Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Sept. 10, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

Superintendent Smith reflects on 20th Anniversary of 9/11

For those of you who have been part of our Walla Walla Schools community for some time, you likely recall that one of my traditions comes once a year around this important time period. As I have, and will continue to do, I encourage each and every one of you to find time this Saturday, during a much-deserved weekend break, to reflect on what now marks the 20th anniversary of the darkest day in recent American History. A day when nearly three thousand five hundred lives were lost on American soil. Twenty years ago today terrorists hijacked four civilian planes with the intention of striking fear and panic into the hearts and lives of every American. 
While the ongoing pandemic, return to full time learning and the safety and health of our community is surely at the top of everyone's mind, it is important that we take time to reflect and honor the civilians and heroes whose lives were tragically cut short that September morning. As we are all reminded, on September 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, claiming almost 90 lives aboard the plane. Shortly after, at 9:03 a.m., some 60 innocent passenger lives were lost when United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. Rushing to aid those in the impacted buildings, over 400 New York City firefighters, rescue workers, law enforcement, and others perished along with the 2,700 civilian inhabitants, when the two buildings collapsed not long after the plane impacts.

At the same time the towers began to fall, a few hundred miles from New York, nearly 40 passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93 gave their lives averting a deadly attack on our nation’s capital, bringing down the hijackers and the plane over a farm field in the state of Pennsylvania. Marking the last of the tragic events that morning, at 9:37 a.m., under the hijackers control, American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, killing all on board and 125 people in the complex.
That evening President George W. Bush addressed our nation. He began his message with, “Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts.” He went on to note that, “these acts were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”Since that catastrophic day twenty years ago, our way of life has been impacted forever. Additionally, thousands more lives have been lost by the brave men and women who defended our county as we continued our war on terror. And while our occupation and mission just recently sunset, we continue to honor the courageous soldiers who carried out heroic duties on our nation's and people's behalf.  At one time it was hard to believe that we had students too young to remember the events of September 11. Now, it is even more difficult to comprehend that many of our colleagues are not old enough to recall this catastrophe. For me personally, and I assume still many of you, I remember the day with chilling clarity as I watched the events unfold in disbelief, side by side with my students in my high school science room.

As we reflect on the anniversary of this tragedy, much can be learned over the two decades since this event. More so than ever, especially in light of events that continue to unfold in our political scene, it remains critical to persevere messages of tolerance and compassion. As our great nation continues her debate over these topics, here in Walla Walla Public Schools we continue to be the example with messages of belonging and standing up to injustice. As President John Fitzgerald Kennedy once said, “Our task is not to fix the blame for the past, but to fix the course for the future.” As we reflect, remember and honor those who perished on that September morning twenty years ago, and the thousands after who defended our freedom abroad. Let us not forget that tolerance for each other and tolerance for each other’s beliefs, cultures, customs, ethnicity, and appearance must be central to our learning.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 hijackers’ prejudice for our country, our freedom, and our way of life resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives. Please take the time to reflect on this event, thank those who serve to protect our way of life, honor those who have served our country in previous eras, and remember that lack of tolerance is what fueled this tragedy.

Respectively,Dr. Wade Smith, Superintendent

Friday, Sept. 17 - Early Dismissal for Students

Early Dismissal Times:
• 11:45 a.m. - Preschool and transitional kindergarten students at the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families
• 11:40 a.m. - Elementary students (K-5)
• 12:25 p.m. - Middle and high school students (6-12) – Note: SEATech dismisses at 12:15 p.m.
• Note: Lincoln High School students utilize a different schedule and will not have an early dismissal September 17.

Early dismissal days are an opportunity for staff to participate in professional development opportunities to support student learning.

Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide continues to be the second leading cause of death for children and adolescents. Rates of ideation, hospitalization and deaths by suicide remain alarming.

The district will be teaching students age-appropriate lessons in healthy and unhealthy communication, healthy coping skills, how to help a friend, and when to seek a trusted adult for support.

This year WWPS is able to expand the Sources of Strength Program to Garrison, Pioneer, Wa-Hi, and Lincoln. Sources of Strength is a program that promotes seeking help and developing coping strategies.

If you or a loved one need support REACH OUT! The local Crisis Hotline is (509) 524-2999, the National LifeLine is (800) 273-TALK (8255), or you can text HOME to 741741. Staff and students can also reach out to their school counselor for additional supports and resources.

Personnel Report (from September 7, 2021 School Board Meeting)

Idolina “Nina”Martinez, Temporary Second Grade Dual Language Teacher, Green Park Elementary School
(2021-2022 school year)
Zachary Roberts, Special Education Autism Teacher, Green Park Elementary School
Jason Schafer, Fourth Grade Dual Language Teacher, Edison Elementary School

Carolina Bruno, Bilingual Assistant Secretary, Berney Elementary School
Countess Bunker, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School
Grace Fritzke, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary School
Ruben Garanzuay, Bilingual Campus Support, Garrison Middle School
Dacia Kasenga, Temporary Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School
(2021-2022 school year)
Michelle Koskela, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Marcus Melton, Temporary Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School
(2021-2022 school year)
Richard “Corey” Moore, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op
Angelique Paull, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School
Gladys Salgado Quezada, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School
Nicole Violet, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School
Tatiyanna Wells, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School

Kathy Carranza, Walla Walla High School, 9 years
Darren Crowell, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation, 2 years
Martha Flores-Rojas, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School, 9 years
Trudy Morris, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 26 years
Anne-Marie Notaras, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School, 20 years
Lauri Richardson, Bus Assistant, SE Washington Transportation, 7 years
Teri Turner, Kitchen Assistant, Berney Elementary School, 10 years
Alisha Walker, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School, 1.5 years

Certificated: Tanya Esquivel, Fifth Grade Teacher, Green Park Elementary School, 2 years
• For the 2021-2022 school year to complete her Master’s
Classified: Yahaira Cruz, Head Start Assistant Teacher, WWCCF, 7.5 years
• For the 2021-2022 school year
Miranda McGee, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School, 2 years
• For the 2021-2022 school year

District releases quarantine learning contingency plans

Walla Walla Public Schools has developed contingency plans for continued learning should individual students, classrooms or entire schools be required to quarantine if COVID outbreaks occur in schools. Note, fully vaccinated students do not have to quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms. Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) addressing continued learning plans under different quarantine scenarios.


Q: When would my child need to quarantine?
A: Per WaDOH, if they are less than 3ft from an individual with COVID-19 for at least 15 cumulative minutes over a 24 hour period.

Q: How will I be notified?
A: Families will be notified personally if their child needs to quarantine and be provided instructions on monitoring, returning to school, and testing options that may expedite their return.

Q: How long will my child need to quarantine?
A: If your child is fully vaccinated, or recently recovered from COVID in the last 3 months, they do not need to quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms. All other students are recommended to quarantine for 14 days per WaDOH guidelines. Students may be permitted to return a few days earlier, if symptom free, and they test negative under the district’s testing protocols.

Q: How will my child's educational needs be met during quarantine?
A: Unless an entire classroom or school is required to quarantine, educational activities will be handled in a traditional out-of-school absence manner. This consists of daily work prepared by your child's classroom teacher(s) that is picked up at school, delivered to the home, or provided to the student electronically (e.g. via email or Google Classroom assignments).

Q: Under what circumstances will an entire classroom need to quarantine?
A: Per WaDOH, when multiple laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students occur in a classroom within a 14-day period, where transmission can be linked to in-classroom spread, entire classrooms may need to quarantine. This is more likely to occur at the elementary level since vaccines are not available to students under 12. Classroom quarantine at the secondary level would only impact non-vaccinated students.

Q: What would learning look like for a quarantined classroom?
A: At the secondary level, whole class quarantine of all students would be rare due to the vaccination status of many middle and high school students. Under most classroom quarantine circumstances, non-vaccinated students would be sent home and receive individual educational activities provided by their teacher(s). Under an extremely rare condition, where all students in a class (vaccinated or not) are required to quarantine, the learning will consist of “zooming” to receive live instruction during their regularly scheduled in-person class time with their specific teacher. Under both scenarios, students will receive individual work from their remaining non-quarantined teachers/classes. At the preschool/elementary levels, teachers will “Zoom” with students live from 8 to 9:30 a.m. to deliver age-appropriate instruction/experiences. In addition, teachers will also provide age-appropriate independent learning activities students/families can accomplish independently. Teachers will remain available throughout the day for student/family questions/support. Students receiving special education, language services, or other supports will be contacted to coordinate appropriate service delivery during their 14 day or less quarantine period.

Q: Under what circumstances would an entire school need to quarantine?
A: After consultation with local health officials, if there are multiple quarantined classrooms or uncontrolled viral spread at your child’s school, it may necessitate the entire school to quarantine for up to 14 days to ensure safety and curb transmission.

Q: What would learning look like for a quarantined school?
• At the secondary level: Day 1-Family communication and technology pickup for specific families (WiFi hotspots, student Chromebooks left at school). Day 2-Learning plan commences where students will “Zoom” with their teacher and classmates per their current in-person bell schedule.

• At the elementary level: Day 1-Family communication and technology pick up at school for specific students/families. Day 2-Learning plan commences at 8 a.m. with live virtual learning as noted above. Additionally, other specialists provide learning/engagement options for students/families (e.g. school wide physical education activities, school wide music experiences, etc).

To learn more about quarantine processes, testing availability, and other school safety measures, visit the district’s Safely Back to School website at: https://www.wwps.org/safelyback

School Stories
New Pioneer Middle School website

This summer Pioneer Middle School Assistant Principal Rob Ahrens teamed with Julia Herres of Walla Walla Webweavers to build a new school website. The new website features an easy to find news section on the homepage, a slideshow, announcements, events, parent updates and much more. Ahrens said they reviewed all the content and removed information that was no longer necessary to improve navigation. Check it out at: https://www.pioneer49ers.org/

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. https://wallawallaathletics.com/ or our Fine and Performing Arts Events Calendar at: https://wahibluedevils.org/c-p/courses/fine-performing-arts/events-calendar

Community Stories
American Dream Academy helps families prepare for college

Walla Walla Community College is hosting FREE American Dream Academy workshops this fall to help prepare families for the transition from high school to college. Sessions are available in both English and Spanish and childcare is provided. Walla Walla Public Schools is a community partner in this series. Learn more at:
- https://www.facebook.com/events/593174061854692/?active_tab=discussion

Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club hosts fall camp

Youth in the Walla Walla Valley, from ages 10 to 18 years old, interested in improving and learning baseball skills and playing scrimmage games, have an opportunity this fall with three free training sessions.

The Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club, which oversees the Bears, Bruins, Griz and travel baseball programs down to age 10, is hosting the fall camp on three consecutive Sundays — Sept. 26, Oct. 3 and Oct. 10. Those from 14 to 18 years of age will go from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. and those 10 to 13 will go from 2:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. Both groups will be at Murr Sports Park at Abbott Road and Fern Avenue. Registration for the camp opens Monday, Sept. 13, at clubs.bluesombrero.com/wwvwabaseballclub.

These clinics aim to serve a wide variety of experience levels — those with extensive baseball training to those with limited exposure to the game. Skills will be taught by coaches with college, high school and club ball experience. Those attending the camps will have an opportunity to learn more about the Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club teams for athletes ages 10 – 19 competing in 2022 along with the club’s indoor winter training programs. The Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club is a strong supporter of the Walla Walla Valley and Pacific Little League programs.

The efforts of the WWVBC are not intended to replace or compete with the Little League experience, but to provide additional travel opportunities for players to continue developing in the game. Along with skill building, players will have an opportunity to play with and against their friends in controlled scrimmages. Those with further questions can contact WWVBC President Corey Braunel at walla2baseball@gmail.com.

Experience Hip Hop culture at Whitman College

The Mellon-funded 5th Element Project presents free workshops in Bboying/Bgirling, Graffiti, Music Production, Popping, and more on Saturday October 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Whitman College's Reid Campus Center.  Join guest artists for a panel discussion on Hip Hop culture from 2 to 3 p.m., then return for Break into Summer, a 2 v. 2 Bboy/Bgirl crew battle, from 4 to 9 p.m. Guests from across the U.S. and Canada will be there to teach, perform, and share their knowledge.  In accord with Whitman College policy, proof of full vaccination will be required to enter. Please see our event page for details, and email Peter de Grasse at degraspg@whitman.edu  or Eric Hamilton hamiltew@whitman.edu to sign up for a workshop.  https://www.facebook.com/events/2967305643303842/?active_tab=discussion

City of Walla Walla Parks and Rec Update

• All Comers Track Meet – September 25th - Ages 1-12 years.  Cost is $3 (pre-register) or $5 (onsite registration)

• CJoy – Ages 12 and up.  Cost is $11-$95.

• Fencing (Youth/Adult) – Ages 8-18.  Cost is $60-$75. Equipment provided.

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

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, recreation@wallawallawa.gov or parks@wallawallawa.gov

Like us on facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr.  Follow us on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/wallawallapr/.
Walla2Hoops AAU basketball club tryouts 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. 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

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