Ridgefield School District Honors October Employee and Students of the Month

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

The Employee of the Month is Tamara Hoodenpyl, teacher at Ridgefield High School.  Tami Hoodenpyl, in her four years as art teacher at Ridgefield High School, has involved herself in the school as much as, if not more than any other teacher.  She is an exceptional teacher who challenges her students to excel.  Her classrooms are engaging, thoughtful, and inclusive.  This past summer, Tami, along with an RHS science teacher, spent the summer in Mallorca, Spain, participating in an archeological dig.  Her pottery class is now teaming up with that science teacher’s chemistry class to better understand how ancient art interconnects with science.

Tamara Hoodenpyl

In addition to her teaching duties, Tami has been the head cheer coach, the art club advisor, a class advisor, an assistant director to the school’s annual musical, a student-chaperone on a music trip to Disneyland, a lead teacher in the planning of Spudder Day, and is currently the National Honor Society advisor.  Tami uses her spare time to work toward her National Board Certification.

While it is difficult to pare down the exceptional staff we have at RHS to nominate just one person, Tami Hoodenpyl is certainly worthy of this honor and is representative of the many outstanding employees at Ridgefield High School.

Students of the Month

Hyde Zier, a third grader, is October’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  One staff member describes Hyde best.  “Hyde Zier is brand new to South Ridge this year, but you would never know it because he has transitioned beautifully!  Since the first day of school, he has shown what it means to be respectful, responsible, and safe. Hyde has a smile on his face and a positive attitude as soon as he steps into the classroom every day, and I never see it leave, even when he steps onto his bus. He is extremely respectful to all his peers and teachers and follows the expectations without any reminders.  Hyde is very responsible and is always helping his teacher or his classmates (happily too!) just out of the kindness of his heart.  He shows resilience because he is a problem solver and never gives up, always with a smile.  Hyde is a true role model to his peers and deserves to be recognized.”

Hyde Zier

Jayden Garcia-Bernal, a second grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  The Union Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Jayden.  They write, “Jayden is very deserving of the student of the month award.  He exemplifies the three “R”s of respect, responsibility, and resilience.  Jayden is very respectful of other students, teachers, and staff at Union Ridge.  We can always count on Jayden to be responsible, kind, and helpful in the classroom, as well as on the playground.  He is a hard working student and never gives up.  Union Ridge Elementary’s Student of the Month award for second grade is well-earned by Jayden Garcia-Bernal.”

Jayden Garcia-Bernal

April Carvel, a sixth grader, is October’s Student of the Month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  The Sunset Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of April.  They write, “April is a motivated student who always finds a way to smile in every situation. This year did not start as smoothly as anyone would have liked, and my split classroom has had more than its share of hiccups. April has shown resilience every day by finding the positive in every situation that has come up and been flexible in her schedule changes, despite not seeing her peers as often as she would have liked. She has made the best of eating lunch and having recess with a different grade level by seeking her fifth grade brother and spending time with him and reaching out and making new friendships with the students from other grades and has been helpful to the students who are new to Sunset. In every lesson and transition, April can be counted on to do the right thing, make the right choice, and is ready to learn.  She fully engages and participates and is a motivated learner.”

April Carvel

Andrew Wilken, an eighth grader, was chosen at View Ridge Middle School.  The View Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Andrew.  They write, “Andrew Wilken is View Ridge Middle School’s Student of the Month.  Andrew is a strong addition to the classroom.  He regularly shows genuine interest in others, including his fellow students.  He is admired and respected among his peers and is always courteous.  Andrew consistently contributes to a positive learning environment and maintains high expectations of himself.  He is a valued student leader at our school. As an ASB class representative, Andrew contributes ideas and laughter to our meetings and events.  He is helpful to others around him, and his kindness goes a long way.”

Andrew Wilken

Grace Melbuer, a junior, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  The Ridgefield High School teachers and staff are very proud of Grace.  They write, “Grace is a student who is tenacious in her quest for knowledge, is a very strong leader, and is always willing to pitch in to help.”  Another teacher says of Grace, “I love her enthusiasm for learning.” Grace is involved in the zero-hour teaching academy class which requires her to be here at 7:00 AM every morning.  She takes four (!) AP classes as well as Spanish III, and is involved in HOSA, Spudder Ambassadors, and National Honor Society.  She is also a member of the RHS soccer and track teams.  Ridgefield High School is very pleased to select Grace Melbuer as October 2018 Student of the Month.

Grace Melbuer

Ridgefield School District is grateful to its sponsor, the historic Sportsman’s Restaurant and Lounge, a local Ridgefield business owned and operated by Terry Hurd.  This is the fifth year that Hurd has provided funding to support the district’s recognition program.

Family Legacy at Cispus Outdoor School

Cispus Outdoor School has been a Ridgefield tradition for 49 years.  Every year, fifth grade students hop on buses and travel to the Cispus Outdoor Learning Center in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  They spend a week doing all their classes outdoors, hiking, learning survival skills, and gathering around huge campfires.  And for nearly all of those 49 years, one family has been an important part of its legacy.

Vintage photo of Cispus camp (circa 1930’s). Photo courtesy of Cispus Outdoor School.

Cispus started 49 years ago with John Hudson, the principal at Union Ridge Elementary.  Carla Bonebrake, the health aide at Union Ridge, remembered being part of the inaugural class.  “I was in the first fifth grade class to go,” she said. “We would sleep out in the fields, out under the stars!”  Now, many years later, she attends Cispus as support staff; this is her eleventh year working with the program.  “You know,” she said, “the feeling of being up there is exactly the same.  Very little has changed.  The cabin I stayed in, Dogwood, is still there, still the same.”

Soon after the program started, Bonebrake’s mother, Allene Wodaege, worked with John Hudson to manage Cispus.  Over the years, she taught classes, implemented training for counselors, and then took over management of the program.  Wodaege spent 25 years leading Cispus for the Ridgefield School District.

Allene Wodaege and Cispus counselor with Ridgefield students leaving for Cispus Outdoor School.

When asked what she is most proud of, Wodaege said, “What it instills in the children and the counselors.  Not only knowledge, but their exposure to the out of doors, what it holds and what it can do for all of them, touching nature and being part of it.”  It’s a transformative experience that has impacted generations of students.

As this year’s Cispus class prepared to board the buses, Bonebrake worked with the students inside.  And Wodaege greeted the students outside.  She was glad to see them continuing the tradition she helped start so many years ago.  Wodaege said, “You just put the kids out into a learning environment and hope that they are going to learn and take that knowledge with them.  It’s a stepping stone.”

 

Harry Potter Room Casts a Spell on Students

Above the Media Center at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School/View Ridge Middle School, there is a small, private room.  Step through the door, and it is as if you have been transported to Hogwarts, the school from the Harry Potter series.

With a warm (faux) fireplace, Hogwarts house banners on the wall, and even the same spell books studied by Hermione, Harry, and Ron, it’s a magical place much loved by students.  And it was created by library aide Tiffany Tamez.

Handmade faux fireplace and Hogwarts house crests in the Harry Potter room.

 

Items of Hogwarts wizardry add to the room’s decor.

“I heard in the design, we were going to have this little reading room,” Tamez explained.  “I thought, instead of just a blank little room, how about we make it feel like you’re actually sitting in a room at Hogwarts?”

Tamez and her father built the wooden fireplace mantel.  She made banners for each of the Hogwarts Houses and created a faux fur Book of Monsters.  The Sprinters, Ridgefield High School’s marketing and design student team, printed the artwork.  The project took months, with a lot of attention to detail.

L-R:  Sixth graders Sarah Proctor, Shaun Tullis and Jack Radosevich enjoy the Harry Potter room.

“The children really enjoy not just the content, but the atmosphere,” Tamez said.  “We want it to be a really pleasing, enjoyable thing that the kids look forward to, a little positive spot in their day.”

Students can come in directly from class, before school, at recess, or at lunch.  And the room is almost constantly in use.  Sixth grader Sarah Proctor said, “It’s a good space to read.  And it’s a fun room to be in.  Every time I look up, I get another idea.”

Tiffany Tamez, creator of the Harry Potter room, helps a student at Media Center checkout.

Tamez is glad the room is so popular.  “I like that the kids feel special.  They feel transported, like it’s designed for them.”  The Harry Potter reading room casts a spell on students by inspiring reading and creativity.

 

Hallowe’en Hall

Family fun Halloween Hall is back for its 3rd year! There will be pirates, ghosts, witches, a straw bale maze, Dance Fusion “thriller” performances plus games and a special contest for those brave enough to enter the HALL! Admission is $5 at the door. Wear your Halloween Costume. Also on Friday, October 19th a VW Club will join us starting at 5 pm for a ‘Trunk or Treat’. Come join the fun.

Thought for the Week

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
                                        ~Viktor E. Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy”. His best-selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning,  chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. Frankl became one of the key figures in existentitherapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.

Photos from BirdFest

Weren’t we lucky to have such great weather for BirdFest? Especially after yesterday’s downpour. People from all over the area were having a great time, listening to music, attending the demonstrations, going to the Birders’ Marketplace and the Farmer’s Market, etc.

Ridgefield’s own Tim Dawdy was there with his group

Another group played at Davis Park

The Port of Ridgefield trailed carried people around town.

All-in-all, it was a typical Ridgefield celebration. Thanks to all of you who made it possible.

New City Council Person

The Ridgefield City Council is excited to introduce Jennifer Lindsay as our new City Council member !! Jennifer has served on the Ridgefield Planning Commission for two years and brings a wealth of knowledge to the City Council !! Congratulations Jennifer !!!

BirdFest and Bluegrass this Week-end

BirdFest starts tonight at the Sportsman Steakhouse and Saloon with BridFest-themed cocktails and a taco bar.

Saturday the Misty Mamas will host two workshops at the School District’s maintenance building at 11 and 12, followed by a family-friendly concert at 2:00 at the Old Liberty Theater.

There are several locations for tours, hikes, demonstrations, etc. Pick up a schedule at any store downtown and join the fun!

 

$75

A good time was had by all at last Sunday’s golf tournament benefiting the Ridgefield Friends of the Library in their efforts to raise enough money to build our new library. Not all the bills are in yet, but it looks like we made about $4000. Thanks go to our sponsors: Davidson Insurance, Riverview Bank, Jeff Stay at American Insurance and Jim Vincent of VCMG LLC.

The weather was threatening, but no rain fell.

The next big event for the Friends is the Fall Book Sale at the Community Center on October 18-20. Thursday night is a Members Appreciation Reception and Members Only Used Book Sale from 6 to 8pm. Members of the Friends get first crack at the books. You can join that night if you want to shop with less competition. Doors open to the general public on Friday and Saturday at 11 am. The good news is that books are only $1.

There will also be a pop-up book sale on First Saturday at Overlook Park.

What Makes Ridgefield so Special? #6

Yesterday a bunch of pre-teens were going around downtown Ridgefield, ringing doorbells and leaving this card and goodie bag full of Hallowe’en treats. Inside the card said “You have been BOO’d! Happy Halloween!”

I love it! What a great idea. Not only did they bring a smile to my face, but the card was hand made and very clever. Thank you goblins!

Neighbors on Watch

Citizens of Ridgefield who are interested in making their neighborhoods safer are encouraged to join Chief of Police John Brooks to discuss ideas for creating Ridgefield Neighbors on Watch (NOW) tonight, Wednesday October 3, at Clark County Fire & Rescue, 911 North 65th Avenue. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30.

The topics will include the biggest neighborhood security concerns, community security, volunteer opportunities, community emergency response teams and lots of Q&A.

Neighbors on Watch citizen volunteer programs help reduce crime and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods, foster cooperation between citizens and police officers, increase crime awareness and educate citizens on crime prevention, and provide an opportunity for communities to bond through service.

An Unusual Class Pet: An Axolotl

When you think of a class pet, you might think of a gerbil, hamster, or even a frog.  What you probably don’t think of is an axolotl.

Ridgefield fifth grade teacher, Annie Pintler, saw the rescued amphibian on her Facebook feed.  He was desperately in need of a new home; the people who had him couldn’t afford to care for him, and his tank was in bad shape.  She immediately agreed to adopt him, thinking he might make an interesting—and unusual—classroom pet.

Students in Annie Pintler’s fifth grade class at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School get a close look at their new classroom pet — an axolotl.

“I knew I could build a whole curriculum around him,” Pintler said.  “What are axolotls?  What do they like to eat?”  (As her students can tell you, axolotls are endangered salamanders native to Mexico, and they eat worms, insects, and small fish.)  “The students spent the first week of school doing research to learn all about him.”

Visit her classroom at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School, and you’ll see handwritten posters the students put up, like the one detailing the needs for a good ecosystem for an axolotl.  They originally planned to name him Creepy Buddy, but after doing more research, that changed.  Fifth grader Aiden Jensen explained, “The word axolotl comes from the Aztecs.  We can call him Creepy Buddy Aztec.”

Pintler’s students were excited to see Creepy Buddy Aztec introduced to his tank in their classroom.  They celebrated by writing creative stories from the point of view of an axolotl.  “Use your research to tell his story and make it more real,” Pintler told them.

“The title for mine,” said fifth grader Nelina Anderson, “is ‘They Have a New Classroom Pet—and It’s Magical.’”

City Hall Gets a Face Lift

Check out the new paint job on City Hall when you’re downtown. The pillars next to the front door are now a clean white, and the building in back is a rust color rather than the drab gray that had been there. Looks good!

 

Thought for the Week

“The sweet calm sunshine of October, now
Warms the low spot; upon its grassy mold
The purple oak-leaf falls; the birchen bough
drops its bright spoil like arrow-heads of gold.”
–   William Cullen Bryant

Learning Outdoors at South Ridge Elementary Trail

When the weather is nice, students want to be outdoors.  The trail behind South Ridge Elementary School serves as a welcome outdoor classroom where everyone can learn in a different environment.

Linda Wear, sixth grade teacher at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School, utilized the trail often for lessons during her 18 years of teaching at South Ridge.  “The trail is wonderful!” she said.  “Over the years, the trail has been groomed and expanded primarily by volunteer efforts to be a more accessible learning space.”

Parents, teachers, and Eagle Scouts worked together over time to improve the learning space with a pavilion, benches, and educational signs.  Sixth grade students even performed an annual day of trail maintenance as a way to give back to the school when they graduated.

One special donation was a “trail tub” on wheels from a group of parents.  It’s filled with clipboards, pencils, bird and plant guides, and even a Coleman bird finder that plays 50 different bird calls.  “Now teachers have all the resources they need when they go out on the trail with their students,” Wear said.

Students from Margo Manke’s first-grade class at South Ridge Elementary School enjoy the school’s outdoor classroom.

This week, Margo Manke’s first grade students were excited to take their science class to the trail.  They used their Full Option Science System (FOSS) kits to study plants along the trail, learning about plant parts and what plants need to live.

“Our classrooms are filled with eager young scientists who love to experience hands-on learning,” Manke said.  “The South Ridge Trail provides continued learning opportunities as we experience changes on the trail and in nature throughout the seasons of the school year.  We are so appreciative to have this optimum learning environment located on our South Ridge campus.”