Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 14, 2016

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board special meeting and regular meeting – Tuesday, Oct. 18

- Tuesday, Oct. 18
- 5 p.m.: Special meeting/work session – quantitative data review and book study discussion to support strategic planning
- 6:30 p.m.: Regular meeting
- Both meetings open to the public
- WWPS District Office Anne Golden Boardroom

Superintendent featured speaker for Whitman Make a Difference Day

Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Wade Smith is the featured speaker of the Whitman College Make-A-Difference Day event Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Reid Center. Whitman students will engage in a variety of projects in support of non-profit organizations in the Walla Walla Valley as part this national day of service event.

Dorn: Court Did Little More than ‘Kick the Can’

The Supreme Court filed a ruling in the McCleary case. Below is a statement from State Superintendent Randy Dorn on the ruling.
OLYMPIA—OCTOBER 7, 2016—I was more than a little disheartened by the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling. Until yesterday, I held out hope that at least the Court understood the importance of the issue.
But now I can count them as more leaders in this state who don’t want to push the hard button to ensure equity in education for all students in Washington. On its face, McCleary is about funding. As the Court ruled nearly five years ago, the state isn’t providing adequate education funding for our students.
But McCleary is about much more than that. It’s about Zip codes. It’s about the haves and the have-nots. It’s about a funding system – and therefore, an education system – that widens the chasm between wealthy and poor.
And the Court’s response to this chasm? They want to wait yet another session to see what the Legislature does. They want to kick the can. Sure, we can wait another session. That won’t be a problem in wealthy districts. Voters there pass bonds, which help build new schools. They pass levies, which can pay extra for teachers, giving those students access to higher quality teaching. But in poor districts, individual homeowners have to pay more for the same levy amounts. Students in those areas simply aren’t getting the same 21st century education opportunities as students in wealthy districts.
I worried that in an election year the Court would do nothing. I filed a lawsuit in July because this issue must be resolved. The Legislature has to fix the over dependency districts have on local levies. The Legislature cannot keep passing bills that force districts to spend local levy dollars on basic education. That is the state’s responsibility, not each district’s.
In August I likened the Court to a parent who begs and pleads for the child to clean her room. The child keeps saying, “I will, I will.” The child cleans her closet some, and maybe straightens up her desk, but that’s it. What should a parent do in this situation?
Certainly not to wait a year and ask again. That’s where we are now. We’re waiting yet another session and hoping the Legislature cleans its room. Our children deserve better – much better. Our children deserve a world-class education. Our children deserve leaders who don’t bow to political pressure. Our children deserve leaders who care about them every day and every year.

Dorn: My Budgets Provide Equity for All Students

Dorn: My Budgets Provide Equity for All Students
Recently State Superintendent Randy Dorn submitted his budget proposals for the 2017-19 biennium. Below is a statement on the proposal.

OLYMPIA—OCTOBER 13, 2016—When I ran for state superintendent in 2008, I had two primary issues: Replace the then-existing state testing system (the WASL) and achieve full state funding of basic education for all students. The first has been done. There is still some disagreement about testing, but nothing like the controversy and unrest we saw when half our students were failing the math WASL and were threatened with not being allowed to graduate. The tests we have now better measure the skills students need to be successful in their lives.

But the second still needs work. A lot of work.This past week I submitted my budget proposals (operating and capital) for the 2017-19 biennium. I won’t be in office to see the budgets through. But after nearly eight years in office, I am confident that the proposals lay out what needs to be done so that equitable funding is achieved in Washington. The McCleary court case – in which the Supreme Court held that the state isn’t meeting its constitutional obligation to adequately fund basic education – has produced positive results. Funding has increased in materials, supplies and operating costs, as well as in technology. And we’ve moved to a more realistic transportation funding system that meets the needs of most districts.

But the overall funding system still lacks equity in how money is given to districts – specifically with the biggest ticket items salaries and capital projects. Regarding salaries, the state simply doesn’t allocate enough money to districts for employees. There are many examples to choose from, but here’s a simple one: In 2014-15, districts spent nearly $14,000 per teacher more than the state gave them for that teacher’s salary.

How many times do we need to say this: Forcing districts to raise and spend levy dollars on basic education is unconstitutional and also flat wrong. My total operating budget request for 2017-19 is $3.8 billion, of which $3.5 billion would go toward meeting the requirements of McCleary. That includes increases in teacher salaries at the state level, as well as money to address our growing teacher shortage, money to continue with class-size reductions, and other needed expenses.

My budget, if enacted, will dramatically reduce the dependence on local levies, a dependency that created and continues to exacerbate the equity issue. Wealthy districts have no problem passing levies, while poorer districts struggle. Washington cannot claim to provide, in the powerful words of our state constitution, “ample provision for the education of all children” if this disparity continues. My capital budget also focuses on equity. I propose spending $5.7 billion in the next biennium. Simply put, it’s not possible to educate our children if they don’t have a place to be educated. Adequate classrooms and support space are essential, as are safe and healthy learning environment.

Construction of K-12 schools is a partnership between the state and school districts. But that partnership is threatened on two levels. First, the state uses an out-of-date formula, which does not provide the full cost of school construction for our student’s 21st century needs. Second, the partnership itself can’t even begin until the district passes a bond, by a supermajority vote (more than 60 percent of the votes).

That’s an even higher burden than for levies, and I’ve said many times that our funding system is unequal regarding levies. My capital budget will create partnerships between the state and districts more easily. The budget will:

Fully fund the School Construction Assistance Program, raising the funding drivers to fund the entire cost of school construction, renovations and land acquisition, eliminate the local matching requirement, and ensure equity in school construction; Provide new grant funding to allow districts to address school facility health and safety issues, such as remediation for lead in drinking water and increased access for disabled students; Provide funding for career and technical education, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, by investing in STEM science classrooms and labs, including skill centers; and Continue funding Healthy Kids/Healthy School grants to support healthy schools, which impact student health. Poorer districts face the same problems raising bonds – which are used to fund renovating and/or building schools – as they do raising levies. Our funding systems favor the wealthy. That must change. We need long-term investments in education. For much too long some of our children have not had access to a quality education. For much too long, our funding system has forced districts into asking their citizens to shoulder more and more of the costs.

At some point this system will tumble, as it did in the 1970s, when citizens rejected levies and teachers were let go and students suffered. Nobody wants that to happen again. I hope the Legislature finally, finally fulfills their constitutional responsibility in 2017.

Community outreach sessions and survey to gain input for Strategic Plan development

Walla Walla Public Schools is planning a series of community and staff outreach sessions in English and Spanish to get input to inform a long-range Strategic Planning initiative currently underway. These engagement sessions are designed to help the school board and administration gain insight on the district’s strengths as well as opportunities for growth. Two school board members and the superintendent will be leading each of the sessions.

The district has launched an online survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XH89859) open through Oct. 21, in English and Spanish, also aimed at gathering input on these critical issues. The survey input and feedback from the outreach sessions, in addition to recent listening sessions, data and engagements, will be used in the development of a new Vision, Mission and Values statement for the school district. The data will also be included in discussions as the district develops measurable goals and detailed initiatives to support today’s learning needs as part of the five-year strategic plan. The new Strategic Plan is expected to be completed by June 2017.

Strategic Plan Community Outreach Series (remaining events):
· Staff Session: Tuesday, Oct. 18: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Walla Walla High School Library
· Staff Session: Wednesday, Oct. 19: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.: Berney Elementary Library
· Parent/Community Session (English): Monday, Oct. 24: 6 to 7 p.m.: District Office Anne Golden Boardroom
· Staff Session: Thursday, Oct. 27, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Garrison Middle School Library

Strategic Plan Survey
· Survey is open now to Oct. 21
· Link will be available on district website: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XH89859
· Survey is in English and Spanish

Ready for Kindergarten parent workshops begin next week 

- Ready for Kindergarten parent workshops (classes begin next week)
- Classes ideal for parents with children ages 1-5
- These workshops provide families with materials and information on how to engage your child at home in playful learning experiences
- Register online at readyforkindergarten.org or call Pam Clayton at 526-6785

Blue Mountain Community Foundation awards several grants in support of Lincoln High School

Grant – Student Incentives Program at Lincoln High School: $275
Grant – Career Readiness Program at Lincoln High School: $750
Grant – College Experience Program at Lincoln High School: $1650

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, Lincoln High School and myself, thank you for the generous donations from the Walla Walla Valley Care Net Fund and First Fruits Fund,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “We so appreciate Blue Mountain Community Foundation’s continuous support of the student in Walla Walla Public Schools.”

Walla Walla Public Schools Celebrate Afterschool Programs at Kids Day

Local afterschool programs use the Balloon Stampede to focus on the importance of afterschool

Wednesday, Walla Walla Public Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program joined the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide series of rallies for afterschool programs organized by the Afterschool Alliance.

The Lights On Afterschool rally featured representatives from all five WWPS afterschool programs (Blue Ridge, Garrison, Pioneer, Wa-Hi, and Lincoln). The representatives engaged parents, kids and community members during the Kids Day event at the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede.

The current Walla Walla Public Schools 21st Century Community Learning Center grant was awarded in 2013. It serves 500+ children per year, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and clubs in sports, digital technology, computer science, 3D printing & animation, healthy living, art, music, STEM and many other subjects/interest areas. More information is available at www.wwps.org. Brent Cummings is the program director.

School Stories
Scholarship Junkies® to visit Walla Walla High School

Walla Walla High School and WSU GEAR UP will host Scholarship Junkies® on campus October 28. This service helps connect high school students with scholarships and provides free one on one feedback, editing, and revision of scholarship applications from students who have won national scholarships. Scholarship Junkies® strives to help students learn how to best articulate their talents, skills, and life stories through their own personal scholarship application process.

Blue Devil Future Week schedule of events:
- Monday, Oct. 24 - ALL DAY College and Career Fair Wa-Hi Large Gym
- Tuesday, Oct. 25 - 5:30 to 7 p.m., FAFSA/WASFA Night Wa-Hi library
- Wednesday, Oct. 26 – 7 p.m., Applying to Selective Colleges with Tony Cabasco Wa-Hi Library
- Friday, Oct. 28 - ALL Senior Assembly featuring Scholarship Junkies®

For more information and for a schedule of participating colleges and universities contact; Rachel Hicks rhicks@wwps.org or 509-526-8621

Berney student surprises teacher with gift package

This week Berney Elementary third grade teacher Angela Bona was pleasantly surprised when her student LJ Garza arrived to school with his grandfather Alfonso Garza with a surprise gift of school supplies. Garza is employed at Packing Corporation of America (Boise Cascade) and won the company safety trivia contest which allowed him to choose a teacher for the grand prize package. The prize package included a case of paper, sharpies, highlighters, pencils, hand sanitizer, tissues and a $150 Walmart gift card from PCA. This surprise presentation was made in front of Bona’s class. 

Halloween Dance supports Youth and Government Program

Walla Walla High School students involved in the YMCA and 21st Century Youth and Government Program are planning The Big Halloween Party to help raise funds for trips to Olympia and Washington, DC later this school year.
- Monday, Oct. 31
- 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
- Foundry Vineyards Building
- Tickets: $10 online (wallawallaparty.com) or $13 at the door (only 200 tickets available)
- Dance, costume and make-up contest, photo booth, pumpkin carving contest – cash prizes
- This is not a Walla Walla Public Schools sponsored event

Lincoln High School students team with drive-in to support drama

The Milton Freewater Drive-In is showing “Little Shop of Horrors” Saturday, October 22. A portion of the proceeds will go to Lincoln High School in support of the school’s spring play.

Dogs get to play at National Honor Society fundraiser

The Walla Walla High School National Honor Society (NHS) is organizing a student donation drive for the Christian Aid Center the week of Oct. 17 to 21. The homeroom which collects the most donations will win prizes. NHS is also teaming with the Blue Mountain Humane Society October 22. Students will set up an obstacle course for dogs and invite the community to bring their pet to walk through the obstacle course.  Participants are asked to donate money or items to meet the needs of the Blue Mountain Humane Society. 

Garrison Cookie Dough sale sets new record

Garrison Middle School students recently completed its annual Cookie Dough sale with a record breaking total of $53,939. Congratulations to students Sonora Arevalo and Brooklyn Rogers for earning the titles of top sellers, each with more than $970 in sales. Emiliano Lopez also raised over $900.

“Garrison Middle School would like to thank the community for its support of this sale,” said Shelly Crump, who helped coordinate the event. “The money raised helps support our extracurricular activities like Drama Club, Millennials and assemblies, such as the 5th Avenue Theatre traveling company, which will be visiting Garrison in April.”

Band students to perform at 2016 Western International Band Clinic 

Congratulations to the following Walla Walla High School Wind Ensemble students for being selected to perform in the 2016 Western International Band Clinic Nov.18-21 in Sea-Tac. WIBC is an honor band festival similar to All-State, but is only concert bands and draws from students from all over the Northwest, according to Band Director Andrew Ueckert.

“There are four concert bands of approximately 150-165 members each rehearsing and performing with top flight collegiate/professional conductors,” Ueckert said. “Approximately 900 students auditioned for the 650 slots.”

2016 Western International Band Clinic Performers:
- Jena Peiterson, Freshman Clarinet (1st time)
- Tommy Kaminsky, Freshman Flute (1st time)
- Ezekiel Thompson, Sophomore Tuba (1st time)
- Keeli McKern, Sophomore Clarinet (2nd time)
- Stella Gryler, Senior Trombone (3rd time)
- Renee Heller, Senior Clarinet (3rd time)
- Hannah Cabasco, Senior Clarinet (4th time)

Mr. Whitman fundraiser supports Health Center and Lincoln High School students

Seven men will vie for the title of Mr. Whitman 2016 this fall in the 15th annual fundraising contest organized by the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Of the eight contestants, half are nominated by their respective fraternities, while half are independently nominated by Kappa Kappa Gamma’s philanthropy committee.

“We chose the health center because of their obvious passion and the impact they have made in the lives of students,” said Meghan Ash, event co-chair. “Throughout the campaign, members of the fraternity and the male contestants participating have been fundraising and making an effort to connect with the community at Lincoln High School.”

More than 20 Kappa volunteers traveled to Lincoln High School September 30 to help chaperone the dance and interact with the students. Whitman student volunteers are also supporting the afterschool care programs to put more Kappa members on Lincoln’s campus.

“We hope to continue the relationship we have made with Lincoln High School by hopefully helping with their prom in the spring,” Ash said.

To donate please go to: https://www.crowdrise.com/15th-annual-mr-whitman/fundraiser/

Mr. Whitman Schedule of Events
October 15 & 16: Lincoln High School students’ art work will be displayed at the Farmer’s Market for a “vote with your dollar” event. Proceeds will go to the Lincoln Health Center. The art is focused on a theme of “Resilience.”

October 17: Lincoln High School Juniors and Seniors travel to Whitman campus for college readiness event sponsored by the Mr. Whitman crew from 1 to 2 p.m.

October 21: Silent Auction in the Reid Campus Center from 3 to 7 p.m.

October 22: Whitman College Parents Weekend. A free showing of the movie Paper Tigers. Following the movie, another “vote with your dollar” and silent action event with Lincoln student artwork is planned. Proceeds to go to the Lincoln Health Center.

Community Stories
Rick Griffin to discuss self-discovery as part of Resilience Month series

October is Resilience Month. Teri Barila is coordinating the activities. Next up is a speech by Rick Griffin.
- Oct. 18: 7 to 8 p.m. at YWCA - Join Rick Griffin for a self-discovery, high energy event. Learn more and register at: http://www.resiliencetrumpsaces.org

High Schools Scholarship Fund continues to grow

Walla Walla Public High Schools Scholarship Fund founder Jerry Zahl reports the fund currently has in investments and short term pledges, more than $69,000.

“This has accrued in only four years, and has already provided nearly $5,500 in scholarship assistance,” said Zahl. “The WA-HI graduating class of 1966 just did a very respectable job of raising over $1,966 which will be matched by Walla Walla High School Class of 1962 graduate Garth Lindsey.”

The health and welfare of the Scholarship Fund is due to continued support from community members, Alumni, WA-HI Class Reunion support, and sound investment management by the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, according to Zahl. The fund began as a 50th Reunion Gift from the Class of 1962 and structured so that anyone can give, at any time.

- Checks should be made out to the Blue Mountain Community Foundation and marked WWPHS-SF, ( Walla Walla Public High Schools Scholarship Fund)
- All gifts are tax deductible, and receipts are issued promptly
- Gifts can also be made online to bluemountainfoundation.org

“Any class planning a reunion can call me at 509 522 0259, or the Foundation at 509 529 4371 if they would like to have additional information about the fund,” Zahl said.

D.A.R.E. Spaghetti Feed on Oct. 31st, Halloween Evening

- Bacon & Eggs downtown Walla Walla
- 4 to 7 p.m.
- $5/plate or $20/ family of five
- Funds help raise money for the D.A.R.E. program in Walla Walla Valley
- Questions or information: www.ww-sf.org or call 629-1436

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) is an international education program that seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior. D.A.R.E., which has expanded globally since its founding in 1983, is a demand-side drug control strategy of the American War on Drugs. Students who enter the program sign a pledge not to use drugs or join gangs and are taught by our Deputy Edwards about the dangers of drug use through an interactive in-school curriculum which lasts several weeks. The D.A.R.E. program is currently in WW County Schools, but is in need of ongoing funding.

Free event allows area baseball and softball players to meet Lewis-Clark State College baseball coach

The Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball Organization is bringing Jeremiah Robbins, head coach of the NAIA National Champion Lewis-Clark State College Warrior baseball team, to talk with local baseball and softball players. Robbins will talk to players at the softball field at Walla Walla Community College at 3 p.m. on Oct. 15. The event is free and open to all baseball and softball players, although Robbins talk will be focused more toward those in high school and middle school. If the weather does not cooperate, the event will be moved inside to the dining area at WWCC. Players will have an opportunity to meet Robbins and hear him talk about what it takes to play baseball and softball at the college level and improve as a player. Local coaches are also invited to the event.

Since taking over the L-C State program for the 2013 season, he has led the Warriors to the final game of the Avista-NAIA World Series each year. The Warriors have won the national title the past two seasons, making that a total of 18 titles for the storied program since 1984. The meeting with Robbins is sponsored in conjunction with the 33rd Annual WWVYB&S Dinner-Auction, which begins at 5 p.m. that night at the Titus Creek Cafe at WWCC. Robbins will be the featured speaker at the dinner-auction event. Tickets are $40 each and include dinner. Tickets are still available, although seating is limited to 200. Tickets at the Walla Walla Visitors Center, 26 E. Main St., or by contacting Board President Rick Eskil at 509-520-4390, Board Treasurer Zach Armijo at 509-200-1265 or Board member Andy Coleman at 509-520-1937. If tickets are still available at the day of the event they can be purchased at Robbins’ talk with players and at the door.

City Parks & Recreation community update

Indoor Soccer Registration is now open
Kindergarten - 8th Grade
$50 - Registration Deadline is Thursday, November 17
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to: http://www.wwpr.us
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