Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - April 19, 2019

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board Seeks Feedback on Early Learning and Addressing Elementary Enrollment

Survey Link 

Walla Walla Public Schools is conducting a survey to get input on the school board’s Elementary Consolidation Review and Early Learning Expansion study. This comprehensive study is centered on potential elementary consolidation by the 2020-2021 school year and an assessment of early learning program needs and the potential development of an early learning center. This brief survey asks participants to share views and ideas on these topics. The survey remains open until May 1.

School board members will make site visits to elementary schools, conduct surveys, review enrollment data, analyze district finances and study preschool program options as part of the study. School board members will make a decision in early November. Visit the district website and click on the Elementary Consolidation Review and Early Learning Expansion tab to take the survey and learn more about the study.

Demand fuels dual language expansion at Green Park Elementary

Demand for Walla Walla Public Schools’ successful Dual Language program continues to grow fueling an expansion of two new kindergarten classes at Green Park Elementary next fall. The additional interest in the program was uncovered during a series of parent informational nights explaining the two-way Dual Language Program. Bilingual Department staff followed-up the informational meetings with interviews of prospective families with kindergarten students. Following the interview process, a total of 130 kindergarten students surfaced expressing interest in participating in the two-way Dual Language program next school year. Currently the district can only serve 80 kindergarteners at Edison Elementary, the district’s magnet school for Dual Language programming, prompting the move to expand offerings at Green Park.

“Our families understand language is power,” said Dr. Victor Vergara, Director of Bilingual Education and Latina/o Outreach. “The Bilingual Education Committee’s recommendation in 2017 stated if program interest outpaces what Edison can accommodate, then expansion to additional sites should be considered.”

The district’s Dual Language Program begins in kindergarten where students will spend the majority of the day learning through Spanish instruction. The percentage of English instruction increases as students’ progress through the program. The program model at Green Park will be identical to Edison in support of the district’s aligned and coherent direction. The Dual Language program utilizes the buddy system where native Spanish speakers are paired with native English speakers to advance their knowledge and skill set. This also promotes cultural diversity and respect among all students. Research shows Dual students typically outperform English-only students in the classroom by the end of their elementary years.

“Green Park Elementary has a rich history of bilingual education and has the physical space available to allow for four classrooms at every grade level,” said Vergara. “The size of the school permits for two classrooms to be dual and two classrooms to be traditional English-only. In addition, 29 of 130 students who showed interest already reside within the Green Park attendance area.”

The district is in the process of notifying families to secure their spot in the program. Human Resources is beginning the process to staff the Green Park Dual Language program. Those interested in learning more about the Dual Language Program are encouraged to contact the district’s Bilingual Education Department at (509) 526-6784.

Bond Projects Update - April 2019

Walla Walla High School
• Architects West delivered the schematic design package for the Science Building on March 14 and reviewed comments from the Science teachers the following week.
• The District and design team met with staff groups representing front office, food service, and music for additional feedback on those spaces.
• The mechanical engineer met with the district’s Facilities team to begin discussions for HVAC system selection.
• The District executed the GC/CM contract with Jackson Contractor Group.
• Anderson Perry completed geotechnical investigations.
• Perfection Glass installed the window options mock-up at Wa-Hi. The survey is now open through May 3 for community members to provide feedback.

Pioneer Middle School
• On March 8, the project team and key Pioneer staff members toured Armand Larive MS in Hermiston and Chinook MS in Kennewick to review current educational designs and best practices. This was followed by two days of design workshops at Pioneer on March 12-13 to kick off the educational specifications and schematic design. All Pioneer staff members received the opportunity to provide input to the design team.
• Anderson Perry completed geotechnical investigations.

Lincoln High School
• Anderson Perry completed geotechnical investigations.

Berney Elementary
• The District posted an Invitation to Bid for the Berney HVAC Retrofit and Reroof on March 11, with bids due April 2. The District received bids from two local contractors – S&K Mountain Construction and Jackson Contractor Group – and issued an Intent to Award on April 4 to S&K as the low bidder.
• The District contracted with TestComm to provide commissioning services for the Berney project.

Blue Ridge Elementary
• The Board approved the District’s recommendation for a membrane roof with fencing on March 5. The design team is moving forward to release a bid package on April 30 for construction this summer.

General Projects
• Pacific Power performed an energy incentive custom assessment for Wa-Hi, Pioneer, and Lincoln. The District will be pursuing standard incentives for the work at Berney and Blue Ridge.

Survey remains open to weigh-in on Wa-Hi window options

Survey Link 

Walla Walla Public Schools has opened a survey seeking community input on the types of glass and paneling for the Walla Walla High School renovation. The district will be replacing the original windows throughout the campus to improve energy efficiency and safety. Safety experts recommended tinting the top panels and incorporating non-transparent bottom panels to improve safety. The district has assembled a demonstration mock-up featuring four different top window options, with varying levels of tinting. In addition, four different bottom panels are also included for input. The survey is available on the district’s website and closes May 3.

NOTE: It is recommended survey-takers visit the window mock-up located near the Walla Walla High School main entrance on Abbott Road, in person prior to taking the survey, as pictures/images in the survey do not accurately reflect the window options.

District names Art Regier Volunteers of the Year

In celebration of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Superintendent Wade Smith is proud to announce Maddy Gold, Tina Dumser, Sarah Allen, Cami Eastep, Erica Munsey and Cheri Ruzicka as the district’s 2018-2019 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

2019 Recipients

Maddy Gold – Whitman Teaches the Movement, Latino Club
Nominators: Ben VanDonge, Elizabeth George and Melito Ramirez
• Whitman College senior Maddy Gold has spent all four years as a college student volunteering for Walla Walla Public Schools in various capacities
• She has been part of the mentor program, coordinated with the Wa-Hi Latino Club and has been deeply involved with the Whitman Teaches the Movement program
• Maddy teamed with the Walla Walla Public Library to host an Art Exhibit of student work to showcase the talents of district students
• She played an important role in working with Wa-Hi students, Latino Club Leadership and Membership program

Nominator Melito Ramirez said: “In all my years of experience, some individuals stand out for their great qualities and Maddy is one of those people. She is well known for her work ethic, positive attitude, teamwork and leadership.”

Tina Dumser – Prospect Point Elementary
Nominators – Suzann Rose, Kami Kuhlmann and Kate Van Cleve
• Tina has been part of the Prospect Point Community for the past 5 and half years and Co-PTA President for three years
• She is extremely organized and efficient and is willing to take on any task that comes her way
• She has assisted with the school garden project, Box Tops for Education, Field Day, Book Fairs and the One School, One Book program
• Tina helps organize meals for teachers during conferences and helps coordinate the Friday Food Bag program for families in need
• When she learned of a substitute teacher shortage, she became certified as an emergency subsititute

Nominator Suzann Rose said: “For years, Tina has been a passionate, persistent, and indispensable presence at Prospect Point Elementary School. She really has done all the things. Her availability and commitment to the families and students of Prospect Point and the grace with which she has served are not just a notable model, but are to be commended.”

Sarah Allen – Green Park Elementary
Nominator – Maggie Miranda and Lucy Gregoire
• Sarah has been a volunteer at Green Park Elementary in multiple roles including a member of the PTA
• She helps out in the classroom, supports building level projects and chaperones field trips
• As the School Garden Education Manager, she provides lessons for the Garden Program
• Sarah picks up and delivers food to families in need as part of the Bite 2 Go program
• Sarah loves to read with students in small groups and provides one-to-one mentoring for students who need additional support

Nominator Maggie Miranda said: “Sarah is a gem. We are so very appreciative for all she does for our school and community. ”

Cami Eastep – Sharptein Elementary
Nominator: Sofia Parsons and Maria Garcia
• Cami Eastep has been a dedicated volunteer at Sharpstein Elementary for four years
• She volunteers in the classroom, helps support the Garden, Spanish and Miles Clubs
• Cami also helps organize the school’s Cinco de Mayo annual celebration and the Carnival Block Party
• She has even taken Spanish classes at WWCC to support the school’s Spanish Club
• Cami is known for her big smile, positive attitude and genuine care for people

Nominator Maria Garcia said: “Cami can be counted on to show up, work hard, stay until the work is done, and does so with a cheer and connection with kids that is heartwarming.”

Erica Munsey – Pioneer Middle School
Nominators: Erica Salgado and Kris Duncan
• Erica has dedicated her time one day week for the past two years to run the Pioneer Student Store
• Students are able to exchange incentive cards for treats and school supplies in the school store
• Erica spends her time making hundreds of bags of popcorn and is always encouraging students
• She trains and mentors students and is continually congratulating students on their achievements
• Erica also includes special needs students in the school store. Students clamor for the opportunity to help Erica and she always treats them with dignity and gratitude for their help

Nominator Kris Duncan said: “Erica goes out of her way to make Pioneer a happy, fun place, and believes that each child is worthy of celebration, recognition and time. We are so grateful to her.”

Cheri Ruzicka – Blue Ridge Elementary
Nominators: Amber Ferraro
• Cheri comes to Blue Ridge twice a week to work with kindergarten students in Amber Ferraro’s classroom
• She implements activities to support learning
• She plays games to help students boost their ability to recall letter names and sounds
• Cheri helps run small intervention groups to enhance reading skills
• She takes time to work with struggling readers by sitting with them individually and in small groups to support their learning

Nominator Amber Ferraro said: “Her positive interactions with students and never ending interest in how she can best help the students is inspiring. Cheri is a true example of what dedication, compassion, and empathy for all children looks like.”

WWPS Art Show May 2

• Walla Walla Public Schools Student Art Show
• Thursday, May 2
• 4 p.m. Gala Opening
• Marcus Whitman Hotel Explorer Ballroom lobby
• Light snacks provided and live music
• Separate judging category for 3D artwork
• New tradition: Event publicity poster art features Superintendent’s Award winner from ESD 123 art show. This year Gracie Nelson’s art is featured

“We are so grateful for the partnership with the Marcus Whitman Hotel, allowing us to be in the facility during Spring Release, one of their busiest weekends of the year,” said SEATech Audio and Video Production Instructor Jeffrey Townsend, who is coordinating this year’s art show. “This event has always been theoretically open to the public, but it was on a school campus and away from the general public. This venue provides easy access for those passing by to check out the amazing student artwork.”

Personnel Report from April 16, 2019 School Board Meeting

Ivan Soto, Custodian, Walla Walla High School

Robert Elizondo, Principal, Garrison Middle School, 6 years

Lindsey Butcher, Agriculture, Walla Walla High School, 12 years
Sheilah Payne, Kindergarten, Sharpstein Elementary School, 3 years

Cynthia Diaz, Family Advocate, Blue Ridge Preschool Programs, 16 years
Emma Massie, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary, 2 years
Erin Roach, Head Secretary, SEATech, 19 years

Brandi McIntire, Special Education, Lincoln High School, 15 years
• To complete a WWPS School Psychologist internship for the 2019-2020 school year.
Betsy Russell Carroll, Preschool, Blue Ridge Preschool Programs, 5 years
Elissa Tinder, Special Education, Garrison Middle School, 6 years
• To serve as a Special Education Behavior Specialist for the 2019-2020 school year.

Walla Walla Valley Day of Champions event time for special needs students to shine 

Students with special needs from Walla Walla, College Place, Prescott, Milton Freewater, Athena Weston and Dayton school districts will participate in the 2nd Annual Walla Walla Valley Day of Champions May 9 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Walla Walla High School’s Dave Klicker Track.

This fun and inspiring event hosted by the Walla Walla Public Schools’ Special Education Department provides students the opportunity to 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. Kiwanis members will be volunteering their time as well.

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 special moments during the event. 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. Lunch time is sure to be fun with Janet Byerley of Jazzercise. Awards 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.”

For more information, contact the district’s Special Education Department at (509) 526-6724.

Day of the Child May 10

District teams with Fort Walla Walla Museum for FREE Day of the Child event.
• Friday, May 10
• 4 to 8 p.m.
• Fort Walla Walla Museum (755 Myra Road)
• Free food for the first 500 guests
• Community agencies in attendance to share information
• Games, bouncy houses, face painting
• Live local music: Salvador Hernandez, Robert Elizondo, Ballet Folklorico (Norma Arceo) and Laura Angula
• Free entrance to Fort Walla Walla Museum

Open Enrollment, Choice Transfer and Kindergarten Registration – Now through April 26

Open Enrollment for students living within the WWPS boundary:
Parents/Guardians who live in the Walla Walla Public Schools district boundary and wish to open enroll their child to a different WWPS school outside of their attendance area may complete an Open Enrollment application form at their attendance area school.

Choice Transfer for students living outside of the WWPS boundary:
Parents/Guardians who live outside the Walla Walla Public Schools boundary and wish to Choice Transfer/request enrollment into the WWPS boundary will need to obtain a release form from their current school district office. All applications and forms will be accepted at Walla Walla schools.

Open enrollment and Choice Transfer requests for Walla Walla Public Schools will be granted according to priorities outlined in School Board Policy & Procedure 3130.
• Policy 3130: http://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/policies/series-3000/4224-board-policy-no-3130
• Procedure 3130: http://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/procedures/series-3000/5174-3130-district-attendance-areas,-open-enrollment,-and-employees-student-placement

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all schools, the Administration Office at 364 S. Park St, and online at www.wwps.org.

Kindergarten Registration:
Walla Walla Public Schools’ kindergarten registration period is now through April 26, and will take place at the student’s attendance area elementary school. Families wishing to enroll their kindergarten student in the Dual Language Program must call the Bilingual Education Department, (509) 526-6784.

Elementary Hours:
• Now through April 26, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Middle and High School Hours:
• Now through April 26, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

School Stories
Green Park takes annual Battle of the Books team title

Congratulations to Green Park Elementary students competing in the district’s annual Battle of the Books competition and taking team honors by successfully answering questions from this year’s Washington State Children’s Choice Award group. All district 4th and 5th graders read the list of 20 books. Students at all grade levels get involved, including K-3, as the 4th and 5th graders read to them. This year’s event was held at Sharpstein Elementary.

“It’s a great activity to support our strategic plan of aligned and coherent systems, as well as our core philosophy of all means all,” said Technology Director Forrest Baker, who oversees district library operations. “It’s a fun team building event encouraging literacy through hard work and competition that students look forward to every year. Approximately 400,000 students across our state participate in the Washington State Children’s Choice Award program.”

FREE physicals at 5th Annual Wa-Hi Sports Physical Round-Up 

Walla Walla High School’s 5th Annual Sports Physical Round-Up is Tuesday, May 21 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Walla Walla High School. Wa-Hi has partnered with Providence Medical Group and their physicians again this year to offer FREE comprehensive sports physicals. This event is open to everyone in the surrounding communities, but is limited to those entering the 6th through 12th grades next year.

Providence Medical Group is providing more volunteer physicians this year to improve waiting times. Visit the Walla Walla High School Athletic Department website or stop by the school’s Athletic Office to get the required permission form. Students are asked to bring the completed form, signed by both student and parent, to the event, or bring their parent and fill out the form at the event. All three pages are required to participate.

Contact Britt Adkins in the Athletics Office for more information: bdadkins@wwps.org or (509) 526-8633.

Wa-Hi FFA Plant Sale next month

• Sale dates: May 1-3
• Sale times: 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
• Location: Walla Walla High School outside the CTE building
• A variety of beautiful plants, hanging baskets, cedar patio planters and metal garden art accessories will be on sale.

Wa-Hi FFA students win State Championship in Agri-Science Research

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School FFA students Chelan Yenney, Madison McCaw, Alyssa Drader and Daniel Flores for winning the State Championship in Agri-science research. The April 13 competition was held at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. These four students will be submitting their research to Nationals, and if selected as the Top 12 in the nation, they will have the opportunity to present their work in Indianapolis, Indiana in October. Walla Walla High School teacher Lindsey Butcher is the program adviser.

• In Animal Science Division 3, Chelan Yenney presented her research to determine the most effective navel spray on newborn lambs.
• In Social Sciences Division 3, Madison McCaw researched the local perception of bottled water facilities and the availability of water for farming and the impact the facilities would have on the environment.
• Social Sciences division 5, Alyssa Drader surveyed 616 sheep producers across the country to determine the preferred methods of tail docking in sheep.
• Daniel Flores studied the effect of soil temperature on Basil seed germination and placed first in the Plant Science Division 3.

Watch live stream of Saturday’s Track and Field Legends Invite

Wa-Hi students and Garrison Middle School students in the 21st Century After-school Program will be broadcasting the Walla Walla High School Track and Field Legends Invite live Saturday from 11 a.m. to approximately 6:30 p.m. The link will remain active after the invite so viewers can watch it at their convenience. Subscribe to the Big Blue Northwest Channel to watch more exciting Wa-Hi Blue Devil activities. The track meet is being held at the Dave Klicker track on the campus of Wallla Walla High School and features numerous teams from throughout the northwest.

Event link 

Area senior citizens support homeless students through Sox in a Box program

Today Shirley Ruble and Barbara Lechner of Narcissa Rebekah Lodge #2, representing Odd Fellow Homes, delivered 1,209 pairs of socks for students experiencing homelessness in grades preschool through high school through their “Sox in a Box” program. Ruble and Lechner reached out to Teaching and Learning Executive Director Christy Krutulis to brainstorm ideas for supporting the district’s at-risk students. The trio came up with an idea to collect new socks and donate them to homeless students.

Ruble and Lechner placed collection boxes at various sites around the Odd Fellows retirement complex for residents, staff and visitors to donate. The response was overwhelming.

“Our goal was to collect 400 pairs of socks,” said Ruble. “This warms our hearts to see so much support for these children. Many of us were teachers, nurses and caregivers so we have worked directly with homeless children and we want to do whatever we can to help.”

District intervention specialists gathered at the district office to put the socks in boxes and then took them to their schools for distribution. Ruble and Lechner said they will be discussing their next project set to launch this fall.

“Even with the warmer weather, socks are a needed item for those who may not have access to a drawer full of options,” said Krutulis, who oversees Homeless student programs. “The members of our local Odd Fellows Home were exceptionally generous in their large donation, allowing all of our schools and programs to have new pairs of socks for students in need.”

“HOPE” t-shirts help Garrison students promote Sources of Strength

Garrison Middle School Sources of Strength peer leaders received their “HOPE” shirts promoting the international suicide prevention program. The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, under the guidance of Behavior Health Prevention Specialist Peggy Needham, purchased the t-shirts using grant money from the Washington State Health Care Authority for the students to promote the program. The focus of the Sources of Strength program is to increase hope, help and strength on campuses and communities.

This school year Garrison student leaders have participated in several campaigns aimed at breaking down stigma around mental health including a “thankfulness challenge” and “positive friends”. These campaigns increase connections and build resiliency in students by identifying positive strengths they can turn to when they are struggling, including teachers and staff.

“The kids plan to participate in the Reach Out Walla Walla Suicide Prevention Walk May 10 at 7 p.m. at Walla Walla High School, and the Strength Conference on Saturday, June 1, 2019 and will be wearing the t-shirts for those events,” said Garrison Middle School Counselor Angie Gardea who is advising Garrison peer-leaders.

Garrison students are planning their next campaign. They plan to create a flower “garden” with the petals featuring messages written by students reflecting on the positive things that happened during the school year.

Blue Devil Strong plans suicide prevention walk

Blue Devil Strong, Reach Out Walla Walla and WW County Department of Community Health are proud to announce the second annual suicide prevention walk to be held at the Walla Walla High School, Dave Klicker Track on May 10, 2019 starting at 7 p.m.

Community partners include students from Walla Walla Community College, Garrison Middle School, NAMI, Comprehensive Health Care, Catholic Charities, VA Medical Center, Triple Point, Providence St. Mary Medical Center. The event is designed to promote hope, help and strength. Informational booths will be set up by 6:30 p.m. and will provide local information and resources to youth and families.

Together we can stop suicide in Walla Walla! Register here at Evenbrite for this free event:

For more information contact Jessalyn Waring Bruce jwaring@co.walla-walla.wa.us or Peggy Needham pneedham@co.walla-walla.wa.us at Walla Walla County Department of Community Health 509.524.2684.

Community Stories
Nature Kids: Earth Day

Saturday, April 20
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Walla Walla Public Library

Celebrate our beautiful planet by practicing Leave No Trace principles, crafting from recyclables, and planting your own pollinator-friendly garden with Blue Mountain Land Trust, Umatilla National Forest, Sustainable Living Center, and the City of Walla Walla.

10:00 - 10:30 am: Presentation by the City of Walla Walla on what you can and can’t recycle in Walla Walla.

Nature Kids events are free and open to the public. These events are casual, drop-in and enjoy events. We’re able to make accommodations for children with accessibility needs. Contact Lauren Platman with any questions at lauren@bmlt.org or 509-525-3136.

Group Yard Sale for youth traveling to France & Italy

Kerri Tucker’s youth travel group is hosting a yard sale 4/27 & 4/28 at 1832 Snitily Lane (across from Scarpelli, off Tietan) to raise funds for their trip to France and Italy in June.  Youth will also be selling baked goods, and accepting donations.  If you have any items you’d like to donate for sale, please contact Kerri Tucker at ktucker@wwps.org. This is not a WWPS sponsored trip.

City invites community to FREE Arbor Day event at Pioneer Park

• Come celebrate Arbor Day and the City of Walla Walla receiving its 25th Tree City USA designation.
• Fun activities, exhibits, crafts, educational information, champion tree tours, talking trees, food trucks, raffles, free seedlings and more.
• Saturday, April 27
• 12 to 3 p.m. at Pioneer Park

City Parks & Rec Update

• Blue Mountain Baseball League (formerly known as Babe Ruth) – Ages 13-16 - $75 - Tryouts begin April 22
• Free Lacrosse Drop-Ins – gear available for use - April 22, 29 at 5:30pm
• Warrior Soccer Academy – April 15 - May 9 - Ages 5-11 - $48
• Youth and Adult Art Classes taught in Spanish - $12 - $80
• 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!
• Scholarships available for youth programs. To apply stop by the Parks and Recreation office at 55 E Moore St.

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