Safety Night Event Advances District’s Efforts Toward Continued Safety in Ridgefield Schools

Ridgefield School District’s first ever Safety Night Open House on March 14 was a huge success!  We shared our commitment to school safety by providing many families with important information.  Not only did the event spark conversations, it allowed us to share the ongoing important work we continue doing to keep our students and staff safe.  We are grateful to everyone who attended!

For those who were unable to attend the Safety Night Open House, we created an Emergency + Safety webpage on the district website where all of Safety Night’s handouts are now readily available.  This webpage will continue to grow, so please check back often for additional resources.  The following links from the webpage provide a wealth of specific topics regarding safety in our schools:

What To Do In an Emergency

Building Safety

Social and Emotional Health

Parental Resources


School Safety Survey

We realize that school safety is a complex topic—one that cannot be covered in a single event.  To that end, we will be hosting future Safety Nights specific to topics of interest to you, which will delve deeper into specific subjects and encourage group discussions.

In order for us to gain a better understanding of your safety concerns, we invite you to fill out a short survey that will help us shape the agendas for future Safety Night events.  Simply click on the link below.  Thank you for your input and participation!

Ridgefield High School Students Win Top Awards in 2018 Regional High School Art Show

Three Ridgefield High School students earned prestigious art awards for their entries in the 2018 Southwest Washington Regional High School Art Show hosted by Educational Service District 112.  On Tuesday evening, March 20, they were recognized along with other student artists at a “Young Artists’ Reception” awards ceremony and gallery walk at ESD 112.

The annual contest, now in its 45th year, provides area art students with an opportunity to showcase their artwork and recognizes them for their artistic talent.  It is open to all high school students in Grades 9-12 in Southwest Washington.  Artwork entries are now on display at ESD 112 through April 2.

This year, two RHS student artists received Regional Art awards for earning high average scores in the art show.  Their entries will advance to the Annual State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Art Show in Olympia on May 18 to compete against entries from around Washington state.

Congratulations to the following RHS student artists for their winning entries in this year’s Regional High School Art Show!

  • Taelor Adderly, Grade 12, Regional Award for “When the Sun Sets”
  • Liam McAllister, Grade 11, Regional Award for “The Dead Are Not Expressionless”
  • Arina Blagikh, Grade 11, Honorable Mention Award for “Highlights of Life”

Taelor Adderly was also awarded a $1,000 scholarship from Central Washington University and a $3,000 scholarship from the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

“I am proud of these students for not only their artistic talents, but also their hard work and diligence with their pieces,” said Christen Palmer, Ridgefield High School Principal.  “Furthermore, I know behind each of these accomplishments was a tremendous amount of help and support from Ms. Tamara Hoodenpyl, our Visual Arts teacher.  Congratulations to Ms. Hoodenpyl and her students!”

“When the Sun Sets” by Taelor Adderly – Regional Award


“The Dead Are Not Expressionless” by Liam McAllister – Regional Award


“Highlights of Life” by Arina Blagikh – Honorable Mention Award

Foreign Language Proficiency Earns School Credits for RHS Students

Did you know that RHS students who successfully demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language in district-approved assessment tests can earn credits to meet the graduation requirement for World Language?  The Ridgefield School District Board of Directors approved Board Policy 2409 and procedure 2409P in February, which makes this possible.

Students will be able to earn up to four proficiency-based high school credits depending on the level of proficiency they demonstrate on world language assessments in the areas of listening, reading, writing and speaking.  In addition, students earning high assessment scores that meet a specific threshold will qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy to be placed on his/her high school diploma.

Student response has thus far exceeded district expectations.  In the short time since implementation in February, 18 students have already signed up for assessment testing—an impressive showing for its initial first year of being offered.

The assessments cover many different world languages.  However, the district will make every effort to provide assessments for any language requested.

Students interested in taking this assessment should contact Dani Taylor via email at or call 360-619-1318.  Testing will take place during the week of April 16, and there is a $30 assessment fee.   A lower fee is available for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Ridgefield Youth Arts Month Events Showcase Talents of Ridgefield Students

Come celebrate the talents of Ridgefield’s students!  Both events are proudly presented as a part of Ridgefield Youth Arts Month.

Junie B. Jones – The Musical, is a musical theater production with performances scheduled on Friday-Saturday (March 23-24) at the Ridgefield High School Performing Arts Center.  With a cast comprised entirely of students from South Ridge and Union Ridge Elementary Schools, this delightful musical is sure to please and one not to be missed.  Advance tickets are now available through March 22 at and at the door on the day of the performances.

Be sure to view the exhibits of phenomenal artwork at the District Art Show on Tuesday, March 27 5:00-7:00 pm at Ridgefield High School.  Free admission.  The show features the creative talents of students from all four Ridgefield schools.  While there, check out the High School Student Art Sale.  Proceeds from the sale will go towards a trip to the Seattle Art Museum by RHS students in Advanced Art, Drawing & Painting Art, and the Art Club.  Students will tour museum exhibits, make art and music and have an opportunity to network with other teen artists.


Ridgefield School District To Implement Visitor Screening Process At All Schools

Starting Monday, April 9, Ridgefield School District plans to implement a screening process for all visitors entering its schools.  The Visitor Management System, from Raptor Technologies is designed to keep students and staff safe by screening all visitors requesting access to school areas where students are present.  Staff trainings occurred on March 8th.  The new process will be effective when school resumes after Spring Break.

All visitors will be required to check in at the school’s front office (in Building A for the elementary schools).   If they will be accessing areas where students are present, they will need to provide a valid ID in order to obtain a visitor’s badge.  Their ID will be scanned to check nationally registered sex offender databases for information that would indicate a potential threat to students or staff.  If the scan flags such data, the system will summon the building administrator and security officer to the front office to speak with the visitor.

Visitors whose ID scans are cleared will be given a visitors badge, which will serve as their pass to be in the building.  With the new screening process in place, parents who routinely walk their elementary school students to the classroom will need a visitor’s badge in order to do so.

A visitor’s badge will not be required if the duration of the visit takes place only in the school office.

Following are features of Raptor Technologies’ Visitor Management System:

  • Instantly screens each visitor against the registered sex offender databases in all 50 states
  • Checks visitors against custom databases set by each school for custody alerts or banned visitor information
  • Keeps accurate and reliable records for every visitor entering the schools each day
  • Creates reports for entire districts and/or individual schools
  • Allows users to instantly alert a customized list of school officials and first responders in emergency situations

The district will also implement Raptor Technologies’ K-12 Volunteer Management System in May/June to help streamline its process to recruit and manage its pool of volunteers.  The system will replace the current paper application process.  Implementation of this system will:

  • Automatically track the hours of every single volunteer in the school
  • Automatically submit volunteer application data for a complete background check
  • Keep vital volunteer information in one place for easy access
  • Create reports on volunteers quickly and easily
  • Make it easy for parents and community members to sign up to be volunteers and sign up for events

Raptor Technologies provides integrated school safety technologies to nearly 20,000 K-12 schools nationwide.  For more information, visit their website at

Ridgefield School District Honors March Employee and Students of the Month

On March 13, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the March Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.

The Employee of the Month is Jill Guccini.  Jill has been Ridgefield High School’s librarian for the past three years and is a tremendous asset to the teaching staff.  She has transformed the library into a place where students are welcome, engaged, and active.  In addition, she is helpful, personable, and friendly to all.  Jill works tirelessly to keep reading relevant and interesting for students.  She recently created a “March Madness” bracket for books (relating it to the NCAA basketball tournament).  As one member of the English Language Arts Department put it, “Jill is always available to all staff and so many students every day.  Just walking into the library at lunch says it all, but one week in particular, I saw her in action with my juniors as well.  She came into my room and gave a terrific presentation on research and then for two days, helped them research in the library.  She is so impressive!  Not sure how she does it all.”

Jill Guccini

The Ridgefield High School staff is grateful for all that Jill does for students.  It is with pride that they congratulate Jill Guccini as March’s Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

Cash Hueneka, a second grader, is March’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  Cash loves coming to school and is eager to learn.  He comes into the classroom saying, “I love math.” He always raises his hand and is the first student to participate.  He is a super listener, follows school rules and is always willing to help others.  For these qualities, South Ridge proudly names Cash Hueneka as Student of the Month for March.

Cash Hueneka

Crosby Cody, a first grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  Crosby is a positive role model for her classmates.  She always has a smile on her face and has a positive attitude for learning.  She works hard, asks questions, and always tries her best.  In addition, she is kind, gentle and always has room for a new friend, willingly reaching out to others and making them feel welcome as a member of the classroom.  The staff and students at Union Ridge are proud to congratulate Crosby Cody for March Student of the Month honors.

Crosby Cody

Elizabeth Farley, an eighth grader, is View Ridge Middle School’s Student of the Month.  Elizabeth is a wonderful student to have in class.  She completes every assignment with excellence.  Her written work shows enthusiasm, effort and strong understanding of content.  Elizabeth challenges herself to go above and beyond in the classroom, participating in discussions and asking questions for clarification and a better understanding.  She works well in any group to which she is assigned and is a great lab partner.  In addition, she is a leader in her lab group.  Elizabeth is an outstanding role model and is a positive influence in the classroom.  View Ridge Middle School is pleased to recognize Elizabeth Farley as March Student of the Month.

Elizabeth Farley

Leah Dixon, a senior, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  Leah has been nominated by five different staff members this school year.  As an independent student, she works to pay all of her living expenses.  Despite her difficult path, she comes to school every day with a “can-do” attitude, a warm smile and a huge heart.  One staff member says it best:  “Leah is beating the odds.  She is a picture of resilience and responsibility.  She is dedicated to completing her education while supporting herself (financially).  There are multiple times when she could have taken a short cut, but she’s stayed the course.”  Another staff member added, “Leah is an amazing student!  She comes to class every morning excited and ready to do work.” Leah is truly deserving of the honor as Ridgefield High School’s Student of the Month for March.

Leah Dixon

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.

Black History Month Provides Rich Learning Experience for Ridgefield Students

February was Black History Month, and in classrooms throughout the month, Ridgefield School District students received a multitude of instructional activities that teachers incorporated into content lessons that explored African-American experiences, culture and contributions that made an impact on the nation’s history.

At Union Ridge Elementary School, kindergartners learned the value in being different in The Crayon Box That Talked a story by Shane Derolf.  First-graders read about notable African-Americans and learned to play “Mancala”, a game with African origins.  Second- and third-graders focused on the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges, African-American athletes who competed in the Olympics, and African-American women who changed history in spite of great odds from Chelsea Clinton’s book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.  Fourth-graders read paired-texts about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ruby Bridges.  Fifth-graders focused on famous African-American scientists, studied Martin Luther King, Jr. poetry and read articles about Black History Month.  Sixth-graders viewed a video on black history.  In music class, students learned to sing the African spiritual, “This Little Light of Mine” and songs related to the story, Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winters.

A display at Union Ridge Elementary honors notable African-Americans during Black History Month.


Artwork inspired from the book “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Mrs. Andrea McCain’s kindergarten class.

At South Ridge Elementary School, kindergartners learned about civil rights by listening to talks by community members.  First-graders read about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman.  Third-graders studied the Civil Rights movement and read What Color Is My World: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld.  Fourth-graders learned about segregation, slavery, the Underground Railroad, equality in American schools, the Civil Rights movement and peaceful protests.  They also wrote letters to Dr. King informing him of how things are different today.  Fifth-graders studied the March on Washington and read the novel March: Book One by John Lewis, then wrote narratives from a first-person perspective of a march participant.  They also researched influential African-Americans.  Sixth-graders wrote argumentative essays on different events of the Civil Rights movement.

In art classes, South Ridge’s students viewed the works of notable African-American artists such as The Migration Series No. 57 by Jacob Lawrence, The Banjo Lesson by Henry Tanner, She-Ba by Romare Bearden, and Hope Street: Church Mothers by Marie Johnson-Calloway.  In addition, they read The Great Migration: An American Story by Jacob Lawrence.  Students in K-3 learned about the life of famous abstract female artist, Alma Thomas, and students in grades 4-6 learned about Jean-Michel Basquiat, a famous graffiti artist.

At View Ridge Middle School, a themed display highlighting Black History Month was set up in the library.  English classes presented book talks about diverse authors, and students learned about the Coretta Scott King Award.  French students here and in the high school learned about French culture, history, authors, musicians and artists in francophone countries in Africa such as Burkina Faso and Cameroon.  STEM classes viewed and discussed the movie, Hidden Figures.  Students in history classes read Stolen Into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northrup, Free Black Man by Dennis and Judith Fradin and learned about abolitionists and civil rights leaders.  Math classes researched famous African-American mathematicians, and science classes focused on the life and contributions of Henrietta Lacks to HeLa cell research and gene-mapping while also learning about the contributions of other African-American women in science, engineering and technology.

Themed displays at View Ridge Middle School.

At Ridgefield High School, teacher-librarian, Jill Guccini, presented information on diversity in books.  Digital Photography students studied photos from the Civil Rights movements and their impact on society.  Students in U.S. History class created a virtual museum of the “Roaring Twenties”, connecting the influence of African-Americans on the culture and studied the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.   Theater students acted out poems celebrating black history and culture.  English classes researched African-American leaders and presented the information in class.   In Special Education, students read and discussed articles about African-American musicians that included Billie Holiday, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.   In Physical Education, students learned about African-American athletes in a unit about breaking race barriers.

Face mugs created by Ridgefield High School art students depicting the unique style of African face jugs originated by African slave artists.

RHS art students researched stories, struggles, and successes of inspiring African-Americans of their choosing and created a piece of art around them.  Students in Introduction to Art classes learned about the history of African face jugs, a distinctive pottery style transported to America by African slave artists.  Students created face mugs in the unique style inspired by these face jugs and wrote a reflection of their artwork, citing cultural connections and differences across time and location.

K-5 English Language Arts Curriculum Materials Available for Public Review

The public is invited to review proposed English Language Arts curriculum materials, ReadyGen (2016) published by Pearson, which has been selected for classroom use in Grades K-5 in the Ridgefield School District starting in the 2018-19 school year.

Sample textbooks and evaluation materials will be available for public review at the District Office located at 2724 S. Hillhurst Road in Ridgefield, Washington, March 12-23, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.

Ridgefield Youth Arts Month Offers Theater Production Class for Kids

Watch a children’s book come to life in a play that is entirely produced by Ridgefield students!   In “Ridgefield Arts Experience”, a Ridgefield Youth Arts class, students in Grades 3-8 learn everything that goes into a musical production.  Not only will they be performing in the play, they will also learn to create the scenery, costumes and music soundtracks.  The play is based on the children’s book “The Fish Who Could Fly:  A Tale of Discovery” by Leonard W. Lambert.  Students will perform the play at 7:00 pm towards the end of class.

The class is on Thursday, March 15th 3:00-7:30 pm in the Union Ridge Commons.  A light dinner will be provided, and copies of the book will be available for purchase.  The class is co-sponsored by Ridgefield School District, FVRL Ridgefield Library and Opus School of Music.  Register today at

Meet author Leonard W. Lambert and other authors at Ridgefield Youth Arts Night at Barnes & Noble’s Fourth Plain location in Vancouver, on Friday, March 16th from 5-9 pm.  Lambert will give a talk about the book and will be available to sign copies.


Ridgefield School District Receives Clean Audit Report

On February 22, 2018, the Office of the Washington State Auditor released its Financial Statements Audit Report for the Ridgefield School District for the period September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017.

According to the audit report, the financial statements of the district presented fairly the district’s financial position.  Further, it identified no deficiencies in internal control or instances of non-compliance in the district’s financial reporting.

“We continue to make improvements in financial reporting processes,” said Paula McCoy, Ridgefield School District’s Executive Director of Business Services.  “We take seriously our responsibility in providing and disseminating to the public, complete and accurate accounting and financial information and strongly believe in the importance of government accountability in the use of taxpayer resources.”

View the complete 2016-17 Financial Audit Report here or visit the Finance page of the district’s website at–5.

Ridgefield School District Hosts Safety Night Open House

Ridgefield School District will be hosting a Safety Night Open House on Wednesday, March 14 from 5:00-7:00 pm at the Ridgefield High School Commons.

The goal of the family-friendly community event is to share important district information regarding school safety and to engage the community in working together with the district to ensure safe learning environments for all Ridgefield schools.

Attendees can arrive at any time during the event and visit various stations staffed by experts in their field who will provide information and answer questions on topics such as emergency response protocols, bullying prevention, safety/security improvements and recommendations in the 2017 Bond Program, gun safety, mental health, and social media safety.

Participants will also learn more about programs now used in the schools such as SRP (Standard Response Protocol), RSD Safe Spaces, Second Steps anti-bullying program, and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS).

District and school personnel will be on hand at the various information stations along with representatives from the Ridgefield Police Department, R&C Management Group, and Community Services Northwest.

Performances of “The Little Mermaid” Set for Saturday, March 10

Ridgefield Community Education and Missoula Children’s Theater present “The Little Mermaid” on Saturday, March 10th at the Ridgefield High School Performing Arts Center.  Shows are at 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm.

Come and enjoy the performances of our talented Ridgefield students as they bring to life this popular children’s fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen.

Advance tickets are now available at or at the door on the day of the performance.  Pre-sale tickets are $5 Adults/$2 Kids.  At the door on the day of performance:  $6 Adults/$3 Kids.

A presentation of Ridgefield Youth Arts Month.

Committee Presents Proposed Boundary/School Start Time Changes to Ridgefield School Board

At the regular Board of Directors meeting on February 27, Ridgefield School District’s Boundary & Start Time Committee presented a proposal regarding changes to the district’s school boundaries and school start times to take effect in 2018-2019.

The district, realizing that adjustments to boundaries and start times are necessary to serve continued rapid growth and the opening of new schools, formed the committee in fall, 2017.  The 15-member committee is comprised of district and school administrators, KWRL transportation representatives, teachers representing each school, and parents representing each school.  Work began even before the committee’s first meeting on October 30.

On September 15, the district made available a survey requesting feedback that would assist the committee in establishing the core values and principles necessary to guide the decision-making process.  An unprecedented 725 responses were received, including 613 from parents (84.6%) and 112 from staff (15.4%).

Based on responses tallied from the Agree and Strongly Agree columns of the survey, the results identified the top five core values that would direct the committee’s work:

  • School start times that optimize learning (89%)
  • Increase in transportation efficiency (80%)
  • Age-appropriate transportation (77%)
  • Reduction in ride time on transportation (72%)
  • Maximize neighborhood schools (69%)

“I feel like the work we did as a committee was focused, genuine, and sincere toward our mission of making the best decision for our community,” said committee member Nick Allen, a parent and Ridgefield High School teacher.  “I sincerely believe that the work we did as a committee will help the Ridgefield School District continue to be successful as our community grows.”

Proposed School Start Times

9:05 – 3:35    South Ridge Elementary and Union Ridge Elementary (both K-4)

8:05 – 2:35    Sunset Ridge Intermediate (5-6) and View Ridge Middle School (7-8)

8:00 – 2:45    Ridgefield High School (9-12)

The committee spent hours reviewing and debating research and best practices, always keeping the five core values in mind.  Committee member Georgianna Jones appreciated the variety of roles represented by committee members from throughout the Ridgefield community.  “This fostered a variety of valuable perspectives,” she said.  “Our conversations were data-driven, informative, thoughtful and sensitive to our overall goal of making the best decision we could with the interests of our students and community front and center.”

The committee reviewed research from expert organizations that included American Automobile Association, Centers for Disease Control, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with student achievement and attendance data from Ridgefield High School and first-hand experiences from school districts who made start time changes.  While studies recommend ideal secondary school start times between 8:30 – 9:00 a.m., student achievement and attendance data at RHS indicated that the current start time is serving students well.  The committee expressed concern that unnecessarily moving the secondary schools start times even later would have negative unintended consequences.  Adjusting the school day still later into the afternoon would increase the number of students leaving school early for academic, athletic, and other extra-curricular events on a regular basis.

“We take great pride in the fact that such a high percentage of our students participate in at least one after school activity.  These opportunities are foundational to the overall educational experience we aspire to ensure for every student,” said Christen Palmer, RHS principal and a member of the committee.

Palmer noted additional considerations. “If we were to move our start time back an hour, it would not only mean that approximately 49% of our students would have increased absences in their fifth and sixth period classes, but our teachers, who are our advisors and coaches, would require substitutes, impacting student learning for every child.”

“We encourage our students to be involved in extracurricular activities in order to stay connected to school,” Palmer continued.  “The research is overwhelmingly positive that students who are involved in at least one extracurricular activity have better overall academic performance.  In the same vein, we encourage our staff members to stay connected to our students and build positive relationships outside of their classrooms, through being advisors and coaches.”

The proposed start time for elementary level schools was determined based on the core value for age-appropriate transportation.  Currently, K-12 students ride buses together.  This has been a district concern, shared by many parents for some time.  By adjusting elementary students (K-4) to one start time (9:05 am) and secondary students (5-6, 7-8 and 9-12) to a different start time (8:00 am or 8:05 am), this core value is achieved.

KWRL Transportation will be able to increase age-appropriate transportation even further.  Approximately 50% of the bus runs for Sunset Ridge/View Ridge and RHS will only transport students from their school site.  That means that half of all Sunset Ridge and View Ridge students will be transported on buses that only serve grades 5-8.

To accommodate the need for daycare in advance of this start time change, the district is working with Educational Service District 112’s Southwest Washington Child Care Consortium (SWCCC) to increase availability.  SWCCC currently provides daycare in Ridgefield schools.  In addition to increasing spots through SWCCC, the Ridgefield School District is working with Ridgefield High School to start a Child Development Center.  While it will be limited to a small number of students in the initial pilot program that starts next year, the district is determined to grow the program, increasing the number of students served.

The committee also focused on the core value of reducing student ride time.  The proposal reduces ride time in a variety of ways.  Transporting K-4 students on their own bus will save 15 minutes of ride time since buses will not need to drive from elementary sites to Sunset Ridge (saving approximately 7-8 minutes) and load Sunset Ridge students (saving an additional 7 minutes).  Overall, K-4 students will experience the shortest ride times among the grade levels.

Proposed Boundary Shift

The committee is proposing to move students residing in the carve-out in the Pioneer Canyon subdivision region back to Union Ridge.  Years ago, these neighborhoods were shifted to the South Ridge boundary area due to lack of space at Union Ridge.  The adjustment created transportation inefficiencies and reduced neighborhood school attendance.  Returning the carve-out to their neighborhood school will increase transportation efficiency and adhere to the core value of neighborhood school attendance.

Nearly 800 new homes are currently planned for construction behind Ridgefield High School, on both sides of Royle Road and south of the new 5-8 campus.  If boundaries were not adjusted, students moving into these subdivisions would have added to the rapidly-expanding enrollment at Union Ridge, which is already one of the state’s ten largest elementary schools.

The committee proposes a northward shift (Phase I on map) in the boundary between South Ridge and Union Ridge.  This shift moves newer developments from the Union Ridge boundary area into the South Ridge boundary area, balancing school attendance zones.

The district realizes the challenges associated with boundary adjustments and the impact they have on students.  To prevent current third graders from moving to a new elementary school for their final year, the district will automatically approve boundary exceptions.  This will allow next-year’s fourth grade students to remain in their current school if they so choose.  The district will also continue to allow all students to apply for in-district boundary exceptions.  To ensure operational efficiencies and create greater equity, the committee recommends adhering to the expectation that student transportation is the responsibility of parents and guardians for all in-district boundary exceptions.

Looking ahead, a Phase II boundary shift will be needed when the district’s third elementary school (proposed for the east side of the I-5 freeway) is opened.  The new elementary boundary will balance elementary student populations among all three sites as well as maximize neighborhood school attendance.

“Ridgefield is such a special, close-knit community.  I’m excited that our youngest students will be able to continue the tradition of maintaining community in neighborhood elementary schools,” said Georgianna Jones.

The Boundary & Start Time Committee adhered to the district’s commitment to engage with the community, gather feedback, and utilize a deliberative decision-making process.  Individuals serving on the committee were required to make a serious time commitment.

“I am so proud of each and every one of our committee members.  I want to thank them for their time, effort, thoughtful consideration and reflective conversations,” said Assistant Superintendent Chris Griffith.  “We were charged with a very difficult task.  The committee was driven to find a balanced solution that will enhance the Ridgefield School District for years to come.”

Committee member Jenifer Goss reflected on her experience.  “I learned a lot and definitely have a greater understanding of how the district makes decisions.  I saw first-hand how much the district values community input and doesn’t make hasty decisions without doing the work.”

The school board is expected to take action on the committee’s recommendations on Tuesday, March 13 at their next scheduled Board of Directors meeting.

For more information about the work completed by Ridgefield School District’s Boundary & Start Time Committee, visit their webpage at

PE Showcase 2018

Ever wonder what activities Ridgefield students participate in when they are in PE class?  Come to “PE Showcase 2018” on Tuesday afternoon, March 13th and get a preview of the district’s PE curriculum while getting a workout and participating in lots of fun games and a chance to win prizes.  This is a free event open to all ages.

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.

The event starts at 5:30 pm at View Ridge Middle School Gym with more activities at Union Ridge Elementary.  Athletic wear is highly recommended.

Participants can take fitness challenges that test endurance, strength and flexibility, learn yoga, play spikeball or speedball or take part in lots of other fun PE games and activities.

The showcase wraps up at 7:15 pm with a raffle drawing for prizes.  Enter to win Timbers tickets, a bluetooth speaker, gift cards and much more!

3 Grands to Perform in Ridgefield Sunday March 18

Get ready for a concert experience that is spontaneous, electric and truly unbelievable!

On Sunday, March 18th at 7:00 pm at the Ridgefield High School Performing Arts Center, 3 Grands Concert & Benefit will showcase the music of three award-winning blind pianists, Mac Potts, Nick Baker and Brent Gjerve (pronounced Jeffries) all performing simultaneously on stage.  Also featured will be performances by jazz vocalist Darcy Schmitt and the Ridgefield High School Jazz Choir.

Presented by Ridgefield School District and the Ridgefield Lions Club, the concert is one of many events organized in celebration of Ridgefield Youth Arts Month.  Proceeds will benefit Ridgefield High School’s scholarship program and Ridgefield School District’s music programs.  A sell-out would help achieve a $12,000 goal to fund these programs.

3 Grands first performed together as a group in 2011 at the 125th anniversary celebration of the Washington State School for the Blind.  Their performance, combined with vocals by Darcy Schmitt, was a tremendous hit, and the group has been performing concerts yearly ever since.

Watch the group perform during some of their onstage appearances — click HERE.

Mac Potts was born blind.  He is from the Portland area and has been playing piano since age two.  His parents found him a Suzuki teacher a few years later, and he took lessons using that method for 10 years with the help of two teachers.  Mac was coached in the art of jazz, blues and gospel by many people; however, his primary instructors were legendary blues pianist D.K Stewart and Janice Scroggins.  He learned to play the saxophone in the Kalama Middle School Band, and with the help of Reggie Houston, a New Orleans sax player, took his sax skills to New Orleans where he played with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  He was also one of the featured artists at the Cincinnati Blues Festival.  He has also played annually at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland and has performed as a guest artist at Michael Allen Harrison’s “Ten Grands” concerts in 2011 and 2012.  Mac has had the honor of playing with Henry Butler, Charmaine Neville, Marcia Ball, Dr. John, Mitch Woods, the Storyville Stompers, Tom Grant and Harry Connick, Jr.  In addition to keyboards and saxophone, Mac plays drums and harmonica.  To earn a living, he spends ten percent of his time tuning pianos, and the rest, teaching and entertaining.  Mac currently has a steady gig at Warehouse 23 in Vancouver, Washington (Tuesday through Saturday).

Mac Potts

Nick Baker was born totally blind and later diagnosed with Autism.  He has perfect pitch and almost instant recall, which means he can listen once to a new piece of music and play it perfectly.  He graduated with honors from Shoreline Community College in 2008 with an AA degree in Musical Performance and earned Outstanding Honors in both Classical Voice and Classic Piano Juries.  Nick uses technologies that allow him to work independently in his home studio to record, engineer and produce much of his music.  To date, he has released four CD’s.  His first, titled “Think Positive,” was released in June 2001.  His newest release in 2011, “This One’s For You,” features a collection of jazz standards.  Partnering with his mother, Nick has also written a children’s book entitled “Turtle,” in which he shares his experiences as a child with multiple disabilities, describing the challenges he faced in dealing with school-age peers.  He is currently working on his second book, “Bad Behavior Blues.”  Nick’s latest passion is creating jingles for radio and advertising.  He lives with his mom and stepdad, Kathy and Raymond Passage, in Edmonds, Washington.

Nick Baker

Brent Gjerve (pronounced Jeffries) is a graduate of the Washington State School for the Blind.  Autistic and blind from birth, Brent has been described as a “piano genius.”  His dad played accordion and his mom played the piano, so since infancy, Brent was surrounded by music throughout the first years of his life.  Brent’s parents first discovered his musical talent when he was four after noticing that while sitting at a separate piano, Brent had the ability to play along with a pianist who was performing nearby.  They discovered that Brent not only had a gift for piano but also possessed perfect pitch, meaning that he could identify and produce any note simply by hearing it.

Brent Gjerve

Darcy Schmitt, well-known local jazz vocalist, founded and performed with the vocal quartet, Pure Imagination, which performed at the Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz, in night clubs, various Northwest festivals and commercials for ten years.  Ms. Schmitt continues to perform as a soloist, often with her pianist, Brent Gjerve, though sometimes working with various artists including Jim Fischer, Vancouver USA Singers, Diane Schuur, the Woody Hite Big Band, the Portland Symphonic Choir, the Art Abram’s Swing Machine, and currently as a member of 3 Grands.  Ms. Schmitt is the vocal music director and head of the Performing Arts Department at Battle Ground High School and is the vocal director for Prairie/Ground Musical Productions.  She is also a voice teacher and vocal coach at Opus School of Music and Dance Works and is a frequently-requested clinician and guest artist at many festivals and high schools.

Darcy Schmitt

Advance ticket sales for 3 Grands Concert & Benefit are available for purchase online at: :  $20 for adults, and $10 for students.  Tickets purchased at the door will be $25 for adults and $15 for students.   Children (ages 5 and under) attend free.