Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 20, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Prospect Point Principal named Executive Director of Human Resources

School Board members unanimously approved the appointment of Prospect Point Elementary Principal Chris Gardea as the district’s new Executive Director of Human Resources. Gardea replaces Assistant Superintendent Laure Quaresma who now heads the district’s Teaching and Learning Department. Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan is developing a transition plan for Gardea to assume his new duties. He also said the district will soon post the position announcement for a new Prospect Point principal. The new Prospect Point principal will assume the duties July 1.

“Chris Gardea has the skills, experience and professionalism to lead our Human Resources Department,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan. “He has demonstrated in all his assignments a profound care for people, a vision for the future and the ability to establish systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

This fall, Gardea was named Distinguished Elementary Principal for the Lake Wallula Region for 2014. He has been Principal at Prospect Point since 2008. During his time as principal of Prospect Point Elementary the school has earned the Center of Educational Effectiveness School of Distinction award two times, as well as being a Washington Achievement Award Winner in the area of Science. Gardea served as Assistant Principal at Prospect Point from 2004-2007. He was Walla Walla Public Schools Director of Mathematics during the 2003-2004 school year. Gardea is technology savvy and is an expert with Google for Education computer applications.

Gardea spent three years as a classroom mathematics teacher at Pioneer Middle School. He served as an Administrative Intern at Pioneer Middle School from 2001 to 2002. Gardea held classroom teaching positions in Waitsburg School District from 1998 to 2000 and College Place School District from 1997 to 1998.

He holds a Continuing Principal Certificate. He earned his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Eastern Washington University (EWU) and also completed his undergraduate studies at EWU. Gardea is a member of the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

“I want to thank the staff, students and parents at Prospect Point for all their support over the past seven years,” Gardea said. “I’m excited for this opportunity to support students and their learning across an entire school system.”

School board asks for more information on later high school start times

Dr. Richard Simon, Jr. presented to the school board Tuesday night arguments for starting high school at a later time. He suggests high school should not start earlier than 8:30 a.m. He cited several scientific data research sources to support his position.

The school board asked the district to further study this issue. Executive Director of Business Ted Cohan, who oversees Transportation which is a critical component of this issue, will lead the study. Staff, parent, student and community input will be part of the study, according to Cohan.

Personnel Report (from March 17, 2015 School Board Meeting)

Administrative: Chris Gardea, Executive Director of Human Resources, District Office

Classified: Stewart Hammill, Custodian, Facilities & Operations/Opportunity Program/SEA-TECH
Rebecca Williams, Bus Assistant, Transportation Department

Classified: Marsha Fleming-Jacobsen, Kitchen Assistant, Blue Ridge Elementary, 6 months
- Effective March 9, 2015

Certificated: Carolyn Pemberton, Mathematics, Walla Walla High School, 10 years
- For the 2015-2016 school year

Spring Break Schedule

• April 6 to 10 (NO SCHOOL)
• Classes resume Monday, April 13

School Stories
Regional school leaders visit Walla Walla to see AVID in action

Educators from around the region visited Walla Walla this week to learn more about how AVID (Advancement Via Individual Achievement) works for teachers and students to improve school culture and performance.

District and school administrators, AVID site team members, and other educators who are considering implementing AVID in their school or district, or are a current AVID school and want to gain insight from another AVID implementation, attended AVID Showcase events at Pioneer Middle School and Sharpstein Elementary.

These events are hosted by AVID schools across the country and provide an opportunity for educators to see an AVID implementation, share best practices, and learn more about AVID hands-on. The Showcase experience includes AVID Elective and content class observations and a chance to speak with experienced AVID site team members and students.

“It is really important for me to see how middle school AVID programs work so we can tailor our high school program so we are not re-teaching everything all over again,” said Lori Wyborney, Rogers High School (Spokane) principal. “This is an outstanding program and it is great to see how a good program is working and how an entire community is wrapping themselves around AVID.”

Participants learned about the key components of AVID implementation. They also heard about AVID as a schoolwide catalyst for improvement, observed an AVID elective class and discussed implementing AVID with school administrators and teachers. They heard from AVID students and reviewed data and results from AVID students from the hosting school.

“It makes me feel special that all of these adults traveled to my school to hear what I have to say about AVID,” said Pioneer Middle School 8th grade student Kaysa Villagomez. “This experience has helped me gain confidence to speak in front of groups. AVID is like a family and provides the support to help me get on a pathway to college.”

About AVID
AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. AVID professionally develops educators to use proven practices in order to prepare students for success in high school, college, and a career, especially students traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Lincoln’s Trauma Sensitive School model supports academic achievement

Lincoln High School continues to utilize a “Trauma Sensitive School” model by intentionally cultivating a culture of caring and compassion, according to a report during Tuesday night’s school board meeting from Principal Marci Knauft.

“Being trauma sensitive requires a purposeful shift in perception on the part of the staff, one that is pro-active instead of punitive,” Knauft said. “We try not to take things personally, instead we try to identify the need behind the behavior and work with the student to get it met in a more pro-social way,” Knauft said.

This approach is working based on recent student discipline data. The school now uses in-school suspensions or in-school discipline rather than out-of-school expulsions or suspensions. In 2009, there were 600 written referrals and this school year there have been less than 100. This year there has not been a school incident leading to the need for police action whereas five years ago there were nearly 50 incidents. These days at Lincoln High School expulsions and out-of-school suspensions are also nearly nonexistent. Knauft credits her staff for their compassion, leadership and resolve to help students succeed.

The school also teams with Trilogy for Recovery High School which offers students with substance abuse issues additional support to advance their academic success. Lincoln High School’s on-time graduation rate for the Class of 2014 was 76.4%.

New program provides child care at Lincoln High School

Children’s Home Society of Washington (CHSW) will launch a new program in partnership with Walla Walla Public Schools that will provide child care to 16 low-income children of teen parents who are trying to complete their education at Lincoln High School.

“We are excited to begin this new partnership with Walla Walla Public Schools to help teen parents,” said CHSW’s Walla Walla Community Director Meagan Anderson-Pira. “This program will help put teen parents and their children on the path toward success in school and life.”

“This is an excellent opportunity and partnership for our community,” said Dr. Bill Jordan, Walla Walla Public Schools superintendent. “This is a much needed service and our space at Lincoln High School is a great fit for this program.”

CHSW was awarded a federal Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant to expand its Early Head Start program in Walla Walla. The award is $257,000 annually over five years as well as $135,000 in start-up funding. The new full-day, full-year child care center will be located on the high school’s campus. The program serves children ages four weeks to 3 years old and their parents. Families will receive access to parenting education, health coordination, nutrition and mental health consultation.

CHSW currently serves children in the Early Head Start program at the Walla Walla Early Learning Center. These children and families receive comprehensive wraparound services that help families grow and learn together.

Public invited to Three Billy Goats Gruff

The Three Billy Goats Gruff musical will be performed tonight at Edison at 7 p.m. in the gym.  This event is a fundraiser for the Books for Babes program. The students have been practicing since October. Books for Babes is a program to offer newborns and their families free books to promote the importance of literacy.

WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication announces 2015 award winners - By Wa-Hi Journal

The Murrow High School Journalism contest was held March 16. In the category of Photography, senior Roark Nelson placed second with “Your Wish has been Granted,” which was published in the Dec. 18 issue of The Wa-Hi Journal.

“I am really proud that this photo was selected. The moment captured in the photo portrays the overall community in our school,” Nelson said.

The Wa-Hi Journal submitted print editions, articles and the URL of its website to this contest. The Murrow High School Journalism contest recognizes the best high school journalism in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska.

Pioneer Middle School student receives national honors for film

For the second year in a row, Pioneer Explorers has a student who has been awarded a national gold medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Eighth grade student Wren Chapin won for his film "My Life as a Spy.” Wren was one of only seven middle school students in Washington State to receive a national medal. More than 255,000 works were submitted nationally. Chapin is in Dan Calzaretta’s class. See more at: http://www.artandwriting.org/about-us/

Walla Walla High School teacher named to board for Southern Poverty Law Center

Walla Walla High School Social Studies teacher Michelle Higgins has been selected to serve on the advisory board for the Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Her two-year term begins this spring. Higgins has played a key role in the development of the Whitman Teaches the Movement program in Walla Walla which places Whitman College students in public school classrooms to enhance civil rights education.

"I am excited to help advance civil rights education opportunities in our community and across the nation," said Higgins. “The partnership we have established in Walla Walla with Whitman College is a model other school districts and colleges should consider.”

Higgins was selected among 500 applicants seeking a position on the 20 member advisory board. The two-year commitment includes providing advice and offering input on classroom activities and professional development materials and content for Teaching Tolerance magazine according to Maureen Costello, Director of Teaching Tolerance. Higgins will also be asked to evaluate story ideas and lessons, comment on published articles and review projects in development. Teaching Tolerance was founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children.

Walla Walla High School graduate earns scholarship to teach in Panama

Class of 2014 graduate Kiana Molitor was named a recipient of the Hanson Summer Service Scholarship. These funds allow Molitor to serve eight weeks in Bocas del Toro, Panama teaching English in the Panamanian school system. She will complete her duties from early July to late August. Molitor is the daughter of Skip and Amy Molitor. Last year, she ranked #1 in her class with a 4.0 GPA. Molitor graduated with a total of 13 advanced placement and honors courses, as well as completing a Spanish course at Whitman College. She was Wa-Hi’s Associated Student Body President, a student-athlete and involved in music. She is attending the University of Redlands studying Global Business and International Relations.

Speech team mounts strong performance at state tournament

For the third year in a row, Walla Walla High School earned 5th place honors as a team at the 4A State Speech Tournament. Anna Apostolidis-Morefield placed 2nd in both Expository (with a speech on blackface) and Interpretive Reading (with a theme of humans' relationship with nature), Amelia Mott placed 3rd in Interpretive Reading (with a theme of imprisonment) and Emma Gregoire placed 6th in Expository (with a speech on lotteries). Next weekend, the team will travel back to Tacoma for the State Debate Tournament.

Walla Walla High School 2015-2016 ASB Officers 

- President - Karli Plucker
- Vice President - Lauren Clark
- Secretary - Braelen Maiden
- Treasurer - Tara Krivoshein

ABS Advisor Arch McHie reports 75 percent of the student body voted.

University of Washington Pre-Medical students to visit Walla Walla High School

Walla Walla Clinic is hosting the Health Care Alternative Spring Break (HCASB) March 23-27 as four University of Washington pre-med students will be visiting Walla Walla to see first-hand how health care is delivered in a rural area. The University of Washington students will meet Friday with Walla Walla High School students in the AVID program. They will discuss their path to college and the process for becoming a doctor.

“Part of the mission of HCASB is to give back to the community by inspiring high school students to attend college,” said Dr. Alison Kirby who is the organizer for the Health Care Alternative Spring Break in Walla Walla. “The ultimate goal of the program is to pique the interest of students and entice them to practice medicine in a rural area someday.”

Community Stories
WWCC offers automotive class for teenagers

Beginner Car Care 101
- Geared for teenagers ages 15-17
- April 9 to May 7
- Thursdays, 6 to 8 p.m.
- WWCC Auto Mechanics Building
- Cost: $49.90 for five classes
- To register call: (509) 527-4443 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Questions call: (509) 527-4331 Jodi Worden, Extended Learning Coordinator

This is an introductory course that is geared toward the beginning driver, but is open to any age interested. Students will leave with the knowledge to make economic decisions and take preventative measures to enhance the overall satisfaction of being a new car owner. Class will consist of classroom and shop instruction to include: auto care and cleaning, suspensions, steering and tires, under hood systems and maintenance (e.g. changing the oil), road side emergencies (e.g. changing your tire), basic tools and much more. If you or your “learning to drive child” need to know the basics….this is the class for you!

YMCA Offers Team Sports Performance Training

The YMCA is now offering local school or community athletic teams a chance to have a National Certified Personal Trainer come to practices.   YMCA trainers are available to lead the teams through various exercises to improve performance in speed and strength.  The training will include proper running mechanics to increase speed and also strength training with body weight and resistance bands.  Also included is a specialized warm up, an athletic assessment for the team and individuals, nutritional information and off-season conditioning. Contact the Josh Klingenberg at 525-8863 or jklingenberg@wwymca.org.  The Sports Performance Trainings are available by the hour but can be divided into 15-20 minute sessions.

Fundraiser organized to purchase 3D printers

Building on the momentum of last weekend’s Great Exploration Pi day STEM event, the push continues to raise funds for new 3D printers for use in the WWPS 21st Century grant afterschool program.

AAUW has donated one printer but others are needed to support the afterschool program which is in five locations and serves 500 students.

How to Donate: Welcome from the indiegogo website is as follows:

I'm writing to let you know about 'Print Our Future: Engage Underserved Kids in STEM'. We are funding 3D printer(s) for the Walla Walla School District 21st Century after-school program.

Take a moment to check it out on Indiegogo and also share it with your friends. All the tools are there. Get perks, make a contribution, or simply follow updates. If enough of us get behind it, we can make 'Print Our Future: Engage Underserved Kids in STEM' happen!


Logo and Slogan Contest for the City of Walla Walla $5 Million Georgetown University Energy Prize 

The public is encouraged to get involved with the Georgetown University Energy Prize effort in Walla Walla. One hundred dollars will be awarded to the winning design and logo that will represent energy saving efforts in Walla Walla as part of this nationwide competition for the multimillion dollar Georgetown University Energy Prize.

The competition is a multi-year opportunity for small and medium sized communities to develop and implement innovative, replicable, and scalable plans to reduce their municipal and residential billed utility use. Since 2013, Sustainable Living Center has been spearheading the multi-year effort, and in January of 2015, Walla Walla was announced as one of just 50 communities to advance to the semi-final round of the competition. The semi-final round consists of Walla Walla’s utilities reporting residential and municipal (City) billed electric and natural gas use in aggregate for a period of two years (January 2015 through December 2016). Ten communities will advance to the finals based on their reductions of billed utility use. Of those, one community will win $5 million to benefit the whole community and continue with their energy saving plans. The winning community will have demonstrated significant savings in a manner that can be replicated by other communities, is scalable, and demonstrates innovation.

The contest is open to individuals of any age and may be submitted electronically, by mail, or in person. The rules and entry forms are available for download online at www.sustainablelivingcenter.com and available for pick-up at Sustainable Living Center, City Hall, and City of Walla Walla Library.

Erendira Cruz, Executive Director
Sustainable Living Center
500 Tausick Way - Walla Walla WA 99362
(509) 524-5218

Dance ballet on stage at the GESA Powerhouse Saturday!

Boys and girls are invited to these fun classes for an introduction to ballet on stage at the Gesa Powerhouse Theatre next Saturday afternoon, March 21.  Magical Ballerina class for ages 4-7 is 2 to 3 p.m.  Crown Decorating is 3 to 3:30 p.m.  Ballet Classica class for ages 8-12 begin at 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.  Cost is $25 per child. Classes filled quickly last year - so call / text to reserve your child's spot now:  525-0815 / hutsoni@hotmail.com

City Parks and Recreation Update

Blue Mountain Girls Softball
Blue Mountain Girls Softball - Registration is open now for girls 5-12
Cost is $40 for 6U and $55 for 8U to 12U.
Mini-Camp for 10U and 12U players will be March 21 at the Pioneer Park Softball
- For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us. Like on facebook! www.facebook.com

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