Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 20, 2017

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Stakeholder survey affirms Facility Task Force initial facilities improvement needs list

Parents, community members, employees and students favorably supported the initial needs list and proposed draft solutions identified in a recent public survey developed by the Community Facilities Task Force. Based on staff and community survey engagements last spring, in addition to a comprehensive facility analysis, the Community Facilities Task Force is recommending practical renovations of Walla Walla High School, Lincoln High School, and Pioneer Middle School. Other facility needs across the district like large-scale roofing replacements, heating and cooling system upgrades and life safety improvements have also been identified as priority projects. This latest survey tested the group’s initial pragmatic and cost-effective solutions.

A total of 569 people responded to the survey which is part of the community engagement phase of a deliberate two-year process to develop a Long-range Facilities Improvement Plan. Information gathered from this survey will help shape preliminary bond package options the Community Facilities Task Force will present to the school board in December. The school board will then seek further community input on these potential bond packages following winter break before making a final decision in May for a November 2018 bond proposal.

For the past 13 months, the 18-member Community Facilities Task Force has completed several studies and initiated extensive research. The district aims to preserve its historic buildings and infrastructure while renovating them to meet current educational needs. Walla Walla voters approved two bonds in the 1980’s, three in the 90’s and one in the last 18 years. As a result, all existing bond debt will be paid off in December 2018. Any facility improvement projects being proposed in November 2018 are likely to be a replacement of current rates, or a slight increase depending on community input, maintaining one of the lowest school bond rates in the region. The district is also in a position to receive unprecedented state match funding on future facility improvements and is only looking at options which allocate 100% of the state match dollars to the identified projects.

District to launch community feedback telephone survey next month

Another phase of the district’s efforts to receive feedback from key stakeholder groups begins November 1 with a community telephone survey. This survey aims to garner feedback about the quality of education offered in Walla Walla Public Schools. This input activity is an extension of the Board of Director’s strategic planning process. The district will use the data to track progress towards its goals and initiatives.

21st Century program receives $1.8 million grant to expand elementary afterschool programs

Walla Walla Public Schools received a $1.8 million federal five-year grant to provide 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs at Edison, Green Park and Sharpstein elementary schools. This new funding allows 300 additional students, 100 per elementary school, to participate in these high quality programs focused on improved student academic performance. The primary objective of the new grant is to raise English Language Arts and math skills. The grant also provides additional resources to develop social-emotional support, reduce discipline referrals through improved student behaviors and curb chronic absenteeism.

“With adoption of the new Strategic Plan, our afterschool program sites are poised to provide high quality instruction through the aligned and coherent systems established by our district,” said 21st CCLC Director Brent Cummings. “Afterschool implementation of our newly adopted iReady curriculum and assessment, particularly at the younger grades, will provide the essential supplementary support our attendees need.”

Walla Walla Public Schools now houses eight federal afterschool program sites, which includes the existing Blue Ridge, Garrison, Pioneer, Lincoln, and Wa-Hi programs. Annually, WWPS serves 800 total students through 21st CCLC afterschool programs. Cumming says integral to the success of the new grant are the four community partners: Community Resilience Initiative, Friends of Children of Walla Walla, Commitment to Community, and SOS Health Services.

“Each partner is a respected community leader and is a valuable asset to our students’ academic success,” Cummings said. “Community Resilience Initiative will help us build capacity and evaluate outcomes on a wider scale. Friends will connect us with an engaged and compassionate mentorship base. Commitment to Community will help us strengthen bonds with our school’s families and local neighborhoods. SOS Health Services will provide essential after-hours wellness resources, including the free walk-in clinic, to support our students and their families.”

21st Century Program Background:
21st CCLC programs support the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. These programs help students meet state and local standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offer students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and provide literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

Bilingual Program focused on preparing students to graduate biliterate and college/career ready

Tuesday night Bilingual Programs Director Dr. Victor Vergara and Edison Elementary Principal Dr. Julie Perron provided the school board an update on the district’s Bilingual Programs. They reported the focus for Bilingual Education is centered around two research-based programs: Dual Language and English Language Development (ELD). Dr. Vergara noted nearly 40 percent of district students are Hispanic and 13 percent qualify as English Language Learners. He also added 105 of this year’s 386 kindergarten students qualify as English Language Learners.

Dr. Vergara and Dr. Perron both stressed the difference between proficiency levels associated with learning a new language. They are focused on helping students attain high proficiency levels necessary to be successful in academic environments, not just conversational settings. Both Dual Language and the new English Language Development programs are designed to help students acquire these advanced proficiency levels.

This new ELD program is operating in all district schools and serves about 60 percent of students identified as English Language Learners. In this program, non-native English speakers receive all core instruction in English (immersion program) in addition to receiving 30 minutes a day of supplemental English Language Development instruction to help expedite their English language mastery.

The Dual Language program serves approximately 40 percent of English Language Learners. Programs are operating at Edison, Blue Ridge, Green Park, Sharpstein and both middle schools. The programs at Green Park and Sharpstein are phasing out as Edison becomes a wall-to-wall Dual Language school. Blue Ridge operates what is known as a one-way Dual Language program where native Spanish speaking students learn English and Spanish in the same classroom setting.

Dr. Vergara said acquiring academic language generally takes 5 to 7 years and the development of high levels of biliteracy and cross-cultural competencies will take a minimum of 6 to 8 years. He defined proficiency in English as being college and career ready, passing the Smarter Balanced Assessment in English Language Arts and success on the English Language Proficiency Assessment. He said ongoing data monitoring and continuous teacher professional development will be key components of the Bilingual Program.

Personnel report (from Oct. 17, 2017 school board meeting)

David Hanson, Grounds Worker (temporary), Facilities and Operations

Mollie Leque, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School, 1 month
Ruthell Martinez, Intervention Specialist, Sharpstein Elementary School, 7 years

Remember to vote – November 7

- General Election: November 7
- Ballots mailed out Wednesday

Meet the superintendent and visit Wa-Hi, Lincoln and Pioneer during Superintendent’s Patron Tour program

Join Superintendent Wade Smith for a tour of three schools and an update on the district’s Facilities Improvement Planning process, academic achievement goals and ways the district is reaching out to engage students in school activities. This is an excellent opportunity to meet Superintendent Smith and learn more about Walla Walla schools.

• Wednesday, Nov. 15 / 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (lunch provided)
• RSVP by Thursday, Nov. 9 -- sgolden@wwps.org / 526-6715

Tour Sites:
• Pioneer Middle School
• Walla Walla High School
• Lincoln High School

District joins sponsor list at annual Dia De Los Muertos event Sunday

Walla Walla Public Schools is one of several community sponsors of the annual Dia De Los Muertos event. District staff will have an information station set-up Sunday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the event located at the Downtown Farmers Market. There will be free activities, music, dance and theater. The district will share information about a variety of programs and activities, including:
- Dual Language Program
- English Language Development
- Middle School Spanish
- Free Middle School Sports
- Gifted Learners Program
- Advanced Placement Courses
- College Readiness Programs
- SEATech

Fill the Bus event Saturday supports Care and Share food drive

Walla Walla Public Schools is teaming with area realtors in support of the Annual Care and Share Food Drive. All proceeds support the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. Collection barrels are at all schools this month and various activities have been planned across the district to support this cause. The annual Fill the Bus event is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Albertsons and Super-1 Foods. 

School Stories
Wa-Hi Jazz band to perform at Walla Walla Symphony

The Wa-Hi Jazz Band will be the “opening act” at the November 7 Walla Walla Symphony Concert. This concert features a jazz theme with a guest vocalist, clarinetist and combo performing with the symphony. Wa-Hi will be including the jazz vocalist Clairdee on one of its numbers and the jazz clarinetist Ken Peplowski as a soloist on another piece. Contact the Walla Walla Symphony office for tickets. Wa-Hi fall “Jazz Nite” with the Garrison and Pioneer Jazz Bands is October 30 at 7 pm in the Wa-Hi auditorium.

Parent seminar: “How to make your college application stand out to highly selective colleges”

Sage College Prep Services will provide a 90-minute seminar on Wednesday, October 25 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Walla Walla High School Library. The theme of the seminar will be “How to make your college application stand out to highly selective colleges.”

Highly selective colleges receive a large number of applications but typically select less than 50% of those applicants for admissions. In this seminar, we will examine each of these in detail:
• Essays and personal statements and their importance as differentiators. How to select compelling topics and how to craft key themes that resonate with the admissions committees. Knowing what topics to avoid in your essay.
• Extracurricular activity resumes, emphasizing the importance of quality over quantity. How to demonstrate leadership, initiative, commitment, and recognition.
• Recommendations from teachers and counselors.
• How to ask for a recommendation and what information you should assemble and provide to your recommender.

Entry forms are now available for Letters About Literature 2018

The Letters About Literature contest encourages young readers in grades 4-12 to read a book and write a letter to the author about how the book changed their view of the world or themselves. Students can write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Entries in Spanish are accepted and will be translated for the Washington State judges. Letter writers compete at three levels: Level 1 is grades 4-6; Level 2 is grades 7-8; and Level 3 is grades 9-12. State judges select the top letter writer in each level and the three winning letters advance to the national competition. The three state champions will each receive a $125 cash prize and the champions, runners up, and honorable mentions will be honored at an awards ceremony. State semifinalists will receive an award certificate in the mail. National winners receive a $1,000 cash prize and national honor winners receive a $200 cash prize.
For more information or to download the entry form, visit: https://www.sos.wa.gov/library/lal/Letters-About-Literature-2018.aspx
Wa-Hi entry forms may also be picked up in the library and returned to the library (or a participating Wa-Hi teacher) for group mailing by January 05, 2018.

JROTC fundraiser Saturday at Super-1 Foods

The Junior ROTC cadets from Walla Walla High School will hold a fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 21, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Super-1 Foods in Walla Walla. Uniformed cadets will be in the store entrance introducing visitors to the Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps program and answering questions about their upcoming competitive season. All proceeds will help send cadets to drill meets, air rifle marksmanship matches and to the annual military ball. For more information, contact the JROTC staff at 509-527-3035 or wwhs_rotc@wwps.org.

Wa-Hi JROTC battalion selects top cadet, athlete for October 2017

Story courtesy of Blue Devils JROTC Public Affairs

The “Blue Devils” of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Walla Walla High School have selected their October 2017 cadet and athlete of the month. Cadet PFC Domonic Walker, Co. B, received an on-the-spot promotion to his current rank for his selection from among the candidates, one from each of the six companies in the battalion. He won this title by scoring 521 points from a possible 606 total. In second place was c/Pvt. Mya Lambert from Co. C, who earned 339 points, and c/Pvt. Kevin Edelman of Co. F took third with 324 points.

Cadets compete monthly to test their military knowledge and bearing, and present themselves for a uniform inspection. They appear before a selection panel composed of the six cadet first sergeants and presided over by the cadet command sergeant major after a uniform inspection.

“The highest-scoring cadet wins an immediate promotion and is awarded the Cadet of the Month ribbon. This competition allows newer cadets an opportunity to prove how much they’ve learned and improved as members of Wa-Hi’s JROTC Program,” said c/Command Sgt. Maj. Ben Bialozor.

Also new in the battalion, c/PFC Ami Maxwell achieved first place in the October Athlete of the Month competition, and received an immediate promotion to her rank for scoring 275 out of 300 points. She finished the competition with 36 pushups, 50 situps, and her winning time for the one-mile run.

Second place went to c/Pvt. Luis Sanchez, Co. A, who scored 110, and in third place was C/Pvt. Ramon Lopez, Co. F, with 75. As in the COM competition, six Wa-Hi JROTC cadets competed in AOM events to test their strength, endurance, and self-discipline.

“Athlete of the Month gives every battalion cadets some physical fitness goals to strive for, and helps to improve fitness and self-discipline, as a whole,” said cadet Capt. Kyle Martin, the battalion’s physical fitness officer.

Wa-Hi JROTC cadets take part in the program to develop strong leadership traits and to develop as good citizens in the school and community. In addition to attending regular JROTC classes, many cadets also compete on special teams in drill and ceremony, rifle marksmanship, and physical training events. These cadets often travel to and compete in drill meets and rifle matches with other schools in the Cascade Division, including Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy JROTC programs.

Wa-Hi music students named to state honor band

Congratulations to the following Wa-Hi Wind Ensemble students for being named to perform at the 2017 Western International Band Clinic Nov.17-20 at Sea-Tac. The students were selected by an MP3 audition. WIBC is an Honor Band Festival similar to All-State. This band clinic draws from concert bands and students from all over the Northwest. There are four concert bands of approximately 150-165 members each rehearsing and performing with top flight collegiate/professional conductors/composers. Approximately 900 students auditioned for the 650 slots.

Keeli McKern - Junior clarinet (3rd time)
Tommy Kaminsky - Sophomore flute (2nd time)
Ezekiel Thompson - Junior Tuba (2nd time)
Olivier Nicault – Sophomore Alto Sax (1st time)

Pennies for Puerto Rico

Edison Students are saving up for “Pennies for Puerto Rico,” a penny drive in partnership with the Salvation Army.  With elementary and high school students in Puerto Rico unable to return to class because of structural damage, lack of electricity, running water and other infrastructure challenges, Edison Shockers wish to share, and every penny counts.  The penny drive will take place from October 30-November 3. Contact Edison if you are interested in making a donation –(509) 527-3072.

SEATech fall bench sale

SEATech Advanced Manufacturing students announce their Fall Bench Sale. Students built these high quality powder coated benches as part of their program experience. Funds generated support the program.
Bench details:
- Sale price $275 each (normally $300)
- Various themes and designs available
- Contact for purchase: James Polson – (509) 526-2011 / jpolson@wwps.org

Community Stories
Walla Walla Public High Schools Scholarship Fund Balance exceed $100,000

The Walla Walla Public High Schools Scholarship Fund Balance exceeded $100,000 this week, according to founder Jerry Zahl. He credits tremendous support from the Walla Walla community and from Walla Walla High School alums across the nation and in other parts of the world for this accomplishment. The total value of this fund is $101,787.87. Approximately $8,000 has been awarded for tuition assistance since the fund was established five years ago.

“We are thankful for the efforts of donors,” said Zahl. “Walla Walla High School Class Reunion Leaders, the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Class of 1962 Classmate Garth Lindsey, several Wa-Hi reunion groups and the Walla Walla Union Bulletin have been a strong voice for awareness of the Scholarship Fund.”

Gifts to the Blue Mountain Community Foundation:
- ATTN WWPHS-SF PO Box 603, Walla Walla, WA 99362
- Jerry Zahl, WWPHS Scholarship Fund Chair: jkazahl@charter.net

Nature Kids: Birds, Bats, and Bugs, Oh My!

- Saturday, October 28
- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Walla Walla Public Library
- Free and open to the public

Come one, come all to the last event of the year— and it’s all about our furry, flying friends! Join the Blue Mountain Land Trust, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Audubon Society for a day at the Walla Walla Public Library to celebrate the birds, bats, and raptors of our home. Here, you’ll find lots of fun bat, bird, and bug-inspired activities for kids of all ages. Come learn what owls eat by dissecting their pellets, make an origami bat, help us create a bat mural and so much more. You may even find some of Batman’s belongings lurking in the library. Keep an eye out! We also are excited to welcome two special guests. Jenny Barnett, a USFWS Biologist, and Lynn Tomkins from the Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Jenny will be sharing all she knows about bats and their important role in nature at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m., Lynn will introduce you to some of their resident raptors. Lynn will share their life histories, their role in a healthy environment, and our role in helping to maintain a harmonious coexistence with our native wildlife. Did you know bats are the only mammals that fly? Sponsored by Wenzel Nursery.

D.A.R.E Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser October 31

• D.A.R.E Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser
• Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 4 to 7 p.m.
• Located at Bacon and Eggs (57 E. Main across from Macys)
• $5 each or $20 for family of six
• All proceeds will directly benefit the D.A.R.E. program

Car seat check up event Oct. 21

- Free car seat check up event sponsored by Children’s Home Society
- Certified car seat technicians will ensure your child’s car seat is installed correctly
- Saturday, Oct. 21 from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
- Shopko Parking lot (1651 Rose Street)

Education First plans tour to Peru for Spring Break 2019

Kathryn Southwick Hess will be leading an EF (Education First) student educational tour to Peru during Spring Break 2019. This is the sixth tour she has helped organize to promote global education and cultural awareness.

“This tour has the unique opportunity of practicing Spanish in everyday life for those students taking Spanish at their home school,” said Southwick Hess. “A knowledge of Spanish is not required for this tour, as we will also have a full time bilingual local Tour Director.”

There is also an introduction to service learning component to this tour. Southwick Hess says the tour group will work with a local non-profit on a project which will directly assist the community. They will also visit and explore many of the sites of Peru, Machu Picchu, Lima and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Current 6th-11th grade students are encouraged to attend an informational meeting:
- Wednesday, Oct. 25
- 7 p.m. @ Walla Walla Community College, Room 209
- Contact: mrstravelmama@gmail.com with questions
- www.eftours.com/2027851vd
- This is a parent lead student travel opportunity, not associated with Walla Walla Public Schools

Kirkman House Live presents Chamber Music on Saturday

- Chamber Music event Saturday, October 21
- Doors open at 6:45 for socializing and locally sourced hors d’oeuvres and beverages.
- Performance begins at 7:30 p.m.
- Tickets are $30 per person and are available at kirkmanhouse.org
- Classical Favorites will be performed by: Edward Dixon, Cello, Diane Gray-Chamberlain, Soprano, and Jan Roberts, Keyboard
- Also pending, a second concert on Sunday afternoon, October 22.
- Please check kirkmanhouse.org for details.

City Parks and Recreation Update
Pumpkin Carving Contest - October 27 - Ages 3-12 years - Free
Winter Wrestling Workshop - December 26-28 - Ages 5-13 - $40
Lacrosse Fundamentals Clinic - January 20/27 - Grades 1-4 - $15 including equipment
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to http://www.wwpr.us
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