Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - October 4, 2019

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
New era begins with Wa-Hi Science building groundbreaking

It’s been nearly 60 years since Wa-Hi students have had a new science building. Wednesday a new era was launched with a historic grounding breaking ceremony for the new science building. This amazing facility features 8 lab/classrooms to support learning for generations to come. The project will be completed to start the 2020-21 school year. Visit the bond webpage (wwpsbond.org) to see the amazing virtual tour of the new science building.
• Your Bond Dollars at Work / #deliveringonourpromise
• Bond Information: wwpsbond.org
• Follow Us on Twitter @bondwwps

School board discusses Feb. 11 Replacement Education Levy

Walla Walla Public Schools will seek renewal of its Replacement Education Levy in February. Tuesday night the school board reviewed the current education levy approved by voters in 2016. They also discussed the upcoming four-year Replacement Education Levy proposal which will go before voters Feb. 11, 2020.

Levies are different than bonds. Levies pay for educational programs and opportunities for students the state does not fund. The Replacement Education Levy funds over 100 staff not paid for by the state’s basic education funding model. Levies support school programs like music, art, honors courses, athletics, and a variety of experiences that Walla Walla parents and stakeholders have approved at the ballot for half a century.

Bonds are used for the construction of new schools, major building remodels or major facility upgrades. Walla Walla Public Schools voters approved a replacement bond in November 2018 to address such facility improvements. Look for more information on the Replacement Education Levy election in the coming months.

Key Levy Dates
• Election date: February 11, 2020 (Ballots mailed: Wednesday, January 22, 2020)
• 50% + 1 vote required for approval

School board hones in on developing Early Learning Center

School board members Tuesday night continued deliberation of their comprehensive study focusing on potential elementary reconfiguration and the possibility of repurposing an elementary school into a community-wide early learning center hub. The school board expects to make a final decision at the Oct. 15 school board meeting. The board remains settled on a preliminary determination to move forward with plans to repurpose Blue Ridge Elementary as the new Early Learning Center. This change would take place at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

The school board discussed the need to fully support Blue Ridge students and staff during the transition. School board members and Superintendent Smith are planning to develop guiding principles to frame the transition process to clearly communicate the commitment the district will make to a ensure a positive transition. They also discussed possibly delaying the comprehensive districtwide boundary change study to next year to allow more time and support for the elementary consolidation and early learning center development. No action was taken.

Elementary and middle school progress monitoring update

Tuesday night Assistant Superintendent Chris Gardea facilitated a presentation on Elementary and Middle School Performance Indicators from the 2018-2019 school year data. The district is monitoring attendance, Smarter Balanced Assessment achievement and Behavior. The district witnessed improvement, met or exceeded the goal in all categories, but attendance. Although most schools did not attain the lofty attendance goals, WWPS K-8 outperforms the state at nearly every grade level. Elementary and middle school principals were in attendance to discuss the results of their individual schools.

“It’s an opportunity for principals to share what is working and what areas continue to need more focus,” said Gardea. “Our continued work around collaborative teams and the clarity around Promise Standards in ELA and Math will help move students from the various performance levels.”

The district has identified 2021-2022 to meet specific target goals. The attendance goal addresses chronic absenteeism. The district pledges to reach 90 percent regular attendance. Academic achievement targets are focused on 2.5% annual index improvement in ELA and Math. Behavior monitoring is continuous per the Strategic Plan.

District seeks parent input through Educational Effectiveness Survey

Walla Walla Public Schools is seeking feedback from key stakeholder groups through the Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES) as an extension of the Board of Director’s Strategic Plan. This survey tool is used annually to help the district better serve students.

This week the district launched the survey to parents. Parents have an opportunity to complete the survey using their own electronic devices. They may also take the survey when they arrive for conferences at their respective schools. Paper copies will also be mailed home. The following survey link is posted on the Walla Walla Public Schools webpage. The survey closes Oct. 25.

Parent Survey Link - https://www.research.net/r/wwps-parent

Later this month students and staff will receive the survey. In addition, a community telephone survey is being conducted this fall to garner feedback about the quality of education offered in Walla Walla Public Schools. The district will use the data to track progress towards its goals and initiatives.

The survey is completely anonymous and available in both English and Spanish. Survey questions were developed by the Center for Educational Effectiveness, a Washington-based educational research firm, in collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State. This survey has been used with over 750,000 educational stakeholders in the Western U.S. and provides a powerful tool for district staff to benchmark current school perceptions with high-performing schools across the nation.

No School Days in October

• No School – Thursday, Oct. 10 (Parent/Teacher Conferences)
• No School – Friday, Oct. 11 (Parent/Teacher Conferences)

Personnel Report (from Oct. 1, 2019 school board meeting)

Krystal Ceron-Tapia, Special Education, Sharpstein Elementary School

Will Garcia, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School

Equity and Dual Programs introduces department newsletter

Dr. Julie Perron, Director of Equity and Dual Programs, is excited to launch the department’s first newsletter, highlighting various events and programs within our district. The newsletter includes an update on Green Park’s Dual Kindergarten students and the list of important celebrations and activities across the district. It also features great websites for language learning.

School Stories
Sharpstein Elementary music teacher named Music Educator of the Year

Congratulations to Sharpstein Elementary Music Teacher Lori Parnicky for being named Columbia Basin Region Music Educator of the Year by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA). She will be honored at the WMEA Music Conference in February. Parnicky has been employed in the district for 18 years.

“Lori is a tremendous music educator and a great music advocate for music in Walla Walla,” said Roger Garcia, district music coordinator. “From her work in her classes at Sharpstein Elementary School, her private teaching at Whitman College and Walla Walla University and her performing with the Walla Walla Symphony, her impact on Walla Walla is far and wide.”

Parnicky says it is important to expose students to music at a young age to give them rhythm and pitch they can use throughout their lives. She says musical experience has also been linked to improved test scores.

Parent Conference Schedule

Berney Elementary
Tuesday, October 8 - 3:10 to 6:55 p.m.
Wednesday, October 9 - 3:10 to 6:55 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 - 7:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.

Blue Ridge Elementary
Monday, October 7 – 3 to 6:35 p.m.
Wednesday, October 9 – 3 to 6:35 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Edison Elementary
Tuesday, October 8 - 3:10 to 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 9 - 3:10 to 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 – 8 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

Green Park Elementary
Wednesday, October 9 - 3:10 to 6:40 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Prospect Point Elementary
Tuesday, October 8 - 3:10 to 6:55 p.m.
Wednesday, October 9 - 3:10 to 6:55 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 - 7:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.

Sharpstein Elementary
Tuesday, October 8 – 3 to 7 p.m.
Wednesday, October 9 – 3 to 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 10 – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Garrison Middle School
Thursday, October 10 – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Drop-in, classrooms), 4 to 7 p.m. (Arena-style in both gyms)

Pioneer Middle School
Wednesday, October 9 - 3:45-7:15 p.m. (Drop-in, classrooms)
Thursday, October 10 - 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. (By appointment)

Lincoln High School
TBD (Home visits - either two evenings or all day on Thursday)

Walla Walla High School
Tuesday, October 8 - 3:30 to 7 p.m. (Arena-style in both gyms)
Thursday, October 10 - Full-day scheduled conferences (start and end time TBD)

Wednesday, October 9 - 4 to 7:30 p.m. (Drop-in)
Thursday, October 10 – 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. (Scheduled - must be booked by Oct. 9)

Community Stories
Public invited to celebrate the Governor’s Award recognizing Blue Mountain Region Trails

Please join us on October 30, 2019, at 5:15 p.m. in the Rotunda at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds – as communities and citizens across the region are celebrating that the Blue Mountain Region Trails planning effort and all involved agencies and entities are being recognized as recipients of the 2019 Washington Governor’s Smart Communities - Smart Partnership award. Now in its 14th year, the Smart Communities program recognizes “smart visions, projects, choices, and partnerships” and their local achievements - designed to promote smart growth efforts that contribute to thriving communities, a prosperous economy, and sustainable infrastructure in Washington State.

The breadth of partner and public involvement certainly helped propel the Blue Mountain Region Trails planning effort to a frontrunner position among the statewide competition: Developed within 16 months and finalized in February 2018, the Blue Mountain Region Trails Plan is the culmination of a highly collaborative effort, involving 30 city, county, regional, state, federal, and tribal partners, encompassing Columbia, Walla Walla, and northeastern Umatilla counties and the communities and resource agencies within.

Supported by the National Park Service ‐ Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program, the thirty entities set out to create a community-driven and locally-supported regionwide network of bicycle and pedestrian routes and non-motorized trails to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, mobility options, and connectivity. The driving factors behind the effort are – health, mobility, quality of life and livability, and economic development and tourism. The plan recommends building this regionwide network through phased integration and connection of existing and planned urban sidewalks and bike routes with recreational and regional trails. All in all, the Blue Mountain Region Trails Plan recommends 354 total miles of proposed new or improved non-motorized transportation and trail connections.

Stakeholder collaboration and broad community involvement were paramount to the success of this planning effort. This extensive effort therefore included three rounds of public outreach, which placed particular emphasis on inclusive participation; this comprehensive public involvement activities garnered over 20,000 web views and nearly a thousand individual ideas. The different rounds of bilingual outreach were conducted to first garner initial ideas on desired connections, then to elicit citizen priorities for proposed alignments and, finally, to get detailed feedback on route-specific challenges and opportunities.

Everyone is invited to attend the award celebration! We will be joined by Dr. Lisa Brown, Commerce Director of the Washington Department of Commerce, and Jon Snyder, Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee. The event will start with a brief presentation of the planning effort and then move into the delivery of the award. Refreshments and Spanish interpretation will be provided.

For additional information about the Blue Mountain Region Trails – Ridges, Towns, and Rivers project, please visit bluezonetrails.org

Kathryn Southwick-Hess plans EF Trip to Scotland

• Longtime community activist and volunteer Kathryn Southwick-Hess is planning an EF student adventure -Travel “Stories of Scotland” Summer 2021
• 9 days: Glasgow, West Highlands, Inverness, Edinburgh, extension to London (This is a 3-day tour extension, for a total of 12 days)
• Informational meeting Tuesday, October 29 at 7 p.m. at Walla Walla Community College, Room #209
• EF tours are NOT a school activity or sanctioned by WWPS. These are entirely privately planned and supervised.
• For more information, please contact: Kathryn Southwick-Hess - mrstravelmama@gmail.com
• Tour link: www.eftours.com/2258274sk

City Parks & Rec Weekly Update

• Lacrosse Stick Night – Free Drop-In for ages 8-16. Mondays & Thursdays 5:30pm to 7pm at Vista Terrace Park. No experience necessary. Equipment provided.
• Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 9-18. Cost is $60. Saturdays starting in October. Equipment provided
• Pumpkin Carving Contest - Free for ages 3-12. Thursday, October 24th 5:30pm to 7:15pm at Super 1 Foods. Pumpkins provided by Super 1 Foods. Pre-registration is available, but not required.
• 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:
• Web: www.wwpr.us
• Like us on facebook: www.facebook.com/wallawallapr
• Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wallawallapr/

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