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

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Committee recommends Edison Elementary for Dual Language Program

Following a year and a half of committee work, a dozen parent meetings in English and Spanish, hundreds of survey responses from staff, parents and community members, and multiple classroom visits, the Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee (BERC) came to consensus on a final recommendation for the school board to consider.

Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis led the committee and reported the recommendation provides the best bilingual program for Walla Walla Public Schools.

Model Recommendation
• The One School Model was selected to be part of the recommendation.
• The One School Model includes the opportunity to focus on success at one wall-to-wall dual program while maintaining current programming at Blue Ridge Elementary.
• One of the caveats of the committee’s recommendation is that future expansion be considered at Blue Ridge for a two school model if student enrollment and learning outcomes warrant such enhancement.

School Recommendation
• Edison was selected as the site for wall-to-wall dual programming. Edison has a higher Latino population, additional physical space and technology for supporting the success of acquiring a second language, and should Blue Ridge be added will provide a two way dual program on each end of our district.

Roll Out Recommendation
• A final decision about the speed of the roll out has not been finalized. However, the committee will be further discussing the slow and moderate roll out at their final meeting on March 6.

The school board is expected to make a final decision on the recommendation during its March 7 meeting.

The primary reasons for reviewing the program and why changes are needed:
1. Increase academic performance for non-English speaking students (presently being out performed by Hispanics across the state)
2. Improve problematic “traditional” classrooms in dual language schools.
3. Increasing number of Hispanic students entering kindergarten with limited Spanish skills.
4. Some students in English-side of dual struggling academically.
5. Lack of program alignment.

Funeral services for Hunter Thayer-Rowley announced; fund established to help cover costs

The funeral for Opportunity Program Senior Gregory “Hunter” Thayer-Rowley is scheduled for Saturday, March 4 at 2:30 p.m. at Herring-Groseclose Funeral Home. Hunter passed away last week.

A “Go Fund Me” page has been set up to help with funeral expenses:

Middle Schools to offer Spanish classes next school year

Walla Walla Public Schools will offer Spanish language classes at Garrison and Pioneer Middle Schools next school year. All students in grades 6-8 will be able to take these new classes. This program enhancement will provide more opportunities for more students to acquire a second language at a younger age.

“We identified Spanish language classes as very valued through our strategic planning process and Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee work,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “Offering Spanish classes in our middle schools is a great opportunity to build on requisite Spanish skills so students entering high school might be able to take advanced classes and develop the competency for a Seal of Biliteracy.”

School board approves Resolution to serve all

Tuesday night school board members unanimously approved Resolution #03-2017 - Establishing Commitment to Serve All Students. The resolution reinforces the district’s commitment to serve all students, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
A RESOLUTION of the Board of Directors of Walla Walla School District 140, Walla Walla County, Washington (the “District”), supporting a commitment to serve students, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, in an equitable and inclusive environment so that students may learn and thrive.
WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe (1982) ruled that undocumented students have the same right to attend public schools as U.S. citizens and permanent residents; and
WHEREAS, Plyer v. Doe (1982) clarified that public schools shall not deny admission to a student on the basis of immigration status, shall not require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status, and shall not make inquiries of students or parents that may expose their undocumented status; and
WHEREAS, RCW 28A.642 prohibits discrimination, including discrimination based on national origin; and
WHEREAS, the primary responsibility of Walla Walla Public Schools is to ensure that we serve all students, and that each and every one of them is assured every possibility to graduate ready for college, career and citizenship; and
WHEREAS, the diversity of our students is an asset that makes each classroom, each school, and the district overall stronger, more innovative, and more focused on the world beyond our walls; and
WHEREAS, we are committed to providing students their legal right to access free public K-12 education, regardless of their religion, their place of birth, their language, their citizenship, their refugee status, their immigration status, their parents’ immigration status or any other legally-protected characteristics; and
WHEREAS, the Walla Walla Board of Directors recognizes that encouraging, inclusive and respectful environments, where students know they are safe, supported, welcomed, respected, and valued, helps students achieve their potential and allows them to be successful; and
WHEREAS, we are committed to maintaining school communities where students, families, and staff are safe, respected, and valued, and where students can engage in the learning process without fear of bullying, harassment, intimidation or discrimination; and
WHEREAS, equity and social justice are critical to our democracy, and we are committed to the enhancement and continuous improvement of learning environments that communicate the acceptance, worth, and importance of all students; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Directors is committed to governing the district through a lens of equity and social justice and to developing and maintaining structures throughout the district that support this mission.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of Walla Walla School District 140 proclaims our schools supportive of immigrant students and their ability to learn and thrive. As such, our schools will provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all. The Board of Directors and Superintendent commit to model the values in this resolution, and ask each staff member to join in this commitment to our students.

Principals provide mid-year progress report

Tuesday night district principals and teachers provided the school board a performance goals mid-year report. The update focused on high yield instructional strategies in place across the district to support English/Language Arts and Math academic achievement. 

English Language Arts & Spanish Language Arts curriculum adoption coming this spring

Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis reported 20 teachers are piloting Elementary English Language Arts and Spanish Language Arts Curriculum. The Teaching and Learning Department is targeting a May 2017 adoption for this content area which is the first in nearly a decade.

Deadline to sign up for Superintendent’s Patron Tour draws near

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

School board honors Angela Gardea for state Counselor of the Year award

Tuesday night Garrison Middle School Counselor Angela Gardea was honored by the Board of Directors for receiving the Washington School Counselor Association School Counselor of the Year award for 2016. Each year school counselors are nominated by their peers based on their high standards of personal conduct, their demonstrated leadership, advocacy and collaboration.
“I am so honored to be nominated and selected for this award,” Gardea said. “I truly feel lucky to love what I do. Everything I have been able to accomplish during my 18 years with the Walla Walla Public Schools has been due to the support I have received from my family as well as from the staff, community members and families in the Walla Walla Valley.”
Gardea began her career with Walla Walla Public Schools in 1999 as teacher at Pioneer Middle School before transitioning to school counselor in 2007. She was recognized at the WSCA annual conference Thursday.

Superintendent Smith releases Pulse video for March

Superintendent Wade Smith updates staff and stakeholders on a recent visit to Olympia to meet with area legislators in the March 2017 Pulse video. He also provides a progress report on the district’s Strategic Plan Initiative, which focuses on instructional strategies, support systems, emotional and social well-being, safety and student engagement. Superintendent Smith reports more activities like middle school soccer and middle school Spanish classes will be offered next school year and he provides a brief update on district-level committee work.

March 2017 Pulse Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHmdHVtn0fA&t=3s

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

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
Madison Project Showcase opportunity to enhance civics education

Students in 2nd, 4th and 8th grades involved in the The Madison Project Showcase will present ideas to promote civic engagement during a public event Thursday, March 9 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Pioneer Middle School. Named after the author of the US Constitution, James Madison, the ultimate aim of this project is to encourage the ideals of “We the People”; namely that through active, constant participation, will we continue to strengthen our local, state and national democracies.
“Several Walla Walla School District teachers have recognized the need to approach civics education in a coordinated way,” said Pioneer Middle School teacher Chris Plucker. “We desire to produce district graduates that not only register to vote, but who will also become lifelong participants in contributing to their communities, as voters and more.”

Plucker says by establishing an ongoing project for students to regularly engage in through their school years will foster more civic engagement.

This year, we have piloted a simple version of the Madison Project, and participating students will present their work on this very special evening,” Plucker said. “Our plan is to eventually present our efforts to both the school board and city council in an effort to showcase the potential of collaborating between schools to improve civic engagement. Nine-five percent of the event will be coordinated by the students which is a great opportunity to be inspired by our community’s youth!”

Whitman Art Show features projects from Lincoln High School students

Whitman College invites the local community to visit the Reid Campus Center today from 4 to 5 p.m. for an art show in the Stevens Gallery on the main floor of the building.  Authentic work created by Lincoln High School students, in response to the themes of race, equity and inclusion, are on display for public viewing and appreciation. Refreshments will be served.

Whitman College athletes to host Kickball Night SQORD fitness activity

- Green Park Elementary
- Monday, March 6 at 6 p.m.
- Kickball Night! Come learn/play kickball with Whitman College Athletes
- Open to all 4th graders in the Sqord program. Event hosted by the Whitman Cross Country and Volleyball teams

Wa-Hi Jazz Band shines at Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Last weekend, the Walla Walla High School Jazz Band had an outstanding performance at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Band Director Andrew Ueckert reports Nate Miller was selected a winner in the trumpet soloist competition. Miller performed on the “Big Stage” with the other solo winners. WA-Hi alum Gerrod Peck (class of 2015) performed as lead trombone with the host University of Idaho Jazz Band. 

Vocal Program students advance to state competition

Walla Walla High School music students in the Vocal Program competed in the regional Solo & Ensemble Contest last weekend at Garrison Middle School. The winners will travel to Ellensburg at the end of April to compete statewide.

Alto Category
- 1st Alternate: Kaysie Clayton
- 2nd Alternate Katy Payne

Soprano Category
- Winner: Cassie Dixon

Tenor Category
- Winner Trevor Kytola

Women’s Small Ensemble Category
- 2nd Alternate Duet Caroline Blethen & Amanda Loney

Women’s Large Category
- 2nd Alternate - WAHI’s Belle Voix Choir

Mixed Small Ensemble Category
- 1st Alternate - Duet Carson Schmidt & Katy Payne

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.

SEA-TECH Health Sciences Careers students prepare for state competition

SEA-TECH Health Science Careers/Pre-Nursing students are competing in the State Competition March 10 and 11 in Spokane. Students competed in proctor testing in February to qualify for state. Twelve SEA-TECH students are advancing to Round 2 of state. Students not qualifying will participate in Leadership workshops provided through the competition.

“The tests are based on over 1500-2000 students,” said instructor Sandy Thomas. “Only the top scores are able to move on to second round. However, it is not all about getting the top score and competing. Students will be able to meet other students across the state who are interested in health professions and learn new information while attending workshops.”

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

Local food bank supports preschool program

Thanks to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank for donating more than 600 pounds of food to the Head Start/ECEAP preschool. The food will be distributed to families in need during conferences.

WSU GEAR UP plans Spring campus visits over Spring Break

ATTENTION ALL Walla Walla High School Seniors - Spring campus visits for admitted students over Spring Break! This is a great way to learn essential details about housing, meal plans, deposits, orientation, placement testing, financial aid, and extracurricular activities.

Spring Break Visit Schedule:
- April 1: Experience WSU - Participating students receive a $1000.00 scholarship upon enrollment in WSU Pullman
- April 2-3: Admitted student day University of Washington Seattle. This is an overnight trip, all expenses are covered by GEAR UP
- April 7: Admitted student day Eastern Washington University
- April 8: Wildcat day for admitted students Central Washington University
All transportation is covered by WSU GEAR UP and parents/guardians are welcome to attend with their student.

Community Stories

Ballet classes available for area youth

Ballet Immersion Classes will be given as part of this year’s Tutus and Tapas fundraising event for the Danza Classica Ballet Foundation. The classes will be held on stage at the Gesa PowerHouse Theatre on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The class for 4 and 5 year old boys and girls will be at 1 p.m. and the class for 6-8 year olds will be at 2:30 p.m. Reservations for the classes can be made by calling The Dance Center at 509-525-0815 - please leave your name, child’s name and age, and phone number. Cost - $25 per child.

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)

Girls Council plans Girls Night In event tonight

GIRLS COUNCIL has ‘Girls Night In’ tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. for girls 4th grade and up.  Topic: “Where Are You Going?”  We are located at 401 W. Main Street, Walla Walla and may be reached anytime at 509-524-8845.  Come join the fun and be part of the Circle! 

New Youth choir available to high school students
Eric Aeschliman is establishing the “Walla Walla Valley Youth Choir” (WWVYC) for high school students of any musical experience level. Rehearsals start this Sunday. The deadline to sign up is March 12. More information can be found at our Facebook group/page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/WWVYouthChoir/ or website http://wwvyc.blogspot.com/.
City Parks & Recreation community update

Softball Clinic - March 18 - 5-13yrs
Fielding & Hitting Clinic - $35
Pitching & Catching - $15

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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