Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Jan. 8, 2016

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District to apply for state grant to modernize and expand Walla Walla High School science facility

Walla Walla Public Schools is applying for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Pilot Project grant for up to $4 million from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to help modernize and expand its 53-year-old science classrooms and labs. The current facilities are overcrowded, have poor ventilation, no air conditioning and lack the equipment and space necessary for today’s curriculum and learning demands. This expansion will allow for increased STEM offerings schoolwide. A decision regarding the funding request will be made in May.

The 2015-2017 Washington State legislature established this pilot program and allocated $11,925,000 in grant funds. Districts are eligible if they lack sufficient space for science classrooms and labs to enable students to meet the class of 2019 graduation requirements of three science credits, two of which must be a science lab course. School districts are limited to one grant award of no more than $4 million. Walla Walla Public Schools would also be able to leverage state matching funds to make additional improvements to the existing 1963/64 science building.

“We are an excellent fit for this grant,” said Walla Walla High School Principal Pete Peterson, who is heading the application process. “Our labs should be three times the size of our current facilities and the infrastructure and much of the equipment is 53-years-old.”

One requirement of the grant application process is for the district to secure $100,000 in private funds as a community match. Peterson and a district team will be meeting with community leaders in the next two weeks to request funds.

“We are confident our community will step up for our students and help us with this community match,” said Peterson. “This is a great value for the community and would provide a modern facility to ensure we meet the needs of our students in the critical area of science.”

To make a donation or learn more about the application process, contact Principal Pete Peterson at (509) 527-3020 or ppeterson@wwps.org.

ThoughtExchange results reveal strong support for teachers; facility improvements remain a top priority

This fall, parents, staff, students and community members had an opportunity to provide the district input via an online learning process — ThoughtExchange. This latest engagement, the district’s second with ThoughtExchange, centered on how the community defines a quality education. A complete listing of the results, by school and the district, is located on the district website at www.wwps.org. Simply click on the ThoughtExchange logo to view. Participation was open between Oct. 6 and Nov. 1, 2015. There were 595 who participated. They contributed 784 thoughts and 27,831 aligned “stars.” Nearly 60 percent of the participants were parents, 33% were staff, 6% community and one percent students.

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?
Top Five Responses to Question 1 (Quality education experiences)
1. Quality teachers and staff
2. Individualized instruction
3. Extracurricular
4. Curriculum and programming
5. Whole child education

Question 2: What are some opportunities you feel would contribute to quality education that are not available for students right now?
Top Five Responses to Question 2 (Areas for new opportunities)
1. Facilities and infrastructure
2. Vocational and experiential learning
3. Extracurricular
4. Testing vs. learning
5. Technology

Ballots for February 9 levy mail out this month

This proposed Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy would help maintain the current level of teaching and educational programs. This is not a new tax, but a continuation of local operating funds for the district. The state only funds approximately 70 percent of the district’s General Fund budget for Walla Walla Public Schools. This proposed Replacement Levy impacts nearly all aspects of district programs and services by funding 20 percent of the district’s General Fund. Federal dollars make up the remaining 10 percent of the district’s budget. The voter-approved 2012 Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy expires in December 2016 and this Levy would replace it.

Proposed Election Details
- Election date: February 9, 2016 (Four-year levy)
- Ballots mail out to voters January 21, 2016
- 50% + 1 vote required for approval

Summary of 2016 Levy Proposal
2017 - $11,234,122 (projected rate $3.70 per $1,000)
2018 - $11,458,504 (projected rate $3.73 per $1,000)
2019 - $11,687,674 (projected rate $3.77 per $1,000)
2020 - $11,921,427 (projected rate $3.81 per $1,000)
These rates are based on per $1,000 of assessed property value.

What does the levy fund? The following programs and services were funded by the Educational Programs and Operations levy during the 2014-2015 school year.

Program / Staff Estimated % of Levy
- 33 Extra teachers - including: 39%
1. Teachers to reduce class size
2. Music and PE Specialists
3. Fine Arts (Music and Drama)
4. AP, Honors, 6th and 7th periods @ Wa-Hi
- School Health Clinicians (K-12) 2.5%
- Highly Capable (Gifted) Program 3-8 grades 2%
- Extra-curricular (music, athletics, drama, FFA) 13%
- Educational Assistants (Para-Educators) 2.5%
- Intervention Specialists 3.5%
- Special Education Programs 6%
- Bargaining agreements for certificated and classified staff 13%
(staffing salaries and benefits above state funded levels)
- Utilities 6%
- Facilities Maintenance/Custodial Services 8.5%
- Technology (Chromebooks, infrastructure, training) 4%

What will the proposed levy cost you? Proposed rates are similar to those approved in 2012
(Below is the 2017 estimated tax bill for the proposed levy)
Home Value:
- $175,000 - 2016 (current): $640.50 / 2017 (proposed) $647.50 (estimated $7 increase annually)
- $250,000 - 2016 (current): $915.00 / 2017 (proposed) $925.00 (estimated $10 increase annually)
- $350,000 - 2016 (current) $1281.00 / 2017 (proposed) $1,295.00 (estimated $14 increase annually)

Election Information
- Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan at 526-6714 or e-mail: bjordan@wwps.org
- Communications Director Mark Higgins at 526-6716 or e-mail: mhiggins@wwps.org
- Online: www.wwps.org

School board work session and regular meeting Tuesday Jan. 19

- 5:30 p.m.: School Board Public Work Session - Superintendent Search update and discussion
- 6:30 p.m.: Regularly scheduled meeting
- Both meetings open to the public
- Location: 364 S. Park St. (Anne Golden Boardroom)

No School Monday, Jan. 18 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
- Schools are closed Monday, Jan. 18 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
- Classes resumes Tuesday, Jan. 19

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

Local trusts fund dental services for Lincoln High School

The district received $4000 from the Clara & Art Bald Trust and Mary Garner Esary Trust to provide dental services to students at Lincoln from the mobile Dental Van. The grants were issued by Robert L. Zagelow, Trustee. Coordination of services will begin soon with actual dental care provided in the spring.  The grant was written and coordinated by Health Clinicians Sally Buchanan-Rojo (Lincoln HS) and Jennie Courtney RN (Pioneer MS).

Walla Walla High School plans Financial Aid application workshop Sunday afternoon

Walla Walla High School seniors and their families are invited to meet with counselors and college representatives Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Library to assist students with the FAFSA and WAFSA documentation for college financial aid. Another planning session is planned for Wednesday from 4:30 to  7:30 p.m. in the library. 

Scholarship Fair scheduled Wednesday

A Scholarship Fair featuring local sponsors, colleges and military representatives is planned for Wednesday in the Commons from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Seniors and their families will have the opportunity to meet the people who make the scholarship awards and pick up applications.

Meet the Garrison Principal for Coffee continues in January

The Moms’ Network is excited to announce the January coffee meetings at Garrison Middle School with Principal Robert Elizondo.  The January meetings will concentrate on discipline and safety. On Wednesday, January 13, the event will be in Spanish and on Friday, January 15, the event will be in English.  Both coffee meetings begin at 8 a.m. at Garrison and will be in room 171. Please check in at the front desk to get a visitors badge and directions. These events will be held monthly during the school year.  All parents and guardians are invited to participate including 5th grade parents of students who will be attending Garrison in the fall of 2016.   For more information or to suggest a topic please contact Armida Contreras at acontreras@wwps.org

Wa-Hi student receives national honor for superior academic achievement

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School student Jacqueline Conklin for being selected to the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) for superior academic achievement. This esteemed honor is based on top scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship and community commitment. National Society of High School Scholars connects young scholars with the resources they need to develop their strengths and pursue their passions.

“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Jacqueline has demonstrated to achieve the exceptional level of academic excellence,” said Claes Nobel, NSHSS Founder and Chairman. “Jacqueline is now a member of a unique community of scholars -- a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”

Walla Walla High School student to represent state in soccer Olympic Player Development Program

Walla Walla High School Sophomore Makena Rietz has been selected to participate in the Youth Soccer Olympic Player Development Program and will compete at the Region IV ODP Championships in Phoenix, AZ in January against other elite players from across the country.

“It goes without saying that representing the state of Washington is a huge honor and all of our student-athletes should be proud,” said Kimberly Calkins, Technical Director for Washington Youth Soccer.

The Olympic Player Development Program was created to identify youth national team players and provide development opportunities for these potential national team players. Rietz was selected to play at the Regional ODP tournament after multiple open tryouts which began in July. There are two to three open tryout opportunities in the summer and then State Pools of 30-40 players are selected at the end of September. Those 30-40 players practice Sunday or Monday nights until the end of November and the pool is again narrowed to 18 players who are selected to represent Washington at the ODP Region IV Championships. There are four regions in the US. Rietz did not make the regional team last year, so she worked even harder to earn a spot on the squad this year.

“We drove to Seattle every Sunday or Monday nights for practice until the end of November,” said her mother Marcella Rietz.

Rietz attended Berney Elementary and Pioneer Middle School. She started playing soccer at age five through the YMCA youth program and has now been playing for 11 years. Last year, Rietz also played girls’ basketball and traveled to state with the basketball team and took third in district track in the 400m and 800m events as a freshman. She is not playing basketball this year due to her soccer commitments. She hopes to resume playing basketball next year.

Her favorite subjects are English and Science and she enjoys her Current World Problems class. Rietz would like to be an acupuncturist. She enjoys hiking, cliff jumping, running, traveling, writing and watching soccer.

- 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Team Captain for her club team ASE
- 2013 PDP State Team
- 2013 iD2 PDP Regional Camp selection in Oregon
- 2014 UCLA College ID Camp MVP
- 2015 PDP State Team also known as PSPL Surf Academy
- 2015 Nike National Friendlies Id2 Selection at Nike
- 2015 Stanford College ID Camp All Star
- 2015-2016 ODP Washington State team

Preschool announces program openings

Walla Walla Public Schools Head Start/ECEAP preschool has openings. If your child turned 3 or 4 by Aug. 31st, come get an application at Blue Ridge Elementary to see if you qualify. If you have questions, please call 527-3066. Free quality preschool for families in our community.

Mr. Whitman contest raises $25,000 for AVID program

Thanks to the contestants from this year’s Mr. Whitman competition for raising $25,000 for 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. The dollars will be used to support more college visits and activities to promote college readiness.

This year there were eight contestants in the competition. The Mr. Whitman Talent Show wrapped up the event at Cordiner Hall. Contestants participated in a variety of fundraisers in support of AVID.

Registrations now accepted for Ready for Kindergarten program

Walla Walla Public Schools is taking further action to invest in early childhood education through its Ready! for Kindergarten program at Title 1 schools, Blue Ridge and Edison Elementary. The classes begin January 11. Sharpstein Elementary and Head Start/ECEAP are currently offering the Ready! for Kindergarten program for their families.  Presently the district is only offering classes for parents of children 4-5 years of age who plan on starting kindergarten next fall at Blue Ridge, Edison, and Sharpstein.  

“We have plans to extend to younger ages in the years to come,” said Family Involvement Coordinator Pam Clayton.  “It has been shown that from birth-to-age 5, a child learns faster than at any other time in his or her life.”

Walla Walla Public Schools is providing families with an opportunity to learn how to tap into those successes through reading and purposeful play as part of the Ready! for Kindergarten program. Ready! for Kindergarten, a  program established in 2002 by the Children’s Reading Foundation and the Kennewick (WA) School District, was developed out of a need to help close the kindergarten learning gap.  According to research cited by the Children’s Reading Foundation, 40 percent of children enter kindergarten one to three years behind the curve.  The Ready! for Kindergarten program provides families with age-appropriate trainings, targets and tools for parents and caregivers of children birth to five years that ensure children success in school before they even start school.  The goal of READY! is to promote language and literacy, math and reasoning, and social and emotional skills.   

Guiding Principles of READY! for Kindergarten™
- Honor parents as a child’s most influential and most loved teacher
- Foster important early learning experiences for children birth-to-age five
- Instill children with a joy and zest for learning that lasts a lifetime
- Build relationships between parent and child and family and school

For more information visit Ready for Kindergarten at www.readyforkindergarten.org.
YouTube videos:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-rvnADT4kg
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6IgCVj7PbU

If you are interested in attending a Ready! for Kindergarten class with your 4-5 year old, contact your neighborhood school for a current schedule:
- Blue Ridge at 527-3066
- Edison at 527-3072
- Sharpstein at 527-3098 or
- Head Start/ECEAP at 527-3066
If you have further questions, please contact Pam Clayton at 526-6781 / pclayton@wwps.org.

Community Stories
WWCC Diversity Committee invites you to attend the presentation of Paper Tigers

- Date: Tuesday, January 26
- Movie Time: 1:30 p.m. (Discussion Time: 3:15 p.m.)
- Location: WWCC Performing Arts Center
- Students, staff, faculty and community members welcome!
- Trailer: http://www.papertigersmovie.com/
- ACES: http://www.resiliencetrumpsaces.org/
- Resources to view: http://www.resiliencetrumpsaces.org/our-work-and-resources/resources

Picture Lab volunteers needed to do art with students

“Looking for a fun way to get involved in your child’s classroom? Volunteer for Carnegie Picture Lab! Help teach an art history lesson or art project, or help behind the scenes -- you choose your level of time commitment. Carnegie Picture Lab is a non-profit organization whose mission is to nourish creativity by supporting and enhancing art education for elementary school children in the Walla Walla Valley."
Volunteer Training Workshops* schedule:
- Wednesday, January 13 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. or on
- Thursday, January 14 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Located at the Carnegie Picture Lab Studio, 515 E. Main Street, downtown Walla Walla.
- Questions? Email: info@carnegiepicturelab.com, or visit www.carnegiepicturelab.com, or call (509) 526-6921.

WWPD Citizens Academy Accepting Applications 

The 2016 Citizens Academy classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., starting February 11, with graduation on April 29. Registration is free and the deadline is January 29, 2016; Class is limited to 30 participants, 18 or over. The goal of the Citizens Academy is to provide our community an understanding of how law enforcement agencies and the judicial system work for you. This task is accomplished through several evenings of classroom education and interaction with members of law enforcement and the judicial community.

Past graduates have included: citizens from across the Walla Walla Valley, students, parents, grandparents and retirees. CA classes will be taught by some of Walla Walla’s finest and will include: Patrol – The Backbone of Law Enforcement; Detectives/Investigations; Firearms and the Use of Force; Crime Prevention, Emergency Management; Gangs and Drugs; Prosecuting Crime in Walla Walla; Juvenile Justice; the K-9 Unit; Traffic Safety; and WESCOM – Dispatch. Tours will include the Walla Walla Police Department, Juvenile Justice Center, Superior Court, County Sheriff’s Office, the County Jail, and Washington State Penitentiary. There is also a 2 hour ride along with a Walla Walla Police Officer offered. You must be registered to attend and agree to a background check.

Apply online through the City of Walla Walla website: www.wallawallawa.gov/depts/police/crimeprevention/citizensacademy. Applications can also be picked up at the Walla Walla Police Department. If you have questions please contact Vicki Ruley, the Crime Prevention Coordinator, 524-4409.

City Parks & Rec Update

- The Parks & Recreation Winter/Spring Program Guide will be released Monday, January 11

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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