Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 15, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board Regular Business Meeting (online, virtual ZOOM meeting)

• Tuesday, Oct. 19
• 5:30 p.m.
• Meeting open to the public (online, virtual ZOOM meeting)
• Supporting documents are available via the followinglink: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997
• Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
• Watch: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/97574534232
• Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782

District seeks parent/guardian input through annual Educational Effectiveness Survey

Walla Walla Public Schools is teaming with the Center for Educational Effectiveness to administer the annual Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES). This anonymous survey tool is used annually to help the district better serve parents and students through its commitment of continuous improvement. The district will use the data to track progress towards its Strategic Plan goals and initiatives.

This week the district began administering the survey to parents. Parents are asked to complete a separate survey for each child's school using their own electronic devices. Paper copies are also available by request from the child’s school and have been mailed to homes. The survey, available in multiple languages, takes about 10 minutes to complete and is accessible online using the link sent to parents and guardians. The parent survey closes Friday, Oct. 29. Students and staff are also taking the Educational Effectiveness survey.

“This survey helps the school district get a full picture of how staff, families and students perceive their school and their place in it,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This year it is especially important to get this feedback as the district begins preparing for its next five year strategic plan.”

The district is also conducting their regular statistically reliable community telephone survey of Walla Walla citizens. This annual phone survey provides the school board input on how well they are doing in their governance and policy role. The district encourages community members to respond to the survey if they are one of the randomly selected telephone recipients.

The 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.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Monday WWPS joined the nation in celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples' Day celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT #IndigenousPeoplesDay

Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Walla Walla Public Schools is investing to create a We All Belong Here school culture. School counselors are busy in classrooms teaching lessons on Character Strong, Harmony and Panorama curriculum.
See Something, Hear Something, Say Something!

Bullying Reporting 

Website Resources

Monthly Bond Report

Construction continues at Walla Walla High School, Lincoln High School and Pioneer Middle School following the successful 2018 bond election. Each month the district publishes a Projects Update Report and Master Budget Dashboard. These reports are part of the Bond Oversight Committee’s work to ensure accountability and fiscal transparency. WWPS - Delivering on Our Promise!

September Bond Report 
Oct. 1, 2021 Master Budget Dashboard 

Care and Share Food Drive

Walla Walla Public Schools is teaming with the Walla Walla Association of Realtors for the annual Care and Share Food Drive. All food donations go to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank to support those in need. Look for food barrels in schools throughout October to make a donation.

Contact Peter Swant (pswant@kw.com) for volunteer opportunities distributing collection bags. Bags will be distributed to neighborhoods today and tomorrow and collected Oct. 16 and 17.

Thank you for supporting the 40th Annual “Care & Share” Food Drive. You are making a difference for our community!

School Stories
Principal Spotlight – Kris Duncan

October is an opportunity to show your appreciation for Walla Walla Public Schools’ principals in celebration of National Principal Appreciation Month. The school district recognizes the essential role principals play in providing opportunities for students to realize their potential and follow their dreams. This month the district will spotlight its principals as a way of thanking them for their service.

Pioneer Middle School Principal Kristina "Kris" Duncan was a self-described painfully shy freshman at Walla Walla High School when she decided to give the FFA program a try. She met retired teacher Mike Martin and it changed her life. Mr. Martin was the FFA Advisor and coordinated the Agriculture Education program at her alma mater. Kris remembers how Mr. Martin had a gift for finding the hidden talents in his students and challenging them to embrace these gifts. Before she knew it, Kris was utilizing her quick wit and critical thinking skills as a national competitive speaker. This was her launching pad to becoming a teacher, which started at Walla Walla Community College where she earned an Associates of Arts degree and continued in Walla Walla by earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Whitman College. She holds a Master’s Degree from Eastern Washington and has an administration credential from Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Duncan’s first full-time teaching job was 8th grade Language Arts at Columbia Middle School in Burbank. As a young teacher she remembered what it was like to take biology class from Mike Mahan at Walla Walla Community College. She says Mr. Mahan made all students feel welcomed and celebrated. She said he was so passionate and excited about his subject that students could not help be excited too. She has modeled this example throughout her 20-year career in public education, which includes a decade at Wa-Hi as an English teacher where she helped launch the Big Blue Weekend program to improve school culture and climate.

Kris transitioned into administration seven years ago with her first stint as an Assistant Principal at Davis Elementary in College Place. She is in her 5th year as principal at Pioneer Middle School. Kris said she followed her heart into education because she wanted to change the world and believed the best way was to be a teacher. She enjoys being around young people because they are resilient, funny, kind, flexible and generous. For Kris Duncan, true love is spending her days with students. You’ll often see her joking with students in the lunchroom, dressing up in costumes for the holidays and cheering for the Pioneer 49ers at games.

Kris also enjoys giving back to her community. She was an advisor for Walla Walla Wagonettes, a horseback drill team. She has volunteered for the Sherwood Community Trust and has been a public speaking coach. When away from work, she loves getting outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and gardening. She’s a big Seahawks and Mariners fan. Kris married her high school sweetheart Bill and they have two school-aged children. Their 15-year-old daughter Molly is a sophomore at Wa-Hi and 17-year-old son Billy is a senior. Billy Jr. played baseball on the Walla Walla Valley All-Stars that made a run to the Little League World Series in 2017. Her dad was a City of Walla Walla police officer and her mom was a para-educator at Wa-Hi.

Here’s what staff and students are saying about Kris:

“Kris was my high school English teacher. She has a way of making everyone feel at home here at Pioneer Middle School, from her students to her staff. I’m truly grateful to be working with her as part of our office team. - Erica Marroquin Salgado, Assistant Secretary

“Mrs. Duncan is all about the kids. Her compassion and love for them shows through the time she invests to make Pioneer Middle School a safe, fun and engaging place to learn!” - Angie Butler, Science Teacher

“Mrs. Duncan is very funny and has a great sense of humor. She's very kind to others and can always put a smile on my face.” – Student Adriana Cruz

“You are an amazing principal and are the reason this school is great.” – Student Nathaniel Chavez

Thank you to Pioneer Middle School Principal Kris Duncan for dedicating your professional career to advance the learning opportunities and experiences for Walla Walla youth.

Wa-Hi Band takes second at Autumn Leaf festival

Congratulations to the Walla Walla High School band and director Andrew Ueckert for taking second place in the Autumn Leaf Festival (4A category) in Leavenworth.

“It was wonderful that they were able to have the event this year and our kids did great,” said Ueckert.

The event organizer Linda Bradshaw congratulated the Wa-Hi band for its success and thanked them for participating to make Autumn Leaf Festival successful.

Community Stories

AAUW Pop-Up Book Sales

You are invited to attend the October AAUW (American Association of University Women) Pop-Up Book Sales, which will be held at the former YWCA Ice Chalet on First and Birch, Saturdays and Sundays, 9 am – 5 pm.  Saturday, October 23, will feature children’s picture and chapter books, priced at $.50 each.  Children (14 and younger) each receive one free book.  Young adult books and science fiction will be available on Sunday, October 24, with paperbacks priced at $2.50 and hardbacks at $4.00  Credit and debit cards will be accepted, along with checks and cash.  Masks are required for all shoppers over age two and occupancy is limited to 20 shoppers at one time.  Proceeds from the sale fund local scholarships for women returning to college, and local educational projects and events.

City of Walla Walla Parks and Rec Update

• Pottery Studio is open Thursday/Friday 4pm-7pm and Saturday/Sunday 11am-3pm.
• Pumpkin Carving Contest (FREE) – Ages 3-12. New location at 1st and Main. October 28.
• Open Arts and Crafts Studio Time (Spanish and English) – Ages 8 and up. Cost is $14-$20.
• Fencing – Ages 8 and up. Cost is $20-$75.

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

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 

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