Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Dec. 11, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board meetings Tuesday, Dec. 15

- Executive Session: 5 p.m., Board to discuss the performance of a public employee -- meeting not open to the public
- Public Work Session: 6 p.m., Board to discuss budget -- open to the public
- Regular School Board meeting: 6:30 p.m. -- open to the public
- Meeting located at the District Office (364 S. Park St.)

Superintendent Jordan comments on overhaul of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top

Thursday, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) tossing out the one-size-fits-all mandates of No Child Left Behind. See more at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/12/10/white-house-report-every-student-succeeds-act

Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan comments on this historic law:
“Yesterday, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, a reauthorization of the Elementary Secondary Education Act. The bill is a complete overhaul of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. This is an important day in the history of K-12 public education.

Senator Patty Murray provided critical leadership in the development of and her shepherding through the process, a landmark piece of education legislation. School districts and states have been under the burden of draconian Federal mandates for many years and Senator Murray's leadership has resulted in an opportunity to better meet the needs of our kids and not be under the heavy hand of the Federal Department of Education.

Supplemental Educational Services:
The new law still requires us to reserve 7% of our Title 1 funds; however, we will no longer be required to send August "failure" letters to parents. No Child Left Behind required school districts to reserve 20% of allocated Title 1 funds for use only with third party vendors for free tutoring programs known as Supplemental Educational Services. The reservation of 20% of the funding restricted the types and quality of programs we were able to provide at the individual school district level.

Highly Qualified Teachers:
The rules regarding "Highly Qualified Teachers" have been relaxed. This is great news for middle schools, for special education programs and for our regions small high schools. Each state must still have a high standards test to report the results of to the Department of Education. However, Washington has had higher than normal requirements for students since the implementation of the WASL in the 1990s.

Annual Federal requirements for testing reading and Math in grades 3-8 remain and the requirement that science be tested three times between grades 3 and 12. The flexibility in testing comes from individual states determining any further testing the State Legislature and the State Board of Education may require beyond what the Federal government requires. School districts will have the ability to apply to use the ACT, SAT or AP tests to meet these requirements at the high school level.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP):
We are pleased to see the unrealistic Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) diagnostic tool being removed since it did not accurately reflect or communicate the educational quality and opportunities in our schools. Schools and districts not meeting these flawed progress targets were inaccurately labeled as failing. Walla Walla Public Schools, as well as districts across the state and nation, have research-based programs in place to track progress and academic achievement as part of a comprehensive accountability system.

Thank you to the many of you who have called, emailed or written to Congress in support of this historic reauthorization.”

PSE members to volunteer at area food bank

Saturday members of the Public School Employees (PSE) are volunteering at the Blue Mountain Action Council to fill backpacks for the students in need. Thank you to those who are volunteering to make a difference in our community.

Winter break schedule

- No School: Dec. 21 to Jan. 1
- Classes resume Monday, Jan. 4
- Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season

Graduates of Distinction nominations now accepted

Walla Walla Public Schools' Graduates of Distinction program provides an avenue for recognizing high school graduates of Walla Walla Public Schools who have distinguished themselves in their communities, professions, or careers. Nominations are now being accepted. This award also honors the Walla Walla Public Schools' staff members who were the most inspirational in the lives of those individuals.

Candidates must have graduated at least 10 years ago. Graduates of Distinction serve as positive role models for current and future students. The application process is simple. Nomination packets include a cover letter and three letters of support. The Class of 2016 Graduates of Distinction will be honored June 7 at 5 p.m. at the district office. Visit the district website to see instructions for the nomination process: http://www.wwps.org/programs/graduates-of-distinction

School Stories
Lincoln High School Star Wars parade entry wins grand prize

Lincoln High School set the bar a notch higher with this year’s Star Wars theme float in the annual Macy’s Parade of Lights. The entry won the grand prize by being named the best float in the parade. Staff and students spent many hours preparing the costumes and float for the parade. Laurie Haluska of Laila Design Studio helped create the costumes.

Teacher Erik Gordon designed the X-wing feature, 21st Century Site Coordinator Jeremy Gradwohl coordinated many other elements of the entry. Art teacher Jayne Eacker helped with artwork and many others were involved. Lincoln High School received a Grand Prize trophy for its display case. Principal Marci Knauft thanked everyone involved for making this experience a reality for the Lincoln High School students.

Garrison Middle School Drama Club presents “Silver’s Secret”

A play set on the high seas with pirates, treasure seekers, mermaids, smugglers and ghosts!
One performance only:
- December 17
- 7 p.m.
- Garrison Middle School Gym
- Admission is free and open to all Garrison Middle School students, their families and WWPS staff

Holly Claus The Ballet of Dreams comes to district schools this holiday season 

Elementary students across the district will be encouraged to dream and imagine for their futures as performers from Holly Claus Ballet of Dreams visit schools. Holly Claus Author Brittney Ryan will make personal visits to Blue Ridge and Berney Elementary Schools as part of the tour series. Students will travel through the wintery Kingdom of Forever and the Land of the Immortals with Holly Claus as she herself realizes her dreams and encourages children from across the globe to discover and pursue their own dreams for their futures. Each elementary school will receive a donated children’s version of the book and the full-length legendary hardback.

The school visits are an extension of the world premier of a new holiday ballet, Holly Claus: The Ballet of Dreams. This production is coming to Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College campus December 18 and 19. Doors open nightly at 6:30 p.m. with the performance at 7:30 p.m. The ballet will be finished by 10 p.m. More than 85 local youth, most are Walla Walla Public Schools students, will be performing in the ballet including numerous dancers in pre-professional dance programs across the country. The role of Holly Claus will be danced by Sophia Rolph who has studied at the world renowned Joffrey Ballet School. A $3000 donation from Whitman College helped fund tickets for area social services agencies and schools for children and families in need.

Tickets for the performances are available online at hollyclaus.brownpapertickets.com, at Earthlight Books at 321 E. Main Street in Walla Walla, or at the door the nights of the performances. Holly Claus: The Ballet of Dreams is produced by the Danza Classica Ballet Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, Brittney Ryan, and The Dance Center of Walla Walla. The show is generously sponsored in part by the Whitman College Office of Provost and Dean of Faculty, Klicker’s, Fleurissant Event Rentals & Design, Alexandria Communications, Integrity Design & Printing, 51 East Main, Northwest Public Radio, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Sherman Painter, Eliza Van De Rostyne, Idalee Hutson-Fish and Achieva Marketing Group.

For more information: Contact Michael Mettler at (509) 956-9045. To find out more about Holly Claus: The Ballet of Dreams visit their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HollyClausTheBalletofDreams or find them online at http://hollyclausballet.info

SEA-TECH students promote sale of manufacturing products

The Advanced Manufacturing class has several projects for sale just in time for Christmas.  Decorative benches, lawn art, signs and more will be available for purchase. Proceeds support the SEA-TECH program. Students will be launching an online store soon. Contact instructor James Polson for ordering details and available products: jpolson@wwps.org / 509-526-2011.

Representative Nealey works with Green Park students

This week, Green Park Elementary teacher Michelle Carpenter hosted Representative Terry Nealey and his legislative assistant Meagan Allen in her classroom. They worked with students, observed the afternoon routine and took a few minutes to share with 5th grade students about his role in the legislature, according to Carpenter.

“I was able to explain to him the standards students were working on, their ability to record and look at their own data, and he was able to interact with a group of students working in a novel group,” said Carpenter.

Community Stories
Sustainable Living Center Hosts Inaugural Walla Walla Alternative Gift Fair

- WWCC Water & Environmental Center Lobby
- December 12
- 12 to 4 p.m.
The Sustainable living center is spearheading this effort to provide Walla Walla and surrounding areas an alternative to consumer based giving that also supports non-profit organizations that provide essential services to our community and beyond. For more information about this topic, contact Erendira Cruz at (509)524-5228 or email at ecruz@sustainablelivingcenter.com.

Needham receives state award for substance abuse prevention efforts

Longtime community leader and advocate Peggy Needham was honored with the state’s Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Professional Award for leadership and commitment to prevention. As the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative Coordinator for W2 for Drug Free Youth Coalition, Needham has been active in the community for decades. This program helps youth of all ages stay away from drugs and alcohol. It also closely involves families. Needham, a 1982 graduate from Walla Walla High School, is known for her strengths developing relationships, building coalitions with community leaders and agencies and doing whatever it takes to keep youth from using drugs and alcohol.

“I do this work because this is my hometown, this is where I grew up and have raised my own children,” said Needham. “It is important that we all value having a healthy and safe community for all are kids and families.”

The Moms’ Network sponsors the Holiday Reading Room

The Moms’ Network is excited to once again sponsor the Holiday Reading Room. As we all scurry to get our holiday shopping done, the Moms’ Network is excited to provide a little family time at the Walla Walla City Library. On Saturday, December 12th from 10 a.m. to noon the children’s area of the library will be filled with holiday cheer and reading. Come enjoy treats, hot chocolate, holiday crafts and holiday stories. The Holiday Reading Room is a free family event and every child will receive a free book.

The Moms’ Network of Walla Walla is a grassroots organization that provides an opportunity for parents to communicate, receive and exchange valuable community and parenting information, network with each other and be actively involved in the community. Since inception the Moms’ Network has advocated for families, provided support for early learning, supported volunteerism, and provided educational opportunities for parents. For more details please contact Beth Swanson at 509-301-7471 or beth@themomsnetworkww.com.

Dress a Living Doll project provides clothes for area youth

The Salvation Army Dress a Living Doll annual clothing give-away program resulted in meeting the needs of 140 children in the community. The children were referred by local schools and members of the community. Give-aways included new, store-purchased pajamas, a complete outfit, socks and underwear for each child. The program serves the needs of school-age children 5-12 years old and includes younger siblings ages newborn-4 years. Dress a Living Doll has been giving away clothes  to children in our community since 1978.

Holiday Singalongs at Walla Walla University

- Saturday, December 12 at 10 a.m.
- Walla Walla University (College Place), Fine Arts Center room 115 (Choir Room)
We will sing several German Christmas carols, several Spanish “Villancicos”, and also one each in several other languages such as French and Hindi. Sheet music will be provided. If you like music, Christmas, and foreign languages, this is definitely for you. At the end we’ll share treats as we mix and mingle. Speakers of all languages (including English!) are welcome.
Questions? Eli (Elisabet) Entrena, 527-3116

W2 for Drug Free Youth Survey

Would you be willing to give up 5 minutes of your time to fill out a survey that will help community leaders develop effective prevention programs addressing youth substance use, depression and suicide? This survey, created by the Division of Behavior Health and Recovery and being implemented by W2 for Drug Free Youth, focuses on adult concerns about substance use, depression and suicide among youth in our community. This survey is anonymous. That means you will not be asked for your name or address. This survey is voluntary. That means that you can refuse to answer any question or stop the survey at any time. The survey will take 5 minutes to complete. Survey results will be released in the spring of 2016.

Survey Links:
ONLINE SURVEY ENGLISH: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WWWWON2015
ONLINE SURVEY SPANISH: https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/WWWWSP2015

For more information:
Peggy Needham, Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative Coordinator / (509) 876-4525 / peggy.trilogy@gmail.com

YMCA winter basketball league sign-ups 

The YMCA Youth Basketball League emphasizes learning the fundamentals of the sport during practices and perfecting them during games. In addition, the program focuses on teaching cooperation, teamwork and sportsmanship to foster healthy happy kids.
- Ages: Boys 1st - 8th grade / Girls 1st - 4th grade
- Dates: 1/9 - 3/5
- Days: M/W or T/TH practices & Saturday games
- Practice Times: 3:30-4:30 PM, 4:30-5:30 PM, 5:30-6:30 PM or 6:30-7:30 PM
- Fee: Family Plus $53, Youth Individual $59, Program Participant, $75
- For more information, or to volunteer to coach, contact Matt Murray, mmurray@wwymca.org or call 525-8863.

HO-HO– Holiday basketball camps

Girls Camp, December 14 &15
- 1-2 grade girls 4-5 p.m.
- 3-4 grade girls 5-6 p.m.

Boys Camp, December 16 &17
- 1-2 grade boys 4-5 p.m.
- 3-4 grade boys 5-6 p.m.

Ball Handling Camp, December 18
- 1-4 grade girls 4-5:30 p.m.
- 1-4 grade boys 5:30 - 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Youth Sports Director, Matt Murray: 525-8863 or mmurray@wwymca.org
Cost: $10 per camp

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