Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - August 23, 2019

In this Issue:

(Click on article
to read more)

District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
First Day of School

• First day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 3
• All schools are now open for business
• Please slow down in school zones and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks

School board approves budget

School board members unanimously approved an $86.8M General Fund budget August 20 for the 2019-2020 school year. The general fund maintains the minimum ending fund balance target established by board policy of 8%, but does reflect the need to dip into reserve funding to balance the budget.

The impact of the McCleary funding changes, which capped the amount of money districts can collect through their local enrichment “learning” levy, in addition to declining student enrollment, requires utilization of reserve dollars to ensure sufficient revenue to offset programmed expenditures.

This school year’s General Fund budget is based on a projection of 5608 Full-time equivalent (FTE) students, down 52 FTE from last year. Since state school funding is largely based on student enrollment, the district continues to look at ways to address efficiencies to offset the loss of funding.

According to Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith, “This proposed budget represents the Board’s and community’s continued emphasis and expectation to offer high quality programs and opportunities that lead to the long-term success for all of our students. However, we are going to need to look for additional ways to thoughtfully reduce expenditures over the next few years in order to align costs with long-term revenue projections to ensure long-term fiscal solvency and accountability.”

School board plans outreach to discuss findings of Elementary Consolidation and Early Learning study

Tuesday night school board members unanimously identified Blue Ridge Elementary as the leading candidate, from the district’s six elementary schools, to house an Early Learning Center tentatively slated for implementation in the 2020-21 school year. This preliminary conclusion follows months of discussion, numerous studies, site visits, and opportunities for stakeholder input.

According to Board President Ladderud, “we have undergone a very deliberate review and analysis surrounding all of the implications of consolidating six elementary schools to five, and using that opportunity to convert one site into an Early Learning Center. Although we have included numerous opportunities for stakeholder input, we want to share our conclusion with our stakeholders to ensure that we haven’t missed anything in our six-month study.”

The school board’s Elementary Consolidation Review and Early Learning Expansion study began last spring. The Board will now host opportunities to share with the community their research, preliminary findings, and seek additional feedback.

The study originated to both seek options to address declining elementary enrollment as well as the need for more early learning programs to support kindergarten readiness and overall school success. Blue Ridge was named the front-runner for an Early Learning Center by the Board based on eight different criteria reviewed. The school maintains a very small K-5 student population, currently houses the district’s preschool program, and meets rigorous state and federal facility requirements to serve pre-kindergarten students. In addition, it continues to exhibit a shrinking elementary population, forecasted to only have one kindergarten section this year, maintains one of the largest percentages of bus ridership, and consists of disproportionately higher student poverty and diversity makeup, offering an opportunity to improve integration of students across the district when new boundaries are considered. The outreach phase will include open house meetings, communication, and opportunities for parents, staff and stakeholders to offer additional input. No changes will take place this school year. Board members are slated to make a final decision this fall for implementation in the 2020-21 school year.

Staff hone emergency preparedness plans during Back-to-School Safety Summit

This week WWPS held its Back-to-School Safety Summit at SEATech. School safety teams from across the district conducted table top drills and mapped out their plans for the year. At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Communications Director Mark Higgins and Facilities and Operations Director Mike Kay briefed school board members Tuesday night on steps being taken to keep district schools safe. Two years ago, school board members invested $85,000 in support of Goal Four of the Strategic Plan to enhance safety efforts. The funds paid for 70 new cameras across district campuses, security guards at both middle schools, additional staff training, two-way radio improvements, school bus camera and audio enhancements and safety supplies and signage.

Walla Walla Public Schools meets state Emergency Preparedness requirements outlined in RCW 28A.320.125. The district’s plan focuses on crisis prevention, management and recovery. Higgins and Kay reported school safety teams will meet Thursday at SEATech for the annual School Safety Summit. Teams will review drill and reporting requirements, discuss and role play emergency scenarios and hear from Resource Officer Ian Edwards about using the Rapid Responder website. This year’s safety awareness communications campaign will continue to stress: See Something, Hear Something, Say Something.

Investing in our Children’s Safety:
• Funds a full-time Walla Walla County school resource officer (SRO)
• Employs six Walla Walla Public Schools security officers
• Maintains Incident Command System (ICS) teams & emergency plans
• Conducts lockdown, evacuation, earthquake and shelter-in-place drills
• Ensures principals & response team staff are National Incident Management System trained
• Utilizes proactive threat assessment procedures
• Implements research-based bullying prevention program with Mark Thompson
• Supports Blue Devil Strong, Sources of Strength and Reach Out suicide prevention campaign
• Performs regular trainings/simulation exercises with police & other first responders

Anonymously report bullying, harassment, threats of violence, suicide, drugs, weapons and other safety concerns in the following 4 easy ways:
1. PHONE - 855.976.8772
2. TEXT - 855.976.8772
3. EMAIL - 1057@ALERT1.US
4. WEB - 1057.ALERT1.US

For additional school safety information visit: www.wwps.org

Personnel Report (from August 20, 2019 School Board Meeting)


Kristina Carney, JROTC Senior Army Instructor, Walla Walla High School
Melissa Holgate, Title I/LAP, Blue Ridge Elementary School
Denyse Hutchinson, Kindergarten, Blue Ridge Elementary School
Michael Patterson, PE Specialist (temporary), Prospect Point Elementary School
Sadie Tonn, Title I/Library Media Specialist, Edison Elementary School
Lisa Wagner, Spanish (temporary), Garrison Middle School
Quin Wise, English Language Development/English, Walla Walla High School

Belinda Amundson, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School
Nathan Dostal, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School
Griselda Garcia Alvarez, Assistant Secretary, Green Park Elementary School
Jessica Grimes, Education Coordinator, Head Start Preschool
Rosalinda Gutierrez, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School
Isaac Hatch, Custodian, Walla Walla High School
Rachelle Lebold, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School
Melissa Quezada-Crosby, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School
Tina Rawlins, Para-Educator, Head Start Preschool
Nicole Reavis, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School
Nikkolena Riley, Para-Educator (temporary), Blue Ridge Preschool
J. Guadalupe Rivas, Custodian, Walla Walla High School
Karen Romo, Secretary to Director, Head Start Preschool
April Sorensen, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School
Irene Viramontes, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School


Catherine Dennis, Education Coordinator, Head Start Preschool, 4 years
Anne Marie Jones, Kindergarten, Green Park Elementary School, 2 years
Mario Uribe Saldaña, Dual Spanish, Garrison Middle School, 9 years

Rebecca Cooley, CCLC Site Director, Sharpstein Elementary School, 2 years
Christian Fuentes, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School, 2 years
Sonia Hantke, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 3 years
Stevie Noble, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 2 years
Cynthia Strang, Kitchen Manager, Garrison Middle School, 21 years
Tara Wyrembelski, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School, 2 years


Keith Reardon, PE Specialist, Prospect Point Elementary School, 20 years
• For the 2019-2020 school year

Reginald Byrd, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 2 years
• For the 2019-2020 school year

Health Services Director offers Back-to-School tips on immunizations and student health plans 

Back-to-school is a busy, exciting time for parents, students and teachers. Part of being ready to start a new school year is ensuring that students are healthy and ready to learn. It is a Washington law that students be fully immunized in order to attend school. Every parent should check with their child’s doctor to make sure that all requirements have been met. Immunization exemptions are possible, but laws have changed regarding this. Contact your doctor’s office for more information. By law, students who do not have the required vaccines or signed exemptions can be sent home.

If your child will require medication at school, a current doctor’s order signed by the doctor and the parent is required. Even if your child will self-carry their medication, an order authorizing this is mandatory. Even over-the counter medications require authorization.

Health Services staff are available at each school to answer questions, collect forms and medications. We are here to help your students have a safe and happy school year.

Amy Ruff, BSN, MSN
Director, Health Services

School Stories
2019-2020 Open House Schedule

Berney Elementary
• Tuesday, September 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m

Blue Ridge Elementary
• Wednesday, August 28 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Edison Elementary
• Wednesday, August 28 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Green Park Elementary
• Tuesday, August 27 from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Prospect Point Elementary
• Thursday, August 29 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. (“Meet Your Teacher Popsicle Event”)

Sharpstein Elementary
• Thursday, August 29 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Garrison Middle School
• Monday, August 26 from 3:30-6:00 pm (during the information meeting night)

Pioneer Middle School
• Monday, August 26 from 5:00 -7:00 p.m.

Lincoln High School
• None this year (home visits instead)

Walla Walla High School
• Tuesday, September 10, 5-7 p.m.

• Wednesday, September 4 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Garrison and Pioneer Middle Schools plan Round-Up event to welcome 6th graders August 26

Incoming sixth grade students will participate in a Round-Up event at either Garrison or Pioneer Middle Schools Monday, August 26. Students will participate in activities, tour the school and learn about the middle school experience. The 6th graders will simulate their class schedules and walk to their classrooms. They will meet their homeroom teachers, get to know 8th grade mentors and learn about life at middle school. A free lunch barbeque is also planned for all participants. School bus transportation will be offered for all students in need of a ride from their former elementary schools per the following schedule.

Garrison MS Event
• Monday, August 26
• 8:50 a.m. to 3 p.m. (doors open at 8:30 a.m.)
• Buses will pick up students in their elementary school’s bus lane (Blue Ridge, Prospect Point, Sharpstein) at 8:20 a.m. and return at 3:15 p.m.
• Parent/Student Open House & Information Fair from 3:30 to 6 p.m. (ice cream and churros)

Pioneer MS Event
• Monday, August 26
• 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (doors open at 7:45 a.m.)
• Buses will pick up students in their elementary school’s bus lane (Edison, Berney, Green Park) at 7:30 a.m. and return at 3:15 p.m.
• Parent/Student Open House from 5 to 7 p.m.

Coaches meet to prepare for the new school year

Mount Si HS Strength and Conditioning coach John Zanas traveled to Walla Walla to lead Wa-Hi athletes through core strengthening exercises during the annual coaches clinic earlier this week. Zanas also discussed in-season and out-of-season strength and conditioning strategies and how to create a welcoming culture to increase weight room participation. WWPS coaches reviewed first aid and CPR, parent communications and received an anti-bullying briefing from Mark Thompson during the back-to-school training session. Good luck this season to all our coaches and athletes.

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU basketball club tryouts for 2019-2020 season 

Walla2Hoops AAU Basketball Club invites boys and girls from throughout the Walla Walla valley in grades 2-8 to tryout to make a team for the 2019-2020 season. Tryouts will be held Sunday, Sept. 8 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at the Walla Walla High School main gym. All players must have a current AAU card and tryout. No spots are guaranteed or held over from a previous season. All players must register online before tryouts. Visit www.w2hoops.com and click on “Join W2Hoops” to register.

2019-2020 Walla2Hoops AAU Tryout Schedule – Sunday, Sept. 8 at Walla Walla High School
• Grades 2-4 (boys and girls) – 12 to 1 p.m.
• Grades 5-6 (boys and girls) – 1:30 to 3 p.m.
• Grades 7-8 (boys and girls) - 3:30 to 5 p.m.

The 2019-2020 AAU basketball season runs from October 2019 to March 2020. Last year, there were 21 teams, nearly 200 athletes and 31 coaches participating on Walla2Hoops teams. Last season players represented Walla Walla Public Schools, College Place Public Schools, Assumption Catholic School, Touchet School District, Rogers Adventist School, Dayton School District, Waitsburg School District, Weston School District, St. Basil Academy and homeschool students. Now in its second year, Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington expects the program to grow and improve.

“Walla Walla loves its basketball and we’ve been amazed at the outpouring of support from our community, volunteer coaches, athletes and parents,” said Price-Huntington. “Our focus from the outset has been the development of character through a positive and competitive basketball program.”

Walla2Hoops is planning a parents meeting Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wa-Hi gym. A coaches meeting will immediately follow.

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

• Email: walla2hoops@gmail.com
• Facebook: walla2hoops
• Mail: PO Box 3383 – Walla Walla, WA 99362
• Club Contact: President Matthew Price-Huntington – 509.956.9695

City of Walla Walla to host blood drive

The City of Walla Walla is partnering with Vitalant to host a blood drive on Sept. 5. The drive will take place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Conference Room of Fire Station No. 1, 200 S. 12 th Ave. People who would like to sign up to donate blood, or who would like more information, should contact Tricia Remillard at tremillard@wallawallawa.gov or 509-524-4738. Vitalant is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers. It supplies transfusion services to patients in need at nearly 1,000 hospitals and health care partners across 40 states.

Unsubscribe me from this list