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Union Ridge Elementary’s Book Fair Largest in Pacific Northwest

The Scholastic Book Fair at Union Ridge Elementary School might look a lot like other book fairs. But thanks to parent involvement, it has been the top-selling book fair in the Pacific Northwest for the last few years. This year, sales reached $13,000 in just one week.

Scholastic Book Fairs get books in the hands of children, with parents buying books for kids. But the Scholastic Dollars program also gives schools credits based on how much the school sells. Those credits can be used to purchase books for libraries, classrooms, and other school use. For Union Ridge, that translates into thousands of dollars in books at no cost to the school.

PTO volunteer Amber Hughes takes a week off from work each year to plan and manage the book fair. She handles the ordering, the setup, the parent volunteer list, and more. Her experience gets amazing results.

“It helps that we are centrally located to the warehouse so we can restock easily,” she said. “And we make sure to stage the book fair the week of Thanksgiving Feast, so parents can come buy books with their kids.”

In addition, each student has multiple opportunities to attend the fair. “Every kid gets to walk through the Book Fair once with their class. And we make the book fair available during recess, lunch, and before and after school as well.”

This year, the school earned $6,000 in Scholastic Dollars. The dollars have already purchased $3,000 in classroom books, $2,000 in library books, and another $500 in books for underprivileged students. By donating their time, PTO volunteers are helping hundreds of kids learn the joy of reading.

The entrance to Union Ridge Elementary’s Book Fair is enchanting.


The Book Fair offers a wide range of books for each age range as well as posters and other fun items.


Ridgefield School District to Form Equity & Engagement Committee

In its commitment toward continuous improvement in meeting the needs of every student, the Ridgefield School District is in the process of forming an Equity & Engagement Committee whose goal will be to ensure a school environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all students.

The committee will be composed of volunteer members equitably represented from among the following stakeholder groups:  parents/guardians, staff members, students, community members, administrators and law enforcement.  The committee will meet at least three times during the 2018-19 school year.

As part of the process to form the committee, the district has developed a survey to seek public input from its stakeholders regarding equity and engagement in the district.  Feedback gathered from the following survey will provide valuable information that will help guide the Equity & Engagement Committee in its work.  We invite you to participate.

To access the survey, please click on the following link:

If you are interested in serving as a member of the Equity & Engagement Committee, application information is available upon completion of the district survey.

Please submit district surveys and committee applications by 4:00 pm on Friday, December 14th.

Thank you for your participation.


Thought for the week

This speech from Paul Harvey was written in 1965. It’s prophetic and very scary.

What Makes Ridgefield So Special? #9

We’re all in the holiday spirit!

Watercolor Christmas Card Workshop

There are still a few spots left in my Christmas Card Workshop, Monday, December 3 from 9 to 11 am.

All levels are welcome – we’ll have ideas for everyone and all materials are provided. This is a benefit for the Ridgefield Library, and all money collected goes to the library. Cost is $45, or $40 for members of the Friends of the Ridgefield Library. Call to reserve a spot today! 360-887-2160 or

Class size is limited.

Free Youth Heart Screening Set for Friday, November 30 at Ridgefield High School

In partnership with Providence Heart Institute (PHI), Ridgefield High School is offering all students in Grades 7-12 a free heart screening on Friday, November 30th at Ridgefield High School.  PHI’s program, called Play Smart, will be on campus from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm in the high school’s Presentation Room (Room 311).

To receive the free screening, students must complete a Consent Form and Questionnaire and bring them on the day of the event or submit them to the RHS Activities Office.  The forms are available here:  Consent Form and Questionnaire.  Additional permission slips will be available in the RHS Activities office.

RHS students will receive a pass to/from class for their screening time.  Denise Morgan, school nurse, will be walking a group of View Ridge students to RHS during 6th period.

The Play Smart Youth Heart Screenings Program has been extremely successful in screening over 25,780 youth and identifying 1,328 students (6% to date) for further follow-up treatment.  Young people with undiagnosed heart defects, especially athletes, are susceptible to sudden cardiac arrest.  Often, there are no advance signs or symptoms.  An electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) is usually necessary to reveal signs of heart irregularities, something not normally done in “well-child” checks or routine physical exams.

Play Smart heart-health screenings are free, painless and non-invasive.

For more information about the Play Smart Youth Heart Screenings Program, visit their website at


Ridgefield School District Bond Measure Set for February 12 Ballot

On Tuesday, November 27, Ridgefield School District’s board members voted in favor of putting a $77 million bond issue up for a vote on February 12, 2019.  If approved by the voters, the bond proceeds, along with approximately $15 million of state assistance money, will enable the district to construct a new K-4 elementary school; expand Ridgefield High School and renovate the vocational education building; construct covered play areas and upgrade HVAC systems at South Ridge and Union Ridge elementary schools; and make safety and security upgrades district-wide.

“We’re able to maximize what this bond can do because it does not necessitate the purchase of land,” said school board member, Joseph Vance.  “The proposed new K-4 elementary school will be built on property paid for by developers through the district’s collections of school impact fees.”

The comprehensive bond measure will replace temporary, less secure and inefficient portable classrooms with permanent classrooms.  Included in the bond are the following projects:

  • Reduce overcrowding by building a new K-4 elementary school
  • Fully renovate and modernize the vocational education building at Ridgefield High School
  • Expand Ridgefield High School by constructing new classroom wing
  • Add covered play at all elementary schools
  • Install new HVAC systems at elementary schools
  • Enhance safety and security at all facilities in the district

The district’s Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) developed the 2019 Bond Program.  Made up of volunteers comprised of parents, citizens and staff from the Ridgefield community, the committee spent six months working to effectively address the community’s rapid growth.  The collaboration between CFAC and the district provided the information needed to shape the design plans for Phase III of the district’s four-phase Capital Facilities Plan.

“The 2019 Bond Program is attributable in large part to the work of all the CFAC committee members,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann.  “They started their work last winter and worked through the spring to prepare it.  The program they crafted is fiscally responsible and addresses many of the district’s needs.  We appreciate their hard work and the dedication of many people who participated in the process.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Ridgefield experienced 65% growth from 2010 to 2017, making it Washington’s fastest growing city.  Over the next four years, Ridgefield School District is projecting a 45% increase in student enrollment, adding 1,422 new students by 2022.

Currently, the bond tax rate for Ridgefield is $4.34 per $1,000 of assessed property value, making it the fourth lowest tax rate of the county’s nine K-12 school districts.  With voter approval, the school tax rate is projected to increase by $0.09 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.  For the owner of a $300,000 home, that would mean an increase in property tax of $2.25 per month.

Ridgefield Children’s Holiday Bazaar Set for Saturday, December 1

Come check out handmade crafts and delicious homemade goodies created by Ridgefield students at the annual Children’s Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, December 1st.  Proceeds from this student-led event benefit each student vendor directly.  Enjoy a unique Christmas shopping experience!

Hometown Celebration this Saturday

Plan to spend most of the day in downtown Ridgefield this Saturday, as festivities begin at 9 am with the Ugly Sweater 5 and 10k runs, and include activities throughout the day. Pick up a schedule at most downtown stores.

9 am  Walk n knock

9 am – 3 pm  Cider, cookies & crafts at the library

9 am – 4 pm  Arts & Craft Bazaar at the Community Center

10 am – 3 pm  Live music at Overlook Park

10:30 am – 11:30  Concert by Opus School of Music   (At the Methodist Church)

11 am – 3 pm  Ridgefield Children’s Holiday Bazaar (Union Ridge Gym B)

11 am – 3 pm – Kids’ Activity Center (Ridgefield Art Space)

noon – 3 pm Santa at Zebrun’s Starliner Cafe

noon – 3 pm  Holiday Trolley Rides

2 – 6 pm Wine Garden at Overlook Park

5 pm Tree Lighting Festival at Overlook Park

7:30 pm  Acoustic Guitar Summit Holiday Concert  (Old Liberty Theater)

Many of the stores in town will offer cookies and other surprises – check them out!

Partnership Between Killa Bites and Ridgefield School District Create Recipe for Student Success

When students in Tammy Angvall’s Ridgefield Transition Program (RTP) come to class, theirs is not the typical classroom experience.  On any given school day, they assist numerous local Ridgefield businesses who, in partnership with Ridgefield’s Special Education Department, provide them with work opportunities.  The RTP program teaches 18 to 21 year olds the real-life work skills and experiences essential to living independently.

Ask any RTP student, and they will tell you that Killa Bites, a local Ridgefield dessert and catering company, is at the top of their list of favorite work assignments.  Founder Laura Jhaveri and co-owner Donna Suomi, utilize the kitchen at the former View Ridge Middle School to produce the popular delectable desserts and catered items Killa Bites is known for.  In return, Jhaveri has taken the RTP program and its students under her wing as the company enters its next phase of growth.

Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that creates luscious confections such as the company’s unique and legendary cake bombs (tiny cream-filled cakes enrobed in chocolate), irresistible chocolate-dipped biscotti, and flavored gourmet popcorn?

“Laura has provided intern positions and numerous learning opportunities within her business for our students,” said Angvall.  “She also helps to provide the class with professional speakers and contacts from the network of community businesses and agencies she deals with.”

In addition, thanks to Jhaveri, RTP students interested in photography and videography get the opportunity to hone their skills by promoting Killa Bites on social media and in print.  Jhaveri also invites the students to attend and assist in many catering and tasting events with Killa Bites.

“From filling out applications to interviewing and learning on-the-job skills, all the way to tasting delicious products, Laura has been there for us,” said Angvall.  “We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Killa Bites and owners, Laura and Donna.”

Left to right: RTP students Mike Rapp and Calvin Bowen on the job at Killa Bites.


Students Tessa Castano and Katie Bradshaw (2nd and 3rd from left) help create cake bombs with Killa Bites crew.


Left to right: Calvin Bowen, Alex Mulligan and Mike Rapp work the catering line for Killa Bites.


Empty Bowl Event Set for Saturday, December 1

Come check out unique ceramic bowls for sale created by local and student artists at the Empty Bowl Project event on Saturday, December 1 at Union Ridge Elementary, Building “A” (11:00 am – 2:00 pm).  $20 includes soup and a ceramic bowl!  All proceeds benefit the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.  A big thank you to sponsors: Pacific Northwest Best Fish Co., El Rancho Viejo, Vinnie’s Pizza, Ridgefield Art Association, RHS Art Club and RHS National Honor Society.

Walk ‘n Knock on Saturday

Walk & Knock, Clark County’s largest one-day food drive, is taking place in Ridgefield on December 1st (8:30-2:30). This is a fantastic opportunity to go out into our community, collecting food for our local food bank, and helping our neighbors. You may sign up to volunteer via: Or (under the “Volunteer Now” tab.

Ridgefield High School Students Learn Marketing Pasta-bilities

A giant Dorito walks up to you and says, “You should try our Cheesy Crunch Pasta!”  You’re not dreaming, you’re at the Pasta Project.

Danny Dorito is the mascot for Cheesy Crunch Pasta.

The Pasta Project is a collaboration between Andrea Reinertson’s marketing class and Sarah Fontyn’s foods class at Ridgefield High School.  The marketing class works in groups to come up with product ideas.  Then the food class creates recipes and cooks the pasta samples.

On the day of the Pasta Project, Reinertson invites other classes into her classroom.  “Imagine you are at grocery store sample day,” she says.  “There are nine displays here of different types of pasta.  But you can only choose three.  You’ll decide based on four categories:  their display, their sales pitch, whether you would actually buy the product, and the taste.”  She hands out three judging slips per students, and the students wander the aisles.

Each marketing group has created eye-catching product displays for their pasta.  There is a wide range of choices, and the sales pitches are flying.

“Did you know 59% of Americans eat pasta twice a week?  Our pasta cooks fast so families can get it on the table.”

“Our pasta is easy to make but offers the same taste as exquisite Italian pastas.”

“9 out of 10 Americans don’t get the recommended of seafood in their diets.  Our pasta has fresh ocean shrimp that’s nutritious and delicious.”

Students taste the pasta samples and select their favorites.  It will be a while before votes are tallied.  But in the meantime, all the students are enjoying the Pasta Project—including Danny Dorito.

Pasta SCHM pasta is made from locally grown ingredients.


Sebastian Interian, Daniel Aleksandrov and Doran Woltersdorf promote Island Pasta.


Thought for the Week

Christmas is just plain weird. What other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree in the living room and eat candy out of your socks?                ~ Author unknown

“Promised Land” – November’s Meaningful Movie

Meaningful Movies this month is “Promised Land,” an award-winning social justice documentary that follows two tribes in the Pacific Northwest: the Duwamish and the Chinook, as they fight for the restoration of treaty rights they’ve long been denied. In following their story, the film examines a larger problem in the way that the government and society still looks at tribal sovereignty.”

The film will be shown at the Old Liberty Theater, 113 N. Main Avenue on Wednesday, November 28. The film starts at 7 pm, previews at 6:45pm, with a discussion to follow the film featuring Sam Robinson, Vice Chairman of the Chinook Tribe and Sarah and Vasant Salcedo, filmmakers. There is not cost to attend, but donations are gladly accepted.

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Here is a wonderful collection of Native films and music that are free to stream through the library of congress.

PBS is streaming several documentaries this month featuring Native topics and tribes from across the country.

A few film recommendations:

This May Be the Last Time (viewable through Amazon, YouTube, Itunes, Google Play): Tracing a heartfelt journey, award-winning filmmaker Sterlin Harjo interweaves the tale of a mysterious death in 1962 with the rich history of the powerful hymns that have united Native American communities in times of worship, joy, tragedy, and hope.

Reel Injun (Netflix DVD, YouTube, Kanopy): Since the dawn of cinema, Hollywood has made over 4,000 films about Native people — over 100 years of movies that shape the way we see Indians … and the way Indians see themselves. Romanticized and demonized, what does it mean to have your identity defined by the movies. Cree Indian filmmaker, Neil Diamond, sets off on a cross-country journey to explore his Hollywood roots.

Medicine Woman (streamable for free in the link): What does it take to heal a people? That’s the question at the heart of Medicine Woman, a new one-hour PBS documentary interweaving the lives of Native healers of today with that of the first Native American doctor. Born on the Nebraska frontier in 1865, Susan La Flesche Picotte studied medicine at a time when few women dared.

Ishi’s Return (Kanopy): A half-hour film about Ishi, billed in 1911 as the “last wild Indian,” when he wandered out of the woods in Oroville, California, and became a national sensation. When Ishi died, his brain was removed and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Eighty years later, his descendants in California fought to have his remains repatriated to his ancestral home.

Red Power Energy (Amazon): Tribal lands are the microcosm of today’s controversial energy debate. Between the fears that fossil fuels cause climate change and the hope that renewable energy can save the planet, lies the complex reality of American Indian reservations grappling with the balance of culture verse progress, poverty verse new-found wealth, and the fate of the environment.

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 (Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Itunes): A documentary film about Comanche activist LaDonna Harris, who led an extensive life of Native political and social activism, and is now passing on her traditional cultural and leadership values to a new generation of emerging Indigenous leaders.

The Mayors of Shiprock (streaming for free in the link): Meet THE MAYORS OF SHIPROCK – that’s what some people call The Northern Diné Youth Committee. These young Navajo leaders meet every week to learn about their Native culture, discuss community improvements, and work to bridge divides within their community. Some on the reservation say they don’t have the traditional knowledge and language needed to be real leaders…but the Mayors are not stopping.

Vision Maker Media is a great resource for more information about Native films.

In this Thanksgiving week, many of us grapple with how to talk to kids about Thanksgiving and the complexity of our country’s history. Teaching Tolerance offers some great resources. I especially like American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving which states “American Indians are still here, living modern lives. Even as contemporary people, many American Indians still retain strong connections to their specific traditions.” This idea was sorely lacking from my educational experience as a kid in Michigan where learning about the local tribes felt like an archaeology project rather than learning about the people who were around us in the community.

I’ll leave you with this short from the Kiowa-Choctaw artist Steven Paul Judd:

~ contributed by Megan Dudley

See you on the 28th