Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - June 10, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates – Parents, staff, students and community weigh in

As the district wraps up a successful 2017-22 Strategic Plan, the Board of Directors is seeking broad stakeholder input as they prepare for the future. Tuesday night Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith discussed the steps the district would take as part of a comprehensive, year-long Strategic Planning Process to develop the district's next Strategic Plan.

The process started this spring and will continue throughout next school year. He reported the district will engage parents, staff, students and community extensively to seek input.

Last month the district kicked off their efforts by launching an introductory ThoughtExchange survey for all stakeholders. The survey asked the community to weigh in on what they feel were the most important skills and attributes Walla Walla Public Schools’ graduates must gain during their public school years in preparation for success after high school.

This new ThoughtExchange interactive tool allows respondents to share their thoughts, as well as review and prioritize ideas shared by others. The survey was confidential and offered in multiple languages. A total of 436 participants joined the exchange, shared 253 thoughts and provided nearly 9000 ratings. Of the participants, nearly 25% were parents, 24% were employees, 39% were students, and 12% were community members. Nearly 10% consisted of Spanish speaking households.

Thoughts shared were vast, but several themes appeared according to Superintendent Smith.

"Accountability, respect, problem-solving and other 'soft skills' like responsibility and work ethic rose to the top across all survey respondents," said Dr. Smith. "Making sure our graduates were prepared for life beyond high school, addressing life-long assets such as financial management, understanding taxes and perseverance were rated the highest from participants."

The district's Strategic Planning process will ramp up this fall with more ThoughtExchange surveys, community engagement activities, focus group discussions and staff and student input sessions. The school board plans to have a draft Strategic Plan ready for public viewing in December with the plan finalized in March. The final plan will help the school board set funding priorities and will go into effect at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

To learn more about the district’s Strategic Planning development process, or to review the recent ThoughtExchange results, visit the district’s website at: https://www.wwps.org/strategicplan

Graduates of Distinction honored

Monday night Walla Walla Public Schools named Russ Colombo, Class of 1974; Deborah Underwood, Class of 1979; Jack Fredrickson; Class of 1952 and Mark Thompson, Class of 1970 this year’s Graduates of Distinction during a public reception at the Walla Walla High School Commons. Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith led the ceremony.

These outstanding graduates were selected for their contributions to their careers, community involvement and service to humanity. Now in its 24th year, the Graduates of Distinction Program recognizes and honors the outstanding achievements of WWPS high school graduates. In addition, this award pays tribute to school staff who provided positive school experiences, and were inspirational in the lives of these graduates.

This award is the highest honor the district bestows on its graduates as they serve as positive role models for current and future students. Congratulations!

School Board discusses getting students more involved

Tuesday night school board members Kathy Mulkerin and Derek Sarley led a discussion with fellow board members on bringing more student voices to their ears. All board members said they are interested in getting students more involved.

One idea is adding a WWPS board student representative as a non-voting member. Several school districts across the state have taken this action to bolster student voice on their local school boards. They also discussed forming student committees to research topics and share input. Board members also are considering bringing students to school board meetings more frequently to present on school projects and activities. No decisions were made and they agreed to keep studying these ideas.

2021-2022 Retirement Ceremonies (remaining)

Green Park Elementary
• Wednesday, June 15
• 2-2:30 p.m.
• Loretta Wright, Tensie Lovejoy, Ingrid Olsen, and Heraclio Torres
• Green Park Library

Pioneer MS
• June 14
• Pioneer Commons
• 3:45pm-4:45pm
• Laurie Bohnet
• Pam Spence

Personnel Report (from June 7, 2022 school board meeting)

Lisa Franklin, Assistant Principal (2022-23), Pioneer Middle School

Jami Parsons, Temporary Fifth Grade Teacher (2022-23), Prospect Point Elementary School

Amy Ruff, Director of Health Services, 5 years

David Cress Solis, Kindergarten Teacher, Berney Elementary School, 1 year
Emily Stein, Physical Therapist, Special Education, 1 year

Mervat Alziadin, Para-Educator, WWCCF, 1 year
Thomas Beebe, Para-Educator, Walla Walla high School, 6 years
Karli Cortez, Intervention Specialist, Prospect Point Elementary School, 4 years
Karli was on a leave of absence for the 2021-22 school year
Karen Romo, Head Start Head Secretary, WWCCF, 3 years
Rob Snow, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School, 5 months
Jacqueline Ramirez, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School & Prospect Point Elementary School, 7 months
Tatiyanna Wells, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School, 1 year

School Retirees show appreciation

Board members from the Walla Walla/Columbia School Retirees’ Association assembled goodie bags Thursday for staff who are active members of the association. They hope these treats will let WWPS staff know how much they are appreciated for another successful school year.

School Stories
Walla Walla High School Commencement Moves Indoors to Wa-Hi gym

Today’s Walla Walla High School Commencement at 7 p.m. is moving from the Walla Walla fairgrounds to the Walla Walla High School main gym due to heavy rain showers.

“Even though Mother Nature isn’t exactly cooperating, it won’t slow us down from celebrating our 400 seniors in style,” said Principal Ron Higgins. “We are transitioning the ceremony indoors to the Wa-Hi main gym and look forward to recognizing our incredible Class of 2022.”

Commencement Details
• Friday, June 10
• 7 p.m.
• Walla Walla High School Main Gym
• Seniors will have graduation rehearsal in the large gym beginning at 12 p.m.
• Each senior will receive 6 (six) tickets for family members or friends to attend the in-person ceremony
• The Commons and Auditorium will provide additional space to view the video stream of the graduation ceremony for guests who do not have a ticket for the Large Gym. These seats will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
• Family and friends may also view the live stream of the graduation ceremony from the comfort of their own home - https://bdnw.live/wahi or wahi.link/watchgrad
• Seniors will report to the Small Gym at 6 p.m. for “Senior Staging” before the ceremony.
• The doors will open at 6 p.m. for all three venues.
• Visit the Walla Walla High School website after 1 p.m. for additional information, including details on parking and safe walk paths for navigating the campus.

“This is going to be such a memorable graduation and we’re so proud of our Wa-Hi Senior Class of 2022,” said Principal Higgins. “Go Blue Devils!”

8th Grade Recognition Ceremonies

Walla Walla Online 8th Grade Recognition
• Tuesday, June 14
• 6-7:30 p.m.
• SEATech (525 Campus Loop – campus of Walla Walla Community College)

Garrison Middle School 8th Grade Recognition
• Wednesday, June 15
• 7-8 p.m.
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds
• LIVE Stream: https://bdnw.live/garrison

Pioneer Middle School 8th Grade Recognition
• Thursday, June 16
• 7-8 p.m.
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds
• LIVE Stream: https://bdnw.live/Pioneer

Registration now open for FREE Summer Blue Devil Strength and Conditioning program

• Blue Devil Strength and Conditioning program
• June 27 to July 29
• Walla Walla High School
• Two Sessions Available (8 to 9 a.m. or 9 to 10:30 a.m.)
• For incoming 6th to 12th grade student-athletes
• Sign up on FamilyID https://www.wwps.org/resources/parents/familyid

Meet Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates Video Series

Walla Walla Public Schools is producing a video series this spring featuring seniors from across the school district. This series – Meet Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates – aims to showcase how prepared these soon-to-be graduates are for life after high school. New videos will be released each week leading up to graduation ceremonies in June. Please take a few minutes to watch these videos and see why these amazing students are great representatives of the district’s vision statement of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.

To see the entire series, click HERE 

Community Stories
Walla Walla Online receives AAUW mini-grant

The Walla Walla Branch of American Association of University Women (AAUW) has awarded Walla Walla Online a mini-grant of $1,000 to be used for WWO student field trips and social events in the 2022-2023 school year. This grant will allow the school to facilitate opportunities for students to connect with peers and school staff this coming year and we are thrilled to begin planning activities to bring our students together. The staff at WWO is grateful to AAUW for this generous contribution to growing our school community.

Communities in Schools job openings

Communities In Schools of the Blue Mountain Region is seeking to fill two full-time Student and Community Advocate positions that will be based in Walla Walla Public Schools. These school-based positions identify and coordinate community resources, volunteers, and partnerships to address the identified academic, social, and emotional needs of youth (and their families) who face individual and systemic barriers to academic success. This is done through developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive interventions, services, and supports. The Student and Community Advocates work closely with the administration, counseling, and student support teams in their school.

Color Our Community On Awareness plans Juneteenth Jubilee at Pioneer Park

• Sunday, June 19
• Pioneer Park, Walla Walla
• 9 to 11 a.m. (non-denominational service)
• 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (music, vendors, dancing and more)
• More details online: https://www.cocoawwv.org/juneteenth/

Parks & Rec Update   

Summer program registration is open!

Recreation Programs
• Swim, Play, Discover Camp open to ages 5-10 years. Free to those who qualify for our scholarship program.
• Fall Youth Soccer open to boys and girls grades K-8th. Cost is $50 ($60 after July 1).
• Golf Lessons open ages 7 years and over. Cost is $48.
• NFL Flag Football open to boys and girls grades K–8th. Cost is $50.
• Pickleball Skills & Drills Day Clinic open to all ages. Cost is $20.
• Summer Cemetery Tour July 9 - open to ages 12 years and over. Cost is FREE.
• Symbol Quest open to all ages. Cost is $15-$35.
• UPlay open to ages 7-12 years. Lunch is included. Cost is FREE.
• Youth Sports Camps and more!

Aquatic Programs
• Discover Scuba open to ages 10 years and over. Cost is $60.
• Dive Camp open to ages 10-18 years. Cost is $35. No experience required.
• Hatha Yoga open to all ages. Cost is $12-$180.
• Sea Monkeys open to ages 6-16. Cost is $45.
• Stretch and Move open to all ages. Cost is $14-$80.
• SUP Yoga open to ages 15 and up. Cost is $25-$35.
• Sweat & Swim Boot Camp is open to ages 16 and over. Cost is $14-$76.
• Swim Lessons, Session 2 July 5-14 registration opens on 6/24. Open to all ages. Cost is $31. SPACE IS LIMITED.

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 up.

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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