Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 19, 2017

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District hires three experienced administrators

Bilingual and Latino Outreach Director; Edison Elementary Principal; Facilities Operations Director
Tuesday night School Board members approved the hiring of Victor Vergara, Bilingual and Latino Outreach Director; Julie Perron, Edison Elementary Principal; and Mike Kay, Facilities and Operations Director. All three of these administrators bring vast experience and extensive professional credentials to the district. Click here to learn more:

Community Facilities Task Force reviews Pioneer Middle School needs list

The district’s Community Facilities Task Force, chaired by local businessman and Graduate of Distinction recipient Paul Schneidmiller, met Thursday to continue its work on a long-range facilities improvement plan. The group reviewed a needs list created by Pioneer Middle School staff. They also looked at parent input on facility needs across the district from the recent ThoughtExchange engagement. Task Force members are also beginning to study bond financing options and design solutions. Next month, the Community Facilities Task Force will review facility needs which have been identified at Walla Walla High School and Lincoln High School. 

District collaborates with Walla Walla County Sheriff Department to ensure safe and secure schools

The Walla Walla County Sheriff Department is participating in the National School Shield’s Security Assessor Training program in collaboration with Walla Walla Public Schools to improve school safety. The National School ShieldTM program was introduced in 2012 to focus on improving school security in an effort to help prevent tragedies at educational institutions in America.

Walla Walla County law enforcement officials, City of Walla Walla police officers, school security officers and other law enforcement officials from around the state will be participating in the Walla Walla training program May 22 through 26. The five-day training includes classroom instruction to review industry best practices on risk assessment and threats and on campus activities at Walla Walla High School. The training is designed to better prepare designated law enforcement officials to serve as school security assessors and assist in conducting school vulnerability assessments.

“This collaborative effort with local safety officials provides an opportunity for the district to receive a free comprehensive report to support facilities capital planning, and it enhances our collective work toward ensuring a safe and secure school environment,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “The district takes its role of protecting and nurturing students seriously and this collaborative program will help ensure a safe learning environment free from violence, intimidation, threats, harassment and fear.”

Personnel Report (from May 16, 2017 school board meeting)

Michael Kay, Director of Facilities and Operations, Facilities and Operations
Julie Perrón, Principal, Edison Elementary School
Pete Peterson, Director of Assessment and Student Services, District Office
Victor Vergara, Director of Bilingual Education and Latino Outreach, District Office

Barbara Casey, Behavior Coordinator, Special Education
David Clearman, Fifth Grade, Berney Elementary School

Breelin Renwick, Assistant Secretary, Special Education
Cheryl Shay, Health Clinician RN, Walla Walla High School

Kerri Coffman, Director of Assessment and Special Programs, 23 years

Matthew Buckingham, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School, 1.5 years
Jacqueline Hellie, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 1 year
Stacy Just, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 4 years
Tracy Longmire, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School, 9 years
Chantell Lopez, Assistant Secretary, Pioneer Middle School, 3 years

District addresses “Blue Whale” Suicide Game and “13 Reasons Why”

Walla Walla Public Schools is aware of international concerns related to the “Blue Whale” Suicide Game and the popular Netflix Series “13 Reasons Why.” Although the district has not had many calls or reports on “Blue Whale” or “13 Reasons Why”, it understands the important role schools play in preventing youth suicide.

The district has launched many suicide prevention initiatives, held conversations, developed supports, and organized trainings to help prevent these tragedies. Examples of the prevention program include: The Sources of Strength Program, Cheri Lovre training, Mark Lee’s Youth Suicide Prevention Program, and involvement in the community-based WW Suicide Prevention Workgroup. In addition, a comprehensive website has been developed to serve as a resource to faculty, students, and parents.

Recently, the National Association of School Psychologists has responded to the Netflix Series “13 Reasons Why.” This popular series has resulted in a number of hallway, classroom and teacher-student conversations. The National Association of School Psychologists’ document provides information related to the series and some of the concerns associated with the fictional basis surrounding the main character. This document is posted on the district’s Suicide Prevention webpage: http://www.wwps.org/programs/suicide-prevention

“Blue Whale” is reportedly a dangerous online social media campaign encouraging people to hurt themselves over a 50 day period which can lead to suicide. This is concerning to Walla Walla Public Schools. Parents are encouraged to utilize the resources on the district’s Suicide Prevention webpage and report all concerns and incidents to school district officials.

School board discusses ways to measure success

School board members approved a new five-year Strategic Plan this spring which resulted in new Vision, Mission and Values statements for the school district as well as measurable goals and detailed initiatives to support today’s learning needs. The new Strategic Plan will serve as a framework for focusing efforts, allocating resources, and prioritizing initiatives.

Goal Focus Areas
Goal 1 - High Quality Instruction
Goal 2 - Aligned and Coherent Systems
Goal 3 - Social and Emotional Needs
Goal 4 - Safe and Engaging Environment

Tuesday night, Superintendent Wade Smith and school board members discussed potential performance indicators to measure success. These may include graduation rates, attendance, drop-out statistics, academic achievement, survey results and more. School board members and Superintendent Smith will continue this discussion during the school board’s retreat in June. Smith said these indicators are an accountability tool to measure success. Recently the school board allocated additional resources to support the Goal Focus areas.

District names Graduates of Distinction; Recognition event Tuesday, June 6

Bruce Hunt, Class of 1974; Jeanne Eggart Helfer, Class of 1977; and Richard “Dick” Simon, Jr., MD, Class of 1968 have been named this year’s Walla Walla Public Schools Graduates of Distinction. Community members are invited to a public recognition ceremony Tuesday, June 6 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Anne Golden Boardroom (364 S. Park St.). Hunt is a long-time professor at the University of Texas, Austin. Eggart Helfer is a pioneer in women’s athletics and beloved teacher and coach in the Mead School District in Spokane. Dr. Simon is a tireless advocate for health care who specializes in sleep medicine. Graduates of Distinction recipients will share stories about their school years, reveal the educators who had the greatest impact on their lives and reflect on their careers and community service. http://www.wwps.org/programs/graduates-of-distinction

Providence and Walla Walla Public Schools offer free sports physicals today

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 may be downloaded at www.providence.org/stmaryfoundation. For more information, call Britt Adkins at 509-526-8633.

School Stories
Cabasco and Wagner receive Russ Larsen Music Scholarships

The Russ Larsen Scholarship is presented to one or more Walla Walla High School Seniors who plan to major or minor in music in college. The funds for this scholarship are generated by the Walla Walla High School Holiday Concert admissions. Russ Larsen was the Walla Walla High School Band Director and Music Coordinator for the School district from 1950 – 1973. He was a terrific teacher, and incredibly talented musician, as well as a caring, selfless individual. In our selection each year, the music staff strives to choose young people who exemplify some of Russ Larsen’s characteristics.

2016-2017 recipients are Hannah Cabasco and Kelsey Wagner:

Hannah is the daughter of Tony Cabasco and Megan Blair-Cabasco, and will receive a $1000 scholarship. She will be attending St. Olaf University in Northfield, Minnesota in the fall and will be in the Bachelor of Music program. Hannah has played clarinet in the Walla Walla High School Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band all four years of high school from 2013-2017. She is a member of the Whitman College Orchestra and Whitman College Wind Ensemble. Hannah also participated in several honor groups including the Western International Band Clinic, All Northwest and All State. She participated in the Regional solo & ensemble all 4 years and the State solo & ensemble the last three years, placing 2nd in the state in 2016-2017. Hannah hopes to use this education to play in a professional ensemble or to possibly teach clarinet at a college or university.

Kelsey Wagner will receive a $500 scholarship. She is the daughter of William and Lisa Wagner and will be attending Dixie State University in St. George, Utah in the fall and will be pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. She is a choir member, participating in Treble Ensemble her Freshman year, Belles Voix her Sophomore year, and Concert Choir and Chamber Singers her Junior and Senior years. Kelsey participated in All State Treble Choir her Senior year. She also participated in Regional solo & ensemble all 4 years of high school. After college, Kelsey hopes to become a music teacher, either as a private vocal instructor or a choir teacher in a public school.

Spring 2017 Art Show award winners

Walla Walla Public Schools held its 4th Annual Spring Art Show last weekend at SEA-TECH. The show featured art from Walla Walla High and Lincoln High Schools, Pioneer and Garrison Middle Schools and College Place High School students. A variety of art, including digital displays, was showcased during the show. Special thanks to ArtWalla for sponsoring the event and Walla Walla High School art teacher Julie Laufenburg for coordinating the show.

Click Here for a list of winners:

GEAR UP pays for Washington Business Week 

Spots are open for Washington Business, Manufacturing, Energy and Healthcare Week this summer July 9-15 at Gonzaga University. Registration and transportation is covered in full by GEAR UP (a $1000 value.) Stop by the GEAR UP offices in the library at Wa-Hi to pick up forms!

High school students tackle community issues through project-based learning

Last week, Walla Walla High School teachers Kim Kelsay and Michelle Higgins had their first period students brainstorm community issues. They voted on their top choices and researched background information. Then, they invited local community experts to speak with each group. The top three issues were economic development and the mall, homelessness and creating an open class period for job shadowing, career development/exploration or academic tutoring. Paul Gerola, Economic Development Director for the Port of Walla Walla, Connie Taylor-Randall and Dr. Mindy Meyer spoke to groups of students who will take their research and work to create viable solutions for our community.

AVID Senior Recognition tonight

- Friday, May 19
- 6:30 p.m.
- Wa-Hi Commons
- Hear from seniors involved in the AVID program
- Next year, 22 students plan to attend four-year universities, 26 students plan to attend community colleges, one student plans to attend a language school, and one student plans to join the Army.

Public invited to WWHS Pass in Review Parade May 24

The Walla Walla High School JROTC “Blue Devils” Cadet Battalion will hold its annual review and change of command ceremony on Wednesday morning, May 24.

Events will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the small gym with the “drill down” competition and will feature performances by the armed and unarmed drill teams, color guard and individual armed exhibition drill. The rest of the day’s events will follow outdoors on the soccer field. This is the final formal Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet event for the senior class of 2017. The event is open to the public and families of Cadets are especially welcome to attend.

The highlight of the day’s events will be the change of command ceremony in which the departing seniors pass leadership of the battalion to next year’s class. The WWHS JROTC Senior Army Instructor, Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor will preside over the ceremony. After the change of command is complete, the battalion will be inspected by the reviewing officer and will then hold a formal “pass in review” in a final parade. Several school officials will be on hand to present awards and to announce the winner of the Erdman JROTC Scholarship.

The mission of JROTC is to help Cadets learn to be better citizens. They learn military history, precision drill and ceremonies, marksmanship and leadership skills. The Wa-Hi “Blue Devil” Cadet Battalion competes in drill competitions and marksmanship events around the region.

Blue Devil Cadet and JROTC leaders will be available to visit with media outlets for interviews. The Battalion Public Affairs staff will be on hand to support those requests. For more information call the WWHS JROTC department at 509-527-3035, or email to wwhs_rotc@wwps.org.

Blue Devil post season sports schedules

Many of Walla Walla High School’s spring sports teams have advanced to post season playoffs and have worked exceptionally hard all season long. Visit the Walla Walla High School webpage to see the Spring Sports playoff information and schedules.

Summer Kids Sports Camps

Walla Walla High School coaches are supporting numerous youth camps this summer to help students improve their skills. This is an excellent opportunity for kids to have fun this summer, play sports, and support Wa-Hi Athletics.

Summer Sports Camps Schedule:

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 p.m.
Walla Walla High School, Auditorium
800 Abbott Road

Community Stories

Community Development Block Grant funds pedestrian improvements at busy intersection

The City of Walla Walla’s Community Development Block Grant program is funding a sidewalk and ADA ramp project at 12th and Poplar St. A crosswalk and rapid flashing safety beacon will also be added at this busy intersection near Blue Ridge Elementary. The project is expected to be completed by the end of June, 2017.

Walla Walla Library and AAUW team for “Big Idea” speaker series

Alan Feistner, Deputy District Engineer for Project Management will present the “US Army Corps of Engineers and its Vital Role in the Region” community conversation May 25 at 7 p.m. at the City of Walla Walla library. The event is part of the American Association of University Women in partnership with the Walla Walla Public Library. Jessica Gilmore from Walla Walla Community College will present “Education Pathways: What Roads to Take?” June 29 at 7 p.m. at the public library.

Meals on Wheels seeks summer volunteer drivers

Volunteer drivers are needed to support the Meals on Wheels program. This program delivers meals to senior citizens in the area. Substitute drivers are needed during the summer months as many regular drivers take vacations. The time commitment is approximately from 10:15 a.m. to noon.  There are opportunities for single day driving or several day commitments.  Please contact Jane Kaminsky or Sarah Sisk at The Senior Center if you are interested - 527-3775.

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 the away games are played in Eastern Washington. Please register for tryouts at wwusc.com or visit the site for more tryout info.

City Parks & Recreation community update

Registration for all summer programs is now open.

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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