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Ridgefield School District Receives Clean Audit Report - 03/19/19

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 – Ridgefield, Washington – On March 14, 2019, the Office of the Washington State Auditor released its Financial Statements Audit Report and Federal Single Audit Report (for Special Education) for the Ridgefield School District for the period September 1, 2017 through August 31, 2018.

The 2017-18 school year marked significant changes for the district.  It experienced record-breaking student enrollment and continues to deal with rapid growth.  Additionally, the district took over management of the Special Education Program from Educational Service District 112 who managed the program in prior years.   

The audit reports that the district continues to produce accurate and reliable financial information for the public and notes no concerns with compliance or internal controls over Special Education program management.

“We work diligently to ensure the information we disseminate to our public is accurate. We are also grateful for the continued support from our citizens and public in providing the District with the resources it needs to continue to offer unlimited possibilities for our students and families,” said Paula McCoy, the district’s Executive Director of Business Services. 

To view the complete 2017-18 Financial Audit Report, visit the Finance Page of the district’s website at https://www.ridgefieldsd.org/o/district/page/finance--5.



Susan Hayley-Gates
Susan Hayley-Gates
Ridgefield School District Honors March Employee and Students of the Month (Photo) - 03/12/19

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 – Ridgefield, Washington – On March 12, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the March Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.  

The Employee of the Month is Susan Hayley-Gates, STEM paraprofessional at View Ridge Middle School.  Susan’s steadfast support of View Ridge students, particularly this fall with a teacher on maternity leave, continues to make this innovative program accessible for all students. Her hard work, expertise, and flexibility kept the students on track while the class transitioned through two substitute teachers in the process.  Susan truly stepped up to the plate when we needed her most, essentially playing the role of teacher out of necessity.  Her calm, empathetic approach meets kids where they are at and spurs significant growth in their skills. She has taken the time and put in the work to learn the STEM curriculum to a depth not always achieved by someone in her role.  The STEM department is fortunate to have someone as selfless as Susan, who will take on the extra responsibilities that she recognizes is needed.  The STEM staff is grateful for her help every day.  For all this and so much more that she does every day, she is very deserving of the honor of March Employee of the Month.

Students of the Month

America Lozano Perez, a second grader, is March’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  The South Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of America.  They write, “America knows that she can keep trying even when things get hard.  Her true joy of learning is evident every day.  She puts in great effort and gets great results in her school work.  She is kind to her peers beyond expectations.  Her smile is a signature move that she uses over and over to greet peers and staff alike.”

Jake Sorensen, a first grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary School.  The Union Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Jake.  Jake was new to Union Ridge at the beginning of the year.  It did not take long for his classmates to realize that this was a peer to get to know.  What draws people to Jake first is his kindness.  His picture should be in the dictionary.  He includes all students, both boys and girls.  He is a good friend to all.  His demeanor is very calming and peaceful with a quietness about him that soothes all who are around him, including his teacher!  In the classroom, his academics are excellent.  He is a student who gets right on a task and stays focused until he completes it, no matter what else is going on around him.  He works hard and is very conscientious about his work.

Lily Taylor, a fifth grader, is March’s Student of the Month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  The Sunset Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Lily.  They write, “We are always impressed by Lily’s work ethic and integrity.  She is an advocate for herself and her peers.  She demonstrates empathy and compassion that is not easily matched.  While her progress can also be measured in academic growth, it is her self-confidence that has truly been highlighted this year.  She is a humble and gracious learner who extends her kindness far and wide.  What a wonderful ambassador for our Coyotes!  Lily doesn’t let anything get in her way.  She is a brave young lady who does not let struggles get her down.  She is gentle and kind to everyone.”

Hyrum Bennett, a seventh grader, was chosen at View Ridge Middle School.  The View Ridge teachers and staff are very proud of Hyrum.  They write, “Hyrum is an exemplary student who leads quietly by example and makes everyone around him better.  No matter if he is working with a partner or a group, he always strives to do his best while encouraging and showing his classmates how to do their best.  Hyrum has an infectious positive and hard-working attitude that has earned him respect from the staff and his peers alike.  He is one of strong character and integrity.  With his excellent work ethic, Hyrum has a bright future ahead of him.”

Brock Harrison, a senior, was chosen from Ridgefield High School.  Brock is described as a quiet leader who always does the right thing and is an all-around great Spudder.  He is an exceptional student athlete who has competed for four years in both football and baseball for the Spudders.  On February 20th, Brock signed his college letter of intent to play collegiate football for the Eagles at Eastern Washington University.  One described Brock as “an excellent student, an excellent athlete and a kind person.”  Although Brock has received several awards, scholarships and recognitions, you’d never know it by his humble attitude.  Brock takes advanced classes at RHS and hopes to study marketing or business at Eastern.  We are proud of the many outstanding students who attend Ridgefield High School and proud of Brock for being chosen to represent the school as March Student of the Month.

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.


PAL officers brought a line of vehicles for students to tour, including cruisers and a boat.
PAL officers brought a line of vehicles for students to tour, including cruisers and a boat.
Police Activities League Visits South Ridge Elementary School (Photo) - 03/05/19

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – Ridgefield, WA – Second grade students streamed into the cafeteria.  Their eyes widened at the sight of men and women in uniform.  “Ooo!!  Police!!” one whispered in awe.  The Clark County Sheriff’s Department and Ridgefield Police Department were there as part of the Police Activities League (PAL), an initiative to connect “kids, cops, and communities.” 

Deputies from the sheriff’s department gave a presentation on safety.  One deputy explained the gear he carried each day:  badge, pistol and magazines, taser, radio, cell phone, ink pens, handcuffs, and glasses.  One student raised his hand.  “Can you show us your handcuffs?”  The deputy held up the handcuffs, explaining that you could even get handcuffs in different colors.  “Whoa!” the student said.  The deputy also reminded kids about gun safety.  “You guys are too young to handle a gun safely by yourself.  So if you see a gun, don’t touch it.  Promise me?”  Heads nodded. 

Other deputies covered stranger danger, 911, car safety, and bike safety.  Talking about water safety, one deputy asked, “In the summer, when you’re getting ready to go out on a boat or on the water, what’s the one thing you should put on?”  “A swimsuit!” one student answered.  Everyone chuckled as the deputy explained, “A life jacket!  I meant a life jacket.” 

Chief John Brooks of the Ridgefield Police Department reminded students that the officers are all on their side; that they are there to help kids and communities.  Commander Phil Sample of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department read a Dr. Seuss book and handed out free books to the students.  Outside the cafeteria, students lined up to tour sheriffs department vehicles, including cruisers and even a boat. 

As the kids left the presentation, they high-fived Chief Brooks.  When he got a strong slap, he shook his hand a little and said, “Ow!  Stinger!” The kids smiled and laughed, happy to be getting to know local officers a little bit better.

Officers from the PAL program will visit classrooms a few more times this year to interact with students.  For more information on the PAL program, go to www.vancouverpal.org.


Ridgefield High School Students Attend 25th Anniversary Screening of Schindler's List - 03/05/19

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – Ridgefield, WA When Schindler’s List celebrated its 25th anniversary, Steven Spielberg used the event to introduce a new generation of young people to the film’s important message.  In conjunction with the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation, Spielberg offered free educational screenings of the film for high school students and teachers across the country.  Some classes from Ridgefield High School were selected to participate. 

In an interview, Spielberg said, “It is difficult to believe that it’s been 25 years since Schindler’s List first arrived in theaters.  The true stories of the magnitude and tragedy of the Holocaust are ones that must never be forgotten, and the film’s lessons about the critical importance of countering hatred continue to reverberate today.”

Spielberg hosted a webinar for teachers prior to the screening to prepare them to teach the movie and to give his perspective on the movie’s re-release.  He shared stories about the production of the film and the relevance of the film’s story to present day.  Spielberg asked that students always maintain awareness of history, because it demonstrates what standing up against injustice versus not standing up against injustice can do.  He hoped that students would be the ones to lead positive change into the future.

The movie re-release came at the same time teachers Brittany Rodin and Jamie Heim were starting a unit on the Holocaust.  Night, Elie Wiesel’s firsthand account of his experience in a Holocaust concentration camp with his father, is part of the junior curriculum and is required reading for students.  Adding the screening of Schindler’s List to the unit, as well as artifacts, photos, and books from the Holocaust Center for Humanity, served as a foundation to teach students about the events of the Holocaust.

With parental permission, the students attended a screening in Portland, where the entire movie theater was closed to accommodate the large number of showings.  When the students returned to the school, they discussed the film, processing its message.  “The movie viewing was a powerful experience for our students,” Heim said.  “Most of the students agreed that viewing Schindler’s List helped them to better understand the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust.” 

Student Kena Anselmo said, “I believe viewing this film should be part of the junior curriculum.  Watching this movie opened my eyes about racism and bullying; these small things can lead to something as big as a genocide.  Learning about what happened to Schindler and the Jews he saved was beneficial, because it taught me that one kind soul can change thousands of lives.”

Additional learning opportunities and more information about the USC Shoah Foundation and its partnership with Schindler’s List are available at https://sfi.usc.edu/schindlerslist.



First Saturday Events Kick Off Ridgefield Youth Arts Month - 02/27/19

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – Ridgefield, Washington – Ridgefield will be buzzing on First Saturday, March 2nd as performers and artists converge in downtown Ridgefield to participate in “Art Alive”, a performing arts showcase sure to entertain as it kicks off the exciting start to Ridgefield Youth Arts Month.

It all begins at 11:00 am, when the Ridgefield Community Center opens its doors welcoming all to the Arts Quarter Block Party.  The “Express Yourself Art Bar” will offer creative art activities for kids of all ages.  There will be a variety of community-sponsored, hands-on art projects sure to engage.  Visit the Art Fair and browse the wares of local vendors.  Enjoy theatrical scenes and sketches by The Fusion Theater Collective and inspiring musical performances by Musical Expressions and the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics.  Watch performers from Dance Fusion Northwest as they debut the show they plan to present in Disneyland in April.  Featured will be dance pieces in hip hop, contemporary, tap and jazz.

First Saturday will be engaging, fun, entertaining, and full of creativity as Ridgefield begins a month-long celebration in support of local youth art programs.  View the Ridgefield Youth Arts Month schedule of activities by visiting the district website at www.ridgefieldsd.org.  Click on Explore and Community Education.  Under Current Course Offerings, click on the pdf labeled Ridgefield Youth Arts Month 2019.

Ridgefield School District is grateful to its title sponsor, The Modern Orthodontist (www.themodernorthodontist.com) and sponsorship from the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation for their support of Ridgefield Youth Arts Month. 


Attached Media Files: Art_Alive_2019.pdf
Ridgefield Celebrates Youth Arts Month - 02/27/19

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – Ridgefield, Washington – Ridgefield School District is celebrating Youth Arts Month in a big way this year, joining with local businesses, organizations, the city of Ridgefield and local artists to offer an abundance of opportunities for children and the Ridgefield community to discover their creative side through art and music throughout the entire month of March.

The school district established Ridgefield Youth Arts Month to support the district’s commitment to deliver personalized learning experiences for each student through appreciation of the arts as well as to increase support of the arts throughout the community.

To celebrate Youth Arts Month, Ridgefield Community Education is offering a phenomenal array of classes for the community and for kids of all ages.  Many classes are free!  View the schedule of activities by visiting the district website at www.ridgefieldsd.org.  Click on Explore and Community Education.  Under Current Course Offerings, click on the pdf labeled Ridgefield Youth Arts Month 2019.

All classes require online registration and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  If you find a class full, sign up for the wait-list.  With enough interest, a second class may be added!

A variety of classes in arts and crafts or music and dance are offered this year.  Students can take part in the Missoula Children’s Theater production of “Peter & Wendy”, sign up for Jam Band, Hip Hop Workshop or Line Dancing.  Learn art in its many forms:  watercolor, block carving & printing, acrylic painting, and sculpting.  Or take in the District Art Show and the many musical concert performances scheduled throughout the month showcasing the talents of our amazing students.

This year, Ridgefield School District and the Ridgefield Lions Club are pleased to present a special performance by three award-winning blind musicians, Mac Potts, Nick Baker and Brent Gjerve in an amazing piano concert, “3 Grands Concert & Benefit” on Friday, March 15th at 7:00 pm at the Ridgefield High School Performing Arts Center.  Enjoy a unique, awe-inspiring performance by these talented musicians.  Proceeds benefit Ridgefield High School’s scholarship program and Ridgefield Youth Arts Month.  Tickets are available online at https://ridge.revtrak.net under Events.

Ridgefield School District is grateful to its title sponsor, The Modern Orthodontist (www.themodernorthodontist.com) and sponsorship from the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation for their support of Ridgefield Youth Arts Month.

For more information, contact Ridgefield Community Education at 360-619-1303 or via email at ri.cochran@ridgefieldsd.org">terri.cochran@ridgefieldsd.org.


Union Ridge Elementary School teacher, Sara Eastham (at left) with Karen Stolberg, her teacher when she attended elementary school in Ridgefield.
Union Ridge Elementary School teacher, Sara Eastham (at left) with Karen Stolberg, her teacher when she attended elementary school in Ridgefield.
A Longtime Teacher's Classroom Legacy (Photo) - 02/18/19

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 – Ridgefield, Washington – Karen Stolberg was happy to visit Union Ridge Elementary for Take Your Parent to School Day.  And she has an interesting connection to her granddaughter’s second grade teacher, Sara Eastham.  Stolberg was actually Eastham’s teacher when she was in elementary school.

Eastham, a Ridgefield native, said, “Ms. Stolberg—she was Anderson then— was my third-grade teacher at South Ridge.” 

Stolberg smiled.  “I can tell you she was a really good student.” 

“But I was really, really, really shy!” Eastham laughed. 

Stolberg taught in the Ridgefield School District for 34 years; Eastham was one of many students.  But Eastham was in one of Stolberg’s first classes as a teacher, so she remembers it well.  Stolberg is glad to spend time with her former student and thrilled that Eastham became a teacher too.  “We’ve stayed in touch all these years,” she said.  “I’m so proud of her!” 

Eastham remembered going to visit Stolberg’s home.  “I would take groups of four or five students home with me as a reward—with their parents’ permission of course.  We couldn’t take students home with us now!” Stolberg laughed.  When Eastham became a teacher herself, she created a similar reward activity she calls Secret Lunch, where students can have lunch with her in the classroom instead of the cafeteria.

Interestingly, Stolberg’s granddaughter is not the first member of her family to have Eastham as a teacher.  Eastham also taught Stolberg’s son, Nick, when he was in elementary school.  The connection between the two families is a surprising and wonderful legacy in the school district.

As Stolberg and Eastham reminisced about their connection over the years, Stolberg’s granddaughter gazed up at them.  Who knows?  With such great inspiration, maybe someday she will decide to be a teacher too.


Ruby Wheelon shows her mother, Andrea, the book she is reading in Sara Eastham's second grade class at Union Ridge Elementary during Ridgefield School District's Take Your Parents to School Day.
Ruby Wheelon shows her mother, Andrea, the book she is reading in Sara Eastham's second grade class at Union Ridge Elementary during Ridgefield School District's Take Your Parents to School Day.
Ridgefield School District Schedules Take Your Parent to School Day (Photo) - 02/18/19

Monday, February 18, 2019 – Ridgefield, Washington – Ridgefield School District held its third annual Take Your Parent to School Day in January.  Students at all area schools had the opportunity to bring their parents with them for a partial or full day of class.  Parents were active participants in the classes, and for many of them, what they saw was very different than what they experienced as kids in school. 

At South Ridge Elementary, Principal Jill Neyenhouse met with parents to explain how problem-solving and critical thinking are now interwoven into the elementary school curriculum.  Parents worked together in groups to solve “alphabet equations” like There are 26 L in the A (26 Letters in the Alphabet) and “perplexers” (complex riddles). 

In Sara Eastham’s second grade class at Union Ridge Elementary, students demonstrated how they made notes as they read books.  They showed parents and grandparents books full of sticky notes, marking pages that had words they didn’t know, important plot points, and more.  The process helps them read carefully and critically.    

At View Ridge Middle School, David Jacobson’s history class brought parents and students into a “four corners discussion”.  A statement is read about the topic they have been studying.  Each corner of the room has a sign:  Agree, Somewhat Agree, Disagree, or Somewhat Disagree.  Everyone chooses a position, then an active discussion begins, with students engaging with others and defending their thoughts on the topic. 

At every grade level, parents were excited to experience firsthand the classrooms where their children learn every day.  Parent Heliodoro Garcia has one son in high school, one in elementary school, and one toddler.  He was at South Ridge Elementary School with his middle son, Mateo.  “With my older son, I used to come to school only to play soccer with kids in the field.  Now it’s good to have a time to come to the school and have lunch with him, see his class.” 

Parent and teacher Audrey Scott enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the event at View Ridge Middle School.  “As a middle school parent and a kindergarten teacher in the Ridgefield School District, I have often wondered what the classroom environment is like at the middle school level,” she said.  “I attended Mrs. Allen’s literacy class and thoroughly enjoyed the thought-provoking text, meaningful discussion and the overall warmth and thoughtfulness of her classroom.”

Participation in Take Your Parent to School Day was higher than expected; parents welcomed the opportunity to see students and teachers in action.  While there is only one Take Your Parent to School Day this year, parents are always welcome as volunteers in the schools.  Background checks are required, and forms can be obtained at the school office.