Ridgefield High School Students Shine in Poetry Out Loud Contest

On Wednesday evening, January 18, over two dozen Ridgefield High School students braved the pouring rain to take center stage at The Old Liberty Theater to recite the works of both famous and lesser-known poets in the school-level round of the national Poetry Out Loud competition.

Grace Melbuer, a sophomore, earned first place, with a recitation of Rita Mae Reese’s poem, “Dear Reader.”  Natalie Dean, a senior, finished second.  Davin Tjia, a sophomore, and Kendall Davis, a freshman, tied for third-place honors.

Grace Melbuer

“Poetry is a unique art form that allows for the expression of ideas and opinions,” said Melbuer.  “I appreciate Poetry Out Loud at Ridgefield High because it gives students the opportunity to expose themselves to the wonderful art while practicing their memorization and public speaking skills.”

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.  The program, which debuted in the 2004-2005 school year, has exploded in popularity, with more than 3 million students representing 10,000 schools participating over that time.

This is the fifth year that Ridgefield High School has competed in the Poetry Out Loud contest, and members of the English Department continue to be impressed each year with the quality of the presentations given by their students.

To prepare for the competition, all RHS English students selected and memorized a poem chosen from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems.  English classes held competitions where students recited their poems in class.  Students were evaluated on their physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and ability to convey the poem’s meaning to audience members.  Classroom winners and a wild-card advanced to the school finals.

This year, students benefitted once again from the professional guidance of Katherine Murphy Lewis, co-founder of the non-profit arts group, From the Ground Up.  Murphy Lewis worked with groups of RHS students, presenting workshops and tutoring small groups in individual classes to prepare for the contest.  The English department was able to bring Murphy Lewis in through a grant from the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and a generous donation of her time.

The district is grateful to the staff at The Old Liberty Theater, who hosted the competition.  We congratulate Grace and wish her the best as she advances to Poetry Out Loud’s Southwest Washington Regional Finals at Educational Service District #112 on January 30th at 5:00 pm.

Ridgefield High School Students Selected for Local, State Band Honors

Nine students from Ridgefield High School were recently honored for their accomplishments in music.

Congratulations to freshmen Alina Fabyanchuk and Eireann Van Natta; sophomores, Samantha Fenton, Emma Thulin, Spencer Hess and Emma Schmidt;  juniors, Ellie McCann and Anthony Paepcke; and senior, Hannah Farley.  All were selected for the 2018 North County Honor Band.

On Saturday, January 20th, the students performed in the group’s annual concert at Hockinson High School.  The free annual concert was open to the public.

The North County Honor Band is made up of middle school and high school students from Hockinson, Prairie, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, La Center, Woodland, Camas and Washougal high schools.  Applicants are chosen based on their musical accomplishments and band director’s recommendation.

Students selected for the opportunity receive a quality band experience that challenges them as musicians of a high-level honor group, performing with their peers from other school districts and working with esteemed guest conductors—this year, Dr. Rob Davis, director of bands at Lower Columbia College, and Dr. Rodney Dorsey, director of bands at the University of Oregon.

Two of the RHS students were also selected for the Washington All-State Small Schools Wind Symphony.  Samantha Fenton (flutist) and Emma Schmidt (clarinetist) will perform with the ensemble at the 2018 Washington Music Educators Association Conference in Yakima, Washington during Presidents’ Day weekend.


View Ridge Middle Schoolers Participate in FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition

Last month, two robotics teams from View Ridge Middle School participated in a FIRST LEGO League Robotics qualifying competition at Washington Middle School in Olympia.

The VRMS Rebels (also known as “The Squishies”) and VRMS Rebels Too (also known as “The RoboRebels”) are coached by View Ridge English and history teacher, Raechel Cowell.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit international youth organization founded in 1989 that operates the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League, JR. and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions.

FIRST LEGO League team competitions require student teams (in Grades 4-8) to design, build, and program a robot using Lego Mindstorms technology and drive it to complete challenges on a table-top playing field.  This year, teams were also presented with a real-world problem (hydrodynamics) and were required to develop a solution by collaborating with community members and doing research culminating in a presentation to judges at the competition.

The competition helps participants learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM) along with creativity to solve a problem.  Along the way, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications and presentation skills.

In addition, by embracing FIRST’s Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.  The event provided the middle schoolers with the opportunity to meet students from other schools, get to know their teammates better and to have fun.

VRMS Rebels team (a.k.a. The Squishies) from left: William Sowders, Jud “JP” Kennedy, Carter Long, Cayden Lauder, Kaison Apol, Liam Rapp, and Isabelle “Izzy” Sheley. Christian Duquette (not pictured) is also part of the team.

At the competition, both teams faced numerous challenges required of their robot.  After selecting specific challenges to work through, the students set goals, all of which they were able to accomplish.  “THAT was very exciting,” said Cowell.  “The students worked hard and made effective use of downtimes to make programming changes.  One team actually changed their robot design during downtime!”

“When we finally got to see our robot do the first challenge successfully, it was really cool,” said Parker Staker from the RoboRebels team.  “The best aspect of the competition was when we were pressured for time and within hours, made the robot able to do two more challenges than what we came in with.  It was fun to see the saw blade attachment that I made work and help the robot do the challenge.”

VRMS Rebels Too team (a.k.a. The RoboRebels) Back row (from left): Parker Staker, Mara Schwenneker, Dominic Harris, John Stryker. Front row (from left): Catalina Hagen and Gabriel Thomas. Other team members (not pictured): Olivia DesRochers, Aaron Breitengross, and Megan Weber.

In the end, View Ridge ranked 27th and 28th out of a field of 33 teams.  “However, I am very proud of them,” said Cowell.  “They weren’t trying to win necessarily, but had the full spirit in them to do their best.  The students enjoyed themselves,” she said, adding, “Many would have been happy simply designing robots and programming them.  Students simply love to do this stuff.”

The View Ridge robotics teams gratefully acknowledge the support they received from Ridgefield High School’s Steel Ridge Robotics Team (Coach Jeff Brink and students Jake McCarthy and Eli Holter) and parents Chad Stryker, Mitzi Staker, and Timm Sowders.

“Being my first year doing robotics, I really enjoyed myself and found the entire robotics community very supportive,” said Cowell.

FIRST LEGO League is an alliance between FIRST and the LEGO Group.  It was founded in 1998 by FIRST founder Dean Kamen and owner of the LEGO Group, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen to engage children in playful and meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology.


Family Resource Center Receives $5000 Donation from Successful Turkey Trot

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation (RPSF) announced today that it is donating $5,000 to Family Resource Center after its first annual Turkey Trot exceeded fundraising expectations.

The first annual RPSF Turkey Trot presented by Krippner and NW Funding Group was held on November 23, 2017. More than 300 race participants showed up on Thanksgiving morning and braved the rain to run in the 5k/10k race. The event raised over $12,000 for the Foundation and brought in a large amount of food donations for the Family Resource Center.

Georgianna Jones, RPSF board member and lead event coordinator said, “The Ridgefield community, in both participation and sponsorship, showed us in record numbers that gratitude and giving back go hand in hand. I am beyond proud to have played a part in organizing the Turkey Trot.”

Nearly 20 local businesses and organizations stepped up to sponsor the race, showing Ridgefield’s exceptional commitment to its community and public schools. “We were surprised and grateful for the success of the event, given it was its first year,” said Jeff Vigue, RPSF President. “And in return, we wanted to donate a significant amount of the proceeds to the Family Resource Center.” The remaining amount will go to fund RPSF programs and grants for Ridgefield schools.

The Family Resource Center, which is located on Ridgefield School District property, provides Ridgefield students and families with food, clothing and basic necessities. The RPSF believes in the importance of whole child development within the educational system. The support provided by the Family Resource Center is making a difference in the lives of more and more Ridgefield students every day.

To learn more about the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation or attend an event hosted by the Foundation, please go to www.ridgefieldpsf.org.

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is a privately funded, non-profit organization, established in 2009. Our mission is to advance programs and activities that support whole student development for which public resources are insufficient or unavailable.

We Appreciate Our National Board Certified Teachers

Numbers released this week by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) show that Washington topped the state rankings for total number (1,435) of new 2017 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs)–the most of any state.  The figure is based on self-reported data by NBCT membership.

Additionally, Washington was among seven other states in 2017 who increased their total number of NBCTs by more than 10%.

Created in 1987, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the quality of teaching and learning.

Teachers achieving national board certification go through a rigorous performance-based, peer-review process that takes one- to five-years to achieve.  Recognized as the “gold standard” in teacher certification, it speaks to a teacher’s dedication in elevating his/her teaching practice in order to provide students with a quality learning experience.

According to the NBPTS, the research is clear:  Teaching is the most important school-related factor that determines student success.  Higher standards for teachers means better learning for students.

“Washington’s teachers are some of the finest in the country, and this additional certification will make a tremendous difference to their students, schools, and communities,” said Governor Jay Inslee.  “There is no more important job than a teacher as their work impacts countless lives and futures.  I applaud these Nationally Board Certified teachers for their hard work and determination.”

“We are fortunate to have 19 teachers on staff who have earned this distinguished certification,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann.  “Their dedication brings accomplished teaching and improved learning to the classroom, critical to the long-term success of our schools.”

There are more than 118,000 Board-Certified teachers nationwide.  This week, January 8-12, the nation celebrates #TeamNBCT Week, honoring all National Board Certified Teachers .  Please show your appreciation by commending and congratulating our National Board Certified Teachers for accomplishing this remarkable achievement in person or by sharing messages online via Twitter or Facebook.

Ridgefield School District proudly recognizes each of our National Board Certified teachers here:


Jamie Griffith

Certificate Area:  Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2009

Angela Kapus

Certificate Area:  Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2015

Sara Marshall

Certificate Area:  Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2014

Erika Muir

Certificate Area:  Generalist/Early Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2004.  Renewed in 2014.

Shandel Oderman

Certificate Area:  Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2017 (newly-certified)

Tiffany Quast

Certificate Area:  English As a New Language/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2017 (newly-certified)

Morning Stalcup

Certificate Area:  Mathematics/Early Adolescence

Original Certification Year:  2015



Randi Christopherson

Certificate Area:  Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2017 (newly-certified)

Ellen Ferrin

Certificate Area:  Generalist/Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2010

Mindy Morris

Certificate Area:  Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2017 (newly-certified)



Kathryn James

Certificate Area:  Science/Early Adolescence

Original Certification Year:  2017 (newly-certified)

Michelle Hankins

Certificate Area:  Art/Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood

Original Certification Year:  2014

Kristi Young

Certificate Area:  Science/Early Adolescence

Original Certification Year:  2010



Austin Biel

Certificate Area:  Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Original Certification Year:  2011

Bob Ford

Certificate Area:  Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Original Certification Year:  2009

John Harvey

Certificate Area:  English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Original Certification Year:  2010

Bob Meek

Certificate Area:  Music/Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood

Original Certification Year:  2010



Nathan Lee

Certificate Area:  Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

Original Certification Year:  2015



Elisa Smith

Certificate Area:  Mathematics/Early Adolescence

Original Certification Year:  2007.  Renewed in 2017.

Cupcake Wars Give Ridgefield High School Students a Taste of Creative Competition

Stefanie Foster, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Ridgefield High School, wanted students in her Foods 1 and 2 classes to learn valuable skills they could use in pursuing a career in the food industry; specifically, understanding the cost of goods sold, preparing a presentation and pitching it to potential customers, being creative and imaginative, and working together as part of a team.

Inspired by a popular television show, she came up with a fun project that fit the bill:  Cupcake Wars!  “The Movies” was the theme she created, and students would be responsible for interpreting the theme into cupcakes they would create and present to customers.

Students were responsible for researching the recipe for the final product, doing nutritional and cost analysis of the product, creating the final product (including frosting) and presenting the product to customers (RHS staff members).

Stefanie Foster, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Ridgefield High School, assists Foods 1 students, Austin Willis (left) and Alyssa Dewey as they prepare their entry in Cupcake Wars.

For her Foods 2 class, Foster created Cake Wars using the same concept and changed the theme to “Winter.”

Cupcake Wars entry displays “The Movies” theme.

Cake Wars entry presents an interpretation of the “Winter” theme.

Final judging by staff members took place on December 15th, before Winter Break.  Winning was not as important as the takeaway that the projects provided.  Not only was the project fun for everyone involved, students came away learning valuable 21st century skills useful in real-life career applications.


Virtual Tour of Ridgefield High School Expansion Project

Get a glimpse of what the Ridgefield High School expansion project will look like when completed.  Take a virtual tour of the building, which is slated for completion in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year.  Video courtesy of LSW Architects.

To view, click on the link shown here:  https://youtu.be/yOYybsWTdQQ .

Ridgefield School District Honors School Board Members During School Board Recognition Month

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed January as School Board Recognition Month.  This marks the 23rd year of the annual observance initiated by the National School Boards Association in 1995.

At its regular board meeting on January 9, the Ridgefield School District recognized the dedicated service of its school board.  Honored were school board members Emily Enquist, Becky Greenwald, Scott Gullickson, Joseph Vance, and Steve Radosevich.

The district joins the Washington State School Directors’ Association, Association of Educational Service Districts and the broader education community in the state of Washington in recognizing the tremendous service provided by its school board.

“The board sets the vision for the school district and serves in cooperation with the superintendent as chief advocates for the district,” said Ridgefield School District Superintendent Nathan McCann.  “We are very fortunate to have a school board committed to continuous improvement and our pursuit of premier.”

Guided by state and federal laws, the board provides direction for the district by setting policy, monitoring goals, and approving the annual budget.

“Each of our board members is extremely dedicated and willing to go above and beyond what is expected of them,” said McCann.  “In fact, I don’t believe the public knows how much we expect from the board and how they always rise to the occasion.”

In total, Washington’s school directors govern districts serving 1.1 million students, with a combined annual budget of approximately $15 billion, employing about 120,000 people.

Ridgefield School District Honors January Employee and Students of the Month

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

The Employee of the Month is Doug TenEyck, teacher at South Ridge Elementary School.  Doug is an exemplary model of what it means to pursue premier.  His dedication to Ridgefield students has had a lasting impact on students most in need.  Doug’s gentle approach with students paired with high expectations produces amazing results, and his great sense of humor makes him a positive force in the classroom.  He does whatever it takes for students.

Doug TenEyck

Doug has long been an important member of the South Ridge Elementary team and now works as a school district employee.  It is with pride that we congratulate Doug TenEyck as January’s Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

Isaac Marshall, a fifth grader, is January’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  Isaac is a flexible learner who is able to challenge himself.  A self-starter, Isaac possesses strong leadership skills and has a strong character.  Isaac is gentle, kind and is described as amusing.  He is a positive role model for other students.  South Ridge Elementary proudly recognizes Isaac Marshall as its January Student of the Month.

Isaac Marshall

Jaidyn Ruzicka, a third grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  Jaidyn always has a smile on her face and projects a positive attitude for learning, regardless of the subject.  She has a great work ethic, always tries her best and asks questions.  She exhibits great leadership skills, is always fair and makes sure to include everyone.  She makes the classroom a safe place for all students to learn and to express their opinions without judgment.  A born helper, she is always looking for ways she can help others.  Jaidyn is an all-around wonderful person, and Union Ridge is fortunate to have her.  It is proud to name Jaidyn Ruzicka as its Student of the Month for January.

Jaidyn Ruzicka

Taylor Zanas, an eighth grader, was selected from View Ridge Middle School.  Taylor has a great attitude in class and never backs down from a challenge, no matter who is posing the challenge and no matter how difficult it is.  One of her teachers appreciates how Taylor seems to enjoy being active for the love of it and works to improve a skill even if she isn’t going to pursue it.  She is very respectful of others, and other students respect her as well for the way she treats people.  In addition, Taylor is a student who is coachable and is always ready to learn.  View Ridge Middle School is pleased to recognize Taylor Zanas for January Student of the Month honors.

Taylor Zanas

Tyler Lehnertz, a sophomore, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  Tyler was nominated for this honor in November, December and twice for January.  He is one of the most active students on campus.  In addition to taking chemistry and pre-calculus, Tyler is on the cross-country, basketball and baseball teams.  He is also in the ASB student government class and is the ASB Activities Director.  Teachers describe Tyler as a person who “makes RHS a better place … he goes out of his way to make others feel known and is a leader among leaders.”  Another teacher describes Tyler as a “perfect example of the three R’s that we promote at RHS” (respect, responsibility, resilience).  It is without question that Tyler Lehnertz is worthy of January Student of the Month honors for Ridgefield High School.

Tyler Lehnertz

Ridgefield School District is grateful to its sponsor, the historic Sportsman’s Restaurant and Lounge, a local Ridgefield business owned and operated by Terry Hurd.  This is the fourth year that Hurd has provided funding to support the district’s recognition program.

Superintendent’s Spudder Alumni Luncheon Set for January 26

The Ridgefield School District is pleased to extend an invitation to all Ridgefield High School graduates to join us for the annual Superintendent’s Spudder Alumni Luncheon on Friday, January 26.

Come and have lunch with fellow Spudders at 12 noon at the RHS Commons.  Construction managers will be on hand after lunch to provide updates on the various projects in the district’s 2017 Bond Program and answer any questions you may have.

In addition, walking tours of the Grades 5-8 school complex construction site will be offered after the luncheon.  Participants will be given hard hats and safety vests to wear and be briefed on safety guidelines before the tour begins.

Navigating through the construction site can be a bit challenging, so it is recommended that tour participants be able to walk on their own.  Pre-registration for the walking tour is required, and shuttle transportation will be provided to the site.

To RSVP for the alumni luncheon and/or to pre-register for the walking tour, please contact Bonnie Harris at 360-619-1302 or by email at bonnie.harris@ridgefieldsd.org by Friday, January 19th.

Boundary + Start Time Committee Schedules First Parent/Community Forum

The Boundary + Start Time Committee will hold its first Parent/Community Forum on Monday, January 22, 2017 from 6:00-7:00 pm at the Ridgefield High School Commons.

Parents and community members are invited to learn about the committee’s work in exploring possible adjustments to elementary school boundaries and school start times in preparation for continued growth and the opening of new schools in Fall 2018.

This will be the first of two community forums scheduled by the committee.

In September, parents and staff participated in a district survey regarding school attendance and boundaries.  The results of the survey helped provide the committee with valuable feedback in its work.

For survey results, meeting minutes, and more information, visit the Boundary + Start Time Committee’s webpage on the district website at http://www.ridgefieldsd.org/boundary-start-time-committee .


Ridgefield School District Honors December Employee and Students of the Month

On December 12, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the December Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.

The Employee of the Month is Kathryn James, science teacher at View Ridge Middle School.  Kathryn “Katie” James is deserving of this honor for her unwavering belief in all of her students’ capacities to learn.  Katie’s daily work with students of all skill levels and her productive collaboration with her fellow staff is what truly distinguishes her for this recognition.

Katie James

At the beginning of the school year, Katie discovered class rosters with significant loads of struggling students.  Many teachers would have resisted the challenge to resolve the situation, but Katie, though a big overwhelmed, collaborated with the principal, a Special Education teacher and a paraprofessional to brainstorm and implement the solutions required to help improve the learning experience of these students.  Her determination provided the students with the opportunity to learn at the high levels at which she was confident they could achieve.

In addition, Katie supports her fellow teachers in a variety of ways.  As a member of the middle school’s science team, Katie has led exemplary work in reviewing common assessment data to guide instructional planning.  In addition, she created a poster explaining the school’s new grading system; developed a peer evaluation form for staff to use in the school’s Passion Project Excel course; serves as advisor for the National Honor Society; and serves as safety team representative.

For all that she does for View Ridge Middle School, it is with pride that we congratulate Katie James as December’s Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

Kinnley Veitenheimer, a first grader, is December’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  Kinnley is a positive young lady who demonstrates helpfulness in class and beyond.  She recently donated a walking stick to her classroom so that other students could enjoy observing how this insect thrives.  She is kind, thoughtful and respectful, and by eagerly following directions, demonstrates responsibility as well.  South Ridge Elementary proudly recognizes Kinnley Veitenheimer as its December Student of the Month.

Kinnley Veitenheimer

Ava Gillett, a fourth grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  Ava takes ownership of her learning by challenging herself on class assignments and emailing her teachers about her school work even when she is away from school.  She’s thoughtful, kind, respectful, and takes care of things without being asked to do so.  She also cares about safety in school and in the classroom.  Ava is an exemplary role model for all students at Union Ridge Elementary School.  It is proud to name Ava Gillett as its Student of the Month for December.

Ava Gillett

Uruwa Abe, a seventh grader, was selected from View Ridge Middle School.  Uruwa is a hard-working student and always completes high-quality work.  In class, she asks great questions and leads by example.  Uruwa is also an amazing team player, demonstrating leadership among her peers as she facilitates group activities.  View Ridge Middle School is pleased to recognize Uruwa Abe for Student of the Month honors for December.

Uruwa Abe

Kyera Jones, a freshman, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  Kyera has been nominated three times this school year for this honor.  Her teachers describe her as a model student—dedicated, studious, and focused, with an amazing work ethic.  They also describe her as helpful, polite and respectful, adding that she works well in group settings, and contributes good ideas in class discussions.  Kyera is an excellent representative of the outstanding students at RHS.  It is without question that Kyera Jones is worthy of December Student of the Month honors for Ridgefield High School.

Kyera Jones

Ridgefield School District is grateful to its sponsor, the historic Sportsman’s Restaurant and Lounge, a local Ridgefield business owned and operated by Terry Hurd.  This is the fourth year that Hurd has provided funding to support the district’s recognition program.

Public Invited to Review Curriculum Materials for Proposed Adoption

Ridgefield School District is proposing to adopt foreign language curriculum materials for Grades 9-12.  The curriculum program, “T’es branche?” (copyright 2014) is published by EMC Publishing LLC and will be used to teach French at Ridgefield High School.

The curriculum materials support the district’s objectives and are aligned with Washington state guidelines.  Over the past few months, they were extensively reviewed by teacher groups and adoption committees in the district.

The materials will be available for public review from Wednesday, December 6 through Friday, December 15 at the Ridgefield School District Office, 2724 S. Hillhurst Road, Ridgefield, Washington, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.

Ridgefield High School STEM Students Observe Geological Engineering Field Work on Campus

A geological engineering team from Columbia West Engineering Inc. was on campus at Ridgefield High School early this week to acquire soil samples for analysis from the site of proposed new construction for the Ridgefield High School expansion, part of Ridgefield School District’s 2017 bond project.

Field workers from the company extracted numerous soil samples for lab analysis to determine the site’s soil composition.  Engineers will use the data to design the foundation for the new structure.  Preparation for the soil study involved heavy equipment being carefully maneuvered into place onto the campus’ courtyard and having the area cordoned off for student safety, as classes were in session during the operation.

Earlier this year, Lance Lehto, president of Columbia West Engineering, recognized the event as a unique learning opportunity for STEM students and reached out to high school administrators and project managers on the construction side to help make this happen.  As a result, engineering students in Ridgefield High School’s STEM program got a close-up look at this field work.

This week, Lehto visited the STEM engineering classes to do presentations about the soil study from a geologic field engineering perspective while the field work was taking place outside the classroom.

Students learned about soil composition in Ridgefield and in Clark County, got some geological history of the local region, and learned why soil analysis is essential in building design.  Then, outfitted with hard hats, safety vests and safety goggles, students headed over to the field work site with Lehto where they observed the actual soil sample extraction process in real time.  The field crew drilled as far down as 75 feet to acquire the samples of clay, silt, sand and gravel layers that make up the soil on the site.

The Ridgefield High School expansion project is currently in its design phase.  Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2018 with proposed completion in fall 2019—in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Columbia West Engineering Inc. is a locally-owned and operated multi-disciplinary geotechnical, environmental, special inspection, materials firm.  The district is grateful to Lance Lehto and his engineering crew for providing this unique learning opportunity.

Ridgefield School District Seeks Volunteers to Serve on Capital Facilities Advisory Committee

District developing long-range plans to accommodate student enrollment group

Ridgefield School District invites interested residents to join the district’s Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC).  This group will study, analyze, and make capital facility recommendations to the Board of Directors.

Ridgefield School District is Clark County’s fastest-growing school district over the past four years and is projected to more than triple in enrollment by 2035.

The advisory committee’s first meeting will be on Wednesday, December 13 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Ridgefield High School, Room 311.  The committee’s work will continue through March 2018 with recommendations presented to the Board of Directors for consideration in April 2018.  The district anticipates putting a bond proposal on the February 2019 ballot.

The Capital Facilities Advisory Committee will be asked to:

  • Develop programming to meet the needs of Phase III of RSD’s capital facilities plan, as identified by the district’s CFAC team that met from November 2015 – April 2016;
  • Develop criteria for decision-making that promotes continued success for Ridgefield School District and the community;
  • Plan and host community open houses and outreach activities; and
  • Review proposed concepts for Phase III and recommend a preferred concept for the 2019 bond election.

In addition to community members, the committee will include district staff, students, local public officials, and business partners.

Those interested in serving on the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee may sign up by calling the district office at 360-619-1302 or emailing Dr. Nathan McCann, the district’s superintendent at nathan.mccann@ridgefieldsd.org.