Ridgefield High School Students Offer Free Homework Help

Could your student use a little extra help with homework?  Ridgefield High School students will be offering free homework help starting in March with a new program, “Sunday Night Lights.”

Principal Christen Palmer explained the program.  “It’s a community partnership for our high school students to tutor any students in the Ridgefield School District, K-12.  This is a way for parents to drop off their kids, maybe do grocery shopping or whatever, and it’s a safe place.  Our high school students are going to be earning service hours by helping kids with their homework.  And it’s an easy way for us to help each other and stay connected.”

The program will be held on Sunday nights, with a few exceptions for holidays and school holidays, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm.   Tutoring sessions will be held at the United Methodist Church on Hillhurst Road.  (This is not a church program; they are providing the space at no cost to benefit the community.)  Community members will provide snacks for the students and will also staff the front table, signing students in and matching them with high school tutors.

High school students are signing up to do tutoring hours, but students who want homework help can just show up.  Parents can stay or drop students off after signing them in.  Students should bring the homework they need help with, as well as any supporting materials.

Culinary program instructor Sarah Fontyn will be having students from her high school Foods class create a meal for the program once a month.  They will plan, shop for, and cook the meal, allowing them to do their service hours in their area of expertise.  Meal information will be announced at a later date.

The first Sunday Night Lights will be held on March 3 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm. at the United Methodist Church, 1410 S. Hillhurst Road.  Mark your calendars for free homework help on Sundays!

3 Grands Concert & Benefit Set for March 15

PE Showcase 2019 Set for February 28

Ever wonder what activities Ridgefield students participate in when they are in PE class?  Come to “PE Showcase 2019” on Thursday afternoon, February 28th and get a preview of the district’s PE curriculum while getting a workout at the same time!

Participate in lots of fun games with a chance to win prizes.  This is a free, family-friendly community event with activities for all ages.  Athletic wear is highly recommended.

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.  Participation is highly encouraged.

Doors open at 5:30 pm at View Ridge Middle School Gym (The Nest).  Activities include fitness challenges that test endurance, strength and flexibility.  Learn yoga, play spikeball, badminton and pickleball games.  In addition, learn about drug prevention for teens in a session offered by a Drug Prevention Specialist from ESD 112.

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

A Longtime Teacher’s Classroom Legacy

Karen Stolberg was happy to visit Union Ridge Elementary for Take Your Parent to School Day.  And she has an interesting connection to her granddaughter’s second grade teacher, Sara Eastham.  Stolberg was actually Eastham’s teacher when she was in elementary school.

Eastham, a Ridgefield native, said, “Ms. Stolberg—she was Anderson then— was my third-grade teacher at South Ridge.”

Stolberg smiled.  “I can tell you she was a really good student.”

“But I was really, really, really shy!” Eastham laughed.

Stolberg taught in the Ridgefield School District for 34 years; Eastham was one of many students.  But Eastham was in one of Stolberg’s first classes as a teacher, so she remembers it well.  Stolberg is glad to spend time with her former student and thrilled that Eastham became a teacher too.  “We’ve stayed in touch all these years,” she said.  “I’m so proud of her!”

Sara Eastham and Karen Stolberg

Eastham remembered going to visit Stolberg’s home.  “I would take groups of four or five students home with me as a reward—with their parents’ permission of course.  We couldn’t take students home with us now!” Stolberg laughed.  When Eastham became a teacher herself, she created a similar reward activity she calls Secret Lunch, where students can have lunch with her in the classroom instead of the cafeteria.

Interestingly, Stolberg’s granddaughter is not the first member of her family to have Eastham as a teacher.  Eastham also taught Stolberg’s son, Nick, when he was in elementary school.  The connection between the two families is a surprising and wonderful legacy in the school district.

As Stolberg and Eastham reminisced about their connection over the years, Stolberg’s granddaughter gazed up at them.  Who knows?  With such great inspiration, maybe someday she will decide to be a teacher too.

Karen Stolberg visits her granddaughter during Take Your Parent to School Day.

Take Your Parent to School Day

Ridgefield School District held its third annual Take Your Parent to School Day in January.  Students at all area schools had the opportunity to bring their parents with them for a partial or full day of class.  Parents were active participants in the classes, and for many of them, what they saw was very different than what they experienced as kids in school.

At South Ridge Elementary, Principal Jill Neyenhouse met with parents to explain how problem-solving and critical thinking are now interwoven into the elementary school curriculum.  Parents worked together in groups to solve “alphabet equations” like There are 26 L in the A (26 Letters in the Alphabet) and “perplexers” (complex riddles).

In Sara Eastham’s second grade class at Union Ridge Elementary, students demonstrated how they made notes as they read books.  They showed parents and grandparents books full of sticky notes, marking pages that had words they didn’t know, important plot points, and more.  The process helps them read carefully and critically.

Ruby Wheelon shows her mother, Audrey, the book she is reading in Sara Eastham’s class.

At View Ridge Middle School, David Jacobson’s history class brought parents and students into a “four corners discussion”.  A statement is read about the topic they have been studying.  Each corner of the room has a sign:  Agree, Somewhat Agree, Disagree, or Somewhat Disagree.  Everyone chooses a position, then an active discussion begins, with students engaging with others and defending their thoughts on the topic.

At every grade level, parents were excited to experience firsthand the classrooms where their children learn every day.  Parent Heliodoro Garcia has one son in high school, one in elementary school, and one toddler.  He was at South Ridge Elementary School with his middle son, Mateo.  “With my older son, I used to come to school only to play soccer with kids in the field.  Now it’s good to have a time to come to the school and have lunch with him, see his class.”

Heliodoro Garcia with son, Mateo, at South Ridge Elementary.

Parent and teacher Audrey Scott enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the event at View Ridge Middle School.  “As a middle school parent and a kindergarten teacher in the Ridgefield School District, I have often wondered what the classroom environment is like at the middle school level,” she said.  “I attended Mrs. Allen’s literacy class and thoroughly enjoyed the thought-provoking text, meaningful discussion and the overall warmth and thoughtfulness of her classroom.”

Participation in Take Your Parent to School Day was higher than expected; parents welcomed the opportunity to see students and teachers in action.  While there is only one Take Your Parent to School Day this year, parents are always welcome as volunteers in the schools.  Background checks are required, and forms can be obtained at the school office.

Ridgefield School Board to Review Resolution for Ballot Measure to Renew Levy Funding

On Tuesday, February 19, Ridgefield School District’s board members will review a resolution to place before voters a ballot measure to renew levy funding for the Ridgefield School District.  The Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy the Board will consider replaces the levy currently in place, which expires at the end of 2019.

The current levy is funded by a tax rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is limited by law.  Although the district can project a levy rate based on estimated assessed value, levy rates cannot exceed this limit.  With voter approval, levy funding will be renewed at this same current rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value for calendar years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The district uses levy funds to pay for expenses in excess of state funding such as professional development for teachers, curriculum, technology, classroom support (additional teachers and teacher assistants), extra-curricular activities (athletics), community education, and early childhood education activities.

“The operations levy is vital to the successful operation of the district,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann.  “Renewal of levy funding ensures that we can continue to deliver the comprehensive, high-quality education expected by our students and families.”

To view the agenda for the school board meeting, click here.

Superintendent’s Letter to the Community Regarding the School Bond Election

The following is a letter from Superintendent Nathan McCann to the Ridgefield community regarding the results of the recent school bond election:

Ridgefield School District Schedules Surplus Sale February 15

The Ridgefield School District is holding a Surplus Sale on Friday, February 15 from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center, 510 Pioneer Street in downtown Ridgefield.

Items available for sale include classroom furniture (chairs, desks) teaching and classroom supplies and technology items.

For more information, call Ridgefield Maintenance Department at 360-619-1390.

New Parent Resource Center at South Ridge Elementary

Home makeover shows are popular on television, but how often do you see a school makeover?  The lobby at South Ridge Elementary has gone from a drab waiting room to a bright, welcoming space for parents and children, thanks to some hard work by school staff.

Counselor David Payette originally hoped to create a parent library, with books and resources for parents.  He contacted school librarian Emily Crawford to see if she could help.  Crawford had actually established a parent library in each of the six school districts she worked in over the years—but found they got virtually no traffic.  Crawford and Payette tried to find a way to make the parent library more accessible.

“I did the research on parent centers, and I saw a quote that said, ‘If you want it to be successful, it has to be in a high traffic area that is unavoidable,” Crawford said.  “And I thought our lobby really needed a facelift.  So it was perfect.”  Payette and Crawford wrote and won a grant from the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation to create the transformation.

They purchased books that addressed a wide range of parent needs, from behavior issues to blended families, as well as books that parents could read to children.  They developed a checkout system for parents.  And they posted additional community activities and job opportunities on the bulletin board.

In addition, they redesigned the lobby to be more comfortable and welcoming.  Large, comfortable cushioned chairs replaced the old metal chairs.  Crawford and her father repainted the lobby.  Bookshelves and an area rug were added to enhance the space.

The new Parent Resource Center provides a comfortable, inviting space for parents.

“I’m happy with the way it turned out,” Payette said.  “Every time I walk by there, I see parents reading to their little ones or kids waiting to go home in car pickup.”

“And it has also turned into a place for students to calm down,” Crawford added.  “Some students hang out there almost every day.  It has even helped with their behavior, which was not what we intended at all.  It’s a big change.”

Librarian Emily Crawford and Counselor David Payette.

Crawford and Payette created a dynamic resource center that provides help and support for parents and students.  More changes are coming to the Parent Resource Center soon.  The student-run print shop at the high school, the Sprinters, is making a sign for the lobby.   And a computer kiosk will be added in the coming weeks so parents can access more online resources.  Crawford and Payette plan to keep adding to the center as needs arise.

The Parent Resource Center is open during school hours.  To visit outside of school hours, make an appointment by emailing Emily.Crawford@ridgefieldsd.org  There will be a grand opening event on March 15 at 5:30 p.m., just before the school’s Movie Night.  Stop by to sign the guest book and let them know what other resources you would like to see.

The Great Kindness Challenge

There are many ways to practice kindness:  smile at people, write a nice note, volunteer in your community.  The Great Kindness Challenge gives students a list of 50 ways to be kind, then challenges them to complete as many kind acts as they can in a week.  Over 10 million students have participated worldwide, and Union Ridge Elementary was glad to join in the challenge.

Union Ridge kicked off its Great Kindness Challenge week with a school assembly.  Every student received a bracelet that said “Kindness Is the Tater Tot Way”.  They also had fun theme days, where students could wear a tie for “Tied Together by Kindness Day”; have crazy hair for “Crazy for Kindness Day”; wear a hat for “Makin’ It Rain with Kindness Day; and wear the Tater Tot school colors for “Kindness Is the Tater Tot Way Day”.

Kindness is a super power in Sara Eastham’s second grade class.

Students were also given the opportunity to make “Kindness Krafts” at recess.  Activities included making a bookmark for a friend, writing a compliment to a friend for the Kindness Tree, or making a kindness poster to be hung inside the school.  Kids at every recess lined up to grab art supplies and spent their free time creating small acts of kindness.

The Great Kindness Challenge is a nonprofit organization that hopes to create a culture of kindness for schools and communities—one act of kindness at a time.  It invites schools, families, and individuals to participate.  To date, it has inspired over 500 million acts of kindness.  To learn more, visit https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/.

Supplies for “Kindness Krafts” were set out at recess.


Students enjoyed making bookmarks, notes and posters.

Ridgefield School District Honors February Employee and Students of the Month

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

The Employee of the Month is Christine “Chris” Petersen, head secretary at Ridgefield High School.  Chris Petersen is one of the most dedicated and hardest working staff members at RHS.   She continuously goes above and beyond what is expected of her because she cares so much about the quality of work she produces. Chris is the backbone of our school and keeps us all in order. She is constantly working late or working on the weekends because she wants to be sure the teachers get their materials ordered, and the work gets done for our students and teachers. We tell Chris to go home and to stop working, but she can’t be stopped until the job is done. Furthermore, Chris is very intelligent and is a systems thinker. She can see where there is a breakdown in our processes or procedures and knows exactly how to fix them and make improvements. She has made many changes in our main office that have made a big difference in our daily operations, thus making us smarter and more efficient.

Chris Petersen

Chris truly makes our organization a better place and is helping us move forward.  Additionally, Chris bleeds orange and blue and has such Spudder pride. Everywhere she goes, she has the Spudders on her mind and is always looking for good ideas and ways that can improve our culture and climate for our students, staff, and families. Lastly, Chris creates a fun work environment in the main office and takes time to laugh and have fun during the hard work. She truly enjoys her job and has fun with the students, staff, and parents. We are so lucky to have Chris Petersen as part of the Spudder family.

Students of the Month

Blakeley Gardner, a fourth grader, is February’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  The South Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Blakeley.  They write, “Blakeley quietly looks for ways to help those around her and then sets about doing so in a gentle, caring manner.  She truly has a servant’s mentality.  Kindness radiates from her eyes.  Academically, Blakeley listens intently and diligently and works to make the most of every minute at school.  She is extremely responsible.  It is evident that she seeks to do the very best she can on every assignment.  Blakeley is respectful, polite, cheerful, generous, unselfish and humble.  She is extremely deserving of recognition for her efforts academically and her efforts to serve others.”

Blakeley Gardner

Leela Weeks, a third grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  The Union Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Leela.  They write, “Leela is a hard worker and never gives up.  She always strives to do her very best.  She enthusiastically embraces all subjects and likes to challenge herself and go the extra mile.  Leela is very helpful and accepts and appreciates everyone for their uniqueness.  She is a pleasure to work with and a friend to all.  Leela is a great example of being respectful, responsible, and resilient.  Union Ridge Elementary School sure appreciates Leela.”

Leela Weeks

Sara Tabish, a sixth grader, is February’s Student of the Month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  The Sunset Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Sara.  They write, “Sara is responsible.  She always does her work, brings in her homework, and organizes her time well.  She is resilient and works diligently in class.  If she doesn’t understand something, she will ask questions and keep trying until she gets it.  She is respectful.  She treats everyone like a friend and never speaks an unkind word.  Sara’s sixth grade teachers know what she’s capable of and believe she will be successful at whatever she wants to be when she grows up.”

Sara Tabish

Stuart Swingruber, a seventh grader, was chosen at View Ridge Middle School.  The View Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Stuart.  They describe him as a hardworking and polite student who strives for excellence.  He is dedicated, ambitious, honest and smart.  Stuart is easy to teach because he stays on task and is not afraid to ask questions.  You can count on him to make classroom discussions interesting.  He is a fearless participant in discussions and is willing to engage in debate and share his ideas.  His work is of the highest quality, and he works well with all his classmates.  Stuart helps everyone become better learners.

Stuart Swingruber

For the February Student of the Month, staff members at Ridgefield High School were asked to think of students who have demonstrated the Success Bound trait of Resilience.  Nineteen students were nominated by 17 different staff members, and senior Bobbi Wilson’s story was the most compelling.  One teacher said, “Her growth over the last three years has been tremendous.  She comes early every day and is always prepared.”  Said another teacher, “She faces all challenges head on and never gives up.”  Bobbi’s growth as a student is evident in that she has increased her GPA every semester and now has a GPA more than one full point higher than it was as a freshman.  Bobbi’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.  The RHS staff is proud to have her represent the more than 900 students at Ridgefield High School as February Student of the Month.

Bobbi Wilson

Ridgefield School District is grateful to its sponsors, James Schmeling of Allstate Insurance Company, whose local office is providing funding to support the district’s recognition program during this school year and the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation.

Kids Make Cards for Hospital with Hand to Heart Project

Ridgefield student Anthony Moro-Baxter has faced many medical challenges.  Other students teased him about his frequent absences and medical conditions.  To help build understanding, he did something positive:  Anthony created the Hand to Heart Project, helping students make cards for patients at Randall Children’s Hospital.

South Ridge Elementary School health assistant, LeeOni McKee, helped Anthony spread the word to teachers across the school.  Anthony and his family delivered packets with blank cards, markers, and colored pencils to classrooms.  And in a short time, the students created over 300 cards.

Anthony was proud to deliver the cards to the children’s hospital, where he had also been a patient.  He even dropped additional supplies off at the hospital so the patients could make cards for one another.

Anthony’s mother, Stephanie Moro-Baxter, said, “Anthony knows he’s not the only one to have medical problems and understands that one of the hardest parts is feeling alone in the process.  He wanted to reach out to other kids at Randall Children’s Hospital to make sure they knew they were not alone.  They will have kids thinking of them and supporting them along the way.”

Now that Anthony is attending Union Ridge Elementary School, teachers there are continuing the project.  They hope to make over 400 cards this year.  And ten-year-old Anthony would love to see his Hand to Heart Project extend to other schools, classrooms, and organizations.

“A simple card of encouragement from one child to another can go a long way in bridging the gap of compassion between kids,” Anthony’s mother said. “I am very proud of him for coming up with a way to change his own circumstances as well as help so many kids.”

To learn more about the Hand to Heart Project or to sign up to participate, check their Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/yccnwysl   Donations of card stock, markers, and colored pencils are also welcome.

Anthony Moro-Baxter with cards South Ridge Elementary created for his Hand to Heart Project.


LeeOni McKee was instrumental in getting the Hand to Heart Project started last year.


Anthony delivers cards to McKenzie, a Child Life Assistant, at Randall Children’s Hospital.

Sale of Personalized Engraved Brick Pavers Begins

Orders are now being taken for purchase of personalized engraved brick pavers that will commemorate the site of the original Ridgefield High School.  The pavers will be installed in the space at the top of the historic steps at the newly-renovated Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC) on Pioneer Street.

The fundraiser is part of an ongoing project led by students in the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) to create new landscaping around the new facility for the benefit of the Ridgefield community.

Three different sizes of pavers are available:  Standard 4”x 8”, Large 8” x 8” and Multi-Display 12” x 12”.  Click here for information regarding paver layout information and pricing and click here for an online order form.

To place an order online:

Download the order form and complete it online.

Save the completed form to your computer.

Email the form to communications@ridgefieldsd.org.

Pay online with a credit card at https://ridge.revtrak.net (click on Events).

(Note:  This payment portal is currently in the process of being set up for the paver sale.  We hope to have it up and running next week.  Thanks for your patience.)


To drop off or send an order by mail:

Download the order form and complete it online.

Save the completed form to your computer.

Print the form and send with payment (cash, check or money order) to the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center at the following address.  Please make checks and money orders payable to Ridgefield School District.  If mailing, please do not send cash.

Ridgefield School District

Attention:  Lisa McGhee

510 Pioneer Street

Ridgefield, WA  98642

Blank order forms are available at the RACC front desk for your convenience.

Paver information and the order form can be found on the district website at www.ridgefieldsd.org.  Click on Explore – Forms – Personalized Paver Project.  Orders will be accepted through March 31st, and paver installations will take place in early summer.

Please join us in helping to commemorate the history of Ridgefield’s original high school.  Thank you for your support!

School Bond

Scott Rice Named Head Football Coach for Ridgefield School District

The Ridgefield School District has selected Scott Rice as Head Football Coach.  Rice comes to Ridgefield from Skyview High School in the Vancouver School District where he currently serves as Assistant Coach for both football and track and teaches classes in AP Social Studies.

“I am beyond excited to become a part of the Ridgefield community and football program,” said Rice.  “Becoming a head coach in this community has been a dream of mine, and I am humbled to get the opportunity to grow Ridgefield into one of the top tier programs in southwest Washington and the state.  I cannot wait to get to work building a program that reflects the ideals of the school and community.  I am grateful for the tremendous opportunity and confidence in me as a coach and as a person.  Go Spuds!”

Scott Rice

Rice holds a Bachelors degree in history and political science for secondary education from Carroll College in Montana.  During his teaching career, he has taught AP classes in government, politics, economics and history at Aberdeen High School in the Aberdeen School District and at Skyview High School in the Vancouver School District in addition to his coaching duties at both schools.

As Assistant Football Coach for Aberdeen High School starting in 2010, Rice served as defensive coordinator and linebackers position coach.  He joined Skyview High School in 2014 as Assistant Football Coach for the offensive line for five seasons and also served as Assistant Coach for their track program.

During his high school years at Colville High School in Colville, Washington, Rice earned numerous varsity letters in football, basketball and track & field.  In the football program at Carroll College, Rice played linebacker for four years and participated in two NAIA national championships (2005 and 2007) with the Fighting Saints.

“The Ridgefield Athletic Department is thrilled to announce the hiring of Scott Rice,” said Brynan Shipley, Ridgefield School District’s athletic director.  “Coach Rice has a great deal of football knowledge and prides himself in his ability to connect with his athletes and develop relationships.  He recognizes that it is more than just a game; it is a tool to teach valuable life lessons and build character.  Scott’s shared vision, sense of community and plans for the development of a whole program-wide philosophy and culture were qualities that set him apart in the selection process.  He is a forward-thinking coach with a contagious passion and enthusiasm for the game.  We are excited about the future of Ridgefield football!”

“We are excited to welcome Scott to the district,” said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent.  “His commitment in growing a top tier football program in keeping with the ideals of both school and community aligns well with the district’s pursuit of premier.”

Rice and his family reside in Ridgefield.  His wife, Kelsi, is a teacher at Chinook Elementary School in the Vancouver School District.  They have two children, Grady, age three, and Lincoln, four months old.  Rice and his family enjoy all sports, staying active and spending time together at home.