Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - June 19, 2020

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Safe Return to Schools – Superintendent Smith communicates fall reopening guidance, summer meals and learning portal 


During Tuesday night's school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith led a discussion on fall reopening plans following the recent release of new state guidelines. Superintendent Smith says all signs are leading to reopening in the fall with in-person instruction, but must be able to meet strict safety measures.

Superintendent Smith has been in direct contact with State Superintendent Chris Reykdal following his June 11 press conference where he unveiled the Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guide informing all districts that he expects most schools will be providing in-person instruction in the fall.

This week the district launched its newly created 2020-21 Safe Return to Schools webpage to help families track its fall planning progress. Currently there are dozens of faculty and community partners analyzing parent feedback and developing preliminary plans around the state's new fall reopening guidance. Superintendent Smith says Walla Walla Public Schools is also developing backup plans if local conditions do not permit full school attendance come September.

These may incorporate schedules such as am/pm shifting 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. This short-duration off-campus learning to support enhanced cleaning measures following possible exposure at a site, or other localized outbreak.

Superintendent Smith says local plans will include accommodations for students and staff who may need to continue distance learning in the fall due to individual health or safety concerns. He anticipates finalizing and communicating district fall reopening plans by mid-July. 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.

Also this week Superintendent Smith announced the launching of the district's 2020 Summer Learning portal opportunity for families. This webpage will provide optional, online educational experiences for students for continued learning over the summer that can be accessed on its district webpage. The district has made available a limited supply of devices, by request, for families lacking access at home by contacting Technology at (509) 527-3010.

He also reported WWPS will continue its grab and go food service program over the summer months at 17 different sites for all children ages 1-18.

June 2020 Bond Projects Update

Walla Walla High School
• Jackson Contractor Group finished framing.
• The Science Building slab was polished and stained and the exterior concrete paths were poured.
• Mechanical equipment units were installed in the Science Bldg mezzanine and services connected.
• Most suspended ceiling frames installed.
• Fascia and soffits were installed around the perimeter of the new Science Building.
• Finishing of the interior, including installing gypsum wallboard and initiating painting.
• The photovoltaic panel installation was completed.
• Local contractors Premier Excavation and Nelson Construction continued buried services (i.e. water, sewer, electrical, etc) across the entire campus.
• The design team submitted permit construction documents to the city for review while OSPI required Constructability Review was initiated by Wenaha Group and Jackson Contractor Group.

Pioneer Middle School
• Local contractors Royse and Nelson Construction broke ground on the Temporary Modulars and Temporary Multipurpose projects.
• McCabe Street was improved per City requirements that lead onto the construction site. The fire lane pathway was largely completed through Roosevelt.
• The sewer line was completed to provide service to the temporary bathroom unit.
• Electrical service conduit installation was initiated.
• The trenches for the foundation for the Multipurpose structure were excavated.
• The design team submitted permit construction documents to the city for review while OSPI required Constructability Review was initiated by Wenaha Group.

Blue Ridge Elementary
• Wellens General Contractors and local subcontractor Wine Country completed installing the roofing materials.
• Local subcontractor Allen Key excavated and initiated installation of the storm water systems.
• Due to a heavy rainstorm and the compromised roof, water leaked into the building and caused some minor damage. Wellens GC, Wine Country Roofing, and Wenaha have been working to make sure that all damage is repaired.

Summer Pulse video with Superintendent Smith

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith communicates fall reopening guidance, announces FREE meal programs for all children will continue through August 28 and WWPS launches a new summer learning portal.


Equity & Dual Program Department rolls out Safety Net summer program

Each Monday through Aug. 24 students and families can pick up special to go “goody bags” with fun activities and learning materials as they grab their take home meals. This new Safety Net program is being organized by the Equity and Dual Program Department to help keep children busy during the summer. Equity and Dual Language Program staff will be at select school meal pick up sites from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Monday to hand out fun items like chalk, bubbles, pencils and activity booklets. Look for the table with a poster of a heart.

“This is a great way to connect with families and keep summer smiles alive and safety nets in place,” said Dr. Julie Perron, Director of Equity and Dual Programs.

Updates and planning continues at Walla Walla Center for Children and Families 

Director of the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families Samantha Bowen updated the school board June 16 on progress being made at the new early learning center. She said the facility will get some updates this summer following the installation of the new roof system. The updates include exterior painting, new signage in English and Spanish, a parent lounge in the front entry and a wall to honor the history of Blue Ridge Elementary.

She said there are 260 total early learning program slots in Head Start, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program and Transitional Kindergarten for children to utilize. Presently families of 33 children have completed interest forms for the new Transitional Kindergarten program. At this time there are 36 spaces for this program with options to add slots if there is need. Camp Fire, Child Care Aware, Children’s Home Society, Commitment to Community, Disability Network, ESD 123, WWCC - Parenting Education and Walla Walla Valley Early Learning Coalition have been identified as community partners who will have a presence at the center.

Bowen also reported a new website is in development and will be launched this summer.

Personnel Report (from June 16, 2020 School Board meeting)

Amanda Hinrichs, Health Clinician-RN, Health Services

Lori Thomas, Kindergarten, Berney Elementary School, 32 years
• For the 2020-2021 school year

Yolanda Herrera-Sanchez will transfer from Assistant Secretary at Wa-Hi to the district office – Equity and Dual Programs beginning in August as Secretary to the Director of Equity and Dual Programs.

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 22
• Sharpstein Elementary (Howard St side) – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• 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 (near bus loop off Howard St) -11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Berney Elementary (near staff parking lot off School Ave.) - 11 a.m. to 1 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 Public Library – 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Meal Service and Delivery Questions:
Pamela Milleson, Nutrition Services Director
(509) 526-1870 / pmilleson@wwps.org

School Stories
Garrison and Pioneer Middle School 8th Grade Recognition videos

Congratulations to Garrison and Pioneer 8th graders as they conclude their middle school years and transition to high school. This year COVID-19 restrictions prohibited the traditional end of year recognition ceremonies held at Walla Walla High School. This year special recognition videos were produced to honor 8th grade students. Click on the links below to watch the videos.

Garrison Middle School 8th Grade Recognition Video

Pioneer Middle School 8th Grade Recognition Video

Middle school summer reading program

Middle school students (incoming 6th,7th & 8th) and staff at both Garrison and Pioneer Middle Schools are invited to join in this summer’s Bingo style reading challenge. Contact Mrs. Eggart at Garrison (jjeggart@wwps.org) or Ms. Sara at Pioneer (sstrickland@wwps.org) to get your bingo cards or simply use a piece of paper to log your reading.

Book Genre Bingo Challenge
Mrs. Eggart and Ms. Sara challenge you to step out of your reading comfort zone and read a variety of genres this summer.

1. Pick a genre from the bingo card.
2. Read a book in that genre.
3. Fill out the information in the genre’s box.
4. Repeat until you have bingo OR keep reading until you have a blackout bingo card.

Who can participate? Incoming 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, & staff
What can I read? All books, ebooks, & audiobooks

Does someone reading to me count? YES!

Can I keep track on another paper and fill this out when school starts since I don’t have a printer at home? YES!

Bingo cards must be turned in to your librarian by Sept 10, 2020 to be in the drawing.
Prizes will be drawn during the second week of school.

All completed bingo cards go in a drawing for Brights’ Candies. Blackout bingo cards will continue on to a special drawing to Book & Game.

Community Stories
Carnegie Picture Lab announces Young Artist Summer Series

Since the closure of schools in March, Carnegie Picture Lab has adapted its program delivery, continuing to provide art education and art making opportunities available to area children in new and innovative ways, including online “Daily/Weekly Dose of Art” lessons and take-home art kits.

In July and August, Picture Lab will be offering its “Young Artist Summer Series” program for children in grades 1-5. The 2020 program features Creativity Kits, online instruction; Zoom classes, and a virtual art gallery showcasing talented artists:
• July 20-24: Making an Impression: Let’s Try Printmaking
• July 27-31: Watercolor Workshop: Splash into Summer
• August 3-7: Exploring Sculpture: All Things 3D
• August 10-14: Playing with Paper: Pliable Pizzazz

Registration is open. Each session is limited to 15 artists. Cost is $30. Details on each session can be found on the Carnegie Picture Lab website: https://carnegiepicturelab.com/events

Whitman Place thanks school district

This week staff and residents at Whitman Place reached out to thank Walla Walla Public for working through the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioning to distance learning. “Because of all your hard work the students of WW were still able to have a great school year. You are all true heroes!”

Walla Walla Valley Farm to School spring wrap-up – By Beth Thiel

This spring’s school gardening season did not include the usual salad making parties or helping students plant peas or install irrigation systems, but Walla Walla Valley Farm to School is grateful to be continuing use of the school gardens and grateful for the renewed interest in gardening and cooking in our community and across the country.

Our metrics changed this spring from the numbers of volunteers and students engaged in garden events to the variety of take-home activities made available to teachers, and the hours of maintenance accomplished in the gardens.
The twelve take-home activities we created were designed to keep students engaged in life science and exploring the environment during distance learning. These simple activities in both Spanish and English are available for anyone to use at the SLC website.

While initially, the gardens in Walla Walla were closed along with the rest of the campuses, in early May restricted access was granted and we began preparing the gardens while following safety protocol. We’ve spent a combined 165 hours at Berney, Edison, Green Park and Sharpstein cleaning, planting, establishing irrigation, trellising, and harvesting.
Rather than use produce this spring to make salads and host tastings in the gardens with students, the harvest has been delivered to the Senior Center of Walla Walla including: 32 gallon bags of lettuce, 31 pounds of fava beans, 15 pints of strawberries, 1 gallon of snap peas, 2 pints of raspberries and herbs.

We’ll continue the harvesting over the summer. In addition, Tara Williams, our Garden Education Manager, and Noah Dunn, our Whitman summer intern, will be devising potential new methods of community engagement. Stay tuned to our FB page and to your neighborhood school garden. Feel free to contact us with ideas.

When students return to school in the fall, the gardens will continue to be an asset for hands on, outdoor science education and experiencing delicious fresh foods.

Walla Walla Public Library Launches Digital Summer Reading Program 

Walla Walla Public Library is excited to announce a new all-digital summer reading program, for both kids and adults. Utilizing Zoobean’s Beanstack software, which facilitates reading programs for schools and libraries across the country, the library will offer both youth and adult reading challenges. Library patrons can register for multiple challenges, and all challenges are also offered in Spanish. Prizes include gift cards to local merchants, free books, and more! To register, go to www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org and look for the link under “Services,” or call 509-527-4550. Patrons are also encouraged to download the free Beanstack Tracker app from their preferred app store, and select Walla Walla Public Library as their home library.

• All ages are invited to participate; patrons registering as 18+ will be automatically entered into adult challenges, while those 17 and under will be entered into youth challenges.
• Being read to counts, too! For pre-readers, having a caregiver, sibling, friend, or other reading buddy read to them counts toward prizes in each challenge.
• A weekly leader board will feature the top readers in each category and challenge, to motivate participants to keep on reading.
• The new digital platform allows participants to leave written and recorded reviews and complete interactive challenges, and see what others have contributed, as well.
• Educators around the country fear the impact of the disrupted school year on kids’ reading progress—reading programs can help combat the “summer slide”.

For more information, please see the library’s website at www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org, or call 509-527-4550.

City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation update

• Registration for Fall Youth Soccer and NFL Flag Football is 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.
• All playgrounds in City parks are closed and will remain closed until the County enters phase 3.
• The Pottery Painting Studio schedule will be updated on the WWPR website and social media accounts.

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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