Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Jan. 12, 2018

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Survey now open to share input on 2018 bond proposal options

Renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School included in both options


Walla Walla Public Schools Community Facilities Task Force has launched a survey to get input on two bond package options prepared by the committee. Survey results, as well as feedback from community presentations, school tours and public meetings will help the Task Force form a recommendation to the School Board in April. The school board will make a final decision in May as to which bond option will be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

“We have conducted extensive research and put a tremendous amount of thought into the development of these options,” said Community Facilities Task Force member Dick Moeller, a retired local contractor. “It’s important for people to take the survey, share their input and help provide direction.”

2018 Bond Planning Information

Option 1 - $65.6M Bond Package (Replacement Bond - no bond tax rate increase)
• Renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School
• $6.6M for select school infrastructure projects such as roofing, HVAC and school safety improvements
• $65.6M Local cost (eligible for $52.6M State Match which will all be applied to the school renovation projects)
• Tax Rate: approximately $1.23/$1,000 tax rate (Replacement Bond - maintains current bond tax rate)

Option 2 - $73.9M Bond Package (15 cent bond tax rate increase)
• Same renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School as presented in Option 1
• Approximately $8.3M of additional school infrastructure projects (Total $15M)
• $73.9M Local cost (eligible for $52.6M State Match which will all be applied to the school renovation projects)
• Tax Rate: approximately $1.38/$1,000 tax rate (15 cent increase above current bond tax rate)

Community Facilities Task Force Members:
Paul Schneidmiller, (Chair) – Business Owner
Tony Cabasco – Higher Education
Jim Dumont – City WW
Roger Esparza – Realtor
Darcey Fugman-Small – Business Owner
Chris Garratt – Health Services
Don Holbrook – Corrections
Dean Lodmell – Local Engineer
Linda Newcomb – Local Architect
Dick Moeller – Local Contractor
Jim Peterson – Higher Education/WWCC
Phil Shivell – Local Contractor
Craig Sievertsen – Finance
Casey Waddell – Finance
Jerry Zahl – Agriculture
Peter Swant – Port Commissioner
Randy Glaeser – County WW
Kara Schulke – Parent
John Keifel - Classified Representative
Keith Swanson - Certificated Representative

Student scholarship requests now accepted for new WWPS/United Way “Adopt a Blue Devil” program

The United Way of Walla Walla and Walla Walla Public Schools have partnered to develop the Adopt-a-Blue Devil Program, a scholarship foundation to help eliminate financial barriers for 6th – 12th grade students who lack financial means to fully participate in school-sponsored programs, activities, or academic experiences. The new Adopt-a-Blue Devil program is now part of the United Way’s Annual Fundraising Campaign.

Requests to access the resources may be submitted by teachers, coaches, club advisors, and students. All funding requests will be reviewed and approved by Walla Walla school officials.

Scholarship requests accepted online- CLICK HERE

The Adopt-a-Blue Devil concept took shape last fall when Superintendent Wade Smith and Executive Director of United Way of Walla Walla Christy Lieuallen met to discuss collaborative efforts between their two entities. Smith shared with Lieuallen how impactful poverty levels have become in Walla Walla as nearly 60% of the district’s students qualify for free and/or reduced lunch. This figure has jumped three times what it was 25 years ago. This school year the district lowered ASB fees and eliminated middle school pay to participate fees. Smith reports there are still costs related to other programming and student participation that may limit student involvement.

“This school year the district’s employees donated $14,000 to the Adopt-a-Blue Devil campaign through payroll deduction,” said Smith. Additional financial contributions to the efforts have been provided by district’s classified union, PSE, as well as other pledges from local organizations such as the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “We are hoping these funds give a Blue Devil or future Blue Devil a chance to prepare for college, learn new skills, stay engaged and make new friends without the worry of how their family will pay for it.”

Click HERE to make a tax-deductible contribution.

District releases 2018 Bond Planning informational video
Click HERE to view a new informational video on the two options being considered for the November 2018 bond election. Superintendent Wade Smith reviews details of the options being proposed, which include renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School. These options will be discussed with the community over the next three months before the school board makes a final decision in May on which bond package option is placed on the November 2018 ballot.

Superintendent’s Pulse Video – January 2018

Click HERE to view the January 2018 Pulse video. Superintendent Wade Smith shares information about the 2018 Bond planning process. He also welcomes the district’s newest school board member. 

Suicide Prevention Parent Meeting this month

• Monday, Jan. 22
• 6 - 7:30 p.m.
• Wa-Hi Library

Meeting Topics
Risk Factors
Protective Factors
Warning Signs

School Performance Reports now available

School Performance Reports LINK 

School Performance Reports for the 2017-18 school year have been completed and are now available online. They also are available in limited quantities at all schools. Each district is required to provide these reports annually to give parents and community members easily understandable information on educational programs and assessment results.

Each report includes a brief statement of the mission of the school, enrollment statistics, expenditures per student for the school year, student attendance, historical information on the school building and an invitation to all parents and citizens to participate in school activities. They also list district and building goals as well as highlights from the previous school year.

Each report also specifically directs the reader to the appropriate pages of the Washington State Report Card website which shows current and historical state and national assessment scores, teacher information and much more specific student demographics.

Highly Capable Referral Period scheduled for February 1 through March 2, 2018 

Walla Walla School District’s Highly Capable Program provides students of high academic and intellectual ability with designated time to explore concepts in greater depth. The goal of the Highly Capable Program is to encourage the development of higher level thinking skills. Information on Highly Capable Program services and the 2018 referral process is currently available on the district’s website. Referral forms will be available in all district schools and on the district website no later than February 1, 2018.

The annual selection process for in-district students takes place in late winter/early spring, with referral packets due back to schools by March 2, 2018 for grades K-8. Following the testing and selection process, all parents will be notified in writing of the results of the process. A child not selected one year may be referred again in subsequent years.

Parent permission forms for kindergarten cognitive abilities screening will be available at district schools in December and screening will take place in late January/early February. Parents will be notified of screening results and full referral forms will be distributed at conferences. Referred students will take the remainder of the cognitive abilities test and be reviewed for selection by the end of March so they may begin services at their home schools after Spring Break.

Universal Screening for students in Grades 2 and 5
Students in second and fifth grade will take the cognitive abilities screener following winter break and results of the screening process, along with other data points, will be used to determine which students will be recommended at conference time to participate in the remainder of the cognitive abilities test.

Referrals for All Other Students
Parents of students at other elementary and middle school grade levels should be in contact with their child’s teacher(s) to determine if Highly Capable testing is recommended. Students in grades one through eight selected for Highly Capable programming will begin services at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. For more information, please contact the Walla Walla School District Teaching and Learning office: 526-6735.

School Stories
Interim tag removed from Walla Walla High School principal title

Ron Higgins has worn many hats during his 33-year stint at Walla Walla High School and now he begins a new journey as principal following his permanent appointment to the position by Superintendent Wade Smith. Higgins has been serving as the school’s interim principal this school year. Smith said the district identified the assets needed from the next principal following input from students, staff, parents and community members.

Criteria for being the Walla Walla High School Principal included:
• Kid-focused
• Relational
• Passionate about serving students
• Engaged in the community
• Able to lead the school through a comprehensive remodel project
• Understand the critical work around leadership teams and collaboration
• Embrace the direction of the district
• Comprehend the incredible influence they have in leading Wa-Hi towards exceptional outcomes for all students.

“The more I evaluated these traits, the more it became clear to me; the right person is already sitting in the seat,” said Smith. ”His name is Ron Higgins! I am 100% confident in his skill, passion, and commitment to serve as the permanent principal for Walla Walla High School.”

Higgins says he is all in and thrilled to continue his role as leader of Walla Walla High School.

Wa-Hi students meet with legislators to discuss after-school programming

On Monday and Tuesday of this week,  Wa-Hi Students Kyle Carver and Ruben Balderas traveled to our State Capital in Olympia, WA. Ruben and Kyle spent their time talking to State legislators about the importance of after-school programs in Walla Walla. They shared how after-school programs during their middle school years and now in high school have influenced their own lives for the better. Ruben also served as a panelist on the Expanded Learning Opportunities Quality Standards Initiative which presented to the House Committee on Education. These two students will travel to Washington, D.C. later this year to educate our federal congressional members about after-school programming in our district and state.

Walla Walla Valley Quilt Guild donation helps district’s youngest learners

The Walla Walla Valley Quilt Guild donated several quilts for the district’s Head Start/ECEAP preschool program. These quilts will be given to families in need.

“This group puts their heart and soul into their work,” said Preschool Director Diana Evenson. “The quilts we have received in the past have been beautiful, with inviting patterns for young children.”

Community Stories
Whitman College - National civil rights activist shares her ideas about civil discourse

Whitman Teaches The Movement and the Whitman College Student Engagement Center invite the Walla Walla community to a public talk by Dr. Kate Shuster, from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance initiative. Dr. Shuster, a national debate champion and education-focused civil rights activist, will share her ideas about Tolerance & Its Discontents: Toward Civil Discourse during her Jan. 17, 7 p.m. presentation in the Reid Campus Center Ballroom B.

The Walla Walla Dance Company presents its winter show - SPINDERELLAS

• Jan 27 at 7:30 p.m.
• Cordiner Hall
• Tickets are on sale at Earthlight books and at the door. $15 general $20 reserved

This year’s production is SPINDERELLAS an original show written and produced by Nancy Wells with choreography by Nancy and her daughters Jennifer and Justine Clark with contributions from Chloe Pease and Grace Danielson. SPINDERELLAS is a wonderfully entertaining and heartwarming story of six lovely dancers who have had a hard knock life but find joy in everything they do. They have friends, adorable pets and the gift of dance. Join them on their journey as they go from outcasts at the royal ball to dancing queens at the Disco and finally their dream job as back up dancers for a famous pop star.


Public invited to celebrate the plan completion for non-motorized trails and transportation network
After three rounds of public outreach, project leaders are set to release the Blue Mountain Region Trails Plan to the public on Jan. 22, 2018. The celebration starts with a brief presentation of the plan’s findings and recommendations at 5:30 p.m. at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds Community Building with food and Spanish interpretation provided.

The public is cordially invited to celebrate the completion of the Blue Mountain Region Trails Plan, which spans Columbia, Walla Walla, and northeastern Umatilla counties and the cities within. The plan is the result of a year-long initiative between Blue Mountain Region cities, counties, health departments, ports, state and federal resource agencies, and additional entities to develop a regionwide non-motorized trails and transportation plan. The goal of the plan is to enhance community connections, create better networks within built-up areas, and develop routes to the region’s natural treasures.

During the first round of project outreach, almost 1,000 ideas regarding potential connections throughout the region were gathered. These ideas were combined with technical input from local jurisdictions to create a potential regionwide network. At the second round of public workshops, the public ranked the individual regional connections in order of preference, and also prioritized various needs to determine key connections within towns. The goal of the second phase was to refine the network into what is broadly feasible and publicly desired.

During the third round of outreach that was conducted online, a draft blueprint of the Blue Mountain Region Trails network was presented to the public to review street-level and regional connections and to share their knowledge in route- and location-specific insights, locations for future use and general insights about the BMRT project.

For additional information about the Blue Mountain Region Trails – Ridges, Towns, and Rivers project, please visit bluezonetrails.org.

St Patty’s Day Dash 5K & 10K

• Saturday, March 17
• Ages 10 & Up
• Cost - $12-$25
• Fort Walla Walla Park
• All paid/registered participants will receive an event shirt
• Volunteers needed
• For more information or to register please visit www.wwpr.us.
• Contact Michael Bumgardner at 509-527-4527 for event/volunteer information.

City Parks and Recreation Update

Mother/Son Superhero Bash – February 10 – All Ages - $15
Father/Daughter Valentines Ball – February 24 - All Ages - $15
Adult First Aid/CPR – Ages 12 & Up - $70 includes materials
Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Ages 5-12 - $40/$55

For more information on these programs or to register, please go to http://www.wwpr.us
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