Superintendent’s Update to Families – June 10, 2020




June 10, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

As a father of two young boys, the past few weeks have shaken me in a way no other event has.  The brutal and unconscionable killing of George Floyd has sparked protests, a collective call for equity, and an end to racism.  “Where you see wrong, or inequality, or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.” – Thurgood Marshall

Our district, like society as a whole, has a long way to go to ensure equitable opportunities for all.  As you know, we are in the audacious pursuit of being the state’s premier district.  Foundational to that is the belief and commitment to providing a personalized learning experience for every student.  To get to where we aspire, we must embrace and serve all learners.  Serving all learners requires overt and consistent action to speak out against and eradicate all racist actions and behaviors.  I was sharing with a school patron the other day that I keep a copy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Why We Can’t Wait” on my bookshelf.  I read this book in college and it has stayed with me all these years.  Watching the protests on television, I recently read Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” again.  Sadly, it is as timely and pertinent as the day it was written in 1963.  That is nearly sixty years ago.  We can do better and we must do better!

Our District has not been stagnant in regards to our efforts to provide equitable opportunities for all students. The Ridgefield School Board adopted an Equity Philosophy (Policy 1910) in August 2018.  This policy serves to guide our work daily.  Additionally, the District launched an Equity and Engagement Committee two years ago.  Some of the activities and outcomes from this work include:

  • a partnership with Resolutions NW Educational Equity Training to increase our understanding of implicit/unconscious bias;
  • social justice training with ESD 112;
  • book studies (ex. Unconscious Bias in Schools);
  • implementing the See Something, Say Something Initiative (from Teaching Tolerance) in our schools;
  • participation as part of the first cohort in the statewide Inclusionary Practices Consortium, and more.

The coronavirus closure has highlighted obstacles that are not equitable and their impacts on each student.  As I have shared previously, we are moving our Chromebook strategy to a 1:1 take home model for all students K-12 to reduce technology barriers that some students face.  (K-2 students will keep their Chromebooks at school, but have the ability for those to go home in the event of any closure.)

In April, we began work to decluster our classrooms.  The goal is to ensure that our K-6 classrooms reflect our school district’s demographics.  Declustering is an important outcome from our involvement in the statewide Inclusionary Practices Consortium referenced above.

Finally, while we hope for a traditional start of school, we are working hard to prepare for any necessary multi-modal learning plan with equity as the focus.  The plan, which we continue to craft with members of administration and our teachers’ association, seeks to provide additional support to our students most impacted by the school closures.  We hope to have more information to share soon.

I’ll close as I began; while our District continues to make strides, there is still more to be done.  We are all the District and your voice matters.  We are committed to continuing our efforts, and we must meet all forms of inequity and racism head-on with urgency.  As Nelson Mandela so eloquently stated, “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”


Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

Pandemic EBT Emergency School Meals Program To Provide Food Assistance Benefits




Because COVID-19 closed our schools, your children may be eligible for food assistance through a program called Pandemic EBT (P-EBT):  Emergency School Meals Program.  It is a benefit for Washington children in Grades K-12 who receive free or reduced-price school meals.  P-EBT is intended to replace meals missed while schools closed due to COVID-19.

P-EBT benefits are accessed via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card which is used like a debit card to buy groceries, providing families with funds to make up for the cost of meals while school was closed.

If your family has lost income since schools closed, your children may now be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.  Find out if you are eligible by calling 360-619-1309, and you can apply through Skyward Family Access.  Or you can complete the application on the district’s Food Service page at this link:–27 .  Once your children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, you can apply for P-EBT benefits.

Important:  The application window for P-EBT will open soon and will remain open until the start of the 2020-21 school year.  However, in order to apply for P-EBT, eligibility for free and reduced price meals must be determined no later than June 30th.  Also, if your family does not receive Basic Food benefits, you must apply for P-EBT if you want to receive the funds.   There are two ways to apply:

Every eligible child may receive up to a maximum of $399 of P-EBT.  Immigration status does not matter for P-EBT—it is not Basic Food and will not count in a public charge test.   Also, children can get free meals from school and community sites and get P-EBT at the same time – they are separate programs.

To learn more about P-EBT in detail, visit to view a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the program.

We want to make sure all of our students stay healthy and grow strong.  If you know of a family who could benefit from P-EBT, we encourage you to share this information with them.




Ridgefield Students End School Year With Online Art Show

As Ridgefield schools transitioned to online learning, there were many questions about how classes would change.  Art teachers had to think outside the box to teach students who might not have access to standard art supplies at home.  But the creative assignments led to some pretty amazing work, and Ridgefield art teachers decided to end the year with an online art show.

View Ridge Middle School art teacher Michelle Hankins explained how online art class went when it started.  “In my classroom, students keep a sketchbook, pencils, and an eraser in a cubby.  With the short notice, many students were not able to grab these basic classroom supplies.  But within the first week of online school students were posting drawings on lined paper and copy paper and trying art supplies they found around the house.”

Even in challenging circumstances, the students came up with a wide range of interesting creative projects.  “Students have illustrated words, designed shoes, created sculptures from items in their homes, created land art, and created projects to represent their view on the environment,” Hankins said.

The online art show came about because students were already using Seesaw, a secure website and app designed for remote learning and online connection, to share photos and videos of their artwork with their class and each other.  Art teachers at all of the Ridgefield schools decided to host an online art show to celebrate the students’ achievements.  We wanted to highlight the wonderful creativity of the students,” Hankins said.  “While students are at home without supplies and teacher support, we have all still found ways to be creative.”

The online art show videos (divided into grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12) can be viewed on the Ridgefield School District website under Youth Arts Month at

Congratulations to Ridgefield students and teachers for continuing to demonstrate the concept of Ridgefield Resilient, always finding new ways to achieve.


By Justin, Grade K, Union Ridge Elementary


By Natalie, Grade 4, South Ridge Elementary


By Landon, Grade 7, View Ridge Middle School


By Amanda, Grade 8, View Ridge Middle School


By Alina, Grade 11, Ridgefield High School


RHS Thespian Society Announces New Inductees

On Friday, May 29, RHS’ Thespian Troupe 8635 held their end of the year induction ceremony and celebration via Zoom. At this ceremony, Troupe 8635 inducted 13 new Thespians, honored their graduating seniors, and announced their officers for the 2020-2021 school year.

The International Thespian Society (ITS) is an honors association for high school theatre students. ITS alumni include Tom Hanks, Val Kilmer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Stephen Schwartz. Worldwide, approximately 5,000 schools participate in ITS, and as of 2019, there have been over 2.4 million Thespians inducted since the organization’s founding in 1929.

To be inducted, Thespians must earn points from their participation and leadership in the Theatre department at RHS. This was a special occasion as the Troupe inducted 12 new student members. Thespians inducted were Candice Madlambayan, Jonah Kropp, Tegan Petersen, Kaitlyn Williamson, Jay Stengele, Emily Friend, Summer Sedgley, Abby Brown, Brianna Robbins, Caige Sothern, Victoria Bosch, and Mara Schwenneker.

In addition to the new inductees, the Troupe inducted its first Honorary Thespian, Kay Hauser. Senior Sebastian Rojas Rincon said: “ITS describes an Honorary Thespian as someone who does outstanding service and supports the mission and purpose of the International Thespian Society. We could not be more grateful for the amount of time she puts into the department. To give thanks for everything that Mrs. Hauser has done, we would like to give her the title of our first Honorary Thespian.”

Additional accolades were handed out for outstanding achievement within the troupe; notably, graduating seniors Katelyn Brown, Kylie Brown, Bridget Donaldson, Jason Gasca, Cecelia Lerner, Sebastian Rojas-Rinon, Natalie Trent, and Jackson Wells. One standout recognition was for senior Sebastian Rojas-Rincon who reached Honor Thespian status for dedicating more than 600 hours for the RHS Theatre department.

Finally, the Troupe announced its 2020-2021 Thespian Officers.  President: Kaitlyn St. John, Vice-President: Peter Schafer, Secretary: Clara Lewandowski, Historian/Theatre Advocacy Chair: Sophia Miller, Webmaster: Cami McGravey, and two Officer Interns: Dallin Casper and Anna Vande Krol.

Summer Meal Resources Available for Families

Over the coming summer months, there are local resources available that provide food, meals and additional support at no cost to families in need.  Ridgefield School District is pleased to provide these resources as follows:



The Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC) exists to meet the needs of students and families by providing food, personal care items and additional resources.  Our pantry is open during the school closure, and we have food to share!  Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are following safety guidelines similar to what you would see in a grocery store in order to provide support to students, families, and staff.


We are located in Portables C and D between the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC) and Union Ridge Elementary School.  Take Pioneer Street into downtown Ridgefield and park in the RACC parking lot at 510 Pioneer Street.  We are in the portable to the right of the RACC building, outside of the fencing.


The Ridgefield Family Resource Center is open to serve Ridgefield School District’s students, families, and staff on the following days and times:

Monday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Wednesday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Thursday 1:00 pm – 6:30 pm

For resource needs and to make an appointment outside of these hours, please contact Chris Poppert at 360-619-1412 or via email at .

To learn more about the services we provide and the resources available to you and your family, visit the Ridgefield Family Resource Center website at



21814 NW 11th Avenue, Ridgefield

Handing out Food Boxes on Tuesdays 10-12:30



Local non profit providing food boxes and additional support

Order on line  click on Let us know How can we help



From late June through early August, SHARE-Vancouver will provide free summer grab-n-go style meals for children.  Families can also call the Family Food Hotline 1-888-4-FOOD-WA or text FOOD/COMIDA to 877-877 receive up-to-date information about locations for free lunches for kids across the state.



Food pantry sites:

Prepared meal sites:



The USDA provides a number of resources, in both English and Spanish, to raise awareness in your community.

  • USDA Summer Meals Hotline at 1-866-348-6479. Families will receive assistance to find the location, meal times, and contact information for summer meals based on their full address, city, and/or zip code.
  • USDA Summer Meals Finder at This website is easy for families to use as they can access summer meals locations by entering their zip code.

Ridgefield High School Class of 2020 Car Parade Route

Come out and cheer our graduating seniors as they participate in a car parade through the community on graduation day, Friday afternoon, June 5th.

Three waves of cars are scheduled.  Each wave will begin at Union Ridge Elementary and follow a route along Pioneer Street and up South Hillhurst Road to the high school.  The waves will commence at 4:40 pm, 5:40 pm, and 6:40 pm.

Support the Class of 2020 and cheer on our Seniors as they drive by in their decorated cars.  Go Spuds!

Jeff Lukowiak Named Head Soccer Coach at Ridgefield School District

The Ridgefield School District has selected Jeff Lukowiak as Head Girls Soccer Coach, effective Tuesday June 9th at the district’s regular school board meeting.

Lukowiak, who holds a U.S. National C License, has coached for over 17 years, most recently at the Washington Timbers FC Academy.  He has extensive experience in coaching youth players for both men and women and has a passion for developing teams to succeed at any level.  His most recent coaching achievements consist of a 2020 Las Vegas Cup Championship and two finalist appearances for the Washington Youth Soccer Presidents Cup.

Jeff Lukowiak

“It’s a dream job!” said Lukowiak.  “I am ecstatic with the opportunity to work within this amazing school district, high school and community.  I look forward to the unlimited possibilities here at Ridgefield.”

Lukowiak is currently a financial planner in Vancouver.  Prior to his career in finance, he served 22 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as Special Agent in Investigative Services.

“We are beyond excited to have Jeff Lukowiak join us as a Spudder,” said Brynan Shipley, Ridgefield School District’s athletic director.  “His distinguished background, discipline and knowledge of the game, passion for character growth and determination for success set him apart in the selection process.  We welcome you to the team, Jeff!”

“We are proud to welcome Jeff to the district,” said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent.  “His enthusiasm in growing a high-quality soccer program in keeping with the ideals of both school and community aligns well with the district’s pursuit of premier.”

Jeff is passionate about serving his community.  He and his wife, Karen, make Camas their home.  They have two children, Jenna and Hayden.


Proposed High School Science Curriculum Available for Public Review

The public is invited to review curriculum materials being considered for adoption by the Ridgefield School District to teach science in Grades 10-12 starting in the 2020-21 school year.  The following curriculum materials are available for review:


AP Chemistry

Text: Chemistry & Chemical Reactivity AP, 10th Edition

Publisher: Cengage Learning, 2019

Grade: 11-12


AP Biology

Text: Biology in Focus with Mastering Biology

Publisher: Pearson, 2020

Grade: 10-12


AP Physics

Text: College Physics: A Strategic Approach AP

Publisher: Pearson, 2019

Grade: 11-12


Chemistry 1 & 2 & Honors Chemistry

Text: Inspire Chemistry

Publisher: McGraw Hill Education, 2020

Grade: 10-12



Text: Science Dimensions – Biology

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018

Grade: 10


Environmental Science 

Text: Visualizing Environmental Science

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons, 2017

Grade: 11


Review of the curriculum is online only from Thursday, June 4th through Thursday, June 18th.  To request online access, please email Heidi Smith at  Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.

Superintendent’s Update to Families – June 3, 2020




June 3, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

The District values the opinions and ideas of the Ridgefield community.  We received nearly 1,000 responses to last week’s survey on how remote learning has impacted students’ education.  I am grateful for the grace and patience that families and students have displayed through this challenging time.  Many respondents shared that the District’s Continuity of Learning Plan was a tremendous undertaking and effective for the short-term.  However, results have also made clear that it will not meet the educational needs of our students in the fall, should remote learning return, in part or whole.

I want a traditional 2020-2021 school year more than anything, and that is the District’s goal. Work has been underway for weeks towards this end.  Like you, I am incredibly concerned about the learning loss, unmet social-emotional needs, and the many additional services our students depend on that cannot be delivered with fidelity via the current distance-learning model.  Despite our desires, we need to be prepared to follow the guidelines and requirements provided by other state governing bodies, including Governor Inslee, OSPI, and local and state health officials.

Using your feedback, the District will continue our work with stakeholders, including our valued bargaining units, to accomplish the following goals in preparation for the opening of school in September:

  • Review and select a consistent set of remote learning applications (i.e., Zoom) and learning platforms (i.e., Google Classroom);
  • Address families’ desires for regular live video learning opportunities for students to meet with their teacher(s) in both large and small groups;
  • Create consistent schedules and expectations to support our students, families, and staff as we engage in daily remote learning.

I’ll conclude with a shout-out to the Class of 2020.  Your accomplishments make us all proud, and we are excited about the unlimited possibilities that await you. Go Spuds!

For those wishing to celebrate our seniors, be sure to tune in to the graduation ceremony, live-streamed on the District Facebook page on Friday, June 5, starting at 5:00 pm.  The virtual graduation ceremony will also be made available on our Facebook page.  The virtual ceremony includes graduate speeches, the recognition of seniors receiving awards and scholarships, the honoring of our military-bound seniors, and the celebration of senior participation in athletics and activities, as well as remarks from Principal Christen Palmer.

As always, thank you for your continued support.  Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.


Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

Superintendent’s Update to Families – May 27, 2020




May 27, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

We are experiencing fantastic weather, with the best still to come later this week.  I hope you can find some time to get out and enjoy the beauty our region offers.

As I shared last week, the prospects for a “traditional” start to the school year remain uncertain. At this point, there are far more questions than answers.  I understand how frustrating this is, and I share in that frustration.  Please know, the District continues to work toward a solution, within the guidance from CDC, state, and local public health professionals, and the forthcoming recommendations from the OSPI Reopening Schools Committee.  There are many facets to consider, including classroom instruction, food service, transportation, childcare, cleaning/sanitizing, local labor groups, and extra-curricular activities.

Your ideas, opinions, and thoughts are another critical component in our efforts to reopen schools.  Please take a moment to complete this quick Parent survey (  In the weeks ahead, you will have the opportunity to provide additional feedback for the District to consider.

Ridgefield High School graduation planning is complete.  On June 5, graduates will begin the ceremony with an auto parade through town and conclude at RHS, where they will individually receive their diploma.

The ceremony will include three phases.  Each phase will begin at Union Ridge Elementary and follow a route along Pioneer Street and up South Hillhurst Road to the high school.  The phases will commence at 4:40pm, 5:40pm, and 6:40pm.  Please help support the Class of 2020 and cheer on our Seniors as they pass by in their decorated cars.  Go Spuds!

I’m very proud of our Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC) team’s efforts as they continue to serve families during this pandemic.  If your family, or a family you know, could use some assistance, please visit the RFRC.  We are here to serve.  The resource center is open on Monday 1:00pm – 5:00pm, Wednesday from 12:00pm – 4:00pm and on Thursdays from 1:00pm – 6:30pm.  You can make an appointment outside of our regular hours by emailing

I have often stated since the closing of schools that grace is something we all need to extend to each other during these difficult times.  Our team, teachers, school board members, administrators, and support staff are committed to serving each child to ensure success and unlimited possibilities.  Your active involvement is crucial toward that end.  I offer my heartfelt thanks for all the support and goodwill that you have extended to the District.

Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.


Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

Proposed Curriculum Materials for Music Available for Public Review

​The public is invited to review curriculum materials being considered for adoption by the Ridgefield School District to teach music in Grades 5-12 starting in the 2020-21 school year.  Music First is a curriculum published by Wise Music (copyright 2019).

Review of the curriculum is online only from Thursday, May 21st through Thursday, June 4th.  To request online access, please email Heidi Smith at  Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.

Superintendent’s Update to Families – May 20, 2020




May 20, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

We are now less than one month from the official end of our school year, June 19.  I am proud of our community and the work we have done to “flatten the curve.”  The task has not been easy, and it has not come without considerable sacrifice.  Once again, I extend my appreciation to each of you for the grace and patience you have demonstrated as we transitioned to our distance learning model.

More specifically, I wish to thank the members of the Class of 2020 for their sacrifices.  Their RHS careers came to a screeching halt three months early.  Our seniors missed experiencing a number of “lasts;” their last game and performance, last lunch at school with friends, last prom, and many more.  Fortunately, we can do something to give them a memorable send-off.  On June 5, as part of our graduation ceremony, seniors and their families will drive through Ridgefield in an auto parade.  I invite you to join me in safely celebrating their accomplishments and commemorating the conclusion of their K-12 experience.  Look for final parade route details on June 1.

Just as we are focusing on the conclusion of the current school year, we are also looking ahead to next year.  Rest assured, the District is working hard, planning and preparing for another school year with the realities of COVID – more on some of these plans to come later in this letter.  What we know for sure, learning will continue.  I encourage each of you to continue to engage in every learning opportunity that our staff are making available.

We are pleased to share that our remote WiFi Hot Spots are being accessed by families.  We plan to continue this service to support our Continuity of Learning Plan.  As with all our programs, we will continue to monitor use, potentially adjusting the locations to reach more families.  If you are looking for connectivity a little closer to home, below is a link to free and low-cost Internet Plans from NDIA (National Digital Inclusion Alliance).

We supported our Continuity of Learning Plan with the distribution of more than 750 Chromebooks to students.  A reliable device is essential to participation in any distance learning model.  In a previous ThoughtExchange, we heard from respondents that flexibility in learning (time, place, and pace) is a benefit of our new remote learning world.

As we look to the 2020-2021 school year, we are reviewing our district technology model to support a more flexible learning environment.  Specifically, the district is exploring the move to a 1:1 Chromebook take home model.  What might this look like?  Our second through 12th grade students will be provided a district Chromebook in the fall for use at home and in school, rather than keeping all the Chromebooks on charging carts in classrooms.  This will allow student learning to continue beyond the “regular” school day, times, and locations.

The opening of the 2020-2021 school year will be much different than any we have experienced before.  There is so much that is still unknown.  What I can tell you is currently, I do not believe a “traditional” start will be possible.  A reopening schools task force is expected to have recommendations by mid-June.  We continue to work closely with our fellow districts, colleagues at OSPI, and members of the public health community.  I will keep you updated as we know more.

With all that said, summer may provide a window where we can offer more in-person opportunities for students.  To the greatest extent possible, we will operate our summer programming.  This includes running summer camps through Community Education, sports camps, and preparations for the fall sports season.  I share this with the caveat that we will always adhere to the “Safe Start” orders in place at the time.

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.


Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent


Instructional Materials Committee Seeks Parent Members

Ridgefield School District is currently seeking parents to serve on the Instructional Materials Committee.  All parents are invited to take part in the district’s process to review curriculum materials proposed for use in Ridgefield schools.

The Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) is composed of teachers, district administrators and parents.  It is responsible for reviewing all curriculum materials proposed for adoption in teaching grades K-12.  Review and approval by the IMC is required before any proposed curriculum is presented to the school board for adoption approval.

IMC members are typically called upon two to three times a year to review materials and attend meetings.  Occasionally, the IMC will convene to address a question or a challenge with regard to curriculum materials currently in use.  In such cases, the IMC conducts an orderly review of the materials in question and provides recommendations to the school board for appropriate action.

Parent seats on the committee are now available.  If you are interested in serving on the Instructional Materials Committee, please contact Heidi Smith via email at

Proposed Art Curriculum Available for Public Review

​The public is invited to review curriculum materials being considered for adoption by the Ridgefield School District to teach art in Grades K-12 starting in the 2020-21 school year.  Davis Art  is a curriculum published by Davis Publications (copyright 2019).

Review of the curriculum is online only from Tuesday, May 19th through Tuesday, June 2nd.  To request online access, please email Heidi Smith at  Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.

Ridgefield Family Resource Center Grateful for Community’s Outpouring of Support

When the COVID-19 epidemic hit in mid-March, it presented huge challenges for the Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC).  “We had to rethink and restructure how we do things and how we get resources,” said Chris Poppert, RFRC director.  “It was not until March 13th when our lives changed, did I really experience the depth that the RFRC has in this community.”

From humble beginnings nearly five years ago, the RFRC (in partnership with Compassion 360) has been committed to serving Ridgefield families in need.  Its important work continues thanks to the numerous partnerships and connections it has established in the community over the years.

Since the outbreak, the community has rallied to figure out alternatives and additional support, and in recent days, Poppert has seen an amazing outpouring of support from organizations and individual citizens wanting to help.

The Ridgefield United Methodist Church organized a food drive that not only benefitted the RFRC but also the local food bank, Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

The Ridgefield Education Association, partnering with Rosauers Supermarkets, organized an opportunity for the community to purchase gift cards at the checkout stands to benefit RFRC’s students and their families.  Thanks to the generosity of the Ridgefield community, an astounding $10,575 in gift cards was donated.  Jeff Phillipps, Rosauers’ President and CEO, added another $2,625 in gift cards.  Now other Rosauers locations are doing the same for their communities.  RFRC is grateful to REA’s Alan Adams and Rosauers’ Ridgefield Store Manager, Eric Dean who were instrumental in making this happen.

Donations and grants continue to come in.  To date, the RFRC has received monetary donations totalling over $33,000.  The RFRC is thankful to the following donors for their support:  Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation, Ridgefield Neighbors Green Bag Food Project, The Ridge Sunset Ridge/View Ridge Association, The Vancouver Methodist Foundation, and members of the Ridgefield United Methodist Church.

Community members interested in donating to the RFRC can also reach out to its community partners, Compassion 360 or Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  To learn more, visit their websites at and .

“We are so appreciative of the support,” said Poppert.  “The RFRC could not provide the support and resources to our students/families/staff if it wasn’t for the community.  Now my hope is that families will reach out to the RFRC for support.”