Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Jan. 10, 2020

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Winter weather school delay or closure procedures

Winter storms are in the forecast for next week. Walla Walla Public Schools reminds everyone safety is the primary factor for delaying or canceling school due to inclement weather. Driving of local roads, studying weather forecasts, and communicating with surrounding school districts are components included in this thoughtful process. Decisions to delay or close school usually are made by 5:30 a.m. or earlier. This triggers the district’s comprehensive school closure/delay announcement plan. The district makes every effort to begin announcements by 6 a.m.

Announcements include:
- Media release (radio, tv, newspaper)
- SchoolMessenger automated messages to staff and parents (telephone, email, text)
- Web posting (www.wwps.org)
- Staff e-mail (Google staff e-mail)
- Enews message (sign up on the district web site)
- District Facebook page (facebook.com/wwschools)
- Twitter message (twitter.com/wwschools)
- Orange signs posted in front of schools

Replacement Levy informational video released

Ballots for the proposed Replacement Education Levy will mail out to voters Jan. 22. Visit the district’s LEVY website for all the details.

Please take a few moments to watch the district’s new informational video on the proposal. Wrestling coach Jacob Butenhoff, Drama teacher Kristin Hessler and Sharpstein Music teacher Lori Parnicky are featured in this brief video.


Finalists named for Edison Elementary School Principal position

Walla Walla Public Schools announces Jennifer Foster, Ann Gray and Jon Wetzler have been named finalists for the Edison Elementary School Principal position. The successful candidate is slated to replace Interim Principal Joel Chavez who was appointed for the short-term following Dr. Julie Perron’s promotion in the district. A required qualification, all three candidates are bilingual. Parents and staff are encouraged to meet candidates Thursday, Jan. 16 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. during public meet and greet sessions at the Edison Elementary School Library. Attendees are asked to complete candidate feedback cards and be present, if possible, for all three candidate sessions (translation services will be available).

Jennifer Foster currently serves as the associate principal at Mercer Island High School, where she participates on the building and district leadership teams, instructional coaching committee, and district instructional materials selection committee. She received her administrative degree from the Danforth Leadership Program at the University of Washington. Prior to entering administration, she worked for 12 years in the Snoqualmie Valley School District where she served as a secondary instructional coach for grades 6-12 as well as teacher and department chair for the Mount Si High School World Language Department. She has also worked as an adjunct instructor at Oregon State University, instructing and supervising student teachers and teaching college-level Spanish, led nearly a dozen student travel groups to Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru, and completed the Margins Social Justice Immersion Program in Los Angeles, CA. According to Foster, “One of my main motivators for becoming an elementary principal is to expand and nurture a love and enthusiasm for teaching and learning to an entire staff through a holistic, constructivist lens that supports and advocates for all students. Empowering and supporting teachers and elementary school students in the instructional core of learning in Dual Language education aligns with my core values and one that I would lead with dedication and passion.”

Ann Gray currently serves as an assistant principal and state and federal programs director for the Shelton School District, overseeing programs such as dual language support, title grants, and early learning initiatives. Prior to her role in Shelton she was an elementary principal at Muckleshoot, worked for the State of Washington DHS Program, spent 16 years in Federal Way Public Schools, including serving as the Director of Project Implementation overseeing the district’s language acquisition plan, and 10 years in Seattle Public Schools where she supported building principal leadership development. Ann is a credentialed trainer and facilitator for programs such as “Courageous Conversations about Race” and “Coaching for Success,” and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education and Spanish from University of Texas as well as a Developmental Psychology Degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. According to Gray, “As a former building principal and assistant principal, I have always served in school communities highly populated with cultural and language diversity. In each setting I have created a sense of urgency with staff in the area of cultural awareness, sensitivity and relationship building. I have come to learn in my own cultural journey that one must have a strong sense of self awareness and relationship to the world we live in, to truly understand and support students that walk into our schools each day.”

Jon Wetzler currently serves as a bilingual training instructor and curriculum developer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Ft. Benning, GA. His prior experience includes 21 years serving as a high school counselor and teacher including working as a counselor at Mountain View High School in Oregon as well as the Lead Counselor at Woodburn High School in Woodburn, OR. A citizen soldier, Mr. Wetzler served for over twenty years in the Army National Guard, recently retiring from service at the rank of Major. He holds a Masters of Social Work Degree from Portland State University and received his administrative license at the University of Oregon. According to Wetzler, “I believe I have the right balance of experience, skills and academic and professional preparation Walla Walla Public Schools might be looking for in candidates seeking to become the Principal and assume leadership and responsibility for students, faculty, staff and parents of the Edison Elementary School learning community and the Spanish language dual immersion program the school has become well known for.”

Meet and Greet Sessions (Thursday, Jan. 16 - Location: Edison Elementary School Library):
• 4 p.m. Candidate Ann Gray
• 4:30 p.m. Candidate Jennifer Foster
• 5 p.m. Candidate Jon Wetzler

The new principal will report July 1.

Progress continues on Wa-Hi Science Building

Local contractor Nelson Construction and Walla Walla’s Koncrete Industries poured the slab during winter break. Local contractor Jackson Construction Group is now busy framing walls for the new facility, followed up shortly by Walla Walla’s own Elsom Roofing who will be installing the roof system.  

School year calendar copies available in schools

Last month school board members approved the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school year calendars. These calendars are posted on the district’s website. Hard copies are now available at all schools and the district office.

Calendar webpage   

No School Jan. 20 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday

NO SCHOOL: Monday, Jan. 20

K-5 Math Adoption materials on display

As part of the School Board’s continued investment in curriculum in support of its Strategic Plan, this year Walla Walla Public Schools is adopting new materials for K-5 mathematics. Parents and community members are invited to view the proposed materials at the district office.  They will be on display now through Tuesday, January 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

School Stories
Wa-Hi’s Varsity Basketball Games on YouTube

The Walla Walla High School 21st Century after school program will be broadcasting tonight’s boys and girls varsity basketball games vs. Hermiston on YouTube. The girls game starts at 5:45 p.m. and the boys game tips off at 7:30 p.m.

Game link 

Athletic Hall of Fame to honor softball stars

The Walla Walla High School Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to announce two new members set for induction tonight during halftime of the Wa-Hi Boys Basketball game against Hermiston.

This year’s inductees are Hope Klicker from the Class of 2011 and Alyson Ambler from the Class of 2012. These two inductees are two of the most decorated softball athletes the Blue Devil program has ever produced.

Hope Klicker was a 4-year starter, a 2-time Conference Player of the Year, a 2-time All-State performer, a 2nd Team All-American and the Gatorade Player of the Year for Washington State in 2010. A 2-time Co-Captain, Klicker led the Blue Devil Softball Team to the State Championship in 2011 as a senior. She would later be named the Blue Mountain Female Athlete of the Year. Klicker went on to the College of Charleston and completed her outstanding career by being named a 3-time All-Conference performer and finished with 69 career pitching wins, second all-time at College of Charleston.

Alyson Ambler had a very similar career at Wa-Hi by being twice named Conference Player of the Year. The 3-time Co-Captain helped lead the 2011 Softball Team to that State Title. Likewise, Ambler was named All-State and awarded the Gatorade Player of the Year for Washington State in 2011 and was also awarded the Blue Mountain Female Athlete of the Year. Ambler went on to the University of Connecticut on a softball scholarship where she was a 2-way player at first base and on the mound. She was a 4-year starter and was twice selected to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll. She completed her senior year in 2016 by hitting .271 (fourth best), had 39 hits (third best), and led the team in home runs.

In order to meet the Hall of Fame criteria, athletes must be nominated by a Wa-Hi graduate, must have been named 1st Team All-Conference, and have graduated at least six years prior to the nomination. The Hall of Fame Committee meets to screen all applicants in October, then meets again in November to vote on each candidate. Nomination forms can be found on the Blue Devil Athletic website by clicking “Blue Devil Hall of Fame.”

Wa-Hi to honor 1979 girls state championship basketball team 

It’s been 40 years since the 1979 Walla Walla High School girls basketball team cut down the nets following its state championship. Walla Walla High School will honor the team back tonight at the conclusion of the girls varsity game against Hermiston at approximately 7 p.m. Most of the team is expected to be in attendance. The Fletcher room will also be open before and after the game to visit with the former players. 

Community Stories
Carnegie Picture Lab presents Storybook Art at the Library

Carnegie Picture Lab announces Storybook Art, a new children’s program series at the Walla Walla Public Library. The sessions will be offered once a month from 2:30 – 4:00pm on Wednesdays to provide an after-school enrichment program for elementary age students following early dismissal from public schools. Each lesson will include storytelling, Artful Thinking and art making projects inspired by and connected to the featured children’s literature book:

o January 22: The Hello Goodbye Window – Tissue Paper Collage
o February 19: Harold and the Purple Crayon – Drawing with Wire
o March 18: The Dot – Creating Dot Monoprints
o April 15: The Big Orange Splot - Creating Your Dream House
o May 13: Rainbow Weaver - Weaving Project

In her book, Through the Eyes of a Child, Donna Norton stresses “the role that literature plays in nurturing and expanding the imagination” (2010, p. 4). Children’s literature promotes the development of children’s internal imaginations; art making provides the opportunity for concrete expression of their creative imagination.

The mission of Carnegie Picture Lab is to nourish creativity by supporting and enhancing art education for elementary school children in the Walla Walla Valley. Currently delivering art education/art making lessons in 13 area elementary schools, Carnegie Picture Lab also has a five-year history of partnering with the library to present creative and innovative events for youth in our community.

Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association offers scholarships to prospective teachers

Available: Two $2,000 scholarships

Scholarship grants are given to prospective teachers and/or candidates in other school related fields that will student teach or do an internship experience in an educational setting to meet requirements for initial certification.
1. Graduate of high school in Walla Walla or Columbia County
2. Student teach/internship between September 2020 and June 2021

Scholarship application:
An on-line application is available on the Blue Mountain Community Foundation website. Go to the scholarship tab and locate the Walla Walla Columbia School Retirees application. Applications available now and are due March 1, 2020.

Contact for more information:
Mardel Bierwagen at 525-6117 or gbierwagen6117@charter.net

City Parks & Rec Weekly Update

• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Ages 5–12 (age as of 12/31/18) - $40 - $55
• NEW Blue Mountain Pre Tee ball League – Open to boys and girls ages 3 &4 (age as of 3/30/20) - $40
• Spring Softball Skills Clinic – Ages 7-14 – March 28 – $35 - Pitching and catching clinic - $15
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes – Youth/Senior/Veteran $55 Adult $65 Family $140. Prices will increase on February 1.
• Youth Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 9-18. Cost is $60. Saturdays 8:50 – 9:50 and 10am – 11am. Equipment provided.
• Adult Fencing – Classes for ages 18 and up. Cost is $75. Saturdays 11:10 – 12:10. Equipment provided.
• Youth Art Class (taught in Spanish) for ages 5-13. Cost is $20. Mondays 5pm – 7:30pm.
• Mother/Son Superhero Bash – Ages 3 and up. Cost is $15. Saturday, February 8 at 6pm.
• Father/Daughter Ball – Ages 3 and up. Cost is $15. Saturday, February 29 at 7pm.
• 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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