Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 18, 2018

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board approves resolution to place No Tax Rate Increase Replacement Bond Proposal on November ballot
Decision follows nearly two years of study and community engagement

The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve a resolution placing a $65.6M replacement 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.

Replacement Bond Information

“The community spoke loud and clear,” said School Board President Derek Sarley. “They’re ready to address these critical facility needs if the district gives them a solid package that keeps a lid on taxes. That’s what we’ve done.”

The Community Facilities Task Force has been studying district facilities needs since 2016. The committee decided to recommend the no tax rate increase option to the school board 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.

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 applied only to the three school renovation 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 used to pay down debt to reduce the rate for taxpayers.

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.

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
• Any excess funds will pay down debt
• 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

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

Day of Champions track meet opportunity for Special Education students to shine

Students with special needs from Walla Walla, College Place and Dayton school districts will make history May 22 at the Dave Klicker Track as they compete in the first annual Walla Walla Valley Day of Champions track and field meet. This fun and inspiring event hosted by the Walla Walla Public Schools’ Special Education Department begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 2 p.m. Students will compete in a variety of events with the support of Wa-Hi ASB Leadership students, cheerleaders and other Wa-Hi students serving as “peer buddies.” District office staff will be on campus supporting the event in a variety of roles.

Area firefighters from Local Union 404 will be on campus with a fire truck, which will serve as a backdrop for a photo station to capture the moment. Parent and community leader Lawson Knight is volunteering as the event announcer and Sweet Lou from the Walla Walla Sweets Baseball team will be on campus to join in the fun. Thanks to the Seattle Seahawks for donating two Pete Carroll signed footballs which will be given to the Most Inspirational Athlete and the Most Involved Peer Mentor. All participants will receive medals of achievement and t-shirts.

“This event is an opportunity to showcase the abilities of our students,” said WWPS Special Education Director Libby Thompson. “By giving them a day to shine while having fun, all students, staff and families are empowered.”

District invests in new English/Language Arts curriculum for grades 6-12

Tuesday night, the Walla Walla Public Schools’ Board of Directors unanimously approved the English Language Arts (ELA) adoption of College Board’s Springboard materials for 6th -12th grade for use starting in the 2018-19 school year. “We are extremely fortunate to have a school board supporting high quality instruction. This comprehensive 6th-12th grade adoption of the Springboard materials puts all 6th graders on track to access Advanced Placement classes by 10th grade,” said Christy Krutulis, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.

The adoption of Springboard is an advancement in curriculum materials for teachers to use to ensure students have access to rigorous and standards aligned materials. A comprehensive team of teachers dedicated time over the last year to ensure the best materials would be brought forth for adoption. “It’s exciting to know teachers unanimously selected College Board’s Springboard materials as a critical next step for ensuring all students graduate from Walla Walla Public Schools with the essential literacy skills to be college and career ready,” said Krutulis.

This adoption is part of the annual $500,000 investment toward new curriculum materials approved by the School Board during last spring’s Strategic Planning process. Additionally, School Board supported technology enhancements will ensure there are Chromebooks in all 6-12 ELA classrooms across the district to provide students multiple ways to engage in learning.

Materials will be ordered for teachers to have access before the end of June. There will also be two opportunities for English Language Arts teachers to engage with the new materials over three days of professional learning either in June or August.

Bilingual Education team bonds with new t-shirts

The Bilingual Education Department designed new t-shirts for teachers, administrators and students in the Bilingual Education Program. The colorful blue t-shirts help build unity and awareness for district bilingual programs.

“The purpose behind these shirts is to motivate our students to continue with the Dual Language Program,” said Bilingual Department Outreach Coordinator Marilyn Melgoza. “The design on the back of the t-shirts state the reasons why students believe being bilingual is important. Students shared various reasons, including, better career and education opportunities, being able to communicate with more people, and understanding cultural differences.”

Walla Walla Public Schools names Partners of the Year

Walla Walla Public Schools named Community Council, The Health Center, The Moms’ Network and United Way of Walla Walla its Partners of the Year in celebration of Partners in Learning Month. Walla Walla Public Schools established Partners in Learning Month in May 2010. This month the district sent nearly 150 proclamations and letters of recognition to our Partners in Learning.

“We so appreciate the individuals, businesses, organizations and agencies who partner with the district throughout the year to support our students,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “We strive to Develop Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates and each of these partners offers unique experiences and opportunities for our students and staff.”

District names 2018 Graduates of Distinction

Walla Walla Public Schools names this year’s honorees for the Graduates of Distinction program. They are: Terry Atchison, Class of 1966; Dr. Randall Barton, Class of 1971; and Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald, Class of 1995.

These individuals have distinguished themselves in their communities, professions, or careers and continue to bring honor to the district. Celebrate alongside these distinguished alumni at a reception in their honor on Tuesday, June 5 (details listed below). Listen to their stories and hear who helped shape their lives during their school years.

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Time: 3:45 to 5:00 p.m.
Place: Walla Walla School District Office (Anne Golden Boardroom)


Terry Atchison - Class of 1966
A humble community leader with tireless devotion to the Walla Walla Fairgrounds and local military efforts.

Even in school, 1966 Walla Walla High School graduate Terry Atchison was never one to sit on the sidelines. He has, and continues to, jump in and help in any way he can, according to his nominators.

After graduation, Terry felt called to serve his country in Vietnam and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Following active duty, he returned home to civilian work at the Army Corps of Engineers. He was an Information Technology Specialist working with 700 fellow employees across six states. He also earned the highest non-commissioned rank of Command Sergeant Major before retiring in 2009.

He has served the community in a multitude of ways. His longest service has been to the Walla Walla Fairgrounds, starting at the age of 14 and continuing to this day. He has served on the fair board and contributed to the major Pavilion restoration project with hands-on labor and private funding. Recently, he was elected president of the Washington State Fair Association, sharing his knowledge and experience on a statewide level.

Terry received the Chamber of Commerce Award of Merit in 2016. Terry was praised for his work with veterans in the formation of the AMVETS Jonathan Wainwright Post 1111, his service to the City Planning Commission, many years of volunteering at Balloon Stampedes, and being an involved Walla Walla Symphony Board Member.

His nominators were Richard Moeller, Bob Branscum and Randy Glaeser. They will tell you Terry is a humble man who doesn’t take credit for his many accomplishments. But, they agree his leadership and strong work ethic speak volumes for his dedication in our community.

Terry chose Pioneer Physical Education Teacher George Patterson as his most inspirational staff member because he “took the time to show that he cared.” Mr. Patterson was known for saying “to succeed, all you have to do is work hard,” and Terry says he has tried to live those values.

Dr. Randall Barton - Class of 1971
A lifelong contributor and volunteer in improving the lives of others locally, nationally and internationally.

Randy’s best friend from high school could say it all started with a two-wheeled ice cream vending venture that began in 7th grade. However, the Walla Walla High School graduate who earned a scholarship to West Point following his 1971 graduation was destined for much bigger and more impactful ways to serve his communities.

Randy left West Point after one year to attend Northwest Nazarene University and later earned a law degree at the University of Idaho. After seven years with an Idaho law firm, he went to work for Northwest University in Kirkland, where he quickly immersed himself in his new community. He spent time on the city council and became mayor in 1986.

Randy was instrumental in bringing the Seattle Seahawks practice facility to Northwest University, where it remained for 22 years before the Seahawks moved on and the facility became an integral part of the Northwest University Athletic Department. The facility was renamed in Randy’s honor in 2011.

In 1992, Randy founded Assemblies of God Financial in Springfield, Missouri, and guided its growth from $25 million to a diversified financial firm with $2.2 billion in assets. Since leaving that role in 2005, he has dedicated his efforts to solving real world problems for the benefit of humanity, according to his nominator and sister Linda Byerley. He has been recognized for meritorious service from the Los Angeles Dream Center, Convoy of Hope and WorldServe International – an organization which brings safe drinking water to East African communities, says Byerley.

Others who contributed to Randy’s nomination were longtime friend Doug Filan, Dream Center Founder Dr. Tommy Barnett, and WorldServe International President John Bongiorno.

Randy chose Walla Walla High School Teacher and Cross Country Coach Ron Huntington as his most inspirational staff member. He praised his coaching ability, but also his ability to create “a value system that integrated discipline, teamwork, enthusiasm and faith.”

Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald - Class of 1995
A pioneer in citizen science initiatives and mentor for aspiring scientists of all ages.

Since graduating from Walla Walla High School in 1995, Elizabeth has forged a list of amazing accomplishments in her chosen field of solar science. She earned a NASA scholarship to attend the University of Washington for undergraduate work in physics, earned a PhD from the University of New Hampshire, and worked nine years in satellite national security at the Los Alamos National Laboratory – all by the age of 37.

Her nominators, led by former middle school science teacher Sue Parrish, were unanimous in their praise for her enthusiasm for space weather. With a $1 million National Science Foundation grant in 2011, Elizabeth created a citizen science program centered on the Northern Lights. She then led a team that built the Aurorasaurus.org website, where people can use social media to track aurora observations and improve Northern Lights forecasting.

Elizabeth has been actively involved in the American Geophysical Union since 1998 and helps organize their large annual meetings. She has a passion for sharing science with students, as well as the public. She mentors young scientists early in their careers, and speaks with high school students about her research and various projects. As stated in her official NASA biography, she loves “communicating about the beauty of science.”

Others who contributed to Elizabeth’s nomination were fellow scientists and friends Kristin Omberg and Ruth Skoug, in addition to her high school teacher Carmella Phillips.

Elizabeth chose her Mom and retired district teacher, Alice MacDonald, as her most inspirational staff member. She said both of her parents encouraged her academically and her mom “shared her love of math, geometry, reading and Scrabble particularly.”

Personnel Report (from May 15, 2018 school board meeting)


Donnetta Elsasser, Opportunity Program, Walla Walla High School
Heather Hudec, Second Grade, Prospect Point Elementary School
Laura James, First Grade, Prospect Point Elementary School
Gregg Marron, School Psychologist, Special Education
Henry Samson, Dual Language Arts, Garrison Middle School

Mike Patterson, Head Boys Basketball, Walla Walla High School
Morgan Jo Poynor, Head Girls Basketball, Walla Walla High School


Gina Yonts, Principal, Green Park Elementary School, 27 years

Amanda Archer, Special Education, Garrison Middle School, 1 year
Laura Hersey, Special Education, Garrison Middle School, 25 years
Eva Katsel, Special Education, Berney Elementary School, 1 year
Kim Lawbaugh, Science, Pioneer Middle School, 11 years
Twyla Swanson, Fourth Grade, Berney Elementary School, 8 years

David Hanson, Grounds, Facilities and Operations, 6 months
Claire Houlton, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School, 6 months
Shannon Kerrigan, Intervention Specialist, Sharpstein Elementary School, 11 years
Penny Knight, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School, 22 years
Brandy Lafferty, Kitchen Assistant, Walla Walla High School, 4 months
Carla Santoy, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary School, 1 year


Monica Nelson, Math, Walla Walla High School, 14 years
- .4 FTE leave of absence to continue work as math TOSA for the district

School Stories
Walla Walla High School senior elected to prestigious Washington State FFA officer position

Walla Walla High School senior Naddile Widner was elected to serve as the 2018-2019 Washington State FFA Secretary. This appointment is a one-year assignment.

Widner underwent two interviews, completed two written tests, was required to perform a stand and deliver, and then delivered a three minute speech in front of a crowd of 2,000 people as part of the election process. Her duties throughout the year will be to attend a variety of trainings and events in preparation for the approximately 100 chapter visits she will be making throughout the state of Washington. Widner will also attend industry tours and participate in legislative work in Olympia. This summer and fall she will travel to Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Louisville and possibly Argentina.

Following her year of FFA service, Widner is planning to attend Oregon State University. During her years at Walla Walla High School, she has been the Walla Walla FFA Sentinel, Vice President, and is currently the school’s FFA President. Widner has also been the Washington State FFA District VI Secretary.

“I am honestly so excited to have been elected and cannot wait to begin this year of service,” said Widner. “I know I will garner so much knowledge. I can’t wait.”

Walla Walla High School Spring Sports athletes continue post season play
Click HERE for the spring sports post season schedule. Good luck Blue Devil athletes!

District awarded grant to further Computer Science Education

Walla Walla Public Schools received a $50,000 grant for the purchase of curriculum, equipment, and supplies to enhance computer science pathways for students. The district is one of 24 in the state receiving grants for 2018-19. Nearly $1 million in grants were awarded across the state to improve access to computer science and related educational programs.

4th Annual Sports Physical Round-Up next week

• Tuesday, May 22
• 3-7 p.m.
• Wa-Hi Main Gym
• http://wahibluedevils.org/athletics/athletics-info
• Get cleared for summer workouts/camps
• Stress-free start to fall sports because your physical was in place months ago
• Conveniently located on campus
• Starts right after 7th period
• OR-Come after practice (open until 7 pm)
• FREE (Form signed by parent/guardian is required)

Walla Walla High School 2018 Summer School Programs

Session 1: June 14-29
- Schedule A: 8 to 10:30 a.m.
- Schedule B: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Session 2: July 9-24
- Schedule A: 8 to 10:30 a.m.
- Schedule B: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Summer school is a FREE opportunity to:
- Retrieve credits for previously failed course(s)
- Earn new credits to meet graduation requirements
- Students may participate in both sessions
- Incoming freshmen are encouraged to participate

Contact your student’s counselor for further information:
- Carrie Lujan: clujan@wwps.org - 526-8663 / A-C, 2019 & 2022 AVID
- Nicole Hudson: nhudson@wwps.org - 526-8652 / D-H
- Spencer Iacolucci: siacolucci@wwps.org - 526-8664 / I-P
- Alison Kimball: akimball@wwps.org - 526-8693 / R-Z, 2021 & 2022 AVID

Note: CTE summer programs are held at SEATech June 14 to July 3: Filmmakers Boot Camp, Health, Intro to Manufacturing. See your counselor for details and registration forms.

Registration now open for BDAD (Blue Devil Athletic Development) 

Walla Walla High School is teaming with the YMCA again this year for the BDAD (Blue Devil Athletic Development) summer strength, conditioning and injury prevention program for 2018-2019 students in grades 6 to 12. The High School program is being taught by Walla Walla High School staff members Eric and Amy Hisaw. The middle school program will be coordinated by trained YMCA staff, 21st Century staff and high school students. The BDAD program is located on the Wa-Hi Campus and only open to Walla Walla Public Schools students.

BDAD Details:
• Dates: Tuesday, June 26 to Thursday, August 9
• Weekly (Monday- Thursday)
• 9-12 grade sessions: 8 to 9:30 a.m., 9:30 to 11 a.m. or 6 to 7:30 p.m. (no charge)
• 6 (incoming) to 8 grade sessions: 10 to 11:30 a.m. ($10 fee to cover the cost of the t-shirt)
• Starting location for all BDAD participants is the Wa-Hi track shed
• The BDAD program is only available to WWPS students

• High School Program: Register on FamilyID.com
• Middle School Program: at YMCA

NOTE: There is a registration cut-off again this year. Your child’s registration must be received no later than Friday, June 22 at 2 p.m.

GEAR UP brings America’s Got Talent performer to Wa-Hi Monday

Walla Walla High School and WSU GEAR UP welcomes Clint Pulver; musician, actor, featured performer on America’s Got Talent and speaker. Clint will be in the Wa-Hi auditorium from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, May 21 talking to parents and families about how to connect, engage and learn to encourage their students to live life by design, not default. Clint will return Tuesday morning as the keynote speaker at this year’s Senior Signing Day all school assembly.

“It’s not about being the best in the world…it’s about being the best for the world.”

Washington State University GEAR UP, which is located on campus at Walla Walla High School, partners with Walla Walla Public School to support College and Career Ready objectives for Walla Walla students. For more information and for a schedule of Clint’s activities while in Walla Walla contact; Rachel Hicks rhicks@wwps.org or 509-526-8621.

Pioneer Middle School students praise teachers and programs in new video

Pioneer Middle School students tell everyone why their school is a great place to learn and thrive. Click on the link to hear from our students.
Pioneer Video

Wa-Hi FBLA plans movie night fundraiser to support trip to nationals

• Wa-Hi FBLA movie night fundraiser - The Greatest Showman
• Friday, May 18 at 8 p.m.
• Walla Walla High School Academic Courtyard
• Help send qualifying students to FBLA Nationals in Baltimore this summer
• Tickets are $5, including a chance to win fun prizes

Community Stories

Walla Walla students named to Sister City Exchange Program 

Four Wa-Hi students have been chosen to represent Walla Walla in the first sister city exchange with Cannara, Italy. The Italian sister city relationship became official with a signing ceremony on December 8, 2015. The students are Nathalia Cazarez, Katie Janis, Taya Lovejoy and Colleen McKibben. The girls are members of the Danza Classica Ballet Company and will be touring Italy this summer, making a stop to perform in Cannara while on the tour. At the tour’s conclusion, the girls will head back to Cannara for two weeks. While there they will take classes in Italian cooking, language study, and ballet as well as tour the surrounding area with their host families. Each student is trying to raise $700 to help offset the cost of the extra two weeks abroad. Donations may be made to: Kooskooskie Commons (Cannara Sister City Student Exchange Project), 209 N. Clinton St., Walla Walla.

Carnegie Picture Lab survey seeks parent input

Parents/guardians of elementary students -- Carnegie Picture Lab needs your input on a short survey. Click the link to help evaluate art education programming:

City Parks and Recreation Update

Fishing Derby – FREE – May 19, 8am to 11am at Jefferson Park
Summer Parkways & Children’s Day – FREE – All Ages - June 3, 1pm to 5pm Alder Street closed from Colville to Pioneer Park for human-powered transportation

Summer Recreation Programs
UPlay – Free – June 18 to August 10
Youth Summer Meals – Free – June 18 to August 10
Little Kicks Soccer - $46 – Ages 3 to 5 years
Lacrosse Fundamentals Clinic - $15/$45 – Grades 1-9
Youth Golf Lessons - $46 – Ages 7 to 16 years
Youth Track and Field Clinic - $10 – Ages 4 to 12 years
UK International Soccer - $94/$177 – Ages 4 to 14 years
Flag Football - $55 – Grades 2 to 8
Fall Youth Soccer - $50 – Ages 5 to 14 years (Registration deadline June 29)
Buti Yoga - $10/$99 – Ages 12 & up
CJoy Yoga in the Park - $11/$189 – Ages 12 & up
First Aid/CPR/AED - $70 – Ages 12 and up
Pickleball for All - $48 – Ages 16 and up

Veterans Memorial Pool Programs
Sea Monkeys Swim Team - $77
Swimming Lessons - $35 – 3 months and up
Aqua Zumba - $60 – Ages 12 and up
Sweat and Swim Boot Camp - $12/$76 – Ages 12 and up
Adaptive Swim - $2 – All Ages
Hatha Outdoor Yoga - $12/$76 – Ages 12 and up

Veterans Memorial Pool opens on Friday, May 25

For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us.
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We are hiring!
Lifeguards for Veterans Memorial Pool – apply at https://www.wallawallawa.gov/depts/humanresources

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