Easy Ways to Make a Difference: Ridgefield Family Resource Center

When students and families need assistance, the Ridgefield Family Resource Center is there to help.  Director Christine Poppert explains the organization’s mission. “We are a resource available for all families.  We started so we could make sure kids’ basic needs—food, toiletries, clothing—were being met.  And we have expanded to be able to connect families with other resources, like counseling, to be able to assist them.”

There are many easy ways to help fill the constant, year-round need in our community.

Green Bag Project. The Green Bag project makes it easy to donate food.  They literally bring the bag to your doorstep.  You donate non-perishable food items.  They suggest adding one item a week to your grocery list as a donation.  And they pick the filled bag up from your doorstep every two months.  Bill Baumann manages the Ridgefield project, splitting the food between the food bank at Neighbors Helping Neighbors and the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.  Last month they collected 2100 pounds of food.  To get a green bag, email Bill Baumann at RidgefieldFoodProject@gmail.com or fill out the form at clarkfoodproject.org/donor-signup-form.php

Volunteer. While the Resource Center does need volunteers for projects, like sorting canned goods and clothing, they also encourage people to volunteer using their own skills.  “A Girl Scout troop made ‘birthday bags’ with plates, cups, napkins, and other supplies to help families with the expense of parties,” Poppert said.  “It was very creative, and filled a real need.”  Someone who is a hairdresser might volunteer to do an afternoon of haircuts.  Pet owners might fill bags with food, treats, and toys.  There are many ways to volunteer assistance.

If you prefer onsite volunteering, times can be scheduled for projects for groups or families.  Those volunteers need to complete the district’s simple background check to participate.

Specific Donations. There are a few ongoing needs that are always in high demand.  Donations of these items are always welcome.

  • Quick individual meals (ex. single packs of beef jerky, mac and cheese cups, meal bars)
  • Peanut butter
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Cereal
  • Canned meats (tuna, chicken, etc.)
  • Beans
  • Gift cards (particularly for gas, groceries, and clothing)

Poppert is grateful for the community’s ongoing support.  “We all have months where things are tight—a car accident, an illness,” she said.  “We want to surround people in support at that time.  It’s all confidential.  We can meet with families outside of the hours we are open.  Everyone should know we are here to help, no matter what the situation.”

The Ridgefield Family Resource Center is located in a portable between Union Ridge Elementary and the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC).



The small food bank at the center provides food for many in the community, including students.


A Letter from Superintendent Nathan McCann Regarding the April 23rd Special Election


“Anxiety in School” Parent Presentation Set for Thursday, April 25th

Everyone has anxiety from time to time:  leading a presentation, meeting new people, dealing with conflict.  But students may be facing anxiety that parents never see.  With phones, games, computers, and social media, kids might have more triggers for anxiety than you realize.

Kevin Ashworth is clinical director of the NW Anxiety Institute and a Ridgefield resident.  “Anxiety is a normal and necessary experience for us all,” he explained.  But anxiety disorders develop when you become afraid of the thoughts and feelings associated with anxiety.  When you start making changes in your day to avoid those issues, anxiety is a problem.

Kevin Ashworth

For children in all age groups, anxiety can have a significant impact on school performance, social ability, confidence, and relationships.  By learning to identify the signs of anxiety, you can help guide your kids toward dealing with anxiety rather than avoiding all the things that cause anxiety.

“As a parent, your #1 priority is to protect your child.  You want them to feel loved, safe, and secure in the world,” Ashworth said.  “Parenting a child who is suffering with an anxiety or mood disorder can be challenging.  Collaboration between you and your child is essential to overcoming anxiety.”

Ashworth’s presentation will focus on the role of empathy and how to avoid over-accommodating anxiety in kids.  He wants to provide parents with useful tools for identifying signs of anxiety and managing expectations at home.

The presentation “Anxiety in School:  A Presentation for Parents” will be held Thursday, April 25 at 6 p.m. in the View Ridge Middle School Black Box Theater.  Free child care will be available onsite, allowing parents to ask questions freely during the presentation.  There will also be a small prize giveaway.  The presentation is open to parents of students of all ages.

Ridgefield Fifth Graders Pay Kindness Forward

Mention “act of kindness” to any of the students in Laura Gosnell’s fifth grade class at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School in Ridgefield, and they will tell you about the recent project they just completed together as a class—a baby blanket drive that resulted in a generous donation to Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital and to “Babies In Need”, an all-volunteer ministry in Southwest Washington that provides families in need  with basic essentials for newborns.

After reading a book titled Real Life Superheroes by Alison Hawes, the students learned of the work of Thomas Barnardo (1845-1905) a doctor and social worker for the poor who founded an orphanage and school for homeless children.  The true-life story inspired the students to do a class project that would also demonstrate an act of kindness, so the search was on to find out what they could do to help.

Realizing that there was a need for baby blankets in hospitals and for families in need, the students launched a baby blanket drive.  With their teacher’s help, the class connected with the two local organizations who would receive the donations.

As word got out and donations started pouring in, the students were amazed at the number of baby blankets they were getting.  “The more blankets we collected, the more excited the students became,” said their teacher, Laura Gosnell.  The class learned that hospital volunteers offered to knit baby blankets as well, so yarn donations were also collected for the drive.

The blanket drive, a huge success, is now providing warmth and comfort to newborns at Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital and “Babies In Need”.  “This was such a rewarding experience for my students,” said Gosnell.  “This was a true act of kindness, and I am proud of each student for their inspiration.”



Ridgefield Public School Foundation

Do you have a passion for education and our local community? Do you feel a responsibility to support our schools in innovative and creative ways? If so, perhaps you’ll want to feed that passion and sense of responsibility by becoming a member of the Ridgefield Public School Foundation Board. Our current board is composed of motivated and engaged Ridgefield residents. The time commitment consists of:

*1 Monthly Board meeting
*Participation in at least one subcommittee
*Support events and activities (three major fundraisers a year & other community events)
*Support other fundraising activities as needed and/or requested

To learn more about the work we do and activities we support check out www.ridgefieldpsf.org.

Interested? Good! We are too! Shoot us an email at info@ridgefieldpsf.org to learn more. Bonus points if you include a resume & cover letter!

Roxie Rocks Ridgefield

RHS Theatre presents Chicago: High School Edition in the Ridgefield High School Performing Arts Center. May 2-4 and 9-11 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for students, staff, seniors, and veterans; available at the door (cash or check only), or at https://ridge.revtrak.net/chicago.

Ridgefield is one of the first high schools in America to present Chicago—the second longest-running show in Broadway history—thanks to a new age-appropriate “High School Edition” of the classic musical, and a special arrangement with publisher Samuel French.

Chicago transports the audience to the Roaring Twenties’ cabaret scene of the title city, where would-be starlet Roxie Hart (senior Lily Ray) gets mixed up in the fast world of glitz, fame, and “All That Jazz”—ending up on murderer’s row with the original jazz killer Velma Kelly (junior Bridget Donaldson). With the help of the city’s best ‘criminal lawyer’ Billy Flynn (sophomore Peter Schafer) and prison matron-turned manager Mama Morton (senior Sofia Lee), and by using Roxie’s hapless husband Amos (junior Sebastian Rojas-Rincon), the spunky slayers hope to turn their notoriety into stardom in a city where the truth is for sale and sensationalism rules the headlines.

Chicago opened on Broadway in 1975 with book and choreography by Bob Fosse and music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb.  It is based on the 1926 play of the same name by Maurine Dallas Watkins. Filled with iconic songs like “Razzle Dazzle,” “Mr. Cellophane,” and the “Cell Block Tango,” Chicago is a landmark of American theatre.

Chicago: High School Edition is directed and produced by RHS Theatre Director Kaitlyn Etter, with Fosse-style choreography by Megan Smith of Dance Fusion NW. Vocal Direction by Barbara Choltco, and technical supervision by Aziza Mansuri. For more info on RHS Theatre, please visit spudderactivities.weebly.com/theatre.

Library Ninjas at Union Ridge Elementary

Ninjas are known for being silent, stealthily moving through the night dressed entirely in black.  But would you expect to find a ninja in the library?  Probably not, but there are plenty of ninjas at Union Ridge Elementary.

One wall of the library has photos of students sporting black headbands and big smiles.  They are the Union Ridge library ninjas.  Librarian Jubilee Roth created the library ninja program to encourage good library behavior.  “They follow all library routines in a sneaky, stealthy, leave-no-trace book shopping way,” she explained.  The rules are simple:

  1. Ninjas use their bookshelf markers correctly
  2. Ninjas use their whisper voices
  3. Ninjas clean up after themselves and others
  4. Ninjas read!

Students who follow all the ninja routines regularly become Master Ninja Librarians.  They earn a ninja headband, handmade by Roth, and get a selfie with her that is posted on the wall to celebrate.

The program has been a great success.  Roth is pleased with how well the students are following the library rules, hoping to achieve ninja status.  “The kids ask every library class if there are new ninjas and are so excited when they earn a headband.”  So when you see a kid wearing a black headband, you might be talking to a Master Ninja Librarian.


Union Ridge Librarian Jubilee Roth strikes a pose with Master Ninja Librarian Ruby Stenbak.

First Black Box Theater in Ridgefield

When you enter the drama class at View Ridge Middle School, you walk into a room unlike any other in Ridgefield.  The walls, curtains, and even the chairs are black.  It’s a room that could be anything—and that’s the point.

Performing arts teacher Kaitlyn Etter starts her class by placing a cardboard box in the middle of the floor.  “We’re going to do ‘What Is It?’ first,” she said.  The students formed a circle, and she stepped back to watch.  The kids took turns picking up the box and turning it into something they imagined—a car, a birthday present, a jack in the box, a turtle shell, a shield, a table.  And in the black box theater, it was easy to dream up new ideas.  With no stage and no sets, the whole theater is a blank space where actions and ideas take center stage.

As the drama teacher in the former middle school building, Etter was consulted when the new middle school building was being planned.  “We were trying to think of a flex space that could be a classroom as well as a performance space,” she explained.  Etter has a strong background in performing arts, and has worked in many different theater spaces.  “A black box theater seemed to make sense because it was so versatile.”

Etter teaches at the larger performing arts space at the high school in the morning and at the black box theater at the middle school in the afternoon.  “It’s great that it’s like a scaled down version of what we have at the high school,” she said.  “As far as lights and sound go, it’s an ideal learning space because it’s more compact.”

The students were excited when they entered the black box theater for the first time.  “The students just love that it’s this cool; it lends itself to creativity.  And it feels more formal when we turn on the actual stage lights when we’re doing a performance.  It helps them feel important.”  In addition to drama classes, events like speech and debate presentations and high school jazz choir showcases have been held in the space.

“I’m excited that the district is supporting the arts in the way that they are,” Etter said.  “I’m looking forward to seeing how we grow the theater programs, because now we definitely have the spaces for them.”

The black box theater creates an open canvas where the focus is on the performers.


The light board runs a full set of lights for small theater productions.

Sign Up for a Tour of the Ridgefield High School Expansion Project

Public tours showing the progress of new construction at Ridgefield High School are being offered on the following days:

  • Wednesday, April 17 at 3:30 pm
  • Wednesday, May 15 at 4:00 pm

If you are interested in signing up for a tour, please email communications@ridgefieldsd.org.  Please specify the date you plan to attend and the total number of people attending.

All tour participants are to meet at the Emerick Construction job trailer in front of the RHS construction site.  Each tour will take approximately 45 minutes.

Proposed Curriculum Materials Available for Public Review

The public is invited to review the following curriculum materials being considered for adoption by the Ridgefield School District:

  • 6th Grade: History Alive! The Ancient World, Teacher’s Curriculum Institute, 2017
  • 5th Grade: Social Studies Alive! America’s Past, Teacher’s Curriculum Institute, 2017

These are online curriculum programs.  A computer will be available for public use to log in and review the curriculum.  However, sample textbooks will also be available for the review process.

The curriculum materials will be at the District Office in the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC), 510 Pioneer Street in Ridgefield, Washington, April 11th through April 23rd, from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday-Friday.  Please ask for Dani Taylor.

Click on the following link to view a demo video of the curriculum:



Ridgefield School District Appoints Brett Jones to School Board

Brett Jones, a Ridgefield community member, business owner and Ridgefield school parent, was appointed Ridgefield School District’s newest school board member by unanimous vote on April 2, 2019 at a special meeting of the Ridgefield School District school board.

A lifelong Ridgefield resident, Jones and his wife, Georgianna, have four daughters currently attending Ridgefield schools:  Paige, a sophomore, at Ridgefield High School; twins, Cameron and Claire, eighth graders at View Ridge Middle School; and Elizabeth, a fourth grader at Union Ridge Elementary School.

Jones is a third-generation Ridgefield High School graduate.  His great-grandfather, Walter A. Jones, was a member of the Ridgefield School Board when Union Ridge Elementary School was built in 1952.  “It is an honor to participate in the growth of Ridgefield schools, just like him,” said Jones.  “I believe the schools in Ridgefield are the heartbeat of the community.  Having lived in Ridgefield my entire life, I am excited to be involved with the school district during this time of growth in our town.”

A business owner for 22 years, Jones is an active, contributing member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC).  His company, Jones Landscape, Inc., has donated time and resources in assisting SSAC student members successfully implement the landscaping project now in progress at the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC).  In addition, his company has supported various school and community events such as the Ridgefield High School commencement ceremonies, the Ridgefield Fourth of July Parade and community fundraisers.

“Brett will be a great addition to the school board,” said Scott Gullickson, Ridgefield School Board President.  “I look forward to working with him and the rest of the board as we continue our pursuit of premier.”

“Brett’s enthusiasm for all things Ridgefield, combined with his extensive business background and common-sense approach make him ideally suited to serve the district as a board member,” said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield Superintendent.

Jones will represent District 3, a seat formerly held by Steve Radosevich, who resigned in March, after nearly ten years of distinguished service to the school district.

Ridgefield School District Honors April Employee and Students of the Month

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

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School is super excited to nominate Kelly O’Boyle as the Employee of the Month for the Ridgefield School District.  Kelly is extremely worthy of this honor as she exemplifies what it means to be a Sunset Ridge staff member.

There is no stronger advocate for students than Kelly.  She blends a unique style of compassion and caring with high expectations and a belief that all students can learn.  Kelly is laser-focused on what students should learn and turns to data often to help make the right decision for students.  Kelly is honest and models this for all students and staff.  She is not afraid to speak up and helps to create a learning environment of high expectations at Sunset Ridge.  She has a strong ethical sense of right and wrong, and her excellent judgment is trusted by students and staff.  Kelly is a positive force.  She has a great sense of humor, is upbeat and fun and is a true pleasure to work with.


Students of the Month

Connor Bringhurst, a fourth grader, is April’s’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  The South Ridge Elementary School teachers and staff are very proud of Connor.  They write, “Connor Bringhurst comes in every day excited to be here.  He has a spring in his step and a constant smile on his face!  He looks for ways to help his classmates, whether it be helping them one-on-one with a math skill, calling their attention back to a lesson or gently reminding a student about expectations.  Connor is very focused and is an active, enthusiastic participant in every lesson or activity.  He works very hard to always do high-quality work.  Connor is truly a person of integrity!  He has a kind and generous heart.  He is welcoming and friendly to all and is aware of others and their feelings or difficulties.  Connor is a fun and enjoyable kid to be around.  He brightens every day with his respectful, outgoing personality and engaging smile.”


Iver Kast, a kindergartner, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  Union Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Iver.  They write, “Iver is a kind, caring, funny, and considerate student.  In class, he is helpful to his peers and quick to offer help to his teacher.  Ha always works hard on his projects and school work.  We look forward to seeing Iver grow and excel here at Union Ridge and outside of school.”


Raina Larson, a sixth grader, is April’s Student of the Month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  The Sunset Ridge Intermediate School teachers and staff are very proud of Raina.  They write, “Raina Larson exemplifies the mission for Sunset Intermediate School and is a true Coyote.  She is Respectful, Responsible and Resilient.  Every day, she goes above and beyond by helping to collect and properly return the playground equipment to where it belongs.  She takes great pride in our school and is always disposing of garbage when she sees it, without even being asked to do so.  She is kind and courteous, always looking for ways to help.  We greatly appreciate her and all she does for us.”


Allison Orantes, a seventh grader, was chosen at View Ridge Middle School.  The View Ridge Middle School teachers and staff are very proud of Allison.  They write, “Allison is a hard-working and polite student who strives for excellence.  She is dedicated, ambitious, honest, and smart.  Allison is easy to teach, for she stays on task and is not afraid to ask questions.  You can always count on her to add interesting conversation in classroom discussions.  She is a fearless participant in discussion and is always willing to engage in debate and share her ideas.  Her work is always of the very highest quality, and she works well with all her classmates.  Allison knows how to work in a science group.  She leads by example.  She also knows how to share the workload and allows for all ideas to be heard in a group.”


Angelina Zhiryada, a sophomore, has been chosen as the April Student of the Month for Ridgefield High School.  Angelina has been nominated by four different teachers in four different months for Student of the Month.  Her teachers say Angelina is “a positive influence in class, a hard worker and a great support to her classmates.  She has outstanding participation and produces top-notch work.”  They also say that Angelina “comes to class every day with a smile and leaves with a ‘thank you for teaching me’ – EVERYDAY!”  As a sophomore at RHS, Angelina is taking three advanced classes (Chemistry, Algebra II and AP Psychology) while maintaining a nearly-perfect 3.97 GPA.  In her spare time, Angelina gives a lot of time to church involvement.


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.

Ridgefield Co-Ed Softball Spring League 2019

Ridgefield Community Education is proud to offer a great community event for participants 16 years of age and above.  Rally your family and friends, create a team and participate in the Ridgefield Co-Ed Softball Spring League.  This is a league for all skill levels.  Games are scheduled for Friday nights or Sunday afternoons, tentatively starting April 14th.  Go to https://ridge.revtrak.net and register your team today!  For more information, contact Ridgefield Community Education at terri.cochran@ridgefieldsd.org.



Friendship Bench Installed at South Ridge Elementary

There’s a new place for students to sit at the South Ridge Elementary playground.  But this isn’t just a regular bench—it’s a Friendship Bench.  Karen Moses’ fourth grade class made the bench as a way to support other students.

Every person knows what it’s like to be sad or feel left out.  Now when a student wants someone to talk to or play with, they can go sit on the Friendship Bench.  Other students and staff understand the signal; they can go to the bench to become a friend.  By providing a place for students to go when they are lonely or dealing with issues—big or small—the Friendship Bench helps encourage friendships, support, and kindness.

The Friendship Bench was made and donated by parents Alex and Sarah Peru and their family.  They had a plaque made to designate it as a Friendship Bench.  And the students had a fun time putting paint on their hands to add colorful handprints to the bench.

Moses said, “I’m overwhelmed with the generosity of the family that made this for us!  It turned out so beautiful!”

The first Friendship Bench was designed in 2012 by Acacia Woodley, a fifth grader in Florida.  Woodley was born without complete arms and had experienced feeling different.  But instead of approaching other students with anti-bullying ideas, she decided to be pro-friendship.  She and her family created the first Friendship Bench at her school in Florida, and since then, the idea has spread to schools throughout the U. S. and Canada.

Moses hopes the new Friendship Bench will inspire students to connect with each other at school.  South Ridge students are already using the Friendship Bench, building new friendships one step at a time.

Students got messy with the paint to make handprints.


Karen Moses’ class stands with the new Friendship Bench.


Green Eggs and Ham Day

Green Eggs and Ham is a great children’s book, but would you really eat green eggs and ham?  Hundreds of first graders in Ridgefield had the chance to try it as part of the Dr. Seuss’ birthday celebration.

This special event is a longstanding tradition in Clark County.  Beaches restaurant in Vancouver cooks a special breakfast of green eggs and ham for students and parents.  They also donate a Cat in the Hat hat for each student.  It started in 1996, when one school needed help encouraging parents to get involved.  Beaches volunteered to provide breakfast, reading, prizes, and costumes.  The event has continued to grow ever since.  Now they feed over 7,000 people at 48 schools over five mornings of events.

Special volunteers come to the schools each year to help with the event.  The Mayor, members of the City Council, and members of the Ridgefield Police Department come each year to hand out hats, serve food, and read Dr. Seuss books.

South Ridge and Union Ridge Elementary first graders are always excited to take part—until they get the plate with actual green eggs.  Some kids hesitated before trying the bright green eggs, pushing them around suspiciously with a fork.  But when they ventured to taste, they were surprised to find that they tasted like—regular eggs.  “They’re good!” one student shouted, before digging into the meal.

Much like the characters in the book, they learned that you have to try things first to find out whether you like them or not.   And more than one student said, “I do, I like them, Sam-I-am!”

Volunteers from the Ridgefield City Council, Ridgefield Police Department & Beaches Restaurant.


Mayor Don Stose serves up green eggs and ham.


City Council members Jen Lindsay and Dave Taylor hand out hats.