Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - October 22, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Remember to Vote!

Ballots for the November 2, 2021 General Election have been mailed out to voters. Please remember to vote! Contact the Walla Walla County Elections Department for more information. Ballots must be returned or postmarked by Nov. 2.

You may drop off your ballot at:
County Elections Office - 315 W. Main St., Room 203
• Open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Election Day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. This is the only location to get a replacement ballot.

County Auditor's Office - 315 W. Main St., Room 201
• Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This office cannot issue replacement ballots. These offices are closed on Federal Holidays.

Walla Walla ballot drop boxes - open until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day
• Walla Walla County Courthouse - 315 W. Main St. (Drive up box between Courthouse and Jail, enter on 5th Ave.)
• Walla Walla County Elections Center - 310 W. Poplar St. (Corner of 5th and Poplar)
• Fire Station #2 - 170 N. Wilbur Ave. (Drive up box in parking lot)

Walla Walla County Elections
315 West Main St., Room 203
PO Box 2176
Walla Walla, WA 99362
• 509-524-2530

Personnel report (from Oct. 19, 2021 school board meeting)

• Brooke Cramer, Health Clinician RN, Garrison Middle School & Pioneer Middle School
• Julia Kajita, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School & Berney Elementary School
• Jeanette Nuno Herrera, Head Start Associate Teacher, WWCCF
• Timothy Wik, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op

• Nadia Chavez, Bilingual Secretary, Opportunity, 6 months

Annual Educational Effectiveness Parent Survey remains open until Oct. 29

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.

Earlier this month 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 month. 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.

English Language Learners and Dual Language Program annual update

Tuesday night Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith, Director of Equity and Dual Programs Dr. Julie Perron and Long-term English Learner Program Specialist Amy Kasenga shared an overview of the district's English Language Learners programs.

Since the school board voted in March 2017 to approve a recommendation from the Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee (BERC) to improve the program, several gains have been made. Students are scoring above the state average on English Language Proficiency Assessments, Dual Language program enrollment remains strong, Spanish is offered in middle school and the number of students earning their Seal of Biliteracy has doubled from a few years prior.

The BERC recommendations centered around increasing academic performance for non-English speaking students and program alignment related to curriculum and professional development. Currently the district serves 763 English Language Learners and approximately 1/3 are considered Long-term English Learners because they have not reached proficiency in English after receiving services for five or more years. Kasenga was hired to her new role this school year to put systems in place to help students who have stalled in their progress.

"These students are socially bilingual, but they are academically stagnant," said Kasenga.

Dr. Perron says the district is making this a focus area.

"We're really targeting those students who are still English Learners after so many years," said Dr. Perron. "Our plans are to increase their abilities in English by specifically designed instruction, more support and consistent monitoring."

WWPS Service Models
English Learning Development: Students not participating in dual immersion receive ELD support in small groups (dedicated) and within the classroom (integrated). This is available at all elementary schools, as well as middle and high school.

Two-Way Dual Immersion Programs: An approach that targets two language groups of students with two languages of instruction (Spanish and English). Kinder begins with 80% instruction in Spanish, and 20% instruction in English. This is the model in place at both Edison and Green Park.

Supportive Mainstream: An approach that monitors and supports EL students within the general education setting, with scaffolding as needed, small group instruction and teacher teaming.

Next steps for the program:
• Calibration of dual programs, K-5 with World Language Options
▪ Expand middle school dual language
▪ Continue to create equitable environments for all English learners
▪ Provide after school tutoring opportunities
▪ Promote services to Migrant families
▪ Identify HS Long-term English Learners in the “supportive mainstream” who need ongoing intervention, utilizing one-on-one conferences and flex time group support
▪ Promote/expand Seal of Biliteracy

School Stories
Admission fees for playoff games

Wa-Hi fall sports teams are gearing up for the playoffs. Mid-Columbia Conference and Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules require admission fees for fans to attend playoff games. Cost is $7 for adults and $5 for students. Students will need to show their student ID.

For games schedules, visit: https://wallawallaathletics.com/

Wa-Hi band members named to state honor band

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School senior band members Suzanne Nicault and Aaron Christopherson for being selected for the 2021 Western International Band Clinic. WIBC is an honor band festival of four bands of about 150 members each. The event takes place each year the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Sea-Tac Double Tree Inn.

“It is similar to an All-State experience except it is just for bands,” said Band Director Andrew Ueckert. “After a year off because of COVID, it’s great to see this awesome festival back, granted with many special protocols due to COVID.”

Suzanne and Aaron submitted an mp3 audition.

“They did a great job on their auditions and both made it in to the top band,” said Ueckert.

Principal Spotlight – Marci Knauft

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.

Lincoln High School principal Marci Knauft believes she was destined to be a teacher. Her grandma was an elementary teacher and Marci loved to hear her stories of her grandma teaching in one-room school houses throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her great aunt Mabel was also a teacher and Marci looked forward to looking through the books and materials she saved from her classroom, many of which she still has in her collection of keepsakes.

Marci’s mother tells stories of how as a little girl Marci would line up her teddy bears and begin teaching them. She loved school from day one and always saw herself becoming a teacher. But before her time in a classroom would eventually come, her life’s journey would take to the inside passage of Alaska to help support her family. This experience helped Marci develop the grit and determination she still models daily at Lincoln High School.

Marci was born in Newberg, OR and grew up in the Portland area. She attended Auburn Adventist Academy boarding school in Auburn, WA her junior and senior years of high school. During the summers of her high school years, she would travel to Elfin Cove, Alaska to work as a nanny for families of the commercial fishermen. This majestic natural wilderness was accessible only by floatplane or boat. Soon it was time to make a decision on college and Marci elected to enroll in Walla Walla College, now Walla Walla University, in the lush valley deeply rooted with her extended family. She majored in Elementary Education with minors in Psychology and Special Education.

Marci continued traveling to Elfin Cove during the summers of her college years to earn money for her education. For the first two summers during college, Marci and her brother teamed up to operate a hand trolling 22’ fishing boat. She would spend up to 14 hours a day fishing for salmon and would earn $200 to $1200 a day depending on how many fish they could hand crank into the boat. This was especially good money 30 years ago! Marci bragged she would clean a salmon in 19 seconds during her prime. Once an orca came so close to the boat she could have reached out and touched it.

Her parents owned the only restaurant in Elfin Cove so Marci joined them in the business the last two summers of her college years. She would help her family make meals from scratch for the hungry fishermen and their families. The restaurant was open seven days a week and her work days were often from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. She said the restaurant was best known for its delicious cinnamon rolls. Marci still enjoys cooking to this day and utilizes many of the skills in her own kitchen she learned from her days in the remote Alaskan restaurant.

Marci’s time in Alaska came to an end when she landed her first full-time job for Walla Walla Public Schools at Berney Elementary and started the first Special Education self-contained classroom. Marci has an extensive background in Special Education. She holds a master’s degree in students-at-risk from Walla Walla College, is nationally certified in Special Education and has taught numerous college-level courses on the subject. She held her position at Berney for eight years before transferring to Paine Alternative High School, now Lincoln High School, to work in special education. A career highlight for Marci was having her mother, who had retired from restaurant business in Alaska and relocated to the Walla Walla valley, serve as her para-educator at Paine for four years. Former Special Education Director Betty Schubert has a special place in Marci’s heart for serving as her mentor over the years. Marci has been at the helm of Lincoln High School as its principal for the past eight years.

When she is not working at Lincoln High School, Marci spends time teaching the 3 to 5-year-old children at the Walla Walla University Church each week. She also enjoys gardening, yard work, crafting, and antiques. She and her husband Ted met in high school. They have four children - Dominic (26), Quinton (24), Peyton (19) and Lexington (15) and a 4-year-old granddaughter, Alice. Marci also has two cute black and white terriers.

Here is what staff are saying about Marci:
"I admire and appreciate Marci, because she is so hard working. It's easy to respect and appreciate the hardest working person in the building. She is the most teacher supporting principal I have ever had." Terry Klinefelter, teacher.

"I appreciate so many things about you (Marci), but in particular, just this month, I am grateful to you for regular graciousness and understanding in my on-boarding process. You've made it so easy to join the team! Thank you!" Victoria Lidzbarski.

"Marci brings everyone onboard and supports us anyway she can. She is a seeker, looking for new ways to keep kids on track to graduation." Pat Kofler, teacher

Marci Knauft is well known across the district for being a hard worker. Her early years in Alaska helped shape her into the leader she is today. Thank you for dedicating your professional life to help the youth of Walla Walla realize their hopes and dreams.

Principal Spotlight – Rick Kline

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. Green Park Elementary Principal Rick Kline was born and raised in the Spokane Valley. As a child he grew up in a single-parent home. It was at Pratt Elementary, when 6th grade teacher Dave West entered his life. Rick recalls how Mr. West was somewhat of a father-figure during his elementary school years. He appreciated how he truly cared about all of his students and would share his life stories with his class to help connect with students. Rick learned the importance of respecting his classmates and teachers to ensure a positive school community. Four decades later, Mr. West, now Dave to Rick, continue to stay in touch. They have played on church softball and basketball teams together as well as attending Spokane Chiefs hockey games. Rick says his time at Pratt Elementary were the best years of his schooling and Dave West was a big part of that experience.

Rick spent a few years following graduation from Central Valley High School as a firefighter and a decade in the medical industry. But ultimately, Rick wanted a similar school experience for other children so he pursued a career in education. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in K-8 Education (Math and English) from Eastern Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership, also from Eastern Washington University.

He had a passion for mathematics and wanted to instill his love for the subject with his students. He taught at University Elementary in the Central Valley School District for seven years where he taught 3rd and 4th grades in a looping model so he would have the same students two consecutive years. Rick knew he wanted to help make a positive impact on students attending lower socio-economic schools. This is why he pursued his leadership credentials so he could focus on positively impacting as many students as possible on any given day. He spent a year as principal in Portola, California in the Plumas Unified School District. He had a chance to return to the Pacific Northwest as principal in Sandpoint, Idaho. He then moved to Coeur d’Alene, ID to take a principal position, before moving to Walla Walla in 2018 to take the Green Park Elementary principal position.

Rick is a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan, and he also follows the New York Mets and Seattle Seahawks. He has been involved in numerous youth coaching stints in soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball, especially when his children were younger. He also refereed high school football for 10 years and remains active and supportive of many of the youth organizations throughout the region.

Rick and his wife Tara of 26 years met while both were working in the laboratory at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. They enjoy spending time together in the kitchen preparing and trying new foods. Rick enjoys riding his road bicycle and rode from Seattle to Portland three years ago. He also enjoys spending time at his lake house and boating on Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho.

Rick’s daughter Tristina is an emergency room RN at Valley Hospital in Spokane, WA. His son Ryan is currently a student at the University of Idaho. Rick and Tara recently adopted five chickens, although they are new to "farming" chickens, so far they love having them as part of the family.

Here’s what staff and students are saying about Rick Kline:

“Mr. Kline is a cool principal because he helps people.” – Angel, 2nd grade

“Mr. Kline is a good principal. I really liked that he gave us five extra minutes of recess for having the best attendance.” – Keagan, 2nd grade

“Rick is a great person to work with. What I enjoy most about Rick is his leadership skills. From my first day at Green Park, he has made me feel welcomed and comfortable enough to be able to go to him when I need direction.” - Jose Maya, 5th grade Dual Language Teacher

“I really appreciate how Rick allows teachers to lead the building work. He lets us shine in our respective roles and provides a good framework to support all the teachers.” - Rebecah Boeckman, 2nd grade teacher

Thanks to Green Park Elementary Principal Rick Kline for giving back to the community to ensure Walla Walla children have access to a quality education and positive school experience.

Principal Spotlight – Jenny Foster

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.

Edison Elementary Principal Jenny Foster was born in Oregon City, Oregon and graduated from Central High School in Independence, OR. She was a self-described farm girl growing up on a 500-acre grass seed farm her grandfather purchased just 30 miles down the road from Salem. Money was tight for the family and Jenny realized at a young-age the importance of doing her part. She learned to drive a truck at age 10 and operated an assortment of farm equipment during her teens. Despite her blue-collar roots, Jenny knew by age eight she wanted to be a teacher.

During her junior year of high school she applied to be an exchange student through a program sponsored by the local Rotary Club. Jenny was accepted into the program and soon found herself on a plane to Bogota, Colombia. She attended a K-12 all girls Catholic school in Colombia. She had two years of French in high school prior to her trip, but didn’t know any Spanish when she arrived on foreign soil. She spent the first few months of her stay in second grade learning Spanish, but transitioned to the junior classes within four months of her exchange. By this time she was fully fluent in Spanish. Although she was only 16, Jenny soon realized she wanted to teach high school Spanish. She spent an entire year in South America as an exchange student fully immersed in the language and culture. All of her classes, which included advanced math and science, were taught entirely in Spanish. She would travel to beautiful beaches in the area for vacations and spoke exclusively in Spanish. Not only did her Spanish language skills greatly improve, Jenny matured, learned to juggle more responsibilities and was determined more than ever to find her path to teaching.

Throughout her 33 years in education, Jenny has continued to live and travel in other Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico, Spain, Costa Rica, and Peru. These experiences have allowed her to grow as a world citizen. She strives to use her experiences to make connections with students about the importance of language and cultures. Although she has not made it back to Colombia to see her former school and surroundings, she has it on her to do list.

Jenny is a lifelong learner with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education from Oregon State University, master’s degree from Western Oregon University and principal certificate from the University of Washington. Her most influential educator while growing up was her high school English teacher Mr. Jamison. He was the first teacher to have high expectations of every student, build trust and respect through positive connections with students. She recalls his teaching style was fun and meaningful. Mr. Jamison loved the legendary band the Rolling Stones and would use their song lyrics to help students learn metaphors, similes and other forms of grammar. Jenny enjoyed these lessons so much she adopted the same strategies in her teaching years later.

Jenny has vast professional experience including 24 years in the classroom teaching high school Spanish in schools across Oregon and Washington. She also taught college-level Spanish at Oregon State University for five years before transitioning to K-12 administration as an Associate Principal at Mercer Island High School for two years

Now in her second year as a principal of Edison, Walla Walla Public Schools’ highly touted wall-to-wall Dual Language school, Jenny has the opportunity each day to show her love, respect and passion for supporting students, their families and teaching staff. She continues to grow in making her school a place where everyone feels valued, heard and a sense of belonging. Jenny’s Spanish skills are put to use daily and her rich understanding and respect of different cultures is modeled with staff and students alike.

Outside of work, Jenny loves cooking, traveling, gardening and spending time with family. She and her husband Robert have three grown children - Jackson (US Army 2nd Lt. stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord), Henry (firefighter in Richland) and Lily (studying elementary education at WSU), and one granddaughter.

Here is what staff and students are saying about Jenny:
I appreciate Mrs. Foster so much! Her energy is contagious and her passion for her team and the kids is so motivating. She is someone I look up to and I'm so grateful to have her as my boss/mentor/friend! Gracias por todo y sigue como eres! - Mrs. Estrada

"The lengths that Mrs. Foster goes to for students, staff, and families are immeasurable. She will stop whatever she is doing to help anyone in need. There isn’t a job that she isn’t willing to take on in the building. From crossing duty to covering in the office and answering phones, she never hesitates to jump in and help wherever needed. I admire her dedication to her work and everything she does to help the school run successfully. I am so thankful for Mrs. Foster and all that she does!" Mrs. Michels, secretary

"Mrs. Foster is the best principal ever." - Azael Garduno, student

"You're the best! You're nice and kind!" - Maily Crisostomo, student

"She's the best principal because she always helps the students that need help!" - Maddy Chang, student

"She's the best principal because she takes care of us." - Daniel Pedroza, student

Edison Elementary Principal Jenny Foster had the courage to leave her home at age 16 and travel to a foreign country to learn about new cultures and language. Jenny’s experiences learning a new language helps her relate with the students at Edison in the dual language program. She gives them hope, helps them overcome their fears and challenges them to persevere. Thank you Principal Jenny Foster for your leadership ensuring Edison students have the support and systems in place to become bilingual and biliterate.

Community Stories
Camp Fire Afterschool Childcare at Walla Walla Center for Children and Families
Camp Fire is currently in the licensing process to open an Afterschool Childcare Program at the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families. Registration details and an opening date are yet to be determined. To receive updates, please add your name to the Interest List at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2VLTKXF
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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