Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - April 22, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District names Art Regier Volunteers of the Year

In celebration of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Walla Walla Public Schools named Ann Ray, Scott Morasch and Heidi Leinweber the district’s 2021-2022 Art Regier Volunteers of the Year.

The Art Regier Outstanding Volunteer Award was instituted in 1991 as a memorial to “Grandpa Art” Regier. Regier was a retiree who devoted years of service to elementary schools in Walla Walla and epitomized the spirit of volunteerism in education. His tireless dedication and concern for the students he served are the inspiration for this award.

Criteria for selection may include the following:
1. Exceptional service or contributions to the children of Walla Walla Public Schools
2. Unusual dedication
3. Demonstration of care, compassion and empathy

Ann Ray
Ann Ray, Class of 1959, has spent countless hours and years helping to preserve the history of Walla Walla schools through her work with the Walla Walla High School Alumni Association. Class reunion organizers have counted on Ann’s support for decades. Ann would often offer help of start-up postage money for the class to begin their reunion planning. Ann has been the keeper of school memorabilia including Wa-Hi yearbooks and files of each graduating class with information found in newspaper articles; all which have helped future classes have successful and memorable reunions. For years she kept items in the district office to help people planning reunions.

Ann says her good friend Susan Timmons Queen, Class of 1955, also played a key role in the establishment of the alumni association. Most recently during the preparation for the bond renovation projects at Walla Walla High School, Ann spent countless hours in the upper storage areas organizing and reviewing materials for relocation to the district storage facility for future use. Ann wanted to make sure JROTC Advisor SFC (Ret) Mark Mebes and students in the JROTC program were also recognized for volunteering to help move these items.

Scott Morasch
Scott Morasch has been involved in supporting the school district since he moved his family here in 1988. When his children were attending Walla Walla schools Scott served as chaperone for school field trips and chaired student enrichment programs and senior graduation parties. Scott served on senior culminating project panels for 11 years listening to the stories of more than 200 seniors.

He also helped Walla Walla youth learn to ski and compete in the Bluewood ski team program over the years. He supported his wife Kim for years with Tabitha’s Closet, where local high school students attending dances could get no-cost apparel to wear to the dances. This eliminated barriers for students to participate in these memorable events. For many years, Scott has been active in the Walla Walla Exchange Club and organizes the Ducky Derby race portion, securing ducks, getting them in and out of the creek and naming the winners. All proceeds from the Ducky Derby stay local to help Walla Walla valley children through Exchange Club programs. And most recently Scott is the chair of the district’s Bond Oversight Committee. This committee was established following the successful 2018 bond measure to provide fiscal oversight, monitor construction plans and schedules to assure Walla Walla taxpayers get the projects they were promised.

Heidi Leinweber
This year Heidi Leinweber and her husband are empty nesters for the first time after seeing their six children graduate through the school district. Heidi remains committed to volunteering.
Over the years, Heidi has been involved in the school district in a variety of ways. When her children were in school she would serve as a chaperone for their activities, cook meals for the cross country team and plan senior parties. At the district level she has volunteered on calendar committees and levy phone trees. She could be seen behind the scenes supporting choir activities with Mr. Norb Rossi. Heidi was busy setting up, taking down and feeding kids in the drama program. She has been an integral part of Wa-Hi's senior parties, creating escape rooms and various activities, setting up, taking down, and chaperoning and organizing other volunteers in her kind and gentle way.

The last four years, with the exception of COVID closures, she has volunteered in Mrs. Butler's middle school science classroom 3 to 5 days a week, 12 to 20 hours a week. She supports students and the teacher in multiple ways. She often helps kids that have been absent, working with small groups, aiding in lab experiments, but mostly building relationships to remind them they have purpose in the classroom and are all important. Mrs. Butler says Heidi is constantly showing kindness and compassion and the students are reaping great benefits from her added support in the classroom.

Heidi says volunteering is like being a grandparent where she gets to be the encourager, cheerleader and helper. Heidi says she has seen students overcome academic obstacles and behavior challenges and has witnessed shy students find their voice. She encourages more people to volunteer in district schools.


Kindergarten registration and Open Enrollment now open

REGISTRATION & OPEN ENROLLMENT

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten registration opened this week for families that have four or five-year-old children. Open Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year also opened this week. Priority is given to families who complete the open enrollment paperwork during the first two weeks of the open enrollment period.

Application for dual language programming is currently open as well. See detailed information below for programs available to Walla Walla families.

Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Two-Way Dual Language Kindergarten Registration
• Walla Walla Public Schools’ Transitional Kindergarten (four-years-old by August 31) and Kindergarten (five-years-old by August 31) registration period is now open through April 30. Click HERE to register online. Paper registration packets are available upon request by calling your home/attendance area school or the district office at 509-526-6717.
• If you would like your kindergarten child to participate in the district’s Two-Way Dual Language Program, housed at Edison and Green Park Elementary Schools, please complete the online general registration process and mark “dual programming.” Also, complete the kindergarten dual application found online.

Elementary Open Enrollment
• Elementary parents/guardians, who live in the Walla Walla Public Schools’ district boundary and wish to open enroll their child to a different WWPS school outside their attendance area, will see paperwork come home with their child this week and information will also be available on the district’s website.
• Open Enrollment forms are now being accepted.
• Priority will be given to forms returned now through April 30.

Middle School Registration & Open Enrollment
• Look for information coming home with fifth graders this week regarding middle school open enrollment and registration for 2022-2023.

Choice Transfer for students living outside the WWPS boundary
• Parents/Guardians, who live outside the Walla Walla Public Schools boundary and wish to Choice Transfer/request enrollment into the WWPS boundary, will need to complete a Choice Transfer Request online.

Open enrollment requests for Walla Walla Public Schools will be granted according to priorities outlined in School Board Policy & Procedure 3130. The priorities are also listed on the backside of the open enrollment paperwork.
• Policy 3130
• Procedure 3130 (open-enrollment,-and-employees-student-placement)

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all schools and the Administration Office at 364 S. Park St,


Inaugural Building Belonging awards presented

Tuesday night Wa-Hi’s Buddy Club and Wa-Hi Junior Miki Joshua received the district’s new Building Belonging award. Director of Equity and Dual Programs Dr. Julie Perron established this award to recognize students who promote activities that create and sustain a sense of belonging, fairness, and justice for all students. The Wa-Hi Buddy Club offers opportunities for Special Education students to be part of activities supported by peers. Jennifer Butenhoff is the advisor of this program which focuses on building friendships and helping special needs students get involved in school. Miki Joshua is forming a Black Student Union for all Wa-Hi students to create a forum to learn about Black culture and history. 


Home Visitor program elevated to address pandemic recovery needs

The district's Pandemic Recovery Plan includes enhancements to the Home Visitor Program at all schools. Tuesday night Director of Equity and Dual Programs Dr. Julie Perron and Home Visitors Jennifer Hernandez (Green Park), Oscar Brito-Salgado (Pioneer MS), Esmeralda Pedroza (Wa-Hi) provided an update to the school board on their work.

As part of the district's ESSER-funded Student Well-being plan, the School Board funded nine Home Visitors who reside at WWPS elementary schools (5), middle schools (2), and high school (2). These nine staff members deliver specialized services and supports with a main focus on home visits. During the home visits they address attendance concerns and make connections to community resources to help ensure student success.

Tuesday night the Home Visitors reported they are making positive relationships with parents. They are helping set educational goals for each student in collaboration with parents. Home Visitors adjust their schedules to find convenient times to meet with families. They said it is important to meet more than once to establish a rapport with parents and build their trust. They also check in with students at school to establish positive relationships and demonstrate they are available to help.


Personnel Report (from April 19, 2022 School Board Meeting)

EMPLOYMENT

Certificated:
Stephen Galloway, School Psychologist (2022-23), Special Education
Sarah Thomson, Choir Teacher (2022-23), Walla Walla High School

Classified:
Gabriela Amezcua, Kitchen Assistant, Walla Walla High School
Michael Mele, Kitchen Assistant, Berney Elementary School

RESIGNATION/RETIREMENT

Administrative:
Dirk Hansen, Athletic Director, Walla Walla High School, 6 years

Certificated:
Kristen Duede, Mental Health Specialist, Teaching and Learning, 5 years
Elisabeth Roberts, School Counselor, Walla Walla High School, 1 year
Zachary Roberts, Special Education Teacher, Green Park Elementary School, 1 year
Dana Timm-Ballard, Third Grade Teacher, Green Park Elementary School, 4 years

Classified:
Jessica Avery, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 7 months
Ana Brito-Salgado, Health Room Assistant, Green Park Elementary School, 1 year
Kathy Bronkhorst, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 17 years
Robert Dutton, Campus Support, Walla Walla High School, 7 years
Dawn Hammond, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School, 4 years
Larry White, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 5 years

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Administrative:
Jenny Foster, Principal, Edison Elementary School, 2 years
• For the 2022-2023 school year

Certificated:
Kasey Humbert, Second Grade Teacher, Sharpstein Elementary School, 6 years
• For the 2022-2023 school year



School Stories
Summer Sol registration open today

Summer Sol registration opens today at 5pm. Summer Sol is Walla Walla Public Schools’ FREE summer program. The program is eligible for all Walla Walla Public Schools students, grades incoming-Kindergarten through 12th grade. The high quality summer program will focus on enrichment, experiential, and hands-on activities at all grade levels. To register for the program, go to:

SUMMERSOL.ORG 

Paper copies of the registration form will also be available in the main office of each school. For more information on the program, including specific details about schedule, location, and offerings, visit summersol.org or call (509) 526-6787.

Summer Sol – “It’s a VIBE!”


Tickets still available for Saturday’s Big Blue Boosters Fundraising Dinner & Auction

Attention Big Blue Supporters! Don’t miss out on all the fun at the Annual Big Blue Boosters Fundraising Dinner & Auction Saturday, April 23. The event will take place at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds Pavilion, with doors and Silent Auction opening at 5:00 pm, dinner served at 6:00 pm, followed by a Live Auction. Tickets and Sponsorships are still available. Click HERE for tickets. 

The Big Blue Boosters of Walla Walla is a non-profit organization which provides funds for projects and equipment at Walla Walla High School. From swim caps for the swim team to new iPads for coaches, the goal is to help our student athletes and coaches by enhancing the quality of their athletic experience. Big Blue Boosters makes this happen through its annual fundraising auction and dinner, gym sponsorship programs, and generous donations. The Big Blue Boosters of Walla Walla is a 501c3. Memberships and donations may be claimed as a charitable donation for tax purposes. Donations are accepted at any time during the year to help support athletes.


Mountain Man visits Berney

Retired Kettle Falls teacher Dwight Morgan recently volunteered to present hands-on history lessons of the Fur Trade era. Morgan dresses up like a mountain man to help portray the clothing styles from this 1800s era in American history. He visited Berney Elementary Tuesday to meet with the school’s fourth grade students. Students learned about different animals, handled artifacts from the era and discussed the impact this generation had on America's history.


Berney students publish book 

Berney Elementary 5th graders in David Clearman’s class had a class party to celebrate meeting their goal of writing their own book. Students researched an endangered animal from North America and then wrote about what they learned. Berney students also drew a full-page picture of their animal. Mr. Clearman sent the stories and artwork to a printer and had them made into a comprehensive book.

“The books were delivered to the school last week and we had a celebration since they are all now published authors,” said Clearman. “Berney teacher Joe Gribnau drew the cover art and we dedicated the book to honor his retirement.”

The student authors enjoyed root beer floats in their classroom after presenting their book to Mr. Gribnau.


Safeway and Albertsons team to donate school supplies

Thanks to Safeway and Albertsons for recently donating nearly $4000 in school supplies through the Community Giving Card Program. The district received markers, pencils, glue sticks, crayons, scissors and notebooks. Thanks to Britt Adkins and Penny Taylor from Facilities and Operations for breaking down the pallet of supplies and putting them on the shelves for distribution.


Wa-Hi FFA students announce dates for this year’s annual Plant Sale

• Plant Sale Dates: Wednesday, May 4 through Friday, May 6
• 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• CTE Vocational Building (parking available on Abbott Road)
• Preorders are available. Click HERE to fill out order sheet 
• Limited number of cedar planter boxes available, with some designed to look like dog houses
• Cash, check or credit card will be accepted

“We thank you for your continued support of our program, our staff, and our students who are working diligently to ensure you have the best possible experience this year,” said FFA Advisor Arch McHie. “This is a great learning opportunity for our students to serve our community in a very positive way each year. “

Special thanks to the following students for managing the inventory: Emma McGuire, Maddie Wilson, Leah Chapin, Lucy Kelly and Will Kytola.


Lincoln HS students build putt putt mini-golf hole for United Way fundraiser 

Lincoln High School students have teamed with the United Way of the Blue Mountains to help the local non-profit raise funds. Lincoln High School students designed and built a hole for 2022 United Way Putt Putt mini-golf tournament scheduled for Saturday in downtown Walla Walla. This event raises funds to support the United Way’s community education initiatives and support Successful Students Cradle Through Career in the Walla Walla valley. Lincoln’s Jeremy Gradwohl connected with Monica Boyle of the United Way of the Blue Mountains to get the project started. Lincoln High School students Zander Scott is the designer and lead engineer for the project. Fellow students Joey Tiechroeb and Laz Garcia helped Zander build the hole.


Free workshop series focuses on strengthening emotional wellbeing

WWPS Family and Community Engagement, WWCC Parenting Education, Early Learning Coalition and the Community Resilience Initiative have partnered to offer two workshops and a resource fair for families, child care providers, early learning professionals and educators. The series is called “From Chaos to Calm: Finding Balance.”

“Given the great amount of concern over social emotional wellbeing that we have heard from families, child care providers, and educators, we wanted to do something about it,” said Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton.

Workshop Series Schedule:

Strengthening Connections and Finding Shared Joy
• Saturday, May 14, 10-11:30 am at Walla Walla Community College.
• (English only / virtual & in-person)

Activity and Community Resource Fair
• Sunday, May 22, 9 am-noon at the WW Center for Children & Families
• (English & Spanish / in-person only)

“To help you and your family strengthen its social and emotional balance again, we've brought together a collection of community organizations for a morning of fun and support,” said Clayton. “We'll have activities, resources, tips, and strategies to share that will help us all breathe a little easier and smile a little wider.”

Register at: www.bit.ly/supportingww


Community Stories
Camp Invention is coming back to Walla Walla 

Berney Elementary School is pleased to host the Camp Invention program again for children entering 1st through 6th grade. This exciting, weeklong summer adventure provides opportunities for open-ended, hands-on exploration of science, technology, engineering and more! Rotating through a variety of exciting activities each day, children have fun collaborating with friends, thinking creatively and inventing their own solutions to real-world challenges. The camp runs July 11-15 from 9am-3:30 pm each day. David Solis, teacher at Berney Elementary, is the Camp Director. Availability is limited, so visit invent.org/mylocalcamp to sign up.

Register using SUM15 by May 18 to save $15 off the $245 registration fee. Scholarships are also available. Please contact dsolis@wwps.org for more information about how to apply. We are also looking for high school leadership interns. If interested, please contact Mary Burt at mburt@wwps.org


Farm-to-School Annual Report

The Farm-to-School program recently released its Annual Report. Click HERE to read it.

“We're proud of all the work being done at our five district elementary gardens, and all the students that are benefitting from time with our garden education managers (GEMs) Sarah and Nathan, our AmeriCorps member Mia, our program manager Rey, and our volunteers,” said Enrendira Cruz, Executive Director of the Sustainable Living Center. “From planting, harvesting and tasting, to composting, cooking and smoothie making, WWPS students are engaging more than ever!”


Children’s Home Society Diaper Drive

Children’s Home Society is in need of diapers, pullups (all sizes), baby wipes and diaper rash cream. CHS is conducting a Diaper Drive now through May 12. Please drop off items at 1612 Penny Lane, Walla Walla between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 


Class of 2012 plans 10 year reunion this summer

• WWHS Class of 2012--10 Year Reunion
• Sat, July 23, 2022
• 6-11 p.m.
• Courtyard by Marriott Walla Walla (550 West Rose Street)
• Ticket price: $40 (includes dinner and dessert). Please purchase tickets for your plus ones.
• Ticket Site: WWHS Class of 2012--10 Year Reunion
Information:
Emma Wolpert: 509-520-1306, emmaeskil@gmail.com
Ana Andrade: 509-301-0682, aaandradelara.3@gmail.com


Walla Walla Public Library plans Children’s Book Day event

Walla Walla Public Library invites all community youth to El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) also known simply as “Día,” Saturday, May 7 from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the library at 238 E. Alder Street in Walla Walla. This celebration of children and literacy, a national initiative of the American Library Association, will feature craft projects, guest readers, book giveaways, and delicious food.

The Walla Walla Public Library celebration will emphasize Mexican culture in our community, including art and craft projects inspired by artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, paper flower making, music, and Amate bark painting. Tamales and fruit will be served on the Alder Street lawn from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Guest readers will perform read-alouds at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Door prize book giveaways will continue throughout the event, every half hour from 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
• Please do not attend this event if you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of illness.
• Visit the library calendar at https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/calendar for more community programs, follow our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WWPL99362/ , or call 509-527-4550.
• Questions? Contact Liz George, Young People’s Librarian, at egeorge@wallawallawa.gov, or 509-524-4431.



Community invited to Blue Zones Connect Summit

Please join Blue Zones Project for the Connect Summit this April. Walla Walla Public Schools is working with Blue Zones Project to promote well-being throughout the district and would like to encourage community members to attend one, or more, of the free activities. Learn how you can become healthier and happier in the Walla Walla Valley.

Activity details and registration https://go.bluezonesproject.com/wwvconnectsummit?hsLang=en


Parks & Rec Update

We are hiring! Parks & Recreation is looking for those interested in seasonal, part-time or full-time employment. Positions open in Park Maintenance, Recreation, and Aquatics. Positions available for those 15 years of age and over.

• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball. Open to grades 6-10. Cost is $60.
• Warrior Soccer Academy. Open to boys and girls ages 5-11. Cost is $50.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball. Open to grades K-6. Cost is $40-$50.
• Adult Softball League (Men’s and Co-Ed). Cost is $920 per team.
• Lifeguard Training open to ages 15 and over. Cost is $190.

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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