Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Nov. 18, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Police report luring incident involving student walking home from school

The City of Walla Walla Police Department is investigating a report of an attempted luring of a Pioneer Middle School female student yesterday afternoon. The incident occurred Thursday, Nov. 17 at approximately 4 p.m. at E Alder St and S Tausick Way, near the District 4 fire station.

The student was walking home and a small black car with peeling paint pulled over along side her and told her “get in”. The suspect male was described as a balding white male with facial hair. The student said “no” then ran the rest of the way home. The vehicle did not follow her.

Police will be on the lookout for a potential suspect vehicle and/or similar reports. Please review Stranger Danger tips with students and remind them of the importance of telling their parents, school officials and police if an incident like this occurs.

• Always tell your parents where you are going.
• Try not to walk anywhere alone. Walk with a friend.
• Don’t take shortcuts through the woods, a back street or empty lot.
• Bad people do not always look mean or scary.
• Do not get close to strangers. Make sure you have room to run.
• Don’t tell your name or address to a stranger.
• Never go with a stranger to help look for a lost pet or play a game.
• Never get into a car with anyone you don’t know.
• If a stranger bothers you, run away and ask an adult for help.
• Know safe places you can go – a police or fire station, the library, a store or a friend’s house.
• If a stranger follows you or grabs for you, yell loud! Shout, “I don’t know you!” Fight back and make as much noise as you can.
• If anyone touches you in a bad way, say, “NO!” Get away and tell an adult you trust. Keep telling until someone listens.
• Tell your parents about places you don’t feel safe.
• Talk to your parents and come up with a secret code word. Never go with anyone unless they know the secret code word.

• Know how and when to call 911.
• Never open the door to a stranger.
• Never tell anyone on the phone you are home alone.
• Never tell any callers your name, number or address.
• Hang up right away if you do not like what someone is saying on the phone.

• Always have an updated photo of your child. On the back put important information such as, name, date of birth, height, weight, and hair and eye color.

American Education Week: November 13-19, 2022

Together for Safe, Just & Equitable Schools. #aew2022

The concept of a free or public education for all American children is not a new one. Its roots lie with our Founding Fathers, when Thomas Jefferson proposed a system of decentralized education in Virginia. Successful across the US, it did however it take a few more years until American Education Week was created.

Celebrated the week before Thanksgiving, American Education Week has been recognized since 1921. Following on from World War I when it was discovered that many of the military draftees were illiterate, the American Legion and the American Education Association joined together to develop ways in which public education could be improved and highlighted. Since then many other public educational organizations have joined forces to promote the awareness campaign and provide vast amounts of information and materials for all to use.

American Education week exists to celebrate the potential of all American Students, recognize and give thanks to the teachers and professionals working within the education system as well as honoring the parents and guardians who support and encourage. It also works to continuously improve the education system and ensure that learning is lifelong and not just restricted to a classroom.

10-10 Staff Newsletter (Nov. 15, 2022 school board business meeting recap)

Click on the links below for a recap on the Nov. 15, 2022 school board business meeting.
10-10 Staff Newsletter (ParentSquare link for staff) 
BoardBook link (for parents and general public)

Thanksgiving Holiday Break Schedule

• Wednesday, November 23 - Half-Day - Early Dismissal (Thanksgiving holiday)
• Thursday, November 24 & Friday, November 25 - NO SCHOOL (Thanksgiving holiday)

District data engineer recognized at recent Ed-Fi Conference

Congratulations to Walla Walla Public Schools Data Engineer Nandu Nair for receiving the Rookie of the Year award at the Ed-Fi Alliance Summit 2022 in Austin, TX. The Ed-Fi Alliance is a nonprofit organization consisting of educators, technologists and thought leaders who are working to securely and seamlessly connect educational data systems in order to provide greater insight, access and tools for educators. Nair is charged with helping to lead the district's implementation of Ed-Fi initiatives for Walla Walla Public Schools.

The Rookie of the Year award recognizes Ed-Fi’s newest participants who have demonstrated a commitment to data standards and interoperability. Nandu has helped oversee a systems-level build-out and has an ongoing commitment to ramping up Ed-Fi’s presence across the Pacific Northwest.

“The Ed-Fi platform is designed to pull in core data from our Student Information System, assessment systems and other platforms to help unify it under one umbrella and facilitate a more holistic, 360-degree view of the data,” said Nair. “WWPS is in the process of finalizing data visuals and tools for staff that will allow real-time information by which to adapt and modify instruction and make informed program decisions in order to improve efficiency and learning outcomes for students.”

Over the coming months, Walla Walla Public Schools plans to finalize data reports and dashboards based on a collaborative process that involves teachers and administrators. These interfaces will be used by educators to help track student success.

“This award is a recognition of our district's effort to spearhead the deployment of Ed-Fi in the state of Washington,” said Nair. “We anticipate many more districts will follow suit when they learn of the success districts are seeing as they leverage data to help empower teachers and inform decisionmakers.”

Grant to provide additional supports for Walla Walla students this school year

Walla Walla Public Schools will utilize a one-time, pandemic recovery federal grant to provide tutoring, expand volunteer programs and enhance afterschool learning opportunities for students this school year.

“Two years ago, Walla Walla Public Schools applied for and was awarded a $1.4M extended day/extended year grant,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This targeted grant must be used to support outside-of-day programming, with a deadline to allocate resources no later than the fall of next school year.”

In addition to offering vast summer school opportunities the last two years, Walla Walla Public Schools also utilized these funds to bring a 21st Century afterschool program to Berney Elementary to ensure all elementary sites maintained access. Pandemic recovery grant funds also allowed the district to implement targeted afterschool academic programs at the elementary level that started last spring. These new offerings listed below, scheduled to begin this school year, will continue to help students move beyond the pandemic.

“These new programs we are offering are based on staff and stakeholder input,” said Superintendent Smith. “We are thankful to the school board for prioritizing these funds to help us further support students, many of whom were significantly impacted by the pandemic. We look forward to the positive results these opportunities will have on improving student academic recovery, attendance and engagement.”

2022-2023 Grant Funded Learning Enhancements at a Glance:

• Grow and expand the successful afterschool academic interventions, specifically targeting reading and mathematics.
• Continue to supplement afterschool academic interventions with dedicated Social Emotional Learning support through our 21st Century programs.
• Expand community engagement and volunteerism in district elementary schools to help support staff and the individual and personal needs of students and families.

• Expand the Communities in Schools (CIS) case-management approach into extended day and outside-of-school-time contexts, where CIS personnel will target specific struggling students.
• Implement after-school tutoring and math/reading/skill intervention programs, similar to the elementary model.
• Provide free, on-demand (24/7) online tutoring services to all middle school students.
• Broaden volunteerism to support staff in order to foster increased student engagement and address issues of chronic absenteeism.

• Hire extended day/after hours Communities in Schools (CIS) personnel to provide extended day academic, SEL, and social-wellbeing supports for students and families through dedicated case management.
• Provide free, on-demand (24/7) online tutoring services to all high school students.
• Utilize a broad-based volunteer framework to provide additional academic resources and support, remove barriers and increase engagement, and to bolster student connectedness to community and the real-world.

Fall Focus on Education community newsletter mailed out this week

Be on the lookout for the Fall Focus on Education community newsletter in your mailbox this week. This informative publication is sent to residents three times a year to help keep them updated about their local schools. This fall’s issue includes stories on the historic bond ribbon cutting ceremonies, a message from Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith, efforts to work with first responders to keep schools safe, School Board of the Year and much more. If you would like another copy of this publication, visit the district office at 364 S. Park St. and one will be provided.


School board honored at state conference

This week school board members received their School Board of the Year for medium-sized districts award at the Washington State School Directors Association annual meeting. Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors were selected over the other 74 medium-sized districts in the state. This is the first time since 2001 the board has earned this prestigious honor. Walla Walla was recognized for successfully closing the achievement gap and communicating openly and transparently. Board members were also commended for transparent operations, the successful bond program and oversight during the pandemic.

WSSDA’s Boards of Distinction program sets a high bar for district school boards. Recipients must demonstrate clear data and connections between positive outcomes and decisions or actions taken. Additionally, board’s must demonstrate how their actions closed opportunity gaps and exemplified Washington School Board Standards.

WWPS Board of Directors: Eric Rindal, Kathy Mulkerin, Derek Sarley, Ruth Ladderud and Terri Trick.

School Stories
Fall sports wrap-up – By Athletic Director Chris Ferenz

Fall sports for the Blue Devils concluded in Federal Way with senior Alana Miller earning a spot in the 100 yard butterfly final at the WIAA 3A Swimming Championships. Alana swam to a top- 16 finish to earn points for the team, the first swimmer since 2019 to place.

Wednesday, November 16, saw senior Brody Hartley sign a National Letter of Intent to run cross-country for the University of Notre Dame. Located just outside South Bend, Indiana, Brody will run for the Fighting Irish as they compete at the Division I level in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Brody was joined by his mom, Kelly, and coaches Michael Locati, Bowe Ebding, and Eric Hisaw, as well as a couple dozen teammates as he inked his NLI. Brody’s coaches lauded him for his hard work and leadership the past four years that saw him earn championships and top-5 finishes at the conference, district and state level. A school record holder at both the 1600 and 3200 meters, Brody was also the consummate team mate leading by example and exhibiting a team first attitude. Congratulations and good luck to Brody.

The Mid-Columbia Conference has released their Fall All-Conference award winners. Congratulations to the following Blue Devil student-athletes on being recognized by conference coaches for their excellence on the field/pitch/court/course/pool of competition.

Cross Country
Emmalyn Jimenez (SR) – Girls First Team
Macy Eggart (SO) – Girls Honorable Mention
Miriam Hutchens (SO) – Girls Honorable Mention
Gabe Coram (SO) – Boys Honorable Mention
Turner VanSlyke (JR) – Boys Honorable Mention

Jon Smith (SR) – 2nd Team, Defensive Line and Honorable Mention, Offensive Line
Jaden Flippo (SR) – Honorable Mention Linebacker

Girls Soccer
Kaitlyn King (SR) – First Team, Midfield
Sara Bowen (SO) – Second Team, Forward
Marlee Boyd (SR) – Second Team, Midfield
Hadley Hiner (SO) – Honorable Mention, Defender

Slow-Pitch Softball
Raquelle Justice (SR) – First Team, Infield
Sara Justice (JR) – First Team, Infield
Anna Delarosa (SO) – First Team, Outfield
Clarabelle Hall (JR) – Second Team, Infield
Addie Bowen (FR) – Second Team, Outfield
Aliya Mendiola (SR) – Second Team, Utility Player

Girls Swim and Dive
Alana Miller (SR) – Swimmer of the Year; First Team, 100 Butterfly; First Team 100 Backstroke; Second Team, 200 Freestyle Relay; Honorable Mention, 200 Medley Relay and 400 Freestyle Relay
Emily Meliah (FR) – Second Team, 50 Freestyle; Second Team, 200 Freestyle; Honorable Mention 200 Medley Relay and 400 Freestyle Relay
Lani Nunez (SO) – Second Team, 200 Freestyle Relay
Eliana Isenhower (FR) – Second Team, 200 Freestyle Relay; Honorable Mention, 200 Medley Relay and 400 Freestyle Relay
EmmaLynne Gonzales (SO) – Honorable Mention, 200 Medley Relay
Audra Zanes (Sr) – Honorable Mention, 400 Freestyle Relay

Eden Glaus (JR) – Second Team, Outside Hitter
Sidney McCauley (SR) – Honorable Mention, Outside Hitter
Jailyn Davenport (SO) – Honorable Mention, Setter

Pioneer and Garrison's Winter Reading Challenge

Garrison and Pioneer Middle School libraries are hosting a Winter Reading Challenge for students and staff from December 1st through January 13th. The WRC promotes reading and friendly competition between both middle schools, individual classes, and between students and staff. Participants can stop by the library at either middle school to pick-up a snowflake sheet to record their entry for each book read during the challenge. Books read may include ebooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, etc. The top five readers at each school win prizes and everyone (staff included) who reads at least one book is entered into a drawing for prizes too. Pine Cone Creamery has graciously offered some tasty prizes for our amazing readers. The student who reads the most books between both middle schools gets to name a new ice cream flavor at Pine Cone Creamery. Librarians, Sara Strickland (Pioneer) and Jami Eggart (Garrison) have set a goal of 1100 books read between both schools.

Traffic Safety returns to Walla Walla Public Schools

District officials are pleased to announce that the Traffic Safety Program will be returning as a class offered at Walla Walla High School. The semester long course will include Financial Education & Traffic Safety, and will fulfill a .5 general elective or occupational education credit. This course will be available, at no cost, during the school year to any active student of Walla Walla Public Schools. A condensed summer offering will also be available for students/families, with first priority given to WWPS students, but also available to non-district students for a fee.

“We are so thankful that our School Board has stepped up to prioritize this critical opportunity for our students and their families,” states Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Parents and students alike have shared how important financial literacy and access to driver’s education is. This initiative is just one more example of our board leaning into the work of removing barriers for families and ensuring students graduate high school with the essential skills and knowledge for lifelong success.”

The district anticipates the course will be offered both semesters, in addition to the summer option, on an ongoing basis. The course will be offered both Zero and 1st Period on the Walla Walla High School campus beginning second semester this school year. During the first half of the semester, students will learn important financial education topics such as income, benefits, taxes and budgeting. During the second half of the semester, students will complete the Traffic Safety portion of the course, which includes 30 hours of Traffic Safety Education, 6 hours of scheduled drives, 4 hours of observations, and 12 hours of home-driving practice. This experience will fulfill all of the state requirements necessary to schedule an official Department of Licensing drive test and earn a license.

To be eligible to sign up for the course, students must be at least 15 years old and have obtained a learner’s permit from the DOL by April 10, when the Traffic Safety portion of the class begins.

Additional information about the program and registration for spring semester can be found HERE   

Families are encouraged to register for spring semester by Friday, December 16.

Garrison Middle School named School of the Month by Special Olympics Washington

Article by The Champion Newsletter – Special Olympics Washington

SCHOOL OF THE MONTH: Congrats to our November School of the Month: Garrison Middle School from Walla Walla, Washington!

Garrison Middle School is new to Unified Champion Schools this school year and they have jumped right in! As many of us know, schools have different entry points into how they start Unified Opportunities. GMS started with Unified Robotics and has created 3 teams in their first year.

For many students, this is their first experience with STEM opportunities and working side by side with peers of different abilities. GMS will be headed to Renton on December 4 to compete in the 2022 Unified Robotics Championship.

Wa-Hi students earn state music honors

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School student Mozea Havens, violin on her acceptance into the 2023 Washington Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra, and Ember Richardson, cello on her acceptance into the 2023 National Association for Music Education's All-NW Orchestra.

“This is the result of years of hard work and many hours of practice,” said Orchestra teacher Julia Woods. “They'll be participating in these honor ensembles in Bellevue on February 16-19, along with other musicians across the state and Northwest.”

Garrison Middle School planning Warmth Drive 

The Garrison Middle School ASB and NJHS are partnering to sponsor its annual Warmth Drive from November 28-December 20. Donations of new or gently used (and clean) winter hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, socks, coats and blankets for men, women and children will be accepted in support of the Warmth Drive. The donation bins will be located in the Garrison Middle School library. All items collected will be dropped off at the Christian Aid Center on December 20 Last year more than 200 items were collected and delivered to the Christian Aid Center.

Community Stories
Needham receives lifetime achievement award from the Washington State Health Care Authority

Congratulations to lifelong Walla Walla resident and Graduate of Distinction Peggy Needham for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington State Health Care Authority November 9 for her work in the fields of substance use prevention, mental health promotion and suicide prevention.

“It is our honor to present you with this award and wish to acknowledge that, by nominating you, your colleagues have given special recognition to your noteworthy contributions in preventing substance abuse and encouraging mental health promotion,” said Sarah Mariani, Section Manager from the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery in a letter to Needham. “Peggy has been instrumental to not just the success in her community, but across the state of Washington.”
Peggy has supported numerous programs for students and families, including Sources of Strength and Strengthening Families.

Needham thanked community partners and coalition members at the virtual ceremony for supporting all her efforts.

Schneidmiller named Director Emeritus of the Washington Scottish Rite Scholarship Foundation

Local businessman and Graduate of Distinction recipient Paul Schneidmiller was named Director Emeritus of the Washington Scottish Rite Scholarship Foundation at a Nov. 4 ceremony held in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

"For his 42 years as a serving Director on this Foundation's board, I am genuinely honored to declare Paul Schneidmiller, of Walla Walla, as a Director Emeritus of our Scholarship Foundation," said Mark Quenneville, Foundation President. "Paul is exactly the kind of Scottish Rite Freemason who exemplifies the ambassador we need to reach out to deserving undergraduate students statewide who we can help financially to reach their academic goals."

Schneidmiller is the owner-president of World Wide Travel Service in Walla Walla. He is a 1970 graduate of Walla Walla High School, a fervent University of Washington Husky who graduated in 1974, and is a former elected commissioner and is also past president of the Walla Walla Port Commission. Paul currently serves as President of the Sherwood Trust and is Chairperson for the Walla Walla Public Schools Community Facilities Task Force.

"There are so many other deserving people who have worked to help students for so long, I just feel deeply honored to be in such service-minded company. My father was a board member of this Foundation for a long time and was my inspiration and role model. Our Scottish Rite organizations here in the Valley of Walla Walla are all about helping young people achieve their potential," Schneidmiller said. "We have a speech and language clinic that helps prepare communication-challenged children get ready to enter the school system. We actively support the cadets of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Walla Walla High School as they cultivate future leaders. And, of course, our Foundation scholarships help undergrad, fellowship and postgraduate students reach for their dreams."

His father, Sam Schneidmiller also of Walla Walla, passed away recently and was awarded the "Director Emeritus" title posthumously at the same Nov. 4 ceremony. His son received the award plaque on his behalf. Sam was a retired community figure and widely respected businessman. He had been a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War Two and later served as a member of the U.S. Air Force.

"Paul and Sam have been role-model philanthropists in the Scottish Rite Scholarship Foundation, helping us to distribute millions and millions of dollars to successful scholarship applicants for these many years," said Quenneville. “As Director Emeritus, Paul will continue to mentor other board members and be a key part of this Foundation's scholarship selection process, now and for years to come.” Our window for scholarship applications opened a few weeks ago and we'll continue to accept applications through March 31, 2023."

For more information, visit the web site at: https://www.srsfwa.org/

Camp Fire Afterschool Program Update

Our theme for the week of 11/21/22 - 11/25/22 is "I'm Thankful For..." week. Students will be encouraged to ponder and share things they're thankful for, and participate in staff-lead social-emotional learning discussions.

November as-needed registration is still open, with limited spots available at Prospect Point, Green Park, Berney, Sharpstein and the Center for Children and Families. Additional as-needed dates for the end of November and the beginning of December have been posted. Register online at https://www.wwcampfire.org/programs.

Camp Fire programs will be closed 11/23-11/25 for Thanksgiving break.

Select Camp Fire Walla Walla as your charity of choice on Amazon Smile-- a great way to support us without any additional cost. Sign up online in less than a minute at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/91-0626153.

Follow us on Instagram at @campfire_wallawalla. Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/campfirewallawalla.

Parks and Recreation Update

• Luxe Party Christmas Combo Class. Ages 6-12 years. Cost is $48.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes go on sale November 25 at the lowest price of the season! Family $130, Youth $50, Adult $60.
• Indoor Soccer registration is open. Grades K-8. This league is co-ed. Cost is $50 (early registration ends November 18).
• Beginning Ukulele – 10 years and over. Cost is $45.

Do you have the 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

For more information or to register, please visit our website at www.wwpr.us. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Parks & Recreation Office at 509-527-4527, recreation@wallawallawa.gov 

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