Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - September 18, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

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District Stories
District revises 2015-16 calendar – No school Friday, Oct. 2

Tuesday night, the school board voted unanimously to approve revisions to the 2015-2016 school year calendar. The changes include moving the May 13 Teacher Professional Day to Friday, October 2. As a result, there will be no school Friday, Oct. 2 to allow for a Teacher Professional Day. School will be in session Friday, May 13. The kindergarten through fifth grade early dismissal scheduled for Friday, Oct. 2 has been moved to Friday, April 1. All students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade will be dismissed early Friday, April 1 to allow for teacher academic planning.

“October is a great time do a Teacher Professional Day since teachers have had a chance to get to know their students, assess their academic and social needs and develop specific plans to move students forward,” said Walla Walla Valley Education Association President Margo Piver. “We use collaboration time to look at data to identify the specific needs of students and develop targeted learning goals which have the greatest impact on academic achievement.”

The revised calendar is posted within the calendar section of the district’s website (www.wwps.org) and hard copies are available at schools and the district office.

Enrollment count above budget targets

Business Services Executive Director Ted Cohan reported September’s enrollment figures  are above the 5710 FTE target the district set for its 2015-2016 budget. The September FTE count rests at 5688, but this figure does not include Running Start and Alternative Education Program (AEP) students attending classes at Walla Walla Community College. Running Start and AEP typically draw approximately 150 FTE students, which would put the district comfortably over its beginning year target. Cohan said the October count is a more accurate reflection of the enrollment picture for the year. He said he will closely monitor enrollment counts each month for the rest of the school year, but is optimistic the district is on solid footing regarding enrollment.

Summer school program helps nine students graduate

This summer nearly 500 Walla Walla Public Schools students attended summer school programs, according to a school board report Tuesday night from Assistant Superintendent Laure Quaresma. Results were impressive. Approximately 90% of the third grade students in need of additional math and reading support made gains. The district was also able to issue nine diplomas after students earned enough credits to graduate. There were also many STEM opportunities through 21st Century programs. Special Education programs were also available. 

Personnel Report (September 15, 2015 – School Board Meeting)

Stacey Klingenberg, Title 1/Fifth Grade (temporary), Blue Ridge Elementary

Catherine Fine, Para-Educator (temporary), Walla Walla High School
Kasey Hill, Para-Educator (temporary), Prospect Point Elementary
Kent Mayberry, Para-Educator (temporary), Walla Walla High School
Rachael Neuschwander, Para-Educator, Special Education


Jazmin Gonzalez, Bilingual Assistant Secretary, Blue Ridge Elementary, 2 years
Edward Nakonieczny, Electrician, Facilities & Operations, 10 years
Victoria Reardon, Athletic Trainer, Walla Walla High School, 1 year
Katherine (Beth) Rowlette, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 15.5 years

Gates grant allows district to collaborate on professional learning with districts across the state

The district received a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to work along-side 33 other school districts — including Seattle, Sunnyside, Highline, North Kitsap and Wenatchee – to enhance instructional practices. This competitive leadership grant rewards districts that have demonstrated readiness to implement district-wide, aligned professional learning.

“Washington State’s vision is for all students to be college and career ready and this requires attention to professional learning for all instructional staff,” said Assistant Superintendent Laure Quaresma. “The state’s transition to Common Core, Next Generation Science, Smarter Balanced and a new teacher evaluation process necessitates carefully constructed professional learning systems.”

The district study team consists of the following members: Christy Krutulis, Angelica Pedroza, Maria Garcia, Libby Thompson, Mindy Meyer, Tracy Williams, Sergio Hernandez, Casey Monahan and Laure Quaresma.

State school board member visits Walla Walla to discuss impact of poverty

State school board member Bob Hughes visited Walla Walla Tuesday to brief district administrators on his research on poverty and education. Hughes, a Boeing software expert, has been involved in public education for 30 years as a state and local school board member. He cites poverty as the greatest factor impacting student achievement. He is encouraging districts to make significant shifts in operating schools, including using competency based education models to test what students know. Walla Walla Public Schools has approximately 55% of its students receiving free or reduced price meals -- the measure school districts use to determine poverty status. Hughes has detailed a six step plan to correct for poverty. He also has a website with vast research and data: www.exp-vector.com.

Bob Hughes’ Six Step Plan:
1. Build student “background knowledge” and experience
2. Individualize the curriculum around each student’s interest
3. Move to performance measures, not seat time
4. Integrate separate subjects into learning blocks
5. Parent’s Role -- building background knowledge
6. On-going professional development and training

Health Center and district students shine during annual Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony

The Health Center and Walla Walla Public Schools students were in the spotlight Wednesday night during the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards program. The Health Center was named as the 2015 "Not-For-Profit Organization of the Year" and Samuel Wells received first place honors in the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year category. Kosmo Nerdin earned second place accolades in the Youth Entrepreneur category, while Olivia Cassetto went home with a third place recognition.

The Health Center operates school-based health centers at Lincoln High School and Blue Ridge Elementary. Founded in 2008, The Health Center improves the academic and life success of over 700 students at the two highest-need public schools in Walla Walla. The Health Center was the first school-based health center to open in Eastern Washington and it remains the only one that operates as a non-profit organization. The Health Center’s innovative model combines accessible physical care and mental health care as part of resilience-based, wrap-around services offered in concert with partner schools. This strategy is producing documented improvements in the academic and life success of participating students.

“The Health Center is uniquely positioned to nurture children in our community who do not have reliable access to mental and physical health care,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan. “The Health Center’s services are on-site, no-cost, relationship-based, and customized in collaboration with Lincoln and Blue Ridge, as well as other community organizations.”

Wells, a junior at Walla Walla High School, has his own consulting company specializing in computer and technology services, including social media, smartphone support and software training. Nerdin, a fourth grade student at Green Park Elementary, operates a cookie subscription business. He donates 25 percent of his profits to church mission savings account. Cassetto, a fourth grade student at Prospect Point, opened her own store which specializes in re-purposing socks into stuffed animals and other fun creations. She is preparing for college by putting half of her proceeds into a college savings account.

Dr. Williams to lead community conversation about Common Core State Standards

Community members are invited to learn more about the new Washington State Learning Standards (Common Core State Standards) during a public conversation Thursday, Sept. 24 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the district board room. Dr. Tracy Williams and members of her Curriculum team will lead the discussion. The K-12 standards in math and English language arts were fully implemented in Washington classrooms in the 2013-14 school year. In 2014-15, new high-quality assessments (Smarter Balanced) aligned with Common Core were used to measure the skills and knowledge students need to be successful after high school. The district recently received results from this first round of state assessments and now have a baseline to measure academic achievement growth. Before Common Core, all 50 states had different sets of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in each grade. Common Core provides a consistent set of learning standards and expectations for all students, no matter where they live.

Dr. Williams will discuss why Walla Walla Public Schools is focused on college and career readiness which supports the new standards and findings from a 2013 Washington Roundtable report. Please join Dr. Williams and learn more about this important topic.

Washington Roundtable Report Highlights:
- 50,000: Projected number of unfilled jobs in Washington for highly skilled workers by 2017
- 80: Percentage of new jobs created in Washington that will be STEM and health care by 2017
- 70: Percentage of jobs in Washington that will require a college degree or certificate by 2018

Shark Tank - Walla Walla style (Informational meeting Sept. 30)

The district has teamed with Whitman College, Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University, College Place School District, Junior Achievement and the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce to plan the Pitch It! Competition presented by Baker Boyer Bank. Inspired by the TV show, Shark Tank, “Pitch It” provides an opportunity for students of all ages to design and develop innovative business, products and services concepts. The Pitch It! Competition will challenge students to create a realistic business model for their entrepreneurial idea.

Students will compete in grade brackets, K-8, 9-12 and 13+ and is open to all students at all schools in the Walla Walla Valley. In addition, there will be workshops leading up to the events, volunteer mentors will be assigned to students and a community-wide entrepreneurial panel will judge the final event.

The preliminary competition for all students is Wednesday, November 4 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Walla Walla Community College. The winners from each grade bracket at this event will move forward to compete in the final event on November 18 at the Gesa Powerhouse Theater. The first place winner will receive a $500 cash prize from Baker Boyer Bank and three coaching sessions on the fundamentals of building a successful business.

Pitch It! Schedule of Events:
Wednesday, Sept. 30 - 6:30-7:30 p.m.
- Kick-Off and Informational meeting Location: Port of Walla Walla Conference Room, Walla Walla Airport

Wednesday, Oct. 7 - 6:30-8 p.m.
- Instructional Workshop “Brainstorm your Business” Location: Port of Walla Walla Conference Room, Walla Walla Airport. Activities involve games to creatively consider new business or social enterprise opportunities and product concepts.

- Wednesday, Oct. 21 6:30-8 p.m.
- Instructional Workshop “Build your Pitch” Location: Reid Center, Room G-02, Whitman College. Instructional and practice activities to focus on crucial points of the pitch.

Wednesday, Nov. 4 - 5:30-8 p.m.
- Preliminary Competition Location: Walla Walla Community College, Main Building. Three community-wide events by grade-bracket, top 2 winners from each age bracket advance to final round.

Wednesday, Nov. 18 - 5:30-7:30 p.m.
- Final Event Location: Gesa Powerhouse Theater. Top 2 finishers at each preliminary event compete for the final award.

To learn more visit:

School Stories
Sharpstein Carnival next week

- Sharpstein Carnival
- Thursday, September 24
- 4:30 to 7 p.m.
- Contact the school for more details

College representatives plan Walla Walla High School visits 

Seniors and Juniors, don't miss this opportunity to connect with Admissions Officers in-person regarding applications, costs and scholarships. Sign-in at the event to be excused from class. Let your teacher know you plan to attend. Contact Claircy Clizer, cclizer@wwps.org or 509-526-8680 with questions. All college visits take place in the Career Center located in the Library.
- Seattle University - Sept. 28, 2 p.m.
- George Fox University - Oct. 2, 9:30 a.m.

"Dig Pink" Breast Cancer shirt and bracelet orders deadline Sept. 21

Students and parents involved in the Walla Walla High School Volleyball Program are organizing a series of activities and events to raise awareness of Breast Cancer. Several fundraisers are also planned. Funds raised will be donated to the Providence St Mary Breast Cancer Special Needs or the Lifesaver Fund. Note, the due date for ordering t-shirts and light-up bracelets is September 21. Order forms are available at volleyball games and at Walla Walla High School. Those interested can also contact organizer Cassie Rothstrom for forms and additional information: (509) 520-7186 / cassie@wwenvironmental.com.

Dig Pink Events:
- Now through September 21: T-shirts and light up bracelets for Dig Pink
- September 25: Wa-Hi Volleyball will be at the Homecoming game selling homemade baked goods
- October 5: Garrison vs. Pioneer, Dig Pink Volleyball Match
- October 13: Dig Pink Game at Wa-Hi

October 13: Dig Pink Game Schedule of Events
- Pizza By the Slice – will be sold during Frosh, Sophomore, JV, and Varsity Games - $2/slice
- Dig Pink T-Shirts will be available for purchase – limited quantity though, so please place your order in advance - $15/shirt
- Wa-Hi Cheerleaders will be onsite doing face painting - $1
- Light-up Dig Pink Bracelets - $5 each
- There will be “mystery items” to bid on at the event
- Onsite raffle for cool themed baskets
- 30 second black out during the Varsity Game break to remember those impacted by cancer. Bracelets will be turned on during this time to light up the gym with a Moment of Silence following.
- “Serve for a Cure” - $1/serve (tickets purchased at game)

Wa-Hi Homecoming Spirit Days schedule

- Monday, Sept. 21: Class Color Day
- Tuesday, Sept.22: Dress Like Your Teacher Day
- Wednesday, Sept. 23: Lipstick and Bows vs. Bow Ties Day
- Thursday Sept. 24: Camo Day
- Friday, Sept 25: Blue and White Day

In addition to the Spirit Days, the Homecoming Royalty Assembly and Buff Puff football game will be on Sept. 21. Powder Puff and release of the Wa-Hi Journal Homecoming issue will be on Sept. 23 and the homecoming game against the Pasco Bulldogs will be Sept. 25. Homecoming itself will be Sept. 26. Tickets are on sale in the ASB office for $15, reduced from last year's price of $20.

Community Stories

Gran Fondo to support local cancer patients this Saturday

Support local people who have cancer this Saturday at Gran Fondo (the Great Ride) at the Walla Walla Community College. Choose from several fun events -- a 5k color fun run, walk, bike ride, or horseback ride. Lunch is included for all participants. Join an existing team or form your own team of 10 or more people and participate for just $25. Learn more: providence.org/granfondo

Community Council looks at Education as a Path to Economic Growth

Community members are invited to join the Community Council’s study committee as it looks at Education as a Path to Economic Growth. Community Council studies are citizen-led investigations resulting in actions to improve the quality of life in our region, which includes all of Walla Walla and Columbia Counties, and the Milton-Freewater area. The committee will be comprised of community volunteers who learn about the chosen topic and recommend solutions. The weekly meetings begin Tuesday, September 29 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the YWCA, 213 S. 1st Ave, Walla Walla. The question the committee will address is “How can we strategically invest in education as a way to drive economic growth in the region?”

Jan Foster will chair the study committee. Jan, after a nomadic early life as an Army dependent and an academic spouse, came to Walla Walla and took root. She became interested in community service through membership on the board of Walla Walla Youth Soccer while her sons were young. She was a member of the first board of the Community Council, and has also served two terms on the Walla Walla City Planning Commission. Jan taught basic rhetoric and English as a second language at WWCC for 23 years, and in 2004 was a founding member of the Friends of the Farm Labor Homes, a group with which she continues to work.

For more information or questions, email ccstudy@wwcommunitycouncil.org, or call (509) 520-0119.

Crime Watch plans free bike safety program Saturday at Sharpstein

Crime Watch is launching a new program this fall called Back on the Road to promote bicycle safety. This free activity is coming to district elementary schools this fall on Saturdays to repair flat tires, perform bicycle maintenance and give away bike helmets. “Eric Hisaw has committed his football players to help out with flat repair and helmet fitting,” said organizer Kay Barga. “Local bike shops will send mechanics to determine if the child's bike is fit to ride.”

Bikes determined not fit to ride will be exchanged through a bike exchange with the penitentiary. Old bikes are rebuilt and then donated back to the community.

September 2015
Sept. 19 (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon) - Sharpstein
Sept. 26 (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon) - Berney

October 2015
Oct. 3 (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon) - Blue Ridge
Oct. 10 (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon) - Edison
Oct. 17 (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon) - Prospect Point

City Parks & Rec Update

Registration is open for the following Programs:
- Youth Indoor Soccer League (Grades K-8) $50
- Pumpkin Carving Contest (Ages 3-12) Free
- The Body's Way (Ages 3 - 6) $160
- Fencing (Ages 9 - 17) $38 beginning $48 Intermediate
- Guitar (Ages 12 & up) $40
- Ukulele (Ages 12& up) $40
- Water Color Painting (Ages 16 & up) $81 beginning $104 Intermediate
- Nia (Ages 12 & up) $40

For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us. Like on Facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr

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