Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - April 23, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District ready for shift to Blue Stage Monday

Walla Walla Public Schools will transition to the Blue Stage of its Safely Reopening Schools plan Monday, April 26 marking the return to full-time, in-person instruction for elementary and middle school students. High school students will remain in the AM/PM hybrid schedule for the remainder of the school year.

Tuesday night, Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith briefed school board members on the steps in place to ensure a smooth transition to the Blue Stage. Facilities and Operations Director Mike Kay led an audit of district classrooms to ensure the classrooms were set up to accommodate the new CDC 3' social distancing standard. Transportation Director John Griffith has reconfigured bus routes and schedules as the district adjusts to the Blue Stage. Griffith is communicating the new bus route information to families this week. Nutrition Services Director Pamela Milleson is prepared for meal services under the Blue Stage guidelines and custodians are ramped up for welcoming the additional students. Middle School sports also resume in the Blue Stage.

“Schools have been busy communicating and coordinating with families this week via flyers being sent home with elementary students, mailings for middle school students, and SchoolMessenger calls,” said Superintendent Smith.

The district will return to pre-pandemic traditional school start/end times.

Blue Stage School Hours:
• Elementary: 8 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Wednesday Early Release – 1:40 p.m.
• Middle School: 8:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday Early Release – 2:30 p.m.

Parents/Guardians/Families honored for Volunteer service

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Typically the school district honors individual volunteers who have made significant contributions and service to the staff and students of Walla Walla Public Schools through the Art Regier Volunteer of the Year Award.

This year COVID restrictions have greatly impacted the ability of volunteers to enter schools and directly work with students. In the spirt of “Grandpa Art” Regier, a retiree who devoted years of service to elementary schools in Walla Walla and epitomized the spirit of volunteerism in education, the school district would like to honor parents, guardians and families this year for their tireless dedication and support of their children during the pandemic.

"Like Regier, our parents and families have shown exceptional service and contributions to the children of Walla Walla Public Schools," said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "Their care, compassion and empathy have helped Walla Walla Public Schools students to continue receiving a quality education during these unprecedented times. I want to thank all of our parents, guardians and families for partnering with the school district to ensure our students remain on track to become Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates."

Blue Stage transition prompts changes to Bus Stops and Times by Transportation Director John Griffith

TRAVERSA Ride 360 

As the District transitions into the Blue stage of reopening, Walla Walla Public Schools will need to make some slight changes to pick up and drop off times. These changes take effect Monday, April 26. Please visit Traversa Ride 360 for your child’s new pick-up and drop-off times as well as route number. I also encourage you to visit your app store and download the free Traversa app. If you are having difficulty navigating the Traversa site and signing up your student for busing services, please contact your school or the Transportation office.

Thank you for your patience during this time of change as we are trying to accommodate all students to all schools on time. Also know we are ensuring your child’s safety during this time of COVID.

Thank you.

John Griffith, Director
Transportation Department
1162 Entley Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Open enrollment and kindergarten registration continues through April 30

Walla Walla Public Schools continues kindergarten registration, dual language program enrollment and open enrollment procedures for the 2021-2022 school year through April 30. See detailed information below for programs available to Walla Walla families. REGISTRATION & OPEN ENROLLMENT 

District installs tents to support outdoor eating

This week the district installed tents at district schools to support COVID protocols for meal services and to provide additional outdoor learning spaces. Special thanks to Koncrete Industries, Inc. for partnering with the district. WWPS installed 25 of the 20’x30’ tents on elementary and middle school campuses.

Walla Walla Public Schools will transition to the Blue Stage of its Safely Reopening Schools plan Monday, April 26 marking the return to full-time, in-person instruction for elementary and middle school students. High school students will remain in the AM/PM hybrid schedule for the remainder of the school year.

WW Dept. of Health Weekly COVID Dashboard Report

COVID Activity Report timeline: April 3, 2021 to April 17, 2021

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

This week’s report reveals local COVID rates increased only one case from the previous reporting period. There are 48 cases combined between Walla Walla and College Place over the last two weeks. There were 47 cases combined during the last reporting period. Washington DOH reports the Positivity Rate for the previous 7 days for the week ending 4/9/21 is 2.2%. All counties now in Reopening Phase 3 as of March 22.

Walla Walla teachers earn National Board Certification

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School Choir Teacher Colleen Hatch and Prospect Point Kindergarten Teacher Amy Heinzman for earning their National Board Certification. To become a Board-certified teacher, eligible candidates must demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practice in their individual certificate area by completing four components: three portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment.

Summer Sol - Summer program features Math & Reading focus with hands-on activities

Tuesday night, Director of Accelerated Learning and Support Brent Cummings updated school board members on the new Summer Sol program being offered this summer to students at all grade levels. This federally funded program is designed to address learning loss and social emotional distress associated with the pandemic.

Cummings said Summer Sol will utilize a best practice 3-tiered model to support student needs during the two, four-week sessions (June 21-July 16 & July 19-Aug. 13) being offered this summer. Students below grade level in K-12 will be recruited to attend one of the two sessions for targeted accelerated learning focusing on math and reading. All students will be eligible to attend both sessions of the mid-day enrichment element of the program featuring hands-on, experiential activities. Summer Sol participants will receive city pool passes and have access to YMCA and Parks & Rec programming during the afternoon hours. More: summersol.org

Personnel Report (from April 20, 2021 School Board Meeting)

Chantell Lopez, Bilingual Music Teacher (2021-22 School Year), Edison Elementary School

Margret Aquino, Bilingual Secretary, Walla Walla Online & Opportunity
Jarreth Bingman, Technology Specialist, District Office
Nadia Chavez-Garcia, Bilingual Assistant Secretary/Receptionist, Opportunity & Walla Walla Online
Leslie (Les) Echtenkamp, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op
Ian McClenny, Custodian, Districtwide
Carlos Montalvo, Bilingual Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School
Cecilia Solis Avelar, Bilingual Para-Educator, Equity and Dual Programs
Mayra Vargas Rodriguez, Assistant Teacher/Para-Educator, WWCCF

McKenzie Bostwick, Third Grade, Sharpstein Elementary School, 3 years
Megan Stadnik, Speech Language Pathologist, Special Education, 3 years

Juanita Butler, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School, 36 years
Gina Cox, Head Secretary, Prospect Point Elementary School, 30 years
Jorge Gallaga, Technology Specialist, District Office, 5 years
Toni Groff, Library Technician, Berney Elementary School, 22 years
Jesselyn Hodgson, Health and Nutrition Coordinator, Head Start Preschool, 3 years
Sherry Orchard, Secretary to Assistant Principal, Garrison Middle School, 19 years
• Sherry is on a Leave of Absence from March 2021 – June 2021
Dulce Perez, Kitchen Assistant, Prospect Point Elementary School, 1 year
Sergio Razo, Director of Technology & Information Services, District Office, 1 year
David Spurlock, Custodian, Lincoln High School, 5 years

April Pulse Video Features Summer Sol

April 2021 Pulse Video 

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith interviews Brent Cummings, Director of Accelerated Learning & Support, on the exciting new summer program Summer Sol - “It’s a Vibe.” Registration opens May 3.

Learn more at: summersol.org

School Stories
Park Street improvement project to impact traffic near Sharpstein & District Office

City of Walla Walla Press Release
S. Park Street from E. Alder Street to Howard Street will be closed to through traffic for utility and road work starting April 27. Starting Tuesday, April 27, 2021, S. Park Street from E. Alder Street to Howard Street will be closed to through traffic for the Park Street IRRP project. Detours will be in place. Please use E. Chestnut Street or Bryant Avenue to route around the construction zone. Sewer main replacement will be the first underground utility work to take place.

The Park Street portion of the project is expected to be complete by September 2021. During the closure, emergency vehicles will not have access through the work site.

For more project updates and road closure information, please visit the GoWallaWalla.us website.

2nd Ave banner promotes preschool programs

Thanks so much to Pacific Power for mounting the Walla Walla Center for Children & Families banner on 2nd Ave. announcing registration is now open for next fall’s programming. WWCCF offers free preschool & Transitional Kindergarten, health services, mental health support, meals, transportation and much more.
Registration & More Information: WWCCF website 

Berney Elementary Principal featured on KNDU TV discussing overcoming challenges during COVID

Berney Elementary Principal Michelle Carpenter was a guest on KNDU TV’s Wake Up Northwest broadcast April 20. In her Madeline Motivates series, reporter Madeline Carter reached out to Carpenter to find out how staff and students developed grit to overcome challenges associated with COVID.

National Junior Honor Society students at Garrison Middle School support local food drive

Garrison Middle School students are helping restock shelves at the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank by partnering on a Food Drive now through April 30. Community members may drop off food items at Garrison Middle School (906 Chase Ave.).

All items will be donated to BMAC, which serves 4,000 meals per day in five counties. Non-perishable, unexpired items can include canned vegetables, fruits, dried beans and peas, canned soup and stews, instant noodles, baby food, infant cereal, tortillas, dried peppers, low sodium nuts, healthy snack packs or crackers. The need for food assistance is ongoing. BMAC reports one in six people will visit a food pantry this year; 67% of those served are children and seniors, and donations of $1 translate into $6 of food assistance.

In spring and summer, the nonprofit agency provides free perishable food and fresh produce to those who need it. They deliver food to low-income seniors ages 60 and older. BMAC’s gleaning at local farms, gardens and grocery stores helps bring fresh produce to those in need. The agency buys produce from local farmers, which increases fresh produce intake and helps sustain local agriculture. The organization also provides hundreds of middle school and elementary students with weekend meal bags on Fridays and school breaks through its Backpack Bridge program. BMAC is now at 8 E Cherry St. For more information, call 509-529-4980 or at Garrison call 509-527-3040.

FFA Plant sale April 28-30

Walla Walla High School students and staff in the FFA program are excited to bring customers an amazing selection of plants during their Spring Annual Plant Sale.

Plant Sale Information:
• Dates: Wednesday, April 28 to Friday, April 30
• Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Location: CTE building lawn area
• Parking will be on Abbott Road with easy access to the plant sale area
• Cash, check or credit card will be accepted
• Information and preorders: Arch McHie (amchie@wwps.org)

Strengthening Parenting with Love & Logic classes available this spring

Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton announces Strengthening Parenting with Love & Logic virtual classes available this spring. The classes will be provided in three, one-hour sessions on Zoom, covering different topics.

“We’ve put together three, short to the point parenting sessions to provide tips and strategies for parents with children of any age,” said Clayton. I’m hoping these opportunities provide some help for parents who feel they have been floundering during the last year.”

Session 1: Turn your Words into Gold
• April 27; 7-8 p.m. (Zoom)
• Wouldn’t it be great if our children and youth listened the first time? Join us to learn how to make your words count in a way that’s both loving and direct.

Session 2: No One Wins a Power Struggle
• May 4; 7-8 p.m. (Zoom)
• Parenting can be hard and it’s natural to argue when tensions are high. Learn tips on how to avoid the age-old battle of wits with our children and youth, the number one challenge that parents face.

Session 3: How to Build a Parent/Child Relationship that Lasts a Lifetime
• May 11; 7-8 p.m. (Zoom)
• Our families are micro-communities meant to care for one another. Join us to discover what a family team can look like, and how to put drops in each other’s buckets.


District plans Virtual ParentCamp event 

• Thursday, May 20
• Event features a discussion with author Diana Graber about digital literacy through her book “Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology.”
• Learn more about Graber and her work in digital literacy by visiting the following site:
• Register at www.bit.ly/parentcampww
• Questions: Contact Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton – pclayton@wwps.org

Community Stories
Blue Mountain Land Trust features film festival celebrating the environment 

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival for School Age Children arrives online in the Blue Mountain Region on Monday, April 26th. This is the seventh year in which the Blue Mountain Land Trust (BMLT) has partnered with the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) to share these films to inspire and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and our communities while creating a positive future for the next generation. Festival-goers can expect award-winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, wildlife, environmental justice, and more. There are three sessions. Age groups: K-4, 5-8, and high school.

The Blue Mountain Land Trust does more than conserve land; they connect people to the land through their Learning on the Land educational programs. Natural resources education opportunities like the Wild & Scenic Film Festival help build a connection to cultivate a love for exploring the outdoors and create a passion for protecting the Blue Mountain region for years to come. Activities will be posted on BMLT website to pair with each session. Families and teachers can visit bmlt.org/events for more information and register for FREE access to the online film festival. Activities for the classroom are available upon request: katy@bmlt.org

Videos are On Demand April 26 to May 3
Admission is FREE.
Families and teachers need to register to receive access to the festival at: bmlt.org/events
For questions contact Katy Rizzuti at katy@bmlt.org

Camp Invention returns this summer

Energize your kid’s creativity and confidence with our new Camp Invention® program, Recharge! This nationally acclaimed program will be offered to Wall Walla via hands-on immersive activities at home with virtual collaboration with friends July 5-9, 2021.  Students in grades K-6 will enjoy hands-on, open-ended STEM challenges.

They’ll take apart a microphone to explore its inner workings, build and test a device to launch rubber ducks, and design morphing vehicles for the Super Road Rally! Each activity is designed to inspire curiosity, spark imaginations and give your young innovator the best summer ever. Visit https://experience.invent.org/ to learn more about the Recharge program. 

Save $30 using SUM30! invent.org/mylocalcamp by April 30, 2021.

Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Update

Looking for work? We are hiring Ambassadors! This position will provide extensive customer service to citizens and visitors downtown. $13.69/hr.

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
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.
• Symbol Quest – Interactive journey for all ages to discover the stories etched in stone throughout Mt View Cemetery – Cost is $20-$30 (customer hoodie included).
• Lifeguard Certification/Re-Certification – Ages 15 and up (must be 15 by May 25). Cost is $85/$175.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Grades K-8. Cost is $30-$40.
• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball – Ages 12-16 years. Cost is $60.
• Blue Mountain Pre Tee Ball – Ages 3-5 years. Cost is $40.
• Adult Softball League – Ages 16 and up. Men’s and Co-Ed Leagues.
• Pickleball for All – Ages 16 and up. Cost is $45.
• T’ai Chi – Classes open to Ages 12 and up. Cost is $48.
• 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 – Phase 3 allows for the pool to operate as normal while maintaining social distancing. THIS MEANS THERE WILL BE OPEN SWIM!! April prices Youth/Senior/Veteran $70 Adult $80 Family $170. Prices will increase on May 1.

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

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.

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