Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - January 6, 2023

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
January is School Board Recognition Month

Initiated by the National School Boards Association in 1995, 2023 marks the 28th anniversary of School Board Recognition Month.

Special thanks to Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Eric Rindal, Kathy Mulkerin, Derek Sarley, Ruth Ladderud and Terri Trick for their service to the community.
School boards are the link between public schools and the communities they serve. As publicly elected officials and members of their local communities, school directors are uniquely positioned to:
• Create a community-wide, shared vision and set goals for improving student achievement
• Create the conditions and direct the resources for accelerating improvement
• Hold the system accountable to high and equitable achievement for each and every student
• Communicate needs and progress of students to the community
• Build public will to improve outcomes for all students and succeed in reaching the district’s student achievement goals

The board is the authority for local school regulations, policy, and programs within the framework of state law. In addition to ensuring high levels of learning for all, they are responsible for overseeing the financial health of the district, ensure legal interests are protected, facilities are properly cared for, and necessary policies are adopted.

Thank you School Board members!

January 2023 Pulse Video

January 2023 Pulse Video

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith released the January 2023 Pulse video. Superintendent Smith honors school board members as January is School Board Recognition Month across the state. He also praised the Bond Oversight Committee for receiving the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce Duane Wollmuth Catalyst Award. These community volunteers reviewed and publicly posted monthly bond budget reports and project updates to ensure community transparency and financial accountability.

Superintendent Smith reminded families about this month’s winter iReady diagnostic assessments in math and language arts and to be on the lookout for links to the annual Educational Effectiveness Survey being sent out in January. Also, all district activities, including games, concerts and plays, are free to the public.

Friday, Jan. 13 - Early Dismissal for Students

Early Dismissal Times:
• 11:45 a.m. - Preschool and transitional kindergarten students at the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families
• 11:40 a.m. - Elementary students (K-5)
• 12:25 p.m. - Middle and high school students (6-12) – Note: SEATech dismisses at 12:15 p.m.
• Note: Lincoln High School students utilize a different schedule and will not have an early dismissal Jan. 13.

Early dismissal days are an opportunity for staff to participate in professional development opportunities to support student learning.

School Stories
Walla Walla High School launches unified inclusive basketball program

Walla Walla High School has partnered with Special Olympics to start a unified inclusive basketball program for students. A $3500 grant from Special Olympics helped get the program launched this school year. The co-ed team of 12 students will play a four game regular season schedule this winter with an opportunity to compete in districts, regionals and state depending on how the team fares. The team practices once a week under the leadership of coaches Jennifer Butenhoff and Krystal Ceron. Wa-Hi played Othello Wednesday at Pioneer Middle School. The team will play at Wa-Hi Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.

“Unified Sports and Clubs are students with developmental disabilities, and students without, playing and working together on the same team,” said Wa-Hi Special Education and 504 Administrator Libby Thompson. “This is a great opportunity for students participating in unified sports to compete for their school with the focus on inclusion and having fun.”

Wa-Hi will also have a unified soccer team this spring, and Garrison Middle School has a unified Robotics Team. According to Special Olympics, about 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. Learn more about Unified Sports at: www.playunified.org.

Winter iReady assessment scheduled for later this month

Walla Walla Public Schools students will be taking the winter iReady diagnostic test in math and reading during the weeks of January 16-23. The iReady Diagnostic is an adaptive assessment that adjusts its questions to suit the student’s needs. Each item a student sees is individualized based on their answer to the previous question. For example, a series of correct answers will result in slightly harder questions, while a series of incorrect answers will yield slightly easier questions.

The purpose of this is not to give the student a score or grade, but instead to determine how students are progressing to meeting grade level standards. iReady supports teachers as they plan instruction, set goals with students, and assess learner progress.

New Wa-Hi office tour video


Walla Walla High School Principal John Schumacher takes viewers on a walking tour of the school’s new bond-funded office area in a recently released video. This beautifully expanded and modernized office houses school counselors, student services, health services, intervention specialists, receptionists, administrators and more. Principal Schumacher wants to ensure students know how to access the new office space and feel welcome utilizing these services.

Parents and visitors are also reminded to use the expanded parking lot east of the new main office when visiting the school. The former parking spaces on Abbott Road in front of the main office are now used exclusively for student drop off and pick up.

Calling all parents of Wa-Hi Seniors  

A planning meeting will take place in the Wa-Hi Library this coming Monday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m. It is purely informational and organizational, and ALL parents of seniors who are interested in contributing time, energy and talent to the post-graduation party for ALL SENIORS are invited. We will be meeting occasionally to get things organized and would love full participation and input! Please mark your calendars to attend. Subsequent meetings will follow monthly. Contact Sara VanDonge if you have questions: saravandonge@gmail.com

Free 24/7 tutoring services now open to middle and high school students

Last month Walla Walla Public Schools launched a new free 24/7 tutoring service to all students grades 6-12 through a partnership with Paper, one of the nation's leading remote tutoring and writing support companies. The district developed a new website with a log-in portal for students and information on how to utilize the tutoring service, including helpful parent guides and videos.

FREE 24/7 Tutoring Webpage 

Students click on the Student/Family Portal login area on the website and use their WWPS Google sign-in information. Students may also easily access Paper tutoring through their school “student shortcuts” browser landing page.

“Utilizing our one-time federal pandemic relief funds, we are able to provide this 24/7 online tutoring service free of charge,” said Walla Walla Center for Children and Families Director Brent Cummings, who is leading the launch of this new program due to his extensive experience managing Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds for the district. “Through Paper, students can safely and securely chat with an expert tutor or get feedback on written work anytime, anywhere, for free.”

Paper Tutoring Overview:
• With Paper, students receive Unlimited 24/7 One-on-one Tutoring for all subjects, delivered by a live educator through Paper's Classroom in both English and Spanish.
• Paper also provides students with Essay Review, where students can upload any piece of written work and receive an annotated version of their work within 24 hours.
• All student activity on Paper is recorded, tracked, and made readily available to school teachers and administrators.
• This equips teachers with Transparent Insights on how their students are learning outside the classroom and helps educators personalize their instruction.

“We will work closely with each and every school and classroom to provide professional development, student orientation, and family communication support to ensure Paper's student-centered learning approach accelerates student learning,” said Cummings. “This is going to be a great resource to supplement the high quality instruction occurring daily in our classrooms and learning spaces. Whether students need help clarifying homework questions or desire feedback on a written assignment, they can get on-demand and unlimited help when they need it in multiple languages.”

You can learn more about this fantastic resource here if you are interested! https://paper.co/

Garrison Middle School Sources of Strength training

This week Wa-Hi’s Shayna Hutchens and Nicole Mueller, local Sources of Strength Trainers, spent the day with 31 Garrison students and seven staff members at SEATech.

Sources of Strength is a strength-based, upstream suicide prevention program that uses peer leaders to enhance protective factors associated with reducing suicide at the school population level. Garrison peer leaders were educated on the program, experienced engaging in strength in their own lives, and planned how they were going to spread hope, help and strength through campaigns for their school.

Wa-Hi JROTC takes state women’s air rifle title – By Wa-Hi JROTC Public Affairs

Walla Walla High School’s JROTC Precision Rifle Team member Cadet Captain Raquelle Justice captured the Washington State Women’s Air Rifle state championship at the Spokane Rifle Club on Saturday in a contest that pitted 43 of the state’s top precision class rifle marksmen against each other. Shooters competed in two disciplines, air rifle and smallbore for state honors and a chance to represent their state at the Junior Olympic National Championship matches to be held at Hillsdale College in Michigan this May.

The Blue Devils competed in two matches Saturday; an air rifle match in the morning that consisted of 60 timed shots from the unsupported standing position, and a 3 position .22 rifle match where contestants fire 20 shots each from the prone, standing and kneeling positions. “Junior Olympics is always a long day for these athletes” commented WAHI Rifle Team Coach Mark Mebes “By the end of the day, they’ve been shooting for nearly 6 hours. Emerging successful here takes a lot of training and unwavering focus.”

WAHI’s Air Rifle Team consisting of Justice, Cadet Captain Ben Nelson and Cadet Captain Tristan Scott finished the event with a team score of 1661, putting them in second place for the state just behind Spokane Junior Rifle Club who produced a 1703. Justice’s gold medal performance garnered 557 out of a possible 600 points, placing her 5 points ahead of silver medalist Madison Thompson from Oak Harbor.

WAHI’s top shooter in the match was Scott, last year’s Washington State Men’s champion, who shot a 558 against stiff competition this year and finished in 4 th place for the state. In the smallbore rifle match that afternoon, Justice emerged as the Blue Devil’s top shooter with a 535, a personal record for her, claiming a bronze medal in the statewide competition. WAHI’s smallbore team, consisting of Justice, Cadet Major Maximus Malone, Cadet Lieutenant Micah Vawter and Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Kaden Kerr ended the day on a 2054 for a 2 nd place finish, behind Spokane Rifle Club.

“Invitations to the National Match will go out later this winter” Said Blue Devil Team Captain Benjamin Nelson “Raquelle will almost certainly get an invite as the Women’s State Champion and Tristan may get an invitation as well, depending where the national results place them.”

The Blue Devils returned home to begin training for a pair of national matches they qualified for earlier this season; the US Army Junior Air Rifle Championship in Fort Benning, Georgia in January and the Army JROTC National Rifle Championship in Sandy, Utah in February.

Lincoln High School art show this month

Lincoln High's Art Show is Thursday, January 19 from 5-7 p.m. The event includes activities, music, and plenty of fun for the whole family.

Strengthening Parenting workshops return in-person

Walla Walla Public Schools is excited to bring its Strengthening Parenting workshops back in-person. Heather, your Strengthening Parenting instructor, will weave in Love & Logic philosophy along with practical practices to provide parents with things to think about and try. Each session will explore different topics and parenting strategies appropriate for parents with children ages Birth-18. Teen information, practices, tips, and strategies will be highlighted throughout both of the Strengthening Parenting sessions. Register today at Strengthening Parents:

Strengthening Parenting Workshops
• When: Saturday's, January 21 & January 28
• Time: 9-11:30 a.m.
• Where: WW Public Schools Board Room, 364 S. Park St.

Want more? Heather will host two evenings of informal conversations called The Practice of Raising Children: Conversations of Care. Come and talk to her in a group setting about what's working as a parent, questions you may have, areas you need help, the importance of self-care, and anything else that is most important to you in the moment.

The Practice of Raising Children: Conversations of Care
• When: Wednesday, February 8
• Time: 6-7 p.m.
• Where: The Walla Walla Center for Children & Families, 1150 W. Chestnut

Community Stories
Community Civility Café – Conversations that Matter

Members of the Walla Walla Civility Project will host a Community Civility Café from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, in the Walla Walla High School Commons, 800 Abbott Road.

Those who want to participate are encouraged to RSVP at civilityprojectww@gmail.com.

The Project’s website — bit.ly/3Z8AbRj — features a variety of information about the need for more civility in society to reduce violence and enable people to work together on community needs. Scroll down on the site to register for the café.

The Café will feature small group conversations with the intent to enhance personal and community civility in Walla Walla and beyond. Small group dialogues will be held in a café setting, with relaxing music, finger food and beverages.

Walla2Hoops AAU 8th grade boys basketball team qualifies for state tournament

Walla2Hoops AAU Basketball Club’ 8th grade boys team qualified for the State Basketball Championships in Spokane in March during the Mid-Columbia Hoops Winter Slam tournament in the Tri-Cities Dec. 17-18. Congratulations to the Walla2Hoops 8th grade boys for finishing second in the tournament dropping a hard fought battle with the Yakima Valley Saints 52-50 in the championship. Walla2Hoops 8th grade boys had wins over Toppenish, Richland Gunners and Tri-Cities Pisces on their road to the championship game.

W2 Hoops 8th Grade Boys Team:
Coach: Stephen Garnett
• Simon Unck
• Micah Eggart
• Evan Gies
• Kenroy Brown
• Nate Allen
• Gabe Davenport
• Colton McCollaugh
• Derrick Bingham
• Alfredo Avalos
• Truman Bullington
• Luke Higgins
• Cole Suaze
• Collin McCollaugh
• Aylen Garnett

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.

To learn more about Walla2Hoops, contact:
• Email: walla2hoops@gmail.com
• Facebook: walla2hoops
• Mail: PO Box 3383 – Walla Walla, WA 99362
• Club Contact: President Matthew Price-Huntington

The Dance Center of Walla Walla presents the Nutcracker

The Dance Center of Walla Walla returns to Cordiner Hall stage with joyous jubilation on January 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. for two performances of Caleb Leitch’s “The Nutcracker”, produced and directed by Idalee Hutson-Fish.
Experience the most magical ballet of all time and the story of Clara and her Nutcracker. Join Clara (Elowyn Kaup) on her magical adventure as her beloved Nutcracker (Isaiah Ruybalid) comes to life, battles the evil rats, then waltzes her though swirling snow before joining the Sugar Plum (Rachel Richardson: American Ballet Theater) and her Cavalier (Mark Tucker: Eugene Ballet) in the Kingdom of Sweets. Delight in the flavors of Coffee, Chocolate, Tea, Marzipan, with the romping Polichinelles, and Candy Canes.

Sway to the Waltzing of the flowers with Dewdrop (Amanda Gallaway) before the Sugar Plum and Cavalier delight you with the most magical pas de deux of all time. Was it only a dream? Only the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer (Tyson Kaup) knows for sure. The fabulous music of Tchaikovsky and the beauty of live ballet combine to create a living art form that is difficult to forget. January 6 & 7, 2023 at 7pm at Cordiner Hall. Tickets at www.thedancecenterofwallawalla.com or at the door.

City of Walla Walla Public Library announces family events
Saturday, Jan. 7 - 10am-noon with Nature Kids...for the Birds! Get to know our feathered friends, try out your nest building skills, and make pine cone feeders. In partnership with Blue Mountain Land Trust.

Every Monday: Mathtastic! math games & activities

Every Wednesday: Games Unplugged features fun board games like Giant Sorry; then stay for our new Evening Owls story time at 6pm!

Saturday, Jan. 21: 10am-noon, come try out an instrument with Walla Walla Symphony's Traveling Instrument Petting Zoo.

Ongoing programs for tweens and teens include D&D, Sashiko Mending Sewing Lab, Collage Days, and more; find info at www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org or call 509-527-4550.
Parks and Recreation Update
Here is this week’s program information from Parks and Recreation.

• Toddler Dance Party – Ages 6 months-10 years. Cost is $10.
• Youth Volleyball Camp February 4-March 4 – Grades 4-8. Cost is $50.
• Luxe Party Christmas Combo Class – December 17. Ages 6-12 years. Cost is $48.
• Beginning Ukulele – 10 years and over. Cost is $45-$60
• Indoor Soccer. Grades K-8. This league is co-ed. Cost is $60 (space is limited).
• Fencing - 8 years and over. Cost is $20-$75.
• 2023 Season Pool Passes are on sale! Get your pass at the cheapest price of the season! Prices increase January 1.

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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