Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - November 11, 2016

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
American Education Week – 'In the Business of Saving Lives' by Superintendent Wade Smith

As we approach American Education Week, November 14-18, I felt it timely to highlight a recent event that helps convey the amazing learning taking place in Walla Walla Public Schools. A few weeks prior I had the privilege of showcasing our district to over 20 community stakeholders as part of our recently-revitalized Superintendent Patron Tour Program. A diverse group of stakeholders, ranging from parents, grandparents, and community leaders, we spent an entire morning visiting classrooms, interacting with teachers, and conversing with students.

We started off touring the four programs at SEA-Tech, Walla Walla’s regional high school skills center located adjacent to Walla Walla Community College. While there, we learned about our amazing nurse-preparatory/CNA program as students demonstrated their skills providing blood pressure checks on many of us. We interacted with the digital media strand where students were busy coding and developing gaming platforms, a high-demand field we hope will supply our new Walla Walla tech company, Ingeniux, with a qualified workforce down the road. We were amazed by the electrical and construction tech program’s accomplishments as they continue their efforts building tiny houses for homeless families. And we finished off our SEA-Tech tour awe-struck by the products our manufacturing and welding tech program is producing, catching the eye of Boeing representatives who see our program as a recruiting site for prospective future employees.
Following SEA-Tech we spent over an hour visiting amazing teaching and learning taking place at Sharpstein Elementary where we had just enough time to visit three classrooms. In the first session, we saw graceful facilitation of learning in a two-way dual classroom with purposeful and engaged partner work. We then visited a physics and motion science experiment taking place in an elementary classroom, followed by an authentic language instruction lesson, where plants that students had grown were being used as the basis for their writing prompts.

Before our lunch we swung by Pioneer Middle School, spending nearly an hour visiting an AVID classroom where students were discussing the differences between goals and dreams, caught the tail-end of a rigorous Honors/Highly Capable class challenging our higher-end learners, in addition to a hands-on science classroom where engaged pupils were using microscopes studying cell structures and parts. On our way out, many of us also had the opportunity to visit the new Health Center at Pioneer, where Dr. Kirby and her colleagues were busy attending to student needs, both physical and emotional. As we visited with their staff we learned first-hand how mental health conditions negatively impact our students and their learning, and how the number of affected youth continues to grow across our community.

Once completing the tour, we had the chance to reflect with the community visitors over lunch, as they commented on what they had witnessed throughout the morning. To no ones’ surprise, the guests were extremely impressed by what they saw; dedicated staff, engaged students, and caring adults. Just as intriguing, was the themed feedback pertaining to “how different” schools are now compared to when many of them attended. We spent some time discussing trauma, poverty, ACE’s, mental health, special education, second language learners, engagement strategies, and other considerations, that were not commonly faced even 10-15 years ago to the level and severity we are addressing and supporting them today.

I took the opportunity to share with all of them that schools nowadays are no longer just in the business of teaching math, literacy, arts and sciences. Rather, we are expected and need to address considerably more issues while still ensuring students meet the high academic standards necessary for life-long success and prosperity. No doubt, it is a much more complex job today than it has ever been. An incredible role we all play, I shared with the patrons that most public schools now serve as the first and last line of defense for our students, as many of them are void of the role models, families, and supports that can “pick them up” if we are unable to fully engage them. And if we are usuccessfull “reaching” students, the unfortunate statistic is that it is more likely than not that anyone will. Although it is a tremendous and awesome responsibility, I know that it is one that my colleagues and I in Walla Walla Public Schools collectively embrace. Best stated by educational consultant Dr. Luis Cruz, “We can no longer think of ourselves as just being in the education business anymore...we are truly in the business of SAVING LIVES.”

Help me in congratulating the outstanding learning taking place in Walla Walla Public Schools as we celebrate American Education Week, November 14-18.

No School Friday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

There is no school Friday, Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans Day. Walla Walla Public Schools salutes all veterans, past and present, for their service and sacrifice. Help us all honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

School board special meeting and regular meeting – Tuesday, Nov. 15

5 p.m.: Special school board meeting to discuss new vision, mission and belief statements & Superintendent Evaluation process
6:30 p.m.: Regular school board meeting
Location: Anne Golden Boardroom (364 S. Park St.)
Both meetings open to the public

Bilingual committee plans parent meeting

The Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee (BERC) invites Walla Walla Public Schools parents to join them Wednesday, November 30 from 5 to 7:15 p.m. in the Sharpstein Elementary Library for a brief update. The update will include a review of district bilingual programming and an opportunity to gather parent input. The 5 to 6 p.m. presentation will be in English and the 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. presentation will be in Spanish.  If you are not able to join us you will be able to provide input in writing. Input forms will be available in each school and on the district website from December 1 to 8. We look forward to seeing and hearing from you. 

Middle School parents invited to Ready Math Family Night 

You may have noticed that your middle school student is not bringing home a math textbook like they might have in the past. That is because Walla Walla middle school math teachers are piloting new math materials that are designed to support middle school students in meeting college and career ready math standards. Please join us for an interactive discussion focused on these new materials: Ready Math and i-Ready.

You will come away from this session with answers to these questions:
· How were Ready Math materials designed to support my student in learning math?
· What is the i-Ready assessment and online instruction?
· How can I support my student at home with math?

Event details:
- Who: Middle school students in 6th, 7th or 8th grade math and their families
- When: Monday, November 28 from 7 to 8 p.m. (refreshments served)
- Where: Walla Walla High School Commons
- Information: Casey Monahan (cmonahan@wwps.org / 526-6783)

District teams with C2C for Blue Ridge neighborhood walk

Monday, district leaders teamed with C2C staff to walk the neighborhood around Blue Ridge as part of a community engagement activity. The group also shared information about a community meeting at Blue Ridge Thursday evening. The district has two more walks planned with C2C this school year. During Thursday’s community meeting at Blue Ridge, guests discussed what is working well in our schools, what needs improvement and how we can best work together.

Limited number of slots still available in preschool program – Sign up today!

The Walla Walla Public Schools Head Start/ECEAP preschool program is continuing to accept applications for the 2016-2017 school year. There are only a limited number of slots available so sign up today to ensure your child’s space in a high quality learning environment. This free half-day program is for qualifying children 3 or 4 years old. Food service is provided. Applications are available at Blue Ridge Elementary and on the Walla Walla Public Schools website. Call Ginger Calvario at (509) 526-1781 for more information. 

Principal of the Year nomination deadline draws near

The Association of Washington School Principals is accepting nominations for the 2016-2017 Principal of the Year through the end of November. Each year AWSP honors three principals from across the state.
Nomination Form Online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2017-POY

Highly Capable Referral Period scheduled for November 28, 2016 through January 6, 2017

Walla Walla School District’s Highly Capable Program Services provide students of high academic and intellectual ability with designated time to explore concepts in greater depth. The goal of the Highly Capable Program is to encourage the development of higher level thinking skills.

Information on the Highly Capable Program referral period is currently available on the district’s website. Referral forms will be available in all district schools and on the district website no later than November 28, 2016. Parents will be able to contact their child’s teacher or school learning specialist/counselor for more information.

The referral deadline is January 6, 2017 to avoid assessment schedule conflicts that typically occur in late February and early March. All referred students will be screened using norm-referenced standardized tests and teacher/classroom assessments and recommendations. Those who qualify for further testing will participate in cognitive abilities testing at their home schools. In all cases, parents will be notified of the results of the process, and a child not selected one year may be referred again in subsequent years.

Walla Walla School District Highly Capable Program Services focus on two domains: 1) general intellectual growth and exploration and 2) specific academic content areas. The specific academic focus areas are Mathematics, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies.

Highly Capable students are currently offered the following services, although programming is currently under review and updated information for 2017-18 and beyond will be available in early June:

Students in kindergarten through second grade, identified as Highly Capable, are served through the Response to Intervention (RtI) model in their home schools. The elementary principal or designee will work with classroom teachers to provide appropriate accelerated/enhanced learning opportunities. K-2 classroom/program options could include, but not be limited to: alternative activities, enrichment activities, flexible group learning, independent projects, advanced lessons, online or supplemental instruction.

For grades three through five, Highly Capable students can be served by Explorers, a pull-out program focusing on enriched Science and Mathematics academic experiences. Students may also be served under the RtI model at their home schools.
The middle school Highly Capable Services focus on the subject areas of English, Language Arts and Social Studies. Middle school services are incorporated into the school day through specific classes. Students are involved in inquiry- based lessons, group problem-solving settings, independent investigations and group discussions. Middle school Highly Capable students have an opportunity to take different levels of mathematics classes, based on their ability, test scores and recommendations from teachers. This same opportunity is extended to all students in grades six through eight at both middle schools.
Students previously identified as Highly Capable and transitioning to ninth grade will meet with high school counselors (or principal’s designee) for the purpose of course selection and access to advanced instruction. Teachers of high school Highly Capable students will know who has been identified and will be provided with professional development and/or instructional suggestions through the high school RtI team. Services for high school students can include, but are not limited to, honors or Advanced Placement classes, Running Start, independent study or online classes.

For more information, please contact the Walla Walla School District Teaching and Learning office: 526-6735.

School Stories

Trunk-or-Treat event helps local food bank

Walla Walla High School’s Halloween Trunk-or-Treat event was a huge success with more than 500 children in attendance. This year 120 Walla Walla High School students and staff volunteered in support of the event sponsored by the Key Club. A total of 600 pounds of food was collected for the Blue Mountain Food Bank. Congratulations to the Latino Club for having the best theme decorations with “Day of the Dead”. 

District students support Rotary tree planting project

Last weekend the Walla Walla Noon Rotary Club organized a tree planting project with the City of Walla Walla. Rotary Club members planted young trees on West Chestnut Street to replace the ones recently removed. Students from the Latino Club, Future Farmers of America program, foreign exchange student program and Pioneer Middle School National Junior Honor Society volunteered to help out.

Lesmeister signs to play baseball at Central Washington

Congratulations to three sport standout athlete Mitch Lesmeister for signing his letter of intent Thursday night in the Felix Fletcher Room to play baseball at Central Washington University. Lesmeister, a Walla Walla High School senior, is a decorated football, basketball and baseball player for the Blue Devils. 
Books for Babes bulb sale in full bloom

The Books for Babes program, a service project of Edison Elementary that provides a bag of books for all newborns in Walla Walla, is conducting its annual Bulb-In-A-Can fundraiser. All proceeds benefit the program. These adorably wrapped cans with a hyacinth bulb inside makes a nice holiday gift for just about anyone - teacher, co-worker, party host, etc., while doing some good. They are $5 each.

Send orders by Monday, November 28
- Email bargabk@charter.net or call 529-3527 with number of cans and your contact information for delivery
- Make payment by check to: Books for Babes, c/o Kay Barga, 810 Clay Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362
- Bulbs will be delivered by Friday, December 9

District receives state grant to participate in tiny house skills competition

Walla Walla Public Schools Career and Technical Education program received a $3,000 Carl Perkins Reserve Grant to participate in the 2017 CTE Showcase of Skills. The program concludes March 27 in Olympia at the Capital Campus where approximately 25 Walla Walla High School and SEA-TECH students in their respective construction trades programs will complete their tiny homes and compete for honors. Students are currently practicing for the competition by constructing sections of the homes. These parts will be hauled to Olympia and completed during the competition. The homes will then be donated to a community in the Olympia area to support homeless housing needs.  

Walla Walla High School Drama presents The Great Gatsby – Shows next two weeks

Come see F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous work come to life on the Wa-Hi stage. The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. This production contains mature themes and is not recommended for younger viewers.

- Show dates: November 10-12 and 17-19 at 7 p.m, November 12 and 19 at 2 p.m.
- Tickets: In person from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Walla Walla High School ASB Office, 800 Abbott Road
- At the box office located in the Wa-Hi auditorium foyer one hour prior to curtain, or Online at https://intouch.wwps.org
- Questions/Information: info@wahidrama.org

Community Stories
Garrison Night School registration underway – Spanish classes offered

- Beginning Spanish (Monday & Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. – beginning Nov. 21)
- Advanced Spanish (Tuesday & Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. – beginning Nov. 22)
- Classes held at Garrison Middle School (906 Chase Ave.)
- Register at WWPS District Office (364 S. Park St.) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
- $25 fee (clock hours for WWPS staff)
- Extended day program for children three to 12
- Information: Melito Ramirez

Community input needed for Veterans Home Logo

The Walla Walla Veterans Home is looking for community help to design the new Veterans Home logo. What logo elements do you feel best represent our community as we care for American heroes when they need it the most? The Walla Walla Veterans Home opens in early 2017, and will care for 80 veterans, widows, spouses and Gold Star Parents in one of eight ten-bedroom houses, including private rooms and bathrooms.

Find out more about submitting your logo design by December 5, 2016 at http://www.dva.wa.gov/node/123. The winner will be announced December 15 and invited for a private tour with the Veterans Home Superintendent!

GIRLS COUNCIL “Girls Night In” November 18

GIRLS COUNCIL announces our next ‘Girls Night In’ for Friday November 18 - “Dream Catchers”. Join us for this interesting and creative evening together with other girls in the community from 6 - 8 p.m. Call to sign-up, share this information with friends and family and become part of the ‘sisterhood’ of GIRLS COUNCIL.

City Parks & Recreation community update

Indoor Soccer Registration is Thursday, Nov. 17
Kindergarten - 8th Grade
$50 ($10 late fee if received after Thursday, November 17)
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to: http://www.wwpr.us
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