Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Feb. 27, 2015

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board meeting Tuesday, March 3

- 6:30 p.m.: Regular Board meeting
- WWPS Board Room, 364 S. Park St.
- Meeting open to the public

New videos highlight Smarter Balanced assessments

Next month students in grades 3-8 and 11 will begin taking the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams in English/Language Arts and Math. These state exams are based on the new rigorous Common Core State Standards and taken completely online. The district has produced videos in English and Spanish to help everyone better understand the new tests. Click on the link below to view the videos. Steps to taking an SBAC practice test are also listed below.


Smarter Balanced Practice Test
Learn more about Smarter Balanced (SBAC) for grades 3-8 & 11.
Try a Practice Test: http://wa.portal.airast.org/training-tests/

1. Click on “Take the Practice and Training Tests”
2. On the next screen, just click “Sign In”
3. On the next screen, select your grade level and click “Yes”
4. On the next screen, select your test
- Training Tests are brief, but informative
- Practice Tests are in an enhanced multiple choice format
- Performance Tests are longer subject area tasks with real-life scenarios
4. On the next screen, you may change settings or just click “Select”

Communications Department Intern Tyler Morrison, a junior at Walla Walla High School, produced the videos in both English and Spanish.

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers to visit SEA-TECH

Students and staff at the Southeast Area Technical Skills Center (SEA-TECH) will have a special guest Wednesday March 11 as Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers tours the new facility from 9 to 10 a.m. High school students taking classes at the Southeast Area Technical Skills Center located on the campus of Walla Walla Community College are immersed in the latest technology and trends in the world of Digital Media, Manufacturing and Welding, Sustainable Energy Technology specializing in Electrical Systems and Health Sciences. SEA-TECH is a branch campus of the Kennewick School District’s Tri-Tech Skills Center. Students from Walla Walla and all the partner districts consisting of Dayton, Waitsburg, Touchet, Prescott and College Place attend a three hour morning or afternoon block schedule at SEA-TECH.

Walla Walla Valley Farm to School is holding its first ever fundraising event

On March 9 at 5 p.m., Hannah MacDonald of Brasserie Four will provide a delicious, locally sourced meal for $30/person. All proceeds will support Walla Walla Valley Farm to School Programs. Raffle tickets will be sold at the door for a chance to win several food and wine offerings donated by generous local businesses.

Walla Walla Valley Farm to School’s mission is to inspire healthy communities through food, farm and garden experiences. The program provides hands-on learning opportunities that enhance school curriculum while exposing students to local food and agriculture.

The program supports science class in the garden to awaken students’ desire to question and problem solve and believe linking class curriculum with planting, harvesting and cooking fresh food is a powerful way to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits.

There will be only 70 seats available. If you are interested in supporting this cause, please contact Beth Thiel at bthiel@wwps.org.

Volunteer of the Year nominations now accepted

Walla Walla Public Schools is now accepting nominations for this year’s Art Regier Volunteer of the Year recipients. Each year hundreds of amazing volunteers support educational programs and activities. Art Regier Volunteers of the Year will be recognized at the April 21 school board meeting.

Nomination packets must be returned to Mark Higgins (mhiggins@wwps.org / 364 S. Park St.) in the Communications Department by March 15. The nomination process is simple. Complete the fillable PDF form available on the district’s website under volunteering -- www.wwps.org. Include up to three letters of support. Packets can be emailed, delivered in person or mailed.

School Stories
Lincoln High School discipline referrals continue to shrink

Five years ago Lincoln High School began a transformation through a new approach to student discipline. The new strategies implemented by former Principal Jim Sporleder challenged the system to keep students in school by getting to the root cause of the inappropriate student behavior. Once a better understanding of the issue was discovered, addressed and resolved, students would face in-school suspensions or in-school discipline as a opposed to out-of-school expulsions or suspensions. Since Sporleder’s retirement two years ago, this trend of fewer discipline issues continues under the leadership of Principal Marci Knauft. Knauft credits her staff for their compassion, leadership and resolve to help students succeed.


2009-2010 (before new approach):
- 600 written referrals
- 369 cumulative days of out of school suspension
- 10 emergency expulsions
- 48 incidents requiring police action

2010-2011 (after new approach):
- 320 written referrals
- 117 cumulative days of out of school suspension
- 3 emergency expulsions
- 17 incidents requiring police action

- 280 written referrals
- 71 cumulative days of out of school suspension
- 1 emergency expulsion
- 11 incidents requiring police action

- 242 written referrals
- 73 cumulative days of out of school suspension
- 0 emergency expulsions
- 9 incidents requiring police action

- 173 written referrals
- 89.5 cumulative days of out of school suspension
- 3 emergency expulsions
- 6 incidents requiring police action

- 95 written referrals
- 42 cumulative days of out of school suspension
- 2 emergency expulsions
- 0 incidents requiring police action

Garrison Middle School Principal shares story of his life as a farm laborer during Sweethearts Luncheon
Garrison Middle School Principal Robert Elizondo was the keynote speaker at this year’s Children’s Home Society of Washington Sweethearts Luncheon fundraiser. Elizondo is one of nine siblings raised in a family of farm laborers. His father died when Robert was only seven-years-old leaving the family scrambling for support and leadership. Robert worked in agriculture fields for 17 years during his childhood. Elizondo said he was fortunate to have caring educators support and inspire him throughout his school years. He has had nearly a 20 year career in education, mostly as an administrator, and holds two master’s degrees. Children’s Home Society of Washington has regional offices in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Wenatchee and Walla Walla. CHSW's core services include: adoption, early learning, foster care, family support, child and family counseling, and advocacy. The Sweetheart’s annual luncheon is a primary fundraiser for the Walla Walla regional office.

Wa-Hi Girls basketball team faces Wenatchee with trip to Tacoma on the line

The Walla Walla High School Girls Basketball team continues its run to a state title Saturday at Chiawana High School in Pasco as the team faces Wenatchee in the State Super Regional Round of 16. Tip-off is at 12 noon. The winner advances to the state quarterfinals Thursday at the Tacoma Dome. Good luck girls!

Lincoln High School plans garage sale fundraiser

- Saturday, March 7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday, March 8 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon
- Donations are being accepted
- Drop off donation items at Lincoln on Friday, March 6
- Proceeds to support Lincoln High School activities
- Information: Contact ASB Advisor Lori Finn - lfinn@wwps.org

Debate team takes top regional honors

For the third consecutive year, Walla Walla High School's Speech and Debate team took top honors at the Regional tournament with a first place overall finish in the 4A category.

Regional Champions were:
- Malcolm Gabbard in Lincoln-Douglas Debate (2nd year in a row for Malcolm, 6th year in a row for Wa-Hi)
- Maggie Grant-Herriot in Oratory (2nd year in a row for Maggie and she is reigning State Champion in this event)
- Anna Apostolidis-Morefield in Expository Speaking, Anna was also ranked Top Presiding Officer in Congressional Debate
- Cora Cole in Interpretive Reading
- Amelia Mott in Dramatic Interpretation

In Congressional Debate, Anna Apostolidis-Morefield (3rd) and Russell Skorina (2nd) qualified for State. Noah Deitrick and Wafa Abedin also qualified for State in Individual Events and Jessica Swanson is 1st alternate!

Russell Skorina and Malcolm Gabbard also qualified for Nationals this past weekend. Russell placed 2nd in the Senate in Congressional Debate and Malcolm went undefeated and placed 1st in the Lincoln-Douglas debate. Emma Gregorie also qualified to State in Expository and Emma and Maggie Grant-Herriot are 1st Alternates in Public Forum debate with a 4:1 record at Regionals.

Walla Walla High School ASB makes wishes come true for students - By Communications Intern Tyler Morrison

Walla Walla High School’s ASB class granted the last of the wishes for their “Winter Wish Week,” with an assembly on Feb. 20. Winter Wish Week is an event held throughout the winter months that grants wishes to students and staff. The wishes, paid for by local businesses and ASB fundraisers, are submitted in November and granted there after. Every student and staff member has the option to enter into Winter Wish Week and are allowed one wish for themselves and one wish for someone else. Wishes can be as simple as wishing for your friend to be given balloons for her birthday or more extravagant like wishing to see two teachers battle in a lightsaber duel. The ASB class travels to classrooms during sixth period to surprise the students with the granted wish. If a wish is not granted in a classroom, it is granted during the Winter Wish Week assembly that caps off the event.

“It’s an important event because it spreads positive thoughts throughout our Wa-Hi community,” ASB president Frankee Cannone said. “It has a large impact on not only the people receiving the wish, but the people around them and everyone else involved.”

This years Winter Wish Week granted 150-200 wishes to staff and students with $1,800 of funds raised.

“It’s all about students helping students,” ASB adviser Arch McHie said. “The community helping fund us shows they care about our students.”

Parents submit letters praising Garrison Millennials and Lincoln Lift programs

My Valentine to the Millennials Program,
Every year, on Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love. This year, I am celebrating the Millennials Program at Garrison Middle School. This program helps improve my life as well as the lives of countless other families in Walla Walla.

My children have participated in several facets of this after-school program. The staff members have become heroes of a sort in our home. They work tirelessly to address the needs of each individual involved in the program. Each student’s needs are addressed and honored. Each family behind the students is honored, as well. One staff member involved other members of her family in helping meet needs for the program.

I have been impressed with the Millennials Program from the moment one of my children started asking to stay after school to participate in additional activities. He liked it so much, he has gone back, as a high school student, to work on getting his volunteer time in. He just did not want to let go of the safety he found in the program. When my next child was counting down the days to starting the after-school program, I knew it was a big hit. The activity she was in went beyond any expectations I had, as a parent, and the staff involved worked tirelessly to ensure that continued success was available in this program.

As a single mom, I appreciate knowing that my older children have a place to go after school to stay engaged and supervised without feeling like they are being baby sat. They anticipate after-school program days so much, I am able to get them to do more chores around the house.

I am so grateful for this program in our community and in our schools.

Holly Young

My Valentine to The Lift (Lincoln High School’s afterschool program):

February 14 is the day we tell the people we love all the ways they make our lives better. This year, my Valentine is to a program that has made a difference not only for my daughter, but for many area kids in need. It is a boon not only to the kids; but to my family and countless other families in the Walla Walla area. I’m referring to The Lift, the afterschool program provided by Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington.

I am impressed every day with the incredible level of dedication that the staff of The Lift shows to my daughter and the other kids in the program. It is clear to me that they are involved in my daughter’s life because they care about her. It is more than a job for them; and that means so much to my wife and I. Did you see the incredible job Lincoln did on their float for the Parade of Lights that occurred during the Christmas season? It was incredibly elaborate, took a huge amount of effort from all of the students, Faculty, and Staff, and was coordinated by staff of the Lift. The students were understandably proud of their achievement. I recognized the incredible behind the scenes effort it took to coordinate the construction and presentation of it.

I love The Lift because it gives my daughter opportunities that she looks forward to. I love it because it creates a sense of community among the students at Lincoln that I have not seen in other public schools. I love it because the staff encourages my daughter to be who she is; and that person is someone special.

It has not always been easy to motivate my daughter to go to school, but the activities provided by The Lift and the incredible Faculty and Staff at Lincoln give us hope that she will continue to be motivated and stimulated by school.

It’s hard to be a working parent. You worry about your kids all day long and some of us worry most during the hours between the final school bell and the time we get home from work. Afterschool programs keep our children safe and busy during those hours…hours that can be some of the most dangerous for our children – when they can get into trouble or get hurt.

I know I’m not alone in my affection for the staff at The Lift. So, today, as we take the time to share our love with the people in our lives who matter most, I’m happy to share my appreciation for this important program which is making a huge difference for my family by allowing me to work, keeping my kids safe, and inspiring them to learn.

Stephen Shoemake

Limited supply of decorative benches remain for sale

Word is getting out about the beautiful benches for sale through the SEA-TECH Advanced Welding and Manufacturing program. Several have been purchased to date and only a few remain. The benches are designed for the weather with powder coated steel and Douglas Fir 2x6 construction. The benches sell for $300 each. All proceeds remain in the program to cover materials and production costs. Visit the SEA-TECH website to view the benches and for purchase information.

Pioneer Middle School students shine in writing contest

Pioneer Middle School 7th grade student Daria Parodi took first place honors in the local VFW writing contest while classmate Megan Harvey earned second place honors. The students were honored at a local luncheon. Parodi and Harvey are in Richelle Palmer’s class. 

Wa-Hi and GEAR UP welcome Dr. Mark Milliron to Walla Walla High School March 3

Dr. Mark Milliron will be presenting to all Walla Walla High School seniors during an all-class assembly held Tuesday in the auditorium. Dr. Milliron is the Deputy Director of Postsecondary Improvement for the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation. In a presentation entitled: “Challenge Yourself to Step Up: Bringing Purpose, Engagement, and Tenacity to Your Education Journey.” Dr. Milliron will be talking with seniors about overcoming barriers that get in the way of postsecondary success.

Dr. Milliron will complete the day by working with Wa-Hi AVID students participating in small group work sessions entitled; “Designing the Engaged Student for the 21st Century.”

GEAR UP is proud to participate in a great partnership with WWPS to bring quality speakers like Dr. Milliron to the Walla Walla Valley.

Community Stories

AAUW scholarship opportunity

Each year the local branch of the American Association of University Women grants several scholarships to women who have been unable to complete a college degree in the past, undergraduate or post-graduate, but who wish to do so now. The 2015 scholarship applications are ready now online: http://wallawalla-wa.aauw.net. Details of the eligibility, requirements and considerations are listed online. Completed applications are due Friday, April 17, 2015.

American Red Cross seeks volunteers for fire risk outreach program

The American Red Cross is looking for local volunteers to participate in an outreach program aimed at improving home fire safety. Neighborhoods in Walla Walla have been identified as high risk for home fire injuries and fatalities. The American Red Cross has made a five year commitment to reach out and provide preparedness information and free installed smoke detectors to homes that do not have smoke detectors or working smoke detectors. This community event takes place over three days in partnership with the local fire department. Volunteers can choose which or all events they want to be part of.

- March 28: Canvassing, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- April 10: Installs, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- April 11: Installs, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Information: Molly Zamora: (510) 456-8223 / email: mzamora@zagmail.gonzaga.edu

City Parks and Recreation Update

Mother & Son Bowl-A-Rama
- Saturday, February 28
- 2 to 4 p.m
- Bowlaway 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

Blue Mountain Girls Softball
- Registration is now open for girls 5-12
- Cost is $40 for 6U and $55 for 8U to 12U.
- Mini-Camps start March 14
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us. Like on facebook! www.facebook.com

Registration for Great Explorations due by March 7

On Saturday, March 14, Great Explorations in Education will present a science, technology, engineering and math adventure for 5th through 8th grade girls at Whitman College from 8:20 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.

Registration forms should be mailed by March 7. The sooner the registration form is sent in, the more likely it is that girls can be in workshops with their friends. Also, early registrations are more likely to get first choice of workshops.

Girls will have the opportunity to attend three workshops offering informal, hands-on experience with careers that utilize science, technology, engineering and math. These workshops will give the girls an opportunity to meet and form personal contacts with women in these exciting careers. There will be 24 workshops to choose from, with intriguing titles such as Neigh, Moooo, Ruff, Meow; Snakes for Supper?; What’s Shakin’?; The Telltale Heart; Bugs-R-Us and Getting Cheeky. Topics include ocean chemistry, forensic biology, robotics, 3-D printing, geology, astronomy, veterinary medicine, neurobiology, pharmacy, architecture and many more.

The highlight of this year’s event will be the appearance of Whitman College Associate Professor of Biology, Dr. Leena Knight, who will be the keynote speaker at 1:10 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. The fee to attend is $5, which includes a pizza lunch, and scholarships are available. For more information on registration, scholarships or questions, please contact Carol Morgan,
pcmorgan@charter.net, 520-9977.

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