Ridgefield opens online classes to students from anywhere in the state
Ahead of its second year of operation, Ridgefield School District’s Wisdom Ridge Academy, an alternative online learning experience, announced its expansion to accept new students from anywhere in Washington.
Previously, only students from within the boundaries of Ridgefield and some nearby districts could apply to the academy, which supported approximately 100 students by the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
The expansion is part of the district’s goal to provide a variety of educational experiences, especially following the success of some students in remote learning in recent years.
“There’s a benefit to having online programs like this,” said Allen Andringa, the new director of alternative learning experiences and business partnerships at Wisdom Ridge Academy. “It frees up space in the classroom and students can continue to work and learn at home.”
Andringa, who previously worked as an assistant principal at Ridgefield High School for nine years, was two days away from his scheduled retirement when he learned the position had become available.
“I knew I wasn’t ready; I like to joke that my retirement actually lasted minus two days,” he said.
“I grew up in a small community, there were only 39 students in my class,” Andringa said. “I like the idea of working in an intimate setting; you will get to know your teachers better. It was interesting for me to do something on a more intimate scale.
Teachers work in-house at Wisdom Ridge’s physical location in Ridgefield and are available to do one-on-one tutoring with students throughout the day or during designated office hours, as many colleges do. Ninety-minute “enrichment sessions” also allow student interaction on group projects and social-emotional learning exercises.
Wisdom Ridge students must meet all of the same academic standards and earn the same credits for graduation as other Washington students. A comprehensive curriculum with all necessary materials provided by the district allows participating students to work through the programs at their own pace and without specific class schedules.
Students can partially enroll in part-time apprenticeship programs elsewhere in the district and region, such as Running Start and Cascadia Tech Academy. They can also participate in in-person extracurricular activities, such as music, drama, and athletics at Ridgefield High School and View Ridge Middle School.
While the ability to free up space isn’t the primary focus at Ridgefield, where the student population has grown rapidly in recent years, Andringa hopes the concept can appeal to students who have blossomed over the year. school year 2020-2021 entirely online.
“I am all for the options to get a solid education. Hopefully it lasts as long as Ridgefield does,” Andringa said. “I think the vast majority of communities will continue to be educated in a traditional sense – but some will go elsewhere. And I believe (alternative learning experiences) will play a big part in that.
All current students enrolled in the Ridgefield School District are eligible to enroll, as are elective transfers from outside the district. For those wanting to find more information or learn how to apply, go to https://ridgefieldwa.sites.thrillshare.com/o/wra/page/enrollment.