Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Feb. 26, 2016

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Community invited to meet superintendent finalist candidates 

The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors invites the community to meet the three finalists for the position of superintendent during public community meetings. Dr. Molly Ringo will be in the district Monday, February 29, Dr. Kent Kultgen - Tuesday, March 1 and Wade Smith - Wednesday, March 2. All of the community meetings are from 5 to 6:15 p.m. at the district boardroom — 364 S. Park Street. Community members will have an opportunity to ask questions and complete feedback forms to share with the school board. Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan is retiring June 30 and the new superintendent will begin July 1.

“Please join us and be part of the process as we find the superintendent who will be the best fit for Walla Walla Public Schools,” said School Board President Cindy Meyer.

Finalist Candidates Professional Highlights

Dr. Kent Kultgen, Superintendent – Helena School District; Helena, MT
Dr. Kultgen has been Superintendent in the Helena School District since 2012. He was also Superintendent of the Stevensville Schools, Stevensville, MT and Choteau Schools, Choteau, MT. He has 11 years of experience as a Social Studies teacher in Choteau Middle and High Schools and Hindale School, grades 7-12. He received his Doctorate and Master’s Degrees from Montana State University and his undergraduate degree from Northern Montana College. He is a Helena Chamber of Commerce board member and is active in the Helena Rotary Club.

Dr. Molly Ringo, Asst. Superintendent for Teaching and Learning – Everett Public Schools; Everett, WA
Dr. Ringo has been Assistant Superintendent for K-12 Education in the Everett School District since 2012. She has also served as Executive Director for K-12 Education and Human Resources for Everett during her tenure. She has also been the Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Student Learning and Executive Director of Personnel for the Puyallup School District. Other administrative assignments include Director of Curriculum for the Highline School District and Elementary principal assignments in the Auburn School District and Corvallis School District. She has special education teaching experience in Oregon. Dr. Ringo received her Doctorate degree from Columbia University and Master’s Degree in Special Education from Portland State University and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Oregon State University. She completed her undergraduate studies in elementary education at Oregon State University. She is active in the Everett Public Schools Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County and the Snohomish County YMCA.

Wade Smith, Deputy Superintendent – Hermiston School District, Hermiston, OR
Mr. Smith has been Interim/Deputy Superintendent for the Hermiston School District since 2011. He assumed the role of superintendent for Hermiston School District from 2011 to 2013 while the superintendent was on military leave abroad. He was also Assistant Superintendent for Support Services for Hermiston School District for four years and Assistant Superintendent and Principal of the Morrow County School District. He has been a secondary education science teacher in the Long Creek School District. Mr. Smith is enrolled in a doctorate program through Concordia University. He earned his Administrative/Superintendent license through Lewis and Clark College and has a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Willamette University. He is President of the Hermiston Kiwanis Club and Co- chairman of the Hermiston Futures Task Force.

No school February 26

There is no school Friday, Feb. 26 due to school conferences. Classes resume Monday, Feb. 29. 

Snow make-up date announced

Winter weather forced the district to cancel school Dec. 4. Board members voted to revise the 2015-16 school year calendar. June 8 will now be a full day of school and Thursday, June 9 will serve as the snow make up day. This will be a half day for all students and the last day of school for the year. 

Board meeting date change

The March 1 regularly scheduled school board meeting has been moved to Thursday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the district office. The March 1 meeting date and time conflicted with Superintendent finalist interviews. 

Walla Walla educational leaders travel to Olympia to meet legislators

Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan, WWVEA President Margo Piver, HR Director Chris Gardea, School Board Member Derek Sarley, Berney Elementary Principal Christy Krutulis, and WWVEA Vice President Keith Swanson recently traveled to Olympia to meet with state legislators. The visit was arranged to discuss issues regarding statewide education funding. In particular, the group’s goal was to provide a local perspective on the impact of current policies related to teacher compensation and capital bond measures.

Dr. Jordan explained that this diverse delegation had come from Walla Walla with a united message that students would be the ultimate beneficiaries of a statewide compensation system allowing districts to offer more competitive salaries to teachers in order to attract and retain the best candidates. He also shared the group’s concern that the current 60% majority requirement for the passage of capital bond measures creates a high bar for district’s to build and maintain quality educational facilities – particularly in smaller communities like Walla Walla with a lower tax base and a higher percentage of retirees living on fixed incomes.

The visit included meetings with Walla Walla area Representatives Terry Nealey and Maureen Walsh, as well as Sen. Mike Hewitt. House Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan of Covington, who serves on the Appropriations Committee, also welcomed the Walla Walla delegation to his office shortly after his press conference announcing the House budget proposals. His 30-minute follow-up conversation with the Walla Walla delegation provided the group an opportunity to explore more deeply with him the just-announced House budget proposals. Individuals in the group shared with Rep. Sullivan concrete examples of how Walla Walla schools use education funds and where additional targeted funds could be used and how facility improvements support learning.

State AP Scores and Participation Rate Rise Again - By OSPI

College Board estimates Washington state AP test takers could save more than $53 million in college costs.

OLYMPIA — February 24, 2016 — More Washington students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams with a score of 3 or higher, according to a report released today by the College Board. That means more students are better prepared for college. And they’re saving money on college credits when they get there.

“Taking AP courses is challenging,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “Not only do students build skills used in college and career, they also have the chance to earn college credit while they’re still in high school.”

College Board’s report shows that 37.4 percent of Washington high school graduates in the class of 2015 took at least one AP exam. That number increased from 36.1 percent last year and 19.7 percent 10 years ago.

College Board offers AP exams in 37 subjects. Students take the tests in May and receive scores on a scale from 1 to 5. Washington’s participation rate continues to rise, along with the number of students who pass the exams with at least a 3. In 2015, 22.6 percent of Washington’s graduating seniors scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP test. In 2014, that number was 22.0 percent; in 2005, it was 12.6 percent. Washington ranked 15th in the nation for the number of 12th graders (22.6 percent) who scored a 3 or higher on AP exams. Maryland was first at 31.7 percent. The national average was 22.4 percent.

Top 10 Tests
The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order):
English Language and Composition
United States History
English Literature and Composition
Calculus AB
World History
United States Government and Politics

Visit the Advanced Placement page on the OSPI website to learn more: http://www.k12.wa.us/AdvancedPlacement/

School Stories
Junior ROTC Team Wins Army JROTC Air Rifle National Championship - By WWHS JROTC Public Affairs

Walla Walla High School has the top Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps precision rifle team and two top precision team marksmen in the nation. The Walla Walla team finished first out of 18 Army JROTC rifle teams, comprised of 92 athletes, in competition that concluded last weekend.

Individual honors went to:
Cadet Major Sabrina Keenan, First Place. She is a Senior and Rifle Team Captain.
Cadet Staff Sergeant Daniel Enger, Second Place. He is a Junior and squad leader in Company D.

The Army-wide competition was held over the past two weekends and three different sites. The Blue Devils team won the Army National title beating the next closest team, Sarasota Military Academy, by six points. The competition was held in Camp Perry, Ohio; Anniston, Alabama; and Provo, Utah. The Wa-Hi team competed at the Utah location, according to Sgt. 1st Class Mark Mebes, rifle team coach.

Precision Rifle Team Members:
Cadet Major Sabrina Keenan, Rifle Team Captain (1st Pl.)
Cadet Staff Sergeant Daniel Enger (2nd Pl.)
Cadet Captain Evan Jameson
Cadet Major Madeline Erikson
Cadet Sergeant First Class Annalise Juergensen
Cadet First Lieutenant Justin Mebes (alternate)

"This win earned the WWHS JROTC team a berth at the All-Service JROTC Air Rifle Championships three weeks from now in Anniston, Alabama," said Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, WWHS JROTC Senior Army Instructor.

Walla Walla High School senior to join Naval Academy rifle team

Walla Walla High School senior Sabrina Keenan signed a letter of intent with the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School Wednesday, Feb. 24 in the Fletcher Memorial Room at the school’s main gym. The Naval Academy is recruiting her to shoot for its Rifle Team. She leaves for the Naval Academy in July. Keenan, the Wa-Hi Rifle Team captain, recently won the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps national event.

The Army-wide competition was held over the past two weekends at three different sites. The Blue Devils team won the Army National title beating the next closest team, Sarasota Military Academy, by six points. The competition was held in Camp Perry, Ohio; Anniston, Alabama; and Provo, Utah. The Wa-Hi team competed at the Utah location. Keenan and her teammates now advance to the All-Service competition in Alabama to compete against the top high school shooters from around the nation. Blue Devils marksmen practice on a state-of-the-art electronic range and wear special uniforms which are mandatory gear at this level of competition. Competitors use Olympic quality air rifles specially designed for precision shooting. JROTC marksmanship and cadet leadership programs are a path to opportunities for higher education such as military academy appointments and scholarships at top colleges and universities, according to Sgt. 1st Class Mark Mebes, rifle team coach.

As the team captain, Keenan manages the training schedule, the pre-match warm-up routine and meal planning. Keenan researched all three service academy rifle team programs. She sent out letters and conducted research before selecting the Naval Academy after doing a site visit.

“It just felt like the best fit,” Keenan said. “The campus is beautiful and there is a lot of excitement with the rifle program.”

Keenan didn’t start shooting until her sophomore year. In fact, she had never handled a gun of any type until getting involved in the JROTC program at Wa-Hi. She and her teammates practice countless hours in preparation for meets. She says the program has become a second family to her.

“It’s neat to see the support for our program is school-wide,” said Keenan. “It meant a lot to me seeing the principal at my signing and to know he supports our program.”

Walla Walla Public Schools will provide an update on how Keenan and the team does at the All-Service meet.

Whitman Teaches the Movement artwork on display

Whitman Teaches the Movement (WTTM) invites Walla Walla Public School students and their families to visit the Walla Walla Public Library and the Whitman College Stevens Gallery to view and reflect upon the artwork produced by WWPS students in grades 1st through 9th. The artwork was created during the weeks of January 25 through February 5 during the WTTM lessons and features various events and figures from the Civil Rights Movement. The display in the Public Library will be up through March 5, as well as the display in the Stevens Gallery. The Stevens Gallery is in the Reid Campus Center on the campus of Whitman College.

AVID Recognition Night planned at Walla Walla High School
The AVID Department and AVID students invite the community to attend the annual AVID Recognition Night Wednesday, March 2. The event begins in the commons with dessert at 7 p.m. and transitions to the Performing Arts Auditorium for student speeches and presentations from 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Community Stories
Exchange Club honors valley students
Congratulations to Touchet High School seniors Jackson Elsasser and Rachel Miller and Walla Walla Valley Academy seniors Abbie Underhill and Evan Smith for receiving Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Month Awards this month. These students will also be eligible to compete for the Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Year Award and a special $1,000 college scholarship. 2015-16 Youth of the Year Theme:  “Responsible citizenship for a strong America.” Mark Higgins is the program coordinator.
Parks & Recreation update

- Father & Daughter Valentine Ball - February 27 - Ages 3 & up - $15

- Belly Dancing - Starts March 3 - Ages 12 & up - $65

- Blue Mountain Girls Softball - Ages 5 - 12
6U: 5 & 6 Year Olds - T-Ball - $40
8U - 12U - $55
Mini-camps: Mill Creek Sports Complex
10U - Tuesday, March 15 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm / 12U - Thursday, March 17 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Saturday, March 19 - 10U 11:00am - 12:30pm / 12U 1:00pm - 3:00pm

*All players must attend the mini-camp for their age group - Players who wish to move up must attend the mini camp for their age group and the mini camp for the age division that they wish to play in.

You must pre-register for all of these events and space is limited so don't wait. For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us. Like on Facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr

Altrusa Spelling Bee returns to Walla Walla

Altrusa International of Walla Walla is hosting its annual Spelling Bee for third, fourth and fifth grade students on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The event will take place in the SEA-TECH Skills Center on the Walla Walla Community College campus and is open to the first 100 students who return entry forms.  Prizes are given to the top contestants in each grade level competition. More information and entry forms are available on the Walla Walla Public School website in the A to Z section under Altrusa Spelling Bee. The deadline for applications is April 15, 2016.  

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