Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Dec. 17, 2020

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Winter Break Holiday Schedule

• No school Monday, Dec. 21 to Friday, Jan. 1
• Classes resume Monday, Jan. 4 (all students remain in Distance Learning)

Revised State Guidelines Announced: State Dept. of Health Relaxes In-person Instruction Metrics

The Washington State Department of Health announced yesterday significant changes to its guidelines for when school districts can offer greater in-person instruction. These reflect the experience of schools that have successfully served students in buildings, as well as an evolving scientific understanding of how this virus impacts schools and communities.

Dr. Wade Smith, Superintendent of Walla Walla Public Schools:
"The Governor’s new guidance provides much-needed clarity around when and how Walla Walla Public Schools can increase the availability of in-person instruction. The district will carefully evaluate this new information over the winter break, then work collaboratively with staff and our local Department of Community Health to determine what adjustments we should make to our existing roadmap for bringing kids back to schools. In the near term, we anticipate changes will prioritize our most fragile students, younger learners and those older students who are being least well-served under the existing remote learning circumstances.”

Derek Sarley, President, WWPS Board of Directors:
“We know remote learning has been a struggle for many students and families. This new guidance resolves a growing tension between the very conservative metrics of the state’s previous model and the successful experience many districts have had in safely offering greater opportunities for in-person instruction. These changes represent a significant shift in the guidance we’ve received, so the Board will seek substantial parent and community feedback as it develops new models that incorporate these changes.”

Superintendent Smith addresses new state reopening schools guidelines in December Pulse video


This month Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith thanks staff, students and parents for their dedication and patience during distance learning in his latest Pulse video. Superintendent Smith also addresses new sweeping changes to the state’s in-person instruction metrics released by the State. Dept. of Health Wednesday and reminds parents about Saturday’s Winter Break pre-ordered meal pick up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1174 Entley St. Lastly, he wishes everyone a safe and happy winter break.

Winter Break free meals program pick up Saturday

• Pick up for pre-ordered meals is Saturday, December 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Support Services Building, 1174 Entley St. in Walla Walla.
• Please wear a mask and stay in your vehicle.
• If you have questions or need assistance, please call 509-527-3016.

Bond Update (November 2020)

Walla Walla High School
• Final punchlist items on the New Science Building.
• Selective demolition inside the Old Science Building and in the Library Building.
• Abatement specialists clearing hazardous materials from the Old Science Building.
• Local subcontractor Premier Excavation continued work on the Library, Auditorium and Gym additions by prepping for the new footings.
• Jackson Contractor Group poured concrete for the Auditorium, Gym and Library additions.
• Local subcontractor Gillespie Roofing continued work on re-roofing the VoAg Building.The design team worked through submittals, RFI’s, and performed site visits to ensure the project is coming along as planned.
• As with any remodel, there were challenges of discovering unknown conditions during the construction activities; the district, Jackson, the design team, and Wenaha Group worked together to address these issues as they arose and provided cost effective solutions.

Pioneer Middle School
• Jackson Contractor Group and plumbing sub installed temporary heating for the north wing.
• Structural demolition completed and selective demolition in the west wing were completed.
• Abatement of hazardous materials was ongoing with new areas discovered and addressed.
• Work on the new parking lot on Bridge Street.
• Excavation and grading for the new entry way addition was completed.
• Similar to WaHi, there were challenges of discovering unknown conditions during the construction activities; the district, Jackson, the design team, and Wenaha Group worked together to address these issues as they arose and provided cost effective solutions.
• Jackson completed pre planning on the gym bleacher demolition with work to begin shortly.

Lincoln High School
• Construction documents are nearing completion.
• A design update and check-in meeting with key staff and stakeholders was held.
• Wenaha Group assembled a team to identify potential issues in design and make suggestions. These comments will be incorporated into the plans by Architects West and plans will be submitted for permit review early in 2021.

More Bond Updates

School Board Officers election

Tuesday night School board members unanimously voted to name Derek Sarley School Board President. Director Ruth Ladderud was unanimously elected Vice President. 

Personnel Report (from Dec. 15, 2020 school board meeting)

• Maria Concepcion Sanchez Sarabia, Para Educator (Temporary), Equity and Dual Programs
• BreAnna Wright, Fiscal/Purchasing Specialist, Business Office

• Sonia French, Bus Assistant, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 30 years
• Griselda Garcia Alvarez, Bilingual Assistant Secretary, Green Park Elementary School, 1 year

• Sherry Orchard, Secretary to the Assistant Principal, Garrison Middle School, 7 years
(For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.)

School Stories
Sharpstein 3rd grader steps up to help food bank

This week Sharpstein Elementary 3rd grader Nolan Wickham cashed in his rewards for participating in class to help the local food bank. Sharpstein educators and Nolan brainstormed different motivators and incentives to help him increase class participation during distance learning.

When asked what would be a worthy goal, Nolan said he had an idea. And, instead of something grand for himself like a trip to Disneyland, he said he wanted to earn food to help people in Walla Walla. The Sharpstein team came up with a plan around class participation where he could earn one or more items a day. After only a couple weeks, Nolan was able to earn 31 items of food.

Several staff members, as well as friends and family of Nolan, were able to match his donation helping Nolan donate 240 pounds of food, which equates to 200 meals for our community. This week he delivered the food to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank just in time for the holidays.

Video highlights new Walla Walla Center for Children & Families


For decades early learning leaders in the community dreamed of a central location and facility to house programs and services for children and families. This school year the dream became reality with the opening of the Walla Walla Center for Children & Families (WWCCF) at the former Blue Ridge Elementary location. Check out this informative video to learn more about how this new early learning center is taking shape with a focus on kindergarten readiness. Learn more at: https://www.wwccf.org/

SEATech desks delivered to students

Wednesday SEATech Construction Technology Instructor Eric Matson delivered 25 desks students in his program helped build and paint. The desks were distributed to elementary students who don’t have one at home. Thanks to Builders First Source and Jackson Contractor Group for donating the materials. See more from KAPP/KVEW TV    

Garrison Middle School band students perform virtual concert


District Music Coordinator Roger Garcia and members of the Garrison Middle School Band recorded a virtual Holiday Concert for the community to enjoy. In typical years, district music students visit retirement homes, conduct school concerts and perform in several other public places. This year COVID precautions have put a stop to all district concerts. Garcia says he hopes these musical performances will bring joy to the community during the Holiday Season.

Community Stories
Providence donates mask and hand sanitizer to Walla Walla schools

Brian Delano of Providence St Mary Medical Center recently delivered a donation of 1000 children’s masks and hand sanitizer for Walla Walla Public Schools’ students. Staff from the Equity and Dual Programs Department are helping organize the items for distribution and will pass out the masks, hand sanitizer and other goodies during the Winter Break meal program distribution Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Delano said several volunteers helped Providence prepare the items for students in an effort to curb the spread of COVID and keep families healthy.

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