Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - August 26, 2016

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
State shines spotlight on district for outstanding English Language Learners graduation rates

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recently featured Walla Walla Public Schools for achieving an on-time graduation rate of 77 percent for students in the English Language Learners (ELL) program. The report represents approximately 25 students from the graduation class of 2014. This impressive graduation mark is 23 percent higher than the state average. Everett, Evergreen and Sunnyside School Districts were also in the spotlight for posting significantly higher than state average on-time graduation rates for ELL students.

“We realize all students must be college and career ready when they leave Walla Walla High School and this is yet another sign we are closing the achievement gap and getting them ready,” said Principal Pete Peterson.

OSPI’s publication featuring the graduation rate accomplishment noted equity and access strategies are in place in the district to support students and their learning. Data transparency, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) and home visits were mentioned as strategies being implemented in Walla Walla Public Schools which are making a difference. Dual language programs throughout the school system, professional learning for teachers and warm and friendly school signage and communications were also listed as factors leading to success.

“This recognition would not have happened without the dedication and commitment of administrators, teachers and support staff throughout the school district who are using best instructional practices, multi-tiered systems of support and relationship building techniques with all our students,” Peterson said. “I’m proud to work in a district which believes graduation is not just a high school thing.”

Recently released graduation rates for ELL students from the Class of 2015 shows a decrease from the previous year’s exceptional results supporting the school board’s call for a continued focus on high school retention rates in the district’s 2016-2017 goals.

Visit us at the fair

Walla Walla Public Schools will be prominently featured at the 2016 Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days. All schools will have displays in the Education Building and an information station will be set-up in front of the building. New Superintendent Wade Smith and school board members plan to spend time at the Education Building so stop by and say hello. 

No School September 2 and 5

There is no school Friday, Sept. 2 for Kids Day at the Fair or Monday, Sept. 5 in observance of Labor Day. Classes resume Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Senator Murray visits Blue Ridge Elementary to witness new legislation in action

U.S. Senator Patty Murray stopped in Walla Walla August 24 to visit educators and students at Blue Ridge Elementary School. Murray visited three classrooms, discussed educational issues with Principal Kim Doepker and Superintendent Wade Smith and read to second grade students. Murray said she wanted to see first-hand how changes to federal legislation through the Every Student Succeeds Act are impacting Washington schools. She said she was proud to help lead the rewrite of this legislation to provide more state and local control of education. She also said it was critical for all students to have opportunities for a high quality education to be competitive in today’s global economy. Fifth grade students Bianca Vieyra and Dedrick Thorpe from Stacey Klingenberg’s class served as student ambassadors during the visit. Senator Murray interacted with students in Berta Herrera-Trejo, Tina Brennan and Heidi Cohan’s classrooms during the 45 minute visit. 

Parent volunteers still needed for Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee

Next month the district’s newly formed Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee will meet to begin its work. Parent volunteers representing each bilingual program campus and both middle schools are still needed. The study process includes a historical review of past and current district bilingual programs, examination of applicable state and federal laws, requirements and mandates associated with bilingual education programs, assessment of findings from the 2015-16 Bilingual Steering Team, deliberate parent and staff feedback opportunities and additional study and research as needed. The committee will convene in September and meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the District Office Boardroom. The Board of Directors has asked for program recommendations during the Feb. 21, 2017 school board meeting to be considered for implementation Fall of 2017.

How to apply:
Interested elementary school parents are asked to fill out an application and submit no later than 4 p.m. Tuesday, September 6. Application forms are available at Sharpstein, Edison, Green Park and Blue Ridge Elementary Schools and on the district web page – Bilingual Programs.

Submit completed forms by mail, email, or hand deliver to:
Walla Walla Public Schools
Attn: Christy Krutulis
364 S Park St
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Parents and staff determine how they wish to receive SchoolMessenger notifications

Parents and staff have the ability to set their preferences to determine how they wish to receive general messages from SchoolMessenger. Simply go to the district webpage and click on the SchoolMessenger logo and follow the instructions for setting your preferences. Those who also want to receive text messages, may follow the instructions below.

Text Message Sign Up Instructions:
1. Text 67587
2. Type in the word Yes
3. Send message

School Stories
Walla Walla High School graduate named school’s new Resource Officer

Walla Walla County Sheriff Deputy Allan Thonney is experiencing déjà vu this week following his new assignment as the Walla Walla High School Resource Officer. Twenty-one years ago Thonney walked the halls of Walla Walla High School as a senior graduating with the Class of 1995. Now he has been entrusted to help keep today’s staff and students safe and secure.

“I hope to assist in making the school a safe and productive campus,” Deputy Thonney said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to have a positive impact in so many different ways and assist a great group of people.”

Thonney was born and raised in Walla Walla. He continued his education at Walla Walla Community College where he received an Associate of Applied Science degree in diesel mechanics. He began his law enforcement career in College Place in 2008 before taking a position with the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Department in 2014. He is married and has three children. Thonney is a volunteer firefighter/EMT for District 8 Fire Department and he currently serves as a school board member for the Dixie School District. He enjoys spending time with his family, camping, traveling and fishing.

“I want students and those who are going to be future leaders to have a positive view of law enforcement,” Thonney said. “I want to help others and there is no better opportunity than here at Wa-Hi.”

Two Hearts Communications to broadcast Blue Devil sports

Walla Walla Public Schools has agreed to a three year contract (2016-2019) with Two Hearts Communications, LLC (KGDC) and local owner Rod Fazzari to provide radio broadcast coverage of Walla Walla High School varsity football and girls and boys varsity basketball games.

The broadcasts will be aired on KGDC 1320 AM and 92.9 FM. Two Hearts Communications, LLC (KGDC) will provide high quality radio broadcast services with a minimum of 30-40 mile coverage range for Walla Walla High School. Walla Walla High School teacher Jason Postlewait will handle football broadcast duties while Roy Elia will serve as the play-by-play broadcaster for basketball. Two Hearts Communications, LLC (KGDC) is also developing website services which will include audio archives of games, box scores and standings.

Radio Sports Broadcasts:
- Varsity Football, regular season and playoffs (home & away)
- Varsity Boys Basketball, regular season and playoffs (away)
- Girls Basketball, regular season and playoffs (away)
- Boys and Girls Basketball double-headers (home & away)
- Boys and Girls Basketball playoffs (home & away if only one team is competing, otherwise away games)

Paper Tigers documentary featuring Lincoln High School to air on Pivot.tv

Those who have not had the opportunity to watch the Paper Tigers documentary may tune to Pivot.tv Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of students attending Lincoln High School. The school staff have changed their approach to disciplining students and have created a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.

Area talent needed to support Sharpstein’s Wonderful Wuscial Wednesdays

Retired teacher and volunteer Kay Barga is looking for area artists to come share their musical talents including singing, dancing and instrument playing with Sharpstein Elementary students in support of the Wonderful Wuscial Wednesdays program. The program starts at 7:30 a.m. and concludes at 8:05 a.m. in Sharpstein’s gym. If you are interested in sharing your talents with students, contact Kay Barga, 529-3527 or bargabk@charter.net.

Walla Walla High School track facilities naming nominations due this fall

Nominations are now being accepted for naming of the new Walla Walla High School Track. This process will honor an individual who has greatly contributed to Walla Walla High School, WA-Hi Athletics, and has been a positive member of the greater Walla Walla community.
Criteria for consideration:
- Demonstrates exceptional achievement in educational service and/or athletics
- Positive role model for current and future students

Nomination Instructions:
Include one-page summary description and three (3) one-page letters of support.
Summary description must include:
- Individual name and current contact information (home address, email and telephone)
- Years of service to WWPS/Wa-Hi
- Name and contact information of nominator
- Brief examples of educational and career accomplishments
- Brief examples of personal and civic achievement
- Brief listing of awards or honors received
- Conclusion statement summarizing why you believe this nominee should be honored
Nomination packets are due October 7, 2016.
Send completed packets to:
- Pete Peterson, Principal / 509.527.3020 / ppeterson@wwps.org
- 800 Abbott Road
- Walla Walla, WA 99362

Community Stories
Sporleder invited to White House to present on trauma-informed approaches in school

Retired Lincoln High School principal and Children’s Resilience Initiative member Jim Sporleder has been invited participate in the Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline meeting Monday, September 19, at the White House. The White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG), the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality (Center on Poverty), and The National Crittenton Foundation (TNCF) extended the invitation. Sporleder will participate on a 50 minute panel with several other experts in this field and then lead a breakout session following the panel discussion.

“The September 19th convening will bring together a number of select states and districts, as well as key researchers and experts in this topic, and nonprofit partners who have demonstrated a strong commitment to improving supports and outcomes for this vulnerable population,” said Kalisha Dessources, White House Policy Advisor to the Council on Women and Girls. “This convening will help participants focus on addressing one specific such barrier: improving school systems’ approach to better serve girls of color who have experienced trauma.”

Carnegie Picture Lab seeking volunteers to support elementary art program

Looking for a rewarding and fun way to volunteer in your child’s classroom? Become a Carnegie Picture Lab volunteer. Learn about art history, meet new people and bring smiles to the faces of elementary students.

To participate, attend a volunteer training workshop on:
- Wednesday, September 14 at 5:30-7 p.m.
- Thursday, September 15 at 10-11:30 a.m.
- Trainings Location: Picture Lab studio at 515 E. Main Street
- For more information write: info@carnegiepicturelab.com, or visit: www.carnegiepicturelab.com

Parents, coaches, educators, athletes invited to hear Seahawks doctor discuss concussions

- Concussion Summit – Heads up on Concussions: Lesson from the Frontline
- Monday, Sept. 26
- 7 to 8:30 p.m.
- Walla Walla Community College (Building E. Health Sciences & Performing Arts Auditorium)
- FREE (School staff will be offered two free clock hours through the WIAA)

Participants will learn about the signs and symptoms of concussions and how to recognize the condition. They will also learn about how the healthcare community addresses and manages patients suffering from concussions. Seattle Seahawks and Mariners team physician Dr. Stan Herring is one of the featured speakers. Attorney Melissa Carter will discuss legal issues in the area of traumatic brain and spinal injuries and Zachery Lystedt and his parents will discuss the state’s 2009 Lystedt Law. Learn more at: psmfoundation@providence.org.

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