||WWPS response to planned National School Safety Walkouts – By Superintendent Wade Smith
Dear parent(s)/guardian(s) of Walla Walla Public Schools’ students:
On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 14, 2018, we collectively grieved as news began to unfold about the tragedy in Florida. On that dark day, 17 students and staff lost their lives and more than a dozen people were injured at the hands of a lone gunman.
For Walla Walla Public Schools, this tragedy strikes at the core of everything we hold dear, the safety and well-being of our educational family. Schools should be safe places for students to thrive and for educators to inspire. This heartbreaking event reinforces our school board’s deliberate decision to emphasize and ensure safe and engaging schools for all students and staff as one of the four pillars of the district’s strategic plan.
On March 14, 2018, organizers around the country are calling for a National School Walkout at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes in order to address gun violence in schools and encourage enhanced legislation on the matter. Information on social media and websites has been encouraging students and teachers around the country to organize on that day, preferably via a brief walkout.
While public schools and their employees are discouraged from participating in political activism during the school day, Walla Walla Public Schools recognizes first amendment/free speech rights of students. History has taught us the importance of civic engagement and peaceful activism; many such activities having shaped the fabric of our great nation over its nearly 250-year history.
WWPS Age-appropriate Response to March 14 Walkout:
At the high school level, to ensure a safe and orderly environment, we have asked school administration to cooperate with potential participating students to identify a structured plan to be implemented during the 17-minute time frame. It is important to emphasize student participation on March 14 at 10 a.m. is optional as classroom instruction will continue as planned. This is not a district-sponsored activity. Students who choose to participate will not be marked absent/tardy as long as they adhere to the time frame and behavioral expectations. Students who choose to participate will be expected to make up any work missed during the last few minutes of 3rd period and the first few minutes of 4th period. We encourage you to talk to your high school student about their potential participation. If a decision is made to participate, please reinforce the time, behavior, and missed-work expectations.
Middle School and Elementary School:
At the middle and elementary school levels, buildings will be reinforcing the importance of school safety. Schools will be scheduling their required monthly safety drill and/or holding brief assemblies to reinforce school safety and reporting measures with students.
To learn more about the district’s efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff, please contact us or visit our website: http://www.wwps.org/programs/safe-schools-program
||Safe Schools Update: WWPS Emergency Preparedness
Message from Superintendent Wade Smith
The school shooting in Parkland, Florida has communities across the nation worried about the safety of their own children. The security of our students remains our top priority and we will not compromise our beliefs. Goal four of the WWPS Strategic Plan is dedicated to school safety. Please take time to read this WWPS Safe Schools update. If you have questions about our processes, preventive safety measures, or response to a specific matter, please contact the appropriate school administrator or the district office. My colleagues and I welcome your input and ideas as we continue to refine our practices to ensure a safe environment for students and staff.
Three Pillars of Emergency Planning
• Emergency Drills and Training (lockdown, evacuation, shelter-in-place, earthquake)
• Suicide Prevention (The Health Center, Walla Walla County Health Department and Comprehensive Mental Health)
• Bullying Prevention (Mark Thompson Consulting, Washington State Risk Management Pool)
• School Resource Officer at Wa-Hi and Security Officers at Wa-Hi, Lincoln HS, Pioneer MS and Garrison MS
• RCW 28A.320.125 (WWPS meets state requirements for Safe School Plans)
• Incident Command System, training, drills, support from first responders and Safe Schools Committee
• Crisis Recovery procedures and teams at each school
See Something, Say Something – Report It!
• Call the police and district officials any time there is a school safety concern or threat of violence
• WWPS SafeSchools Alert system allows anonymous reporting of bullying, threats and safety concerns
- Phone: 1-855-4ALERT1, ext. 1057
- Text: Text #1057 @tip + your tip to ALERT1 (253781)
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: http://1057.alert1.us
How does the school district address threats?
• Walla Walla Public Schools takes all threats of violence seriously
• The district immediately investigates the incident in cooperation with local law enforcement officials
• Any student accused of a threat is typically emergency expelled, an administrative designation allowing for the temporary removal of a student from school
• A risk assessment is completed with local authorities or other providers to determine legitimacy of threat
• Parents and staff are informed when any legitimate threat is identified (School Messenger, web, social media)
• All genuine safety incidents resulting in an unplanned disruption to the normal routine are communicated
Next Steps and Additional Training
• WWPS officials are attending City of Walla Walla Police Active Shooter training this spring
• WWPS administrators are continually reviewing all safety plans, emergency teams and procedures
• WWPS will coordinate a Safety Summit this summer to enhance safety procedures and response
Local teachers earn National Board Certification
Tuesday night, School Board members recognized 10 outstanding educators for earning their National Board Certification. The certification process assesses subject knowledge, communication skills, management of student learning and professional learning community involvement. Congratulations to this year’s recipients: Kelsee Anderson, Kimberly Butenhoff, Kristen Garcia, Stephanie Gomsrud, Ashley Goss, Jamie Kemano, Julie Laufenburg, Caroline Lujan, Sara Pinkerton and Refugio Reyes. Barb Casey and Michelle Carpenter serve as program advisers. Walla Walla Public Schools has 44 National Board certified teachers on staff.
||McCleary decision prompts district to set aside funds to compensate for loss of local levy revenue
Legislation approved last summer to address fully funding public education per the McCleary decision is impacting local budget development, according to Superintendent Wade Smith during Tuesday night’s General Fund Budget planning update. Walla Walla Public Schools set aside $1 million from its 2017-2018 General Fund budget to address an anticipated budget shortfall in 2018-2019 when local levy rates are mandated to drop from $3.50 per $1,000 assessed valuation to $1.50/$1,000 per the new legislation.
Another legislative change impacting state revenue to local districts is the elimination of staff mix ratio formulas. Districts like Walla Walla, with a higher percentage of veteran teachers on staff, are feeling the pinch since the state no longer accounts for districts with a larger population of experienced teachers. Smith reported the opening of Willow Public Charter School this fall will also equate to less revenue the district will have to operate during the 2018-2019 school year and beyond. Superintendent Smith said the district will need to dip into its reserves next year, but revenue forecasts are expected to level out in the coming years.
“McCleary has been a win for local taxpayers by significantly lowering property tax rates in 2019, but districts with high levy rates and experienced teachers like Walla Walla are trying to figure out how to cover current and future costs,” said Superintendent Wade Smith.
||Energy audit anticipates efficiency improvements with bond
Energy Audit Report
Facilities projects for the anticipated November 2018 bond proposal will help improve energy efficiency, reduce maintenance costs and improve classroom comfort, according to an Energy Audit completed by the Wenaha Group. Tuesday night results of the audit were reported to school board members. Renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School are the major projects being proposed for improvement. Each of these schools will have new energy efficient heating and cooling systems, modern LED lighting systems, improved windows, more insulation and other features to enhance energy efficiency. The November 2018 bond proposal packages also include critical energy efficiency projects at other district schools.
Education Support Professionals Week March 12-16, 2018
Education support professionals were recognized during Tuesday night’s school board meeting. March 12-16 is Education Support Professionals Week and Superintendent Wade Smith read a proclamation from Governor Jay Inslee. The proclamation Honors education support professionals as instrumental in fulfilling the state’s responsibility to educate all students.
||School board meeting March 6
• March 6 - School board regular study meeting @ 5:30 p.m. (open to the public)
• Walla Walla Public Schools District Office
||Personnel Report (from Feb. 27, 2018 school board meeting)
Tyler Comstock, Speech Language Pathologist, Special Education
Chad Patterson, Special Education, Garrison Middle School
Jerry Quaresma, Opportunity Program, Wa-Hi, 20 years
Sylvia Esparza, Assistant Secretary, Pioneer Middle School, 6 months
Kerri Finkbiner, Health Clinician, Sharpstein, 13 years
Analizeth Pesqueira, Intervention Specialist, Berney, 4 years
||Graduates of Distinction nominations now accepted
Nominations are now open for the district’s prestigious Graduates of Distinction program. Nominations for this year’s recipients will be accepted through March 15. Please consider nominating an outstanding graduate or encouraging someone you know to submit a nomination. Recipients will be honored prior to the June 5 School Board meeting.
Information and the nomination forms are online: Form
||Volunteer of the Year nominations now accepted
Nominations are now open for the Art Regier Volunteer of the Year awards. Please consider nominating one of Walla Walla Public Schools’ outstanding volunteers. Recipients will be honored at the April 17 School Board meeting. Contact Communications Director Mark Higgins for additional information – firstname.lastname@example.org.
||Superintendent’s Patron Tour March 14 – Visit Wa-Hi, Pioneer MS and Lincoln HS
Join Superintendent Wade Smith for a tour of three schools and an update on the district’s 2018 Bond Planning work. This is an excellent opportunity to meet Superintendent Smith and learn more about Walla Walla Public Schools.
• Wednesday, March 14 / 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (lunch provided)
• RSVP by Friday, March 9 -- email@example.com / (509) 526-6715
• Pioneer Middle School
• Walla Walla High School
• Lincoln High School
||Lincoln High School Drama presents – The Addams Family
Show dates: March 22, 24, 29, 31 (7:30 p.m.) and March 25 (2 p.m.)
Location: Village Hall Theater at Walla Walla University (204 S. College Ave.)
Suggested donation: $10 adults and $5 students
Information: Riki Wauchek - firstname.lastname@example.org
||Adopt-a-Blue Devil Program donations breaking down barriers for student participation in school activities
This fall, Walla Walla Public Schools launched a partnership with the United Way of Walla Walla to develop the Adopt-a-Blue Devil scholarship foundation to help eliminate financial barriers for eligible Walla Walla Public School students. A total of $10,460.00 dollars have been raised through this partnership to date.
“As of today, 16 students have received scholarships to support participation in everything from arts to athletics,” said Athletics and Activities Director Dirk Hansen, who manages the program for the school district. “Walla Walla Public Schools students in grades 6-12 who lack the financial means to participate in school-sponsored programs, activities, or academic experiences are eligible to apply for scholarship funds.”
The Adopt-a-Blue Devil program helps diversify our students’ skills and interests and helps to develop their passions. As more school staff and students become aware of this program,” said Brad McMasters, Director of Development for United Way of Walla Walla County. “We hope to see it positively impact many more students by offering financial relief to families whose resources are limited.”
Walla Walla Public Schools faculty, coaches, advisors, and students may submit a request for consideration for any eligible student. Scholarship application forms are available at the Wa-Hi Athletic Department and online at: http://www.wwps.org/programs/adopt-a-blue-devil-scholarship-program
Requests will be reviewed and considered by the Athletic and Activities Director’s Office. Approved scholarships will be funded through the United Way of Walla Walla in coordination with Walla Walla Public Schools. Visit Adopt-a-Blue Devil on the district’s website to make a donation.
Boys basketball season wrap-up – By Coach John Golden
Wa-Hi senior guard Tyler Greene was named to the MCC All-League 2nd team and Junior Forward Taylor Hamada was named as Honorable Mention. Both players helped lead the Blue Devils to a 15-9 record. Wa-Hi’s boys fell one game short of a trip to the State Tournament.
||Walla Walla High School musicians shine
Walla Walla High School Vocal students competed in the Columbia Basin High Vocal Solo & Ensemble Contest last weekend at Hanford High School in Richland.
Results are as follows:
• 1st alternate to state- Cassie Dixon – Walla Walla High School
• Second Alternate to state - Jordan Calhoun – Walla Walla High School
• 1st alternate to state - Trevor Kytola – Walla Walla High School
• Winner (will compete at state) - Peter Hoffman – Walla Walla High School
Soprano/Mezzo/Alto Vocal Small
• Winner - (will compete at state) - Amanda Loney and Caroline Blethen – Walla Walla High School
Congratulations to the WAHi Jazz Band for an outstanding performance this past Saturday at the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho. Special congratulations to Nate Miller, who for the second year in a row, was named a winner in the instrumental solo competition and therefore got to perform on the “big stage” at the evening concert along with other festival winners. Both Pioneer Middle School & Garrison Middle School Band performed last Friday at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho and both had outstanding performances!
||Tickets available for FFA Fundraising dinner and auction
Time is running out to buy tickets for the Walla Walla FFA Alumni and Friends Annual Fundraising Dinner and Auction Saturday, March 17 at the Fairgrounds Community Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. All proceeds support the amazing Walla Walla FFA programs.
• Online - http://wallawallaffaalumni.weebly.com
• Email - email@example.com
• Tickets also available at the door
• Staci Humphreys
• (509) 527-3098
||Wa-Hi students participate in Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists – Latino Parent Conference
On February 23, nine Wa-Hi students and their parents attended the SOLES – Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists – Latino Parent Conference at WSU Pullman. This event was funded by a STEM studies grant received by Walla Walla School District’s Career and Technical Education Department.
The conference provided information, entirely in Spanish, to parents of students who are interested in pursuing STEM studies after high school. Speakers and current students shared information on the value of STEM studies and careers. Attendees participated in question and answer sessions regarding admissions, financial aid/scholarships and housing. Parents and students alike, experienced WSU’s resources that specifically support Latino/a students in making their college education a reality.
A very meaningful experience that two out of our nine students had, was attending the WAFSA breakout session, where they learned about the possibilities and resources available to them as undocumented students. Parents and students braved the cold and participated in campus tours of the Departments of Engineering and Computer Sciences, Health Sciences and Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences labs and greenhouse. There was even a little time to shop in the Bookie. The CTE Department plans to partner again with SOLES to take even more Latino parents and high school students to this event next year. Any questions regarding the conference may be directed to the trip chaperones, Marilyn Melgoza, WWSD Latino Outreach Program or Claircy Clizer, CTE Career Outreach Coordinator.
||Spring 7 on 7 Youth Football passing league sign ups
- Join Blue Mountain Youth Football
- Columbia Basin Youth Football 7 on 7 spring passing league
- Touch (not tackle) football
- Grades 1-8
- $45 registration fee (includes jersey and shorts)
- Register at: bluemountainyouthfootball.website.siplay.com
- Information: Contact Coach Jon at (755) 455-1336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
||WWCC plans Try-A-Trade event tonight
Walla Walla Community College is hosting “Try-A-Trade” at Garrison Middle School tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The goal of the event is to increase community awareness about programs and career opportunities through WWCC. Families are welcome to attend and “try a trade” by participating in hands-on activities with students and instructors from the following programs:
• Health Sciences
• Fire Science
• Medical Assistant
• Nursing Assistant
• Patient Navigator
• Collision Repair Technology
• Energy Systems Technology
• Watershed Management
• Water Resources Management
Dinner will be available and catered by La Ramada at no charge. English to Spanish interpretation will be available.
• Cristie Crawford, Educational & Career Navigator
||City Parks and Recreation Update
Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Ages 5-12 - $40/$55
Spring Softball Skills Clinic – Ages 5-13 - $35 Pitching/Catching - $15
Warrior Soccer Academy - Ages 5-11 - $48
Adult Softball League – Ages 16 & up - $870 per team
Adult Soccer League – Ages 16 & up - $422 per team
Yoga (Buti & Hatha) - Ages 12 & up
Guitar/Ukulele Lessons – Ages 12 & up - $40
Adult First Aid/CPR – Ages 12 & Up - $70 includes materials
Lifeguard Certifications – Ages 15 & up - $150
We are hiring! Be a softball umpire! Paid position or volunteer.
• Contact WW Parks & Recreation, Clay Lindsey email@example.com or 509-526-4527.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Cashiers & Lifeguards – apply at https://www.wallawallawa.gov/depts/humanresources
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
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to https://www.wwpr.us
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