower left of our Learning in 2021 webpage.

You may be asking yourself, “Why change the middle school schedule?”  The District decided to implement a six-period day for many reasons.  Naturally, it closely aligns with a typical traditional school day for all secondary students and staff.  In a year that has been anything and everything but normal, movement toward a return to normalcy is imperative for our students’ and staff’s well-being.  A growing body of research suggests that our counter-measures (masking, social-distancing, proper hygiene, etc.) effectively contain COVID, reducing the risk associated with attending six class periods in one day.  Most importantly, it allows all secondary students (whether learning through Ridgefield Remote or in-person hybrid) to have class with each of their six teachers twice weekly.  This is a significant instructional benefit for our students.

As we move forward with in-person instruction for secondary students, families may hear the term “simulcasting” and wonder what this means.  Simulcasting is when a teacher has students present in the classroom while at the same time teaching students through Zoom.  For example, on a given Monday, teachers will work with Group A students in the classroom while on Zoom with Group A students who have chosen to remain in Ridgefield Remote.

The District has pursued simulcasting because it will allow for the least amount of schedule disruptions for students and teachers.  This is our initial foray into simulcasting, and as is the case with most first attempts, we will undoubtedly run into bumps and hiccups.  We ask for your grace and patience as we press forward with this new learning to better meet our students’ needs.  To all the staff that have voluntarily jumped into this new delivery model…a HUGE thank you.

I am overwhelmed with the sheer number of wonderful winter photos shared last week.  Thank you for answering the call!  Please continue sharing photos of your students via the email address: student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org  This week’s student photo challenge – first day photos.

Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

Ridgefield Celebrates Youth Arts Month

March is just around the corner, and that means Ridgefield School District will soon be celebrating Ridgefield Youth Arts Month, joining with local businesses, organizations, and local artists to offer an abundance of artistic opportunities for children and the Ridgefield community to discover their creative side through art and music.

The school district established Ridgefield Youth Arts Month to support the district’s commitment to deliver personalized learning experiences for each student through appreciation of the arts as well as to increase support of the arts throughout the community.

To celebrate Youth Arts Month, Ridgefield Community Education is offering a phenomenal array of classes for the community and for kids of all ages.  Choose from a variety of classes in arts and crafts or music and dance, or take in a virtual art show highlighting the work of our talented students.  Many of these activities and classes are free!   Click HERE to see the Ridgefield Youth Arts Month brochure.

Due to current COVID restrictions, adjustments were necessary; however, we trust that everyone will enjoy the many fun, family-friendly creative opportunities offered this year.

All classes have limited availability, and online pre-registration is required.  Visit ridge.revtrak.net to reserve your spot today.  If you are unable to access the internet, please call 360-619-1303 for assistance.

Ridgefield School District is grateful to our sponsors, Dance Fusion Northwest, Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation, Rose Real Estate and the Ridgefield Art Association for their generous support.

Special thanks to the dedicated members of the RYAM Committee–Carla Kendall-Bray, Maureen O’Reilly, Patricia Thompson, and Barbara Wright—for the countless hours they donate each year for Ridgefield Youth Arts Month.

Thought for the Week

I should have posted this last week, but better late than never. Aren’t you happy the snow is gone? I’m looking towards spring!

Snow storm has arrived
The sky and earth are all white
I watch with deep sigh.

Heavy flakes falling
I think of snow removing
My heart keeps sinking.

All I see is white
But I feel so dark inside
And a worried night.

NHIEN NGUYEN MD

Superintendent’s Update to Families – February 19, 2021

 

 

 

February 19, 2021

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I hope everyone enjoyed the snow this past weekend.  Amanda and I had a blast playing in the snow with our boys.  Due to the inclement weather closure on Friday, February 12, we will have school on Friday, March 19.  Please adjust your calendars, as this will be an official school day.

For the fifth week in a row, Clark County’s COVID Activity rate fell.  On Tuesday, Public Health released the weekly activity rate at 209.8 per 100,000.  We remain in the moderate range while closing in on 200 per 100,000.  Current guidance supports area school districts returning high school students once we are below 200.  We are committed to bringing back our 9-12 students safely and sensibly as soon as possible.

As you know, we have implemented a phased return at all previous grade levels.  However, the high school has numerous mixed-grade courses that prevent a phased return as it would create inequities in instruction access.  For that reason, all grades (9-12) will return at the same time.  We will still be operating on an A/B model to limit cohort size to allow for appropriate social distancing.  We currently anticipate a return to in-person instruction for Ridgefield High School students, as outlined below.

  • Tuesday, March 2
    • 9-12 grades Group B*
  • Thursday, March 4
    • 9-12 grades Group A*

*COVID activity rate below 200 on February 23

Our student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org email account continues to fill with wonderful student/family photos.  I love it!  Let’s keep this going.  Did you happen to grab a picture or two of your little ones enjoying the snow this last week?  If so, don’t hesitate to share – I would love to see them.  I’ve included a picture of my little guy out in the snow.

Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

256 Boxes of Corn Chex!

The Ridgefield Green Bag Project expresses sincere THANKS to Winco Foods, Brush Prairie, for their recent donation of Corn Chex to the Green Bag Project!

256 boxes (or 16 cases) weigh in at 248 lbs.  At $3/box, that’s a value of $768!

THANK YOU WINCO!

This is a great start to our Green Bag food pickup this Saturday, Feb. 20th.

You can reach the Green Bag Project at:  ridgefieldfoodproject@gmail.com

Library Group Meets to Plan Opening Festivities

Ridgefield Friends of the Library met last week to start planning for the opening of our new library. Yes folks, it’s actually going to happen – one of these days – hopefully by the end of June. COVID has slowed down some of the suppliers, so it’s taking longer than anticipated.

Here’s the planning committee meeting outdoors, in the cold, fully masked and socially distanced. These are some of the people who have worked so hard to raise money for the library, and we owe them a big ‘thanks’.

Would you like to donate to my ‘10% for 85’ campaign to raise money for a hearing loop for the library?  Go to www.folridgefieldwa.com and click on the donation button. When you fill out the form please note either ‘hearing loop’ or ‘10% for 85’ so the money will be credited correctly.

If you prefer writing a check, please make it out to Friends of the Ridgefield Library and send it to 10% for 85, c/o Kathy Winters, PO Box 381, Ridgefield, WA 98642. Thanks so much!

Virtual Color Run Benefits Ridgefield Schools

Last year’s Color Run brought hundreds of participants to Davis Park in downtown Ridgefield.  Runners dashed through bright clouds of color to raise money for Sunset Ridge Intermediate School and View Ridge Middle School.  Unfortunately, COVID precautions made an in-person run impossible this year, so the Ridge Parent Association took the Color Run virtual.  On March 6th, students, families, and community members will have the chance to support the schools together—while staying safely apart.

Last year’s Color Run started with an explosion of color.

The two-mile virtual run will be held on March 6.  Participants will have the freedom to choose their own routes while still being a part of the event.  Jog on a treadmill, run on a favorite route, or even walk the dog, then celebrate with your own cloud of color!

Early registration runs through February 19th.  The $20 registration fee gets you a t-shirt and a colored powder packet.  The first 150 registrants also receive sunglasses courtesy of Opsahl Dawson Accounting and a free cinch bag courtesy of J&R Wood Products.  Late registration runs from February 20th to March 5th, and the $25 fee gets you a colored powder packet.  To register, sign up at https://tinyurl.com/sih0d1n5

On March 6th at 10 a.m., Ridgefield Mayor Don Stose will lead the virtual kickoff with a video statement and race countdown on the Ridge Association group page on Facebook.  Participants will be able to post and view pictures and videos on the Facebook page, as well as on Instagram (the_ridge98642).  If you take pictures of your Color Run, be sure to tag #TheRidge.  Support school activities, enjoy some exercise, and celebrate in color with the virtual Color Run!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ditch the Bird Baths and Feeders

Bad news for bird lovers who enjoy lavishing food and water on their favorite visitors: If you really do love birds, you’ll take the bird feeders and bird baths down.

Those luxurious attractions are major vectors in the current spread of salmonellosis, a common and usually fatal bird disease caused by the salmonella bacteria. The result this winter has been a widespread die-off of songbirds all over the region — especially finches.

“The first indication of the disease … is often a seemingly tame bird on or near a feeder. The birds become very lethargic, fluff out their feathers and are easy to approach,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife veterinarian Kristin Mansfield. “Unfortunately, at this point there is very little people can do to treat them. The best course is to leave the birds alone.”

When the WDFW started hearing reports in January of ill and dead birds in the Seattle area, it recommended that people in that area discontinue using bird feeders and bird baths, according to communications manager Stacy Lehman. That led to a huge response from across the Western U.S., and realization that the problem was much bigger.

Now, Lehman said, guidance first intended for Seattle and vicinity is statewide. Western Washington residents are asked to stop using bird feeders and bird baths, at least through the end of this month.

~Information from the Columbian

Union Ridge Elementary Holds Drive-Through Valentine’s Day Event

Valentine’s Day is special when you are in elementary school.  Making valentine “mailboxes”, getting lots of cards and candies, having a class party—it’s a super fun day.  But it seemed this Valentine’s Day would be different, with some students attending school in person and others taking online classes at home.  Union Ridge Elementary School decided to keep the day special by creating an event that all students could enjoy.

Union Ridge Elementary held a safe and socially distanced Valentine’s Day drive-through event.

At Union Ridge Elementary, fourth grade Leadership students made a video to share information about their drive-through event.  The video explained that the event would be safe and socially distanced, with everyone wearing masks.  Parents and families would drive through the parking lot in front of the school.  Then teachers and counselors would hand goodie bags through the car windows to each student.  The directions were pretty straightforward.

But when families started to arrive at Union Ridge, they were greeted with quite a celebration.  Party music was blasting.  Two teachers wearing dinosaur and shark costumes waved to students at the entrance to the parking lot.  A huge sign spelled out, “TATER TOTS, YOU’RE A-MAZE-ING!”  (The school has a maze theme this month.)  The drive-through was lined with signs shaped like conversation hearts, saying, “You are loved!”.  And the entire sidewalk, from start to finish, was filled with teachers, staff, and leadership students cheering, dancing, waving handmade signs, and holding balloons.

Dozens of cars lined the drive-through as students happily shouted greetings to their teachers and claimed their goodie bags.  It was a joyous event that was especially welcome at a time when children have been spending most of their time at home.  By safely bringing students and teachers together, the school was able to retain some of the magic that comes with a classroom Valentine’s Day.  And judging by the huge smiles on everyone’s faces, it was a wonderful way to continue a longstanding Valentine’s Day tradition—with a modern twist.

The entry to the parking lot had a huge sign and teachers in costumes to greet the students.

 

The entire sidewalk was lined with teachers and fourth grade Leadership students cheering and waving.

Update on the Library

You’ll notice some big changes to the exterior of our library this month. The new exterior siding is already up on the back of the building and will be installed on the north-facing side this week. The thin brick façade for the NW corner and along the west side of the library (facing the post office) will be installed later this month. Once all the exterior surfaces are up, the canopies will be installed.

Nearly all of the exterior windows are now in. The main entrance has two special “store front” windows that have yet to be installed. They are now in transit and should be installed by the end of the month.

Just as the outside of the library is undergoing a remarkable transformation, the inside the building is looking more and more finished. The painting is complete. Lights are being installed. Cabinets will be installed later this month. The tile work in the bathrooms is nearly complete. After the tile work, vinyl flooring will be installed. The main floor carpeting will be one of the last items to be installed.

Throughout this project, Union Corner Construction has kept the work site safe, uncluttered, tidy. The floors are clean, raw materials are neatly stacked, and remnant materials are removed to the adjacent storage area. Anyone who has experience with construction projects knows how rare and wonderful a neat work site is. It’s a real pleasure for people coming in to inspect (or report on) the progress. Thanks guys!

~by Tevis Laspa

Would you like to donate to my ‘10% for 85’ campaign to raise money for a hearing loop for the library?  Go to www.folridgefieldwa.com and click on the donation button. When you fill out the form please note either ‘hearing loop’ or ‘10% for 85’ so the money will be credited correctly.

If you prefer writing a check, please make it out to Friends of the Ridgefield Library and send it to 10% for 85, c/o Kathy Winters, PO Box 381, Ridgefield, WA 98642.

Green Bag Collection POSTPONED to Feb. 20th

In the interests of safety for everyone, we have decided to postpone this Saturday’s Green Bag Food collection to NEXT Saturday, February 20th.

Enjoy the snow!

For more information about how the project works, visit clarkfoodproject.com

To participate in Ridgefield, contact:  ridgefieldfoodproject@gmail.com

Bill Baumann

Superintendent’s Update to Families – February 10, 2021

 

 

 

February 10, 2021

Dear Ridgefield Families,

At last night’s board meeting, Director Zenia Bringhurst challenged us to select a word to focus on for the year.  Her family chose gratitude.  She expressed her appreciation for the hard work and dedication shown by so many throughout the pandemic.  I’m grateful for the fantastic team members I get to work with daily.  Not only are they talented and trusted colleagues, they are dear friends.

Yesterday, Clark County Public Health released the weekly COVID Activity rate at 262.2 per 100,000.  That allows the District to move forward with our plan to open our classrooms up for in-person learning options for our 6-8th grade students.  Please see below for our current phased return schedule.

  • Thursday, February 11th
    • 6th grade Group A
  • Friday, February 12th
    • 6th grade Group B
  • Tuesday, February 16th
    • 7th grade Group B
  • Thursday, February 18th
    • 7th grade Group A*
  • Friday, February 19th
    • 8th grade Group B*
  • Monday, February 22nd
    • 8th grade Group A*

(* Subject to weekly COVID Activity rate number released on Tuesday, February 16th)

The District has undertaken the daunting challenge of providing our families with the option of in-person instruction.  To date, we have opened in-person instruction for students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.  Approximately 1000 students are receiving instruction within the buildings daily right now.  Our counter-measures and protocols are working, which is the direct result of all our students, staff, and families’ hard work and intentionality.  Thank you!

As a parent of two Ridgefield students myself, I am reminded that the decision and choices Amanda and I make impact far more people than the four members of our immediate family.  Now more than ever, it is vital that we all do our part to prevent community spread.  A Smokey the Bear COVID campaign might sound like, “Only you can prevent COVID spread.”  If you are not feeling well or have symptoms…please…PLEASE…keep your child home to rest and recover until they are symptom-free.  Our ability to limit community spread depends on each of us to err on the side of caution.

Many of you may be wondering about what to do should the forecasted snow arrive.  Below is the current plan.  Please look for an announcement through the local news outlets, our website, and district social media channels.

  • 2 Hour Late Start
    • K-5 AM in-person and remote classes will be canceled
    • K-5 PM in-person & remote classes will continue as normal
    • 6-12 in-person & remote will start two hours late
      • School sites will be sending out modified schedules shortly
  • School Closure
    • All in-person & remote classes will be canceled

**March 19 and April 26 are established make-up days should we cancel school

Should the district close school on Friday, February 12th, due to inclement weather, we will shift the start dates for several grades outlined above to allow middle school staff members time to prepare their rooms and review safety protocols.  Below are adjusted restart dates.

  • Tuesday, February 16th
    • 6th grade Group B
  • Thursday, February 18th
    • 7th grade Group A*
  • Friday, February 19th
    • 7th grade Group B*
  • Monday, February 22nd
    • 8th grade Group A*
  • Tuesday, February 23rd
    • 8th grade Group B*

(* Subject to weekly COVID Activity rate number released on Tuesday, February 16th)

Our student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org email account is starting to slow down.  If you have some pictures of your little one’s first day, funny shots of them learning remotely, or family celebrations and traditions.

Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

 

Ridgefield School District Honors February Employee and Students of the Month

On February 9, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the February Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.

 Employee of the Month

Katy Sheley is the type of teacher all parents would want their student to have.  She is exceptional in her pursuit of learning for all of her students, working well with para-educators to ensure student success.  Mrs. Sheley has strong pedagogical skills, facilitates student-to-student engagement and provides extended opportunities for her students.  She has expanded the science department’s offerings by adding environmental science courses to the program and provides opportunities for students who are passionate about the environment by sponsoring the school’s environmental group, iTuna.  Ridgefield High School has many exceptional staff members.  Katy Sheley is one of them.

Katy Sheley

Students of the Month

When Vitiana started at the Early Learning Center a year and a half ago, she was terrified to be away from her loving family.  After forming bonds with her friends and teachers, she has blossomed into a Hash Brown by teaching her friends and her teacher how to care for plants (mom is a horticulturist), sharing details about nocturnal animals and even teaching them about Minecraft characters.  Vitiana will say some of the funniest things that will have you rolling around with laughter.  She cares for her friends if they are hurt or in need of a hug or a friend.  I am so proud of how much courage it must take for her to come to school every day and walk right through the door to play and learn.  What is even more amazing is when new students start.  She is the first to help them by becoming a friend to help them acclimate to our class.  She is a wonderful example of the kind of Resiliency it takes to be a Hash Brown.  We are so very proud of you, Vitiana.  Thank you sticking with learning even when it is hard.

Vitiana Ronstadt

Cami McConnell, a third grader, was selected at South Ridge Elementary.  Cami has been working extremely hard during distance learning.  She always shows up to class with a smile on her face, ready to challenge herself and try her best.  Whenever she has the option of facing a challenge, she always takes it on.  Her hard work and dedication are showing amazing results.  She always participates enthusiastically, is kind to classmates, and is always respectful.  She is an absolute joy and can always put a smile on the faces of her teacher and classmates.

Cami McConnell

Madeline Fredricksen, a first grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  Madeline has done a fabulous job while learning remotely.  She attends all of her classes, plus goes to an additional class with Mr. Fisher.  When she is learning on Zoom, she is very attentive and engaged.  She always has things to say about what the class is learning and does her personal best work.  Madeline is also kind.  On Zoom, the teacher has seen Madeline telling others “good job” or “that’s a good idea.”  She also listens to others and takes her turn.  Lastly, Madeline attends the classroom’s weekly Lunch Bunch on Mondays.  She is very animated during this time, sharing about herself and the things that she loves—unicorns and Frozen.  The best part is when she gives the Lunch Bunch group a concert on her recorder or some other instrument every week.  With that said, it is an honor to nominate Madeline for the Student of the Month.

Madeline Fredricksen

McKenzee Hynning, a sixth grader, was selected at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  McKenzee is such an extraordinary young person.  She is inventive and inspirational.  She goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone has a way to stay connected during this time of distance.  Last year, in fifth grade, McKenzee created a Pod website so that the students in our pod could have a creative outlet to post artwork, talk about books, post puzzles and jokes, share work, etc.  This year, she expanded the website to include the students for our entire school.  She manages the other students working on the website and always expects top notch work from them.  She is a true leader in every sense of the word.  She is always engaged and works extremely hard.  McKenzee always makes sure that other students are included, and she is a positive role model for everyone around her.  She goes out of her way to make sure everyone feels welcomed and included.  We appreciate her ability to see the good in every situation and every person.

McKenzee Hynning

Emma Wallway, an eighth grader, was chosen at View Ridge Middle School.  Emma greets others with a kind smile just by turning her camera on for a quick moment.  She participates in class, tries her best and is a positive example to those watching what she does.  She is friendly and works well with others on projects.  Emma has worked very hard, even being in remote learning.  She has faced many hurdles, all of which she has taken in stride.  She communicates with teachers when questions arise and will listen to what needs improving.  She has a positive attitude every day.  Emma’s dedication and her growth exemplify everything we try to achieve at View Ridge Middle School.

Emma Wallway

In selecting Ridgefield High School’s February Student of the Month, staff members were asked to think of resiliency as the defining trait for the nomination.  Many students were nominated who have overcome and persevered through challenges and are stronger because of them.  Senior Tanner Roberts is one such person.  Earlier this school year, Tanner lost both his grandmother and his father.  He describes those experiences as a time of growth and understanding for himself and his family.  Tanner didn’t use the experience of loss to hold him back.  He is described by his teachers as a student who “comes to class every day with a positive attitude,” a student who is “thoughtful and considerate,” and a “glass half-full” type of person.  In addition to managing a full load of classes, including AP Calculus and AP Literature, Tanner also involves himself in the school and community.  Tanner’s activities include football, DECA, National Honor Society and club-team lacrosse.  He also helps out at the Family Resource Center.  Tanner hopes to attend the Naval Academy to study Operations Management or attend a university on an ROTC scholarship after high school.  Tanner continually expresses an interest in serving others, and it is for all of these reasons that Ridgefield High School is honored to have Tanner Roberts represent the school as the February Student of the Month.

Tanner Roberts

Special thanks to the local office of James Schmeling at Allstate Insurance Company, the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and Ridgefield Boosters for sponsoring the District’s recognition program this school year.

“LEARN Saves Lives Suicide Prevention Training” Webinar Set for February 18th

Ridgefield School District, in partnership with the University of Washington’s Forefront Suicide Prevention program, will be presenting a webinar to all interested district staff, families and community members on Thursday, February 18th from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm.

“LEARN Saves Lives:  Suicide Prevention Training” will present five simple and effective steps to recognize suicide warning signs in loved ones and peers.  The hour-long webinar will be followed by a 30-minute Question and Answer session.  Register online at:  https://tinyurl.com/4n54kkeu

For more information about University of Washington’s Forefront Suicide Prevention Program, visit https://intheforefront.org/