Welcome to Ridgefield Public Schools Continuing Education Program
Archaeology, Speaking, Writing, History, Art History
Back to Course Index Sign Me Up!
Ridgefield Schools Senior Citizens FAQ's Home

Archaeology, Ridgefield History, World History, Art History, Writing, Speaking, Genealogy - Keep Scrolling Down!


Write Your Novel or Short Story (without getting stuck)
Learn how to finish your story (even one you've been working on for years), one step at a time, by FIRST paying attention to the basics, such as character development and scene creation. By fully developing (then sticking to) your plot, you'll be able to construct your novel or short story scene-by-scene, and chapter-by-chapter. Learn how to avoid the biggest mistake - jumping in and starting on page one with no idea how your story will develop or even how it will end. By first getting to know all your major and minor charactersand all the main conflicts and actions of your story, it will flow more easily. We'll look at: developing character backgrounds, formulating a plot, building scenes that move your story ahead, first draft, second draft, final draft. Instructor Michael Canavan is the author of two novels, a collection of short stories, and nearly a dozen nonfiction books. He has taught Creative Writing in CT, MA, and NY. He is also a graphic artist and guitar musician.

6 Sessions $ 128 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 96)
Thur., 4/26; 5/3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Veterans Park School

Crack Open Your Prose: 
This workshop-style course teaches step-by-step tips and techniques to help you “re-see” and expand your writing. We’ll use these methods to focus on entry points you can crack open to explore new areas of inquiry and sharpen your prose. Writers can bring revised and new work to share weekly. To begin, bring your current or planned project, a 50-word description of the same and an example of where your concept or project is stuck. Fiction and nonfiction writers welcome. Instructor Adele Annesi is an award-winning author and editor who teaches writing for the Ridgefield Writers Conference, Westport Writers Workshop and Naugatuck Valley Community College.

4 Sessions $ 92 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 69)
Tue., 7/10, 17, 24 & 31 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.; Venus Building (aka old high school)

Genealogy ~ Scroll down for French and German Genealogy and Genealogy Publishing

Genealogy for Beginners
The primary goal of this two-part class is for you to learn how to organize your family facts into a tree and to learn much more by using mostly free sites on the internet.  Various topics will be studied including the United States census, military, land, and immigration records.  A brief introduction to finding records outside the USA and about how DNA is used in genealogy will be included. Taught by Eileen Burton. Eileen Burton has been involved in genealogy as a serious hobby for over 10 years. Her research led to a trip to Germany to visit the villages of her ancestors. Class Limit 7.

2 Sessions $49 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 37)
Thur., 6/21 & 28 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Venus Building (old high school)

2 Sessions $49 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 37)
Tue., 7/17 & 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon; Venus Building (old high school)

Genealogy Publishing Made Simple ~
How to Turn Your Genealogy Findings into an Exciting Book

Shelley Lowell, an award-winning book designer with 5 decades of experience, will take the mystery out of creating a family history book as she shares step-by-step instructions on how to prepare genealogy material for a book. In her talk, you will learn:
• How to organize your genealogy findings, photos, certificates, news articles, family stories, family chart and more
• How to prepare images for the best reproduction quality
• How to write an introduction and conclusion for your book
• How to prepare information for a family chart
• Printing options and cost factors.

1 Session $ 31 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 24)
Please call (203) 431-2812 or email ridgefieldcontinuingeducation@gmail.com for fall dates.

French and French Canadian Genealogy
If you are a descendant of French or French Canadian ancestors, you are fortunate to have ancestors among the best documented people in the world. This workshop focuses on resources available on-line to help you trace your family history in France and in the French Canadian Province of Quebec and highlights the commonality between French and French Canadian church records. The French genealogy section details what vital, census and military records are available from the French archives and how these data bases can be accessed. The French Canadian genealogy section lays out on-line resources available for the region of Quebec covering the work of earlier genealogists such as Joseph Drouin and Rev. Cyprien Tanguay, the Canadian archives census records and the Quebec notarial records. Specific techniques and challenges of French Canadian genealogy such as “dit-names” are also discussed. Instructor Francoise Lampe has extensive experience doing genealogical research in the US and abroad. Her areas of expertise are US, French and German genealogy.

1 Session $ 31 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 24)
Wed., 5/30 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Venus Building (old high school)

Mon., 6/4 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Venus Building (old high school)

German Genealogy
This workshop focuses on US and German on-line resources available to locate German ancestors and on how to overcome the challenges unique to German genealogy. The course includes a discussion of German history and geography, immigration and emigration of ethnic Germans, church and civil records, given and family names, gothic script and how to use use maps and gazetteers to locate the German village of origin. Besides vital and census records, other sources of information such as passenger lists, city directories and newspapers are also discussed. Instructor Francoise Lampe has extensive experience doing genealogical research in the US and abroad. Her areas of expertise are US, French and German genealogy.

1 Session $ 31 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 24)
Wed., 5/30 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Venus Building (old high school)
Mon., 6/4 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Venus Building (old high school)

Archaeology/Local History

The Dutch, the English, the Indians and the Deeds: 1640 - 1743
Before the English settled Ridgefield, it was already inhabited by Native Americans who had lived on the land for thousands of years. The Proprietors of Ridgefield and other English settlers along the New York/Connecticut border bought their land from these Native Americans. From 1708 to 1743 the Proprietors of Ridgefield bought nine pieces of property from the local Natives. The first six deeds were for the original land purchases and the last three purchases rebought the land that the Proprietors lost in the 1731 Oblong Settlement. Some of this land had been sold to the settlers at least five different times since 1640. Why did they think that the Native Americans had the legal rights to the land when these rights were ignored in other English settlements? The Indians retained their rights because of the complicated relations between the Dutch and the English, and the inability of the Province of New York and the Colony of Connecticut to establilsh a common border. The Proprietors of Ridgefield took advantage of the wandering Connecticut border, and the Indian rights as they purchased land for their town, and then tried to keep it intact. Instructor Lynn-Marie Wieland is a lithic archaeologist specializing in Southern New England prehistory with an emphasis on the Indians of Ridgefield, whose territory covered from Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Pound Ridge, New York to the Norwalk River. She has just finished excavating a site in Ridgefield that covered at least 9,000 years of occupation. Her specialty is the study of the manufacturing and use of stone tools.

2 Sessions $ 49 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 37)
Wed., 4/25 & 5/2 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon; Venus Building (old high school)