Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 5, 2017

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

Teacher Appreciation Week!

Join us in thanking all of our amazing educators during Teacher Appreciation Week! Teachers make a difference in the lives of all students!

District invests $500,000 in elementary curriculum

Walla Walla Public Schools took a giant leap forward last night in supporting the district’s youngest learners by investing nearly $500,000 in Pearson’s ReadyGEN for K-5 English Language Arts and Spanish Language Arts curriculum. This significant adoption provides teachers and students literacy materials, in Spanish and English, which are aligned to standards and rigorous enough to support students in becoming Washington’s most sought after graduates.

“This adoption is a critical step in supporting students in becoming proficient readers and writers with skills to meet College and Career ready standards,” said Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis. “This significant investment in quality rigorous materials is also a critical step toward developing aligned and coherent systems and will pay dividends in years to come for student learning.”

It has been nine years since elementary teachers were provided core curriculum materials for reading and writing. Since this time there has been a shift in standards and a recognition students need regular practice with complex text and need the opportunity to build knowledge as they are building reading and writing skills, according to Krutulis.

Over the last 18 months, more than 40 staff have been involved in the process of selecting and piloting materials. The Pearson ReadyGEN materials rose to the top during this process.

“The adoption of these materials will provide teachers the instructional supports needed to ensure all Walla Walla Public School elementary students have access to rigorous and aligned instruction,” said Curriculum Coordinator Casey Monahan. “A teacher on the Instructional Materials Review committee excitedly noted the increase in reading and writing skill students will now have when moving to the secondary level will support their learning of social studies content, for example.”

Next steps for implementation of these new materials has already begun. Professional learning for staff is being systematically developed to support teachers as they move to using ReadyGEN to support students at all levels to achieve proficiency in their literacy skills. Professional development opportunities will begin this summer and continue next year.

Walla Walla Public Schools names Partners of the Year

Walla Walla Public Schools named Catholic Charities of Walla Walla, Friends of Children of Walla Walla and Whitman College Student Engagement Center Partners of the Year. The recognition is linked to Partners in Learning Month. Walla Walla Public Schools established Partners in Learning Month in May 2010. This month the district sent nearly 150 proclamations and letters of recognition to our Partners in Learning.

“We so appreciate the individuals, businesses, organizations and agencies who partner with the district throughout the year to support our students,” said School Board President Dr. David Hampson. “We strive to Develop Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates and each of these partners offers unique experiences and opportunities for our students and staff.”

Catholic Charities of Walla Walla
Catholic Charities of Walla Walla and its Director Tim Meliah play a critical role in our community with a mission to serve and advocate for those who are vulnerable. This organization began providing service in 1912 in the greater Spokane area and now serves 13 counties throughout Eastern Washington. The Walla Walla branch of the organization specializes in counseling, senior citizen housing and volunteer support, immigration services, and emergency assistance. Walla Walla Public Schools has developed a strong relationship with Tim Meliah through its Crisis Response program. His specialized counseling and people skills are appreciated when working through grief and supporting families during these most difficult times.

Friends of Children of Walla Walla
For nearly 20 years, Friends of Children of Walla Walla has helped young people in the Walla Walla Valley engage in safe, youth-focused friendships with adults. Director Jim Byrnes is steadfast in supporting the Friends mission of creating positive change in the lives of families — one child at a time. The program hinges on providing a child a caring adult relationship once a week for at least one year. Friends utilizes two strategies to make these connections. One way is the Community Based Program, and the ABC School-based mentoring program is another way to make connections. Friends now has programs or pilots in 10 schools in the Walla Walla and College Place School Districts. Adult volunteers in the ABC Program visit once a week with their young friend, with all visits occurring on school grounds during lunch time.

Whitman College Student Engagement Center
Since 2010, the Whitman College Student Engagement Center has been connecting Whitman College and Walla Walla Public Schools students. The partnership continues to grow as this year more than 350 Whitman College students are volunteering in district schools, under the leadership of Associate Dean for Student Engagement Noah Leavitt. Whitman students provide tutoring services, act as role models and enrich program activities.

ThoughtExchange results recommend renovations, repairs and upgrades 

This winter, parents, students and community members had an opportunity to provide the district input via an online learning process — ThoughtExchange. This latest engagement, the district’s fourth with ThoughtExchange, focused on the district’s long-range facilities plan. A complete listing of the results, by school and the district, is here:

Participation was open between February 13 and March 21, 2017. There were 413 people who participated. They contributed 808 thoughts and assigned 22,141 “stars. 91% percent of the participants were parents, 8% were students and less than 1% were community members. The information from this engagement will be used by the Community Facilities Task Force as it begins to develop solutions to address the identified facility needs. Look for another ThoughtExchange engagement this fall as this conversation continues.

Question 1: What are your concerns about our school facilities?

Top themes: (outdated facilities, temperature regulation, inadequate science labs for today’s requirements)
· Renovations, repairs & upgrades
· HVAC and electrical units
· Improved Science Labs and infrastructure

Question 2: What are some things you appreciate about our facilities?

Top themes: (beautiful and scenic campuses, spacious and well-equipped playgrounds and the new track)
· Facade, landscaping & maintenance
· Playgrounds
· New track at Walla Walla High School

Question 3: The district is considering many approaches to meet our future facility modernization needs. What are your thoughts on how we might prioritize these approaches?

The top themes (thoughtful and inclusive planning process, prioritization and design)
· Develop long-range facilities improvement plan to include needs of the future
· Prioritize plan based on need (Walla Walla High School and Lincoln High School top of the list; use current structures)
· Focus on classroom design and learning spaces first and then other needs

Other insights gained from the engagement:
· Lack of visitor parking space during pickup/drop-off hours and school events, congested traffic flow of buses and vehicles, as well as the safety of pedestrians in the crosswalk/student crossing.
· Safety and security including enclosed classrooms and a lockdown procedure for the open campus against intruders, as well as securing the main entrance/exits.

The Future for Walla Walla Public’s Schools by Superintendent Wade Smith

After nearly ten months of substantial community, staff, and stakeholder engagement to inform the district’s strategic planning efforts, the Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors recently defined a clear and affirming direction for the future of our school system. A courageous and bold course of action, at the April 18th Board Meeting the directors voted unanimously to target resources, efforts, and energy directly to the core improvement opportunities identified by their constituency.

This recent decision provides the critical framework as we collectively strive to achieve our new vision towards developing Washington’s most sought-after graduates. These strategic investments will help ensure core tenants are achieved, resulting in increased Latino student performance and family outreach, quality instructional resources and training are made available to staff, enhanced student behavioral supports are provided to meet the social/emotional needs of pupils, and expanded opportunities for student engagement are achieved both inside and outside the classroom.

As the district begins to implement the four pillars of its new strategic plan, students, staff and community will begin to take notice of the collective improvement efforts.

Following are some of the exciting strategies, programs, and investments the district will be implementing starting next school year:
- Significant efforts are being applied to enhance learning outcomes for Latino students in order to close the achievement gap, including expanded leadership and Latino outreach personnel, additional supports for culturally-relevant activities across campuses, and targeted student program investments.

- Specially-trained staff are being hired to support student social, emotional and behavioral needs in order to provide acute prevention, student crises response, staff training, and access to critical school-based health centers and community resources.

- Necessary investments will be made to ensure staff are equipped with the latest research-based curriculum, technology, and requisite training in high leverage teaching strategies, including additional support for fine arts, sciences, and stem-related fields.

- Noteworthy enhancements to engage all students are being put in place, including afterschool, summer school, and extra/co-curricular programming, implementation of middle school competitive soccer, enhanced middle school electives and Spanish language opportunities, support for additional student clubs and organizations, and the elimination of middle school pay-to-participate fees to improve access for all.

- Enhanced student safety measures that include increased campus security, surveillance, and improved training related to suicide prevention, ACES, and safety response.

This is an exciting time for students, staff, and the community of Walla Walla as we carry forward our mission to ensure all students receive high quality instruction in an aligned and coherent system while addressing their social and emotional needs in a safe and engaging environment.

Personnel Report (from May 2, 2017 school board meeting) 

Kristina Duncan, Principal, Pioneer Middle School

Ana Diaz, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary School

Elizabeth James, Fourth Grade Teacher, Sharpstein Elementary School, 4 years

Cheryl Drumheller, Kitchen Manager, Walla Walla High School, 29 years
Lizeth Espana, Para-Educator (temporary), Edison Elementary School, 5 months


Juana Ramirez De Cervantes, Kitchen Assistant, Green Park Elementary School, 1 year
- For the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year.

Perron recommended for Edison Elementary School principal position

Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Wade Smith is recommending the hiring of Dr. Julie Perron as the new principal of Edison Elementary School. Her recommendation will be presented to the Board of Directors May 16 to complete the official hiring process. Current Principal Dr. Jennifer Cowgill is returning to the classroom to help develop the district’s new middle school Spanish World Language Program. Her last day as Edison Elementary Principal is June 30. Upon approval of Superintendent Smith’s recommendation, Dr. Perron would report to her new assignment July 1.

Dr. Perron was one of three finalists for the highly-competitive position. Perron is fluent in Spanish with strong skills in additional languages. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, a Master of Arts in Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, and a PhD in Leadership Studies. Her dissertation was a case study on the efficacy of dual language and the important components of leadership that must be considered.

She currently serves as a school principal of Whitaker Elementary, a Title One elementary school in California. She maintains an impressive sixteen-year track record as an elementary building principal, with extensive experience in dual language school leadership. Before assuming her first principal role in Cornelius Elementary, a dual-language school in Forest Grove, Oregon, she served as an English Language Development Specialist and elementary dual language teacher. In addition to her elementary education leadership experience, she has also served as an adjunct professor at various universities, including Eastern Washington, Whitworth, Gonzaga, and currently National University. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in Advanced Reading Methods, ELD Methodology, Second Language Acquisition, Leadership and Collaboration, and Leadership and Change among others. Dr. Perron has also consulted for various school districts in the areas of Sheltered English for Academics, Equity and Diversity and Social Justice, as well as English Language Development strategies, Common Core, and building school community.

“We are absolutely delighted that we were able to recruit someone with such deep expertise and experience like Dr. Perron to our district,” said Superintendent Smith. “No doubt she will serve as an integral asset to all of us in our transition to a wall-to-wall dual school and help elevate Edison to become Washington State’s most sought-after dual language school!”

Vergara recommended for Bilingual and Latino Outreach director position

Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Wade Smith is recommending the hiring of Mr. Victor Vergara as the new Director of Bilingual Education and Latino Outreach. His recommendation will be presented to the Board of Directors May 16 to complete the official hiring process. Upon approval of Superintendent Smith’s recommendation, Vergara would report to his new assignment July 1.

This new position represents one component of many to be implemented next school year as part of the Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors strategic planning efforts to increase Latino/a outreach and close the achievement gap, according to Superintendent Smith.

“In addition to Mr. Vergara’s role, many other ambitious steps are being taken to improve student engagement and learning outcomes,” said Superintendent Smith. “A Latino community liaison will be hired and additional after school and summer school opportunities for students will be implemented. We will also offer additional middle school elective experiences beginning this fall and add competitive middle school soccer next school year.”

Vergara was named Oregon’s 2012 Middle School Principal of the Year. He was also honored with the 2016 Distinguished Latino Educator of the Year award and is currently President of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators. He is a two-time recipient of Oregon’s closing the achievement gap award.

For the past three years, Vergara has served as high school principal for the Academy of International Studies, a Bilingual High School in Woodburn, Oregon and Head of Schools for the International Baccalaureate for all four High Schools in Woodburn. Previous to his high school principal position, he was Principal at Woodburn’s Valor Middle School for six years, a school that offers Bilingual Education to its students in Spanish and/or Russian.

“Significant accolades have been earned by Woodburn School District over the last 10 years which has achieved incredible success despite extremely challenging demographics, lauding one of the state’s highest graduation rates for Latino and ESL students at near 90%,” said Superintendent Smith. “The results experienced at both schools under Mr. Vergara’s leadership are nothing short of exceptional.”

Vergara emigrated from Chile 18 years ago with no English skills. He worked extremely hard to master the English language and soon enrolled in college, according to Smith.

“After graduating he began his educational career teaching bilingual education at the 4th and 5th grade levels for seven years before assuming the assistant principal position at Valor Middle School in 2005,” Smith said. “He is currently defending his doctoral dissertation to be completed this summer on the topic of culturally responsive school leadership for Latino/a student success.”

Providence and Walla Walla Public Schools offer free sports physicals May 19

Sports physicals will be offered to students in grades 6 to 11 in all area schools May 19 from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Walla Walla High School Big Gym. No appointments are needed. The exams will be performed by Providence Medical Group physicians. The Providence St. Mary Rehabilitation Department, Providence Medical Group, Providence St. Mary Foundation and the Walla Walla Public Schools are partnering to provide the free exams.  Students under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or come with the release and health history forms signed by a parent or legal guardian. The forms can be downloaded at www.providence.org/stmaryfoundation. For more information, call Britt Adkins at 509-526-8633.

Superintendent Smith provides Strategic Plan and legislative update in new Pulse video

Click on the link below to view the May Pulse video. Superintendent Wade Smith provides an update on the new five-year strategic plan and news from Olympia on the legislative process. Please take a few minutes to watch this informative, brief video.

Highly Capable program recommendations approved

School board members reinforced their commitment to gifted learners by approving recommendations from the district’s Highly Capable Program Recommendation Committee. Assistant Superintendent Chris Gardea chaired the broad-based committee. The recommendations focus on participant identification, professional development, communication and coordination, experience enhancement and offerings.

The newly approved plans will now shift to the Teaching and Learning Department to put the ideas into operation. The committee’s charge was grounded on ensuring the program best supports the needs of students. During the year-long study, the committee examined the history of the district’s Highly Capable program and reviewed state and federal laws pertaining to this program. The group also studied other gifted programs throughout the state and assessed recent findings from outside consultants that examined the district’s program.

State Board of Education to hold meetings in Walla Walla May 9-10

Tuesday, May 9 - Community Forum from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Student Panel - 5:45 p.m. to 6:05 p.m.
Walla Walla Community College
Main Building D, Titus Creek Café
500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Wednesday, May 10 - State Board of Education Meeting (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Student Panel - 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Walla Walla Community College
Water and Environment Center, Room 2023/2024
500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA 99362
NOTE: Each student panel will have two high school and two community college student participants. The student panel members will reflect on college and career readiness. Panel members will speak about experiences that prepared them for college/careers as well as any barriers they faced in school for college & career readiness.

Alissa Muller, Communications Consultant
Washington State Board of Education
Phone: 360-725-6501
Fax: 360-586-2357

School Stories
Public invited to WA-HI Cinco de mayo event tonight 

On Friday, May 5th, the Walla Walla High School Latino Club is sponsoring a Cinco de mayo celebration in the Walla Walla High School Commons area. The festival will feature a career and activity fair as part of the celebration. The fair will include many community partners, colleges, universities, and school clubs.

Dinner will be provided by “Dora’s Deli” for the first 500 people who attend the event. Music will feature performances by local groups and school programs. The activity fair will include information tables and activities that families or children would enjoy. Those activities will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

SEA-TECH student advances to nationals

SEA-TECH students shine at first-ever USA Skills state competition in Yakima. Riley Winnett will advance to the national competition in Louisville, KY in June. Thanks to instructors Eric Matson and Jeffrey Townsend for supervising the activity and preparing the students.


Television (Video) Production

- Ruben Balderas and Aaron Page, Bronze Medal

Electrical Wiring Construction

- Rojelio Saldana, Bronze Medal

- Thomas Wilson, Silver Medal

- Riley Winnett, Gold Medal

Walla Walla High School presents BIG FISH the Musical!

Big Fish follows a relationship between a father and son who don’t always see eye to eye. Dad is known for telling tales of his youth that are too big to be true- some of which come to life onstage. However, with the father fighting cancer, the two must find a way to reconcile before it’s too late. The musical is family friendly and includes giants and witches and mermaids, oh my!

This production goes above and beyond and includes more than 90 students. The pit orchestra (lead by Andrew Ueckert) sounds incredible and the cast is singing and dancing better than ever before.

Remaining Dates/Times: May 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 @ 7 p.m. and Matinees on May 6 and 13 @ 2 p.m.
Location: Wa-Hi Auditorium
Tickets available at the Wa-Hi ASB office, online at intouch.wwps.org, or at the door if available.
Price: $12 adults/$6 students

Senior activities planned at Wa-Hi

May 23rd, 9:20-10:20: Senior Signing Day ALL SCHOOL ASSEMBLY celebrating Walla Walla High School’s class of 2018 successes and their post-high school plans! Parents and families are invited to attend, the assembly will take place during 2nd period 9:20-10:20.

May 25th, 8:30-10:30; AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) along with GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is hosting community members across Walla Walla to participate in mock interviews for Wa-Hi seniors.
For community members that would like to participate and be interviewers during this event, contact: Becky Waggoner-Schwartz email bschwartz@wwps.org or call the GEAR UP offices 509-526-8621.

Agri-Science students advance to national competition

Recently 11 Agriculture students attended the State Agri-science fair in Puyallup where seven of the 11 students received 1st place in their division and the other four placed 2nd.

“The students placing 1st have qualified to submit their written report to Nationals and if selected as the top 12 in the U.S. they will take their projects to Indianapolis in the Fall,” said Advisor Lindsey Butcher. “This is the first time that Walla Walla FFA has qualified and we have seven.”

The students’ display boards are in the Administration Building and they are on tables for viewing in the back hallway. Please feel free to provide comments, questions or recommendations for students submitting their projects to Nationals by leaving a suggestion in the comment box provided.

Free audiobook program supports summer reading 

Avoid summer melt and keep your 13+ teens reading this summer with SYNC’s free summer audiobook program for teens. SYNC is giving away two complete audiobook downloads a week - pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes (30 free audiobooks total).
· Download the MP3 books and listen to them later: www.audiobooksync.com.
· Once you download the books, they are yours to keep!
· Book titles change every Thursday at 7 AM, ET, so download them during the 7 day download period.
· Download the free OverDrive app to listen to the books; sign-up using your name and email
· OverDrive (Mac & pc compatible) is the same digital app that the Walla Walla Public Library uses through the WA Anytime Library to download books and audiobooks.
· See the entire list of summer titles: http://www.audiobooksync.com/2017-sync-titles/
· Text syncYA to 25827 to receive title alerts or sign-up for email alerts: www.audiobooksync.com
Need help or have questions? Email Kim Cassetto, Wa-Hi librarian at kcassetto@wwps.org

Wa-Hi JROTC top marksman signs NCAA letter to U.S. Naval Academy

Rifle team captain Cadet Major Daniel Enger from the Walla Walla High School JROTC Marksmanship program has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Enger is graduating in June and recently signed his NCAA letter to accept the appointment to the prestigious service school at Annapolis, Md.

“Cadet Enger is the first four-time Junior Olympian from the Walla Walla High School Marksmanship program, attending Junior Olympics for Men’s Air Rifle in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and attending for Men’s Smallbore Rifle competition in 2017,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Mebes, who is the team coach.

Enger plans to major in engineering as he nears the end of his decorated high school JROTC Rifle team career. He will report to Annapolis in June to begin Naval Cadet Basic Training prior to beginning his fall semester and start training with the Academy NCAA Division I Rifle Team in preparation for the 2017-18 season.

Local film festival showcases Student Produced Independent Films for Youth entries 

The public is invited to celebrate young filmmakers in the community at the 5th annual SPIFFY Film Festival (Student Produced Independent Films for Youth) Saturday, May 13, 3:30-5 p.m. This year’s festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Whitman College Film and Media Studies Program and will take place at Kimball Auditorium in Hunter Conservatory at the corner of Boyer and Park. Students district-wide were invited to submit films in the categories of Creative Short, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Horror, and Stop-Motion/Animation.

For more information, please contact Beth Clearman (bclearman@wwps.org) or Megan Cabasco (mcabasco@wwps.org).

Pioneer Library’s Book Nook

The Library RaTs (Readers and Thinkers) club at Pioneer Middle School has partnered with members from Pioneer’s National Junior Honor Society to raise money for a library Book Nook. The students want to create a comfortable space to read.

Eighth-grade NJHS member Paula Vargas says, “We want to make students feel welcome and happy in our library. Instead of sitting in classroom chairs at tables we want to provide students with a comfortable space to lounge and read. We want to make the library even more inviting to students, especially those students who haven’t found their favorite reading style.”

To learn more about their project and to donate go to http://www.donorschoose.org/RavenclawLibrarian

Public showing of ScreenAgers, Growing Up in a Digital Age

Mark your calendars for a community viewing of ScreenAgers, Growing Up in a Digital Age. Community panel discussion to follow after viewing. Presented in English and Spanish. Free childcare and refreshments. Open to Walla Walla and College Place residents.
Thursday, May 25, 6:00-7:30
Walla Walla High School, Auditorium
800 Abbott Road

Music students excel at state competition

Walla Walla High School sent seven individual / groups to compete in the Washington Music Educators State Solo & Ensemble Contest last Friday and Saturday at Central Washington University.

The following musicians competed:
- Eunice Ra & Bryson Jacobs - String Duet
- Keeli McKErn & Hannah Cabasco - Clarinet Duet
- Eunice Ra - Cello Solo
- Blake Averette - Piano Solo
- Trevor Kytola - Tenor Voice
- Hannah Cabasco - Clarinet Solo
- Cassie Dixon - Soprano Voice

These musicians qualified for this state competition by winning their regional solo & ensemble contest earlier in the year.
- Eunice Ra & Bryson Jacobs - String Duet - Recieved Superior Ratings
- Keeli McKerrn & Hannah Cabasco - Clarinet Duet - Placed Second in The State
- Eunice Ra - Cello Solo Recieved Superior Ratings
- Blake Averette - Piano Solo Recieved Excellent Rating
- Trevor Kytola - Tenor Voice Recieved Superior Ratings
- Hannah Cabasco - Clarinet Solo - Placed Second in The State - this is her second year in a row placing in the top three!
- Cassie Dixon - Soprano Voice - Did not compete due to illness

Community Stories
Sweets to open season with exhibition game against high school players

The Walla Walla Sweets will open play this summer with a showcase game against local high school players, including those from Walla Walla High School. The future stars of the Walla Walla Valley who have excelled in their high school career will have the opportunity to showcase their talent against the current collegiate baseball stars getting prepared for their West Coast League season.

Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball and the Walla Walla Sweets have teamed to produce a showcase event for talented Valley-wide high school baseball players for the 2017 season. This event will be hosted at Borleske Stadium on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 with first pitch being thrown at 7:05 PM.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Sweets in bringing this opportunity for local high school athletes to showcase their baseball skills while also raising funds to support American Legion Baseball, Babe Ruth Baseball, Blue Mountain Girls Softball and travel teams,” said Rick Eskil, president of Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball. “This is yet another example of how the Sweets continue to invest in our community and its youth programs.”

The roster for the showcase team will feature 15 players. Each player will wear his high school uniform, with custom hats for the event and a personalized wood bat being provided for each player as a commemorative memento. Tickets for the game are being sold by the teams and organizations that will benefit from this game (American Legion Baseball, Babe Ruth Baseball, Black Sox Baseball and Blue Mountain Girls Softball Association). Tickets will also be available at the Borleske Stadium Box Office on the day of the game, with the Box Office opening at 4:30 PM, and prior to the event online at http://bit.ly/2pRZNAm

Free passes to national parks for fourth graders

Keep your eyes out for the Every Kid in a Park program! Every Kid in a Park is a federally funded program that works to help 4th graders build an understanding of the environment and encourages families to spend time outside in nature. It provides FREE PASSES for 4th graders and their families to visit a National Park or Public Land for free, during September-August when they are in 4th grade. Explore the Every Kid website:www.everykidinapark.gov and share it with anyone else who has a 4th grader or incoming 4th grader.This is a truly amazing program that provides 4th graders with the opportunity to connect with nature at a time in their life when it is most impact. Information: matzjb@whitman.edu

Free Providence Heart to Start heart health presentation and weekly workouts begin May 9

On May 9, Providence St. Mary Medical Center will launch Heart to Start, a free, 10-week program based on the Heart to Start book written by Providence physician James Beckerman MD. Last year, nearly 200 people participated from the Walla Walla area. It combines the latest in scientific research to help people live their healthiest life, whether they have heart disease or are one of the millions of people at risk.

The program begins with a free community talk May 9 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriot in Walla Walla. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Evelyn Rhynard will discuss Heart to Start and its prescription for better health. The information session is followed by weekly workouts of gradually increasing activity, led by Providence staff. Weekly sessions every Tuesday beginning May 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Walla Walla High School Track. (Note: this is not a Walla Walla Public Schools sanctioned or sponsored event.)

This year, even more support will available from Providence staff. The concept of Heart to Start is simple. Individuals interested in going from a low or moderate activity level participate in 10 weeks of training, guided by Providence cardiology and rehabilitation staff. The goal, for those who wish, is to be ready to walk or run a 5K by the end of the program. Previous participants have seen positive impacts to their health including lowered resting heart rate, increased cardiovascular recovery rate and lowered levels of blood cholesterol. At the end of the 10-week training workouts, program participants who wish can test their new level of fitness by signing up for a free Providence Medical Group Fun Run/Walk in late July. To register, visit http://washington.providence.org/events/ser/heart-to-start/ or call 509-942-2286.

Walla Walla United Soccer Club tryouts

Is your child wanting to play soccer at a more competitive level? Walla Walla United Soccer Club is holding tryouts May 22-25 and will form teams for fall 2017 and spring 2018. All teams will start training during the summer. Most older teams (U15 and up) will train year round with a break during their high school season. The soccer is age appropriate and fun, but it does involve trying out for a team as well as a higher level of competition. All practices and home games are played in Walla Walla. Most of our away games are played in Eastern Washington. Please register for tryouts at wwusc.com or visit the site for more tryout info.

Camp Amanda Weekend Camp applications accepted

Applications are currently being accepted for Camp Amanda, a weekend camp for children ages 7 -14 who are grieving the death of a loved one.  There is no fee for campers to attend.  This year’s camp dates are July 28 – 30, 2017.   For more information contact Walla Walla Community Hospice at 525-5561 or visit their website at wwhospice.org/campamanda  Space is limited. Applications are due June 15, 2017, or when available spaces have been filled.

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