Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 4, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District improves performance in multiple categories

School board members continued planning efforts for the district's next Strategic Plan which will be in place to start the 2023-2024 school year. Tuesday night they reviewed progress made from 2017 through 2020, just before the pandemic closed schools that spring. The performance review showed significant progress has been made since 2017. Fourteen of the district's 15 performance indicators had met or exceeded Board goals, or demonstrated strong improvement since the plan was initiated.

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

Math and reading scores are up and graduation rates are at an all-time high. English language proficiency crested state results for the first time and attendance rates exceeded state figures with nearly 90 percent regular attendance, up 6.2% since 2015. There has been a 12 percent increase in students participating in co-curricular activities, including an increase in students of color who participate.

Staff and student survey data reveals they feel safe on school campuses, and staff support around collaboration, communication and support for district initiatives exceeds nationwide schools of distinction by over 15%. The ACT gap had narrowed by .7 points, post secondary remediation rates have improved and Special Education performance met target goals in almost all schools in both ELA and math. Board members will continue reviewing data linked to the Strategic Plan in the coming months.

Middle School & High School Parent/Teacher conferences March 7-11; Grades 6-12 NO SCHOOL Days – March 10 and 11

Middle School and High School parent/teacher conferences are March 7-11. Conferences will be held virtually again this year via ZOOM. Parents will be able to schedule a ZOOM conference using the WEB SCHEDULER - https://www.wwps.org/conferences

Contact your child’s school secretary for assistance with scheduling a conference.

No School Days
- Thursday, March 10 (NO SCHOOL Grades 6-12- Parent Conferences)
- Friday, March 11 (NO SCHOOL Grades 6-12- Parent Conferences)

Road closures near Sharpstein starting next week

The City of Walla Walla is continuing to make improvements on Park and Howard Streets near Sharpstein Elementary School. Beginning Monday, March 7 through May, both Park Street and Howard Street will be closed from Whitman Street south to where the two streets merge together.

Whitman Street, in front of Sharpstein Elementary, is a designated detour route during the closure which will increase traffic in the school zone. Motorists can anticipate longer lines of cars at the intersection of Howard and Whitman and in front of the school before and after school. Please slow down and be cautious when driving in the school zone.


District to budget for fewer students next year

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith and Fiscal Services Director Nancy Taylor led a discussion Tuesday night with school board members on the district's financial outlook as it prepares the 2022-2023 General Fund budget. The COVID pandemic has impacted revenue streams due to two years of declining enrollment.

The district budgeted 5575 FTE for this year, but enrollment currently sits at 5489 FTE. Most of the enrollment decline has come from K-1. Superintendent Smith is recommending next year's General Fund budget target be 5382 FTE and budget accordingly to the district's new enrollment reality. The Board discussed the need to "right-size" the workforce, which should be possible through attrition and retirements.

The district received approximately $14M in federal ESSER funds to help with pandemic recovery and revenue losses during fiscal years 21-24. These one-time funds will be exhausted in two years.

Personnel Report (from the March 1, 2022 School Board meeting)

John Schumacher, Principal, Walla Walla High School

Yadira Avalos, Kitchen Assistant, Sharpstein Elementary School
Ana Juarez Ramiro, Kitchen Assistant, Walla Walla High School
Rubi Lopez Sanchez, Bilingual Assistant Secretary, Garrison Middle School
Erica Walsh, Intervention Specialist, Sharpstein Elementary School

John Golden, Social Studies Teacher, Walla Walla High School, 31 years
Colleen Hatch, Music Specialist, Walla Walla High School, 8 years
Tensie Lovejoy, Kindergarten Teacher, Green Park Elementary School, 37 years
Brittany Miller, Special Education Teacher, Green Park Elementary School, 1 year
Grace Ogoshi, ELA Teacher, Walla Walla Online, 24 years
Loretta Wright, First Grade Teacher, Green Park Elementary School, 40 years

Ingrid Olsen-Young, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School, 6 years
Pam Spence, Secretary to the Principal, Pioneer Middle School, 23 years

School Stories
SchooLinks provides Students a Single Online Platform for College and Career Readiness

This school year Walla Walla Public Schools teamed with SchooLinks for a one-stop shop to support students and their families on their journey towards college and career readiness.

Students in grades 8-12 have their own SchooLinks account to help them discover their interests and strengths, explore colleges and careers and complete their High School and Beyond Plan graduation requirement. Parents also have access to set up a SchooLinks account and help their child navigate a plan for life after graduation. SchooLinks features are incredibly user-friendly and content can be easily navigated by students.

“Keeping parents informed and everyone on the same page is an important piece of post-secondary planning,” said Curriculum Coordinator Casey Monahan, who is helping manage the rollout of SchooLinks. “The SchooLinks Family Engagement portal allows parents to explore their students’ pathways, keep track of their progress and communicate with counselors.”

All of the SchooLinks features are designed with students in mind to help prepare them for career, college and life. Students can also apply for college in SchooLinks. SchooLinks allows students to register for high school classes, explore career interests and research colleges. This dynamic online tool allows students to learn about financial aid options, communicate directly with counselors, request transcripts, apply for scholarships and map out a career pathway plan.

Monahan also says SchooLinks helps counselors stay up on how students are performing by allowing them to see what the students have done in real-time.

Visit the SchooLinks website to learn more.

Dr. Suess Day

Wednesday Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith read to first graders in Tina Holbrook’s class at Green Park Elementary in celebration of Dr. Seuss Day. Dr. Smith was joined by 10 community members participating in the event.

National Read Across America Day was launched in 1998 by the National Education Association to encourage children to read. It is celebrated in schools and libraries on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess, passed away in 1991. His book ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ sits atop the list of top-selling Dr. Suess books of all-time.

9th Grade Transition Family Events planned this month

Walla Walla Public Schools is launching its 9th grade transition plan to get 8th graders ready to start high school next fall. Informative family events are scheduled for this month to get the transition process started.

Lincoln High School
• Thursday, March 17 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• 421 S. 4th Ave (*Staff will greet families on the 3rd Ave side of the building in the portable)
• Please drop in anytime between 6-7 p.m. to meet staff, learn about Lincoln and receive a tour.

Walla Walla High School
• Wednesday, March 16 from 5 to 7 p.m.
• Come to the big gym to meet staff, learn about class offerings and electives, extracurricular options and more about Wa-Hi.
• Specific presentations for incoming 9th graders at 5:10 and 6:30 p.m.

Walla Walla Online
• Monday, March 14 - 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. by Zoom
• Zoom Link - http://qrco.de/WWOZoomRoom?trackSharing
• Meet Walla Walla Online teachers and staff, learn about the curriculum and get answers to your questions about online learning.

Sources of Strength activities include Positive Friends Campaign, Mentor Madness and rock painting

This week Pioneer Middle School launched its Sources of Strength Positive Friends Campaign. In first period, students wrote the name of a positive friend on a post-it note and those post-it notes are being added to a large wheel in the cafeteria. They also have a photo booth set up during lunch this week for students to take pictures with their positive friends. The students are also being encouraged to write thank-you notes to friends or adults who are a source of strength in their lives.

When asked why positive friends are an important Source of Strength, students said - "They help keep you positive and support you through your hardest times."

Next week Wa-Hi starts its Sources of Strength Mentor Madness. Staff and students will be competing in games at lunch on Tuesdays during March Madness bracket style.

“The staff participating were nominated by students as being someone that supports students and is there for them,” said Mental Health Specialist Kristen Duede, who is coordinating the Sources of Strength program. “The rest of the school was given a blank bracket to fill out and turn in.”

Prizes will be awarded to students with the highest score on their bracket. The social media group has made posts, the art group has put up posters around campus, and the film group will be filming the games to post on YouTube.

Lincoln High School is working on a rock painting event in April and will be distributing the rocks around town. They also received a grant and will be painting a mural at Veterans Memorial Golf Course.

Walla Walla High School Jazz Combo takes first place

Congratulations to the Walla Walla High School Jazz Combo for taking 1st place in the Division I Jazz Combo competition at the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. There were no in-person live performances this year due to COVID. All performances were recorded and submitted in February.

The combo consists of:
• Senior Andres Dankel, Piano
• Junior Ava Kirtley, Bass
• Junior Noah Bruce, Drums

Regional Art Show awards

Congratulations to the following students for receiving awards at the ESD 123 Regional High School Art Show.

2022 Recipients:
• Superintendent’s Choice: Olivia Isenhower, Wa-Hi - “Home”

Judge’s Choice:
• Nicole Drader, Wa-Hi - “Accepting Change”
• Samantha Beam, Wa-Hi - “Yarn Heart”
• Alyssa Gunshefski, Wa-Hi - “Self Cycle”
• Kimberly Camargo, Wa-Hi - “Forever with an Ending”
• Ethan Kelnhofer, Wa-Hi - “Tall Blue Vase”
• Ryan Hill, Lincoln HS - “Models”

Whitman College admission acceptance

Congratulations to the following Walla Walla High School students for being accepted to Whitman College. The students will be finalizing their college plans soon and make their final decision on where to attend later this spring. Join us in celebrating their admission acceptance!

Aaron Christopherson
Samuel Bobrow-Strain
Andres Dankel
Juan David Lopez-Garcia
Raj Patel
Claire Dorland
Olivia Isenhower
Denali Parodi
Tyler Kemple
Keiryn Edelen
Samir Ashford

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops 6th grade girls AAU basketball team wins “Tournament of Hoops”

The Walla2Hoops 6th grade girls AAU basketball won the “Tournament of Hoops” Tournament in Walla Walla Feb. 27. Boys and girls teams from across the region in grades 4-8 competed in the tournament.

The Walla2Hoops 6th grade girls defeated Grangeville Lighting 26-24 at Pioneer Middle School to take the title. They also won games against La Grande and Pendleton during their championship run.

W2Hoops 6th Grade Girls
• Head Coach - Luis Ocanaz
• Audrey Davenport
• Rehema Durand
• Jaclyn Griffith
• Laney Hand
• Teresa Holtzinger
• Elyse Ocanaz

“We’re so proud of our 6th grade girls’ team for winning our local tournament,” said Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington. “We had to cancel last year’s tournament due to COVID, so it was extra special to see our teams competing at high levels right here in Walla Walla.”

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 tournament, contact: walla2hoops@gmail.com

Pacific Little League Baseball 2022 Try Out Dates Set

Boys & Girls may sign up to play Pacific Little League baseball now through March 13. Division Area Wide Intermediate Ages 11-13 ($75.00); Challengers area wide for the physically or emotionally challenged ages 5-20 ($30); Majors Division ages 9-12 ($75); Minor League Player Pitch ages 7-11 ($75); Minor League Coach Pitch ages 6-9 ($75); Tee Ball ages 4-7 ($60).
• Online: https://www.w2pacificll.com/
• Try Outs at Pacific Little League fields March 6 at 10:00 a.m., March 10 at 5:30 p.m., March 12 & 13 at 10:00 a.m. Come early to check in and get a tryout number.·
• Information needed: Medical Release form, Volunteer form, parent signature, copy of state-issued birth certificate and 3 different proofs of residence dated between 2/1/2021 through 2/1/2022 (choose from 3 categories at littleleague.org)·
• Questions: John or Karen Zodnick at jzodnick@bmi.net or cell 509-520-8447

Parks & Rec Update

• Father-Daughter Ball March 5. Open to all ages. Cost is $20 per father.
• St Paddy’s Day Dash March 20. 5k, 10k, and 1k routes. Ages 5 and up. Cost is $15-$25.
• Pee Wee Multisport Series. Open to boys and girls ages 3-5. Cost is $50.
• Walla Walla Soccer Alliance Skills Clinic. Open to boys and girls ages 5-10. Cost is $65.
• Spring Soccer League. Open to boys and girls grades K-8. Cost is $50. LIMITED SPACE LEFT IN SOME LEVELS.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball. Open to grades K-6. Cost is $40-$50.
• Pre Tee Ball. Open to boys and girls ages 3-5. Cost is $35.
• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball. Open to grades 6-10. Cost is $60.
• The Pottery Painting Studio SoupPort Bowls are available for painting. No time to paint a bowl? No problem, you can donate bowls to be painted by volunteers.
• 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 or recreation@wallawallawa.gov 

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