Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - April 20, 2018

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Community Facilities Task Force recommends No Tax Rate Increase bond proposal for November ballot

Public input prompts Task Force to recommend a replacement bond rate to keep taxes the same

“Don’t raise tax rates” was a message heard loud and clear by the Community Facilities Task Force during the community engagement phase of its nearly two-year study. This input prompted the 18-member group to unanimously recommend the Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors proceed with “Option 1”, a $65.6M bond proposal, on the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot. This recommendation keeps bond tax rates the same as current rates. Walla Walla Public Schools pays off all of its existing bond debt in December and this proposal replaces the current tax rate, maintaining one of the lowest school bond tax rates in the county at $1.23/$1,000.

The Task Force has been studying two bond options since December, including a second proposal which would have raised local property tax rates by 15 cents per thousand. The Task Force decided on the no tax rate increase option after receiving data from a statistically reliable phone survey and through other community feedback mechanisms. More than 60 engagements were conducted during the Community Engagement Phase including Patron Tours, an open house event, advisory lunches, presentations and one-on-one meetings.

“We need to listen to the community, and even though our facility needs are great, the data is clear residents don’t want their taxes to go up,” said School Board President Derek Sarley. “We have seen the results from the statistically reliable survey administered by Citizens for Walla Walla Schools and 81 percent surveyed said they would support the no tax rate increase option.”

Voters will be asked to decide on a $65.6M bond measure to renovate Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School. The bond would also fund other district-wide health, safety, educational and infrastructure improvements. The school renovation projects are eligible for an estimated $52.6M in State Match funds. All State Match funds will be used to fund the voter-approved projects. Project costs will be carefully monitored by a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and any excess dollars remaining following the completion of the renovations will be returned to the taxpayers to pay down the bond debt.

The Community Facilities Task Force commissioned 15 independent reports, met 14 times, and spent more than 45 hours visiting sights and deliberating over the identified projects . “We were charged with finding cost-effective solutions for the district’s most critical facilities needs and this proposal hits the target,” notes Task Force Chair Paul Schneidmiller.

During the two-year planning process, members heard many themes as they listened to the community. These themes are incorporated in their recommendation, including:
• Use State Match funds only on voter-approved projects
• Renovate existing schools rather than building new
• Prioritize classroom and learning needs above other improvements
• Establish an independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee to ensure another layer of accountability
• Return all excess funds to the taxpayers
• Make sure safety and security measures across all campuses are part of the improvements
• Maximize the opportunity for local contractor and vendor involvement throughout the improvements to keep money local

The Board of Directors accepted the report from the Community Facilities Task Force recommending Option 1 for the November 2018 Bond proposal. The school board instructed Superintendent Wade Smith to proceed with developing the ballot language and a resolution for approval at the May 15 school board meeting.

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

Applications now accepted for Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee 

The Board requests Superintendent Wade Smith establish a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, comprised of 10 community members, to carefully monitor the delivery of the proposed bond program to ensure accountability, fiscal transparency, and community trust. Applications are now being accepted until 4 p.m. May 11. Visit the district’s Bond Planning webpage for an application and additional information.

Applications now accepted for School Board position #2 vacancy

Tuesday, April 17, the Board of Directors accepted the resignation of school board member Jaenemy Perez de Luengas. In her resignation letter she thanked everyone for their support and said she is excited about the positive direction of the school district. She noted as a parent of three young children and the sole working provider for her family, she couldn’t provide the adequate attention and time to fulfill her board duties.
Interested citizens may apply by submitting an Application for Board Vacancy (www.wwps.org). Completed applications must be received by the District Office by May 9, 4 p.m. The term ends in 2019.

Personnel Report (from April 17 school board meeting)

Megan Beierly, Speech Language Pathologist, Special Education
Nathan Dross, Special Education, Pioneer Middle School

Roger Contreras, 21st CCLC Site Coordinator (temporary), Blue Ridge Elementary School

Matthew Shaw, English, Walla Walla High School, 12 years

Claircy Clizer, Career Outreach Coordinator, SEATech, 8 years
Douglas Klein, Head Custodian, Lincoln High School, 36.5 years
Katherine Schisler, Administrative Secretary, Teaching & Learning, 28 years

Roger Contreras, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 3.5 years
- For the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year to serve as 21st CCLC Site Coordinator

District names Art Regier Volunteers of the Year

In celebration of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Superintendent Wade Smith is proud to announce Laura Segovia, Jon Giard, Leslie Snyder, Ken Paine and Joe Drazen as the district’s 2017-2018 Art Regier Volunteers of the Year.

The Award
The Art Regier Outstanding Volunteer Award was instituted in 1991 as a memorial to “Grandpa Art” Regier. Regier, a retiree who devoted years of service to elementary schools in Walla Walla and epitomized the spirit of volunteerism in education. His tireless dedication and concern for the students he served are the inspiration for this award.
Criteria for selection may include the following:
1. Exceptional service or contributions to the children of Walla Walla Public Schools
2. Unusual dedication
3. Demonstration of care, compassion and empathy

Jon Giard - Blue Ridge Elementary
Nominator – Heidi Cohan
• Jon began volunteering at Blue Ridge three years ago to support math instruction
• This year he has volunteered in Heidi Cohan’s classroom every day for two hours
• He also is helping with the Math Club which meets a few times a week during lunch
• Jon specializes in math and also has a gift of developing positive relationships with students

Nominator Heidi Cohan said: “Mr. Jon is a quiet and humble volunteer who has endless patience and exudes a calmness needed in a fourth grade math class. Adding and subtracting fraction? No problem. Mr. Jon can explain it seventeen different ways in a soothing voice until the lightbulb goes on. He welcomes every question and graciously helps each student no matter their ability or aptitude.”

Jon says: “I am thankful to be able to work with these kids and value their friendship and love how they generously share with me.”

Laura Segovia - Blue Ridge Head Start/ECEAP Preschool
Nominator – Cresencia Duran
• Laura has had six of her seven children attend the district’s Head Start/ECEAP program
• She volunteers regularly passing out flyers, updating bulletin boards and assisting staff
• Laura helps other moms in the program by providing childcare so they can attend meetings
• She is leading several parent committees which plan family nights and parent training

Nominator Cresencia Duran said: “Laura is an amazing woman. She manages to do all these great things for our program while raising her seven children, helping her husband run his business and juggling many daily tasks. She is the definition of a super mom.”

Ken Paine - Prospect Point
Nominators: Kate Van Cleve, Gina Cox, Beth Thiel and Darlene Greenwood
• Following retirement from Whitman College’s IT Department, Ken Paine began helping with 5th grade math at Prospect Point
• He soon added Garden Club, Science Night, field trip chaperon, Field Day volunteer, reading with kindergarteners, teaching soccer skills to students in the Developmental program and starting a cooking and gardening club at Garrison to his volunteer resume
• Nominators say they appreciate his calm and caring demeanor which helps students feel safe and supported
• Ken is known for being reliable, respectful and a person who inspires students to do their best

Nominator Kate Van Cleve said: “Little did he know when he called to volunteer that he would end up working four to five hours a day. Mr. Paine is the type of volunteer turns our schools from good to great.”

Joe Drazen - WWPS District Office
Nominator: Susie Golden
• Joe has spent countless hours over many years creating digital images of historical Walla Walla photos, written articles, and various memorabilia
• He has shared these wonderful treasures through his BYGONE WALLA WALLA project
• Joe has graciously given to Walla Walla Public Schools over 6,000 images related to our local schools
• These images will continue to be made available to the public through the district’s History of Walla Walla Public Schools webpage

Nominator Susie Golden said: “Joe’s many resources include Whitman College Archives, Walla Walla Union Bulletin, Walla Walla area schools, Walla Walla school alumni, Walla Walla families, local businesses, and even local thrift stores. Joe’s hobby leaves a lasting legacy for the Walla Walla community and those who love our town!”

Leslie Snyder - Walla Walla High School
Nominators: Michelle Higgins, Julie Cox and Julie Laufenburg
• Leslie is a parent volunteer who spearheaded the revival of Big Blue Weekend
• This event went dormant for several years, but Leslie wanted to bring it back
• Her oldest daughter attended the event in Central Oregon and she wanted her other two children and their friends and classmates to have a similar experience
• Hundreds of students participated in the event at Hayden Lake Idaho
• The event aims to enhance school culture and promote positive relationships
• Leslie plans to take the lead again on next year’s event

Nominator Julie Laufenburg said: “Leslie understands the importance of building relationships and community among students and staff. Her passion for providing this experience for all students inspired her to take on the majority of the advocacy, fundraising, planning, and communication to coordinate such a large off-site event. Without Leslie Snyder, the tradition of Big Blue Weekend would not be a reality.”

No School May 11

There is No School Friday, May 11. This No School day was added to the calendar as a possible snow make-up day. Since school was not canceled this winter due to hazardous driving and walking conditions, the No School day will be observed. Classes resume Monday, May 14. 

Elementary Open Enrollment and Kindergarten registration continues through April 27

Kindergarten and Open Enrollment Registration for elementary schools continues through Friday, April 27, 2018. Kindergarten registration will take place at the student’s attendance area elementary school. Parents wishing to pick up the kindergarten registration information may do so at their child’s school.

Kindergarten/Elementary Open Enrollment Registration Hours:
Now – April 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child in a school outside of their attendance area may pick up Open Enrollment application or release forms at their attendance area school during normal business hours. Open enrollment requests at Walla Walla Public Schools will be granted according to priorities outlined in School Board Policy No. 3130, which will be used to determine movement of a student. School Board Policy manuals are available for public viewing at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the Administration Office. School Board policies are also online at http://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/policies.

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all schools, the Administration Office at 364 S. Park Street, and online at www.wwps.org. Click on the District A to Z link and then click on Boundary Map.

School Stories
Blue Devil Legends track meet brings 15 teams to Dave Klicker Track

The 2nd Annual Walla Walla High School Track & Field Blue Devil Legends Invitational is Saturday, April 21 at 10 a.m. The meet welcomes 15 teams and more than 600 athletes from around the area for a day of intense competition. This is a family friendly event with local food trucks, Wa-Hi Outdoor Club and T-shirt event sales.

Teams Participating:
AC Davis
Central Valley
Coeur d’Alene
College Place
Lake City
Post Falls
Walla Walla

Blue Devil Legends Invitational sponsors:
Academy Mortgage
Jones Truck & Implement
Crop Production Services
Tommy’s 9th St Auto
Taylor Dental
Pape Machinery
Walla Walla Orthodontics
L & G Ranch Supply
Jeff & Kathryn Priester
Access Storage 509-876-6100
Braden & Nelson Heavy Construction
Stewart’s French Dry Cleaners
D.A. Davidson & Co.
Wall2Wall Furniture & Mattress
Gregory Haveman, ENT
Elgin Appliance
Henry’s Ace Hardware
Walla Walla Clinic Orthopedics
Inland Family Dentistry
The Wanicheck Family
Red Monkey
Walla Walla Title Company
Blue Mountain Seed, Inc.
Edward Jones

Eagle Scout project brings historic sign back to pristine condition

This week Walla Walla High School freshman Michael Cornia unveiled his restoration project of the historic Walla Walla High School sign he completed for his Eagle Scout Service Project. Cornia spent nearly 100 hours, beginning in November, pressure washing, sanding and painting the redwood sign originally designed and built in 1983 by Mac Bledsoe with the help of then Wa-Hi football coach Shorty Bennett. Class of 1983 classmates Blaine Bennett and Scott Krivoshein organized the sign project 35 years ago for their Senior Class Project.

Cornia says he was intrigued by the sign after noticing it as a middle school student while he waited for a ride home. It was faded and showing its age, according to Cornia. Once he hauled the massive 6 foot by 12 foot sign to his house the enormity of the project surfaced. He says there were deep grooves in the wood and massive amounts of surface to sand. Once the sign was prepped, layers of paint went back on the sign. He used a boat paint product to help seal the sign for the harsh weather conditions in the Walla Walla valley. Michael says he is proud of the final product and is pleased to have helped preserve a sign deeply steeped in Blue Devil history.

Walla Walla High School students compete at Future Problem Solving State Bowl

Washington Future Problem Solvers from Walla Walla High School participated in the 2018 Washington Future Problem Solving Program State Bowl. Adelaide Snow, Katie Harvey, Joshua Rose, Jacob Chlipala, Lily Berver, Thomas Kaminsky, Keeli McKern and Kati Wolcott completed three different problem booklets during the course of the year. Each booklet was evaluated and scored by specially trained evaluators. Teams within each of the three age divisions were invited to the State Bowl, held April 11-13 at Warm Beach Conference Center in Stanwood based upon their scores on this year’s topic of “Philanthrocapitalism.” The top winners at the State Bowl go on to the International Conference, held this year at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Third Annual Reveal Walla Walla Valley Wine Futures Auction supports Adopt-a-Blue Devil program

Reveal Walla Walla Valley, an annual wine futures auction sponsored by Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, raised an unprecedented $92,900 recently. Nearly $5000 of the 2018 proceeds will be devoted to the Walla Walla Public Schools’ “Adopt a Blue Devil” program. In partnership with United Way of Walla Walla County, the scholarship program aims to help eliminate financial barriers for students who lack the financial means to participate in school-sponsored programs, clubs, athletic or academic experiences.

“The Walla Walla Wine Alliance recognizes if we want to have a strong community we need to give back to our youth,” said Ashley Riggs, Chief Operating Officer, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “We value how this program allows the United Way to provide the funds to remove barriers for getting students involved in their schools and having success.”

Walla Walla High School students organize Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk

Blue Devil Strong at Walla Walla High School in conjunction with Walla Walla Department of Community Health, W2 for Drug Free Youth and Reach Out Walla Walla will be hosting an Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk on May 10 from 8 to 9 p.m. at the Dave Klicker Track at Walla Walla High School.

The Out of the Darkness Community Walk is a journey of remembrance and a walk that unites a community – a time to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and our loved ones. Participants will wear honor beads. Each color shows their personal connection to the cause, and helps to identify others who understand the experience.

Walla Walla High School students Macy Quinn-Sears and Erin Gerola are the lead students for this event. Behavior Health Prevention Specialist Peggy Needham of the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health serves as the Blue Devil Strong Advisor. Contact Needham for additional information or to secure space for an informational booth.

Peggy Needham:
• 509-524-2684
• pneedham@co.walla-walla.wa.us

2018 FFA Plant Sale 

• Monday, April 30, Tuesday, May 1 and Wednesday, May 2
• 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Small Cedar Planters are $40 and the larger ones are $60
• Walla Walla High School

Career Technical Education (CTE) Instructor selected for STEM Training at Naval Academy

Career Technical Education Teacher Mike Bertram (Garrison Middle School) was selected to attend SET-Sail workshop at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland July 16-19. Each summer, the USNA STEM Office offers STEM Educator Training, SET-Sail, a week-long summer workshop for middle school and high school teachers. The workshop allows teachers the opportunity to discover, explore, and test ideas and, most importantly, learn how science and technology impact real-world research and challenges.

The three-day workshop will provide Mr. Bertram with intense training in project-based learning. This professional development will focus on diverse topics in all areas of STEM including engineering, math, chemistry, materials science, electricity and energy, thermodynamics, physics, robotics, programming and more. This training will enhance and develop the knowledge and skills he needs to bring hands-on activities into all areas of instruction.

Senior AVID Speed Interviews

• Date/Time: Thursday, May 3, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
• Location: Walla Walla High School Library

Event expectations for students: Students will get a chance to participate in interviews with business leaders from a broad range of professional services in Walla Walla. This learning opportunity will provide students with tools on what to expect during a professional interview and be better prepared for their next job opportunity.

Event expectations for community members: Community members and business owners/professionals will be able to mentor students who will soon be in the workforce. Business owners also will benefit from meeting students and prospective employees and be able to guide soon to be professionals in what they are looking for in their prospective employees. Community members interested in volunteering to be interviewers please contact Becky or Rachel at GEAR UP.

Community Stories
Swing into Spring annual Jazz Concert Sunday

• Walla Walla Valley Bands present the annual Swing into Spring Jazz Concert
• Sunday, April 22 at 3 p.m.
• Walla Walla Valley Academy Auditorium
• Main Street Jazz Band (Directed by Paul Vandervort)
• Mill Creek Jazz Ensemble (Directed by Glen Mitchell)
• Wa-Hi Jazz Band (Directed by Andrew Ueckert)
• Walla Walla Valley Academy Jazz Band (Directed by Eric Anderson)
• $10 Adults and $5 for students and senior citizens
• Information: (509) 540-1166 / www.wwvalleybands.org

Whitman College announces Ultimate Frisbee Clinic

• The Whitman College Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team (AKA the Sweets!) offers an Ultimate Frisbee Clinic
• Friday May 4 from 4 to 6 p.m.
• Clinic is geared toward middle school aged students
• The Clinic is a fundraiser to support the team’s trip to nationals
• The Sweets are ranked in the top 20 and invited to the college nationals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
• Come watch the Whitman College Sweets play at the Northwest College Regionals on April 28 and 29 at Whitman College. Free admission.
• Clinic information: Alissa Soo - sooar@whitman.edu

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training May 11, 2018

W2 for Drug Free Youth, Reach Out Walla Walla and Comprehensive Healthcare are providing a FREE Youth Mental Health First Aid class on May 11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Columbia Training Room at 1520 Kelly Place. Registration is limited. Please register at the Evenbrite link below. For questions contact Peggy Needham (509) 524-2684.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

Peggy Needham, CPP - Behavior Health Prevention Specialist
Walla Walla County Department of Community Health
314 West Main
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 524-2684

Walla Walla Kids’ Bike Races Saturday, April 21

Location: Main Street (Registration at Allegro from 9 a.m. to 12 noon)
Free helmets while they last! Helmets required for all races.
Race Times begin at 12:15 p.m.
Race 1 - 3 years and under
Race 2 - 4 - 5 year olds
Race 3 - 6 - 7 year olds
Race 4 - 8 - 9 year olds
Race 5 - 10-12 year olds
Volunteers needed to fit helmets. Contact Kay Barga - 529-3527 or bargabk@charter.net

City Parks and Recreation Update

All Comers Track & Field Meet – Ages 3-12 – Pre-registration $3 (onsite registration $5)
Pickleball for All – Ages 18 & up - $48
Hatha Yoga – Ages 12 & up - $12-$76
Adult First Aid/CPR – Ages 12 & Up - $70 includes materials
Lifeguard Certification Course – Ages 15 & up - $150

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/

We are hiring!
Lifeguards for Veterans Memorial Pool – apply at https://www.wallawallawa.gov/depts/humanresources

Want to try the fastest growing sport in the US?

Intro to Lacrosse – Drop In
Mill Creek Sportsplex
Wednesday’s 5:30 – 7 p.m. now through May 23
FREE to children Grades 1st – 8th
Brand new Lacrosse gear available for participants to use
Coaching Staff – AJ Gravel – Lacrosse Captain, University of Idaho
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us.

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