||Classes in session as normal during non-district sponsored National Walkout March 14
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
||Principals provide mid-year academic achievement report
School board members received a mid-year progress report from principals during Tuesday’s board study meeting. The Elementary and Secondary Schools Progress Monitoring study item was an opportunity for principals to share information on reading and math data, absenteeism, discipline and behavior referrals. The data shared from the building level is based on their school goals aimed at reaching the district’s five-year success targets approved last summer as part of the district’s new Strategic Plan.
“The primary function of school is to ensure high levels of learning,” said Chris Gardea, Assistant Superintendent. “This new systematic approach to reviewing and understanding data allows principals to identify areas of growth and the flexibity to make mid-year adjustments to better meet the needs of our students.”
The district is on pace to exceed its reading target established for this year. Math gains are coming in slower. Staff professional development, better understanding of the new state learning standards and staff collaboration are all keys to seeing higher academic achievement results. Additional resources are in place this year to better support attendance, discipline and behavior issues.
||Personnel Report (March 6, 2018 school board meeting)
Keith Angotti, Special Education, Prospect Point Elementary School, 1 year
William Calhoun, Mathematics, Walla Walla High School, 15 years
- William is resigning .2 FTE and will continue as .8 FTE
Dyan Nelson, Speech Language Pathologist, Special Education, 3 years
- Dyan is resigning .4 FTE and will continue as .6 FTE
Tami Plucker, Preschool, Head Start/ECEAP Preschool Program, 11 years
Conor Fish, Head Girls’ Basketball Coach, Walla Walla High School, 3 years
- Conor has also coached in assistant positions for many 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 nomination forms are online:
- No school April 2-6
- District office hours: 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 4 p.m.
||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.
Nomination form: http://www.wwps.org/images/parents/Art_Regier_Nomination_Form.fillable_pdf.pdf
||Reykdal: Education Budget a Strong Foundation for What’s to Come
The Washington State Legislature passed the state’s 2018 Supplemental Operating Budget with important additional investments in K-12 education.
OLYMPIA — March 8, 2018 — I applaud the Legislature for coming to an agreement on the budget, positioning them to successfully end the legislative session on time. This budget makes a massive investment in educator compensation to address the State Supreme Court’s ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington.
The Legislature also made targeted investments in areas that will directly improve outcomes for our students.
Some of these are:
• Increasing special education funding, which will allow districts to reduce their reliance on local levies.
• Implementing an “experience factor” for many school districts, granting a four percent funding bump to districts with more experienced teachers.
• Requiring every student to take a stand-alone civics course. Civic engagement is an essential part of learning and Washington state just made a historic commitment.
The work done this session has laid a solid foundation for what’s to come. We are now ready for a large transformation in our K-12 system over the next biennium and beyond. My team and I will work with the Legislature to:
• Close opportunity gaps,
• Significantly expand dual language learning,
• Lower class sizes,
• Extend the school day and school year to provide more opportunities for student learning,
• Make significant investments in our schools’ capital infrastructure, and
• Embrace a market-rate compensation model for our educators.
I am grateful the Legislature was able to comply with the Court’s timeline for funding basic education. Now it is time to move from basic to excellence!
||City of Walla Walla plans Isaacs Avenue Reconstruction, Phase 2 Public Open House
• When: 3:30 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 21, 2018
• Where: Green Park Elementary School Library, 1105 East Isaacs Avenue, Walla Walla
• What: The City of Walla Walla will be constructing street, water, sewer, and stormwater improvements on Isaacs Avenue from Division Street to Tausick Way (Isaacs Avenue Project, Phase 2). The project design is now 75 percent complete and the City will be holding a Public Open House to discuss construction phasing/sequencing and traffic control. The City will seek input on beginning construction in the fall of 2018 with completion in the fall of 2019 or beginning construction in the spring of 2019 with completion in the summer of 2020.
• For more information please feel free to contact:
- Adam Schmidtgall, P.E., Anderson Perry & Associates, Inc., 529-9260
- Monte Puymon, P.E., City of Walla Walla Engineering Division, 524-4513
||Zander Norris named candidate in U.S. Presidential Scholarship program
Walla Walla High School senior Zander Norris has been named one of more than 4,500 candidates in the 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2018. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 54th year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.
Walla Walla High School Principal Ron Higgins says Zander is an ideal candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
“He ranks at the top of his graduating class while taking a challenging course load,” said Higgins. Zander is involved in and is a leader in both school activities and athletic programs. We are very proud of his accomplishments and contributions to our school and community.”
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership, and service to school and community.
Future Business Leaders of America students qualify for state
Congratulations to the 19 FBLA students who qualified at regionals to compete at state in Bellevue April 4-7. Students are helping fund their trip by selling Chukar Cherries products to support the FBLA club. A portion of the money raised will help pay for a team dinner at state.Students are selling six different flavors that are available in two sizes. The large bag is 7.5 oz. and sells for $12 while the smaller box is 2.75 oz. and sells for $6. Contact FBLA Adviser Bernard Ma to learn more about placing an order: email@example.com.
||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
||Why I Teach video series features Wa-Hi English Teacher
Walla Walla High School English teacher Keith Swanson is featured in the Why I Teach video series. Click on the link below to learn more about Mr. Swanson.
||Wa-Hi ASB candidates debate LIVE on YouTube
Don’t miss the Wa-Hi ASB debate LIVE on YouTube. The debate is Thursday, March 15 at 3:30 p.m. in the Wa-Hi Commons. Click for the live broadcast: http://bit.ly/WA-HI2018
||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
||Picture Lab invites featured artist to present at WW Public Library
Columbia River artist Lillian Pitt, one of Picture Lab’s featured artists for school year 2017-18, will visit Walla Walla on Saturday, March 17 to make a presentation at the Walla Walla Public Library at 11 am.
Ms. Pitt will share images of her work and relay history and legends of her ancestors, “My people are Warm Springs, Wasco (Watalas) and Yakama (Wishxam) — the River People ... Native peoples who lived and traded along the Big River, known today as the Columbia.”
Now based in Portland, OR, Ms. Pitt is known as a sculptor and mixed media artist -- her lifetime of work includes printmaking, wearable art and sculptures in clay, bronze, and most recently, glass. Her art has been exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest, nationally and internationally.
“I use the ancient stories of my ancestors as a basis for the imagery I create. By doing this I maintain the memory of an ancient culture and keep the beliefs of my people alive.”
Following the presentation, children of all ages will have the opportunity to create a multi-media mask. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
||Camp Invention returns to Walla Walla with FAST FORWARD program July 16-20
In partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Berney Elementary School is pleased to offer the nationally acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering grades K-6. It’s an exciting, weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation.
Here is how young innovators will be spending their time:
• Dreaming up and designing their very own futuristic smart home filled with gadgets, LEDs, technology and innovation
• Using tools to take apart robotic dogs and compare their inner mechanics to the anatomy and physiology of a real dog
• Designing tracks for their Optibots to follow while exploring different modes of transportation
• Exploring chemistry, non-Newtonian fluids and magnetism as they investigate magnetic slime
Register using promo code Ideas25 to save $25 (expires 3/23) and Ideas15 to save $15
(expires 5/4) off the camp cost of $225. Availability is limited, so visit www.campinvention.org or call 800.968.4332 to secure your child’s spot today. For more information about the camp or to inquire about scholarships, please contact Camp Director Jen Stone at email@example.com
||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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-526-4527.
Veterans Memorial Pool Cashiers & Lifeguards – apply at https://www.wallawallawa.gov/depts/humanresources
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us.
Like us on facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr
Follow us on Instagram! www.Instagram.com/wallawallapr/
||St Patty’s Day Dash 5K & 10K
Saturday, March 17
Ages 10 & Up
Cost - $15-$30
Fort Walla Walla Park
All paid/registered participants will receive an event shirt
For more information or to register please visit www.wwpr.us.
Contact Michael Bumgardner at 509-527-4527 for event/volunteer information.