Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 9, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Superintendent Search gets underway

Former Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dennis Ray of Northwest Leadership Associates briefed the school board on the process his firm will use to conduct the district’s Superintendent Search. Dr. Ray was Superintendent in Walla Walla from 1980 to 1990 and will personally serve as the lead person conducting the search.

Dr. Ray stressed the process will be transparent with plenty of opportunities for input from staff and the community. A survey will be available to all stakeholders later this month with focus group meetings scheduled in October as well.

The position will be posted in November and will close February 1. Preliminary interviews of five to six candidates are expected to be conducted in February. Dr. Ray expects to have three finalists. They will be interviewed in early March. The district hopes to name the new superintendent by mid-March. The new superintendent will assume the duties July 1, 2016.

School board members unanimously approved hiring Dr. Dennis Ray of Northwest Leadership Associates in May.

Enrollment 160 Full-Time Equivalent students above projection

Business Services Executive Director Ted Cohan reported the Business Office will soon officially close the books on the 2014-2015 budget. He projects an ending fund balance reserve above $6 million. This is slightly higher than anticipated when the 2015-2016 budget was approved in August.

He also reported the district’s enrollment target after the second official count is approximately 160 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students above beginning year projections. The district set its target at 5710 FTE for the 2015-2016 budget. Each FTE generates $6,319.25 in revenue. The October FTE count rests at 5871, which includes Running Start and Alternative Education Program (AEP) students attending classes at Walla Walla Community College. Cohan said he is pleased with the enrollment cushion to start the year and will be discussing options with the school board and leadership team on how to best use the additional revenue.

Personnel Report (from October 6, 2015 School Board Meeting)

Certificated: Bethany Jensen, Title 1 (.5 FTE temporary), Blue Ridge Elementary

Classified: Andraya Anderson, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary
Catherine Barranco, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Community Preschool
Patricia Morales, Assistant Secretary, Nutrition Services
Scott Potter, Electrician, Facilities and Operations
Samantha Ruiz, Assistant Secretary, Walla Walla High School
Sarah Villanueva, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary

Classified: Mara Palumbo, Family Advocate, Blue Ridge Preschool Programs, 2 years

Parenting Wisely sessions to be offered in October at Walla Walla High School

The challenge of successfully ushering young people through their teen years has always been among parents’ hardest-won achievements. So how can you ensure that your teen develops the skills and character they need to not only survive but to thrive as they gain independence?

Parenting Wisely will give you the guidance and support you need to turn the challenges of raising a teenager into opportunities for growth. You’ll learn and discuss:
- Methods of respectful discipline
- Skills for clear, honest communication
- How to be an encouraging parent

You’ll leave each session energized and motivated to make positive and realistic changes in your own family’s daily life. Sessions begin October 6 at 6 p.m. at Walla Walla High School. Contact Casey Cramer at Walla Walla High School: ccramer@wwps.org or 526-8618. This program is being brought to you by W2 for Drug Free Youth, ESD #123 and Walla Walla Public Schools.

District names 2015 Gillespie Golden Onion award recipients

Mario Uribe (Edison Elementary 5th grade dual language teacher), Kimberly Gradwohl (Pioneer Middle School math and AVID teacher) and Erica “Riki” Wauchek (Lincoln High School English/Speech/Drama teacher) were named recipients of the 2015 Gillespie Golden Onion grant. Each recipient will receive $500 for use in their classroom or to better their teaching skills.

Longtime Walla Walla resident and one-time teacher Sue Gillespie and her husband Mike established the “Golden Onion Award” to provide school supplies, equipment and professional development funds to Walla Walla educators. The “Golden Onion Award” is presented annually to three district teachers representing elementary, middle and high school grade levels. The Gillespie Teacher Development Fund is a component fund of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.

Mario Uribe – Edison Elementary 5th grade dual language teacher
- Nominator: Carry LaRoy (below are comments shared in Mario’s nomination packet)
- Mario is a proud leader at Edison Elementary and is passionate about teaching dual language
- He respects and relates to his students and is considered an excellent male role model
- Mario teaches students to be positive, strong and trustworthy
- Mario is driven to support his students, the Edison staff and state of education as a whole

Kimberly Gradwohl – Pioneer Middle School math and AVID teacher
- Nominator: Debra Field (below are comments shared in Kimberly’s nomination packet)
- Kimberly is continually changing and adapting her teaching style to inspire learning
- She is often found after school hours problem-solving with faculty to improve the school
- She serves on several school committees, is a strong teacher leader and works with a smile
- Kimberly is also an AVID teacher and strong supporter of the college readiness program
- She also teaches math at the penitentiary and enjoys coaching at Walla Walla High School

Erica “Riki” Wauchek – Lincoln High School English/Speech/Drama teacher
- Nominator: Stephanie Gomsrud (below are comments shared in Riki’s nomination packet)
- Riki works tirelessly to provide students unique learning experiences and creative lessons
- She has created a drama program which provides an opportunity for students to shine
- She organizes fundraisers, creates props, coordinates costuming and publicity for all the shows
- Riki has a natural rapport with students and inspires students to do their best
- These funds will help her further support the drama program and enhance classroom experiences

Input needed in ThoughtExchange community engagement

Invitations to participate in Walla Walla Public Schools second community engagement activity with ThoughtExchange were sent out this week to parents, staff and Enews recipients. The topic is centered on quality education. The ThoughtExchange process is driven by the thoughts and opinions of the community to help shape the direction and priorities of the district over the next three years.

The opportunity to “Join the Conversation” continues through Oct. 16. Those who didn’t get direct invitations, including community members and students, have the opportunity to self-register by visiting the district website (www.wwps.org) and clicking on the ThoughtExchange logo. This process is available in English and Spanish. The process is confidential. Results of the process will be shared with the public in late November.

Fall 2015 ThoughtExchange questions
Question 1: What are some examples of experiences your child or a child you know has had at Walla Walla Public Schools that illustrates what quality education means to you?

Question 2: What are some opportunities you feel would contribute to quality education that are not available for students right now?

Collection barrels in all district schools in support of Realtors “Care and Share” Food Drive

- Food Drive Weekend Dates: Oct. 16-18
- Collection barrels at all district schools and the district office throughout the month of October

Walla Walla Public Schools is teaming with area realtors to help those in need through the “Care and Share” annual food drive. There are many ways for parents, students and staff to get involved. All donations help the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. Demand remains high. Peter Swant is the project coordinator: peterswant@windermere.com

Here’s how you can help:
- “Fill the Bus” drive at area grocery stores: Saturday, Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Pick a section of town to distribute bags to area homes and then collect them the following day (Oct. 16 & 18)
- Donate food at all district schools and the district office (collection barrels at all sites the month of October)

School Stories
Sunrise Rotary donates binders to Pioneer Middle School
Thanks to the Walla Walla Sunrise Rotary for donating nearly $600 in organizational binders to Pioneer Middle School. School Psychologist Alicia Quackenbush initiated the project by reaching out to Sunrise Rotary Board Member Jeanne Ruecker. Quackenbush presented the need to club members. She talked about the school’s focus on helping students develop organizational skills through the use of binders. Teachers regularly check binders to track student progress. The school recommends using extra sturdy binders which cost approximately $15 each, but can last all three years of middle school. The Sunrise Rotary members were impressed and donated  $280 cash immediately. They then approved a motion to match the cash donation. Ruecker, a retired Walla Walla High School counselor, personally delivered the binders to the students earlier this fall.
Wa-Hi Blue Devils JROTC hosting air rifle championship on Saturday - By JROTC

The Blue Devil Cadet Battalion will host the Army Junior Rifle Championship state qualifier this Saturday at Walla Walla High School.

"This Oct. 10 event is the qualifying match for the Army Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps national championship that will be held at Fort Benning, Ga., in February 2016," said Cadet Maj. Sabrina Keenan, rifle team captain. "This weekend there will be about 25 Precision shooters and around 20 Sporter shooters competing."

This event is open to the public and free of charge. Relay times and location for the competition will be:
* Precision in the rifle range: 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
* Sporter in the small gym: 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Three Wa-Hi marksmen, two precision and one sporter, will be competing at 8 a.m. in the range. The remaining Wa-Hi precision team members will be on the 3:30 p.m. relay. The sporter team will be on the firing line at 10:30 a.m. in the gym and all other Wa-Hi sporter team members will be up at 1 p.m.

For further information, contact Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, WWHS JROTC Sr. Army Instructor or Sgt. 1st Class Mark Mebes, Army Instructor at 509-527-3035 or wwhs_jrotc@wwps.org.

Community invited to Wa-Hi’s Trunk-or-Treat Halloween event

Friday, October 30
- Wa-Hi Science Parking Lot
- Event Time: 5:30 7 p.m.
- Free treats for all kids

Juniors and Seniors are invited to college information sessions at Wa-Hi's Career Center

- Gonzaga University, October 12, at 9:30 am
- NW Christian University, October 14, at 8:30 a.m.
- Pacific Lutheran University, October 14, at 9:30 a.m.

Dig Pink Match Oct. 13

The Walla Walla High School Volleyball Program continues to offer activities and events to raise awareness of Breast Cancer through its Dig Pink campaign. Several fundraisers are also planned. Funds raised will be donated to the Providence St Mary Breast Cancer Special Needs or the Lifesaver Fund. For more information, contact organizer Cassie Rothstrom: (509) 520-7186 / cassie@wwenvironmental.com.

October 13: Dig Pink Game at Wa-Hi Schedule of Events
- Pizza By the Slice – will be sold during Frosh, Sophomore, JV, and Varsity Games - $2/slice
- Wa-Hi Cheerleaders will be onsite doing face painting - $1
- 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)

Community Stories
Retirees Association offers scholarships to prospective teachers

Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association Scholarships available:
- Two, $1200 scholarships
- Scholarship grants are given to prospective teachers and/or candidates in other school related fields to include student teaching or internships in an educational setting.

- Graduate of high school in Walla Walla or Columbia County
- Student teach/internship between September 2016 and June 2017

- Mardel Bierwagen at (509) 525-6117 or email: gbierwagen6117@charter.net

Application deadlines
- Available Nov. 1, 2015
- Applications due March 1, 2016

Girls Council plans Girls Night In event

Girls Council is planning Girls Night In Friday, October 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at 401 W. Main Street, Walla Walla. This event is for girls in grades 7 through 10. The event topic is "Your Healthy Body Image" and will be presented by Whitman College girls. Girls Night In will be a monthly activity at Girls Council (401 W. Main Street). There is no charge to attend, but space is limited. Call (509) 524-8845 to sign-up. Girls Council has been a non-profit in the community since 2008 providing services for girls in the Walla Walla area.

Free helmets offered at bike clinic

Back on the Road bicycle clinics are scheduled the next two weekends to promote bicycle safety. This is an excellent opportunity for children to take advantage of this opportunity for free helmets and free tire repair. This fall four school clinics have been organized. More than 130 helmets have been given away and over 100 flats have been repaired. Thanks to Allegro Cyclery and Bicycle Barn for sending mechanics to each event, Whitman and Walla Walla University cycling teams and a multitude of volunteers for supporting these events presented by Crime Watch.

Back on the Road Event Schedule:
- Saturday, Oct. 10 (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon) - Edison
- Saturday, Oct. 17 (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon) - Prospect Point

Dia de los Muertos returns to Gesa Power House Theatre

Gesa Credit Union and Shakespeare Walla Walla present the third annual Dia de los Muertos Festival at the Gesa Power House Theatre on October 24 and 25.

The Dia de los Muertos Festival is a collaboration between many local businesses and community partners, and is inspired by the "Day of the Dead" holiday where people in Mexico and throughout Latin America gather to celebrate the lives of departed friends and family.

The Dia de los Muertos Festival begins on Saturday, October 24, at 5 p.m. with a procession through downtown ending at the Gesa Power House Theatre for an evening program of music and dance performances. The festival continues in and around the theater on Sunday, October 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the festival and all activities are free and open to the public. Food vendors will set up nearby. The street in front of Gesa Power House Theatre will be closed during festival hours (6th Avenue from Rose to Sumach).

The popular "Steamroller Print Project" led by Whitman College Art Professor Nicole Pietrantoni, returns on Sunday of the festival. Reliefs are carved into wooden blocks depicting iconic Dia de los Muertos images (skulls, skeletons, harvest, and nature), and a City of Walla Walla construction steamroller is used as a printing press to create giant prints which will be on display at the festival and for sale afterwards.

Sunday will also include scheduled performances of a Shakespearean-themed "Pageant of the Dead" performed by local student groups, music and dance performances, and a variety of free, family-friendly activities, from art projects, to face-painting, to a photo booth. Community groups are invited to create Dia de los Muertos altars for display during the festival.

Shakespeare Walla Walla produced Dia de los Muertos lesson plans and classroom activity ideas to engage local schools and teachers in advance of the festival. A small number of teaching artists will lead classroom art and education projects in the weeks leading up to the festival.

For the second year in a row, Gesa Credit Union stepped forward as the title sponsor for the festival, and the festival is also supported through grants from the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Shakespeare Walla Walla. The festival grows each year, and is expected to attract up to 3,000 attendees in 2015. In addition, on Friday, October 23, Gesa Power House Theatre will present "Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera" a musical about love's reach from beyond the grave. Tickets are available at www.phtww.com.

For more information visit www.shakespearewallawalla.org.

City Parks & Rec Update

Registration is open for the following programs:
Winter Tennis Camp - January 11-15, 2016
- Beginning - Advanced (Ages 10-18) Cost - $75
- Quickstart (Ages 4-10) Cost - $55

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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