Superintendent’s Update to Families – August 14, 2020

 

 

 

August 14, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

The first day of school is right around the corner, and while the year will undoubtedly begin differently, our staff members are eagerly counting the days until we welcome students back.

On Tuesday evening, the School Board approved the District’s Reopening Plan, which includes Ridgefield Remote, our distance-learning option. As you know, we will open the school year in this fully-distance model.

Understandably, there are still many questions pertaining to Ridgefield Remote and the start of the 2020-2021 school year. I encourage you to explore our FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions. This document will be updated regularly as needed. Additionally, I encourage you to visit the District’s remote learning webpage to learn more about Ridgefield Remote.

This week you received information about Chromebook distribution for your child(ren). The District is transitioning to a 1:1 take-home technology model, and all kindergarten – 12th grade Ridgefield students are eligible to receive a Chromebook for use during the 2020-2021 school year. Distribution, based on the family last name, will take place in the north parking lot at Sunset Ridge/View Ridge, beginning Thursday, August 20, and concluding on Tuesday, August 25. Click here for more information on the process and to complete the required use agreement. Please note, students are not required to use District Chromebooks if they prefer to use their personal devices.

After Chromebook pickup, Sunset Ridge and View Ridge families may continue driving to the south parking lot on the other side of the building for textbook pickup. All fifth – eighth-grade students will have at least one workbook to pick up for their classes.

Families of Ridgefield High School students may drive to the RHS roundabout for textbook pickup. All freshmen and sophomores and most juniors and seniors have at least one book or workbook to pick up. If you are not sure if your student has a book to pick up, please email jill.guccini@ridgefieldsd.org. RHS students with art classes will also be picking up art supplies at this time.

I hope your final days of summer are enjoyable. As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

 

District’s Distance Learning Internet Survey Is Now Open

If you have not yet completed the District Distance Learning Internet Survey, please do so at your earliest convenience.

If you have already completed the survey but believe your Internet is not sufficient for your student(s) to successfully access Ridgefield Remote learning activities, please take the survey again and choose “Yes” when asked if you would like to apply for assistance.

Applications for assistance do not guarantee that we can help, but the district is attempting to help as many students as possible participate in Ridgefield Remote (Distance Learning).  Your responses will help us to determine how much need exists.

To participate, please follow this link:  https://forms.gle/BZZrizwZhVExtgjC7

Thank you.  We appreciate your feedback!

Frequently Asked Questions: Take Home Chromebook Distribution

 

 

 

Am I required to take a Chromebook from the district?

No.  Chromebooks are available for any student in the Ridgefield School District, but if you have a device available at home and would like to use it instead, that is allowed. However, if you choose to not take a district device you will not be able to receive hardware support.

Should I fill out the form if I do not wish to take a district Chromebook?

Yes, we would prefer you fill out the form and choose the option for “I do not wish to receive a district device”. This will help us track who needs devices and who has chosen to use their own.

Do I need to return a Chromebook I received as surplus from the district?

When the pandemic hit in the Spring of 2020 the district placed into surplus a number of Chromebooks that were going to be retired from the district fleet over the summer. The devices were given to families in need of devices to educate their children through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Because of this, these devices are no longer district property and should not be returned to the school district.

Will I need to return the Chromebook I receive as part of the district’s 1:1 Take Home initiative?

Yes, these devices remain district property and will need to be returned at the end of the school year. Details on the return process will be released to the public in the spring.

Can my student who has a license pick up their and their sibling’s Chromebooks on distribution day?

Yes, as long as the electronic form has been filled out before the cut off day (Aug 20th), a driving student can follow the same procedure as a parent or guardian to receive their Chromebook and that of their siblings.

If our family is out of town/working/unavailable on our designated pickup time but could make another one, can we pick up in another time slot?

We strongly encourage families to show up during their time slot as much as possible to ensure everyone can get their device in a timely manner. We understand that this is difficult for some. If a family shows up during the wrong time slot, there may be a delay in finding and getting them their devices, but they will not be turned away.

If our family cannot make any of the distribution dates, or if our family registered after the distribution began, will we be able to receive a device?

Yes, we will be working with families that request a Chromebook but are unable to pick it up on any of the scheduled dates. The district will send out details on how to make an appointment to pick up devices after the distribution event has completed.

Chromebook Distribution and Textbook Pickup for Students Enrolled in 2020-21 School Year

 

 

 

The following is information regarding distribution of Chromebooks and textbooks for students enrolled for the 2020-21 school year:

Ridgefield School District 1:1 Take-Home Chromebook Distribution

Ridgefield School District is moving to a 1:1 take-home Chromebook model beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. Following are some questions and answers regarding this program.

Why?

Since the district began deploying Chromebooks for student use, we have been increasing the number of devices to include all elementary and intermediate grade levels and all core classrooms at the secondary level. In addition, the majority of other classrooms also have had carts of Chromebooks. Until now, all Chromebooks have been stored in classroom carts and did not go home with students. With the closure of school buildings in the spring of 2020 and the need for distance learning, the district distributed hundreds of Chromebooks to families in need as well as checking out Chromebooks to some students.

With the continuation of distance learning in the 2020-2021 school year, it was decided to move to a 1:1 take-home program to ensure that each student in the district has access to a device with which to learn at home.

Where?

Student Chromebooks will be distributed from a central location, View Ridge Middle School/Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.

3215 S. Hillhurst Rd

Ridgefield, WA 98642

When?

Chromebooks will be distributed to families over a four-day period. Distributions will occur on August 20, 21, 24 and 25. In order to best handle the number of families showing up for Chromebook pickup, we ask that families show up on the date and time designated by the following schedule:

Last name beginning with           Date               Time

A-B                                                     August 20      8:00 AM-11:15 AM

C-D                                                     August 20      11:45 AM-3:00 PM

E-G                                                     August 21      8:00 AM-11:15 AM

H-K                                                     August 21      11:45 AM-3:00 PM

L-M                                                     August 24      8:00 AM-11:15 AM

N-R                                                     August 24      11:45 AM-3:00 PM

S-T                                                      August 25      8:00 AM-11:15 AM

U-Z                                                     August 25      11:45 AM-3:00 PM

How?

The Chromebook checkout process will be done in a manner that minimizes human contact and maximizes safety. Recipients will not be required to exit their vehicle. Chromebooks and associated materials will be delivered through the windows.

Please place a paper with all your student(s)’ names and grade level(s) in large print on the dash. This will allow us to retrieve Chromebooks before you pull up to the pickup point.

Additional Important Information

In order for your student(s) to receive a Chromebook, you must complete an agreement form by clicking on the following link: https://webforms.ridgefieldsd.org/Forms/DeviceCheckOut

Completion of this form acknowledges that you and your student(s) agree to abide by the provisions and policies stated on the document. You will also be able to accept an assurance plan which will help to offset the costs of damage or loss of Chromebooks. All needed information is included on the form.

To speed the Chromebook pickup process, please complete the online form before August 20th. If you are unable to complete the electronic form, you may download and print one here:

English          https://5il.co/jk1t

Español         https://5il.co/jk1s

Русский         https://5il.co/jk1r

Printed copies are also available at the Ridgefield Administrative and Civic Center (RACC), 510 Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, WA 98642.

TEXTBOOK PICKUP

After Chromebook pickup, families of SRIS and VRMS students can continue driving to the back/staff parking lot on the other side of the building for textbook pickup. All Grade 5-8 students will have at least one workbook to pick up for their classes.

Families of RHS students can continue on to the RHS roundabout for textbook pickup after getting their Chromebooks.  All freshmen and sophomores and MOST upperclassmen have at least one book or workbook to pick up.  If your student is an upperclassman with only a few classes on campus and aren’t sure if they have a book to pick up, please email jill.guccini@ridgefieldsd.org. RHS students with art classes will also be picking up art supplies at this time.

If you CANNOT make textbook pickup at your designated time, please email jill.guccini@ridgefieldsd.org. She will be happy to work out another time that works for you and your family.

If you still have library books or textbooks from last year, from any school, they can also be returned at this time. Just bring them with you, and we’ll swap them out for your new books.

Textbooks and materials will be placed on tables or the sidewalk for pickup so you can collect them in a contactless manner.  Helpers will be on hand to bring them to you if you prefer to remain in your vehicle.

Please note:  Curriculum/textbook pickup for K-4 students will be communicated at a later date.

Ridgefield School District Distance Learning Internet Survey

To ensure that Ridgefield School District students are equipped to participate in Ridgefield Remote (Distance Learning), the district is conducting a Distance Learning Internet Survey.

The survey asks questions about your current Internet service (if any) and offers the opportunity to apply for assistance.  Your application for assistance does not guarantee that the district will be able to accommodate your request.

Please consider completing the survey whether or not you have adequate internet access to support your students’ distance learning.   We appreciate your feedback.

To participate, please follow this link:  https://forms.gle/BZZrizwZhVExtgjC7

Note:  This survey is not to be confused with the High-Speed Internet Survey launched by the Washington State Broadband Office last week.

Eagle Scout Makes 639 Masks for Ridgefield School District

Gavin Gannon has been working toward becoming an Eagle Scout for years.  He could not have guessed back then what his Eagle Scout service project would be:  sewing hundreds of masks for the Ridgefield School District.

COVID-19 created many planning and logistical challenges for schools, including where learning would take place.  While the Ridgefield School District will start the year with online learning, it is also planning ahead to when schools can safely reopen.  Gannon was inspired to make one part of their work easier by making masks for students, teachers, and staff.  “I chose masks for my project to help RSD be a safer environment for when schools are re-opened,” he said.  “It’s to help keep the community safe.”

His project was ambitious because he had no experience in sewing.  He started by finding a mask pattern and purchasing a variety of fabrics.  His mother and grandmother showed him how to cut the patterns, then assemble and sew the two-layer reversible masks.  “It was a long process of cutting, sewing the masks together, and attaching the other bits,” he explained, but he didn’t mind.  “It was fun, actually.”

Gavin Gannon displays the cloth masks he completed for his Eagle Scout service project.

 

The masks were made in a wide variety of fabric designs.

Gannon started the project in late June and was able to finish in about a month.  His original goal was smaller, but his advisor pointed out that more masks would make a big impact and help a lot more people.  “We started at 200 and it went to 600, so it tripled,” he said.  “But hey, the more the merrier!”  In all, he ended up making 639 masks in sizes ranging from child to adult.

Scouting is a longstanding tradition in Gannon’s family.  “My grandfather is an Eagle Scout, and he helped inspire me to join scouts.”  Gannon is a member of Boy Scout Troop 320, and his final Eagle Scout service project embodies the scouting values of service, community engagement, and leadership development.

Learning to sew is a skill Gannon said he will be “putting to the test” when things get back to normal.  But until then, the masks will be put to good use, keeping hundreds of Ridgefield students, teachers, and staff safer.  Many thanks to Gavin Gannon for his impressive Eagle Scout project!

Superintendent’s Update to Families – August 7, 2020

 

 

 

August 7, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

With the start of the 2020-2021 school year rapidly approaching, I am pleased to share details on the student experience in our distance-learning model, Ridgefield Remote.

Our team of administrators and leadership from our teacher association have worked hard to develop a more robust, predictable, and user-friendly distance-learning model.  Every elementary student will receive small group skill-specific instruction a minimum of 4 days a week, and students with high needs will receive instruction 5 days a week.  Our 6th grade is committed to continuing a subject-specific rotation.

As a District, we continue to hold out hope for a return to in-person instruction this school year.  With that in mind, the secondary sites are committed to maintaining a 6-period course schedule throughout the week.

We heard through our family feedback surveys this spring that consistency with our Learning Management System needed improvement.  This fall, all staff will be using the Google Suite, including synchronous instruction through Google Meets, class assignments through Google Classroom and asynchronous instruction through Screencastify.

I encourage you to visit our homepage and click on the “Ridgefield Remote” link to view building schedules and explore the resources we have posted for students and parents.  Please continue to check back often, as we will continue to add resources to this page, including an FAQ next week.

I also encourage you to take a moment to read the August 6th news release about updated state health guidelines shared by Governor Jay Inslee, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal and the Washington State Department of Health.  The decision tree establishes guidelines and recommendations to assist school leaders and local public health officers when making decisions regarding school reopening plans.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

State Launches Survey Seeking Public’s Help in Identifying Gaps in High-Speed Internet Service Areas

The Washington State Broadband office and state Public Works Board have launched a mapping initiative to identify gaps in high-speed internet service and areas of broadband infrastructure needs in order to advance the state’s goal to have universal broadband access in Washington by 2024 according to a news release.

Using the easy-to-follow instructions and a simple link, Washington residents can complete the one-minute access and speed survey at home using any computer or mobile device.  To participate in the survey, click on the following link:    broadband.wa.gov

To see the state’s news release in its entirety, click here:  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOC/bulletins/297f2de

Thank you for your participation!

Ridgefield Family Resource Center Inspires with Snack Note Project

The Ridgefield Family Resource Center is designed to help Ridgefield students and families in need—and with all the challenges created by COVID-19, the Resource Center has been very busy.  With restructured programs to allow for social distancing and safety, the Resource Center had to close its communal snack cupboard, a popular place for kids to go and grab a quick bite to eat.  They decided to replace the snack cupboard with individual snack bags—then added short, positive messages that became inspirations for many.

Director Christine Poppert said, “Snack items are expensive.  With students home all day, we wanted to help our families.”  Fortunately, they received a large number of snack donations, which allowed them to make one snack bag per person.  The card was almost an afterthought, a little message inside each bag.

Soon others in Ridgefield were helping create the messages.  “People in the community wanted to participate by providing the cards with positive messages,” Poppert explained.  “People have told me that writing the cards to give to others helps their minds stay positive and grateful, and it is something to do while at home during this time.”  Soon the Resource Center had many beautiful, artistic messages of hope and support for their snack bags.

Ridgefield community members made notes to encourage and support snack bag recipients.

The handmade notes have served as an inspiration to many.

The impact it had on the families who received the notes was clear as well.  “Students love to save the cards and hang them on their refrigerator, on mirrors, in the car.  Some people collected them to make a collage.  Parents have commented on how the simple positive message can help them get through a day!”  Poppert was glad to see that a small note could make such a big difference.

The fact that the Ridgefield community has supported the Ridgefield Family Resource Center in so many ways throughout this crisis has been inspiring to Poppert.  “The snack notes have become a huge hit and are important in many ways for our families.  The simplicity of a positive message can often change a negative mindset.  My hope is that we can all learn to be the light and love in a time where we see darkness and hate.”

To assist the Ridgefield Family Resource Center with its food pantry and other items, monetary donations can be sent by check, with RFRC in the memo line, to the Ridgefield School District, 510 Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, WA  98642.   To arrange to send or drop off cards, please contact Chris Poppert at christine.poppert@ridgefieldsd.org

 

Superintendent’s Update to Families – July 29, 2020

 

 

 

July 29, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Community spread of COVID-19 in Clark County and Southwest Washington continues, and given the current conditions, Ridgefield School District will begin the 2020-2021 school year in full distance-learning mode.

As promised, our distance-only learning model, “Ridgefield Remote,” will be more robust and predictable.  A talented team of administrators and teachers are working collaboratively, having dedicated countless hours this summer, to develop a distance-learning model that leverages small-group instruction and learning experiences that are engaging, rigorous, and relevant.  The design team is now attending to the final details, and we look forward to sharing “Ridgefield Remote” with the community very soon.

Please know that the District intends to transition to a “hybrid” model (where students spend a portion of their week at school and a portion at home) when it is safe to do so for students and staff.  When that time comes, we will give families ample time to decide whether to attend school in the “hybrid” model or remain in the distance-only model.

Now that we know that we will officially be opening the school year in distance-learning, the most pressing question for many is when we will transition to a “hybrid” model.  Collectively, Clark County school district superintendents are recommending using the Washington State Safe Start Phases as our regional guidepost.  In Phase 3, we hope to begin transitioning to some in-person learning and supports for students where the distance-learning model provides the most significant challenges.  In Phase 4, this graduated transition plan will see increased in-person experiences.  As we have done since the pandemic began, we will continue to heed our public health officials’ advice and guidance.

Ultimately, our goal is to bring students back for in-person learning as quickly as conditions allow.  Together, I believe we can collectively improve conditions so that a safe return to school is possible.

I hope this helps alleviate some of the anxiety around the unknowns for the opening of the upcoming school year.  Thank you for your continued support of the Ridgefield School District.  As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

Superintendent’s Update to Families – July 23, 2020

 

 

 

July 23, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families

As you are aware, community spread of COVID in Clark County and Southwest Washington remains prevalent.  I know how much we all yearn for a return to some semblance of normalcy, including having our children in school.  However, the current public health conditions make the likelihood of an in-person start to the school year highly unlikely.

The District has spent the summer preparing to meet the many challenges posed by COVID.  Building and district administration have been working with our labor partners on two viable learning options until we can once again return to a traditional, fully in-person model.  One is a distance-only model, the other a “hybrid” model that combines in-person and remote learning opportunities.  Tremendous progress has been made on both models, and I am confident that we will be able to safely welcome our students back into the schools at some point during the 2020-2021 school year.

The two viable learning models include a “hybrid” learning model and a “remote-only” distance-learning model.  In the “hybrid” learning model, the District will divide the student population into two groups.  Each group will attend school in-person two days a week, while completing remote learning the other three days.  In this model, the District will ensure that families with multiple students will be assigned to the same group.

In the distance-learning model, all students will participate in a robust and predictable learning model from home five days a week.  The District is committed to providing an engaging, rigorous, and relevant distance learning model taught by RSD educators.  We believe this hometown connection, with our talented teaching staff leading students in their learning, makes this program superior to other distance offerings.  It is our hope to share specifics on these learning models with you next week.

I know there are still many questions regarding what the 2020-2021 school year will look like.  And I recognize that while this news comes as a welcome relief to some, others will be disappointed and disagree with the anticipated decision to open the school year remotely.  It is not an easy decision, and I appreciate the different points of view.  In-person learning is optimal, and our goal remains to bring students back for in-person learning experiences as quickly as conditions allow.  Ultimately, we will continue to rely on the advice and guidance from our public health officials.  The encouraging news is we can collectively improve conditions so a safe return to school is possible.  I’ve added this link to a research article that provides insight into how the community’s actions can determine how and when schools will open.

Thank you for your continued support of the Ridgefield School District.  Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

Ridgefield School District Appoints Zenia Bringhurst to School Board

Zenia Bringhurst, a Ridgefield community member, health industry professional and Ridgefield school parent, was appointed Ridgefield School District’s newest school board member by unanimous vote on July 15, 2020 at a special meeting of the Ridgefield School District school board.

Zenia and her husband, Trace, have lived in Ridgefield for the past fifteen years.  They have three sons:  Kellen, who graduated from Ridgefield High School in 2019; Cade who will be a senior at Ridgefield High School this fall; and Connor, who will be a sixth grader at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.

Zenia Bringhurst

Bringhurst manages the Corporate Accounts team for Boston Scientific where she is responsible for a number of corporate initiatives collaborating with large health systems across the U.S.  She has had over 20 years of experience in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.  Bringhurst holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Brigham Young University.

“I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to give back to the Ridgefield community through serving on the Ridgefield School Board,” said Bringhurst.

“Zenia’s science background, industry experience and passion for our schools will be a great benefit to our board,” said Joe Vance, Ridgefield School Board President.  “We are fortunate in Ridgefield to have people like Zenia that are willing to volunteer for public service.”

State law requires school boards to fill any board vacancy through an application, interview, and appointment process.  The appointment will be temporary until the November 2021 general election, when a permanent board member will be elected to the position.

Bringhurst will represent District 5, a seat formerly held by Scott Gullickson, who retired from the school board in June after 12 years of service.  Gullickson joined Ridgefield’s school board in May 2008.

 

Superintendent’s Update to Families – July 14, 2020

 

 

 

July 14, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Here we are, in the middle of July, with long summer days and relaxing cool nights.  I hope you are finding time to escape, rejuvenate, and unwind.

When I wrote to you on June 18, I was optimistic that we would be opening the 2020-2021 school year in a “traditional” fashion.  Now, nearly a month later, I am less confident that a “traditional” start is possible.

I empathize with and share everyone’s desire to know more about what school will look like for 2020-2021.  Please know, the Ridgefield School District continues to prepare for a safe and sensible in-person start, albeit today that looks like it will be in a hybrid learning model.  Please also know, at least for the beginning of the year, a remote-learning model for all students remains a possibility.

Hopefully, you have heard the news; the District is also committed to running a distance-learning model.  We sent the distance-learning option notice early because there are families that have already shared with us that they:

  • do not want their children attending schools until there is a proven vaccine;
  • do not want their children to attend schools wearing face masks.

It was important to make sure families knew there would be a distance-only option.  Naturally, this still leaves many unanswered questions.  The District is working as quickly as possible to finalize details.  I am immensely grateful for the talented team of administrators, teachers, and staff working collaboratively on our reopening plans.

The first question many ask is, will more information be forthcoming before families have to decide on the learning model for their children?  Yes, more specific information will be coming, and relatively soon.  I can assure you that the distance-learning model will be far more robust and predictable (day-to-day fidelity) than the model we rolled out this spring.  We have gained valuable experience and more preparation time that we did not have in March.

If you are interested in this option for next year, please click here to complete the registration process by July 31.  We will extend the deadline if we need to give families sufficient decision-making time.

Thank you for your patience as we complete the process of putting the hybrid and distance-learning models together.  As I mentioned above, I am optimistic we will have more information to share soon on each option available to families.

I hope this helps to alleviate some of the anxiety around the many unknowns for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.  As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

 

Superintendent’s Update to Families – July 8, 2020

 

 

 

July 8, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I hope everyone is enjoying a restful and relaxing summer.  2020 has been a challenging year and once again I extend my sincere appreciation for the grace, patience, and support our families have demonstrated.  Together, we are indeed much stronger.

The District continues to work collaboratively with our partners to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year.  I want to be clear that while many unknowns still exist, the District’s overarching goal is to return to “traditional” in-person instruction in a safe and sensible manner.  As we analyzed our stakeholder survey results it became clear that the District needs to plan for multiple learning opportunities, and that a return to in-person learning (in any form) may be more than some families are currently comfortable with.   We understand that some families may want or need an online-only learning experience and we are pleased to share with you today that Ridgefield will have an online learning option available in the fall.

Please fill out the Ridgefield School District School-Based Distance Learning Registration in order to enroll your student in the online-only learning experience.  Early registration will allow the District to assign your student to a distance learning teacher and allow our teachers to prepare for how to best provide this robust learning opportunity to their students. Please note – submitting a School-Based Distance Learning Registration Form confirms that your student will not attend in-person classes for at least the first Trimester (K-6th grade students) or Semester (7th – 12th grade students) of the 2020-2021 school year.  Forms must be completed by Friday, July 31, 2020.

As always, stay safe and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann, Superintendent

Ridgefield School District Hosts Virtual Community Forum on Bond Program

Come and learn more about the district’s bond program.  Ridgefield School District will be hosting a virtual community forum via Facebook Live at 5:00 pm on Monday, July 13th.  Note:  This is a change from the forum’s originally scheduled date of July 8th.  Please join us.