Vendor Spaces Available for “Experience Ridgefield” Event

Come help celebrate Ridgefield’s proud past, prosperous present and promising future!  Vendor spaces are still available for “Experience Ridgefield” hosted by the Ridgefield School District.  The community carnival, now in its second year, is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 at Ridgefield High School  from 3:00 – 7:30 pm.

Click here for a Vendor Application and more information.

All vendor applications are due September 1.  Applications received by August 23 will be entered into a prize drawing.

For more information, please call Bonnie Harris at 360-619-1302 or email or

Ridgefield School District to Hold Annual Surplus Sale

Ridgefield School District will hold its annual Surplus Sale on Monday, August 7 at Union Ridge Elementary School Gym from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The one-day event will offer a variety of surplus school items for sale, including computers, laptops, Google Chromebooks, kitchen items (pots and pans) and tons of books.  Surplus school furniture (chairs and desks) will also be available.

For more information, please contact Ridgefield School District’s Maintenance Office at 360-619-1390.

Ridgefield School District Names New High School Principal

Ridgefield School District announced today the addition of Christen Palmer to the district’s administrative team as Ridgefield High School Principal.

Palmer, originally from Anchorage Alaska, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and completed her graduate studies in Educational Leadership at Washington State University.  She began teaching in 2001 in the Vancouver area.  She comes to Ridgefield from Heritage High School where she was Associate Principal for the past six years.

Christen Palmer

“I am very excited to be a Spudder!” said Palmer.  I knew RHS was a special place the moment I stepped on campus and felt the friendly and positive nature from both the students and staff.  There is a strong sense of family and community, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it.”

Palmer enjoys spending time with her family and her daughters, Chloe, 7 and Svea 4.  She also enjoys traveling, hiking, camping and catching a Portland Timbers game.

Said Palmer, “I look forward to honoring and continuing the great work that is currently happening at RHS, all the while leading us into the future and ensuring every student is successful in high school and beyond.”

“We are pleased and excited to welcome Christen to the district,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann.  “Her enthusiasm, work ethic and commitment to continuous improvement make her an ideal fit for Ridgefield High School and the Ridgefield School District.”

Palmer fills the position vacated by Tony VanderMaas, Ridgefield High School’s principal for the past nine years.  VanderMaas will be joining the Longview School District as Executive Director of Leadership and Learning.

Online Registration Required for 2017-18 School Bus Transportation

For school year 2017-18, students in the Ridgefield school district who plan to take school buses to and from school will be required to register online at KWRL’s website at  Online registration will open June 1.

KWRL Transportation provides school busing services for Kalama, Woodland, Ridgefield and La Center school districts.  Starting tomorrow, June 1, it will launch its newly-redesigned website which, in conjunction with Skyward, will help improve communication for schools, parents and students with regard to bus routes, bus assignments and bus stops.

More importantly, the website will allow students to register for school bus transportation for the 2017-18 school year.  Registration will remain open through the summer and the 2017-18 school year.  However, to ensure bus transportation for their children for the coming school year, parents are encouraged to get their students registered as soon as possible.

KWRL will provide bus assignments for students via Skyward two weeks before the start of school.  The first day of school for Ridgefield School District is Tuesday, August 29.

According to KWRL, it’s important to note that for students with special needs, registration procedures for school bus service has not changed and will continue as usual.

For more information, please contact KWRL Transportation at 360-225-6105 or 360-225-8075.

Ridgefield School District Finalizes Sale of School Bonds

Ridgefield School District reached some significant milestones this month as it prepares to construct the first schools to be built in the district in over 40 years.

Following a groundbreaking ceremony in early May, the district successfully completed the financing for the projects on May 24 by selling bonds to fund the $77,965,000 local share of the $98.5 million in construction projects.

The bonds, which were overwhelmingly approved by district voters in February, were sold through a public offering led by the securities firm Piper Jaffray & Co.  The bonds were purchased by investors from around the country, consisting mostly of professional money managers, banks, and insurance companies.

Investors were attracted by the district’s strong Aa3 credit rating from Moody’s Investors Services.  In their recent report, Moody’s noted the district’s conservative budgetary management and the above average wealth levels of district residents as credit strengths.

The district also benefited from receiving the state’s rating of Aa1 on the bonds by its participation in the Washington School Bond Guarantee Program.

The overall cost of the 20-year financing was 3.32%.  “Interest rates on these types of bonds are near historic lows,” said Ridgefield School District Superintendent Nathan McCann.  “This is a good time to borrow at low rates to complete these important projects for the community.”

The stable bond market and strong investor demand on the day of the sale were factors in bringing interest rates down during the sale, saving approximately $180,000 in total debt service when compared to the initial interest rates.

“We are pleased to lock in these low rates and provide some meaningful savings to district taxpayers,” said Paula McCoy, the district’s Director of Business Services.  According to McCoy, the district officially received the bond proceeds on May 24.

Ridgefield High School Students Honored for Achievements in STEM

Three Ridgefield High School students were presented with Certificates of Excellence on April 29th by the local branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for their achievements in the high school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program.

The awards were presented by AAUW Washington State at a recognition ceremony at Washington State University-Vancouver.

RHS junior, Sally Bishop-Smith, won the award for Mathematics.  Natalie Dean, also a junior, received the award for Science, and Kaitlan Miller, a sophomore, was recognized for her achievement in Technology.

Ridgefield High School students and AAUW honorees (from left): Sally Bishop-Smith, Natalie Dean, and Kaitlan Miller

The young women were nominated by the Ridgefield High School faculty for their outstanding accomplishments in STEM.

The American Association of University Women is a nationwide organization committed to encouraging women and girls to pursue success in the STEM fields.

Ridgefield School District Hosts PE Showcase

Ever wonder what activities Ridgefield students participate in when they are in PE class?  Come to the “PE Showcase – Shape Up!” event on Tuesday afternoon, May 23rd and find out.

The district’s Physical Education Department is hosting the event as part of the “Shape Up Across Washington” program, whose goal is to encourage daily physical activity and a healthy lifestyle for elementary and middle school students.  There will be health/fitness activities for all age groups.  Everyone is encouraged to attend.

The event starts at View Ridge Middle School Gym at 5:30 pm, and a variety of activities are scheduled there and at Union Ridge Commons starting at 5:45 pm.  See the detailed schedule below.

Participate in a Challenge Run and Energy Pin Knockdown, play spikeball, play speedball, or experience fitness challenges that test your endurance, strength and flexibility.  Join a yoga class, participate in a circuit training workout or challenge your student to a contest doing push-ups.  Find out how heart rate monitors work or learn how pedometers are used — while taking part in games and activities.

Snacks will be provided throughout the event.  Athletic wear is recommended.  The showcase wraps up with a raffle drawing for prizes at View Ridge Middle School Gym.

Ridgefield High School’s Physical Education Program Motivates Students for Fitness

Did you know that only 27% of U.S. students in Grades 7-12 actually get 60 minutes of physical activity per day as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?

At Ridgefield High School, 41% of RHS students either engage in physical activity in the Physical Education Department or are enrolled in the high schools’ health/wellness classes.  RHS offers 12 Physical Education and Health classes daily.  Its program includes classes in core, toning, and strength and conditioning.

RHS junior, Chris Lund (on the left)  is shown spotting for sophomore Nathan Sinks, who is executing a front squat exercise.

The goals of the RHS Physical Education/Health Education Department are to gain understanding in fitness and strength concepts; to engage students in a variety of fitness, strength, conditioning and game activities; to improve a student’s fitness, strength and motor skills; and to encourage activity for a lifetime. According to the CDC, physical activity helps to improve cognitive performance and reduces depression and anxiety.

RHS freshman, Annika Farley performs a timed battle rope training while freshman Emma Haynie checks her time.


RHS junior, Trent Meisner, completes a clean and jerk Olympic lift of 285 pounds — a personal best.

Ted Beyer, Jason Buffum and Tom Zimmer comprise the very capable teaching staff in Physical Education/Health Education at RHS.  Their combined teaching experience spans a remarkable 59 years.

Buffum sees to it that students enjoy the classes.  He encourages them to “dress down, participate and have fun while doing it.”

“PE is like a trick, said RHS senior, Michaela Cloyd, “because it makes working out fun.”

Ridgefield School District Appoints New School Board Member

Emily Enquist, a Ridgefield community member and Ridgefield school parent, was appointed Ridgefield School District’s newest school board member by unanimous vote late yesterday afternoon at a special meeting of the Ridgefield School District school board.

A Ridgefield resident since 2006, Enquist has four children currently attending Ridgefield schools:  Colby and Peyton, a senior and freshman, respectively, at Ridgefield High School; and Conner and Mya, a third grader and first grader, respectively, at Union Ridge Elementary School.

“I understand how fast Ridgefield is growing and see the challenges our schools are facing,” said Enquist.  “I feel I can contribute a unique perspective being that I have made great connections with my community, while being involved as a stay at home parent, and also now as a working parent.”

Emily Enquist

As a school parent, Enquist is active in PTO activities, is a classroom volunteer at Union Ridge Elementary, and actively supports Ridgefield athletics and activities.  She recently contributed her time and efforts toward fundraising and canvassing for the district’s highly successful school bond campaign.  Voters passed the bond measure in February.

In the Ridgefield community, Enquist is a member of the Ridgefield Fourth of July Sponsorship Committee and the Ridgefield Fourth of July Scholarship Program Committee.  Enquist also helps with the Annual Mayor’s Ball, a signature event for her father, Mayor Ron Onslow.

“I love this school district,” said Enquist.  “I am committed and care about our schools, students, staff and community.  As a school board member, I can support our schools in a more direct way.”

“On behalf of the entire Ridgefield School Board we welcome Emily,” said Scott Gullickson, Ridgefield School Board President.  “She is a great addition and shares our vision of being the state’s premier school district and will be a tremendous advocate for all our students.”

“Emily brings a passion and love of the Ridgefield community – outstanding qualities that will serve the school district well in her new role,” said Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent.

Enquist will fill the District 1 seat formerly held by Jeff Vigue, who served on the school board after 10 years of distinguished service to the school district.  The seat has been vacant since March.

Enquist attends her first official school board meeting on May 23.  “I am ready to learn,” she said.

Ridgefield School District Honors May Employee and Students of the Month

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

The Employee of the Month is Donna Siegel.  As Registrar/Secretary in the office of Ridgefield High School, she provides secretarial support and invaluable assistance to the counselors, teachers, students, staff and the community.  She is knowledgeable, dependable and skilled at her job.  She is also an active member of the Booster Club, which supports the high school’s athletic programs and activities.

Donna Siegel

Donna exemplifies the qualities of the many exceptional employees at Ridgefield High School.  The district is proud to congratulate Donna Siegel for being selected as May’s Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

Catalina Hagen, a sixth grader, is May’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  Teachers and staff are thrilled to nominate Catalina.  They describe her as an exemplary student for many reasons.  “She is respectful, responsible and resilient,” they wrote.  “What makes Catalina stand out is her interest and engagement.  She is focused, interested and engaged in discussions and classwork.  She asks questions, digs deep, and actively pursues learning.  She is a delight to have in class.”  In addition, they describe her as being respectful, kind and engaging with everyone.  South Ridge Elementary is proud to name Catalina Hagen as their Student of the Month for May.

Catalina Hagen

Zuzu Hunziker, a fifth grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary for being an outstanding student.  According to teachers and staff, Zuzu “excels in all academic areas and is always curious about the next learning opportunity.  Her love of learning is contagious, and she is often in a leadership role among her peers.”  Zuzu is also described as kind and helpful, enabling those around her to shine.  She is currently part of the fundraising effort to help the sixth grade ASB raise monies for the Southwest Washington Humane Society.  Union Ridge Elementary is proud to name Zuzu Hunziker as their May Student of the Month.

Zuzu Hunziker

Mackenzie Dewey, an eighth grader, was selected from View Ridge Middle School for being a dedicated learner and an active participant in class.  She leads by example and is supportive of her fellow classmates.  Always trying her best, she is persistent in reaching her goals.  View Ridge Middle School is proud to select Mackenzie Dewey as their Student of the Month for May.

Mackenzie Dewey

Trey Knight, a freshman, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  Described as a “dedicated student with high integrity,” Trey has been nominated 13 times this year by several teachers.  “Trey always goes above and beyond in the classroom and is always polite and willing to help,” said one teacher.  Other teachers describe him as a leader in the classroom, a positive influence on fellow classmates and a student who is consistently prepared for class.  Outside of the classroom, Trey is involved in track and field where he is the current national freshman class record holder in shot put.  Ridgefield High School is proud to recognize and congratulate Trey Knight as their May Student of the Month.

Trey Knight

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

Ridgefield High School STEM Classes in Biomedical Health Sciences Provide Relevant Life Skills

The relatively new Biomedical STEM classes, Principles of Biomedical Sciences (PB), Human Body Systems (HBS) and Medical Interventions (MI) are teaching Ridgefield High School students valuable information that is genuinely applicable to real life.  Not only do students learn about medical science but they also develop professional skills they can take with them into the workplace.

Principles of Biomedical Sciences (PBS) is the first class of three in a series offered in the Biomedical STEM program.  In this class, students are presented with a mysterious death scenario and are taught to use the scientific method to slowly work towards solving the cause of death.  With the universal knowledge learned in this class, they advance to learning more complex concepts and labs.  Students in this class use a real-life sheep heart to learn the anatomy of a heart.

Ryker Resio and Olivia Zimmerly dissect a heart in PBS class.

Students learn the anatomy of a human heart using a real-life sheep heart.

In Human Body Systems (HBS), students learn about anatomy through interactive and personal labs and apply this knowledge to hands-on model building.  As an example, students in this class build a model of the human digestive system, which helps them learn human anatomy in different ways.  With this knowledge, they are able to explore careers directly related to certain areas of study.  It gives them a chance to apply this information to real life.

“Students are engaged in lab activities because the experience is personal, and they are often gathering data about themselves,” said Shannon Hemrich, Human Body Systems Instructor.

Anatomical models built by students in HBS class.

Medical Intervention (MI) is the third year in the Biomedical Science series of classes.  It focuses more on the real-life medical application of the skills that students acquired in the previous classes.  In this class, students are given a scenario in which a hypothetical family exhibits various symptoms.  Their assignment is to determine a diagnosis and treatment that best fits the situation.

The class also provides an opportunity for students to look at a real screening test for different types of cancers.  Students learn about the genetic and environment factors that could be the contributing causes of cancer.

All of the STEM classes in this series provide students with information they can use to explore the various career pathways available in the biomedical health sciences — useful knowledge for students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.

Ridgefield School District Breaks Ground on New Grade 5-8 Schools Complex

Even though the weather was less than ideal, it was clear that rain wasn’t going to dampen the spirits of the crowd who gathered on Monday afternoon, May 1st,  to attend the historic groundbreaking ceremony for Ridgefield School District’s proposed new Grade 5-8 schools complex.

Architectural rendering of Grade 5-8 Schools Complex

Superintendent Nathan McCann welcomed honored dignitaries, school staff and community members to the construction site located on South Hillhurst Road across from Ridgefield High School.  The groundbreaking ceremony officially kicks off the start of construction of Ridgefield’s new schools complex, a result of the hugely successful passage of the district’s 2017 bond in February.

Photo courtesy of Ridgefield Life Magazine

Guest speakers included Amy Draper, Co-Chair of the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee; Jim Maul from Citizens for Ridgefield Schools; Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow; Scott Gullickson, Ridgefield School Board President; and Pete Bartel, longtime Ridgefield resident who grew up on the farm that once occupied the site for decades.

“Although this ground no longer grows spuds,” said Bartel in his speech, “it will continue to grow Spudders.”

Ridgefield School District Board members (from left) Joseph Vance, Becky Greenwald, Scott Gullickson, and Steve Radosevich join Superintendent Nathan McCann in the groundbreaking ceremony (photo courtesy of Ridgefield Life Magazine).

What made this ceremony extra special was the breaking of ground by six Ridgefield third graders from both South Ridge and Union Ridge Elementary schools.  They will be among the first students to attend the brand new intermediate school as fifth graders at its scheduled opening in the 2018-19 school year.

Ridgefield third-graders break ground. From left: Colin Hutton, Gabriel Warren, Sanjana Bryant, Ella Rupp, Graysen Revord and Liam Schafer (photo courtesy of Ridgefield Life Magazine).

The students from South Ridge included Sanjana Bryant, Graysen Revord, and Gabriel Warren.  Colin Hutton, Ella Rupp, and Liam Schafer participated from Union Ridge.

“We had a great turnout for this event,” said McCann.  “This is another example of the strong showing of community support for Ridgefield schools.”

The district is grateful to the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee, Citizens for Ridgefield Schools, and the countless citizens whose efforts helped to shape the 2017 bond program, making this historic groundbreaking ceremony a reality.

Ridgefield High School Earns Spot in U.S. News 2017 Best High Schools Annual Ranking

Ridgefield High School has been named a 2017 Best High School in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking report released this week.

Among the 22,000 public high schools evaluated nationwide by U.S. News and World Report, Ridgefield High School placed in the top 6,000 high schools who were awarded national gold, silver or bronze medals for student performance on state assessments and level of college readiness.  RHS was awarded a national bronze medal in this year’s rankings as a high-performing school based on state exam performance.

In its rankings for individual states, U.S. News & World Report placed Ridgefield High School as #40 on its list of Best High Schools for the state of Washington.  It evaluated 606 Washington public high schools this year.  The top-rated high school in the state was #1 ranked Tesla STEM High School, part of the Lake Washington School District.  Only schools awarded a national medal were eligible for a state ranking.

Schools awards were determined based on reading and math results on state proficiency tests and graduation rates.  AP student test scores and participation rates figured into the calculation to determine college readiness for each school.

“We are extremely proud of our staff and students at Ridgefield High School for this accomplishment,” said Tony VanderMaas, Ridgefield High School Principal.  “Our staff has taken seriously the charge to become the state’s premier district and continues to work collaboratively to accomplish the feat.”

Tony VanderMaas, Principal
Ridgefield High School

“Receiving this recognition is tangible proof of the team effort put forth by the Ridgefield High School staff and students, providing an environment where students can pursue unlimited possibilities,” said Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent.

More information on U.S. News  World Report’s Best High Schools rankings can be found on:

Ridgefield Second Graders Inspired by Cooking Lessons in Class

Students in Lorie Hugo’s second grade class at South Ridge Elementary School earn special cooking days as a reward for good behavior.  Last month, they made Irish Soda Bread in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Alan Lozano Perez learns to mix ingredients for a recipe.

Not only do the kids learn basic cooking skills (like learning how to measure out each ingredient), but with the help of parent volunteers, they also learn how to apply their math skills to calculate the correct quantity of ingredients needed (for instance, doubling a recipe).

Second graders learn how ingredients come together. From left: Noah Ibanez, Johnathan Nove, Ivan Lee, Nathan Johnson and Tristan Keen.

Hugo brought cooking into her classroom years ago and truly enjoys seeing the excitement that cooking brings out in her students.

“Some children don’t have the opportunity to make and bake items at home,” said Hugo.  “I’ve had past students come up and tell me how much they enjoyed the cooking.”

South Ridge Elementary School Named to Receive Washington Achievement Award

South Ridge Elementary School in the Ridgefield School District has been named as one of 280 schools in the state of Washington to receive the Washington Achievement Award for the 2016 academic school year.

The award recognizes schools who excel in any or all of seven specific categories:  Overall Excellence, High Progress, English Language Arts Growth, Math Growth, Extended Graduation Rate (awarded to high and comprehensive schools only), English Language Acquisition, and Closing the Achievement Gap.  In addition, schools must have had at least 95 percent participation on state tests to be eligible for the award.

South Ridge Elementary earned the distinction for its Overall Excellence, High Progress and English Language Arts Growth.  Three other schools in the Educational Service District 112 region also received the Washington Achievement Award for scoring well in the Overall Excellence category:  CAM Academy in the Battle Ground School District and Skyridge Middle School and Liberty Middle School in the Camas School District.

For a complete list of Washington Achievement Award winners, go to: .

“It is a great honor for the South Ridge team to be recognized for our collective efforts in providing a premier education for our students,” said Todd Graves, South Ridge Elementary School Principal.  “The staff and students of South Ridge work extremely hard, and we appreciate the recognition.  Go Roadrunners!”

Todd Graves

Ridgefield School District Superintendent, Nathan McCann reaffirmed Graves’ enthusiasm.  “Receiving this recognition is tangible proof of the team effort put forth by the South Ridge staff and students, creating an environment where each child can pursue unlimited possibilities,” he said.

The awards were determined based on analysis of statewide assessment data for the three previous years using the Washington State Achievement Index, which measures student proficiency in math, English Language Arts and science as well as student growth and college and career readiness.

The Washington State Achievement Index is the only statewide school accountability system recognized by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and State Board of Education.

This is the eighth year that the state has recognized outstanding achievement in Washington schools.  The award-winning schools will be honored during a ceremony on May 3 at Olympic Middle School in the Auburn School District, which is an award winner for Closing the Achievement Gap.