Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - October 23, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Community asked to weigh in on characteristics and qualifications of new superintendent

The search to find a new Walla Walla Public Schools superintendent is underway as current Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan is retiring June 30. The first opportunity for the community to participate in the process is completing an online survey now open through Nov. 2 on the district website – www.wwps.org. This survey seeks to find the leadership characteristics and qualities the community is looking for in a new superintendent.

The district is also planning a community meeting Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the central office board room (364 S. Park St.). Former Walla Walla Superintendent and search consultant Dr. Dennis Ray of Northwest Leadership Associates will lead the community meeting. This meeting is open to the public and an excellent opportunity to provide input.

“The new superintendent will help shape the vision and direction of the district for years to come,” said School Board President Sam Wells. “Now is the time to get involved and help us find the best person for this important position.”

Interviews are scheduled to begin in February with the new superintendent named in March. The new superintendent’s first day in the district is July 1.

Facilities committee meets with planning architect

Community Facilities Task Force co-chairs Paul Schneidmiller and Ted Cohan held a meeting Thursday afternoon as part of the facility improvement planning process. Architect Kevin Cole of Architects West reviewed formulas for receiving state matching funds. He also discussed the amount of square footage the district has available for state matching funds based on these state formulas The committee plans to meet the third Thursday of each month to continue its work. Schneidmiller and Cohan are scheduled to provide an update to the school board November 3. No decisions or recommendations were made Thursday afternoon.

ThoughtExchange community engagement shifts to “star” phase

Walla Walla Public Schools is now in the second phase of the Fall 2015 ThoughtExchange community engagement activity focusing on quality education. Over the past two weeks nearly three hundred participants shared 800 thoughts on the topic of quality education. The process now shifts to the “star” phase where others align their priorities with the thoughts of others. Invitations to participate in the “star” phase were sent out Thursday and will remain open through November 1. Those who did not receive an invitation may visit the district website at www.wwps.org to self-register. This process is available in English and Spanish. Results from the Fall 2015 ThoughtExchange community engagement will be made public in November. 

Personnel Report (from October 20, 2015 – Board Meeting)

Certificated: Donna Currier, School Psychologist (.2 FTE temporary), Special Education
Classified: Chandler Hippauf, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary

Classified: Arlene Moreno, Head Secretary, Edison Elementary, 20 years
- Effective June 15, 2016

Classified: Jesse Torres, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary, 13 years
- January through June 2016 to complete student teaching practicum

Remember to Vote - November 3

Ballots for the November 3 General Election have been mailed out to voters. Voting is an important civic responsibility. Voter registration forms for future elections are available at all district schools and the district office.

“We feel it is critical to teach and model this very special right to our youth,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan. “Please join me in casting a ballot in the upcoming November 3rd general election.”

Fill the Bus food drive draws large crowds

Congratulations to Walla Walla Public Schools staff, students and parents for another successful Fill the Bus event in support of the Care and Share Realtors Food Drive. The October 17 event at five area grocery stores netted 4,455 pounds. The donations support the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. Special thanks to all the volunteers, especially Walla Walla and Lincoln High School teacher Lori Finn for coordinating the event. 

Dorn will not seek re-election - By State Superintendent Randy Dorn

OLYMPIA — October 22, 2015 — After long, careful consideration, I have decided not to run for reelection for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2016. This decision doesn’t mean, though, that I am giving up the fight for our students and for a fully funded school system that is consistent with the paramount duty of our state constitution.

I have made no secret of my extreme frustration. Our constitution requires a uniform, amply funded school system. But such a system doesn’t exist today, and I see little, if any, progress toward creating one. The Governor has never offered a plan for reforming levies and reaching full state funding. Some promising proposals have been introduced in the Legislature, but none have made it even to a committee vote. And the state Supreme Court has yet to impose sanctions meaningful enough to compel the Governor and Legislature to act.

Our students need and deserve vigorous action from adults. But neither the Governor, the Legislature nor the Court have provided that leadership.

Regarding my future, I am keeping my options open.

I promise that, no matter what, I will be watching state officials very carefully. Meaningful progress must be made to reform our inadequate, inequitable and unconstitutional school funding system.

As an educator and elected official, I have spent my career fighting for our students. I am not about to stop now.

Free showing of Paper Tigers documentary at Cordiner Hall

The Health Center, Whitman College Student Engagement Center and Walla Walla Public Schools have teamed to bring a free public showing of Paper Tigers to Cordiner Hall Thursday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. The Paper Tigers documentary follows a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students. This film explores how Walla Walla's own Lincoln High school and The Health Center have become promising models for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and health disparities that affect families. Join us in celebrating this film, and the success of Lincoln High School.

Event details
- Paper Tigers Documentary showing
- Thursday, Dec. 3
- 6:30 p.m.
- Cordiner Hall, Whitman College (46 S. Park St.)
- Free to the public
- Learn more and register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/paper-tigers-screening-tickets-18890587255

Garrison Night School begins next month

Walla Walla Public Schools in partnership with Walla Walla Community College is offering Garrison Night School Adult classes. Registration for English classes in ESL levels 1 through 4, Computer class, First Aid/CPR will be held in November  at Garrison Middle School from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.  Classes will begin Monday,  November  23 at  6 p.m.    Spanish classes will also be offered again this year.  The beginners class will be held Monday and Wednesday and the advanced class on Tuesday and Thursday  from 6 to 8:00 p.m.  Registration for Spanish classes will begin October 26 at the Walla Walla Public Schools district office located next to the YMCA on Park Street any time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  If you have any questions regarding either program, please contact Melito Ramirez at (509) 526-8638.

Mr. Whitman activities planned to support AVID program

Proceeds from this year’s Mr. Whitman competition will be donated to Walla Walla Public Schools to support the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program. AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.

This year there are eight contestants in the competition. The Mr. Whitman Talent Show is Friday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at Cordiner Hall. Throughout the month of October contestants will be participating in a variety of fundraisers in support of AVID. Below are opportunities remaining to help support the cause.

Friday, October 23: 3 to 7 p.m. - Silent Auction for AVID for Mr. Whitman
- Come support AVID (an in-school academic support program for grades 4-12 that prepares students for college eligibility and success) and the Walla Walla Public Schools in a silent auction put on by the men vying for the title of Mr. Whitman. Reid Campus Center, Stevens Art Galley.

Sunday, October 25: 10 a.m. - 5k Halloween Run/Walk for AVID for Mr. Whitman
- Bring your best running shoes and your most festive costumes to support AVID (an in-school academic support program for grades 4-12 that prepares students for college eligibility and success) at Walla Walla Public Schools. The winner will receive a gift card for dinner at a local restaurant. General Admission Fee: $20, Student Fee: $10. Race starts at Reid Campus Center.

Friday, October 30 - Pageant Night
- 7 p.m. at Cordiner Hall
- Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door.

School Stories
Walla Walla High School College and Career Fair brings experts to campus

Monday, Walla Walla High School held its 2nd Annual College and Career Fair. Representatives from across the region participated in the event. Wa-Hi hosted 50 guests to the campus to share information about colleges, local businesses, military and organizations in support of student programs and scholarships. Students were exposed to numerous college and career options for life after high school. Thanks to Claircy Clizer in the Career Center and Gear Up for coordinating the event.

Organizer Claircy Clizer reported on the positive messages from guests heard during the event:
- the friendly and polite nature of our students
- the assignment students had to complete and teachers helping them
- the presence of teachers and administrators throughout the day
- the space organization for people traffic flow
- pizza, coffee and water

“The engagement of our students with these professionals provided a positive learning environment that went way beyond just information sharing,” Clizer said.

Elementary Science Night series kicks off at Berney

Thursday night nearly 300 parents and students flocked to the Berney Elementary school gym to participate in the Elementary Science Night hosted by the Whitman College Science Outreach program. Berney was the first event in the series planned for all six elementary schools this year. Eight hands-on learning stations were set-up throughout the gym featuring learning opportunities in biology, engineering and design, physics, chemistry, and geology. The stations were supported by Whitman professors, district school staff, Whitman students and staff, and community volunteers. The next Elementary Science night is planned for Sharpstein Elementary on November 12.

“Science nights are a way to engage families in the school by exploring science,” said Heidi Chapin, Whitman College Science Outreach coordinator. “I want to get students excited about science and one of the best ways is through hands on experiences that are fun.”

Whitman Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid discusses college application strategies

Wednesday night Walla Walla High School students and parents heard tips on how to apply to selective colleges from local expert Tony Cabasco. Cabasco is Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Whitman College. He met with a group of approximately 75 during his presentation on the admission process at private and selective colleges. Cabasco shared information on how to organize and conduct a college search as well as key application and financial aid information.

WWHS JROTC Cadet of the Month earns 'on-the-spot' promotion

The Walla Walla High School JROTC “Blue Devils” Cadet Battalion recently selected its "Cadet of the Month" for September and rewarded her achievement with an immediate promotion. Cadet Pvt. 1st Class Sydnee Walker, 16, a first-year cadet in Company D of the battalion, was promoted to this new rank after winning the top spot, according to the president of the selection board.

The top cadet placed first among candidates from six Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps companies. They were inspected and examined in oral interviews by a board of advanced cadets, according to Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, Senior Army Instructor for the Wa-Hi JROTC program. Walker said she joined the program to develop good habits and routines, and to become a better marksman. She comes from a military family and has traveled extensively. Walker is unsure what her future plans may be but says she might study criminal justice.

"Her strongest competitive category was an outstanding military bearing," said Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Danielle DeSalvo, president of the selection board. "Her peers also did extremely well. It was a close and competitive board among all the candidates."

The candidates from the other companies were: cadet Pvt. Kyler Filan, Co. A; c/PFC Shaun Marek, Co. B; c/Pvt. Johnny Leal, Co. C; c/Pvt. Brett Ferguson, Co. E; and, c/Pvt. Sonia Soto, Co. F.

Wa-Hi JROTC cadets participate in the program to develop leadership skills and to strive to be better citizens in society. Many cadets compete on drill, marksmanship and physical training teams, and get to compete at drill and rifle marksmanship meets that include Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy cadet programs from the 16 schools in the Cascade Division.

Green Park intern hosts roundtable training to future educators

Whitman College student Jamie Friedman, current America Reads/Counts Intern at Green Park Elementary, hosted a Roundtable training for fellow ARAC interns and other Whitman students interested in education. She shared best practices from her summer teaching experience in the Bay Area last summer with Breakthrough Teaching Collaborative. She applied these strategies to opportunities in Walla Walla local schools, as well as other leadership opportunities on the Whitman College campus such as clubs and Resident Life positions.

Pioneer Middle School Feats of Strength fundraisers

This year’s The Feats of Strength event at Pioneer Middle School netted more than $20,000 to the school’s ASB General Fund. Students signed up to be Champions for their homerooms and competed in a variety of events on during the September event. A homeroom competition prior to the event pitted classes against each other to see who could raise the most money for their school. The winning homeroom and runner-up Homeroom won a trip to Joseph, OR on October 12 to ride pedal rail cars. Mrs. Palmer's 2nd Period and Mrs. Stahlheber's 2nd Period classes were the winners. In November, 80 students who raised $125 or more will travel to the Get Air, Tri-Cities Trampoline Park for a fun day of relationship-building opportunities. ASB money helps fund all extra-curricular activities that seek to build an inclusive environment of positive relationships between students, according to event organizer Chris Plucker.

Walla Walla High School college visits schedule

- CWU: 10/28 @ 10:15 a.m.
- Corban University: 11/2 @ 9:30 a.m.
- Western Washington University: 11/4 @ 8:30 a.m.
- University of Puget Sound: 11/5 @ 10:30 a.m.
- Linfield College: 11/5 @ 1:00 p.m.
(All events are in the Wa-Hi library)

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

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

Community Stories

Parent meeting planned for Education First trip to Scandinavia 

Dan Calzaretta is planning an Education First (EF) trip to Scandinavia in July 2017.  An informational meeting for parents/students is planned for Monday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at Walla Walla Community College room 209. This trip is a parent volunteer activity and not a Walla Walla Public Schools activity. For more information, contact Kathryn Southwick Hess at mrstravelmama@gmail.com.

Media Madness fundraiser this weekend in support of the public library

Friends of the Library of Walla Walla is organizing the “Media Madness” fundraiser Friday and Saturday in support of the City of Walla Walla Public Library. This event will offer a variety of lightly used DVDs, Books on Tape, Books on CD, Music CDs, hardback books, paperback books, children’s books, coffee table books, decorative items and games for all ages. The event will be held in the main reading room of the Walla Walla Public Library Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to closing. These are nearly new materials in excellent condition and the majority will sell for under $5. Special bargains will be available after 12 noon on Saturday.  All proceeds benefit programs and services of the Walla Walla Public Library.  Friends of the Library annually donates several thousand dollars for children's, young adult's, and adult's programs and materials.  Friends of the Library is actively seeking new members who would be interested in working for the betterment of the WWPL.  Further information can be found at http://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org or by contacting Cindy Mettler at 529-8596 or Beth Hudson at 524-4433.

City Parks & Rec Update

Fencing - November 11 to December 13
Beginning (Ages 10-17) Cost - $38
Intermediate/Advanced (Ages 10-17) Cost - $48

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

The Moms’ Network and Child Care Aware partner on a Friends, Family, Neighbor Child Care Training

The Moms’ Network and Child Care Aware are teaming up to provide an educational training for Friends, Family, Neighbor (FFN) care givers. These are local individuals that care for a friend or neighbor’s child or an individual that cares for a niece, nephew, grandchild or other relative’s child while the parent works. The training event is Sunday, November 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Walla Walla YMCA.

Guest speakers Catherine Wolpert, Head Start Education Coordinator and Kristin Albro, Child Care Director at the YMCA, will review and reinforce child care best practices and provide new information to care givers on developmental assessment and local resources. The training will also include fun educational projects using math. Each care giver will receive developmental assessment tools and guidelines, math curriculum for young children and a one year membership to the Moms’ Network of Walla Walla.

The event is free and open to all FFN care givers. Space is limited so please reserve your spot by contacting Beth Swanson at beth@themomsnetworkww.com and 509-301-7471. Child Care Aware© is the nation's most respected hub of information for parents and child care providers. A program of Child Care Aware® of America, Child Care Aware® helps families learn more about the elements of quality child care and how to locate programs in their communities. Child Care Aware® also provides child care providers with access to resources for their child care programs. For more information contact Tami Sirmon at tami.sirmon@wwcc.edu or visit www.childcareaware.org

Dia de los Muertos returns to Gesa Power House Theatre this weekend

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.

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