Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - August 28, 2020

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
First Day of School 

Tuesday, Sept. 8 (1st-12th Grades - Remotely)
(NOTE: Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Parent/Teacher Conferences week of Sept. 8 and the first day of school is Monday, Sept. 14)

Live, Daily “Synchronous” Learning Sessions with Teachers (unless enrolled in Walla Walla Online)
• Elementary: Morning live session begins at 8 a.m. for TK – 2nd grade & 9:30 a.m. for 3rd – 5th. Afternoon live session begins at Noon for TK – 2nd and 1 p.m. for 3rd – 5th (note that afternoon session times may be adjusted at a later date based on individual student learning plans and specialized services).
• Secondary (Grades 6-12): Live sessions run daily from 9-12 noon, with afternoon office hours. (SEATech live remote classes from 9-10:30 a.m. and select on-site lab hours - Safety protocols will be in place.)

Superintendent Smith Back to School updates video 

Click HERE to watch a brief video as Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith shares timely back to school updates. Superintendent Smith discusses the technology materials pick up process, tech “dry run” practice activity, meals, daily schedule and much more.

Safely Reopening Schools Additional Information
• Visit the district’s website: https://www.wwps.org/safely-reopening-schools/

Walla Walla Public Schools launches new How-To video series to support parents and students

Walla Walla Public Schools is producing a series of videos for parents and students to help navigate the Distance Learning program. Carrie LaRoy of the Teaching and Learning Department is leading the project to create short how-to help students and families videos. These fun, easy to understand videos will be posted on the district’s website and shared on social media. The district has five videos slated for production prior to the first day of school. Parents are encouraged to check the district’s Safely Reopening Schools webpage often as new videos will be produced regularly. 


Video #1: Carrie LaRoy introduces the video series to parents and students and reveals the contents of the tech tote bags K-12 students will pick up Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at their school. Transitional kindergarten and kindergarten tote bags will be available for pick up during parent conferences the week of Sept. 8.

Video # 2: Learning the basics of how to use the Chromebook and how to log-in.

Video #3: How to navigate your school’s home landing page where students will access all of their learning platforms.

Video #4: How to use Google Classroom for the tech practice “Dry Run” Sept. 3 and first day of school Sept. 8.

Video #5 : First day of the school reminders on how to get tech support, the importance of creating a learning space at home and other tips for success.

For video ideas or questions, please contact:
• Carrie LaRoy, Assessment & Education Technology Coordinator
claroy@wwps.org / 509.526.6786

Technology Check-out/Materials Pick-up (Grades 1st - 12th) Aug. 31 and Sept. 1

• All students will receive a Chromebook device for the school year as part of our 1-1 Tech Initiative.
• Families in need will also be issued an internet hotspot for online connectivity if they do not have internet at home.
• The district will be providing classroom supplies for all elementary and middle school students this year. There is no need for you to purchase any student supplies. In addition, at-home materials to support our comprehensive remote learning experience will also be provided during this pick-up event.
• Technology/materials pick-up: Mon., Aug. 31 and Tues., Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Location: child’s school).

Technology Practice Session “Dry Run” Thursday, Sept. 3

What: Technology “Dry Run” Event for all 1st-12th grade students
When: Thursday, September 3 at the specified times below
Why: To make sure all of your technology is working correctly prior to the first day of classes on September 8
Who: All 1st-12th grade students (kindergarten families will gain access during parent-teacher conferences)

• Elementary Students: Log into your teacher’s Google Classroom at the specified time and follow instructions to connect with your teacher live. 1st-2nd Grade: 8 a.m. / 3rd-5th Grade: 9:30 a.m.
• Secondary Students (grades 6-12): Log into your 1st period teacher’s Google Classroom at 9 a.m. and follow instructions to connect with your teacher live.
• Walla Walla Online: Check your district email account for detailed instructions prior to September 3.

Technical Support/Help:
• First, contact your school and/or classroom teacher via phone.
• Second, you can contact our technology helpdesk at 509-527-3010 or send an email to helpdesk@wwps.org. Spanish speakers, please call 509-526-6787.

Transitional Kindergarten & Kindergarten Parent-Teacher-Student Conference Week and Start Date

• School for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten students will begin on Sept. 14 (Remotely).
• Individual parent-teacher-student conferences will be scheduled during the week of Sept. 8-11. Parents will have an opportunity to come to their child’s school for an in-person conference and meet their child’s teacher. In addition, kindergarten screening will take place and families will receive technology training and pick up Chromebooks and classroom supplies/materials. You will be contacted soon by your child’s school to schedule your appointment.
• Safety protocols will be in place to ensure a safe visit.

Local contractor to land Pioneer Middle School renovation project – more local subcontractors secure work at Wa-Hi

Recent bid openings for Walla Walla High School and Pioneer Middle School renovations continue to spell good news for many Walla Walla businesses. Local contractor Jackson Contractor Group, Inc. followed-up last year’s successful bid to be the general contractor for Walla Walla High School as the apparent low bidder for the Pioneer Middle School renovation project. Additionally, many local subcontractors are set to secure substantial portions of the WaHi improvements slated over the next two years.
Jackson competed with seven other bidders for the Pioneer renovation project, set to renovate the 1950s structure resulting from the $65.6M school construction bond overwhelmingly approved by voters in November 2018. Jackson Contractor Group, Inc. edged out Central Oregon’s Kirby Nagelhout with a bid of $19.39M compared to $19.54M.

“In my 20 years of overseeing many large-scale construction projects for multiple districts, this was the greatest turnout and one of the closest bid-day contests I have experienced,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “We were so delighted to see such great interest from general contractors and even happier to see the project awarded to another firm with a substantial Walla Walla footprint.”

At the high school, as the new science building and underground utility improvements near completion, the district is set to begin substantial facility improvements across the campus. The high school project, delivered under the GC/CM (General Contractor/Construction Manager) model, allowed the district to break up and competitively bid each of the components of the project into approximately 50 different packages. “The utilization of GC/CM allows us to phase and package the components of the project, maximizing the opportunity for local contractor involvement among other benefits,” noted Smith. “While it made for a long bid opening process, where nearly 100 bids were opened, it appears to have been a very successful day for many local Walla Walla businesses.”

While contracts with subcontractors cannot be issued for another week due to state match processing, many local businesses appear to have been successful following bid opening. Local companies Houk Masonry, Gillespie Roofing, Cutting Edge Plumbing and Jackson Contractor Group, Inc. were some of the apparent low bidders, bringing tens of millions worth of work home to local contractors and vendors.
Bids for both the Pioneer and Wa-Hi improvements, supervised and reviewed by the district’s community-led Bond Oversight Committee, came in on budget and in line with estimates. As soon as state processing procedures are complete, the district will immediately begin renovation work on both campuses. At Wa-Hi, consistent with the phased approach, work will begin immediately on the old science building, the fine arts addition, fitness addition, and culinary, art and pottery improvements. At Pioneer, renovation of the original 1950’s wing and core area will be the first addressed.

For more information, including access to live construction cameras and project renderings, visit the district’s bond web page.

New Technology Director named

Walla Walla Public Schools named Sergio Razo its new Director of Technology and Informational Services. Razo has served as the Information Technology Director in the Mabton School District in the Yakima Valley the past seven years. He also has technology management and support experience for Yakima Valley Libraries, Central Washington University and Washington State Migrant Council over his 20-year career in education and business environments.

“I am passionate about harnessing technology to continually find ways to support instruction and learning that translates into more student success,” said Razo. “Given the increasing role of technology in today’s world, I am excited to collaborate to equip students with solid technology skills that will make them sought-after graduates.”

Razo earned two Bachelor’s degrees from Central Washington University. He holds degrees in Administrative Management & Business Education with a concentration in Information Technology and Foreign Languages with a concentration in Spanish and English Language and Literature. Razo was raised in the Yakima Valley and is bilingual/bicultural.

“I was pleased to learn Walla Walla Public Schools’ promotes a workplace culture of collaboration, excellence and incentives for continued professional development,” said Razo. “Creative and supportive use of technology is important under normal circumstances, but it has now become a critical issue with new pandemic-related challenges that require both careful planning and quick actions.”

Razo says he is excited to team with staff to find creative solutions that meet not just short-term but also long-term instructional needs across the district.

School Stories
Hisaw named National Coach of the Year

The National Federation of State High School Associations named Walla Walla High School Track Coach Eric Hisaw the Boys’ Outdoor Track and Field High School Coach of the Year for the 2018-2019 season. Hisaw coached the Walla Walla High School Boys’ Track and Field team to the 4A state title in May 2019.

In 2019, Walla Walla High School Boys’ Track and Field team also finished first in the Mid-Columbia Conference. The team won every invitational it entered last year, beating three other state champion teams from Oregon, Idaho and Washington combined within those invites.

Hisaw says the honor is a fantastic celebration of Wa-Hi’s entire program and a tribute to the tremendously talented staff, their hard work, communication, commitment to each other and the student-athletes. He says this award is an incredible representation of the school’s Track & Field program, its culture, the school and community.

Community Stories

Providence donates masks and safety information

Becky Betts of Providence St. Mary Medical Center recently connected with members of the Equity and Dual Programs Department to drop off 500 hand sanitizers, colorfus tie-dye masks and kid friendly COVID information flyers from Walla Walla County. These fun and helpful bags were handed out to students as part of the district’s Summer Safey Net Program.

Corps of Engineers promotes water safety

Thanks to the Walla Walla District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for promoting water safety through the district’s Safety Net program conducted this summer by the Equity and Dual Programs Department.

Recently Park Rangers Tana Wilson and Dillon Benitez delivered materials for the program as part of their outreach campaign. Coloring books, frisbees and other fun informative activities were included in packets for students. This year’s water safety message is “Throw, Don’t Go” to prevent drownings. The goal is to encourage students to wear a life jacket when they are near the water and to throw a floatation device if they see someone drowning.

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