Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - October 18, 2019

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board approves repurposing of Blue Ridge into an Early Learning Center

Following eight months of study, community engagement, and deliberation, the school board has reached a unanimous recommendation to proceed with repurposing Blue Ridge Elementary School as a building-wide Early Learning Center, effective the 2020-21 school year. This will necessitate the relocation of approximately 200 students and faculty from Blue Ridge to other school sites.

The school board has identified specific supports to ensure the administrative team has the resources needed to put deliberate measures in place to support all stakeholders in this change.

"The Board is fully confident Superintendent Smith and his staff will manage this transition in a thoughtful way that supports students, families, and staff,” said Ruth Ladderud, School Board President.

The school board has also requested to delay the boundary review process until the 2020-21 school year to ensure staff attention and resources are fully committed to supporting Blue Ridge students, families, and staff this year and next. The transition plan is detailed below.

Blue Ridge Early Learning Center Transition Plan
• Establish transition plans that allow individual Blue Ridge families/students the ability to remain together in their new school
• Ensure transportation is made available to Blue Ridge attendance area families to and from their new school
• Maintain dual language program access for current Blue Ridge program students
• Establish a Spanish-speaking point-of-contact who can serve to assist and support all of our Blue Ridge families through this transition and into the following school year
• Develop a staffing plan that maintains employment for current Blue Ridge staff
• Ensure sufficient resources are available to support Blue Ridge students and families at the transitioned schools
• Develop transition plans that prioritize appropriate class sizes
• Provide the Board with the following reports/data regarding this matter:
o On or before January 21, 2020: Overview of the transition plan for 2020-21
o September `20: Update on the transition
o November `20: Former Blue Ridge family survey and attendance data review
o May `21: i-Ready performance data for former Blue Ridge students

Replacement Levy on February 11 ballot


Tuesday night, school board members approved a resolution to seek renewal of its Replacement Education Levy on the February 11 ballot. This proposed Replacement Education Levy helps maintain the current level of educational programs and opportunities Walla Walla students and families have approved at the ballot box for over 50 years. This is not a new tax, but a continuation of a local levy requiring re-authorization from voters every four years. The Replacement Education Levy funds more than 100 staff not paid for by the state’s basic education funding model. Advanced course offerings, fine arts programs, elementary electives and athletic/club offerings are just a few of the programs the education levy provides Walla Walla students.

ACT Scores show improvement for WWPS graduates

Recently released ACT scores for the class of 2019 reveal a .6 increase for WWPS graduates from an average composite score of 19.0 to 19.6.

“Unlike most school districts, WWPS assesses every senior at both Walla Walla High School and Lincoln High School annually,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This annual administration not only provides each student the opportunity to take the college admittance assessment, but also provides the district an opportunity to assess the preparation of its completers as it strives to reach its vision towards “Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.”

While the nation saw a decrease overall, from 20.8 to 20.7 last year, Walla Walla Public Schools witnessed its second-highest achievement score to date, up significantly from 18.5 in 2013.

“Since we assess all of our seniors in the ACT, whereas most districts only report college-bound student scores, it is unlikely we will ever exceed state or national results,” said Smith. “Despite our comprehensive administration of the test, we are seeing our results edge closer and closer to state and national marks.”

A deep data dive revealed a number of promising trends and outcomes, the most significant being Latino students in WWPS outscored their statewide counterparts by achieving the highest ACT score ever recorded for WWPS Hispanic/Latino graduates. Students who participated in four years of English and three or more years in math, social studies and sciences, boasted an average ACT score of 24.7, the highest performance to date.

“This reveals the importance that all students continue to challenge themselves academically throughout their high school career with the many rigorous elective options our levy dollars provide Walla Walla students,” said Smith.

As part of the district’s Strategic Plan indicators, the School Board established a target composite score of 22 for the 2022 graduating class.

Educational Effectiveness Parent Survey closes Oct. 25

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.

Last week the district launched the survey to parents. Parents have an opportunity to complete the survey using their own electronic devices. They had the opportunity to take the survey when they arrived for conferences at their respective schools. Paper copies have also been 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

In addition, a community telephone survey was 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.

School Stories
Wa-Hi Trunk or Treat Halloween night

• No tricks it’s all treats for this event! Annual event open to the community
• October 31 from 5:30-7 p.m.
• Partnership event with Walla Walla High School Key Club and our local Kiwanis Club. This event is open to all our community goblins! Bring your child and a can of food to participate in this annual event! Wa-Hi service clubs will each display a car and will be dressed up in a matching theme handing out candy to community children. Cars and club decor will be judged by the participants and the winning club will win a pizza party.
• Walla Walla High School ‘Science’ parking lot (off Abbott Rd)
• Admission: One can of food that will be donated to the Blue Mountain Food Bank at the end of the evening.

Music students selected to international band honor festival

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School music students William Huntsman and Olivier Nicault for being selected for the annual Western International Band Clinic (WIBC) honor band festival November 22-25. The festival will be held at the Sea-Tac Double Tree Inn. Huntsman and Nicault are both alto saxophone players, are members of the Wa-Hi Wind Ensemble and served as this year’s drum majors for the marching band. They were selected for the honor band through an mp3 audition process.

WIBC has four honor bands of approximately 160 students each, made up of the best high school musicians in the northwest states and Canada. They will be performing under the direction of some of the finest college level conductors and composers in the world.

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU basketball club hosting 3 Cities Hoops league games

The Walla2Hoops AAU Basketball Club is hosting 3 Cities Hoops league games Saturday, October 26 and Saturday, Nov. 16 at Garrison Middle School from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Local and regional boys and girls teams will be competing. The games are open to the public. Daily cost is $5 for adults and $4 for senior citizens and students.

“We are excited to begin our second season as a club and encourage our community to come out and support these dedicated athletes and coaches,” said Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington. “This competitive brand of basketball is fun to watch so come cheer on our players.”

There are 20 Walla2Hoops teams, boys and girls, consisting of youth grades 2-8 set to compete this season. A total of 31 coaches are volunteering to lead teams. Players represent 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.

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.

For more information about the club or to provide donations for the scholarship program, contact: walla2hoops@gmail.com

Isaacs Ave Preconstruction Meeting Open House

• The Isaacs Avenue contractor will be finishing work through the Roosevelt intersection in about a month. The City of Walla Walla is planning an open house for Isaacs Avenue construction before work starts on the east side of Roosevelt.
• Tuesday, October 29
• 4-6 pm
• Green Park Elementary (Library)
• Information: Adam Schmidtgall, P.E. 509-529-9260 office

Dia de Los Muertos Festival October 19 and 20

Saturday, October 19
12 p.m.: Join us in the green space across from Earthlight Books at 321 E. Main Street, Walla Walla for masking decorating, crafts, and snacks before the procession.

1:15 p.m..: All families, individuals, and community groups are invited to join the Procession down Main Street, starting at 321 E. Main Street to the Marcus Whitman Hotel at 6 E. Rose Street.

2 p.m. Coco | FREE movie screening at Marcus Whitman Hotel, 6 W. Rose Street, Walla Walla (limited seating)

Sunday, October 20
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Location: On Main Street, Walla Walla between 3rd and 4th Streets
FREE art activities, music, dance, and community altars. Food vendors with food for purchase.

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. 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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