Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - February 3, 2017

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Superintendent Smith to speak at Friends program benefit

Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Wade Smith will join City of Walla Walla Police Chief Scott Bieber and Children’s Resilience Initiative founder Teri Barila at the Friends Program fundraising event Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Courtyard Walla Walla Marriott. Friends of Children of Walla Walla is in need of caring adult mentors to invest 35 minutes once a week at a local elementary school. Panel members will discuss how a small investment of time sharing lunch and recess with area children will reap huge rewards.

For Information on the event and how to volunteer, contact:
· Marissa Ruzicka Lopez | Program Coordinator
· 120 E. Birch Street, Suite 10 | Walla Walla, WA 99362
· P: 509-527-4745 | F: 509-525-2105

ThoughtExchange engagement seeks parent input on facilities needs

JOIN THE CONVERSATION - Share your input on facilities needs beginning Feb. 13
Walla Walla Public Schools is conducting an engagement activity with ThoughtExchange this winter to learn more about facility needs in support of developing a long-range Facilities Improvement plan. The ThoughtExchange process is driven by the thoughts and opinions of the community to help shape the direction and priorities of the district over the next three years.

How it works...
Parents, students and community members will receive an email (for each school their children attend) from ThoughtExchange announcing the opportunity to “Join the Conversation” via this confidential online learning process beginning Feb. 13 to Feb. 26. Staff are directly sharing their input with Superintendent Smith. ThoughtExchange results will be shared with the public in May.

ThoughtExchange Process:
· It is a three-step process. Stakeholders begin by sharing their thoughts online. Then each participant has the opportunity to review and star the thoughts of other ThoughtExchange contributors. The benefit of the process is discovering what the community values.
· The process is confidential. The names and email addresses of participants will never be publicly associated with a thought or response. However, participants will see each other’s thoughts.
· If the school district has your email address (parents, staff, Enews recipients), you will receive a customized invitation. If you don’t receive an invitation, you can visit the Walla Walla Public Schools home page at www.wwps.org to self-register.
Results of the process will be shared with the public in May. For more information about ThoughtExchange or to learn more about how you can “Join the Conversation”, contact Mark Higgins at mhiggins@wwps.org or (509) 526-6716.

School board meetings Tuesday, Feb. 7

Tuesday, February 7 meetings:
- 5:00 p.m.: Special School Board Meeting/Work Session (secondary program data review & strategic plan initiative development) – open to public
- 6:30 p.m.: Regular School Board Meeting (open to public)
- 7:30 p.m.: Executive Session (performance of a public employee) Not open to the public
- Location: Anne Golden Boardroom (364 S. Park St.)

Superintendent Smith reminds staff the importance of tolerance and compassion

Earlier this week, Superintendent Wade Smith shared this message with staff:

As shared with all of you in my November “tolerance and compassion” correspondence, it is critical that through our collective actions we continue to reassure our students that Walla Walla Public Schools is a place where diversity of thought, belief, culture, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, is honored and respected in a civil, safe, and compassionate manner. This reminder serves critical as our nation continues her debate over immigration policies currently under examination.

Reaffirmed in resonant fashion across our broad constituency during our fall listening sessions, diversity in Walla Walla Public Schools continues to be regarded as a remarkable asset, one that provides a rich and glorious tapestry in the fabric of our educational program. As such, it was acknowledged and formally adopted as one of our core beliefs, and continues to inform and guide both our daily actions and decisions; diversity is our strength.

As requested from all of you prior, please continue to help safeguard our campus culture so that it remains a healthy one. I would ask that, when appropriate, you reaffirm and re-assure to students that our primary mission has always been, and will continue to be, their safety and well-being while at school. Remind them that we will always do everything in our power to ensure our campuses are ones that reflect and support tolerance, respect, and civility.

To codify this important message into action, we are currently in the process of arranging training for critical staff around immigration-related matters so that the necessary personnel are prepared with appropriate responses to students, families, and outside agencies.

Thank you in advance for your sensitivity and understanding toward this situation. Together we can ensure a learning environment that guarantees all students are afforded the opportunity to develop into Washington’s most sought-after graduates.

No School February 20 – Presidents Day Holiday

There is no school Monday, February 20 in observance of Presidents Day. Classes resume Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Continued growth in local assessed value drives down levy and bond rates for Walla Walla taxpayers

A strong economic recovery continues to positively influence Walla Walla Public Schools and local taxpayers. Recent reports from the Walla Walla County Assessor’s Office revealed a 6.2% increase in assessed value for the region in 2017. This represents seven straight years of assessed value growth, offsetting the great recession impact when growth reached an all-time low, dipping to -4.68% in the 2010 calendar year.

“As a result of the continued growth, in addition to the district’s prudent, conservative assumptions when communicating with taxpayers regarding projected bond and levy rates when voters approved both measures, a collective savings of 22 cents per thousand will be realized,” Superintendent Wade Smith reported. “In addition, refinancing of prior debt in 2010 has saved taxpayers significant interest rate costs on school bonds as all bond debt will be paid off on December 1, 2018.”

Family and Community program launches new social media pages

Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton proudly announces exciting ways to stay connected to the program via social media. Clayton developed Facebook and Twitter pages for the program. Be sure to follow them to help stay informed.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wwfamiliesandschools/
Twitter: @WWPSFamilies

Family and Community Engagement vision: Walla Walla Public Schools is committed to engaging and partnering with families to build relationships that support and improve the learning, development, and health of children at home, in school, and in the community.
Pam Clayton, Family Engagement Coordinator
Phone: 509-526-6781 / pclayton@wwps.org

Whitman Teaches the Movement enhances Civil Rights education

Whitman College, in partnership with Walla Walla Public schools, continues to collaborate to enhance civil rights education in local schools through the Whitman Teaches the Movement initiative. Working in small groups, Whitman College students are visiting schools to lead 45-minute lessons on civil rights education. The lessons are age-appropriate and based on well researched curricula. This program began in 2011.

Whitman Teaches the Movement Lessons Overview:

Grade 1: The Story of Ruby Bridges (1960)
Students will understand the meaning of equality and its importance in the lives of young people. They will explore how segregation affected everyday life and discuss the impacts of inequality.

Grade 2: Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins (1960)
Reading Carole Boston Weatherford’s book Freedom on the Menu, students learn about the effects of segregation on a child’s family and daily life. Students then explore nonviolent responses to injustice by creating their own picket signs.

Grade 4: Immigration - Julia Moves to the United States
A narrative about a girl who moves to the United States from the Dominican Republic. Students will then role play in pairs as a reporter and Julia and then switch roles to contemplate how this kind of life transition might feel.

Grade 5: Jackie Robinson Taught Us More Than Baseball (1947–1957)
Students read Teammates by Peter Golenblock and use the story of Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey, and PeeWee Reese as a framework for discussing the importance of friendship, teamwork, and standing up for what is right.

Grade 9: Letter from Birmingham Jail - Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963)
Students read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail and discuss its connection to current events and its application to principles of civil disobedience and nonviolence.

Secondary open enrollment continues all month

Secondary Open Enrollment
Walla Walla Public Schools will hold secondary open enrollment for middle and high school students enrolling for the 2017-2018 school year through Feb. 28, 2017. The middle and high schools will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. now through the end of the month to complete the open enrollment process.

Secondary parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child to a school outside of their attendance area may pick up an Open Enrollment application at their attendance area school or a release form from their current school district office during normal business hours.

Kindergarten Registration and Elementary Open Enrollment
The Kindergarten registration and elementary open enrollment period is Monday, April 17 to Friday, April 28, 2017. Kindergarten registration will be conducted at the student’s attendance area elementary school. Parents wishing to pick up the kindergarten registration information may do so at their child’s school beginning April 10. However, the completed registration forms will not be accepted until April 17.

Kindergarten/Elementary Open Enrollment Registration Hours:
Monday, April 17 - 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
April 18 – April 28 - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child to a school outside their attendance area may pick up an Open Enrollment application or release forms at their attendance area school during normal business hours beginning April 10; however, forms will not be accepted in the receiving school until Monday, April 17.

Open enrollment requests within Walla Walla Public Schools will be granted according to priorities outlined in School Board Policy No. 3130 which will be used to determine movement of a student. School Board Policy manuals are available for public viewing at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the Administration Office. School Board policies are also online at http://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/policies.

National School Counseling Week

The week of Feb. 6-10, 2017 is National School Counseling Week. This week is celebrated each year to honor school counselors for their roles helping students focus on academic, career and social/emotional development. This support helps students achieve success in school so they are prepared for their future. 

Report: Washington Doesn’t Prioritize Education Spending – By OSPI Communications

OLYMPIA—JANUARY 31, 2017—Although it’s one of the wealthiest states in the country, Washington gets an “F” in terms of education spending, according to a recently released study.

“Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card,” published by the Education Law Center, compares state education funding systems using a variety of data. Among its findings, the report examined what the authors call “effort.” Effort refers to the total amount of state and local spending on education in relation to the gross state product, which is the total value of goods and services produced by the state. In 2013, the most recent year for which complete data exist, Washington ranked 46thof the 50 states.

“Relative to our economic growth, we don’t put enough back into education,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “We rank ninth in the country in terms of our per capita gross state product. Yet less than three percent of that wealth is spent on public education. We need to do better. “As one comparison, Mississippi – which ranks 50th in per capita gross state product – puts more than four percent into public education.”

Reykdal also noted that the study ranked Washington 49th out of 51 (50 states and Washington, D.C.) in terms of wage competitiveness, which “compares teachers’ salaries to the salaries of other professionals in the same labor market and of similar age, degree level, and hours worked.”

“Our rank is a function of how much we value the talent we have,” he said. “We must improve! We need sincere conversations in this state about what it means to recruit and retain quality teachers.”

Reykdal pointed to Senate Bill 5607, which would overhaul education funding. “I’m very encouraged by the comprehensiveness of the bill,” he said, “and the willingness of the Senate to propose fairly sweeping changes. Any plan that moves the needle on student achievement must increase our overall investment in K-12 significantly, support our educators with market-rate compensation and drive more dollars into high-need communities.”

School Stories
Walla Walla High School launches Safe and Healthy Blue Devil Initiative

This week Walla Walla High School kicked off its Safe and Healthy Blue Devil Initiative. The program is designed to support the social and emotional well-being of students. A series of events and programs are planned now through the end of the school year.

Safe and Healthy Blue Devil Initiative highlights:
· February – Teen Suicide Prevention (staff and student training and support/awareness campaigns)
· March – Distracted and Drunk Driving Prevention (Every 15 Minutes Program)
· April – Drug and Alcohol Prevention (Trilogy/W2 for Drug Free Youth)
· May – Celebrations and Recognitions with community partners

Garrison Middle School students recognized for film productions

Garrison Middle School is proud to report three student-made films are being recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. The film “The Last Laugh,” a horror short story involving disturbing clowns, received the prestigious Silver Key award. This film was written, filmed, edited and produced by 7th grader Peter Prudente, and 8th graders Mike Cornia, Jada Hilliard, Caitlin Carvalho, and Jacob Rose.

The film titled, “Maize”, which is a documentary about the history of the Walla Walla Corn Maze, and was written, filmed, edited and directed by 7th graders Suzanne Nicault, Alyssa Zaugg, Sariah Hepworth, and 8th graders Olivia Taylor and Rosemary Vance received an Honorable Mention. The film, “Look at Her,” a serious film based on a poem recognizing that people have more to offer than what we see at first glance, and was written, filmed, edited and produced by 8th graders Dominic Walker, Colleen McKibben, and 7th graders Emma Zaugg, Sophia Jenes and Nathan Feistner also received an Honorable Mention.

SEA-TECH students test knowledge in Skills USA program

SEA-TECH Construction Technology instructor Eric Matson and Digital Media Technology instructor Jeffery Townsend are participating in the Skills USA program. They hosted their first competition Friday. The competition consists of a written test and a hands-on skills exam. Matson’s students competed in the electrical competition and Townsend’s focused on film making. The top three scores will move on to the state competition in April.  SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. We provide educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education (CTE) in the nation’s classrooms.

Junior accepted to Stanford journalism program - By Wa-Hi Journal

Junior Macy Quinn-Sears was accepted into Stanford’s prestigious student journalism program for the second year in a row, this time as a counselor in training. Quinn-Sears, who last summer participated in Stanford’s Year Two group of student journalists, was one of two applicants who gained a spot as a counselor, out of a pool composed of the previous years’ class of Year Two students.

The program, an annual summer feature at Stanford, allows students to write stories and conduct interviews in the San Francisco Bay Area. They had the chance to hear speakers on a variety of topics: a student-press lawyer, a CEO, an employee of the international design and consulting firm IDEO (which was founded in Palo Alto) and a surfeit of reporters and editors for Bay Area publications. They were also given the opportunity to tour the headquarters of the San Francisco Chronicle, which was founded in 1865.

Quinn-Sears says she is thrilled to be returning to the camp, and looks forward to the chance to experience it with her new and continually evolving perspective on student journalism, which has been fostered by her work as part of the school newspaper, The Wa-Hi Journal. Quinn-Sears has been a part of the Journal’s staff for three years, and will hold the position of editor-in-chief for the 2017-2018 school year. She loves writing opinion articles and is passionate about student journalism. “... journalism is about humanity, and telling a true story about human issues, not replacing faces with numbers to convey a point. Often, student press is discouraged from tackling the ‘bigger picture’ because it can be difficult to write about, but I think students should be urged to understand how the facts correlate with their own community,” Quinn-Sears said.

Youth and Government program students plan fundraisers to support trips to Olympia and Washington, DC

The 21st Century Program at Pioneer Middle School and the YMCA have partnered to create the Walla Walla Youth & Government (YAG) Delegation. Students are hard at work raising money to go towards their trip to attend the 70th YMCA Mock Youth Legislature Conference in Olympia this May. In Olympia, students will be conducting their own Legislative Session in the Capitol building; the session is completely student run by YAG delegates from across the State. The program has 24 regular participants and is in its second year. The program is open to all students, grades 8 and up.

The YMCA, in order to support our students’ success, is currently taking donations in the form of:
1. A Tupperware sale - 40% of the sale will go towards the students’ trip in May. Funds from the sale will be distributed to the YMCA (YAG) when the fundraiser ends February 7.
2. Professional/dress clothes for students in need (boys and girls, 8th-10th grade). Please drop off clothing donations at Pioneer Middle School, care of Martin Fortney.
3. Direct monetary donation to the YAG program (can be done at the YMCA front desk).
The Student Leadership Cabinet is also preparing for a trip to Washington, D.C. in March. The students plan to meet with some lawmakers, visit the National Mall, and more. The 21st Century Program at Pioneer Middle School and the YMCA have partnered to make this unique opportunity for students in our valley possible.

Wa-Hi Conspiracy of Hope shows next week

· 2017 Conspiracy of Hope Variety Shows presented by the Wa-Hi ASB
· February 9-10
· Both shows begin at 6 p.m.
· Walla Walla High School Auditorium
· Admission $5
· All proceeds support the Dave Meyer Foundation and Wa-Hi ASB Winter Wish Week.

SEA-TECH Health Sciences students plan Flap Jack Fundraiser

· Help support SEA-TECH Health Science Careers/Pre-Nursing students efforts to compete in a state competition
· Saturday, February 11
· 8 to 10 a.m.
· Applebee’s (1604 Plaza Way)
· Tickets are $10
· Contact Instructor Sandy Thomas for tickets: sthomas@wwsp.org / (509) 526-2018

Wa-Hi 2017 Culminating Project panel sign ups

Hear personal stories from Walla Walla High School seniors as they prepare for life after graduation by serving on the Culminating Project review panel. Each year graduating seniors from Walla Walla High School are required to complete a culminating project as a graduation requirement. In order for students to complete this important and mandatory assignment, the school relies on support from community members to serve on culminating project panels. Panel members observe and evaluate senior presentations. This is an excellent opportunity to support students and get a first-hand account of their accomplishments, dreams and passion for life. Join us!

Culminating Project Panel dates:
- Tuesday, March 14, 2017
- Wednesday, March 15, 2017
- Wednesday, March 22, 2017
- Tuesday, April 18, 2017
- Time: 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. per session
- Sign up: Contact Rob Ahrens, Administrative Intern / www.waculmprojects@wwps.org / (509) 527-3020 ext 8649

Wa-Hi basketball games canceled tonight

Pasco School District officials notified Walla Walla High School they would not be sending their boys and girls basketball teams to Walla Walla tonight for scheduled games due to freezing rain in the forecast. Make-up dates and details have not been determined. 

Community Stories

AAUW plans annual book sale this month

You and your family are invited to attend the 42nd Annual AAUW (American Association of University Women) Book Sale at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, Friday, Feb 24, 9 am – 7 pm; Saturday, Feb 25, 9 am – 7 pm; and Sunday, Feb 26, 9 am – 4 pm. Children (14 and younger) each receive one free book from the extensive children’s section.  The Book Sale’s approximately 40,000 books are divided into more than 40 categories.  Prices range from $.50 to $4.00 for most titles.  The Collectible Books section featuring rare, collectible books are priced individually. Credit and debit cards will be accepted, along with checks and cash.  Proceeds from the sale fund local scholarships for women returning to college, and local educational projects and events. 

Area musical groups come together for free community concert

Walla Walla Choral Society, Walla Walla Valley Bands and Wa-Hi Chamber Singers and Belles Voix will join together for the first time to present a free community concert February 28 at 3 p.m. at Cordiner Hall. A canned food donation is requested. The concert theme is “Songs of Youth and Joy.” 

Walla Walla Dance Company production – “The Adventures of Alice”

- “The Adventures of Alice” presented by Nancy Wells and The Walla Walla Dance Company
- Saturday, February 4 / 7:30 p.m. at Cordiner Hall (Whitman College)
- New choreography in Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop & Contemporary performed by Walla Walla’s finest dancers
- Tickets available at Earthlight Books
- General $15 / Reserved $20

City Parks & Recreation community update

Father/Daughter Ball - February 25 - $15
Fencing - Beginning/Advanced $38/$48
Warrior Soccer Academy - $48
Adult Co-Ed Soccer - 16 & Over
Adult Co-Ed Softball - 16 & Over
Men’s Softball - 16 & Over
Watercolor - Beginning/Advanced - $81/$104
Guitar Lessons - Beginning/Advanced - $40
Ukulele Lessons - Beginning/Advanced - $40
Nia - 12 & over
Bellydancing - 12 & over

Blue Mountain Girls Softball registration is open NOW
6U (T-Ball) 5-6yrs - $40
8U (Coach Pitch) 7-8yrs - $55
10U (Modified Pitch) 9-10yrs - $55
12U (Standard Pitch) 11-12yrs - $55

Veteran’s Memorial Pool Passes On Sale NOW
Youth, Adult, Senior, Veteran and Family passes available

Lifeguards wanted for summer - New Veteran’s Memorial Pool
Paid position - 15 yrs and up
To apply online go to http://www.wallawallawa.gov/images/depts/humanresources/PDF_FILLABLE_APPLICATION.pdf

For more information on these programs or to register, please go to: http://www.wwpr.us
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