Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 19, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Annual parent survey open through March 31

District seeks parent input through Educational Effectiveness Survey

Walla Walla Public Schools is seeking feedback from key stakeholder groups through the Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES) as an extension of the District’s Strategic Plan and commitment to continuous improvement. This anonymous survey tool is used annually to help the district better serve parents and students.

This week the district launched the survey to parents. Parents will have an opportunity to complete the survey using their own electronic devices. Paper copies will also be available by request from their child’s school. The survey, available in multiple languages, takes about 10 minutes to complete and is accessible online by visiting the following website. Parents are asked to complete a separate survey for each child's school. The survey closes March 31.

Parent Survey Link 

Students and staff are also taking the Educational Effectiveness survey. The district will use the data to track progress towards its goals and initiatives.

Survey questions were developed by the Center for Educational Effectiveness, a Washington-based educational research firm, in collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State. This survey has been used with over 750,000 educational stakeholders in the Western U.S. and provides a powerful tool for district staff to benchmark current school perceptions with high-performing schools across the nation.

Local COVID numbers continue to decline

COVID Activity Report timeline: Feb. 27, 2021 to March 12, 2021

Every Monday, Walla Walla Public Schools posts the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health’s COVID-19 Activity Report. This report, provided weekly to regional school districts, is what the Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors has used to guide school reopening.

This week's report reveals local COVID rates dropped again from the previous reporting period. There are only 21 cases combined between Walla Walla and College Place over the last two weeks.

Walla Walla Online exceeds expectations in first year 

Walla Walla Online Director Carina Stillman and educators Alison Kimball, Stacy McPherson, Tressa Baker and Amy Ford provided school board members an update Tuesday night on the district’s online school.

Walla Walla Online was formed last summer after parents and students voiced a desire for an alternative learning setting for health and safety reasons amidst the pandemic. Rather than lose these local students to a national online program, Walla Walla Public Schools’ leaders began researching how to create a K-12 program in Walla Walla. The first step was promoting Carina Stillman to director and partnering with a vendor to provide the online curriculum. The district partnered with Edgenuity for core subjects in English/Language Arts, math, science and social studies. Electives are also offered.

Initially the district estimated it would serve about 200 students, but demand increased as the program was discovered. Currently there are 413 active students enrolled, with 665 total students served at some point during the school year. Stillman and her team reported on several success stories for the year. Approximately 80% of elementary students are experiencing great success. A total of 569 high school credits have been earned and the school boasts a 94% middle and high school pass rate. Also, 34 middle and high school students earned straight A’s.

In recent surveys, parents and students alike provided high marks for the program and its staff. Program schedule flexibility is a hit with families as well as the students’ ability to work at their own pace. Teachers report they have forged strong partnerships with families and enjoy the collaborative culture of the school. Stillman says she expects approximately 200 students to enroll next year.

Leonard Adams says farewell to district

For the past 25 years, children in Walla Walla have been in the good care of Leonard Adams while riding school buses to and from school. Last week he clocked out for the final time, wrapping up his 30 years of employment with the school district. Prior to getting behind the wheel of a big, yellow school bus Adams served as a teacher’s aide and was the district’s first-ever campus security officer.

This position was a natural fit for Adams who spent three decades with the Walla Walla Police Department in a variety of law enforcement roles before transitioning to education. Adams attended Edison Elementary and Pioneer Junior High School before graduating from Walla Walla High School in 1957. He also did a three year hitch in the Army as an ordinance specialist before returning to Walla Walla to begin a career in law enforcement.

Adams was famously known around the transportation department for sharing his love of history, especially telling stories of Walla Walla he encountered during his life. Adams’ father was also a school bus driver for part of his career and Leonard’s son Scott is now employed as a driver to mark three generations of Adams serving the community as school bus drivers. Adams said he was fortunate to get paid for doing something he cherished so dearly. He said his heart is filled with precious memories and his love for the children of Walla Walla will always be with him.

Pioneer MS bond project video update

This week Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith recorded a video of the Pioneer Middle School bond project. Contractors poured concrete for the office and cafeteria additions this week.


Stay Connected!
• Bond website: wwps.org/bond
• Follow us on Twitter - @bondwwps
• Email – wwpsbond@wwps.org
Live Video Construction Site Feeds

Personnel Report (from March 16, 2021 School Board Meeting)

Mariano Ledesma, Elementary Dual Language Teacher (2021-22 School Year), TBD

Nikkolena Riley, Special Education Para-Educator, Lincoln High School

Hollis Erikson, English and Humanities, Pioneer Middle School, 7 years
Misha Guderian, Band and Choir, Pioneer Middle School, 5 years
Keith Reardon, Physical Education Specialist, Prospect Point Elementary School, 21 years
• Keith was on a Leave of Absence for the 2020-2021 school year

Leonard Adams, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 29 years
Peter Hixson, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary School, 4 years
Karen Larson, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 7 years
Jennifer Mann, Para-Educator, WWCCF, 2 years
Nathaniel Paine, Para-Educator, Lincoln, 3 years
Araceli Romero, Secretary to the Director, Opportunity/Walla Walla Online, 2 years

Jen Hein, Science Teacher, Walla Walla High School, 8 years
• For the 2021-2022 school year
Nilda Williams, 2nd Grade Teacher, Edison, 25 years
• For the remainder of the 2020-21 school year

Walla Walla Public Schools sets April open enrollment and kindergarten registration dates for 2021-2022

Walla Walla Public Schools announces an April 19 date for kindergarten registration, dual language program enrollment and open enrollment procedures for the 2021-2022 school year. See detailed information below for programs available to Walla Walla families. REGISTRATION & OPEN ENROLLMENT 

Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Two-Way Dual Language Kindergarten Registration
• Walla Walla Public Schools’ Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten registration period will begin April 19. The registration process should be completed online by visiting https://www.wwps.org/schools/information/registration. Paper registration packets are available upon request by calling your home/attendance area school or the district office at 509-526-6717.
• If you would like your kindergarten child to participate in the district’s Two-Way Dual Language Program, housed at Edison and Green Park Elementary Schools, please complete the online general registration process (https://www.wwps.org/schools/information/registration) and mark “dual programming.” Also, complete the kindergarten dual application found at https://www.wwps.org/departments/equity-and-dual-programs/dual-language-program/kindergarten-dual-language.
• If you have a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten student starting school in the fall of 2021, please join us at our virtual Kindergarten and Early Learning Roundup on Thursday, April 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Elementary Open Enrollment
• Elementary parents/guardians, who live in the Walla Walla Public Schools’ district boundary and wish to open enroll their child to a different WWPS school outside their attendance area, will see paperwork come home with their child the week of April 12 and information will also be available on the district’s website.
• Open Enrollment forms will be accepted at your child’s attendance area school starting Monday, April 19.
• Priority will be given to forms returned starting April 19 and through April 30.

Middle School Registration & Open Enrollment
• Look for information coming home with fifth graders the week of April 12 regarding middle school open enrollment and registration for 2021-2022.

Choice Transfer for students living outside the WWPS boundary
• Parents/Guardians, who live outside the Walla Walla Public Schools boundary and wish to Choice Transfer/request enrollment into the WWPS boundary, will need to complete a Choice Transfer Request online. 

Open enrollment requests for Walla Walla Public Schools will be granted according to priorities outlined in School Board Policy & Procedure 3130. The priorities are also listed on the backside of the open enrollment paperwork.
Policy 3130   
Procedure 3130   

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all schools, the Administration Office at 364 S. Park St, and online.

Seasonal allergies or COVID-19 By Health Services Director Amy Ruff

Springtime in Walla Walla is a beautiful time of year. Unfortunately, in addition to warm weather and budding plants...pollen counts rise and seasonal allergy sufferers...suffer.

This year, in addition to the start of seasonal allergies, we continue to monitor symptoms for possible COVID-19 cases. How do you know which is which?

COVID-19 and seasonal allergies share many symptoms, but there are some key differences between the two. For example, COVID-19 can cause fever, which is not a common symptom of seasonal allergies. Sometimes, obtaining a COVID-19 test is the best way to determine if your symptoms are COVID-19, or something else. Your doctor’s office can help you decide what is best. Walla Walla Public Schools also offers COVID-19 testing for staff and students. Call your school and speak to a member of the health staff if you have questions.

Managing seasonal allergies is as much about avoidance as it is treatment.
• Keep doors and windows closed to keep pollen out
• Change clothes after exposure, especially when it’s windy
• Shower before bed to remove pollen from your hair and skin
• Use allergy filters in your home, and change them regularly
• Monitor pollen levels in the community daily, and plan activities accordingly
• Over the counter allergy medications are available, and work well if used regularly

Bond Program Update - February 2021

Walla Walla High School
• Building 1 (VoAg) Roofing work completed.
• Building 2 (Old Science), HVAC, plumbing, electrical and drywall continued. New windows being installed new courtyard designed.
• Building 3 (Commons) Interior demolition to prepare for the upcoming renovation and addition. Also, trenches for the addition’s foundation was dug and prepped for concrete. During demo of the garbage enclosure a power main was discovered. It is unknown how the presence of this line will effect overall schedule going forward.
• Building 4 (Library) At the new addition, structural steel was placed, roof framing was initiated, wall framing was prepped and work on the mezzanine deck began. In the portion not occupied, framing, sheet rock and new plumbing/electrical/HVAC systems were installed.
• Building 6 (Gym addition) Slab poured & structural steel.
• Building 7 (Auditorium addition) Structural steel completed, roof and wall framing underway.

Pioneer Middle School
• Jackson Contractor Group brings site to a uniform grade.
• The foundations for the addition were poured.
• The plumbing for the new kitchen and the storm water systems were installed below grade.
• Electrical conduits were placed below grade.
• The new concrete slab was poured in the existing gym and locker rooms.
• The south hall had new subflooring installed and the new walls were furred out to prepare for drywall installation.
• The classroom addition had its slab on grade poured and framing activities for the roof and walls were initiated.
• The site was impacted by weather but Jackson is working with Wenaha Group to see if there are ways to mitigate any delays.

District nears World Language curriculum adoption

New curriculum aligns to state and national standards

Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis briefed the school board Tuesday night on the district’s World Language curriculum adoption for grades 6-12. The district offers French, German and Spanish language choices. It has been 13 years since the last adoption and Krutulis says there are new state and national standards which this new curriculum will align. This approximately $200,000 investment is linked to the Strategic Plan and school board’s commitment to ensure up-to-date curriculum for students. Wa-Hi Spanish teacher Stephanie Garcia is excited about the adoption.

“We are so grateful and appreciative,” said Garcia. “World Language is about communication and making connections and this new curriculum will allow our students to have real life experiences with other parts of the world.”

Orders will be placed in May so teachers have all the materials and training to start the 2021-2022 school year.

School Retirees Appreciation Week – March 15-21

Tuesday night Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith honored retired school district employees in recognition of School Retirees Appreciation Week – March 15 to 21. Superintendent Smith reported the Washington State School Retirees’ Association educates and assists retirees about retirement issues and legislation. They also sponsor scholarships for future educators and engage in local educational activities. Governor Inslee signed a proclamation honoring their service to the state. 

School Stories
Edison Elementary students replicate famous artwork

Edison Elementary teacher Eli Entrena wanted students in her school to have more opportunities to study and appreciate art. She landed on a hands-on project where students and staff select a famous piece of art and then try to recreate it using their own creativity. All students, kindergarten through 5th grade, were invited to participate and then showcase their work on the school’s main hallway as “The Gallery.” Entrena also encouraged students to involve their families.

“They chose the painting first, then they tried to come up with a costume to match the painting, then they pose in that same position,” said Entrena. “If you look at some of the projects, they include creative outfits, their animals and an outside setting, and some included their mom and dad.”

Entrena plans to make a video presentation as a keepsake for the students and their families. She said the response to the project has been very positive and has the students talking about art.

“I hope they enjoy looking at art, not only saying oh look at what somebody did, but rather, look at what I can also do,” said Entrena. “I think the beginning of becoming an artist is believing you can be creative.”

April 1 Kindergarten Roundup 

Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton (pclayton@wwps.org) is busy planning the April 1 Kindergarten and Early Learning Roundup

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. https://www.facebook.com/wwfamiliesandschools/posts/1322269631488810

Community Stories
Camp Fire offering AM/PM in-school programs

Camp Fire Walla Walla is currently operating an AM / PM program model in Edison and Prospect Point. Berney will open March 29, 2021. Our program runs from 7:15-11:55 (AM) and 10:35-3:15 (PM). If your child attends school in the AM session, they would qualify as a PM camper and if they are in school in the PM session, they would qualify as an AM camper.

Camp Fire has an “interested” list for Green Park and Sharpstein. If there are enough families interested in these two schools, Camp Fire will begin operations there. Please email keaton@wwcampfire.org for more information.

The program availability is:
• Berney: 11 AM openings, 11 PM openings (starts March 29)
• Edison: 3 AM openings, 0 PM openings
• Prospect Point: 4 AM openings, 0 PM openings

High School Scholarship Fund hits $160,000 mark

Walla Walla High School Class of 1962 graduate Jerry Zahl reports the Walla Walla Public High Schools Scholarship Fund recently reached the $160,000 mark. Since its inception in 2012, nearly $20,000 in scholarships have been distributed. Scholarships from this fund are awarded to graduates based on need, and who have shown at least an average ability to succeed, according to Zahl.

“The annual amount available for awarding is based on the fund total on June 1 of the previous academic year,” said Zahl. “Remembering that graduation is near, friends of the local public school system and alumni are encouraged to donate at any time.”

To make a donation, contact:
The Blue Mountain Community Foundation
P O Box 603, Walla Walla, WA 99362.
(509) 529-4371.

For help with arranging for a Class reunion presentation, please contact Jerry Zahl at (509) 520-6694 or jkazahl@charter.net.

Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Update

NEW – Parks and Recreation App! Easy access to game schedules, program registration and more! Download it from your App Store/Google Play Store - Walla Walla Parks and Rec

• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Grades K-8. Cost is $30-$40.
• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball – Ages 12-16 years. Cost is $60.
• Adult Softball League – Ages 16 and up. Men’s and Co-Ed Leagues.
• T’ai Chi – Classes open to Ages 12 and up. Cost is $48.
• 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.
• 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 – March prices Youth/Senior/Veteran $65 Adult $75 Family $160. Prices will increase on April 1.

Pottery Studio is OPEN! Thursday/Friday 2pm-5:30pm and Saturday 10am-12:30pm.
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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