||School Board targets October 26 return to school for its youngest learners
Tuesday night, Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors instructed Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith to make preparations to transition to its Yellow Stage Monday, October 26 which allows preschool to 2nd grade students to return for in-person instruction through the AM/PM hybrid model.
During the hour-long discussion, school board members reviewed case counts released from the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health identifying Walla Walla Public Schools has met the state’s 75 case/100K threshold to safely pivot to in-person instruction.
In addition, they reviewed provisions outlined in the district’s Roadmap to Safely Reopening Schools plan required to support the transition, including low community hospitalization rates, decreasing test positivity rates, and the district’s successful ability to control viral conditions in its schools. The district has developed a public COVID dashboard identifying student/staff transmission instances by campus for another layer of safety and transparency. Walla Walla Public Schools has also developed a comprehensive COVID-19 Safety Plan following safety guidelines and protocols framed by CDC guidance, Washington State Department of Health recommendations, and input from local health advisers.
“In accordance with provisions in our Memorandum of Understanding with the Walla Walla Valley Education Association, the School Board instructed Superintendent Smith to consult with union leadership over the coming days to review the case count data, in addition to plans and provisions necessary to support staff and student safety,” said Board President Sam Wells. “While the district technically could transition as early as Oct. 19, the Board chose a more cautious approach that provides the district additional time to monitor viral conditions, plan with staff and communicate with families.”
Over the coming days and weeks the district will continue to monitor case trends to ensure levels support the Yellow Stage transition, meet and review data and plans with union leadership and fine tune logistics related to transportation, nutrition services, safety and parent communications.
More information regarding the district’s Safely Reopening Schools Plan, visit: https://www.wwps.org/safely-reopening-schools
||Community opportunity to share comments for public record on Yellow Stage transition
Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors will conduct its regularly scheduled Business Meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m. One of the agenda topics planned is discussion of transitioning to Yellow Stage, which allows preschool to 2nd grade students to return for in-person instruction through the AM/PM hybrid model.
Community members have an opportunity to share their input for public record prior to the meeting. Public comments must be submitted by email to Administrative Assistant Susie Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. Comments will be public record and shared with the school board in advance of the meeting and posted on the district’s website.
Public comments must include the citizen’s name, address and contact information. Citizens may also drop off comments at the District Office drop box located at 364 S. Park St. The drop box is located adjacent to the main entrance. More information regarding the district’s Safely Reopening School Plan, visit: https://www.wwps.org/safely-reopening-schools
||October is National Principals Month
October is National Principals Month. Walla Walla Public Schools principals guide and support their schools in ways large and small every day. They work tirelessly to provide the best education possible for every student through visionary leadership and collaboration.
“Walla Walla Public Schools has outstanding school principals who put students first in all their decisions,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Our principals go above and beyond to make sure Walla Walla children have every opportunity to successfully achieve a high-quality education in a safe and supportive environment.”
||Parent/Teacher Conferences - No School Days – Oct. 15 and 16
Parent/teacher conferences are the week of Oct. 12. Conferences will be held electronically this year. Please schedule a ZOOM conference by using the web scheduler: https://www.wwps.org/conferences. Contact your child’s school secretary for assistance if you are having difficulties scheduling a conference.
• NO SCHOOL Thursday, Oct. 15 and Friday, Oct. 16 (parent/teacher conferences)
||Electronic Device Protection Plan fees due Oct. 31
Walla Walla Public Schools has developed an extremely low-cost way for families to help protect themselves from potential costs associated with damage, loss or theft of district-owned Chromebook and hot spot devices checked out to their student during the 2020-2021 school year.
Students/families have been automatically enrolled in the Electronic Device Protection Plan program (EDPP) when technology was checked out at the beginning of the school year. Similar to how textbooks are handled, each device is individually barcoded and checked out to each student utilizing our district’s digital inventory system.
The low-cost EDPP fee is applied to you/your student’s account at the time of checkout and covers all items issued to them. The EDPP will cover one school year (August through June) and is non-refundable.
Cost is $20 per student or $10 per student if they qualify for the Free or Reduced Price meal program. Payments are due Oct. 31. Payments can be made via their child's Skyward account. Look for email reminders about the payment and how to pay.
||School Board receives Special Education Department update
Special Education Director Libby Thompson and teachers Nate Dross (Pioneer MS), Michelle Paine (Garrison MS) and Marcia Frandsen (Green Park Elementary) provided an update to school board members Tuesday night on the Special Education program.
Approximately 100 of the district’s highest needs special education students are receiving in-person instruction at Sharpstein, Green Park and Berney Elementary Schools, Pioneer MS, Garrison MS and Walla Walla High School. In-person programs include Life Skills, RISE autism program, Social & Emotional learning and STEP. The in-person program features eight teachers and multiple para-educators utilizing the A/B hybrid model.
Approximately 60 special education students are enrolled in the new Walla Walla Online program. Thompson and Walla Walla Online Director Carina Stillman collaborated to develop a hybrid online program for some of the students who needed synchronous instruction for core subjects, one-on-one support and electives. Students not in the hybrid model take traditional Walla Walla Online classes. Two teachers and three para-educators are assigned to Walla Walla Online. Other special education students are participating in Distance Learning 2.0 with additional support from special education teachers and para-educators working with students in small groups. Thompson said her team is providing support based on the individual needs of students. Individual Education Plan reviews and evaluations are held via Zoom with documentation logged on DocuSign.
||Personnel Report (from the Oct. 6, 2020 school board meeting)
Ben Pena, Grounds, Facilities & Operations
Margi Ault, Administrative Assistant, Human Resources, 26 years
Tania Farrens, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School, 8 years
Julie Fletcher, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 8 years
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Chantal Ramirez, Transitional Kindergarten, WWCCF, 2 months
• November 23, 2020 – January 29, 2021 student teaching practicum
Brisa Maya, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School, 5 years
• 2020-2021 school year
||Free flu vaccines for students Oct. 14
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 3-18 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 email@example.com 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 https://www.thehealthcenterww.org/
||Parents encouraged to schedule Parent/Teacher Conferences
• Web Conference scheduler: https://www.wwps.org/conferences
Parent/Teacher conferences are scheduled the week of Oct. 12-16. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all conferences will be held via ZOOM or telephone this fall. 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. There is NO SCHOOL Oct. 15 and 16.
• How To Video – Scheduling Conference (English)
• How To Video – Scheduling Conference (Spanish)
||Remember to Vote
Ballots for the November 3 General Election will be mailed to voters soon. Please remember to vote.
Contact the Walla Walla County Elections Office for additional information:
Walla Walla County Elections
310 West Poplar St.
PO Box 2176
Walla Walla, WA 99362
||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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