Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - January 18, 2019

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board Appreciation Month – By Superintendent Wade Smith

January is School Board Appreciation Month in Washington State. I want to express my sincere gratitude to our dedicated board members and ask the Walla Walla community to join me in the same.
• Mrs. Ruth Ladderud, Board President, board member since 2012
• Dr. David Hampson, Board Vice-President, board member since 2013
• Mr. Derek Sarley, board member since 2015
• Mrs. Terri Trick, board member since 2018
• Mr. Sam Wells, board member since 2014

School board members maintain a tremendous responsibility. As publicly elected officials, they volunteer countless hours to ensure all students of Walla Walla Public Schools graduate with the skills and abilities to lead successful adult lives. In addition, they also help instill the social and civic experiences necessary of its future citizenry in order to safeguard our great democracy. Our five school board members receive no compensation for their tireless efforts. They represent you as a link between the community and the classroom and they take this responsibility seriously. Walla Walla school board members spend considerable time crafting policies, adopting curriculum, participating in ongoing professional development, ensuring financial accountability, and preserving the historic investment in our school facilities. While doing so, they continue their relentless focus on what is best for all children across our twelve campuses.

Being an effective school board member is no easy task. The time spent in board meetings represents a small fraction of the hours school board members devote to the district. They must read and study about many complex educational issues while ensuring accountability toward daunting levels of increased state and federal mandates. They work together as a team towards a common vision - “Developing Washington’s Most Sought-after Graduates” - ensuring all students gain the knowledge and skills to be responsible, tolerant, and productive citizens. School board members know their decisions affect our children - what they learn, who will teach them, and what types of facilities are adequate for their learning experiences. They make a difference for every child in Walla Walla Public Schools.

To say this is a dynamic time in public education is an understatement. In a globally competitive world, increased expectations for student outcomes are measured through federally mandated high-stakes assessments. Meanwhile, staggering increases in the number of students living in poverty, a demographically shifting student landscape, and children with heightened social and emotional needs, reveal the urgency to adapt our educational system. Rather than shying away from the challenges faced, our Walla Walla school board has embraced these as opportunities to improve our schools. Our dedicated and responsive school board has implemented several initiatives:
• research-based dual language programs to support inclusivity and bi-literacy/bi-culturalism
• increased efforts to support engagement for students through enhanced Latino/a outreach and programming
• removed financial barriers for students to encourage greater youth participation in athletics and activities
• sponsored the Walla Walla Public Schools “We All Belong Here” campaign to ensure tolerance and acceptance across all campuses
• engaged in a historic three-year process that resulted in the overwhelming support from our community on our recent capital bond measure, all without an increase in local tax rates.

Once a year is far too infrequent to recognize and honor the dedication, hard work, and selfless commitment of our school board members. However, I would ask that you please take a moment this month to thank those who currently serve and those who have served before them. The future success of our students, Walla Walla community, and democracy depends on the continued leadership and guidance from our devoted and representative school board.

No School Monday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

• No School Monday, Jan. 21 in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
• Classes resume Tuesday, Jan. 22
• Students and staff participated in celebrations and activities this week

Superintendent Smith updates school board on bond progress

Tuesday night Superintendent Wade Smith briefed school board members on progress being made following November’s successful bond election. Local firms PBS Environmental and Anderson Perry & Associates are on sites investigating soil samples and engineering needs. Roof consultants are studying Berney and Blue Ridge in preparation for roof replacements this summer. Superintendent Smith reported more than $3 million in projects will be completed this summer and the district will break ground on the new Wa-Hi Science Building next fall.

New State Report Card more user friendly

Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis and Superintendent Wade Smith provided an overview of the state’s new Report Card to school board members. They noted Report Card changes include more information about students, educators and finances. The redesign is mobile device friendly, translated in other languages and easier for parents and community members to access information. The new Report Card also meets requirements under Every Student Succeeds Act by presenting information in an understandable and uniform format.

“Parents and the community will be able to easily access information on district academic growth and progress towards meeting our Success Indicator targets identified in the Strategic Plan,” said Krutulis.

Recently updated district information on the new Report Card from the 2017-2018 school year indicates improvement in graduation rates, dual credit attainment is up, English Lang. Learning exit status is rising and student growth in math and English Language Arts is trending. The new OSPI Report Card is linked on the district’s website under the ‘Schools’ tab.

Open Enrollment for the 2019-20 School Year

Walla Walla Public Schools will hold open enrollment for elementary and secondary schools during the same time period for the 2019-20 school year. For the past five years secondary open enrollment has occurred during the month of February. To provide families a better streamlined experience, we will be returning to one open enrollment period for all levels. Open enrollment forms will be available starting the week after Spring Break, April 8-12, and will then be accepted at the receiving schools starting Monday, April 15.  Additional details will be posted in mid-March. Students who are currently open enrolled in one of our high schools may select their high school courses for the 2019-20 school year.  Following the open enrollment period and approval, class schedules will be confirmed.

Sarley honored for board service

Tuesday night Derek Sarley was honored for his service as 2018 Board President. His leadership accomplishments include supporting the successful bond election, the first-ever state Board of Distinction award and the first-year of implementation of the district’s new strategic plan. Thank you for your service!

Personnel Report from January 15, 2019 School Board Meeting

Maggie Bidwell, District Bookkeeper, Business Office
Timothy Lyon, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School

Judd Thompson, Science/STEM, Pioneer Middle School, 5 months

Steven Olsen, Telecommunications, Technology, 34 years
Jill Sporleder, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School, 30 years

Highly Capable Referral Period scheduled for February 1 through March 1, 2019 

Walla Walla School District’s Highly Capable programming provides students of high academic and intellectual ability with designated time to explore concepts in greater depth. The goal of the Highly Capable Program is to encourage the development of higher level thinking skills.

Information on Highly Capable Program services and the 2019 referral process is currently available on the district website. Referral forms are available in all district schools and on the district website. The annual selection process for in-district students takes place in late winter/early spring, with referral packets due back to schools by March 1, 2019 for grades K-8. Following the testing and selection process, all parents will be notified in writing of the results of the process. A child not selected one year may be referred again in subsequent years.

Parent permission forms for kindergarten cognitive abilities screening is taking place in January. Parents will be notified of screening results and full referral forms will be distributed at conferences in February. Referred students will take the remainder of the cognitive abilities test and be reviewed for selection by the end of March so differentiated programming can be reviewed and planned for at their home schools in the spring.

Students in 2nd and 5th grade will take the cognitive abilities screener in January and results of the screening process, along with other data points, will be used to determine which students will be recommended at conference time to participate in the remainder of the cognitive abilities test. Parents will be notified of screening results and full referral forms will be distributed at conferences in February. Referred students will take the remainder of the cognitive abilities test and be reviewed for selection by the end of March so differentiated programming can be reviewed and planned for at their home schools in the spring.

Parents/guardians of students in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th grade should be in contact with their child’s teacher(s) to determine if Highly Capable testing is recommended.

Students in grades one through eight selected for Highly Capable programming will begin services at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. For more information, please contact Christy Krutulis, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. ckrutulis@wwps.org or 526-6733.

School Stories

Carman visits schools to promote love for reading

This week local children’s book author Patrick Carman visited Berney and Green Park Elementary schools as part of his Towervale Tour introducing his latest book. Carman met with 3rd through 5th grade students at both schools to share his passages from his book, sign autographs and promote the importance of reading.  

Students hone skills at Eastside Professional Learning Symposium

This week Wa-Hi students in the 21st Century program participated in the Eastside Professional Learning Symposium in Pasco at ESD123. Students gained skills in conflict management and social-emotional learning, and completed STEM projects to further enhance their skills. 

Volunteers needed to serve on Senior Culminating Project presentations panel

Each year, Wa-Hi graduating seniors are required to complete a culminating project as a graduation requirement. In order for students to complete this important and mandatory assignment, Wa-Hi relies on the support of community members to serve on culminating project panels as judges to score the presentations.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see what our students’ school year experiences have been and what their hopes and dreams are for the future.

The presentation dates are:
• Tuesday, March 12
• Wednesday, March 13
• Wednesday, April 17
• Thursday, April 18
• All Presentations: 3:15-7:30 p.m.

Please contact Jennifer Davis at 526-8649 / jdavis@wwps.org or call Walla Walla High School if you are interested.

21st Century program students air Wa-Hi basketball on Facebook Live

• Tonight Wa-Hi Boys and Girls basketball teams play Hanford at home and the games will be aired on Facebook Live
• Coverage begins at 5:35 p.m. for the girls game with the boys game to follow
• Watch at: http://bit.ly/WABASKETBALL

Community Stories
United Way seeks input on community Early Learning Center concept

Please help make an important decision for our community!

A task-force of early learning supporters needs your help as they discuss plans to establish a community early-learning and service center dedicated to the well-being of young children and families in the Walla Walla Valley and surrounding communities.

Please take this brief survey to help inform their decision making.

English: https://www.unitedwayww.org/content/pre-k-survey
Spanish: https://www.unitedwayww.org/content/encuesta-pre-kinder-de-padres

Additional questions or information:
Renée Harms, Development Director United Way of Walla Walla County
509-529-1183 office

Save the Date – 2019 Great Explorations Science event March 9 

Girls in 5th-8th grade should save the date for the 2019 Great Explorations Science event, “Reaching for the Stars!” It is Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the keynote speaker is 1995 Wa-Hi graduate Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) MacDonald, who works for NASA and has created an amazing citizen science project called Aurorasaurus.

More information on her presentation and 30 different workshop options will be coming in the weeks ahead. Great Explorations organizers will be distributing information to our local schools, and teachers and students will hear first-hand
how to register. For more information, contact Ruth Ladderud - ladderud@pocketinet.com

Tickets for annual Children’s Home Society SweetHearts Luncheon now on sale

Give your heart to support children and their families in the Walla Walla community during the SweetHearts for Kids benefit luncheon.
• Wednesday, February 20
• Noon -1 p.m. (Doors to luncheon open 11:30 a.m.)
• Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center (6 W. Rose St., Walla Walla)
• Tickets are $40 per person
• Register online: https://www.childrenshomesociety.org/wallawallasweethearts/
• For more information contact Candi Walmsley at 509-529-2130 ext. 8126 or Candice.Walmsley@chs-wa.org

Keynote speaker: Alise Morrissey (Hegle), BAS, is an advocacy project manager and policy lead for Children’s Home Society of Washington. Alise works to ensure the child welfare birth parent perspective is incorporated in policy, practice and system reform efforts. She provides leadership in the passage of state legislation and assisted in the development, coordination and advocacy of SB5486, The Parents for Parents Program bill. Alise coordinates parent ally work in Washington State and is passionate about ensuring all communities have a voice. Her background of prior homelessness and juvenile, criminal and child welfare system involvement, lends critical insight into systemic barriers that impede families’ opportunities to thrive and help to strengthen her system advocacy efforts. Additionally, she serves on national, state and local committees. She received a Casey Excellence for Children award, an Unsung Hero award by Washington State’s Department of Early Learning and was recognized as a national hero for reunification and child welfare by the American Bar Association.

Student Debt Crisis presentation featured at January 31 AAUW-Library Big Idea Talk

The Walla Walla Public Library and the local branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will host a free public discussion of the student debt crisis on Thursday, January 31, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Library, 238 E. Alder. Presenters are Marilyn Ponti, Director of Financial Aid, Whitman College; Amanda Fleck, Associate Director, Student Loan Center, Walla Walla University; and Debra Erikson, Director of Workforce Education Services at Walla Walla Community College. For more information, contact Twila Johnson-Tate, Walla Walla Public Library, (509) 524-4443; or Marilyn Hawkins, AAUW, (509) 876-8202.

Dance Center presents Hansel and Gretel Saturday evening

The Dance Center is proud to present “Hansel and Gretel” on Saturday, January 19 at 7 p.m. at Cordiner Hall. This ballet adaptation of the Grimm Fairy Tale is directed and produced by Idalee Hutson-Fish, and choreographed by Idalee Hutson-Fish, Phyllis Rothwell, Ashley Akacich and Brooke Perkins. The all studio production will feature more than 120 Dance Center ballet students ranging in age from 3-18. Come and enjoy this delightful children’s tale brought to life through ballet! Tickets are available at Earthlight Books and at the door - $25 reserved, $15 general admission, $12 students/seniors. This is event is sponsored by Danza Classica Ballet Foundation of Walla Walla. 

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