Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 21, 2016

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

Remember to Vote - November 8 General Election

Ballots have been mailed to registered voters for the November 8 General Election. Ballots are due Tuesday, Nov. 8. Please remember to vote. Contact the Walla Walla County Elections Office for additional information – (509) 524-2530.

Enrollment above budget projections

Executive Director of Business Services Ted Cohan reported the district’s official enrollment count for October is 5792 FTE. This figure, which includes Running Start and Alternative Education Programs at Walla Walla Community College, is 32 students above budget projections. Cohan says he expects the 2016-2017 enrollment count to remain slightly above the 5760 FTE budget projection. 

Strategic planning process shifts to quantitative data review 

Tuesday evening, school board members conducted a special meeting for a quantitative data review in support of the Strategic Plan Initiative. Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis, Director of Assessment Kerri Coffman and Assistant Superintendent Chris Gardea coordinated the data collection project, which includes 35 performance indicators. A snapshot of this data is available on the district website under the Strategic Plan tab. Information being studied includes student demographics, state test scores, attendance, discipline and graduation rates. School board members will include this data, as well as qualitative data, survey results, input from focus groups and individual feedback recently gathered, as it develops new vision, mission and values statements as part of the Strategic Planning process. The district is scheduled to finalize its new five-year Strategic Plan in June, 2017.

Parent and community Strategic Plan Listening Session Monday 

Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors invites parents and community members to share their input to inform a long-range Strategic Planning initiative currently underway during a public meeting Monday, Oct. 24 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the district office Anne Golden Boardroom (364 S. Park St.) This engagement session is 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 the session. The district has one staff listening session remaining Oct. 27 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Garrison Middle School. 

Personnel Report (from October 18, 2016 School Board Meeting)

Classified: Erin Bren, Para-Educator (temporary), Green Park Elementary School
Ingrid Olsen-Young, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School
Alexis Vezina, Bus Assistant, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op

Classified: Debbie Adamson, Kitchen Assistant, Green Park Elementary School, 6 months
Myrna Notturno, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 15 years
- Myrna will continue in her position as Bus Driver
Tamara Willis, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School, 1 year

Community members get behind the scenes look at schools during Superintendent’s Patron Tour

Wednesday, a diverse group of patrons, ranging from parents, grandparents, and community leaders, spent half of their day visiting classrooms, interacting with teachers, and conversing with students during the Fall Superintendent’s Patron Tour. The adventure for these 21 community members began at SEA-TECH where guests learned about the amazing nurse-prep/CNA program in Health Sciences where some even had their blood pressure checked. They also interacted with the digital media strand where students were busy coding and developing gaming platforms for today’s high-demand technology field. The electrical/construction tech program students were busy building tiny houses for homeless families, complete with solar capabilities, while manufacturing and welding tech program students were preparing for Boeing representatives who are coming to Walla Walla soon to recruit prospective future employees.

The next stop on the tour was Sharpstein Elementary where guests visited three classrooms, including dual classrooms where students were engaged in partner work, a physics and motion science experiment and authentic language instruction where plants the students had grown were being used as the basis for their writing prompts. Pioneer Middle School was the final destination for school visits. Guests visited an AVID classroom where students were discussing the differences between goals and dreams. Patrons also witnessed a rigorous honors/Highly Capable class challenging our higher-end learners, in addition to a hands-on science classroom where students were using microscopes studying cell structures and parts. The visit also provided an opportunity for community members to see the new Health Center, where Dr. Kirby and her colleagues were busy attending to student needs, both physical and emotional, sharing they already have had to increase mental health staff just two months into the school year to address the growing population of student needs.

Following the school visits, Superintendent Wade Smith debriefed with the community visitors over lunch, where they shared what they had witnessed throughout the morning.

“To no ones’ surprise, all of them were extremely impressed by what they saw; dedicated staff, engaged students, caring adults, etc. Just as intriguing, was many guests commented on how different schools are now compared to when they attended,” said Smith. “We spent quite some time discussing trauma, poverty, ACE’s, special education, second language learners, and many other challenges that were not commonly faced even 10-15 years ago to the level and severity we are addressing and supporting them today.”

The district will plan another Patron Tour in the coming months in support of the district’s community outreach program. Look for more details coming soon.

WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor announces GEAR UP grant renewal

It is my pleasure to announce that on August 29, the WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP program received its seventh grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The new grant is for approximately $25 million over seven years and named “Harvest of Hope.”

Many thanks to Chuck Hallsted, director of the GEAR UP program, for his hard work and dedication in bringing this significant grant to fruition. The purpose of this grant is to prepare students in low-income schools to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The grant serves 4,500 students in nine partner districts: Walla Walla, College Place, Dayton, Prescott, Touchet, Kennewick, Othello, Warden, Moses Lake, and Soap Lake. The grant will allow WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP staff to serve students in the 14 middle schools and then follow the cohort through high school and into their first year in college or other post-secondary school.

Additionally, the WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP program will hire close to 100 new employees to work directly with students in middle schools. Services include in-class tutoring, mentoring, field trips to colleges, career exploration, after school programs, summer programs, technology, professional development for teachers, and developing soft skills for success.

The grant works collaboratively with the district partners to ensure an effective team approach to reach the grant goals to increase academic performance, completion of rigorous courses, high school on time graduation, post-secondary enrollment and knowledge of financial aid and post-secondary education. Please join me in congratulating Chuck Hallsted and the GEAR UP staff.

Warm Regards,

H. Keith Moo-Young, Ph.D., P.E.

Fill the Bus event helps stock food bank shelves

The district continues to support the Realtors Care and Share annual Food Drive. Last Saturday, students, parents and staff volunteered in support of the Fill the Bus event. A total of 4,201 pounds of food was collected during the event which features district school buses parked in front of local grocery stores. Thanks to teacher Lori Finn for organizing the event. Food Drive collection barrels remain at all schools and the district office through the end of the month. Several schools are organizing contests and other incentives to encourage participation. 

Maintenance: Roof project helps preserve community asset

Maintenance continues to be a priority as local business Elsom Roofing recently replaced the aging district office roof. This project is another example of the district’s commitment to maintenance through asset preservation. Other recent examples of district maintenance include HVAC replacements at Green Park Elementary and remodeled bathrooms at Garrison Middle School. 

New fire suppression system protects server room

A new fire suppression system was installed in the district office to protect the Technology Department server room which houses thousands of dollars of high-tech computer equipment. The new HFC-125 Fire Suppression System uses a special gas to remove oxygen from the air to extinguish the fire. The previous water sprinkler system would have destroyed all the equipment if activated. In addition to the replacement costs of the server room equipment, the new system also helps ensure internet services, server files and other data applications remain operational at all times.

Students join Great ShakeOut Earthquake drills

Walla Walla High School students joined the estimated 20 million other Americans participating in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake drill October 20. Students learned to Drop, Cover and Hold in case of an earthquake. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness.

School Stories
Providence partnership promotes lifelong health and fitness interests

Fourth grade students across the district are focused on staying more active thanks to the district’s partnership with the Providence St. Mary Foundation through a Healthy Youth Initiative using Sqord Activity Pods. Providence recently donated Sqord PowerPods for every fourth grader in the district. Schools also received Syncing stations (IPads) for Physical Education teachers.

For the first time ever, the current generation is expected to live five years less than their parents. Currently 12.5 million children and adolescents in the United States are obese. Sqord devices are lightweight, waterproof and track all sorts of movement. Students can convert their activity into points connected to special awards inside the Sqord App. Walla Walla Public Schools joins Providence St. Mary Foundation in its commitment to help students track their activity and find more ways to create a culture of physical fitness and healthy behaviors.

Pioneer Middle School students to perform in Dia de los Muertos festival this weekend

After studying its own Shakespearean play this quarter (Twelfth Night) in Megan Cabasco’s class, eight Pioneer Middle School students are performing in a FREE dramatic presentation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth Sunday, October 23 at 12 and 2 p.m. at the GESA Powerhouse Theatre, in cooperation with the Whitman Theatre Department. The event is in support of the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

“I’m very proud of them for taking the risk to bring Shakespeare to life on stage as a final project for our unit,” Cabasco said. “Special thanks to Nelly Vargas-Pilares and Professor Kenn Watt for working with them.”

Pioneer Middle School student performers:
Braden Holgate
Evie Sisk
Kaeldra Caton
Paula Vargas-Pilares
Alexis Davis
Katelyn Fundak
Dominic Bayer
Noah Butler

Lincoln High School create Dia de los Muertos altar

Lincoln High School students, under the direction of art teacher Jayne Eacker and 21st Century Jeremy Gradwohl, designed an altar for this weekend’s Dia de los Muertos event at the GESA Powerhouse Theatre. Students will be in attendance throughout the event cranking the mechanical ferris wheel designed with skeletons and other fitting themes. 

Wa-Hi student wins trap shooting championship

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School freshman Nicholas Carpenter for taking the title at the Inland Empire Trap Association’s Handicap Championship event. Carpenter shot 96/100 targets to defeat all competitors from all age groups ranging from 14 to 92 years of age. Carpenter is in his first year shooting with the Walla Walla Gun Club team. He also won a coveted Washington State Trap Shooting Association silver dollar belt buckle. Carpenter’s mother Michelle is the Principal at Berney Elementary. 

Annual Trunk-or-Treat event offers public a safe Halloween experience

The Walla Walla High School Key Club is hosting the annual Truck-or-Treat Halloween event and canned food drive on Monday, October 31 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Walla Walla High School. School clubs decorate their cars and hand out candy to trick or treaters. The public is invited to join the fun. Please donate a can of food in support of the event. 

Pioneer Middle School National Junior Honor Society students support Christian Aid Center

Pioneer Middle School National Junior Honor Society students recently volunteered at the Christian Aid Center by preparing and serving dinner to 59 citizens of Walla Walla.

“With gratitude, students recognized the reward in serving others,” said Advisor Alba Biagi. “Pioneer NJHS strives to make an impact in our community and expose students to the ways they can make a difference in their community.”

Inspiring Curiosity with Science Exploration: Family Science Nights 2016-2017

Whitman College Science Outreach Coordinator Heidi Chapin has organized a series of events to make science fun while exploring concepts big and small through its Elementary Family Science Nights program. Berney Elementary kicked off this year’s activities Thursday night. Hands-on activities include:
- Make Ice Cream
- Make a Fossil
- Build a Catapult
- Investigate Slime
- Disappearing Ink
- Microscopes: What is hidden in plain sight?
- Meet a Snake
- How do birds build nests? (sponsored by Audubon Society)
- Every Kid in a Park (sponsored by National Forest Service/National Park Service)

Family Science Nights 2016-2017 series dates:
Oct. 20- Berney (completed)
Nov. 17- Sharpstein
Jan. 19-Prospect Pt
Jan. 26 Green Park
Feb. 16- Davis
March 9- Blue Ridge
April 20- Edison

Blue Ridge teams with Commitment to Community to give back to community

Ruben Hernandez, 21st CCLC Site Coordinator at Blue Ridge Elementary, reports students in the Community Involvement Club Talent After School Program have partnered with BMAC Commitment to Community to organize activities to give back to the community. C2C neighborhood organizer Maria Alonso is coordinating the Community Involvement Club. Students recently toured the Walla Walla Fire Department. As part of their visit, students delivered hand written thank you cards to local firemen and veterans.

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

Whitman College Admissions Dean to share college application advice

Tony Cabasco, Whitman College Dean of Admissions, is presenting an informative session on “How to Apply for Selective Colleges and Universities.” Wednesday October 26 at 7 p.m. in the Wa-Hi library. Cabasco will give students and parents the information they need to navigate the admissions process at any institute of higher learning. 

Community Stories
Mr. Whitman features Paper Tigers Saturday afternoon

The 2016 Mr. Whitman fundraiser is supporting The Health Center at Lincoln High School this year. One of the fundraising activities includes a free public showing of the Paper Tigers documentary Saturday at 4 p.m. at Maxey Auditorium as part of Whitman College Parents Weekend. Following the movie, another “vote with your dollar” and silent auction event with Lincoln student artwork is planned. Proceeds go to the Lincoln Health Center.

“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.”
Monday, Lincoln High School Juniors and Seniors traveled to Whitman campus for a college readiness event sponsored by the Mr. Whitman. Friday, a Silent Auction in the Reid Campus Center is planned from 3 to 7 p.m.

Seven men will vie for the title of Mr. Whitman 2016 in the 15th annual fundraising contest organized by the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma next Friday at Whitman College.

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 the 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 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.

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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