Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 5, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Local COVID cases continue to drop

This week's Walla Walla County COVID Activity Report from Feb. 13-26 revealed community transmission rates have further declined allowing the district to remain in the Green Stage of its Safely Reopening Schools plan. High school students return next week for AM/PM hybrid in-person learning.

“It is pretty remarkable how our numbers have dropped so sharply,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. ”We are now at levels we haven’t seen since spring of last school year -- 85 or so new cases from our 55,000 population, and only a 1.5% positivity rate.”

Dr. Smith says health experts say these numbers could fluctuate over the coming weeks or months until more large scale vaccinations can occur, but reminds everyone to stay vigilant.

“Our masking, cleaning, screening and hygiene practices are working in our schools,” said Dr. Smith. Our students and staff have done a remarkable job in deterring spread on our campuses. As our own public dashboard reveals, we have not identified any onsite COVID spread since the return of students to campus and have not had one staff member contract COVID from their school setting since we started this school year.”

Superintendent Smith and District Health Services Director Amy Ruff continue to advocate daily for comprehensive staff vaccinations. This week the district began receiving all of the materials and reagents to begin rolling the voluntary rapid testing of staff and students.

March Superintendent’s Pulse video

March 2021 Pulse 

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith provides updates on the district's shift to AM/PM Hybrid in-person learning. He also shares information on the state's Return to Play procedures as high school sports resume. Support Staff are recognized this month for their many contributions to providing a quality education for Walla Walla students.

Board praises staff for providing specialized services and supports 

Tuesday night school board members received a review of Elementary Specialized Services. The report focused on how educators are adjusting these services during the pandemic as the district transitions to in-person learning in the AM/PM model.

Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis, Berney Elementary Principal Michelle Carpenter and LAP Coordinator Shannon Hand provided an update on Title I and LAP services. Equity and Dual Programs Director Dr. Julie Perron, Edison Elementary Principal Jenny Foster and Edison teacher Sofia Parsons shared information on English Language services. Special Education Director Libby Thompson, Prospect Point Principal Barb Casey and Green Park teacher Marcia Frandsen discussed Special Education programs.

“Our teachers and support staff have been amazing at finding new ways to make connections with students,” said Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis. “We are fortunate to have highly individualized instruction and supports as we work collectively to meet the needs of all students.”
All these experienced educators stated their programs focused on ensuring staff and student safety by complying with all federal, state and local COVID requirements. They also said staff throughout these programs went above and beyond to support students. School board members agreed as praise was shared throughout the presentation for efforts to continue learning at high levels during these challenging times.

All presenters said technology was a challenge early in the pandemic, but students have vastly improved in this area over time. They also said Zoom can be challenging for teachers to make connections when physical cuing is needed. They reported they are taking advantage of small class sizes and enhanced teacher-student attention within the classroom setting. They also report there are less distractions allowing for more focused instruction.

“I’m so proud of our amazing Special Education teachers and para-educators for their professionalism, innovation and passion to support students during these unprecedented times,” said Libby Thompson. “Our team will continue to study and reflect on student outcomes and adjust programs as needed to best meet the needs of students.”

Education Support Professionals Week 2021 - March 8-12, 2021

March 8-12, 2021 is Education Support Professionals Week, a tradition started in 1975 by Public School Employees of Washington to recognize the contributions of Education Support Professionals in the public school system. Thanks so much to these amazing educators for playing a critical role in providing a quality education for Walla Walla children.

Personnel Report (from March 2, 2021 School Board meeting)

• Kevin Arizmendi-Carrillo, Campus Support, Pioneer Middle School
• Maribel De La Cruz, Bilingual Assistant Secretary/Receptionist, Walla Walla High School

• John Butenhoff, Technology/Art, Walla Walla High School, 31 years
• Kenneth Jepson, Social Studies, Pioneer Middle School, 21 years
• Lori Parnicky, Music, Sharpstein, 20 years
• Gina Stahlheber, Special Education, Pioneer Middle School, 23 years,
(Walla Walla Online for 2020-2021)
• Diane Wright, Special Education, Prospect Point, 5 years

• Roy Lightle, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 6 years
• Karen Tello, Para-Educator, WWCCF, 3 Years

• Ana Campos, Para-Educator, WWCCF, 6 years
- For the 2021-2022 school year

• Lynette Echevarria, Assistant Secretary, Garrison Middle School, 11 years
- For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year

• Jenny Swagger, Cook, Garrison Middle School, 4.5 years
- For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year

NO SCHOOL for Middle School and High School – March 11-12 (MS & HS Conferences)

Conference Scheduler 

There is NO SCHOOL Thursday, March 11 and Friday, March 12 for middle and high school Parent/Teacher conferences. All conferences will be virtual using Zoom. Parents are encouraged to visit the district or their child’s school website to schedule a virtual conference. Please contact the school secretary for additional information or support scheduling a conference.

Construction rolls on at Wa-Hi

Progress continues on bond-funded projects at Walla Walla High School. Construction highlights include demolition of the Commons interior, additions to the library building, Commons, Auditorium/Music building and main gym fitness center. Contractors are also completely remodeling the the 1960s Science building. See photos and videos at:


School Stories

April 1 Kindergarten Roundup video

Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton (pclayton@wwps.org) is busy planning the Kindergarten and Early Learning Roundup April 1. This virtual event will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Learn about kindergarten, transitional kindergarten and preschool options, including dual language programs. Participants will also hear from principals, teachers and support staff about school readiness. Be sure to get all the information on timelines, registration procedures and helpful resources. Check out her new VIDEO with all the details. 

Whitman Teaches the Movement and Wa-Hi collaborate for Black History Month virtual event

By Tejashree Jadhav, Whitman College Staff Reporter

Whitman Teaches the Movement (WTTM) collaborated with Walla Walla High School to facilitate conversations about Black history during the final week of Black History Month. On Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m., WTTM held a Zoom event focused on the speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer, an African American civil rights activist in the 1960s.

Click on Story Link for complete story.    

ParentCamp registration now open! 

Session information for Virtual ParentCamp Walla Walla is now available. To learn more about the sessions and to register, please go to Event LINK  

Wa-Hi varsity sports LIVE stream on Blue Devil Northwest

Walla Walla High School varsity sports will be live streamed on YouTube this school year thanks to the new student-produced Blue Devil Northwest program. BDNW is managed by the 21st Century Afterschool Program and utilizes students to operate cameras, control board operations, graphics and serve as broadcasters. Visit the Walla Walla High School Athletics WEBSITE for links to live stream broadcasts. 

Community Stories
Pacific Little League Baseball sets 2021 sign up dates

Boys & Girls may sign up to play Pacific Little League baseball now through March 13.
New Division Area Wide Intermediate Ages 11-13 ($75.00); Challengers area wide - physically or emotionally challenged ages 5-20 if still in school ($30); Majors Little League ages 9-12 ($75); Minor Player Pitch ages 7-11 ($75); Minor Coach Pitch ages 5-8 ($75); Tee Ball ages 4-7 ($60). *2021 Baseball Age Chart applies.
· Online: https://clubs.bluesombrero.com/wallawallapacificll
· In Person: Super 1 Foods (in the deli department) Weeknights 5:30-7 p.m. & Weekends 1-4 p.m.
· Information needed: parent signature, copy of state-issued birth certificate and 3 different proofs of residence dated between 2/1/2020 through 2/1/2021 with parents’ name & residence address (one each of 3 different categories listed at littleleague.org / forms & publications)
· Needed: managers, assistant coaches, team parent snack bar, team parent fundraisers (volunteer form required) team & sign sponsors for all divisions.
· Questions: John or Karen Zodnick at jzodnick@bmi.net or cell 509-520-8447

Junior Achievement plans Virtual Spring Break Camp

High school students interested in learning about the stock market and personal stock investing are invited to take Junior Achievement’s Virtual Spring Break Camp in April. This no-cost, two-day series of virtual workshops. students will learn about the stock market and trading from finance industry professionals, and gain access to a multi-week app simulation where they can apply their knowledge of the actual stock market.

Virtual Spring Break Camp
• April 6-7, 2021
• Camp time commitment: 2 to 4 p.m. (both days)
• Sign up here: https://jawashington.org/springbreakcamp/

Additional Information:
Lynn Carlson | Regional Program Development Manager
Southeastern Washington
6855 W. Clearwater Ave., A101-108
Kennewick, WA 99336
Direct: 253-236-0576| lynnc@jawashington.org

Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Update

• St Paddy’s Day Dash Virtual Race – Open to ages 5 and up. Cost is $25.
• Pickleball Clinics – Ages 9-16 years. Cost is $60.
• Spring Soccer – Starts April 12 – Grades K-8. Cost is $40-$70.
• Spring Flag Football – Starts April 12 - Grades 2-8. Cost is $70.
• Pee Wee Multisport Series – Starts April 20 - Ages 3-5 years. Cost is $65.
• T’ai Chi – Classes open to Ages 12 and up. Cost is $48.
• GameSpeed – Ages 8-10 years. Cost is $60.
• Youth Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 8-18. Cost is $60. Equipment provided.
• Adult Fencing – Classes for ages 18 and up. Cost is $75. Equipment provided.
• Ukulele Class - Ages 12 and up. Cost is $65.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes available Youth/Senior/Veteran $60 Adult $70 Family $150.

NEW – Parks and Recreation App! Download it from your App Store/Google Play Store - Walla Walla Parks and Rec!
In need of financial assistance to help with youth program costs? We have simplified the youth scholarship application process for 2021, thanks to private community donations we are able to help with 75% of the program cost! Call 527-4527 or email recreation@wallawallawa.gov us to request a scholarship for your child(ren). The only requirement is that you establish an online account so that we have a place to apply the scholarship.
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, recreation@wallawallawa.gov or parks@wallawallawa.gov.

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