||State superintendent expects schools to reopen this fall with in-person instruction
Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith reports on Thursday's release of the Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guide
Thursday morning State Superintendent Reykdal announced he expects schools across the state of Washington to reopen in the fall for in-person instruction. This immediately followed the release of the Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guide.
In the document, and highlighted during his 11:30 a.m. press conference that I listened to, he made clear “Most districts should plan on going back to school for “traditional” schooling,” albeit with preventative safety measures such as wearing masks, enhanced cleaning, and incorporating social distancing when feasible, to name a few.
Additionally, he also pointed out, and as referenced in the Reopening Guide, districts are expected to make plans for alternative delivery methods. These may incorporate schedules such as am/pm or every-other-day attendance if local outbreaks or regional health conditions warrant enhanced safety precautions. Districts must also develop plans that would allow them to pivot quickly to a distance-learning model if it becomes necessary for short-duration off-campus learning to support enhanced cleaning measures following possible exposure at a site, or other localized outbreak.
While we anticipate continued guidance over the coming weeks, this news provides us the framework necessary as we continue our 2020-21 Reopening Plans and activities. Our progress, timelines and engagement opportunities around these efforts can be found on our website HERE.
In addition to the significant parent, student and staff input already received in recent surveys regarding fall, we currently have dozens of faculty and community partners participating in nine different planning/input teams. Their continued work will serve critical to inform our response plans, especially if local conditions do not permit a full return to school for all in September. Ultimately, these plans will be reviewed and approved by the school board and must be submitted to OSPI in August prior to the start of school.
While there are many questions left to be answered surrounding summer activities, fall athletics, and individualized circumstances for students and staff, I am as hopeful as I have ever been surrounding the likelihood of being able to safely welcome back staff and students come September 7th(our scheduled first day of school). It is important to emphasize, however, that in order to do so we must continue to remain vigilant as a community regarding our COVID-19 precautions and measures as we work together towards achieving Phase 3 and beyond status for Walla Walla County. Local conditions may greatly dictate our ability to reopen traditionally in the fall.
As I have pledged to all of you since the onset of this pandemic, we will continue to partner closely with our local health experts, engage stakeholders, and communicate as we work together to develop plans to keep our 6,000 students and faculty safe.
||District moves to 1:1 Technology for middle and high school students
Walla Walla Public Schools is taking deliberate steps to ensure all students have access to technology and the latest curriculum materials by implementing a 1:1 technology program for middle and high school students beginning this fall. Rather than making Chromebooks available for students when only at school, each student will be issued a device for their use throughout the school year that can be used at home as well as the classroom. The district will also be supplying each student with a case for their Chromebook to protect it from damage.
“Overwhelming feedback from recent teacher, parent and student surveys revealed a strong desire to implement a 1:1 deployment with our current Chromebook inventory at the secondary level next fall,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This transition will allow us to pivot current and future curriculum adoptions to more online versions, ensure equity of technology for all students when at home and minimize the amount of textbooks students are currently required to bring back and forth every day to school.”
The 1:1 technology initiative will also help the district navigate the uncertainty of operating schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This provides us great agility to respond to whatever scenario we are faced with in the fall, whether we are still distance learning, face-to-face or some sort of hybrid in between,” said Superintendent Smith. “Issuing personalized devices addresses many of the challenges we would have faced, including disinfecting devices after every student use.”
Technology Director Forrest Baker and his team are developing processes and procedures for the initiative in preparation for the transition. The district has developed a very-low cost, optional insurance program for families that will help cover damage, lost and stolen devices. Robust internet safety measures, technology Help Desk provisions, and devices to support families who lack internet connectivity at home are being finalized prior to this fall’s deployment.
“One of our district’s core strategic plan strategies was ensuring alignment of our robust technology access across the district,” said Smith. “Transitioning to a 1:1 delivery furthers this goal as we address equity and our desire to ensure all students are prepared for the 21st Century.”
||State launches Emergency School Meals Program for local families
COVID-19 school closures have led to the establishment of the state’s Pandemic EBT (P-EBT): Emergency School Meals Program to provide food assistance to eligible children.
P-EBT provides families with funds to make up for the cost of meals while school was closed. This benefit is for Washington children in grades K-12 who receive free or reduced-price school meals. If your income has changed, you may currently qualify for free or reduced -price meals, applications are available online - www.WashingtonConnection.org
Application must be submitted and approved by June 30.
These benefits will be on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card which is used like a debit card to buy groceries. Every eligible child may receive up to a maximum of $399 of P-EBT. Immigration status does not matter for P-EBT – it is not Basic Food and will not count in a public charge test. P-EBT is intended to replace meals missed while schools closed due to COVID-19.
Children are allowed to get free meals from school and community sites and get P-EBT at the same time – they are separate programs.
If your family does not receive Basic Food, you must apply for P-EBT if you want to receive the funds. The application will be open until June 30. There are two ways to apply:
• Go to: www.WashingtonConnection.org, or
• Call DSHS at 877-501-2233
||Technology drop-off schedule
Walla Walla Public Schools has set the technology return dates for all students that have a district Chromebook and/or Kajeet checked out to them during the COVID-19 Distance Learning Program. Please mark your calendars for the appropriate return date and remember to include the device charging cable.
• Grades 3-5 Tech Return: Monday, June 15, 7:30 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. at the elementary site. Same time as the last packet pick-up/drop-off.
• Grades 6-11 Tech Return: Thursday, June 18, 7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. at their school site
If you have any questions - please contact your school office or the Technology Helpdesk @ 527-3010.
||Last Elementary/Preschool Learning Packet Pick-up
Monday, June 15 - 7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
(Technology drop off for 3rd-5th who checked out Chromebooks and internet Hot Spots)
NOTE: Friday, June 19 is the last day of school for the 2019-20 school year.
||Local meal program continues during summer break
Walla Walla Public Schools will be participating in the USDA Summer Meal Program due to local COVID-19 hardships to continue offering free meals to all children age 1-18, Monday-Friday at 17 school and community sites through August 28. The daily meals include a USDA approved sack lunch and breakfast for each child. Pick up meals at whichever site is most convenient. Parents may also pick up meals for their students without students being present. The City of Walla Walla Parks & Rec program is assisting with the program by providing training and non-school delivery service.
Summer Meal Service Pick Up Locations & Times
School Locations, beginning June 22nd
• Sharpstein Elementary (Howard St side) – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. August 22
• Blue Ridge Elementary (South side entrance – back of school) – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Garrison Middle School (front of school) – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Edison Elementary (front of school) – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Green Park Elementary (near gym entrance) – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Lincoln HS (4th St side) – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Prospect Point Elementary( ) -11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
• Berney Elementary ( ) -11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Community Locations beginning June 22
• Vista Terrace Park – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Washington Park – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Veteran’s Memorial Park – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Valle Lindo Homes – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Kiwanis Park – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Beginning July 1
• YMCA – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Pioneer Park - 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Jefferson Park – 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Walla Walla Library – 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Meal Service and Delivery Questions:
Pamela Milleson, Nutrition Services Director
(509) 526-1870 / email@example.com
||Pioneer and Garrison Middle School students step up for #PieChallengeYou to Read!
Students and staff from Garrison and Pioneer competed in #PieChallengeYou, a five week virtual reading contest, competing to have a pie thrown in the face of their school’s principal and vice principal. The catch, the principals read to save themselves by reading for the other school. Garrison held the lead for the first two weeks. Pioneer surged ahead during the fourth week and held their ground to win the #PieChallengeYou virtual reading contest.
Over 100 participants read for a total of 113580 minutes (or a total of 78 days)! Garrison read a total of 49404 minutes and Pioneer read a total of 64176 minutes. Garrison principals exuberantly “pied” Pioneer’s principals in the face. The socially distant event was filmed by 21st Century. Students and staff can view the video on Pioneer Broadcasting or Garrison News Network via the schools’ social media sites.
Garrison and Pioneer’s Library Media Specialists Jami Eggart and Sara Strickland are excited that the contest was so successful. “We hoped this would be a way to virtually connect the library with students and staff,” said Jami.
Sara says, “I was happy that students asked for tutorials on our schools’ ebooks platform and the Walla Walla Public Library’s Libby app so they could access books virtually. I was able to reach students virtually who don’t voluntarily come to the library. It’s always rewarding when students reach out to us about reading.”
Survey results about the contest show that participants read more than they normally would have with no contest or desire to see their principal “pied”. When asked to reflect upon their reading one reader said they read a lot but need to seek out higher level reading books to challenge themselves. Another reader stated they want to branch out and try new genres. Another reader said, “I love that you are creating challenges for everyone to read! Sometimes we need a little motivation.”
Jami and Sara thank all readers for their participation. They hope to have a similar summer reading challenge for staff and students available soon. Middle Schools- Watch your email for details.
||Garrison Middle School National Junior Honor Society program honors students
This week the 8th grade members of Garrison’s NJHS held their End-of-Year Celebration virtually. Awards were presented to the following students in honor of the 5 pillars held by members of the National Junior Honor Society. These awards were voted on by the current NJHS officers.
Character: Stella Billingsly and Kaitlyn Flinders
Citizenship: Olivia Cassetto and Piper Kubrock
Leadership: Tyraya Deal and Finley Reed
Scholarship: Paige Prudente (4.0 cumulative GPA)
Service: Madison Worden (540 service hours)
NJHS (2019-2020) Officers
President: Alexis Wooters
Vice President: Tess Bottoms
Secretary: Zuzim Garcia
Treasurer: Kaela Eckel
Sergeant-at-Arms: Catie Allen
2019-2020 NJHS members logged over 1700 hours of service to our school and community activities. This year they held a hygiene drive to support local families, donated clothing and food items to the Christian Aid Center, supported the canned food drive, volunteered at elementary school activities and local community events, etc. While normal spring service activities were put on hold, members found creative ways to continue service by making masks, providing childcare, supporting elderly neighbors with yardcare, and tutoring younger students during distance learning.
Advisors are Jami Eggart and Sue Schulz.
||Opportunity Program Graduation ceremony tonight; watch Lincoln and Wa-Hi Graduation videos
Opportunity Program Graduation Video
• Friday, June 12, 6:30 p.m.
• Virtual (video link on wwps.org) - https://rebrand.ly/grad2020
Lincoln HS Graduation Video Link: https://youtu.be/Ol5CsYDODVc
Walla Walla High School Graduation Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7FeMXLfVeQ
||Music Boosters provide summer update
The Walla Walla Music Boosters would like to thank all the students, families and community members for their enthusiastic support of music in the schools. Despite the necessary cancellation of the citrus fruit sale due to COVID-19 this year, many of you generously donated back funds to the boosters resulting in a very successful fundraiser. Thank you! These funds are being earmarked for upcoming projects. Music families who have not yet communicated whether they would like to donate their purchases or receive a refund should fill out this Google Form before Monday, June 15: https://forms.gle/BCuCDc6Xk7htuWyb9
The Music Boosters is an organization which includes all families of music students, and supports music education in the Walla Walla Valley. We would like to invite all families of students in music programs in Walla Walla Public schools to our fall meeting, with a date that will be communicated later. We will be electing officers for the 2020-21 school year, and nominations are being accepted at any time before the meeting. If you are interested in serving in the Music Boosters, or serving on the Board as an officer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a good summer!
||Middle Schools plan virtual meetings to welcome incoming 6th graders
Garrison and Pioneer Middle School principals and staff are excited to welcome new incoming 6th grade students via a series of virtual tours. Links will be sent out to parents on School Messenger and posted on school websites
Zoom Virtual Meeting Schedule:
Monday, June 15
• 1:00-1:50 p.m.: Dual Language specific questions
• 6:00-6:50 p.m.: Highly Capable/Honors specific questions (Garrison MS)
• 6:00-6:50 p.m.: Dual Language specific questions (Pioneer MS – for those who could not attend at 1 p.m.)
Tuesday, June 16
• 3:00-3:55 p.m.: Special Education specific questions
• 6:00-6:55 p.m.: This session will be in Spanish only
Wednesday, June 17
• 2:00-2:55 p.m.: Music (Choir, Orchestra and Band) specific questions
• 4:00-4:50 p.m.: No specific programs but all questions and inquiries are welcome
||City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation update
Registration for Fall Youth Soccer and NFL Flag Football now open
The pickleball courts, skate parks, and r/c track are open and use is permitted in accordance with phase 2 of the Washington State Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.
The Pottery Painting Studio will resume operation on June 25.
All Walla Walla Parks & Recreation programs and facility reservations are cancelled or delayed through June 21. It is our intention to resume spring programs, open facility rentals, and Veterans Memorial Pool in phase 3. The Parks and Recreation office and Carnegie, including the Pottery Studio, are currently closed to the public.
Please visit our website at www.wwpr.us for updated information regarding recreation programs as it becomes available. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Parks & Recreation Office at 509-527-4527.
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