Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - January 30, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board public work session and regular meeting Feb. 3

- 5:30 p.m. - Public Work Session: Dr. Linda Boggs to discuss Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
- 6:30 p.m. - Regular meeting
- Both public meetings are at the District Office Board Room (364 S. Park St.)

Benefits to joining Mid-Columbia Conference paying dividends

School bus mileage for sports trips has dropped nine percent in the past three years since the district left the Big Nine Conference to join the newly formed Mid-Columbia Conference, according to Transportation Director Steve Olson. This move has resulted in a savings of approximately $32,000 for the district. The switch is also noticed in the classroom where student-athletes are not being pulled out of school for extended periods of time for game travel.

In June 2012, Walla Walla Public Schools, Kennewick School District, Pasco School District and Richland School District withdrew from the Columbia Basin Big Nine Conference (CBBN) to form the new athletic league. Wenatchee, Yakima, Moses Lake and Sunnyside School Districts remained in the Columbia Basin Big Nine Conference. The new Mid-Columbia Conference has eight schools with an equal number of 3A and 4A teams.

Prior to joining the MCC, most Walla Walla sports teams typically made at least one trip per season to Wenatchee, Yakima, Moses Lake and Sunnyside. These trips are no longer being made regularly thus eliminating the need to leave class right after lunch.

“We have over 800 students who compete in athletics at Walla Walla High School, and any time that we can keep them in classes and keep them moving forward academically, it’s a good thing,” said Principal Pete Peterson. “Parent support has been strong for this move, especially since kids are not getting home at 1 a.m. or later returning from Wenatchee.”

Mileage Comparisons:
- 2011-12 / 60,690 miles
- 2012-13 / 54,985 miles
- 2013-14 / 51,343 miles

Savings Breakdown:
The district saved approximately $22,000 in mileage charges since making the switch to the MCC in 2012. The district also saved approximately $10,000 in school bus driver wages since joining the MCC.

Highly Capable Nomination Period scheduled for February 17 to March 6

Walla Walla School District’s Highly Capable Program Services provide students of high academic and intellectual ability with designated time to explore concepts in greater depth. The goal of the Highly Capable Program is to encourage the development of higher level thinking skills.

Information on the Highly Capable Program nomination period is currently available on the district website. Nomination forms will be available in all district schools and on the district website no later than February 17.. Parents will be able to contact their child’s teacher or school learning specialist/counselor for more information. .

The nomination deadline this year will be March 6. All nominated students will be screened using norm-referenced standardized tests and those who qualify for further testing will participate in cognitive abilities testing at their home schools. In all cases, parents will be notified of the results of the process, and a child not selected one year may be referred again in subsequent years.

For grades three through five, Highly Capable students can be served by Explorers, a pull-out program focusing on enriched Science and Mathematics academic experiences. Students may also be served under the RtI model at their home schools.
Middle school Highly Capable (Explorer Program) students focus on the subject areas of English, Language Arts and Social Studies. Middle school services are incorporated into the school day through separate self-contained Explorer Program classes. For more information, please contact the Walla Walla School District Curriculum and Instruction office: 509- 526-6739 or 526-6735.

Snow Make-Up Day - May 8

School was canceled Nov. 20, 2014 due to slick road conditions. School will be held Friday, May 8, 2015 as the weather make-up day. 

Rotary Club hears State of District address

Thursday afternoon School Board President Sam Wells, Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Boggs presented a State of the District address to the Walla Walla Rotary Club. Wells reported the school board is focused on monitoring goals of the strategic plan, school board professional development and the search for a new superintendent who is set to begin in July 2016. Superintendent Jordan said the district will closely watch the legislative session as elected officials seek ways to fully fund basic education. He also reported the district remains in a strong financial position, is working with Google to enhance access to technology, and developing next year’s budget.

Dr. Boggs provided the club with an update on the Common Core State Standards. She reminded them the new standards are not curriculum, but nationally consistent standards used to determine if students have mastered the content. She also said local districts remain in control of what is taught in district classrooms. The new Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) exams will be the new state assessment. Existing state exams known as the Measurement of Student Progress and High School Proficiency are being phased out. SBAC will be administered this spring to students in grades 3-8 and 11. Results from these rigorous online exams will be returned to the school district approximately three weeks after being taken. Results from prior state exams could take up to three months to receive, according to Boggs. She said the district does expect a period of adjustment regarding the results of the SBAC exams since it is a new testing format with new and more demanding standards.

Secondary Open Enrollment window February 2 to 27

There will be two open enrollment registration periods for enrollment in Walla Walla Public Schools during the 2015-16 school year. Open enrollment for secondary (middle and high) schools will be February 2 through 27. The schools will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first registration day, February 2, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the end of the month.

Secondary parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child to a school outside of their attendance area may pick up an Open Enrollment application at their attendance area school or a release form from their current school district office during normal business hours beginning January 26; however, forms will not be accepted in the receiving school until Monday, February 2. Fall 2015 open enrollment for elementary schools and kindergarten registration is Monday, April 20 to Friday, May 1. Schools will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first registration day, April 20, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through May 1.

Kindergarten registration forms will be available at the schools beginning April 13. Parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child to an elementary school outside of their attendance area may pick up an Open Enrollment application at their attendance area school during normal business hours beginning April 13; however, forms will not be accepted in the receiving school until Monday, April 20.

Open enrollment requests at Walla Walla Public Schools will be granted according to priorities outlined in School Board Policy No. 3130 which will be used to determine movement of a student. School Board Policy manuals are available for public viewing at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the Administration Office. School Board policies are also online at http://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/policies.

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all schools, the Administration Office at 364 South Park Street, and online at www.wwps.org. Click on the District A to Z link and then click on Boundary Map.

School Stories

Garden coordinator positions open

The school garden program is looking for two garden coordinators for Prospect Point and Edison Elementary Schools.  Coordinators work 10-20 hours per week from March to mid-June.  Some funds are available for these positions. The coordinator will work closely with their school's Garden Teacher Liaison to connect classes to the garden and schedule and lead garden lessons; to coordinate maintenance of the garden; and to report about activities to the school community.  The coordinator is supported by Walla Walla Valley Farm to School with resources to achieve all aspects of the work. Contact Beth Thiel district garden coordinator for more information: bthiel@wwps.org. 

Wa-Hi bowler advances to state

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School student Miranda Doyle for advancing to the state bowling tournament. Earlier this season Doyle was named state bowler of the week. The bowling program is in its first year under the direction of coach Jason Postlewait.

GEAR UP plans college visits

Spring is right around the corner, and that means it is time to start narrowing in on your senior’s fall plans! WSU GEAR UP recently accepted additional funding for this year’s seniors and have put together some exciting spring trips to help you and your senior make specific plans around their fall college options.

GEAR UP has scheduled five trips between February 13 and March 13 to visit seven colleges and universities around Washington state. This is a great opportunity for students who have applied to one of these schools to get a close-up look at the offerings that will be open to them as incoming freshman this fall. These trips will be more than just an exploratory college campus tour; they will have direct information specific to you and your student. Each student will receive information about required deposits, financial aid, meal plans, placement testing, and many other important details about enrolling in and attending the school of their choice.

This opportunity is open for students and parents of seniors who have applied to one of the selected schools. We encourage parents to attend with their student, although parent attendance is not required for student attendance. There will be limited spots for each trip, so please sign up early. Students may find all the forms and information in the GEAR UP center in the library. The GEAR UP program will cover all trip expenses, including food, transportation and overnight accommodations when necessary.

Dates and locations are listed below. Contact the GEAR UP office for more information: 509-526-8621.

- February 13: Eastern Washington University or Gonzaga University (choose one school)
- February 7: Walla Walla Community College
- March 4: Central Washington University
- March 7: Washington State University, Pullman (admitted students only)
- March 12-13: University of Washington, Seattle and Seattle University

How to communicate with your teen parenting classes offered

W2 for Drug Free Youth in cooperation with Lincoln High School staff members Shelly Phipps and Casey Cramer will be offering a parenting program that focuses on better ways to communicate with your teen.  This fun and highly interactive program will be offered every Thursday evening from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln High School, February 5 through March 26. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Parenting Wisely program. Childcare will also be provided and this program is free. All Walla Walla Public Schools parents of teens are welcome. Please RSVP to Casey Cramer at 526-8518 or ccramer@wwps.org if you are interested or have additional questions. 

Blue Ridge students share the love for Blue Mountain Humane Society

Blue Ridge Student Leadership Team is coordinating their 2nd Annual Share the Love Fundraiser to benefit the Blue Mountain Humane Society. Students are asked to bring their spare change (with parent/guardian permission, of course) each week. The home room class that donates the most money per week will be the weekly winner. The home room class that donates the most money over the course of the fundraiser will be the Grand Prize Winner and will receive a visit from a Humane Society puppy that is awaiting a forever home. Blue Ridge students raised over $600 last year to benefit the Blue Mountain Humane Society. The Blue Ridge Share the Love Fundraiser runs through February 13. 

Whitman College offers free tutoring for high school advanced science and math students

Whitman College students are offering Advanced Placement and College Placement study sessions on the Whitman campus each Monday and Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hall of Science, room 142. Tutors are available to discuss topics, review problem sets, dig deeper into the subjects, and answer questions. The opportunity is open to all students enrolled in AP or CP Science and Math classes in the Walla Walla Valley. Healthy study snacks are provided. This program is funded by a grant from Pacific Power.

Additional Information:
- Heidi Chapin, Whitman College Science Outreach Coordinator
- 509.522.4441

Community Stories
Battle of the Badge tickets to go on sale

Tickets for the annual Battle of the Badge baseball game featuring area firefighters against law enforcement officers go on sale February 2. The game is May 30 at 7:05 p.m. at Borleske Stadium. This year’s non profit beneficiaries are the Walla Walla Valley Disability Network and the Moms Network. Sharpstein Intervention Specialist Jennifer Matson has t-shirt order forms and tickets. Ticket costs are $12 or $20 for a ticket/t-shirt combo. Contact Jennifer for more information.

Jennifer Matson, Sharpstein Intervention Specialist
Phone: 509-526-1691

City Parks and Rec plans Father & Daughter Valentine’s Day Ball and Mother & Son Bowl-A-Rama

- Father & Daughter Valentine Ball - Saturday, February 21
- 7 to 8:30 p.m.
- Garrison Middle School
- Cost is $15
- Pictures are from 6 to 7 p.m.

Mother & Son Bowl-A-Rama
- Saturday, February 28
- 2 to 4 p.m.
- Bowl Away Lanes
- Cost is $21 for a Mother/Son Couple
- Each additional son is $13
- Don't forget to wear your neon and white clothing so that you will glow while you bowl

Fire Safety Event hosted by The Moms’ Network

On February 5, at the Walla Walla Library the Moms’ Network and the Walla Walla Fire Department will be hosting a family fire safety class to empower parents with the tools to make their home safer.

Tim Thompson of the Walla Walla Fire Dept. will be demonstrating and teaching parents how to install a smoke detector, change batteries, develop a plan for your home and will discuss safety issues with space heaters. “In lieu of all the sadness in our community around home fires, the Moms’ Network thought we should provide an event where we can teach parents how to protect their family in a house fire,” states Beth Swanson, President of the Moms’ Network.

The evening will include a family dinner provided by Sweet Basil Pizzeria with child care in the children’s area of the library. The Moms’ Network will also provide Spanish Translation. The fire safety event is February 5 at 5 p.m. The event is free for Moms’ Network members and families are welcome to join the Moms’ Network at the event.

Applications for Annual Altrusa Spelling Bee now accepted

Altrusa International of Walla Walla is hosting its annual Spelling Bee for third, fourth and fifth grade students on Saturday, March 28. The event will take place in the SEA-TECH Skills Center on the Walla Walla Community College campus and is open to the first 100 students who return entry forms. Prizes are given to the top contestants in each grade level competition. More information and entry forms are available in district elementary schools and on the district website under in the A to Z section under Altrusa Spelling Bee. The deadline for applications is March 11.

Remember to Vote - Ballots due February 10

Ballots for the February 10 special election have been mailed out and must be returned and postmarked by Feb. 10, 2015. A proposal to Rebuild Memorial Pool is on the ballot. Contact the City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation for more information.

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