Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Aug. 27, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Back-to-School Pulse Video

Back-to School Pulse Video

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith shares important Back-to-School updates in preparation for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Superintendent Smith provides an overview of the state mandated COVID safety protocols as the district gears up to welcome students back for full-time, in-person instruction Sept. 7. 

First Day of School
  • First day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 7 (Kindergarten and Preschool start Sept. 13)

  • Full-time, in-person instruction (following Safely Back-to-School protocols)

  • All schools are now open for business in-person

  • Please slow down in school zones and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks

Back-to-School Guide

This week the district released its new electronic Back-to-School guide. It has several helpful quick links, important dates and timely information.

Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days – Sept. 1-5

Stop by the district’s Information Booth at the Education Building during the fair. Pick up a free book for your child and all your back-to-school information. The information station is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Education Building is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. See you at the fair!

Fern Avenue and Abbott Road intersection improvements - By City of Walla Walla

The city of Walla Walla, Walla Walla County and Walla Walla Public Schools are working together to improve the intersection at Fern Avenue and Abbott Road. The current configuration is extremely wide, resulting in long pedestrian crossing distances and uncertainty for motorists. In addition, only those traveling on Abbott Road are currently required to stop. These conditions create a safety hazard for anyone traveling through the intersection.

The city, county, and school district pooled funds to hire a traffic engineer to recommend solutions. The traffic analysis considered several options, including a compact roundabout, but the recommended long-term solution for the intersection is a four-way stop. Improvements recommended with the change in traffic control include curb extensions to allow for better visibility and shorter crossings for pedestrians; improved street lighting; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant pedestrian ramps; and bicycle lanes. The partnership project plans to seek grant funding for the improvements in 2022, with construction targeted in 2024.

In the short term, the city made interim changes to the intersection to improve safety prior to the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. The interim upgrades include adding stop signs on Fern Avenue, and traffic markers to shorten crossing distances and better define travel lanes at the intersection. The four-way stop is now in place.

Back-to-School Safety Summit

This week WWPS held its Back-to-School Safety Summit at the SEATech Skills Center. School safety teams from across the district conducted tabletop drills and mapped out their plans for the year.

Walla Walla Public Schools meets state Emergency Preparedness requirements outlined in RCW 28A.320.125. The district’s plan focuses on crisis prevention, management and recovery. School Safety Teams reviewed drill and reporting requirements and discussed and role-played several emergency scenarios. This year’s safety awareness communications campaign will continue to stress: See Something, Hear Something, Say Something.

Investing in our Children’s Safety:
• Funds a full-time Walla Walla County school resource officer (SRO)
• Employs five Walla Walla Public Schools campus support staff
• Maintains Incident Command System (ICS) teams & emergency plans
• Conducts lockdown, evacuation, earthquake and shelter-in-place drills
• Ensures principals & response team staff are National Incident Management System trained
• Utilizes proactive threat assessment procedures
• Implements research-based bullying prevention program
• Supports Blue Devil Strong, Sources of Strength and Reach Out suicide prevention campaign
• Performs regular trainings/simulation exercises with police & other first responders

Anonymously report bullying, harassment, threats of violence, suicide, drugs, weapons and other safety concerns in the following 4 easy ways:
1. PHONE - 855.976.8772
2. TEXT - 855.976.8772
3. EMAIL - 1057@ALERT1.US
4. WEB - 1057.ALERT1.US

School Stories
Free admission to all Wa-Hi home games and drama productions

Attention Blue Devil fans! All Walla Walla High School home games and drama productions are now free for everyone to attend. The decision to drop all ticket fees aligns with the district’s Strategic Plan initiative of engaging the community in school activities.

“We want the community to come out and support our students, coaches and advisers,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Most community members no longer have children in schools so it’s not easy for them to stay connected with the school district. Sports, music performances and theatrical events are a great way to bring people together and celebrate our collective accomplishments.”

Senior citizens will no longer need their Gold Cards to get into games at no cost. Anyone wishing to attend home athletic contests for free simply needs to show up. Parents/guardians must accompany all middle and elementary aged children while in attendance. Some theatrical events, like drama productions and musicals, will require pre-registration to ensure seating capacities are not exceeded. Masks are not required to attend outdoor events like football, soccer and cross country. Per the Governor’s order, masks are required, regardless of vaccination status, for all indoor activities.

“Our Strategic Plan continues to guide our decisions and we are proud to put these initiatives into action,” said Superintendent Smith. “We remain committed to reducing barriers to engage in our schools and are proud of our school board’s commitment toward community involvement in our schools.”

Visit the Walla Walla High School Athletic Department’s website for game schedules and information, or our Fine and Performing Arts Events Calendar.

Walla Walla High School students named to Congressional Youth Advisory Committee

Walla Walla High School Juniors Mikaile “Miki” O’Connell-Joshua and Jackson Adams were named to Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ Youth Advisory Committee. McMorris Rodgers, U.S. Representative for Washington's 5th congressional district, established the committee with the primary purpose of advising her on youth perspectives and providing participants an opportunity to learn about and get involved in government.

This group will consist of High School juniors and seniors from across the 5th District who will come together a few times a year to provide input on federal issues. Participants will get a close-up view of Congress and understanding of the legislative process and representative government.

“I really look forward to beginning work next month,” said Adams. “We will start to advise the Congresswoman on this year’s policy decisions that will have a tangible impact on my life.”

“I am really looking forward to working with new people and representing the needs of my peers,” said O’Connell-Joshua. “I hope from this experience I am able to help fight for what is most important to me and our community.”

Earlier this summer Adams participated in the Emerging Rural Leaders program at the University of Chicago which challenges participants to share ideas for changing rural education to have a positive impact on the community as a whole.

O’Connell-Joshua is involved in the Walla Walla Dance Company. She enjoys cooking, is a Wa-Hi Girls League officer and a member of Green Club and Interact Club.

O’Connell-Joshua and Adams are also members of Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith’s Student Advisory Council. Dr. Smith nominated both of them for a position on McMorris Rodgers’ Youth Advisory Committee.

“I recommended them for the position after seeing their leadership skills on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee,” said Dr. Smith. “I’m excited to see them shine and grow as leaders in this new advisory role.”

2021-2022 Open House Schedule

Berney Elementary
• None this school year

Edison Elementary
• None this school year

Green Park Elementary
• None this school year

Prospect Point Elementary
• None this school year

Sharpstein Elementary
• None this school year

• Tuesday-Friday, September 7-10, time TBD, (“Family Connection Meetings”)

Garrison MS
• Tuesday, August 31, 3:30-6:30 pm (“Meet and Greet Event”)

Pioneer MS
• Tuesday, August 31, 3:30-6:30 pm

• Monday, August 30, 10:00-3:15 pm (“Freshman and New student orientation”)

Lincoln HS
• None this school year (home visits instead)

• Date and time TBD

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU basketball club tryouts and parent meeting for 2021-2022 season 

After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Walla2Hoops AAU Basketball Club is opening tryouts for boys and girls in grades 2-8 from throughout the Walla Walla valley to make a team for the 2021-2022 season. Tryouts will be held Sunday, Sept. 19 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at the Walla Walla High School main gym. Walla2Hoops is also planning a Parents Meeting Monday, Aug. 30 at 6:00 p.m. at Garrison Middle School. Parents will learn about the program, associated costs and tournament opportunities. Coaches are needed for the 2021-2022 season.

All players must have a current AAU card and tryout. No spots are guaranteed or held over from a previous season. All players must register online before tryouts. Visit www.w2hoops.com and click on "Join W2Hoops" to register.

2021-2022 Walla2Hoops AAU Tryout Schedule – Sunday, Sept. 19 at Walla Walla High School
• Grades 2-4 (boys and girls) – 12 to 1 p.m.
• Grades 5-6 (boys and girls) – 1:30 to 3 p.m.
• Grades 7-8 (boys and girls) - 3:30 to 5 p.m.
• Coaches needed

The 2021-2022 AAU basketball season runs from October 2021 to March 2022. The club consists of approximately 21 teams and nearly 200 athletes. Players represent Walla Walla Public Schools, College Place Public Schools, Assumption Catholic School, Touchet School District, Rogers Adventist School, Dayton School District, Waitsburg School District, Weston School District, St. Basil Academy and homeschool students. Now in its fourth year, Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington expects a lot of excitement following the COVID shutdown.

“We are anxious to get our athletes back on the court and competing is the sport they love,” said Price-Huntington. “We have safety protocols in place to keep everyone safe and healthy as we work through the pandemic.”

Walla2Hoops is a 501C3 Non-Profit basketball club which operates under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Walla2Hoops provides an enriched basketball environment with a mission to create a positive competitive culture focused on developing character and basketball fundamentals.

• Email: walla2hoops@gmail.com
• Facebook: walla2hoops
• Mail: PO Box 3383 – Walla Walla, WA 99362
• Club Contact: President Matthew Price-Huntington – 509.956.9695

Camp Fire After School Program Registration

Registration is open at www.wwcampfire.org for Camp Fire’s on-site After School Programs at Berney, Edison, Green Park, Prospect Point, and Sharpstein. Operating from immediately after school until 5:30pm, Camp Fire After School Programs include a snack, homework and reading time, crafts, games, sports, and a variety of other enriching activities. Pre-registration is required at least one week prior to attending. Space is limited. 

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