Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 9, 2019

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

No School Friday, May 10

There is No School Friday, May 10 for Spring Professional Day. 

District honors educators for Teacher Appreciation Week – By Superintendent Wade Smith

This week marks Teacher Appreciation Week; an opportunity for parents, community, and our nation to thank so many who dedicate their lives to the noble cause of educating and impacting our future generation. At our recent School Board meeting I shared a few words highlighting the incredible impact that teachers across our own state and district have every single day on the lives of our students.

Teachers serve at the heart of our core mission; they are on the front lines helping ensure we are able to carry out our goal of delivering high quality instruction. Not only are our teachers incorporating social and emotional supports for their students, they are working harder than ever, identifying critical learning outcomes with their colleagues’ in order to ensure all students master essential standards. And most importantly, as I have witnessed countless times in the last three years in Walla Walla, our teachers inspire, engage, and connect with our students so that all kids know they have an adult who cares about them.

It goes without saying that we have amazing teachers across our district. The sacrifices that they make often go unnoticed and unappreciated by those who do not know what it truly takes to be an effective teacher. Please help me in thanking the hundreds of teachers in Walla Walla who show up every single day to serve kids; who come in early or stay late to help their students; who grade stacks of papers every night; who sacrifice their own family time on the weekend to prepare for next week’s lessons; who often donate their own money and belongings to supplement their classroom supplies; who often show up even when they are not feeling well; and lastly, who have made teaching their calling, passion, and life!

State testing continues this month 

State testing is underway in all schools this week through the end of May. Students in grades 3-11 are participating in Smarter Balanced exams, which assesses reading, writing, math and science standards.

“Caring adults in every building are ensuring a smooth test administration,” said District Assessment Coordinator Carina Stillman. “Our teachers, principals, and students have worked so hard this year; we are eager to see continued growth and improvement.”

Partners in Learning Month

May is Partners in Learning Month. Walla Walla School District 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.”

Walla Walla Future Farmers of America Alumni and Friends, Walla Walla Valley Early Learning Coalition and Betty’s Preschool will be recognized at the May 21 school board meeting as the district’s Partners of the Year.

“We appreciate their support and value their contribution to Walla Walla Public Schools,” said Superintendent Smith. “These partners have made significant contributions to our school district, staff and students.”

Curriculum Adoption Recommendation

Tuesday night, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis presented her final recommendation for the adoption of new High School Science and High School Algebra Geometry Algebra II curriculum. Last month, Curriculum Adoption members hosted public information meetings to showcase the materials and answer questions. The materials were also available for public display at the district office in April.

There will not be traditional textbooks for the science adoption. These materials will be digital to use on personal devices like Chromebooks. Math will use a textbook. The Adoption Committee is planning to ask the school board for approval May 21 for implementation in the fall of 2019.

School board reviews survey input from early learning program needs and elementary enrollment study
Tuesday night, school board members reviewed survey results as part of their Elementary Consolidation Review and Early Learning Expansion study. A total of 354 people responded to the survey which featured open-ended questions about the need for Early Learning programs and thoughts on addressing elementary enrollment dips. School board members discussed how to identify themes and gain the most from the input. The survey results will be posted on the study’s webpage - www.wwps.org. 

Superintendent Smith reported on Early Learning Program space regulations and requirements. His presentation helped school board members understand the limitations and regulations related to early learning spaces. He also reviewed five of the district’s elementary schools to illustrate how they measure up against the early learning facility standards. Edison was not reviewed because it is the district’s Dual Language magnet school and is not being considered as part of any future plans.

Board members held a special study meeting Wednesday, May 8 to continue their work. Superintendent Smith reviewed the basic education prototypical funding model for the district and compared it to actual staffing levels. The district is currently 74.81 FTE over the prototypical funding model for basic education. He also reviewed enrollment trends and projections and efficiency comparisons. No action was taken. The school board will make a final decision in November.

Visit the district website and click on the Elementary Consolidation Review and Early Learning Expansion banner for additional information on the study.

WWPS Art Show May 16-19

• Walla Walla Public Schools Student Art Show
• Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19
• 4 p.m. Gala Opening on May 16
• 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 Gracie Nelson’s art. She was the Superintendent’s Award winner last year

Special needs students shine at Walla Walla Valley Day of Champions event

Thursday, students with special needs from Walla Walla, College Place, Prescott, Milton Freewater, Athena Weston and Dayton school districts participated in the 2nd Annual Walla Walla Valley Day of Champions at Walla Walla High School’s Dave Klicker Track.

This fun and inspiring event hosted by the Walla Walla Public Schools’ Special Education Department provided 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 were on campus supporting the event in a variety of roles. Kiwanis members volunteered their time as well.

Area firefighters from Local Union 404 were 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 volunteered as the event announcer. Awards were given to the Most Inspirational Athlete and the Most Involved Peer Mentor. All participants received medals of achievement and t-shirts.

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

Washington School Public Relations Association recognizes Communications Department

Last week, Walla Walla Public Schools’ Communications Department received state recognition for district and school communication efforts as part of the Washington School Public Relations Association’s award program. The WSPRA Communication Awards program recognizes creative and effective work in communications.

“It is an honor and privilege to help tell the stories of our amazing teachers, support staff, students, parents, administrators and school board members,” said Communications Director Mark Higgins. “It takes a team to accomplish these projects and everyone in the district has earned a piece of this recognition.”

2019 WWPS Communications Department Awards:

Branding/Image Package
• Award of Merit (Bond Election Information Outreach)
• Honorable Mention (School Safety Awareness Campaign)
• Honorable Mention (Strategic Plan Branding)

Print Newsletter
• Award of Excellence (10-10 Staff Newsletter)
• Award of Merit (Focus on Education Community Newsletter)

• Award of Merit (Bond Community Involvement & Planning Videos)
• Honorable Mention (Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates videos)

• Honorable Mention (Yearbook Archive)

Legislature Opens up Multiple Pathways to Graduation for Students – By OSPI Communications

Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1599 into law. The legislation provides students with several options to demonstrate college and career readiness. Below is Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s statement.

OLYMPIA—May 7, 2019—Until today, Washington state was one of the last in the nation to link state assessments to graduation.

State assessments were intended to serve as a tool to measure how well the K–12 system was doing. The assessments were not intended to be used to measure the progress and performance of individual students, and they certainly were not intended to serve as a barrier to high school graduation.

Ensuring students have access to a graduation pathway that aligns with their postsecondary goals has been my top policy priority for the past two years. I began this work in 2017 when I requested House Bill 2224, which provided options for students who did not pass state assessments to demonstrate readiness to graduate in other ways.

With the passage of House Bill 1599, students will now have multiple pathways to demonstrate readiness to graduate, and each pathway must be aligned to the student’s High School and Beyond Plan.

The pathways include:
• Completing a sequence of career and technical education (CTE) courses that lead to workforce entry, an approved apprenticeship, or postsecondary education.
• Completing and qualifying for college credit in dual credit programs in English Language Arts (ELA) or math.
• Meeting a certain score on the SAT or ACT.
• Meeting or exceeding standard on state assessments in ELA or math.
• Earning high school credit in a high school transition course in ELA or math.
• Meeting standard on the armed services vocational aptitude battery.

The inclusion of a CTE pathway is vital to the success of our state’s economy and it will make a significant difference in the lives of our students. This pathway will allow students opportunities to select coursework that aligns with their postsecondary goals, with the intention of putting them on a path toward a career they love.

In addition to these important pathways, the bill also provides flexibility in meeting the 24 credits required for graduation. This option is available if students take courses aligned to their High School and Beyond Plan and postsecondary goals, and if they have met all other graduation requirements.

Finally, the bill extends the assessment waiver for students in the classes of 2019 and 2020 who did not pass the state assessment. Students in these cohorts will have the same options for graduation as students in the Class of 2018.

This is a significant step forward for our students and communities and required legislators on both sides of the political aisle, K–12 and higher education advocates, and business organizations to come together. I am thankful for the collaboration and hard work it took to pass this important legislation.

School Stories
Berg named new Walla Walla High School Boys Head Basketball Coach

Adam Berg has been named the new Walla Walla High School Boys Basketball Head Coach following an extensive search from a field of qualified candidates and comprehensive hiring process which included parents, alumni, students and staff. Berg will also serve as a Special Education teacher at Walla Walla High School.

Berg was the Pasco High School head basketball coach the past two seasons. He also has head coaching experience at Kiona-Benton and assistant coaching experience at Walla Walla Community College, Ferris High School and Kennewick High School. He holds a Masters in Sports and Athletics administration from Gonzaga University and Bachelor’s degree in special education from Eastern Washington University.

“I am thrilled and honored to become the next head coach of the Boys Basketball program at Walla Walla High School,” said Berg. “I believe the high school, athletic program and basketball program are first class and have the ability to consistently be one of the best in the state.”

Providence and Walla Walla Public Schools offer free sports physicals May 21

Sports physicals will be offered to students in grades 6 to 11 in all area schools May 21 from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Walla Walla High School Big Gym. No appointments are needed.

The exams will be performed by Providence Medical Group providers. The Providence St. Mary Rehabilitation Department, Providence Medical Group, Providence St. Mary Foundation and the Walla Walla Public Schools are partnering to provide the free exams. Students under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or come with the release and health history forms signed by a parent or legal guardian. The forms can be downloaded at www.providence.org/stmaryfoundation

For more information, call Britt Adkins at 509-526-8633.

Blue Devil Strong plans suicide prevention walk Friday, May 10

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 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 and 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 at the Evenbrite website 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 invited to Sharpstein PTA Carnival Block Party

• Thursday, May 16
• 4:30-7:30 p.m.
• Games, prizes, dunk tank, bouncy castles, food trucks, pizza, DJ Roger Esparza, and the Ballet Folklorico.

Community invited to youth film festival

Garrison and Pioneer Middle School 7th and 8th grade honor students are hosting a SPIFFY film festival (student produced independent films for youth) which is a showcase of films and documentaries that are written, filmed and edited by students. Kids also made PSA’s that will be shown

“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you will possibly run away in horror and confusion but, regardless, the audience will be voting after each session for the wining PSA and movie,” said Teacher Beth Clearman. “Come support these talented filmmakers.”

Film festival details:
• Wa-Hi Auditorium
• Free and open to the public (appropriate for all ages)
• Saturday, May 18
• 12:30-4 p.m.

Link to Trailer   

Last weekend for Wa-Hi Drama Seussical the Musical 

Seussical is a conglomeration of Dr. Seuss stories, following Horton the Elephant through a series of adventures. It is family friendly and perfect for young children.

Show Dates and Tickets:
• May 9, 10, 11 @ 7 p.m. and 11 @ 2 p.m.
• Walla Walla High School Auditorium
• Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students and may be purchased through the Wa-Hi ASB office, online at intouch.wwps.org, or one hour prior to curtain if available

Free summer camps for Wa-Hi Classes of 2022 & 2023

June 17-21 Blue Mountain Field Science Camp 9-4: Daily field trips to unique landscapes across the valley (in partnership with Blue Mtn Land Trust & Whitman College.)
June 24-28 Sports Science: Discover the Science behind Sports.
July 8-12 Powered by Math: Real life math plus a field trip to a regional dam to explore hydropower.
July 22-26 CSI Walla Walla: Forensic Science Camp includes a trip to the Pendleton Crime Lab.
August 5-9 Fly Away with Math: Real life math plus field trip to the Air traffic Control Center.
August 19-23 Brain Games: Is it real or is it your mind playing tricks on you?

*Camp cost covered by funding from WSU GEAR UP to incoming freshman and sophomores at WWHS.

Sign up sheets available in the GEAR UP centers at Garrison MS, Pioneer MS and Wa-Hi, For more information, call (509) 526-8640.

Garrison Drama Club presents “The Curse of the Bard”

• Garrison Drama Club presents their play “The Curse of the Bard”
• Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m.
• Garrison Middle School gym
• Admission is free and open to the public

Big Blue Boosters Dinner and Auction May 18

Big Blue Boosters is beginning a new tradition with its inaugural Silent and Live Auction fundraiser Saturday, May 18 at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds Pavilion from 5 to 9 p.m. Auction packages include outdoor adventures, tickets to Seattle sporting events and gift certificates to local businesses. Tickets are $40 per person, which include a catered prime rib dinner, side dishes and beverage. Table and sponsor packages are also available.

Proceeds benefit Walla Walla High School athletics to ensure local coaches and athletes have the support necessary to field competitive teams and provide a quality experience for student-athletes. Funds will be used to purchase sports equipment, technology for coaches and other necessary projects for the athletic program.

“Our goal is to reduce the amount of individual fundraising currently being done by coaches and student-athletes,” said Big Blue Boosters President Steve Wanichek. “We would like this event to become the main fundraiser of the year for Wa-Hi athletics.”

Silent and Live Auction Items:
• Reserved parking spots at home contest
• Pheasant hunts
• Fishing trips
• Fair, Round-up, and Farm City Pro Rodeo passes
• Weekend stay at Cameo Heights
• Gift certificates to local merchants
• Tickets to Seattle sporting events
• Box tickets and bus ride to a WSU event
• House cleaning
• Dump run
• Assistant coach for your favorite Blue Devil team
• Tennis lessons from Wa-Hi coaches
• Pickleball paddles, balls, and lessons
• And many more items are still coming in

To purchase tickets, visit the Big Blue Booster website: www.bigblueboosters.org/

Contact: Steve Wanichek: gobigblue999@gmail.com

Wa-Hi music students compete at Washington Music Educator Association’s State Solo & Ensemble Contest

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School music program students for their success at the Washington Music Educator Association’s State Solo & Ensemble Contest. Each category performs for a panel of three adjudicators and are scored with the following rubric - I = Superior, II - Excellent, III = Good, IV = Fair, V = Poor. The top three performers in each category are placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the state.

Peter Hoffman - Bass Voice Category - Placed 1st in State
Tommy Kaminsky - Flute Catagory -Placed Third in the State
Blake Averett - Piano Category - Scores not available yet
Dominic Walker - Baritone Category - Scores not available yet

Tommy Kaminsky & Keeli McKern Duet (with Blake Averett accompanying on piano)
Small Woodwing Category - Received - Scores of 1,1,2

Wa-Hi Brass Quintet - Large Brass Category - Received - Scores of 1,1,2
Quintet members are:
Rebecca Whitehurst-trumpet
Owen Peterson-trumpet
Ryan Watilo-trombone
Braden Holgate-french horn
Ezekiel Thompson-tuba

Caroline Blethen and Amanda Loney Small Soprano, Mezzo and Alto Category Received - Scores of 1,1,2

Other Music News:
Walla Walla High School Junior Tommy Kaminsky has been accepted to attend the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy for his senior year.

“This is a very difficult school to get into and Tommy has worked very hard for this,” said Roger Garcia, WWPS Music Coordinator. “He will finish school this year and then attend the Interlochen Arts Camp this summer and start his senior year at the end of August.”

FFA students compete at state event

Five Walla Walla High School FFA members placed 7th at the State Environmental and Natural Resources Career Development Event on Monday, April 22.

Mila Flowers, Serena Jacob, Lily Pinkleton, Brandon Pulliam and Amy Wagner traveled to Stanwood, Washington for the competition along with FFA Advisor, and event coach, Peggy Payne.

Fifteen teams from across Washington participated in soil profiling, GPS navigation, water quality testing and analysis, waste management, species identification, data analysis and a natural resources knowledge test. This was the first year Walla Walla High School has entered this event.

Community Stories
AAUW honors area high school students for STEM performance

The Walla Walla branch of AAUW recently honored 15 junior female students from area high schools for their outstanding work in Science, Technology and Mathematics classes. Three students from Lincoln High School and three students from Wa-Hi were included in the program:

Lincoln High School: Harleigh Remillard (Mathematics), Elizabeth Scott (Science), Jasmin Warren (Technology)

Walla Walla High School: Maya Betzler (Mathematics), Sabryna Horton (Technology), Haley Gonzales (Technology)

Retired WWPS teacher Judy Peasley, current AAUW Walla Walla President, said “It was an honor to be a part of our AAUW High School Scholars recognition event. It is an annual highlight for our local AAUW branch to recognize these young women who excel in their STEM classes. It was especially rewarding to honor them in front of their friends and families. AAUW supports the strengthening of STEM education for girls. Members work together to affect a change in the STEM work force that is currently underrepresented by women. The young women from our area high schools, who were nominated by their STEM teachers, and recognized by our local AAUW branch, inspire us all.”

Wa-Hi Social Studies teacher Michelle Higgins is the AAUW Walla Walla Scholarships Chairperson and Coordinator for High School Scholar Recognition Night.

Kirkman House plans Mother’s Day Victorian Tea

The Kirkman House is hosting a Mother’s Day Victorian Tea on Saturday, May 11, at 1 p.m. The event will feature all the finery and elements of a high tea accompanied by a vintage fashion show. Tickets may be purchased by calling 509-529-4373 or in person during regular hours. Tickets are $25.00 for non-members and $20.00 for museum members. Reservations are required.

Summer Volunteer Substitute Drivers Needed for Meals on Wheels

The Senior Round Table is in need of summer volunteer substitute Meals on Wheels drivers to fill-in when permanent drivers have appointments or go on vacation. The commitment is 10:15 a.m. to noon. You may choose which weekdays you drive and if you would like to drive once a week or more. This is a perfect volunteer job for teachers and others like high school or college students who are off for the summer. Younger kids are welcome to come along, too, and make the perfect runners to take the meals up to the clients. Call today to learn what substitute job openings are available. Call Jane Kaminsky at Meals on Wheels for more information:
(509) 240-6763.

Camp Invention at Edison Elementary this summer

Let your child’s imagination run wild while exploring connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. Secure a spot at the Camp Invention® program today. Camp runs from July 8-12 at Edison Elementary.
Use promo code A15CAMPEVENT to save $15! invent.org/camp / 800-968-4332

Join in Guinness World Record Bump Game

Walla Walla families are invited to Kennewick on Saturday, May 11 to help break the Guinness World Record for the most people playing a basketball game of bump/knockout. A total of 701 participants are needed to break the record. Anyone can play. The school most represented in the game will receive a $1000 donation to their athletic program. The event also features a “street-fair” in the parking lot full of music, games, and food.

Register here to reserve your spot:

Additional Information:
Bryce Leavitt: (509) 551-7219

City Parks & Rec Update

• Lacrosse Class/Camp - Grades 1 – 8 - $40 - $60
• Flag Football July 1 – August 8 – Grades 2-8 - $55
• Pickleball for All – 16 and up - $45
• Parent-Little Yoga – 0-4mths $44
• Gentle Yoga – All ages - $44
• Yoga in the Park – 12 and up - $40+

• Swim Lessons 3mths and up - $35
• Sea Monkeys Swim Team - $77
• Hatha Yoga – All ages - $40+
• 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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