Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 8, 2019

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Casey named interim principal at Prospect Point Elementary for 2019-2020

Superintendent Wade Smith announced Barb Casey will serve as Interim Principal at Prospect Point Elementary for the 2019-2020 school year. Current Principal Dana Chandler has resigned her position effective at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year. Casey currently serves as the district’s Lead Behavior Specialist. She will take a leave of absence from this position next school year. Casey begins her new duties at Prospect Point beginning July 1, 2019.

“With the School Board's decision to review and study elementary configuration, alignment, and early learning expansion over the next eight months, the district felt it best to seek an interim principal for next year until a final decision is made and a permanent replacement can be made,” said Superintendent Smith. “We’re excited for Barb to take on this leadership role at Prospect Point. She is well versed in our strategic plan initiatives and efforts and will be able to hit the ground running as we enter year three of our five year plan focusing on improved outcomes for students.”

Casey has been employed by Walla Walla Public Schools for 11 years. She was a special education teacher before assuming her current leadership duties in 2015. Casey began her career in education in the Puyallup School District as a special education teacher. She received a Bachelors of Education from Gonzaga University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Washington, Tacoma. Casey obtained her administrative certificate from Gonzaga University. Casey’s husband, Brian, is a science teacher at Garrison Middle School. They have three children, two who are currently attending Walla Walla Public Schools.

“I feel very fortunate to return to Prospect Point,” said Casey who served as a special education teacher at Prospect Point for three years. “My leadership journey began while I was teaching at Prospect Point and I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead learning along-side the staff, students and families of our school community.”

Board begins discussion to address elementary consolidation and early learning program expansion

Tuesday night during the School Board Study meeting, board members launched a discussion with the community centered on potential elementary consolidation and an assessment of early learning program needs. Elementary capacity as it relates to district finances is closely connected to the board study. The district is facing the reality of a reduction of 250 elementary students over the last nine years due to shifting community demographics. Kindergarten readiness data and feedback from parents suggests a need for more early learning programs. This topic of expansion will be studied as well.

The district is anticipating 25 empty classrooms across its six elementary campuses in the next few years. Enrollment is also expected to remain flat in the coming years. School Board President Ruth Ladderud shared a draft timeline of the board study during last night’s meeting. She reported the study will include site visits to elementary schools, surveys, enrollment data reviews, financial impact analysis and preschool program options.

“We are thinking the answers will not be finalized until early November,” said Ladderud. “There are multiple levels and questions that need to be answered, and there are multiple times when we need to involve others in the discussion.”

Board members will review the draft timeline at the March 19 meeting and discuss next steps.

Transportation and school hours efficiency survey closes March 14

Tuesday night Superintendent Wade Smith outlined the district’s Communication and Engagement Plan for the 2019-20 Transportation/School Time Efficiency proposal which would save more than $400,000 a year in transportation costs by slightly adjusting school start times. Superintendent Smith is meeting with staff to discuss the proposal. The district also sent home a fact sheet to parents and created a webpage on the district’s site which houses a public survey open through March 14. Superintendent Smith plans to review the data later this month and bring a recommendation to the school board March 19 for possible 2019-20 implementation.

Blue Ridge roof replacement solution

Replacing the nearly 40-year-old roof at Blue Ridge as a result of funding from the successful November 2018 bond election has proven to be an extensive planning process.

Tuesday night, the School Board supported a unanimous recommendation from architects, roof consultant, Wenaha, and maintenance staff to replace the Blue Ridge roof system this summer using a “hybrid” approach.

“This concept will keep the look and feel of Blue Ridge, but does not put the dirt and sod back on the very top of the structure,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “Most stakeholders have never seen the very top of the roof as it is not visible from the street level.”

The dirt and sod covered roof has led to problems over the years resulting in leaks. Gophers, rodents and watering the grass are the greatest factors. Also, the shallow soil levels on the very top provides a minimal R-value (R-4). The proposed new roof system will be minimum R-30 through the use of rigid insulation under the membrane covering. The new roof will be more energy efficient, less expensive to install and maintain and safer thanks to a decorative fence surrounding the roof structure. Superintendent Smith reported the new design remains within the $1.3M project budget.

Safety and Security access control improvements coming soon

The successful November bond election cleared the way to begin safety and security infrastructure improvements at district schools. Facilities and Operations Director Mike Kay is coordinating a host of projects set to begin this summer with a focus of improving access control. Fencing, card readers, cameras and secure vestibules top the list of solutions to improve safety. Kay has been making site visits, working with security experts and district staff to develop these plans.

Superintendent Smith featured live on Atlanta NPR radio show

Thursday Superintendent Wade Smith was featured live on the National Public Radio station for Atlanta 90.1 FM WABE. He discussed strategies and best practices being used by Walla Walla Public Schools to support the social and emotional needs of the district. Goal 3 of the district’s strategic plan is focused on this area. Smith appeared via telephone on the WABE’s mid-day news program, Closer Look with Rose Scott. The station is doing a series of segments addressing both alternative and non-traditional education in Georgia and nationally.

Superintendent Smith covered the following topics:
• Overview of how alternative/non-traditional education is defined in Washington
• WWPS strategic plan for alternative/non-traditional education
• Resources/services at Lincoln High School and other schools within the district
• Measurements of success outcomes (graduation rates, assessment scores)
• The importance of trauma intervention in working in non-traditional education environments
• WWPS student body demographics (socioeconomic and ethnic) and in Washington

The Health Center provides medical and mental health services for Walla Walla students

The Health Center Executive Director Lindsey Engh provided an update to the school board Tuesday night. Founded in 2008, The Health Center improves the academic and life success of students at Blue Ridge Elementary, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln and Walla Walla High Schools by providing on-site, no-cost, holistic physical and mental health care services, according to Engh.

Engh reported The Health Center is now billing Medicaid Insurance and is working to secure financial stability through potential partnerships. She said mentoring programs with Whitman College students have been successful and Walla Walla University practicum students are supporting service needs. Mental health counseling continues to be a large part of The Health Center’s service to students. Care coordination with local providers is another key service offered.

The Health Center was the first school-based health center to open in Eastern Washington. Engh reported The Health Center’s partnership with Walla Walla Public Schools is producing documented improvements in the academic and life success of participating students.

Behavior Team efforts help reduce special education suspensions

The district’s Behavior Team provided an update to the school board Tuesday night. The team serves General Education and Special Education students at all grade levels. The bulk of the service is provided to elementary students who consistently demonstrate the greatest need. They work closely with the Community Resilience Initiative which is under contract with the district to support the social and emotional needs of students as part of Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan. Problem solving, screening and family support are key components of their work. Special Education suspensions are down this year compared to last year. Efforts to be more proactive are linked to this success.

WWPS Behavior Team:
• Jennifer Matson, Behavior Specialist
• Kristen Duede, Mental Health Specialist
• Heather Lane, Behavior Coach
• Nicole Hyatt, Behavior Coach
• Barb Casey, Lead Behavior Specialist

Personnel Report (from March 5, 2019 School Board Meeting)

Mary Flynn, Special Education, Blue Ridge Preschool Programs, 3 years
Berta Herrera Trejo, Second Grade, Blue Ridge Elementary School, 12 years
Charlene Maib, Special Education, Blue Ridge Elementary School, 12 years
Chris Meliah, Math, Walla Walla High School, 1 year

Elisabeth Ammerman, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School, 1.5 years
Emanuel Guerrero, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 2.5 years
Monica Jimenez, Family Advocate, Blue Ridge Preschool Programs, 4 years

School Stories
Wa-Hi JROTC to host 15-school Cascade League Championship Meet March 9

Cadets of the Walla Walla High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps will host peers from 15 schools at the Cascade League championship drill, physical fitness, and rifle marksmanship meet here Saturday, March 9.

Schedule of events:
• Color Guard Teams: 8-9 a.m.
• Unarmed Drill Teams: 9-10 a.m.
• Armed Drill Teams: 10-11 a.m.
• Exhibition Drill: 12 noon-1 p.m.
• Marksmanship Teams will have sporter and precision relays on the range at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 noon, and the finals will begin at 3 p.m.
• Physical fitness teams begin at 8 a.m. and continue until complete.
• The awards ceremony will begin after all scores have been tallied and verified, at around 3:30 p.m.

Lincoln High School staff and students show appreciation for custodian

Lincoln High School staff and students honored custodian Dan Bueck for his tireless work on snow removal this past month. Dan has worked hard snow plowing and keeping the walkways and stairs safe for staff and students, according to staff. The school honored him in an all school assembly Friday, March 1. The staff all donated money toward buying Dan a Lincoln sweatshirt, Lincoln Beanie, and gift card to the Lincoln Cafe.

SEATech Health Science Careers students compete at state

Students in SEATech’s Health Science and Careers program are competing in the state competition in Spokane this week. More than 2,000 students from across the state are participating. Students participated in interviews, tested their nursing, communication and forensic science skills. Congratulations to Advisor Sandy Thomas, RN and her students for their hard work and success.

“We Are Wa-Hi” event March 14

Plan to attend this informational night to learn about registration for next year, graduation requirements, classes, clubs, activities, and more. All current 8th through 11th grade students and their parents are invited to attend.
• “We Are Wa-Hi” student and family registration event – March 14
• Students in grades 8 -11 invited
• 5 to 7 p.m.
• Walla Walla High School Gym
• Event Highlights: This event provides families with the resources and information needed to help guide students through the choices available at Walla Walla High School.
• Booths highlighting academics, clubs, sports and other activities will be available in the gym for students and families to explore. Specific information sessions around grade level expectations, English Language Development, Special Education and a General Question & Answer session with Wa-Hi Administrators are also scheduled.
• Learn what your options are before you register.

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU teams qualify for 2019 State Basketball Championship 

Walla2Hoops congratulates the W2 Hoops 4th grade boys team, coached by Bryan Eggart (Head), Travis McCauley and Mark Higgins (Assistants) and the 7th grade boys team, coached by Chris Gardea (Head) and Mark Higgins (Assistant) for qualifying for the 2019 State Basketball Championships in Spokane March 15-17.

The 4th grade team qualified at the January Battle Basketball Tournament in Clarkston and the 7th grade team qualified at the February Battle Basketball Tournament in Clarkston. The 4th grade team is not traveling to Spokane to play in the tournament due to spring sports conflicts. The 7th grade team is competing in the 6th annual tournament which features the best teams from across the state.

“It’s exciting for our players and coaches to play teams they’ve never faced,” said Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington. “There will be teams traveling from all over Washington. This is something our athletes will remember the rest of their lives.”

Walla2Hoops consists of 21 boys and girls and 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.

4th Grade Boys State Qualifiers:
Coaches: Bryan Eggart (Head), Travis McCauley and Mark Higgins (Assistants)
Kenroy Brown
Micah Eggart
Luke Higgins
Trey McCauley
Braeden McCauley
Colton McCollaugh
Mitchell Vu
Cohen Wood

7th Grade Boys State Qualifiers:
Coaches: Chris Gardea (Head), Mark Higgins (Assistant)
Aaron Esquivel
Dane Gardea
Carter Green
Ken Higgins
Mateo Maxwell
Bryce Pruett
William Sullivan
Austin Woiblet

For more information contact: walla2hoops@gmail.com.

Interested in going to Japan? Sasayama Japan Sister City Exchange Program

Sasayama Japan Sister City Exchange Program is Recruiting for: Japanese Student Host Families (March 2019) &
Student Home Stay in Japan (October 2019). The Walla Walla - Sasayama Sister City Association is recruiting students and host families for our 2019 Sister City exchanges. We are looking for students interested in participating in a home stay in Sasayama, Japan in October 2019 as well as host families for March 2019. Home stay includes: Room & board in a Japanese home, inclusion in family events, touring historical sites and attending cultural events and activities during weekdays.

We are looking for students who:
• have a certain amount of personal independence and maturity
• have an interest in international travel
• are willing to host a Japanese student in their home in March this coming year
• are willing to try different foods and experience living with a Japanese family\
• are willing to adjust themselves to the culture & habits of their Japanese hosts
• will act as good ambassadors for your school, your city, and your country

The cost of the trip is about $1,800 and monthly installments can be made. A deposit of $500 will be due upon committing to the program, then a monthly payment is due at each orientation meeting. We will have monthly meetings to discuss Japanese language, customs, culture, and also international travel etiquette and procedures.

As mentioned, we are also looking for families willing to host students from Japan during a two-week homestay in March. Hosting includes: evening and weekend activities (weekday activities are pre-scheduled), breakfast and dinners for the students, teaching the students about life in America and our culture, and of course making new friends. If you are interesting in hosting a student or would like more information concerning the student exchange, please contact:
Dustin Palmer, Chairman of The Sasayama Sister City Committee.

Telephone: 509-240-6400
Email: wwsistercity@gmail.com

The Walla Walla School District does not sponsor or endorse this event/information and the district assumes no responsibility for it.

CAMP INVENTION returns to Walla Walla for a 3rd year

Camp Invention is an elementary summer enrichment experience with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focus for children in our community, July 8-12 at Edison Elementary. Local certified educators lead a week of hands-on activities that fuel children’s confidence in their natural ability to dream and create. Save $25 on registration before March 22 with code INNOVATE25.

Visit invent.org/camp to sign up. Limited scholarships are available. Contact Jen Stone, Camp Director, at jennifer.stone@wwcc.edu for more information.

Blue Mountain Storm - Registration for youth track club announced

The Blue Mountain Storm Youth Track Club is a local organization that provides fair and open competitive track and field events for youth ages 5-12 from the surrounding area. BMS is designed to encourage maximum participation at low cost, provide a positive experience, and have fun while developing track and field talents.

The cost is $50 per athlete and includes insurance and a t-shirt. The maximum family max fee is $100 for families with three or more children participating in the BMS program.

First practice is March 18 at Wa-Hi’s Dave Klicker Track from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Make checks payable to: BIG BLUE BOOSTERS

Information: https://wwstormclub.wixsite.com/bmstorm

Walla Walla City Councils plans open house meetings at local schools to enhance community engagement

The City of Walla Walla invites you to a regular meeting of the Walla Walla City Council in the town’s West Ward. See how Council members work to represent you and your family, and learn how laws are made. Before the Council meeting, the City will host an hour-long Open House, where you can learn about the many services the City provides for residents. We will also have information about the new ward election system, including how to run for a seat on the City Council this year. These are free, family-friendly events, open to everyone. Free refreshments and Spanish interpretation will be available at the Open House. The Sherwood Trust board provided a $5,000 grant to the City of Walla Walla to support these efforts to engage the community. For more information, visit https://wallawallawa.gov/government/city-council

West Ward Event:
- Blue Ridge Elementary cafeteria
- March 13
- 6 p.m. Open House / 7 p.m. City Council Meeting

East Ward Event:
- Edison Elementary
- March 27
- 6 p.m. Open House / 7 p.m. City Council Meeting

FFA Alumni announces annual fundraiser March 16

• FFA Alumni and Friends 5th Annual Fundaiser
• Pot O’ Blue and Gold Dinner and Auction
• Saturday, March 16
• Doors open at 5 p.m. and Dinner at 6 p.m.
• Tickets $25 person
• Entertainment: Whiskey Creek Band
• Information: (509) 386-3484
• Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/343251129594405/?ti=ia
• Event Information Link: wallawallaffaalumni@gmail.com

Families needed to host Yamate Japanese Exchange students

• Japanese High School students will visit Walla Walla April 12-26
• Students will attend Wa-Hi and participate in a host of events
• Host families are still needed
• Contact Ron Ahrens for details: rahren@wwps.org

City Parks & Rec Update

• Scholarships available for youth programs. To apply stop by the Parks and Recreation office at 55 E Moore St.
• St Paddy’s Day Dash 5k/10k - Sunday, March 17 @ 10am - $12
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Ages 5 – 12 (age as of 12/31/18) - $50 - $65
• Spring Softball Skills Clinic – Ages 5 – 13 - Sunday, March 23 - see website for times - $35 - Pitching and catching clinic - $15
• Blue Mountain Baseball League (formerly known as Babe Ruth) – Ages 13-16 - $75
• Youth and Adult Art Classes taught in Spanish - $12 - $80
• Warrior Soccer Academy – April 15 - May 9 - Ages 5-11 - $48
• All Comers Track & Field Meet – May 5 – Ages 12 & under - $3/$5 onsite registration
• Lacrosse Class/Camp - Grades 1 – 8 - $40 - $60
• 2019 Veterans Memorial Pool Passes are on sale!
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us
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