Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - November 22, 2019

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board approves Pioneer Middle School facility improvement schematic designs


Following months of design planning and research, site visits to regional schools and staff input meetings, Tuesday night school board members approved Pioneer Middle School schematic designs.

"The schematic designs approved by the Board deliver on every one of our pre-bond promises,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “We have expanded access to performing and visual arts, made safety improvements, enlarged physical education and cafeteria spaces to accommodate current student populations, improved science and CTE classrooms and upgraded energy efficiency systems to reduce operating costs."

Superintendent Smith reported construction will begin in September and take approximately two years to complete. The bulk of the project is focused on the 1950’s wing of the building not impacted by the 1990 fire which damaged the north wing of the school. The project modernizes classrooms, relocates the school's entrance closer to Bridge St. for improved line of site to the main doors, adds dozens of parking spaces, creates a parent drop off and pick up lane and replaces operating systems for heating, cooling and electricity. Additional physical education spaces and expanding band, choir and orchestra classrooms are also highlights of the approved design. Visit the district's website and click on the Bond Update page to see the Pioneer Middle School floor and site plans.

Bond projects update

Superintendent Smith reported to school board members Tuesday night S&K Mountain Construction completed the final project close-out items officially finalizing Berney's roof and HVAC project. Footings were poured this week on the Wa-Hi Science building. Look for a video update on the project coming out soon. Wenaha Group, in cooperation with the district, completed Educational Specifications for the Lincoln High School project and were approved by the School Board. Construction will begin in September 2021. 

School board approves name for new learning center

School board members took another step forward Tuesday night in the repurposing of Blue Ridge Elementary by approving the naming of the facility as the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families.

Board members followed Board Policy 6970 throughout the naming process. They also considered S.G. Miner Center for Children and Families, Blue Mountain Center for Children and Families and Dorian Center for Children and Families. Miner was the first school teacher in Walla Walla and Dorian was the only female member of an overland expedition sent by the Pacific Fur Company to the Pacific NW in 1810.

Progress continues as the district repurposes Blue Ridge into the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families next school year. Superintendent Smith said the initial planning is a three phase process. First is placing existing Blue Ridge students at their new schools, next is reassigning Blue Ridge staff and third is moving materials and supplies. Superintendent Smith said the goal is to inform Blue Ridge families and staff prior to winter break.

School board recognizes Dr. Hampson for service

Tuesday night retiring school board member Dr. David Hampson was honored for his six years of service. He was actively involved with the School-based Health, Equity and Access and Administrative Policy committees.

Golden Onion grant recipients named

Tuesday night five outstanding teachers were honored for being named Golden Onion award recipients. Each of these educators received $1000 to use for classroom and instructional improvements. Mike and Sue Gillespie established the Golden Onion award nine years ago to support teacher development. Teachers were selected through a competitive application process. Mike and Sue Gillespie say they are thrilled to support these dedicated Walla Walla teachers. The Fund is part of Blue Mountain Community Foundation.

2019 Recipients:
• Lori Gillin, Head Start Preschool
• McKenzie Bostwick, Sharpstein, 3rd Grade
• Claudia Saldivar, Edison, 2nd Grade (Dual)
• Laura Bertinelli, Walla Walla High School
• Amy Kasenga, Garrison, 6 – 8th grade (Dual)

Personnel Report (from Nov. 19, 2019 school board meeting)

Scott Adams, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op
Darren Crowell, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op

Kristina Carney, JROTC Senior Army Instructor, Walla Walla High School, 3 months

Andrea Cortinas, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School, 6 years
• January through June 2020
Megan Paul, Kitchen Assistant, Walla Walla High School, 6 years
• December 2019 through February 2020

Thanksgiving Holiday Break

• Early Dismissal – Wednesday, Nov. 27 (check your child’s school for the specific dismissal time)
• NO SCHOOL – Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29
• Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving break

School Stories
Final weekend for Walla Walla High School Drama Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker”

This hilarious farce is the play on which the musical Hello Dolly was based. Set in the late 1880’s in Yonkers and New York City, the wealthy and stuffy widower Horace Vandergelder employs his late wife’s best friend to find him a new bride. Mrs. Dolly Gallagher-Levi, also widowed, accepts the task, though with a much more admirable agenda. The story lines end up being a comedy of errors where love blossoms in the hilarity of a few meet-cute encounters skillfully facilitated by Mrs. Dolly Levi. It’s a fun show with lots of laughs, warm feelings and a nice message about enjoying the adventures of life.

Show dates are November 22-23 @ 7 p.m. and 23 at 2 p.m. Adults are $12 and Students/Seniors are $6. Tickets are available at the Wa Hi ASB office during business hours, online at intouch.wwps.org, and one hour prior to curtain.

Walla Walla FFA well represented at the National FFA Convention & Expo

Five Walla Walla FFA members attended the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 30-Nov. 2, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year, 4,353 American Degrees were awarded. Sponsored by Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs.

To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee. Recipients must also complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities. Less than one percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.

Kayla Pitzer and Leighton Dorman, 2018 Walla Walla High School graduates, were awarded the American FFA Degree. Kayla and Leighton received the coveted gold American FFA Degree key and certificate after being recognized on stage at the national convention. Both Kayla and Leighton were leaders in the FFA and are pursuing degrees and careers in Agriculture.

Alyssa Drader was a national finalist in the 2019 National FFA Agriscience Fair held in conjunction with the National FFA Convention & Expo. Alyssa qualified in the Animal Systems category with her research project entitled ‘Producer Preference: Ovine Docking Methods’. Alyssa’s project earned a gold ranking in her division. A full list of results from this event can be found here: www.ffa.org/agrisciencefair. The National FFA Agriscience Fair is a competition for FFA members who are interested in the science and technology of agriculture. The Agriscience Fair is sponsored nationally by Cargill, John Deere and Syngenta.

2019 graduate Hannah Ruth Pettyjohn and junior Kinsey Nelson attended the convention as Delegates for the Washington FFA Association. Hannah Ruth is currently serving as the Washington FFA State Sentinel, a position she was elected to fulfill at the 2019 Washington FFA Convention & Expo. Kinsey was selected to be a delegate through a competitive application process open to Washington FFA members. Over 400 delegates attend the National FFA Convention & Expo to share ideas and vote on topics to better the National FFA Organization for all members.

Track team championship rings arrive

Coach Eric Hisaw and members of the Wa-Hi 2019 WIAA 4A Boys Track and Field State Championship team received their championship rings Tuesday afternoon. The students held fundraisers to pay for these commemorative rings. This caps off one of the best seasons by any Blue Devil boys track program.

“As I put this ring on I’m reminded of the quality character of our boys,” said Hisaw. “They worked so hard for this and have been buzzing all week just to see the rings. It brings true joy to me to see the happiness in their faces.”

Ag Education program receives $30,000 grant

The Walla Walla High School Agriculture Education program was recently awarded a CASE Technology and Equipment Grant for $30,000 through the Washington FFA Foundation. The Washington FFA Foundation has a 2019-2020 allocation through the state capital budget available to administer and fund CASE approved equipment and technology grants in 2019. Grants are available to CASE certified teachers who currently teach or will be teaching CASE courses and to the WSU agriculture teacher preparation program. Agriculture Science teacher Jessica Johnson applied for funds to purchase technology and equipment to enhance the learning opportunities for students enrolled in courses she teaches: Physical Science in Agriculture, Welding and Fabrication and Agriculture Mechanics.  Jessica earned her certification in the CASE course entitled ‘Mechanical Systems in Agriculture’ and plans to implement this curriculum within the Agriculture Mechanics course to include the technology and equipment purchased with the grant funds.  This curriculum is a specialization-level course designed to provide rigorous applications in the agricultural engineering field.  Purchases will include overhead valve small gas engines and specialty tools, 3-D printer, materials testing device, robotics materials and supplies, data collection sensors, and software for writing robot code and simulating pneumatic systems.

Community Stories
Books for Babes bulb sale in full bloom

Looking for a great holiday gift that does some good at the same time? The Books for Babes program is continuing its popular flower bulb sale. Each gift box includes a vintage-style jar and decorative rocks so you can watch your fragrant hyacinth bulb grow right on your window sill.

At just $5 each, this makes a nice gift for just about anyone....teacher, co-worker, party host, neighbor, friend or you! Sharpstein students help assemble the gifts and proceeds provide bags of books for newborns in Walla Walla.

Order deadline is Monday, December 2
You can now order online at www.booksforbabes.org or by emailing bargabk@charter.net, indicating amount you are ordering and an address for delivery. Bulbs will be delivered by Friday, December 13.

Walla Walla Valley Farm to School

Walla Walla Valley Farm to School (WWVF2S) is now a program of The Sustainable Living Center (SLC). WWVF2S, supporting three Garden Education Managers (GEM) and two Whitman interns who worked with 54 volunteers donating over 100 hours, maintained school gardens and helped students and teachers utilize their school gardens through classes and recess garden clubs. This fall over 1,100 students at four elementary schools experienced the bounty of their school garden through 74 class lessons and 10 recess garden clubs. Fifth grade at Edison Elementary tried a new garden lesson, planting a variety of wheat and barley while second grades at Edison and Green Park planted fava beans to feed the soil and help reduce erosion. Tried and true salsa, popcorn, seed saving and soil building lessons continued with tomatoes donated by Frog Hollow Farm for the salsa. Thanks to young adults completing community service, the gardens have received extra attention overseen by WWVF2S. We’ve appreciated their hard work and positive attitude. Going forward over winter and into spring, WWVF2S will ask school communities to engage in planning for ongoing use and sustainability of the school gardens and to help recruit GEMs for spring season. In coordination with the WWPS Family and Community Engagement office and in partnership with Whitman Fellow, Cleo Corliss-Gremillion, we are hosting evening Food Focus events at multiple elementary schools starting with Sharpstein December 10. We are working with Whitman College’s Science Outreach office to create a 3 day teacher professional development in June about the benefits and methods of using dynamic natural spaces to enhance learning. Don’t miss the 5th annual Maple Counter Café Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser scheduled for February 28 at 4:30 p.m.

Picture Lab teams with Symphony

The Walla Walla Symphony and Carnegie Picture Lab invite students and their families to discover the magic of Harry Potter. This event – Expecto Patronum – will take place on Saturday, November 23 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Walla Walla Public Library. Experience musical examples from the motion pictures, explore symphony instruments and create your own Patronus. Artwork created at this event will be showcased at the Walla Walla Symphony’s “Hogwarts for the Holidays” concert on December 7. This activity is free and open to the entire community.

EF Stories of Scotland-Student/Family Educational Adventure

Around every loch, moor and castle a Scottish story is waiting to be told. Whether it’s from the mouth of a skilled storyteller, from the calloused hands of a hardworking Glaswegian, or from the well-worn cobbles of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile you can expect a vibrant story bursting with life. Go beyond seeing Scottish landmarks and experience the kingdom of the north through the stories of the Scots. Students can earn High School and College credit. Teachers can earn Professional & Graduate credits.

Open to Middle/High School students & their families, teachers & other educators.
This is a parent lead tour & not a program of WWPS. Please contact Kathryn Southwick-Hess, Group Leader and ARNP for more information - mrstravelmama@gmail.com

Information Meeting
Date: Saturday, November 23
Time: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Location: Crew Space Room at Walla Walla Public Library
RSVP here: https://rsvp.eftours.com/d9j2gsw
RSVP by: November 22

December 5 Lecture at Whitman College: Dr. Jeffries

Whitman College Events Board, Whitman Teaches the Movement and History Department welcomes Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, an Associate Professor in the History Department at Ohio State University to their campus for a community lecture. He will be presenting a lecture that explores the myths and realities surrounding American slavery. This event is entitled, “1619: An American Journey: 400 Years of Triumph & Tragedy” and will be held Thursday, December 5, from 4-5:30 p.m. at Olin Hall, Auditorium.

For more information, please see the link below.

City Parks & Rec Weekly Update

• Youth Indoor Soccer League – Grades K-8. Cost is $50
• Youth Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 9-18. Cost is $60. Saturdays 10 to 11 a.m. Equipment provided.
• Adult Fencing – Classes for ages 18 and up. Cost is $75. Saturdays 11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. Equipment provided.
• Youth Art Class (taught in Spanish) for ages 5-13. Cost is $20. Mondays 5 to 7:30 p.m.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes go on sale on BLACK FRIDAY!

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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