Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Nov. 9, 2018

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Walla Walla Public Schools Replacement Bond passing on election night

Walla Walla Public Schools’ $65.6 million Replacement Bond was passing on election night with a 70.95% yes vote. The election will be certified by the Walla Walla County Elections Office Nov. 27. The approval requirement for this bond was a supermajority, 60 percent yes vote.

Election Night Statement from Superintendent Wade Smith:

Tonight will be remembered as one of the more significant moments in our district’s glorious 161-year history. On this historic day voters overwhelmingly supported a $65.6M bond to renovate Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School, Lincoln High School, and fund other district-wide safety and infrastructure improvements. Eligible for nearly $53M in state match, this $118M investment will impact the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of staff for decades to come.

This vote of confidence further inspires our team of passionate educators and support staff in their collective endeavor to educate, inspire, and engage all of Walla Walla’s youth. I want to thank our dedicated Board of Directors who developed the inclusive and informed process. They empowered a community-led Facilities Task Force who spent exhaustive time and attention prioritizing facility preservation needs. In the end, our Board unanimously endorsed the conservative plan recommended that balanced building preservation needs, all while maintaining one of the region’s lowest school bond rates.

Understanding our work has just begun, and the awesome responsibility and trust voters have provided, an 11-member independent Bond Oversight Committee has been formed to add an unprecedented layer of transparency and accountability. We will keep our promise; to deliver on the facility renovation and safety improvements, to invest state match funds only on the voter-approved projects, and to return any excess funds remaining upon completion.

Thank you again for investing in Walla Walla’s children as we work collectively to provide the facilities necessary to support our vision of “Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.”

District announces bond information page

Walla Walla Public Schools has announced two communication platforms for community members and stakeholders to track progress related to the 2018 replacement bond. A dedicated bond information page (www.wwpsbond.org), will maintain site-specific updates, Bond Oversight Committee progress, project schedules, and information for prospective contractors and vendors. In addition, a twitter feed @bondwwps has been established that will provide regular updates, including photo and video progress, once groundbreaking activities begin.  

Superintendent Wade Smith announces preliminary bond project timeline

As the passage of the bond begins to sink in, I wanted to provide a rough preview of what’s to come (as many of you are already fielding questions or wondering yourselves).

Wednesday morning, the day following the elections, we began planning and preparing for the sale of the bonds on the market. We hope to have this accomplished within 2 weeks after the election is certified. Timing, interest rates, and conditions look really good for an exceptional sale.

Following is a brief review of tentative project dates and important activities.

District-wide Projects:
• We hope to get started immediately with the input, document creation, bidding, and construction, related to the various district-wide safety, security and infrastructure projects. For example, we are hoping to start this spring and summer with many of our roof projects (like Burney, Blue Ridge and Prospect Point’s), Burney’s HVAC, safety and security improvements, and many of the other district-wide projects identified in the bond.

The “Big 3” School Projects:
• Starting this weekend our architects will be busy on site, starting at WaHi, taking room by room pictures of every single space for their inventory.
• Later this month we will be begin coordinating with teachers, support staff, stakeholders and others as we refine our rough conceptual designs into formal construction documents. This work will begin immediately for WaHi, followed soon thereafter by Pioneer, and then Lincoln. This will take the better part of this winter/spring as I envision multiple meetings between faculty/stakeholders and our design team and consultants, department specific site visits to other schools (for example science teachers traveling to newly constructed schools to check out new science labs to glean ideas), and a whole lot of engineer analysis and municipal coordination.
• As we promised during our campaign, we are going to stagger the projects. This allows us to minimize our costs in renting temporary portable classrooms, maximizes the opportunity for local contractor involvement, does not overwhelm sub contractor labor and supply pools, and allows us to carefully monitor all aspects of the construction to ensure we end up with well thought out and delivered projects we can all be proud of.
• Because we are eligible for so much state match, OSPI requires school construction projects to adhere to strict timelines (when you can advertise for bid, when you can start construction, etc). The following is our tentative plan that meets their expectations, as well as our required phasing (please note this is just tentative at this point):

• New WaHi Science Building bidding and permitting will begin early next school year, followed immediately by groundbreaking and construction (which will take about 10 months.) We anticipate being completed by the start of the following school year, allowing us to move into our new facility and begin work on all of the other facility upgrades at WaHi. Again, we anticipate ongoing construction, phasing, and work at WaHi to last through 2022, being completely finished on or around the start of the 2022 school year.

• Bidding, followed by groundbreaking, will occur at Pioneer in the Fall 2020 (a few months staggered behind WaHi). We anticipate this complex and tricky remodel will take about a year and half, and should be completed around the summer of 2022.

• Lincoln bidding and groundbreaking will being in the spring of 2021 and will be completed by summer 2022, about the same time as WaHi.

We have developed a specific bond page www.wwpsbond.org, as well as a twitter feed @bondwwps, so that staff and community can keep up to date with all of our progress.

Again, thank you so much in helping make history for our students and community. This bond will be one that will be remembered for decades to come!

All the best,
Superintendent Smith

Annual parent survey now open

Parent Survey Link - https://www.research.net/r/wwps-parent
Walla Walla Public Schools is seeking parent feedback through the Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES) as an extension of the Board of Director’s strategic planning process. The district will use the data to track progress towards its goals and initiatives. The deadline to complete the survey is Dec. 14.

How to take survey:
• Survey posted on district webpage - www.wwps.org
• Use your own electronic device - https://www.research.net/r/wwps-parent
• Hard copies available in schools and the district office
• Survey is completely anonymous
• Available in both English and Spanish
• Please take a separate survey for each child’s school

Survey Topics:
• School Leadership
• Teaching and Learning
• Communication
• Safety and Security
• School Culture and Climate

Veterans Day Holiday

There is no school Monday, November 12 in observance of Veterans Day. Thank You Veterans!

Thanksgiving Break Holiday Schedule

- Early dismissal Wednesday, November 21
- No school Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23

Personnel Report (from Nov. 6, 2018 school board meeting)

Krystal Ceron, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Angelica Mironov, Para-Educator (temporary), Blue Ridge Elementary School
Nathan Paine, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School

Jimmy Amundson, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School, 1 year
Shannon Ginter, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School, 7 months
Crystal Lara Ruiz, Bus Assistant, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 1.5 months
Christine Lyons, Health Clinician RN, Health Services, 1 year

Brenda Berumen, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary School, 16 years
• Student Teaching - January through June 2019

Winter weather school delay or closure procedures

As winter weather forecasts begin to appear, Walla Walla Public Schools reminds everyone safety is the primary factor for delaying or canceling school due to inclement weather. Driving of local roads, studying weather forecasts, and communicating with surrounding school districts are components included in this thoughtful process. Decisions to delay or close school usually are made by 5:30 a.m. or earlier. This triggers the district’s comprehensive school closure/delay announcement plan. The district makes every effort to begin announcements by 6 a.m.

Announcements include:
- Media release (radio, tv, newspaper)
- SchoolMessenger automated messages to staff and parents (telephone, email, text)
- Web posting (www.wwps.org)
- Staff e-mail (Google staff e-mail)
- Enews message (sign up on the district web site)
- District Facebook page (facebook.com/wwschools)
- Twitter message (twitter.com/wwschools)
- Orange signs posted in front of schools

School Stories
Wa-Hi Drama Presents - Hamlet
• Show Dates Nov 9-10, 15-17 @ 7 p.m. and Nov 10 & 17 @ 2 p.m.
• Tickets are available at the Wa-Hi ASB office, online at intouch.wwps.org and one hour prior to curtain.
• Tickets are $12 adults/ $6 students

The Wa-Hi Drama program has put a modern, punk rock spin on the classic tale of Shakespeare’s Hamlet complete with an original music score played by Wa-Hi students. The production is approximately two hours including intermission.
Wa-Hi Fall Sports Post Season Update

• The Wa-Hi volleyball team travels to Chiawana High School in Pasco Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m. to play Mead in a loser-out match. If they win, they play another match later in the evening at Chiawana High School.

Girls Swim:
• Congratulations to Sophomore Laurel Skorina, who finished 1st at regional swim in the 200 freestyle and 2nd in the 500 freestyle, to punch her ticket to state in Federal Way Friday and Saturday.
• Senior, Kyra Hartley, finished 1st in the 200 individual Medley and 1st in the 100 backstroke, and will also compete at state.
• Kyra Hartley, Hallee Yaw, Collette Barnor and Laurel Skorina make up Wa-Hi’s 400 freestyle team which finished 2nd overall in Regionals to qualify for state.

Cross Country:
• Congratulations to Wa-Hi Sophomore Ella Nelson for finishing 5th overall in State Cross Country. Also to boys junior Cooper Cortinas for finishing 23rd overall at state.

Go Big Blue!

Whitman students meet with Latino Club students to discuss leadership

On Thursday, November 8, seven Whitman student volunteers met with approximately 30 Walla Walla High School Latino Club members to talk about student activism both on high school and college campuses. Pizza was consumed as the Whitman College students shared their narratives as leaders in social justice in their former high schools, as well as how they are engaged now at Whitman College and in the Walla Walla Community.  Whitman students wanted to encourage the Latino Club members to continue to pursue the issues they care about it. They stressed to the Wa-Hi students there are opportunities for leadership and these experiences can have a lasting impact. They encouraged them to continue to become engaged citizens. This spring, Whitman will host the Latino Club members for a second round of sharing, learning and reflection.

Washington state FFA Secretary update – By Naddile Widner

“It’s been a crazy learning curve as the new Washington FFA State Secretary. It’s been a fun experience. Since taking office after graduation, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. I met with Washington State Senators and House Representatives to discuss education and agricultural issues in our state. During the summer months I visited various county fairs. I had an opportunity to tour business and industries in Washington state as well. This fall I traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo. This year there were a record breaking 67,000+ FFA members and guests in attendance. Also this fall I joined four FFA teammates in visiting numerous schools across the state; to be precise, a different school every weekday. By Christmas, we will have visited between 90-135 schools in Washington state. After the New Year, we will be in Olympia working on different legislative bills and issues related to agriculture.”

Wa-Hi students rank nationally in WordWright Challenge

Three teams of students representing Walla Walla High School recently won high honors in this year’s WordWright Challenge, a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry. Participating with 693 school teams from across the country, Walla Walla High School’s 9th grade students placed 8th in the nation in this year’s first meet held in October. Wa-Hi’s 10th graders placed 12th in the nation, 11th graders placed first in the nation and seniors tied for 6th place. More than 70,000 students from 48 states participated in the meet.

WordWright Challenge Students
9th Grade
• Kiala Martinez

10th Grade
• Luke Hokanson
• Anthony McKeirnan
• Danny Nielsen

11th Grade
• Elsa Gomsrud
• Luci Sullivan
• Tommy Kaminsky
• Elizabeth Moore

12th Grade
• Marissa Manny

Program Advisor: Lori Dohe

Key Club Trunk or Treat recap

Key Club and the Kiwanis Club of Walla Walla thank everyone for their support of this year’s Trunk or Treat event. Approximately 250 children participated in the event. The club collected 241 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable foods for the BMAC Food Bank.

This year’s winning trunk decoration was the Wa-Hi Chemistry Club who showcased their pumpkin carving skills with the help of the periodical table. They earned a club pizza party.

Jazz Band named Outstanding Band at the WSU Jazz Festival

Congratulations to the Wa-Hi Jazz Band for receiving one of two Outstanding Band Awards at the annual WSU Jazz Festival. Band Director Andrew Ueckert reports approximately 20 high school and middle school jazz bands from Washington and Idaho performed. 

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU basketball club partners with Whitman College basketball 

Walla2Hoops is partnering with Whitman College basketball to showcase local boys and girls AAU basketball teams. Walla2Hoops 2nd grade boys teams, and their coaches Isaiah Jimenez and Justin James, will accompany the Whitman Men’s basketball team during pregame introductions during the season opener Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. at Sherwood Center. The Walla2Hoops 7th & 8th grade boys teams, coached respectively by Chris Gardea and Mark Coram, will scrimmage against each other during halftime.

The Whitman Women’s basketball team is hosting the two Walla2Hoops 5th grade girls teams, coached by Don Weaver and Brianne Bridgeland/Annie Boyd, November 14 at 6 p.m. at Sherwood Center. The 5th grade girls will accompany the players on both teams during introductions and will scrimmage against each other during halftime.

“We are excited to showcase our players and program,” said Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington. “Whitman College has been very supportive and we are proud to partner with them as we create opportunities for our youth to develop positive relationships with these outstanding role models.”

All Walla2Hoops Club players, coaches and parents who wear their Walla2Hoops gear will get in free to these events.

Walla2Hoops is a 501C3 Non-Profit basketball club which operates under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Walla2Hoops provides an enriched basketball environment with a mission to create a positive competitive culture focused on developing character and basketball fundamentals.

For more information about the club or to provide donations for the scholarship program, contact: walla2hoops@gmail.com.

City Parks and Recreation Update

• Indoor Soccer - Grades K- 8 - Cost is $50
• We are hiring Indoor Soccer Referees! Paid position or volunteer. Contact WW Parks & Recreation, Clay Lindsey clindsey@wallawallawa.gov or 509-526-4527.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Pass sales start on Black Friday - November 23

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