Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - February 24, 2017

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District mourns the loss of student

Walla Walla Public Schools administrators, staff, students and school board members are deeply saddened to report Opportunity Program senior Gregory Hunter Thayer-Rowley passed away Thursday evening at his home. The district’s Crisis Response flight team has been activated to help support staff and students cope during this extremely difficult time. Counseling staff are available to support students.

The district extends its thoughts and prayers to the Thayer-Rowley family and all those who deeply cared for Hunter. There are no details regarding funeral services available at this time.

Below is a link to the National Association of School Psychologists on grief recovery:

School in session Thursday, March 2 (Snow make-up day)

Reminder! School is in session Thursday, March 2 as a snow make-up day. There is no school Friday, March 3rd as originally planned. Also school is being held Friday, May 12 and Thursday, June 8 as part of the snow make-up days calendar revision. 

School board meetings Tuesday, Feb. 28

Tuesday, February 28 meetings:
- 4:30 p.m.: Special School Board Meeting/Work Session (school goals update/discussion) – open to public
- 6:30 p.m.: Regular School Board Meeting (open to public)
- Location: Anne Golden Boardroom (364 S. Park St.)

Superintendent’s Patron Tour rescheduled (due to inclement weather) 

Please join Superintendent Wade Smith for a behind the scenes look at district schools as part of his Superintendent’s Patron Tour program. This is an excellent opportunity to meet the new superintendent and learn more about our local schools.
• Thursday, March 16 (rescheduled from Feb. 1, which was canceled due to winter weather conditions)
• 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (lunch provided)
• RSVP by March 13 - sgolden@wwps.org / 526-6715
• Event begins at WWPS Anne Golden Boardroom
• Tour Sites: Blue Ridge Elementary, Lincoln High School and Garrison Middle School

ThoughtExchange sharing phase open through Sunday 

Deadline draws near to share your input on facilities needs
Walla Walla Public Schools has once again partnered with ThoughtExchange on a community engagement process to learn more about facility needs in support of developing a long-range Facilities Improvement plan. Parents received an email from ThoughtExchange Feb. 13 with the engagement link. The link is active through Sunday, Feb. 26. Please take time to share your thoughts (complete one survey for each school your children attend.) ThoughtExchange results will be shared with the public in May.
Link: https://tsu009.thoughtexchange.net/wwps/TS/app/signup?to=7ae21bece962411e89c6a40a457a1249

Superintendent Smith: State laws will continue to protect transgender students

Below is a statement from Superintendent Wade Smith on new guidance from the Education and Justice Departments concerning transgender students.

In 2016, the federal Education and Justice Departments issued guidance in which schools treat students “consistent with their gender identity.” Since this time, Walla Walla Public Schools have complied with both state and federal guidance, expressing both sensitivity while ensuring a safe environment for transgender/transitioning students.

On Wednesday evening, federal guidance was rescinded by the Education and Justice Departments. However, Washington state law continues to protect transgender students from discrimination in schools. Therefore, consistent with guidance from Washington state Superintendent Chris Reykdal, and current state law, Walla Walla Public Schools will continue its ongoing practice of providing safe and discrimination-free environments for all students, including those who identify themselves as transgender.

Graduates of Distinction nominations now accepted

Nominations are now being accepted for the prestigious Graduates of Distinction Program. Packets are due March 15. Recipients will be honored prior to the June 6 school board meeting.
- Consider nominating someone, the process is not difficult
- Honor our distinguished graduates who have made a positive difference in our world
- Nomination forms online - http://www.wwps.org/programs/graduates-of-distinction

Spring 2017 – Parent/Teacher Conference Schedules

Berney Elementary
Wednesday, March 1: 3:30 – 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: 3:30 – 7:15 p.m.
Friday, March 3: 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Blue Ridge Elementary
Tuesday, February 28: 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 3: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Blue Ridge Preschool
Wednesday, March 1: 3:50 – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: 3:50 – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, March 3: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Edison Elementary
Wednesday, March 1: 3:15 – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: 3:15 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 3: 7:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Green Park Elementary
Wednesday, March 1: 2:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 3: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Prospect Point Elementary
Wednesday, March 1: 3:30 – 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: 3:30 – 7:15 p.m.
Friday, March 3: 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sharpstein Elementary
Wednesday, March 1: 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 3: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Garrison Middle School
Wednesday, March 1 (arena): 3:45 – 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 2 (drop-ins/teachers’ classrooms): 3:45 – 7:15 p.m.
Friday, March 3 (drop-ins/teachers’ classrooms): 7:45 – 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 - 3:15 p.m.

Pioneer Middle School
Friday, March 3 (by appointment in teachers’ classrooms): 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Monday, March 6 (drop-ins/teachers’ classrooms): 3:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 (drop-ins/teachers’ classrooms): 3:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Lincoln High School
Tuesday, February 28 (drop-ins): 3:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 3 (by appt/drop-in): 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 8 (drop-ins): 3:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Walla Walla High School
Thursday, March 2 (arena large/small gyms): 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, March 3 (by appt in teachers’ classrooms): 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 (by appt in teachers’ classrooms and/or phone and e-mail): 2:00 – 6:30 p.m. approx.

Thursday, March 2 (drop-in/phone conferences): 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 3 (drop-in/phone conferences): 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 (drop-in/phone conferences): 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Washington Outperforms Most States on AP Scores – By OSPI Communications Department

College Board estimates Washington test takers could save $49 million in college costs.
OLYMPIA — February 22, 2017 — During the past 10 years, about 6,700 more Washington state students passed at least one Advanced Placement (AP) test, according to a report released today by the College Board. The increase translates into a 9.0 percentage-point increase, which ranks 11th in the nation. Passing means achieving a score of 3 or higher, which generally qualifies for college credit.

“The increase in students passing AP exams is a testament to the fantastic educators we have around the state,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “And a passing score can earn students college credit, which ends up saving them money in tuition down the road.”

College Board’s report shows that 37.3 percent of graduates in 2016 took at least one AP exam during high school. By comparison, 36.0 percent took at least one AP exam in 2015 and 22.1 percent in 2006. College Board offers AP exams in 38 subjects. Students take the tests in May and receive scores on a scale from 1 to 5. Washington’s participation rate continues to rise, along with the number of students who score at least a 3 on an exam. In 2016, 22.5 percent of Washington’s graduating seniors scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP test, an increase of 0.7 percentage points from 2015 and 9.0 percentage points from 2006.

Top 10 Tests - The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order):
1. English Language and Composition
2. United States History
3. English Literature and Composition
4. World History
5. Calculus AB
6. United States Government and Politics
7. Biology
8. Statistics
9. Psychology
10. Chemistry

State Graduation Rates Continue to Rise – By OSPI Communications Department

OLYMPIA — February 22, 2017 — A high school diploma is one way to know a studentis ready for a career, college and life. The graduation rate is one way to know if the K-12 system is meeting the needs of all students. Today, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released an update to the graduation data and analytics that will help school districts as they work to increase their graduation rates and improve equity among student groups.

Graduation Rates
Overall, the state graduation rate for the Class of 2016 is 79.1 percent, an all-time high. That represents a 1.0 percentage-point increase from 2015, or an increase of 1,528 students. The “extended graduation rate” – which includes students who take five years to graduate – is 81.9 percent for the Class of 2016, also an all-time high. The group making the largest gains in four-year graduation rates are homeless students. For the Class of 2016, 53.4 percent of homeless students graduated, compared to 44.9 percent in the Class of 2015.

“Graduating an additional 1,528 students will have an enormous economic benefit to our state, in addition to improving the lives of these young people,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “High school graduates produce over $370,000 more in lifetime earnings than their peers who do not graduate. Because of this, our state can count on well over $500 million in additional economic activity just from last year’s graduation improvements.”

“The hard work of our students, parents, and educators is paying off for all of Washington state,” Reykdal continued. “With the right investments from the Legislature this year, we can count on substantial future gains for our students and our state’s economy. Amply, fully, and equitably funding our schools is both a moral commitment and a smart business decision for our state.”

Ninth Grade Course Failure
In addition to data on graduation rates, OSPI also released data for the first time on the instances of students failing at least one ninth grade core course – math, English or science – which is an early indicator that a student could drop out of school.

“This is incredibly valuable information for districts to have,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Research has shown that students who pass all of their core courses in the ninth grade are four times more likely to graduate than their peers.”

The data also show that in 2016 statewide, a little more than one in five students (22.5 percent) failed at least one core course in ninth grade. Although this is the first year ninth grade failure rates have been released, OSPI was able to calculate data for the past three years. Improvements were found to have been made across most student race categories. This includes decreases in ninth grade course failure by 3.9 percentage points for Hispanic students and 3.3 percentage points for students of two or more races. OSPI is taking a closer look at key performance indicators that lead to student success. These data sets will help school districts identify opportunities to improve equity between student groups and learn from each other about what does and does not work.

Art Regier Volunteer of the Year nominations now accepted
The Art Regier Outstanding Volunteer Award was instituted in 1991 as a memorial to “Grandpa Art” Regier. Regier, a retiree who devoted years of service to elementary schools in Walla Walla, epitomized the spirit of volunteerism in education. His tireless dedication and concern for the students he served are the inspiration for this award.

Criteria for selection may include the following:
1. Exceptional service or contributions to the children of Walla Walla Public Schools
2. Unusual dedication
3. Demonstration of care, compassion and empathy

Nominations due March 15:
Forms online: http://www.wwps.org/parents/more-parent-resources/volunteering
· Email completed packets to: Mark Higgins, Director of Communications
· mhiggins@wwps.org / (509) 526-6716

School Stories
Walla Walla High School to host Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Parent Night

- Monday, February 27
- 5:45 p.m. (free pizza dinner @ Wa-Hi Commons)
- 6 to 7:45 p.m. (Presentation and discussion – Wa-Hi Commons)
- Parents will learn about classroom presentations on suicide prevention being used as part of the school’s Healthy and Safe Initiative. They will be able to engage in a discussion about how to recognize and respond to depression and suicide ideation.
- Community support organizations will be present to answer questions and provide support

Grant funding to bring national trainers to Walla Walla in support of Sources of Strength

Walla Walla and Lincoln High School students and staff will have an opportunity to participate in the Sources of Strength national prevention program this spring.  W2 for Drug Free Youth and Walla Walla County Department of Community Health secured funding to bring national trainers into Walla Walla to provide training and support to both high schools. Sources of Strength’s mission is to provide the highest quality evidence-based prevention for suicide, violence, bullying and substance abuse by training, supporting, and empowering both peer leaders and caring adults to impact their world through the power of connection, hope, help and strength. To learn more about this program please visit the Sources of Strength website at https://sourcesofstrength.org/

Police and firefighters team to conduct drug and alcohol awareness parent meeting

Date: Wednesday, March 29
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Walla Walla High School Commons

City of Walla Walla police officers and firefighters/paramedics will lead a parent discussion about communicating with children about drugs and alcohol use. These local experts will offer strategies for holding children accountable for their actions, how to spot indicators the child is using alcohol or drugs and what drugs are currently trending on the streets of Walla Walla. All the presenters are currently working the streets of Walla Walla and see firsthand how drugs and alcohol are negatively impacting the community and homes.

Sponsor provides free access to New York Times

Walla Walla High School Library Media Technician Kim Cassetto reports all Walla Walla High School students and staff now have sponsored free access to the New York Times for one year. This access includes both current news and access to the archives, on and off campus. If students need help setting up their accounts, they should see Mrs. Cassetto in the Wa-Hi library.

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 / waculmprojects@wwps.org / (509) 527-3020 ext 8649

JROTC program honors Cadets for excellence – By JROTC Public Affairs

Two Cadets in the Walla Walla High School JROTC “Blue Devils” Battalion have just been selected for honors in the program. These include: Cadet and Athlete of the Month for January 2017.

The Cadet of the Month competition allows new cadets a chance to prove how much they’ve learned in the program by testing their military knowledge and bearing in front of the six cadet company first sergeants and the cadet command sergeant major after a uniform inspection. The cadet with the highest score is immediately promoted and awarded the Cadet of the Month ribbon.

Cadet Corporal Grace Anderson was one of six Cadet of the Month candidates. As the nominee from Company D, she won with 484 points of a possible 606. For her achievement, Anderson received an on-the-spot promotion to her new cadet rank.

“I hope to attend college and major in Communications, and maybe consider Hospitality in order to enter a career in Business,” said Anderson. “I’ve been considering the career of Special Events Planning because it is a flexible job. I’m hoping to participate in a competitive marksmanship program while I attend college.”

Anderson says she joined Wa-Hi’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program because she wanted to try something new, and is really glad she did. She comes from a family with a lot of military blood, and grew up familiar with shooting at ranges and with guns, but never considered joining Wa-Hi’s highly competitive rifle program until she saw it was offered as a class. She adds that she’s glad she signed up because she has fun and it has become her favorite period of the day.

Anderson is currently working on becoming a member of the Sporter Team. One of her long-term goals is to join the Precision Team before she graduates. With the help of her squad leader, her coach SFC Mark Mebes, her friends in the Battalion, and her parents, she believes her goal is possible to achieve.

In second place was c/PFC Braden Walters from Co. B with a score of 444 points, and c/PFC Aria Reeves of Co. C earned third place by scoring 436 points.

The winner of the Athlete of the Month competition was c/1st Sgt. Taylor Carlile from Co. C. He earned a total of 131 out of 300 points. He says his hobbies include watching every episode of The Office or having a marathon of the Star Wars series. He is also a member of the Battalion’s Armed Drill, Unarmed Drill, and Physical Fitness teams and competes on Color Guard Two.

After graduation, he plans to either join the Marine Corps or attend Eastern Washington University on an ROTC scholarship, majoring in Pre-Law. Carlile says he joined the JROTC Program because another cadet in the program encouraged him to look into it and he found that it looked fun and exciting. His goal is to become the 2017-2018 Battalion Command Sergeant Major.

Cadet Capt. Michael Walters, battalion fitness officer, said: “the Athlete of the Month competition gives cadets goals to strive for and helps to improve their physical fitness and self-discipline. To achieve that, we test their strength and endurance through pushups, sit-ups, and a mile-run.”

In second place for January 2017 Athlete of the Month was c/PFC Ryan Weese from Co. D, with 112 points, and in third place was c/PFC Bryan Garcia from Co. F with 105 points.

Wa-Hi JROTC cadets are taught to develop strong leadership traits and to become good citizens in the school, community, country, and the world. In addition to attending regular classes, many compete on special teams in drill and ceremony, rifle marksmanship, and physical training. Many of these cadets earn the opportunity to travel and compete in drill meets and air rifle marksmanship matches with other schools in the Cascade Division, including Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy JROTC programs.

Community Stories
County Health Department survey assesses mental health and suicide support needs
Walla Walla County Department of Community Health has brought together a cross jurisdictional cohort of community members to address mental health and suicide support needs. The Walla Walla County Suicide Prevention Workgroup seeks to explore and examine the mental health factors and corresponding issues that increase suicidal thoughts and actions. The workgroup is representative of our county and includes several school district personnel, elected officials, parents, primary care and mental health providers, as well as public and private sector individuals.

“Our Needs Assessment subcommittee, consisting of WWPS parents, stakeholders, and community members, has developed this survey which will help us understand what our community is doing well and how we can address where we fall short,” said Katherine Boehm. MPH, Special Projects Coordinator for the Walla Walla County Department of Health.

“Once the surveys have been completed, our Training and Education/Public Awareness subcommittees will be able to further address the identified issues and develop a plan for implementation and action.”

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WWCMHSurvey2017

Additional Information:
Katherine Boehm, MPH, Special Projects Coordinator
Walla Walla County Department of Community Health
314 W. Main Street, Walla Walla, WA
509-524-2683 (p) / 509-876-1087 (c)

Walla Walla United Soccer Club conducting spring soccer tryouts Saturday

- Saturday, Feb. 25
- Prospect Point Elementary fields
- Bring cleats, shin guards, and parent/legal guardian
- Girls teams: Birth years 2007/2008 and current high school
- Boys teams: Birth years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009
- 8:45 to 10 a.m.: Birth years 2008 (boys); 2007 (girls); 2008 (girls and boys); 2009 (boys)
- 9:45 to 11 a.m.: Birth years 2003, 2004, 2005 (boys) plus high school girls
- Season: Mid-March to May (regional travel required)

Walla Walla Columbia County School Retirees Association presents 11th annual Teddy Bear Tea and Show

- Saturday February 25
- 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
- St. Francis Social Hall (722 W. Alder - Walla Walla, Washington 99362)
- Admission $6
- Enjoy a high tea, exhibits, store, photographer, coloring table, story corner, silent auction, and some special guest dolls. There will be a drawing for two bears, handmade by two of our members.
- The proceeds support scholarships for future teachers and related education personnel.
- Children must be accompanied by an adult.
- Details: Jacquie Clark 509 322 2187 or email 985jacquieclark@gmail.com

District choirs to join area musicians for Cordiner Hall concert Sunday

Wa-Hi Chamber Singers and Belles Voix choirs will join WW Choral society and WW Valley Bands for a FREE concert to raise food for the food bank.  The concert is Sunday, Feb 26 at 3 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. Everyone is asked to bring a donation of nonperishable food item(s). The concert theme is “Songs of Youth and Joy.”

AAUW plans annual book sale this weekend

The 42nd Annual AAUW (American Association of University Women) Book Sale is at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, Friday, Feb 24, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m; Saturday, Feb 25, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb 26, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 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 for most titles.  A Collectible Books section features rare collectible books which 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. 

City Parks & Recreation community update

Father/Daughter Ball - February 25 - $15
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 or like us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/wallawallapr

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