Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Feb. 11, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board Regular Business Meeting and Executive Session

Tuesday, Feb. 15
Walla Walla Public Schools District Office (364 S. Park St.)
5:30 p.m. – Regular Business Meeting (open to the public, in-person)
• Watch Live: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/98674933285
• Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 986 7493 3285
Executive Session (immediately following business meeting - not open to the public)

Strategic Plan investments and strategies lead to improved student performance

There is reason to celebrate in Walla Walla Public Schools as data released recently from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reveals performance improvement trends across several areas. Recent data reveals improvement in science, math, English Language Arts, attendance, 9th grade success, graduation rates and discipline.

Five years ago Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith and the school board embarked on a year-long stakeholder engagement and evaluation process that culminated in the development of the school district’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. The results over the past five years have been impressive. Middle school reading and math scores are up. Student participation in extra and co-curricular activities are on the rise. The number of students taking and passing AP exams is higher than ever. Kindergarten readiness scores are up. Graduation rates are at an all-time high and dropout rates are at an all-time low.

“Significant progress has been made since 2017, pointing back to the school board’s strategic planning investments and strategies,” said Superintendent Smith. “The school board established bold performance targets, researched best practices, and invested in staff and strategies to achieve the desired outcomes.”

Recent OSPI Data Release Highlights:

Science Scores Exceed State; English Language Arts and Math Scores Trend Up
• Recent results show the district exceeds state scores on science exams. English Language Arts scores, nearly 9% below state averages in 2017, are now within 3% of state figures. Similarly, math scores have improved considerably over the same period, and are now within 4% of statewide results.

Attendance Rates Exceed State
• WWPS’ attendance rate now exceed state figures, a significant improvement from 2017, when the district was well below state levels. In recent years, the district has implemented home visitor and outreach strategies and made investments to engage students and support families by eliminating fees to participate and increasing access to afterschool clubs/activities.

9th Grade On Track Numbers Exceed State
• The district’s ninth grade on track numbers now exceed state averages, where 77.8% of ninth graders are passing all of their classes. This number has improved 12% since 2017, where the district used to lag 7% behind statewide schools.

Graduation Rates 10% Above State Average
• Graduation rates continue recent trends where nearly 92% of students are graduating on-time, 10% above state levels. In 2017, WWPS was graduating only 75% of their seniors, 4% below state averages.

Discipline Rates Decline
• School discipline rates continue to trend down, marking a 28% decrease in student behavior incidents since 2017.

“These trends are a credit to our incredible faculty, students and community, especially in light of the challenges surrounding the pandemic,” said Superintendent Smith. “Our continued focus towards supporting high quality instruction, aligning systems, addressing social/emotional needs, and engaging all students continues to lead us towards our vision of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.”

School board gears up to develop new Strategic Plan

Tuesday night School Board President Mrs. Ruth Ladderud discussed the steps the school board would take to develop the district's next Strategic Plan. Five years ago the school board embarked on a year-long stakeholder engagement and evaluation process that culminated in the development of the school district’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan.

This planning included more than one dozen survey and community engagement sessions to inform the work and a review of 35 different district performance indicators. The school board established bold performance targets, researched best practices, and invested in staff and strategies to achieve the desired outcomes.

The results over the past five years have been impressive. Middle school reading and math scores are up. Student participation in extra and co-curricular activities are on the rise. The number of students taking and passing AP exams is higher than ever. Kindergarten readiness scores are up. Graduation rates are at an all-time high and dropout rates are at an all-time low.

Ladderud reported the district wants to keep this momentum moving forward with the development of the next Strategic Plan. She noted the district will conduct another comprehensive outreach program in the fall to re-engage staff, students and stakeholders to inform their next strategic planning process. She said the district will widely share opportunities to get involved and provide input when the time comes. This spring school board members will continue reviewing data, engage in an equity audit and breakdown outcomes from the current Strategic Plan. President Ladderud said she expects to have a finalized plan ready to implement at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

Strategic Plan performance indicators trend up

Assistant Superintendent Chris Gardea reviewed progress made on quantitative data over the past four years since the inception of the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. Gardea noted significant progress from 2016 to 2020 following implementation of the district's current Strategic Plan which focuses on improving instruction, aligned systems, social and emotional support and safe and engaging learning environments.

In 2016, Gardea reported only three of the 35 local performance indicators measured showed improvement or exceeded state percentages, and 12 indicators lost ground compared to the state. In 2020, this trend changed drastically with 22 of the 35 indicators representing improvement with respect to the State. The 35 performance indicators measured by the district range from Smarter Balanced results and Advanced Placement courses taken to daily attendance rates and the number or remedial courses taken in college by district graduates.

Gardea said the past two years have been difficult to gauge performance due to the pandemic. Most of the data after 2020 was either not available or is not reliable because of the impacts of the pandemic. He said he is looking forward to moving beyond the challenges of COVID.

School Counselors Celebrate During National School Counseling Week, Feb. 7–11, 2022

National School Counseling Week 2022, “School Counseling: Better Together,” sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), is celebrated from Feb. 7–11, 2022, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems and how students are different as a result of what school counselors do. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

“The special week honoring school counselors provides recognition for school counselors who implement comprehensive school counseling programs, a vital part of the educational process for all students as they meet the challenges of the 21st century,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith.

School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, career options and social/emotional skills.

“School counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators,” said Dr. Smith. “School counselors are integral to student success.”

Visit the ASCA’s website to learn more about the important role of school counselors - www.schoolcounselor.org.

Dual Language Kindergarten Applications Now Accepted

Walla Walla Public Schools is now accepting applications for Dual Language Kindergarten for the 2022-2023 school year. This program is offered at both Edison and Green Park Elementary Schools, and starts students on an academic path in two languages. Dual Language in Walla Walla Public Schools is a K-8 program. Students may continue developing their language skills in high school through the World Language program with the opportunity to earn the Seal of Biliteracy.

"This program is a special opportunity for kindergarteners in our community to become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural students," said Dr. Perron, the Director of Equity and Dual Programs.

Dual Language Informational Videos


More information about this incredible program is available on the department WEB PAGE or by calling 509 526-6791. The application deadline for this program is April 15 so be sure to apply soon.

COVID update by Health Services Director Amy Ruff

Health Services Director Amy Ruff said things are looking up as it relates to COVID. She said the case count at WWPS seems to be mirroring the drop noted by the WW Dept of Community Health and the WA DOH. Ruff said the district is seeing significant slowing in positive cases. Ruff said the district has 2800 rapid COVID tests in the warehouse, and 2500 on order.

Free COVID tests 

Vaccine Clinics at Southgate:
- Fri (2/11/22) 12+ y/o 9am-5pm , and Saturday(2/12/22) 5-11 years of age, 10 am – 4 pm

Testing at Southgate:
- Mon- Friday 8am - 2pm (arrive before 1:30 pm); for making appointment

Testing Tent Info Line 833.562.3621
OTC- State Covid Helpline: 1-800-525-0127

January 2022 Bond Progress Report



The bond program continues to roll on as contractors continue extensive work on Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School to bring these facilities up to the standards needed for today's learning. There is plenty of progress to report thanks to Walla Walla's support.

In January, Pioneer Middle School staff welcomed students into the recently completed Phase One bond projects. Staff took students on a tour of the renovated 1950's gym, new locker rooms and new auxiliary gym/fitness center. They also visited the new entry addition, new cafeteria, renovated 1950's wing, classroom addition and new performing arts expansion.

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.

At Walla Walla High School, the renovated and expanded original Commons opened last month for students to gather and eat. A renovated kitchen supports a variety of meal options and new serving windows improve efficiencies. The Commons has new heating and cooling systems, modern energy efficient windows in the iconic north-facing glass wall and new student store. Progress continues on the Wa-Hi student outdoor plaza just outside the Commons where students will be able to socialize, eat meals on nice days and catch up on homework. The main academic building is halfway through its complete renovation and will be finished in August.

Contractors continue working on the historic Lincoln High School remodel and expansion to be completed this fall.

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

Walla Walla Public Schools Bond Program – Delivering on Our Promise

Director/a del Futuro scholarship recipients named

Congratulations to the following staff for receiving Director/a del Futuro scholarships. This scholarship is for certificated staff seeking to pursue a career in leadership in the district.

Scholarship Recipients:
- Amy Kasenga, LTEL Specialist, District Office (Year 2 Award)
- Claudia Salazar, LAP Teacher, Pioneer Middle School (Year 2 Award)
- Aaron Martin, Spanish Teacher, Walla Walla High School

Personnel Report (from February 8, 2022 School Board Meeting)

Carlea Guess, Temporary Head Start Assistant Teacher, WWCCF (2021-2022 school year)
Jamie Noffsinger, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op
Robert “Rob” Snow, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School
Ann Wilson, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary School
Cynthia Zuniga, Head Start Bilingual Family Advocate, WWCCF


Lisa Braddock, 1st Grade Teacher, Berney Elementary School, 33 years
Mike Braddock, Physical Education Specialist, Garrison Middle School, 33 years
Darlene Greenwood, Kindergarten Teacher, Prospect Point Elementary Schools, 34 years
Spencer Iacolucci, School Counselor, Walla Walla High School, 9 years
Diane Mires, 4th & 5th Grade Teacher, Walla Walla Online, 18 years

Pattie Backous Eagon, Special Education Secretary, Walla Walla High School, 33 years
Isaac Hatch, Custodian, Walla Walla High School, 3 months
Tara Potter, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 3 months
Monica Torres, Intervention Specialist, Sharpstein Elementary School, 8.5 years
Sarah Zipf, Technology Secretary, District Office, 18.5 years

Serena Vicari, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School, 3.5 years
- February 14, 2022 – June 1, 2022 to complete student teaching

School Stories
Wa-Hi JROTC Cadet Rifle Captain claims Army JROTC Western Regional Champion title

Walla Walla High School’s JROTC Rifle Team Captain Cassidy Hanson earned the title of JROTC Western Regional Rifle Champion last weekend in Phoenix, Arizona. The match featured over 100 of the top qualifying high school ROTC marksmen from across the western region of the US.
The Phoenix match is the second of three matches that pitted the top Army JROTC shooters against each other vying for honors and an invitation to the All Service JROTC National Championship in Camp Perry, Ohio this March. Over 400 high school JROTC programs compete in local qualifying matches to gain an invitation to the event. The team, captained this year by Hanson received invitations for both the precision class and sporter class rifle teams. Sporter Team members qualifying for the match were Cadet Captain Wyatt Hutson, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Maxwell Wooster, Cadet Captain McKenna Hart, Cadet Lieutenant Gerry Soto and Cadet Sergeant Sara Justice. Serving on the Precision Team were Hanson, Cadet Lieutenant Tristan Scott, Cadet Lieutenant Kaden Kerr, and Cadet First Sergeant Raquelle Justice.

The match consisted of 2 days of Olympic-Style air rifle shooting with competitors shooting 20 record shots in each of three firing positions; prone, standing and kneeling.

The third leg of the Army JROTC National Match will be held next weekend in Ohio. The results of this match will determine final national placement for Army JROTC and invitations for shooters to compete in the All-Service JROTC Rifle Championships this March in Camp Perry. Hanson’s placement as Army western champion will most likely earn her a place as an individual, with Scott in consideration as well.

Admission for Saturday’s boys basketball district playoff game

Walla Walla High School boys basketball team will face Ferris High School Saturday Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Wa-Hi main gym in the first round of the Mid-Columbia Conference/Greater Spokane League district playoffs. Admission is required for this MCC/GSL event.

• $7 – Adults
• $5 – Students (Wa-Hi students FREE)

District 8 3A Boys Basketball Bracket

How to Use FamilyID video

Carrie LaRoy from the Teaching and Learning Department shares helpful tips for signing students up for sports and activities using FamilyID.

FamilyID webpage  

Community Stories
Soccer Referee Training and Job Opportunity

There is a severe shortage of trained soccer referees in the Walla Walla Valley. If you or someone you know is looking for a way to earn some extra money, consider becoming certified as a soccer referee. Referees can earn from $30-$80 a game. To become certified you must be 14 or older, complete a background check (18 and older) and online training modules as well as attend a local in-person training one afternoon in early March. There is a fee to become certified, but once you referee at least two games for the Walla Walla United Soccer Club you will be reimbursed those fees.

If you have questions, contact Anne Abbey at aea818@gmail.com so that we know you are interested and can work on scheduling the in-person training. To start the certification process visit: https://www.wareferees.org/Registration/HowToBecomeAReferee.aspx

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

• Mother-Son Superhero Bash February 12. Open to all ages. Cost is $20 per mother.
• 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.
• Pee Wee Multisport Series. Open to boys and girls ages 3-5. Cost is $50.
• Spring Soccer League. Open to boys and girls grades K-8. Cost is $50.
• Spring NFL Flag Football. Open to boys and girls grades K-8. Cost is $50.
• Walla Walla Soccer Alliance Skills Clinic. Open to boys and girls ages 5-10. Cost is $65.
• Fencing for Youth and Adults. Cost is $20-$75. Ages 8 and up.
• 2022 Season Pool Passes are on sale.
• 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, recreation@wallawallawa.gov or parks@wallawallawa.gov

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