||COVID numbers exceed state guidelines for transitioning to in-person instruction
Walla Walla County COVID-19 positivity rates remain above the Washington Department of Health recommendation for resuming in-person learning prompting the district to delay transitioning to its Yellow Stage which would have allowed Pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade students to return to school for a hybrid AM/PM in-person program.
School board members held a special meeting Sept. 29 to review the data and discuss options on transitioning to the Yellow Stage of the district’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools based on a recent update from the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health.
Walla Walla County disease activity has been decreasing over the past month triggering a letter from local health officials to school district administrators Sept. 17 encouraging them to make preparations for a return to in-person learning. Since the letter was released, new cases continue to be recorded keeping the county from meeting the 75 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days standard established by the state. Since Walla Walla County doesn’t have 100,000 residents, the case count over a two week period must be 45 or lower for Walla Walla Public Schools to implement its modified in-person instruction model.
“We were hopeful the numbers would continue to decline to meet the state requirements, but we’re not there yet,” said School Board President Sam Wells. “We have all systems in place to reopen, but now we’re just waiting on the viral numbers to come down to allow us to go back to some form of in-person learning.”
The district hoped to implement its Pk-2nd grade AM/PM hybrid model for in-person instruction on Oct. 19 had viral trends continued to go down. Under this model most students would attend either a morning or afternoon session for face-to-face instruction, and receive their remaining learning remotely in order to comply with strict social distancing guidelines. A limited number of pre-identified students who receive special education, English learners and other remediation supports would receive a full day experience while in the Yellow Stage.
“Once rates reach 45 cases or less over a two-week period, we will transition to the Yellow Stage and allow our youngest learners to get back into our schools, consistent with state recommendations to start with the youngest learners first,” said Wells. “Once viral conditions dip below 30 cases or less over a two-week period, WWPS would then be in a position to bring back all students under our hybrid-learning plan.”
Walla Walla Public Schools will follow strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, according to state and local guidance, including use of face coverings, physical/social distancing and cleaning standards upon returning for in-person instruction.
More information regarding the district’s Safely Reopening Schools Plan is located on its website: https://www.wwps.org/safely-reopening-schools
||Focus on Education newsletter earns Best in Category state award
Congratulations to the Walla Walla Public Schools’ Communications Department for receiving Washington Schools Public Relations Association awards for its work throughout the 2019-2020 school year. Below are the 2020 Award Winners:
Best in Category (Perfect)
• Print Newsletter (enrollment LESS than 10,000) - Focus on Education community newsletter
Award of Merit
• Annual Report (enrollment LESS than 10,000)
• Special Purpose Publication (enrollment LESS than 10,000) – Replacement Education Levy
• Website (enrollment LESS than 10,000)
• Branding/Image Package (enrollment LESS than 10,000) – Walla Walla Center for Children & Families
“It’s an honor and privilege to represent Walla Walla Public Schools and help tell the stories of our amazing educators, families and students,” said Mark Higgins, Director of Communications and Community Relations. “Walla Walla is a special place to live and raise a family, and I feel blessed to be part of this outstanding team for more than two decades.”
The Washington School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) is a nationally recognized professional organization of K-12 education professionals. WSPRA is a state affiliate of the National School Public Relations Association.
||Free flu vaccines for students
The Health Center of Walla Walla, in conjunction with Walla Walla County Department of Health and Walla Walla Public Schools, is offering FREE flu vaccinations for ages 5-18 in a drive-by vaccination clinic at Walla Walla High School on Wednesday, October 14 from 4-6 p.m.
If you wish to reserve a vaccine for your child, email firstname.lastname@example.org with an idea of the time you’d prefer. Unscheduled vaccinations will be offered on a first-come first-serve basis during the 4-6 pm window. Families who wish their students to receive the flu vaccine through THC need to complete a THC permission form, which can be found at https://www.thehealthcenterww.org/parent-info
A vaccine administration consent form needs to be completed at arrival on October 14. The Health Center is Walla Walla’s school-based health center offering medical and mental health care needs for in-person or virtual visits during this time. Information about The Health Center is available at www.thehealthcenterww.org
||WWPS School Board Regular Study Meeting and Executive Session
• Tuesday, Oct. 6
• Study Meeting - 5:30 p.m. / Executive Session – 6:30
IMPORTANT MEETING NOTICE: Pursuant to the Governor’s Proclamation No. 20-28, school board meetings during the COVID-19 disease outbreak must not take place in-person, but occur remotely. Members of the public are invited to attend by clicking here: https://zoom.us/j/95163435835 or may listen to the meeting by calling 1-253-215-8782 and entering the following meeting code: 951 6343 5835.
5:30 p.m. Regular Study Meeting open to the public./ Approximately 6:30 p.m. Executive Session (not open to the public)
The Board of Directors has scheduled an executive session on October 6 at the conclusion/prior to adjournment of the regular meeting, approximately 6:30 p.m., for discussion with legal counsel regarding potential litigation to which the District is likely to become a party. The executive session is not open to the public and is expected to conclude at approximately 7:00 p.m.
||District launches new website to schedule Parent/Teacher Conferences
PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE SCHEDULER
Parent/Teacher conferences are scheduled the week of Oct. 12-16. Due to COVID restrictions, all conferences will be held via ZOOM or telephone this fall. This week Walla Walla Public Schools launched a new website for parents to schedule conferences will their child’s teacher(s). Parents experiencing difficulties using the new site or who don’t have access to technology are asked to contact the school secretary to schedule a conference.
• How To Video - Scheduling Conference (English)
• How To Video - Scheduling Conference (Spanish)
Garrison Middle School receives state award for social emotional support
Congratulations to Garrison Middle School for receiving the 2020 Prevention Award of Excellence – Youth Leadership – Middle School Club award from the Washington Health Care Authority. The award recognizes the school’s Prevention Club advised by Counselor Angie Gardea. Peggy Needham of Walla Walla County Health Services nominated Garrison for the award. Garrison Middle School was trained in Sources of Strength and uses their evidence-based structure to build peer led programs that target mental health promotion and suicide prevention.
In addition, Garrison Middle School students also implemented Red Ribbon Week activities and the “You Can” marijuana prevention program. Last year there were 55 student members in the prevention club, which coordinates events, programming and implementation during the school year. Angie Gardea will represent the school during the virtual awards ceremony November 4.
||Ready for Kindergarten e-learning workshops announced
Family and Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton announces Ready for Kindergarten workshops are available starting today in a new e-learning format.
“Although we will miss you in our normal face-to-face group format, we are thankful that the Children’s Reading Foundation moved forward with their e-learning modules for this valuable program,” said Clayton. “Parents can continue to learn and play with their children using this convenient program.”
Modules for ages 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5 in English and Spanish are currently available. The Birth-1 and ages 1-2 modules will be ready by January.
If you are not familiar with Ready for Kindergarten, it is a kindergarten readiness program for families who have children ages Birth-5.
“You will learn about each age level, strategies you can use to help promote curiosity and learning, why starting young is so important, and as always; ways to play with your child that is purposeful and engaged,” said Clayton. “We also provide you with a bag full of materials/toys to promote that playtime engagement and learning.”
To register, please go to https://forms.gle/LVAtLnMFhADm27rJ7 to receive your e-learning links. These links will be active until November 30. Feel free to participate in these learning modules whenever it is convenient for you. Once you register, we will mail you the workshop notes and some sample materials that you can use while you are participating in the workshop. Once you complete the workshop you will be taken to an evaluation that provides you with directions on how to schedule a pick up day/time to receive your full bag of materials.
As always, stay safe and continue to find time and opportunities to play with your children. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 509.526.6781 / email@example.com.
Carnegie Picture Lab - Creativity Curated
For the past 10 years, Carnegie Picture Lab has presented a robust art education curriculum in Walla Walla elementary schools. To face the challenges of the 2020-21 school year, Picture Lab is partnering with the school district to support and enhance online learning through an innovative program called Creativity Curated. Beginning Monday, October 5, weekly Creativity Curated lessons will be posted on each elementary school website landing page. Utilizing an online platform called Padlet, Creativity Curated lessons will feature art concepts, connections to art history and influential artists, videos, artful thinking exercises, art journal entries, and art making opportunities.
Students will be able to answer questions directly onto Padlet and upload their art to a virtual Mini-Museum. Elementary school students received an oil pastel and art journal kit as part of their September school supply package. This art kit will be used with the online lessons.
||National Night Out Parade
• Tuesday October 6
• 4 p.m.
• This is a great opportunity to watch police officers and firefighters drive by in their response vehicles
• Contact Vicki Ruley to sign your neighborhood up
• Also included is a FREE 2 topping pizza coupon from Dominos for just signing up for the Yard Decorating Contest
• Questions: Vicki Ruley – 509.524.4409
October is Resilience Month
The Community Resilience Initiative (CRI) announces its 8th Annual “October is Resilience Month” community campaign. CRI will host a 5-part webinar series on “Love, Trust and Safety” amidst the challenges our country is facing. CRI hopes to build additional common language on Protective Factors and what it means to build a resilient community. Dr. Gail Christopher, noted national speaker and activist for racial healing, will kick off the first webinar on October 1, from noon to 1pm.
The webinar series continues every Thursday in October from noon to 1pm and is free, with no registration required. Visit www.criresilient.org/october for details.
Additional Activities around Town 1. A “Calendar Challenge” is offered as a way to help build resilience skills and habits on a daily basis. Use it at home and within your organization! Send us your success stories for the chance to win a prize. 2. Participate in a Scavenger Hunt to find the “Got Resilience?” sandwich board placed in a different location daily during the entire month.
This is an opportunity for family fun, while respecting physical distancing guidelines. The first person to send us a snapshot of each new location will win a treat. Go to www.criresilient.org/october for detailed directions. Proclamations of October is Resilience Month by the City of Walla Walla and County Commissioners, and downtown banners and yard signs add to the campaign efforts. For more information, visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
||Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club offers free skill development program
Fresh air and baseball will be the focus of a free six-week program this fall aimed at helping young players in the Valley improve their game, learn fundamentals and have some fun. And this will all be done safely while strictly adhering to COVID-19 prevention guidelines. The Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club program, for ages 9 to 18, will begin on Saturday Oct. 3 and run through Nov. 15 (weather permitting). Players may register at http://bit.ly/wwvbc.
The sessions will be broken into two age groups, 9-13 and 14-18, at the Mill Creek SportsPlex, 111 S. Tausick Way. The coaching will be overseen by Jason Parsons, head coach of the Walla Walla Bruins, three-time American Legion AA state champions. The sessions will take place after school at 4 p.m. on weekdays and during the day Saturdays, running no longer than 90 minutes. The exact time and days for sessions will depend on the number of players registered and their ages.
The priority is on practicing the fundamentals of baseball as well as conditioning to improve play and avoid injury. Live drills will take place as well as controlled scrimmages that simulate games. The goal of these sessions will be player development, having fun and spending time outdoors this fall.
The Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club has developed a safety plan that can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/WWVBC-SafetyPlan calling for social distancing, proper hygiene and following the state-approved protocols. There will be no charge for these sessions. For more information email email@example.com. If questions can’t be answered through email, contact WWVBC President Andy Coleman at 509-520-1937.
||City Parks & Rec Weekly Update
• Walla Walla Soccer Alliance Skills Clinic – Ages 5-17. Cost $25-$30. This soccer clinic will adhere to all local health guidelines set forth by the WA Dept. of Health.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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