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5th grade teacher Jericho Kaylor helps a student with a writing project
5th grade teacher Jericho Kaylor helps a student with a writing project
Ridgefield School District seeks emergency substitutes, increases pay (Photo) - 11/15/21

Like many school districts across the country, the Ridgefield School District is facing a shortage of substitute teachers. This has led districts to get creative in their recruitment efforts and to authorize the hiring of “emergency substitutes” to help fill the gap. Becoming a substitute teacher is easier than you may realize, as a teaching certificate is not required to be an emergency substitute teacher.

Under Washington state law, emergency substitute teachers are allowed when there are no regularly certified substitute teachers available. Because of a confluence of factorsCOVID restrictions that require teachers to stay home with any sign of illness, the significant increase in the number of students in the school district, and the general labor shortages affecting every industryRidgefield schools typically use all of their regularly-certified substitute teachers each week. Together, all of these factors have kept emergency substitute teachers in high demand. 

While a bachelor’s degree is required to be an emergency substitute teacher, it does not have to be in the subject matter that is being taught. Successful applicants do need to have some experience working with youth and with people from diverse backgrounds, as well as some knowledge of teaching techniques. In addition, applicants must be able to meet the state-mandated COVID-19 requirements, including wearing masks while at school and providing proof of vaccination (or an approved religious or medical exemption). 

Emergency substitute teachers should be willing to accept open substitute work in the Ridgefield School District across all grade levels, content areas, or programs. Substitute teachers are able to see and respond to available job postings through the online Aesop Substitute System, but many positions will still be on short notice and will require contact via phone or email. 

For more details and to apply for a position as an emergency substitute teacher, find the job posting at https://ridgefieldwa.tedk12.com/hire/

Enhanced pay for certificated substitutes
Of course, the Ridgefield School District is also still in need of certificated substitutes and has recently increased its rates to offer more competitive pay. As of November 8, 2021, the new rates for certificated teachers and emergency substitutes are $173.81 for a full day, and $114.76 for a half day. Once a substitute has worked 25 full days (or 50 half days), the rates are enhanced to $192.01 per day for full days, and $126.60 for half days.

Union Ridge Elementary School Student of the Month Weston Cornelius
Union Ridge Elementary School Student of the Month Weston Cornelius
Ridgefield School District honors November Employee and Students of the Month (Photo) - 11/12/21

On November 9, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the November 2021 Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting. Congratulations to all of this month’s honorees!

Employee of the Month

James Ruiz, Connection Center Mentor at South Ridge Elementary SchoolJames Ruiz is the Connection Center Mentor at South Ridge. James started as a volunteer parent who liked to hang out on the playground during recess. James then became our lead recess paraeducator, and has spent the last several years teaching our students how to be respectful, responsible, and resilient on the recess yard. The kids love Mr. James! He uses the right combination of tough love, kindness, compassion, and empathy with students and they love him for it. Now as the Connection Center Mentor, he gets to use all of his skills in even bigger ways. His ability to build relationships and develop trust with our most difficult students makes him such an enormous asset at South Ridge. 

Students of the Month

Carly Jackson, Early Learning Center
Carly is always happy and positive and brings light to the class. She is a thoughtful and reflective listener, often finding connections to her own life to enthusiastically share with others. She is helpful and kind to her peers. When a new student arrives, she's the first one to welcome them and eagerly invites them into play, conversation, and all things preschool-related. She makes room for every friend and looks for ways to include others. This level of kindness and empathy is remarkable and something Carly should always be proud of. It's a joy to watch Carly interact with her peers and teachers. When I asked her friends why Carly is a special Hash Brown, they remarked, "Carly is very nice. She always smiles and I think she cares about us". When she's busy with learning and projects, Carly has a focus that is not easily distracted and she is elated to explain everything when sharing her ideas and work. We're proud of you, Carly! You're a wonderful example to all of our Hash Browns! For all of these reasons, Carly is our Early Learning Center Hash Brown Student of the Month for November.

Koa Robinson, 2nd grader at South Ridge Elementary School
Koa has shown tremendous perseverance and resilience as he tackles this new school year. After learning a new skill, he immediately implements his new learning to help him succeed whether this be on a tricky math problem or reading a big word! He is always quick to help a friend in need, keep the classroom clean and tidy, or make our entire class giggle! Koa is full of great ideas, is a wonderful friend and an incredible student. We are so lucky to have Koa as South Ridge's November Student of the Month! 

Weston Cornelius, 2nd Grader at Union Ridge Elementary School
If you asked Room 11 which student is always polite, always respectful, and always works hard, without a doubt, they would say it is Weston. In fact, that is exactly what has happened. His peers frequently comment about those character traits Weston demonstrates on a daily basis. Weston's teacher also shares that she, too, notices his caring, hardworking, and respectful way of being. In addition to those admirable traits, Weston advocates for himself and shows his desire to learn and grow to be the best he can be. He is curious, has a playful sense of humor, and is a friend to all. Weston is pursuing premiere for himself and his future. Congratulations to Weston Cornelius for being Union Ridge’s Student of the Month!

Josephine Rehley, 5th Grader at Wisdom Ridge Academy
Josie really shines for pushing through challenges and forging a path forward toward excellence. Learning online is a rigorous endeavor, requiring a tremendous degree of self-discipline and dedication. As a pre-professional dancer and choir member, life is busy and tiring, but Josie works hard to balance her dynamic lifestyle, prioritizing her learning and excelling in her academics. On top of this, she attends Enrichment class during the week, and regardless of her mood or energy level, Josie comes willing to take risks and to show kindness and absolute respect for all of those around her. It is a pleasure working with Josie, and we are certain she will continue to do great things this year and beyond.

Robert Hull, 6th Grader at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School
Sunset Ridge is pleased to announce Robert “Bobby” Hull as our November student of the Month. Bobby is an excellent student and an exceptional young man. Bobby is selfless, caring, and hardworking. He puts the best interests of others ahead of his own. He is a friend to all and offers a helping hand to any student or teacher in need. He consistently helps tend to the safety of our classroom at the end of each school day by cleaning his area and others. Bobby has a passion for learning and makes those around him better. His respectful attitude, amiable demeanor, and responsible behavior make Bobby the perfect Coyote for Student of the Month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate.

Andrew Soare, 8th Grader at View Ridge Middle School

We are excited to announce 8th Grader, Andrew Soare, as our View Ridge Student of the Month for November! One of Andrew’s characteristics is that he is engaged in his learning. His teachers commented on his enthusiasm, ready participation, dedication, thoroughness in his work, insightful discussions, as well as his respectful interactions in class. His compassion, empathy and helpfulness toward his classmates sets an example for all. When presented with a challenge, he perseveres and puts forth effort to be successful. He is musically talented and uses that to grow as an individual. Andrew shows a level of maturity that is rare for his age group, and is an example of a dedicated work ethic and effective time management. He has a great sense of humor and is a joy to have in class. 

Morgan Harter, 12th Grader at Ridgefield High School
ASB President. 3.9 GPA. Four-year varsity volleyball player for the Spudders. University-bound scholar-athlete. TWO state championships on her résumé. All-around great human being. It is for those reasons and many more that senior Morgan Harter has been selected as the November Student of the Month. Morgan is described as a student who is "concerned about the well-being of our students and is working hard to learn how to help students get what they need" to be successful members of the student body at RHS. In Morgan's role as ASB president, student participation in events and student pride in their school is higher than ever before. Morgan didn't fall far from the parental tree. Her mother was the Ridgefield High School ASB president during the 1988-89 school year and was instrumental in encouraging Morgan to run for the same position. Morgan is most proud of her accomplishments on the volleyball court, helping the Spudders to win back-to-back state championships in her freshman and sophomore years. During her time on the RHS volleyball team, the Spudders have won 72 consecutive matches (probably more by the time this is read) and are rated number one this season. She is also proud of keeping her head up during the difficult times of COVID and accepting the leadership to help the students at RHS to overcome their challenges and find their place at RHS. After high school, Morgan will be playing volleyball for Northwest University and will study business finance, hoping to go into accounting and eventually be a CFO.
 

An aerial view of the new school campus that would include an 8-plex classroom building, providing much-needed additional instructional space
An aerial view of the new school campus that would include an 8-plex classroom building, providing much-needed additional instructional space
Ridgefield School Board unanimously approves bond for February 2022 ballot (Photo) - 11/10/21

Ridgefield School District’s Board of Directors voted unanimously on Tuesday to put a bond before voters that, if passed, would fund the construction of a new elementary school, help alleviate overcrowding, and provide additional classroom space for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Ridgefield High School. The bond will be listed as Proposition 7 on the February 8, 2022 special election ballot and requires approval by a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

If approved, the $66.785 million bond would fund the construction of a new 75,000 square foot K-4 elementary school that would open as a K-6 school to help alleviate overcrowding at the district’s existing elementary and intermediate schools. The bond would also fund an 18,000 square foot expansion at Ridgefield High School, featuring a new metal shop and classroom, eight general education classrooms, and space designated for future Career and Technical Education classrooms. 

According to the United States Census, Ridgefield’s city population more than doubled from 2010 to 2020, growing from 4,763 residents to 10,319. That is a 116.6 percent increase, and has led to record enrollments for the school district. Beyond the city limits, the total district population is now at 21,369 residents, making Ridgefield one of the fastest-growing cities in the region. In fact, Ridgefield has been tabbed as Washington’s fastest-growing city three times in recent years. 

“People move to Ridgefield because of our great schools,” said Ridgefield School Board President Joe Vance. “If our schools are going to remain one of Ridgefield’s greatest assets, then the community needs to come together to support this bond. Ridgefield has been rapidly growing and will continue to do so, and providing more classroom space is necessary for us to serve the current and future needs of Ridgefield’s students and families.” 

Ridgefield residents are currently paying $3.19 per $1,000 of assessed home values in school taxes, which is the second-lowest school tax rate in all of Clark County. If voters approve the bond, collections would begin in 2023 with a projected rate of $3.51 per $1,000 in assessed home values, representing a projected rate increase of $0.32. With a median home value in Ridgefield of $562,000, the projected cost per year of funding these projects would be $179.84 per household per year, or $14.99 per month. 

The new elementary school would be located at 7025 North 10th Street in Ridgefield and built on land the district already owns. Designs for the new school include an 8-plex classroom building that would provide much-needed additional instructional space. The site is permitted and ready to begin construction, and if approved by voters, the new elementary school would be on track to open in the Fall of 2023. 

For more information, please visit www.ridgefieldsd.org/page/bond.

Runners participating in a past Turkey Trot
Runners participating in a past Turkey Trot
Annual Turkey Trot 5/10K scheduled for Thursday, November 25 (Photo) - 11/04/21

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is hosting its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, 2021. The race begins at 9 a.m. and includes a family-friendly 5k walk/run and a 10K run, both of which start and end at Union Ridge Elementary School in downtown Ridgefield.

Registration costs range from $20 to $35 depending on your age group and which event you’re signing up for. All proceeds benefit the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and the Ridgefield Family Resource Center. For more details and to register online, please visit www.ridgefieldpsf.org/events. Be sure to register by November 11 to be guaranteed a race t-shirt. 

Race packet pickup and in-person registration will be on Wednesday, Nov. 24, from 4 to 6 p.m. and on race day from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Union Ridge Elementary School gym. A limited number of extra t-shirts will be available at the in-person registration event.

During the race packet pickup, participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for donation to the Ridgefield Family Resource Center. Each item donated will earn you an entry into a prize drawing for $100 in local restaurant gift cards.

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is grateful for the support of the following organizations: 

Presenting Sponsors:

  • Krippner Painting
  • Opsahl Dawson CPAs

Supporting Sponsors:

  • Dr. Sepe Dentistry
  • Ridgefield Physical Therapy

Race Sponsors:

  • Edward Jones
  • Jones Landscape Inc
  • Flynn Financial Partners
  • Royal Restrooms
  • Kiddie Academy
  • Adventure Dental
  • Ridgefield Mini Storage
  • Woodland Chiropractic
  • Lava Java
  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
  • Imagineering Graphics
  • Ridgefield School District

Graduating seniors from Ridgefield High School can earn a Community Service Seal on their diplomas
Graduating seniors from Ridgefield High School can earn a Community Service Seal on their diplomas
Ridgefield School Board announces new community service recognition for graduates (Photo) - 11/01/21

The Ridgefield School District and the Ridgefield Schools Board of Directors is pleased to announce the implementation of a new program to recognize graduates who show a commitment to community service. Beginning with the class of 2022, graduates who complete a minimum number of community service hours will receive a diploma with a special “Community Service” seal to recognize those students who voluntarily donate time to worthwhile efforts in the community. 

To qualify, students must complete at least 36 hours of community service for each year of high school. Because this program is new, the number of hours required to qualify for the honorary designation will be phased in. This means that seniors who graduate in 2022 must complete at least 36 hours, while the Class of 2023 must complete at least 72, the Class of 2024 108 hours, and the Class of 2025 and beyond will need to successfully complete at least 144 hours to earn the special designation at graduation. 

“The Ridgefield School District Board of Directors is grateful to be part of a service-minded community with students who care deeply about making a difference,” said Joseph Vance, Ridgefield’s School Board President. “The Community Service seal program allows us to recognize and encourage their efforts, and honor those who have given of themselves for the betterment of the Ridgefield community.” 

Volunteer hours will be tracked on an official “Community Service Log'' and verified by a supervising adult on all activities. Examples of qualifying community service activities include participation in any service project conducted by a service organization such as Scouts, 4-H, Key Club, church, etc.; participation in a community service event such as Walk-a-Thon, Jump Rope for Heart, or other fundraising events held for the good of the community; and personal projects which benefit a member of the community or the community at large such as helping an elderly or disabled person (not a relative) with household chores, visitation to a nursing home or other facility to perform services for a resident, volunteer work in a community institution (library, hospital, etc.), tutoring younger students on a regular basis, or similar projects to benefit others.

Some examples of activities that will not count towards the requirements include membership in a service organization without participating in service activities; participation in any activity for which an individual receives compensation; service as a teacher’s aide during school time; participation in political organizations or political campaigns; membership in the school band, choir, sports team, or drama production (these activities are highly encouraged for personal gain and experience, but do not qualify as community service); and court-ordered community service or school-ordered service.

While it is impossible to list all examples, it is generally understood that community service recognition is for participation in the community for the express purpose of helping others.

Students who successfully complete the required hours of service will be recognized at graduation and have the designated seal affixed to their diplomas.