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South Ridge Elementary School fourth graders perform for residents at Highgate Senior Living Center during a visit in December.
South Ridge Elementary School fourth graders perform for residents at Highgate Senior Living Center during a visit in December.
South Ridge Elementary Students Visit Senior Living Center (Photo) - 01/03/19

Thursday, January 3, 2019 – Ridgefield, WA – Every month, Karen Moses’ fourth grade class celebrates kindness with First Friday Friendship Fiesta.  Last month, the students took their fiesta on the road to the Highgate Senior Living Center, where they visited with residents. 

The Friendship Fiesta is typically a classroom event.  “We do a big potluck in the classroom, watch some quick inspirational videos, and I read from the friendship box,” Moses explained. 

During the first month of Friendship Fiesta, they talked about how they could impact their class.  The next month, it was how to impact their school.  And last month, they talked about how to impact the community.  “Visiting the senior center was one way to impact our community,” Moses said. 

A few weeks before the visit, the students wrote letters and sent photos to residents of the Highgate Senior Living Center.  Then during art class, they made decorative yarn Christmas trees and gift-wrapped them.  The students also wrote handmade cards. 

On the day they visited the senior center, the students were each paired with a senior citizen.  “The kids just sat and visited with them for about half an hour,” Moses said.  “It was amazing!  The kids did such a nice job conversing with them.”  After a half hour of conversation, the students presented the gifts and performed a song they had learned for a school concert. 

The Highgate residents were delighted with the students’ visit.  And the First Friday Friendship Fiesta made its circle of friends a little wider, reaching out to the community to connect with new friends.

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Wrapped gifts and big smiles from Ridgefield fifth graders to Ridgefield Living Center residents.
Wrapped gifts and big smiles from Ridgefield fifth graders to Ridgefield Living Center residents.
Fifth Graders Make Gifts for Ridgefield Living Center (Photo) - 01/03/19

Thursday, January 3, 2019 – Ridgefield, WA – The classroom had stacks of brightly wrapped gifts—but none of them were for the students.  The gifts were for the residents of the Ridgefield Living Center.  Each package contained a pair of gloves and a scarf handmade by a Sunset Ridge Intermediate School student.

As part of a project on community service, the students in Jericho Kaylor, Erik Mendenhall, and Amanda Burgess’ classes researched how community service can benefit others.  Ridgefield Mayor Don Stose came to speak to the classes about the importance of community service. 

The students decided to make scarves for members of the community in need.  Teacher Jericho Kaylor called the Ridgefield Living Center, an organization that provides assisted living services with a focus on mental health.  “It was awesome because the scarves we planned on making were exactly what the residents asked for!” Kaylor said. 

The students measured and cut each of the scarves by hand, then added a pair of gloves and gift-wrapped the packages.  In a real community partnership, the materials were generously donated by EKM Property Management. 

Now each resident at the Ridgefield Living Center has a cozy scarf and a warm pair of gloves for the winter, thanks to fifth grade students at Sunset Ridge.

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Ridgefield School District Schedules January Patron Tour - 01/02/19

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 – Ridgefield, WA – Ridgefield School District is scheduling a Patron Tour on Tuesday, January 15 from 8:30 am to 11:30 am.  Bus transportation to the schools will be provided.

District and school administrators will lead participants on a tour of Ridgefield High School, View Ridge Middle School and South Ridge Elementary School.

“This tour will give citizens an opportunity to get an inside look at the many wonderful things going on in our schools,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann.

Patron Tour participants will meet at the newly-renovated Ridgefield Administrative and Civic Center (RACC) at 510 Pioneer Street in downtown Ridgefield.  Check-in starts at 8:15 am, and a continental breakfast will be provided before the tour.

To register, please send an email to communications@ridgefieldsd.org and provide the name and email address of each attendee.

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Tiles ready to be fired in traditional kiln.
Tiles ready to be fired in traditional kiln.
Ridgefield Chemistry, Art and Shop Classes Partner to Build Kiln (Photo) - 12/28/18

Friday, December 28, 2018 – Ridgefield, WA – There is a new kiln at Ridgefield High School—but it’s very different from the high-tech electric kilns already in the schools.  This one is outdoors, built of brick, and wood fired, recreating the type of kilns used for 9th to 11th century pottery.  And a remarkable partnership brought several classes together to build and use it. 

Ridgefield High School teachers, Kara Breuer, who teaches chemistry, and Tamara Hoodenpyl, who teaches art, spent five weeks in Mallorca, Spain last summer on an archeological dig.  In the layers of excavation at the site were pottery chips ranging from 1000 B.C. to modern day.  The teachers were specifically interested in learning more about 9th to 11th century lusterware, with its shiny glazes. 

“The glaze was toxic,” Breuer explained, “so people don’t make it anymore.  We wanted to find ways to recreate that metallic luster through chemical composition.”  Breuer and Hoodenpyl won a grant to build the kiln, create a similar style of pottery, then lead spectroscopic analysis to determine the chemical composition of the fired glazes.  Through experimentation, they hoped to recreate a glaze similar to the lusterware.

Chris Shipp’s shop class helped build the kiln, brick by brick.  Hoodenpyl’s art classes created and glazed the tiles.  And Breuer’s class led the chemical analysis after the tiles were fired.  The classes partnered together to learn the elements of chemistry behind traditional and contemporary methods of glazing and firing pottery, as well as art history and building techniques. 

It was a learning process for all the classes.  The first kiln firing ran into some issues, so they did some troubleshooting and came back for a successful second try.  While the composition of the clay was very similar to the original tiles, they had mixed success with the glazes. 

“We got close with the copper,” Breuer said.  “So, we’ll change the recipes and do it again with another group of students.”  It will be an active kiln for some time to come as the classes continue to collaborate, working together to unlock the secrets of ancient lusterware glazes.

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