Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - January 22, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Third Party COVID Safety Review says district safe to allow in-person learning

Walla Walla Public Schools contracted with NV5/DADE MOELLER© to perform a comprehensive third party COVID Preparedness Review in preparation for on-site learning. The audit included a review of facility and personnel practices against the latest CDC and WaDOH guidance on re-opening schools, to ensure campuses, HVAC modifications and COVID protocols are compliant with the latest standards. Additionally, it incorporated a review of physical areas, employee work arrangements and administrative controls to ensure necessary protocols are in place to minimize exposure to pathogens for staff and students.

The audit included a two-phased review process. During the Phase 1 audit, certified staff from NV5 performed a comprehensive review of all district protocols against the latest WaDOH, CDC and L&I guidelines. Cleaning protocols, masking and other PPE standards, COVID response protocols, staff training and other practices were all reviewed. Their findings indicated that all of the district’s protocols met, and in many cases, exceeded safety guidelines.

During the Phase 2 audit, thorough on-site inspections of district facilities were performed. Stephen Bump, a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Health Professional from NV5, spent more than seven hours performing on-site inspections at each of the district’s elementary and preschool sites Jan. 11. He had the following to say in his written report to the school district.

"Our review indicates the Walla Walla School District has implemented the health agency guidance and has adequate controls and protocols in place to allow in-person learning in a safe and healthy environment,” as noted in Mr. Bump’s executive summary of the review. “We were impressed by the ownership of the principals and their staff. There were a number of innovative and creative approaches to the implementation of the protocols."

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith says this comprehensive third party audit ensures the district has fully reviewed and implemented all safety protocols and procedures recommended from state health officials and industry experts.

“This serves as an additional layer of protection for all staff, students and parents and is part of our continued commitment to keep students and staff safe,” said Dr. Smith. “Safety has been, and will continue to be, our top priority, and the results from our third party safety audit spoke to all of our staff members’ hard work.”

Walla Walla Public Schools will contract with NV5/DADE MOELLER© in the coming weeks, in preparation for transitioning middle and then high school students back for AM/PM, to perform the same inspections at all remaining campuses.

District to implement Modified Learning Day during hazardous winter weather conditions by utilizing distance learning

Walla Walla Public Schools is modifying how it responds during inclement weather conditions due to advancements in distance learning. There will be no two-hour delays or school cancellations due to weather conditions this year. Instead, there will be Modified Learning Days.

This adjustment will avoid students and families being required to make up snow days in the summer. During these Modified Learning Days, all students will stay home and engage in distance learning with their teachers. For grade levels who have not transitioned to in-person learning, distance learning continues as normal. For students who have transitioned to an AM/PM hybrid schedule, their days will be modified depending on conditions. If weather is severe, all students will attend their AM and PM classes remotely from home. If the weather is expected to improve significantly throughout the morning hours, students in the PM session may attend in-person. Walla Walla Public Schools will make sure this is communicated to families during the early morning notification.

Grab and go meal services will still be available at district meal pick up locations from 12 noon. to 1 p.m. The district will announce Modified Learning Days to families by 6:15 a.m.

District releases Welcome Back to School video in Spanish

Last week the district released a Welcome Back to School video in English, with information about how to have a successful transition to in-person learning for preschool and elementary students. This week the district released a similar video in Spanish

Both videos are also posted on the district’s website and YouTube page.

No Elementary PM Session Feb. 5 and NO SCHOOL (K-5) Feb. 11-12 

• No Elementary PM session - Friday, Feb. 5 (K-5 report card preparation)
• No School (K-5 only) – Feb. 11 and 12 (Parent/Teacher conferences)
• Elementary Parent/Teacher Conferences are virtual via ZOOM
• Visit your child’s school website or contact the school secretary to schedule a conference (registration goes live Monday, Feb. 1)

Bond update videos

This week Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith recorded a few short videos during his weekly construction site meeting. These videos highlight the continued progress at Walla Walla High School thanks to the generous support of Walla Walla voters. See more bond updates at: https://www.wwps.org/bond

Outside Wa-Hi Commons 
1960s Science Building Upstairs 
1960s Science Classroom Renovations 
1960s Science Classroom Construction 

Bond Update Report (January 2021)

Walla Walla High School
• This month, Jackson Contractor Group performed construction activities on every building on campus except the new Science Building and 1960’s Academic Building. This required a high level of coordination and scheduling to work through the holidays at this level.
• At Building 1 (VoAg), the roofing work was largely completed with the only remaining task for Gillespie Roofing (Walla Walla contractor) to wrap up is to install the parapet cap. In addition, abatement of the hallway was completed with work on closing the wall cavity upcoming.
• In Building 2 (Old Science), HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work has started. Contractors are working in the attic, crawl spaces and wall spaces. Framing of the new walls has been completed and work on the insulation and hanging drywall has been initiated.
• Building 3 (Commons) had the exterior awning removed in order to begin working on the addition and courtyard remodel. Additionally, abatement has begun to remove hazardous materials. This will allow the Commons remodel to be moved up in the schedule and to efficiently use the time when students are not full-time on campus.
• Building 4 (Library) had the exterior addition slab poured. The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing utilities are being installed with framing activities beginning soon. Exterior utilities have been worked on and include: sewer, hydronics, electrical, and low voltage. The design team, Jackson Contractor Group, the district, and Wenaha Group worked on a phasing plan for the upcoming Library work to maximize contractor work while meeting school demands for book exchange and miscellaneous library activities. The changes resulted in reducing phases for the work.
• Building 6 (Gym), saw the foundation for its addition formed and poured. In the courtyard area to the north, new hydronic lines were installed in order to keep Building 7 warm through the winter while the new HVAC system is being installed. Additionally, the team formulated plans to keep the Gym accessible in anticipation of a return of students.
• Building 7 (Auditorium) also saw its addition foundation poured. Also, plumbing and electrical work was completed below the new slab and the new slab was poured.
• The design team worked with Jackson Contractor Group to complete and return submittals and answer construction questions as they arise in order to facilitate a project that is able to keep up with the schedule.

Pioneer Middle School
• Jackson Contractor Group worked with their subcontractors to place rock down around the tent and did so on their own expense to help improve teacher parking areas.
• The foundations for the new administration addition and the new classroom addition were excavated, formed, and poured. In addition, much time was spent grading the site.
• Demolition activities were ongoing as unforeseen and unknown asbestos materials were discovered in the roof areas and in the chimney that was removed.
• The chimney was removed by crane and the interior (and original chimney) was abated and hazardous materials were disposed of.
• Demolition of the concrete bleachers was initiated with great care being taken to avoid damaging the superstructure.

Personnel Report (from Jan. 19, 2021 school board meeting)

Margret Aquino, Bilingual Assistant Secretary (Temporary), Walla Walla Online
Kariss Carrillo, Bilingual Secretary to Director of Athletics, Wa-Hi
Jennifer Lopez, Bilingual Assistant Secretary/Receptionist (Temporary), Garrison
Ian McClenny, Custodian (Temporary), Elementary Schools
Julissa Virrey Soto, Bilingual Assistant Secretary, Green Park

Keith Gradwohl, Science, 39 years, Walla Walla High School,
• (Walla Walla Online for 2020-21)
Shannon Hohosh, Special Education, 2 years, WWCCF,
• (Walla Walla Online for 2020-21)
Janice Bray, Kitchen Assistant, Sharpstein, 6 years
Kristin Dewey, Para-Educator, Edison, 27 years
Alondra Diaz Rodriguez, Para-Educator, WWCCF, 1.5 years
Michael Najera, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 9 years

Jennifer Mann, Para-Educator, WWCCF, 1.5 years
• For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Menell Mina-Nelson, Para-Educator, Berney, 13 years
• For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Kevin Reniche, Bus Driver, Transportation, 3 years
• For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Annaliese Shafer, Para-Educator, Green Park, 3 years
• For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

Energy Management program continues trimming costs in its second decade

District Energy Management Program Coordinator John Butenhoff reports Year 21 of the program, implemented to avoid wasting utilities in order to save money to be used for instructional needs, continued to save taxpayer dollars in its second decade.

This year, WWPS used 19% less electricity and 23% less natural gas. When adjusting the cost of utility rates from base numbers, WWPS saved 40% on electricity costs, 24% on natural gas fees and 12% on water expenditures.

“These savings are so great because we are using less energy with rates that are more than 120% higher on electricity, over 65% higher on natural gas and up 146% on water costs,” said Butenhoff. “The rate increases equate to more than $890,000 additional costs the district is avoiding through this program.”

Over the past 21 years, the WWPS Energy Management Program has saved over 25% in energy usage and $7.5M.

Energy Management Program Overview:
• The Energy Management program uses Energy CAP software to track utility usage.
• Utilities Monitored: Electricity, Gas, Water / Sewer/, Sanitation.

“WWPS’ staff are stepping up and doing the right thing by watching water usage and waste, shutting off lights, computers and other equipment when not used and only heating and cooling areas in use,” said Butenhoff. “Walla Walla taxpayers should be very proud of the WWPS staff and their efforts to control the use of utilities.”

School Stories
WIAA Executive Board Outlines WIAA Season 2 and 3

RENTON, Wash. (Jan. 19, 2020) – The WIAA Executive Board voted on Tuesday to approve the schedules for WIAA Seasons 2 and 3, setting dates for traditional winter and spring sports.

Traditional spring sports will be held in WIAA Season 2 which will begin with pre-contest practices on March 15 and end on May 1. Traditional winter sports will be moved to WIAA Season 3 which will begin on April 26 and end on June 12.

The decision comes after the Executive Board voted at its January 6 meeting to begin traditional fall sports on February 1.

While the Executive Board has outlined the framework for a uniform season schedule, it has granted each WIAA league or district around the state the ability to reschedule seasons to best fit their local communities.

“Based on the risk levels assigned to traditional winter activities compared to traditional spring activities, the Executive Board made the decision that those spring activities will have the opportunity to play much earlier than winter activities,” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. “The Board will continue to monitor the status of activities over the coming months to ensure that those traditional spring sports receive a chance to participate.”

A full season calendar, as well as a summary of current guidelines issued by the Washington Department of Health, can be found on the WIAA’s COVID-19 Page at WIAA.com/COVID. https://wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=1240

Wa-Hi ASB poster project welcomes elementary students back to school

Walla Walla High School ASB students Claire Laville (10), Neliah Williams (12) and Audrey Wells (12) designed and created Welcome Back posters for all district elementary schools and the Walla Walla Center for Children & Families. Audrey Wells used her Spanish skills to also make Spanish posters for the Dual Language schools.

“These students decided on this project to give back to the community and make a connection with the younger students,” said Wa-Hi ASB advisor Marilyn Melgoza. “A main focus of ASB this year is giving back to the community and supporting the younger generation.”

WWPS Afterschool Program Annual Report now available

Walla Walla Public Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), our district’s federal afterschool program, recently posted their 2019-2020 annual report. The report details the goals and objectives of the program and highlights specific benchmark data from the 2019-2020 school year. Accompanying the report are four in-depth videos addressing the essential elements of afterschool program success.

Visit https://wallawallaafterschool.com to access the report and view the videos.

Our 21st CCLC program currently serves Edison Elementary, Green Park Elementary, Prospect Point Elementary, Sharpstein Elementary, Garrison Middle School, Pioneer Middle School, Lincoln High School, and Walla Walla High School.

For additional information about Walla Walla Public Schools’ 21st CCLC program, contact Program Director Brent Cummings (bcummings@wwps.org, 509-529-1929).

Community Stories
Serving Our Public Schools:  The 21st Century Library by City of Walla Walla Public Library staff

Walla Walla Public Library knows the importance of books for kids, and is working hard to remove barriers to library service for children. This year we’ve provided free library cards to all students, eliminated library fines for children, and continue to provide access to all library materials through curbside pickup.

Free library Cards
Thanks to the generosity of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Walla Walla Public Library is able to provide free library cards to all Walla Walla Public Schools students including pre-K and Walla Walla Online students, through 2021. The goal is full inclusion, giving all children equal access to the library regardless of where they live.

Two ways to register:
• Online: Students can register through our catalog at https://catalog.wallawalla.bywatersolutions.com/cgi-bin/koha/opac-memberentry.pl, and a library staff member will be in touch to help them complete the process. Please provide a contact phone number and/or email.
• By phone: Call the library at 509-527-4550 Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and staff will complete your student’s registration. Proof of address can be emailed or brought to the library in person.

Library fines
The City of Walla Walla works to serve families at the highest level possible, so Walla Walla Public Library is fine-free for kids! City council has voted to eliminate library fines on youth materials due to the negative impact on children and families in our community. All fines on children’s materials have been removed from your account. Please call Walla Walla Public Library at 509-527-4550, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., if your account is still blocked due to fines on children’s items.

If you have long overdue items, please bring them back and we will remove lost item charges from your account for items still in good condition.

Library Access

Quick and easy curbside pickup of all physical items is available Monday through Friday. Sign in to your library account, place items on hold, and schedule a curbside pickup from the comfort of home. If you need help with selecting items, scheduling your pickup, or home delivery, please give us a call at 509-527-4550, Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm.
Prefer a completely virtual or non-contact library experience? Thousands of free eBooks are available 24 hours a day through the Washington Anytime Library. Sign up with your library card for free access at https://anytime.overdrive.com/, then download the Libby app at https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/how-do-i/download-the-libby-app to read or listen to your books.

If you’ve never had a Walla Walla Public Library card or it’s been a long time… register online at https://catalog.wallawalla.bywatersolutions.com/cgi-bin/koha/opac-memberentry.pl and library staff will contact you. You can also call Walla Walla Public Library at 509-527-4550, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email wwpl@wallawallawa.gov

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