Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Jan. 21, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

Snow Make-Up Day - June 20

Washington State requires districts to make a minimum of 180 school days available to students each school year.  As a result, the school calendar will need to be extended by a day to make-up for the cancellation that occurred on Thursday, January 6.  Attached is an updated school calendar.  Please note that Friday, June 17 is now a full day, and Monday, June 20 is the last day of school.  If additional school closures are made then calendars will be adjusted accordingly.

Get free at-home COVID-19 tests

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Order your tests now so you have them when you need them.

Click HERE to order. 

Board approves school year calendars

School board members approved calendars for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years during their Jan. 18, 2022 business meeting.


Terri Trick takes oath of office

Tuesday night Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith administered the Oath of Office for school board member Terri Trick. Mrs. Trick begins her second term on the school board. She was appointed to the WWPS Board of Directors on May 29, 2018 and was elected in 2019 to complete the term and re-elected in 2021.  Her current term ends in 2025. Mrs. Trick moved to Walla Walla in 1983. She and her husband Roger have three grown children, all of whom graduated from Wa-Hi. She has been an educator in Walla Walla for over 30 years.

Highly Capable Referral Period  

Walla Walla School District's Highly Capable programming provides students of high academic and intellectual ability with designated time to explore concepts in greater depth. The goal of the Highly Capable Program is to encourage the development of higher level thinking skills.

Information on Highly Capable Program services and the 2022 referral process is currently available on the district website. Referral forms are available in all district schools and on the district website. Click HERE

The annual selection process for in-district students takes place in late winter/early spring. Following the testing and selection process, all parents will be notified in writing of the results of the process.

Students in 2nd and 5th grade will all take a cognitive abilities screener in February. Results of the screening process, along with other data points, will be used to determine which students will be recommended to participate in the next steps of the identification process. Parents will be notified of screening results in early March.
• Parent/guardian referral paperwork will be due March 23, 2022.

Parents/guardians of students in K, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade should talk with their child’s teacher(s) at conference time to determine if Highly Capable testing is recommended. Parent/guardian referral paperwork is due dates are by grade level.
• K/1st: March 29, 2022
• 3rd/4th: March 9, 2022
• 6th-8th: February 2, 2022

Students in grades one through eight selected for Highly Capable programming will begin services at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. For more information, please contact Carrie LaRoy, Assessment Coordinator. claroy@wwps.org or 526-6786.

Personnel Report (from Jan. 18, 2022 school board meeting)


Shawn Reser, Special Education Teacher, Berney Elementary School

Alex Breland, Grounds Worker, Facilities and Operations
Paul Michael Carpenter, HVAC Technician, Facilities and Operations
Laura Cuellar, Assistant Secretary/Records Clerk, Special Education Department
Juan Martinez, Bilingual Campus Support, Walla Walla High School
Megan Morris, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School
Lizeth Saucedo, Bilingual Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School
Kaitlyn Toomey, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School


Michele Briones, 3rd Grade Teacher, Prospect Point Elementary School, 30.5 years
Lori Dohe, English Teacher, Walla Walla High School, 31 years
David Larson, Special Education Teacher, Walla Walla High School, 28 years
Mary Ann “Missy” Newcom, Speech Language Pathologist, Special Education, 14 years

Will Garcia, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School, 2.5 years
Karen Neher, Intervention Specialist, Lincoln High School, 25 years
Annaliese Shafer, Head Start Assistant Teacher, WWCCF, 2.5 years
- Was on a leave of absence since November 2021
Tamara Sirmon, Head Start Instructional Coordinator, WWCCF, 1.5 years
Heather Usko, Intervention Specialist, Teaching and Learning Department, 9.5 years
Jeff Warner, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School & Green Park Elementary School, 2 months


Julie Wiley, Learning Specialist, Prospect Point Elementary School, 17 years
- For the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year

Communities in Schools update

Tuesday night Director of Accelerated Learning and Support Brent Cummings shared how Communities In Schools of the Blue Mountain Region is having a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of district students and their families. Services are offered at all district elementary schools.

"They have worked diligently to ensure new and existing community partnerships are maximized for the benefit of all our young people at each school, focusing on a range of school-wide, targeted, and individual programs and supports," said Cummings.

Ruben Alvarado was recently hired to lead the launch of Communities In Schools in the Blue Mountain Region. He joins CIS with years of nonprofit and community development experience and he has served as a City Council member for the City of Pasco. He says he has a strong desire to build teams and partnerships that improve the quality of life of our communities, students and families, in particular students who have historically experienced the greatest inequities in public systems.

At each elementary school site, a Communities In Schools staff member coordinates a comprehensive range of services to support the holistic needs of students—both academic and non-academic—so they come to school ready to learn.

"Communities in Schools is enhancing learning opportunities in our elementary schools through their dedicated approach to mobilizing community resources to address academic and nonacademic barriers for our students and their families," said Cummings.

The Student and Community Advocate will partner with school staff and local community service partners such as social service agencies, youth development partners, businesses, health care providers and volunteers to connect students with much needed resources.

School Stories
Longtime Walla Walla High School principal to retire at end of school year

Walla Walla High School Principal Ron Higgins will wrap up his 37-year career with the school district at the end of the school year as he recently announced his retirement plans. Higgins has been principal at Walla Walla High School since the 2017-2018 school year.

“I’m one of the most fortunate individuals in the world," said Higgins. "I’ve never had to work a day in my life. It’s been so enjoyable coming to work every single day.”

Principal Higgins has an extensive professional background at Walla Walla High School dating back to 1985 when he began his career as a math and computer science teacher. He has also served as Assistant Principal at Pioneer Middle School, Assistant Principal at Walla Walla High School as well as the district's Director of Assessment and Technology during his nearly four decade tenure for Walla Walla Public Schools. He holds a Master’s of Educational Administration Degree from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Carroll College.

“I will truly miss our campus walk-abouts, the energy and vision he has brought to our school campus community, and leadership in helping support our historic bond improvements,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “His legacy as a teacher, administrator and colleague is one that will be revered and codified as one of Walla Walla's finest.”

The district has initiated a comprehensive search for Wa-Hi's new principal. Click HERE to see the job posting. The posting closes Feb. 7, 2022. When finalists and interview dates are finalized, the community will be informed and encouraged to participate and provide input to the selection committee.

Pioneer Café cafeteria grand opening

Today Pioneer Middle School students were treated to ice cream, prize give-aways and festive environment as part of the grand opening of the new Pioneer Café. This modern and spacious cafeteria was made possible as a result of the successful November 2018 bond election. The bond project included a brand new kitchen and dining spaces. The café can seat all students during the two lunch-time program. A new six entry menu was unveiled which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and milk.

“It’s amazing to see what our community has provided for us,” said Nutrition Services Director Pamela Milleson. “We wanted this to be an exciting day to get students back into the cafeteria. The kitchen facility is amazing and beautiful and it’s a fantastic day.”

Phase One bond projects were recently completed. They include the remodeled 1950's gym, new locker rooms, new auxiliary gym/fitness center, new entry addition, new cafeteria and renovated 1950's wing and classroom addition. Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith took School Board President Ruth Ladderud and board members Eric Rindal and Derek Sarley on a tour of the new and improved facilities at Pioneer MS.

“I don’t even have words to describe how my heart feels to see all of the kids enjoying these amazing new facilities,” said Mrs. Ladderud. “The promises kept on the bond are so exciting for our community and children.”

Phase Two projects at Pioneer, which include additions to the main building for science and art classrooms, are underway and will be completed by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

Stay Connected!
- Website: https://www.wwps.org/bond
- Twitter: @bondwwps

Walla Walla Public Schools Bond Program – Delivering on Our Promise

Winter Reading Challenge a success 

While it was snowing outside, students and staff at Garrison and Pioneer Middle Schools were helping produce snowflakes in the libraries too! Through the month of December and the first half of January, students and staff at both middle schools read books and documented their reading by displaying a snowflake in the library. Between the two schools, almost 1000 books were read during the challenge. Pioneer topped the contest with 522 books and Garrison hosted the top reader of the contest, eighth grader Josie Van Dyke, who read 58 books for the challenge. Top winners received a coupon for a scoop of ice cream at locally owned Pine Cone Creamery as well as a book and other fun prizes. As top reader, Josie was allowed to name a new flavor at the Pine Cone Creamery. Owners Kory & Rachel Nagler gave the generous donation of free scoop coupons to support the challenge and encourage students and staff to enjoy reading during the winter months.

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU 5th grade basketball teams qualify for state 

Walla2Hoops AAU Basketball Club’s 5th grade boys team and 5th grade girls team qualified for the State Basketball Championships in Spokane in March with second place finishes at the Adidas Martin Luther King Jr Tournament in Lewiston.

5th Grade Boys
Coach: Luke Ashley
Brock Ashley
Brandon Fry
Logan Hale
Beckam Mills
Graeson Parsons
Parker Reavis
Braydon Shivell
Bryson Smith
Tyce Wood

5th Grade Girls
Coach: Kevin McNeil
Elizabeth Burt
Molly Franklin
Lilliana Garcia
Makayah Lawyer
Julissa Martinez
Raelyn McNeil
Jayla Ortiz
Gracelynne Pearce
Breelyn Smith

“Our teams continue to earn spots at state thanks to their hard work and desire to compete,” said Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington. “I’m so proud of their accomplishments and willingness to do what it takes to improve and play at a high level.”

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. For more information about the club or to provide donations for the scholarship program, contact: walla2hoops@gmail.com.

AAUW announces annual book sale – Feb. 18-20

The 57th Annual AAUW (American Association of University Women) Book Sale will be held February 18 - 20 at the Marcus Whitman Hotel.  Sale hours will be Friday and Saturday, 9 am – 7 pm; and Sunday, 9 am – 4 pm.  Approximately 40,000 high-quality books, CDs and DVDs, sorted into 40 categories. Paperbacks $2.50.  Hardbacks $4.  Each child receives a free book from the picture or chapter book sections.  Rare and collectible section priced individually.  Proceeds fund scholarships for local women returning to college, and educational projects and events.

Parks & Rec Update

• Youth Volleyball Clinic. Open to boys and girls grades 4-8. Cost is $50.
• Father-Daughter Ball March 5. Open to all ages. Cost is $20 per father.
• Mother-Son Superhero Bash February 12. Open to all ages. Cost is $20 per mother.
• Spring Soccer League. Open to boys and girls grades K-8. Cost is $50.
• Pee Wee Multisport Series. Open to boys and girls ages 3-5. Cost is $50.
• Fencing for Youth and Adults. Cost is $20-$75. Ages 8 and up.
• 2022 Season Pool Passes are on sale. Prices will increase again on February 1
• The Pottery Painting Studio hours are Thursday and Friday 4pm-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm.

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.

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