Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 3, 2023

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board Regular Study Meeting 

Tuesday, March 7
Walla Walla Public Schools District Office (364 S. Park St.)
5:30 p.m. – Regular Study Meeting
Board Meeting Agendas, Minutes & Recordings: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997

Pandemic Learning Gap Closes in Walla Walla with Double-Digit Gains in Math and Reading

Walla Walla Public Schools K-8 students have erased pandemic-period learning losses based on mid-year academic assessments. The results are due both to smaller declines during the period of hybrid schooling and to additional investments in supports for staff and students directed by the school board, according to Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith.
On the heels of the pandemic, the Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors established aggressive student reading and mathematics goals for their superintendent and schools last summer. From fall to winter this school year, the board targeted a 10% increase in the number of students performing at or above grade level in reading and math. Additionally, they established the same expectation for struggling students, requesting 10% fewer students score below grade level from fall to winter.

“These are lofty goals, expecting students to demonstrate remarkable growth in just a half years’ time,” notes Superintendent Smith. “However, our board realized the importance and urgency that students catch up, and we were laser-focused this fall and winter in doing so.”

Results from the winter i-Ready diagnostic revealed 13% more students are now performing on or above grade level in reading and math, in just a half years’ time, reaching levels not seen since the 2019-2020 school year.

“These results are a credit to teachers, administrators and support staff who have embraced the urgency of recovery for many students who came back to school facing intense challenges academically and socially,” said School Board President Derek Sarley. “The targeted investment of federal relief funds in new after-school programs, and additional counseling and family engagement staff have boosted their efforts as well.”

Nationwide, student reading and math scores decreased considerably as a result of interrupted learning during the pandemic, erasing decades of growth on national assessments like NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). Locally, while Walla Walla did not see as large of academic dip, performance on local and state assessments were negatively impacted during the pandemic.

“We are excited for the growth our students have made and look forward to continued efforts through the remainder of the school year,” states Superintendent Smith. “We anticipate just as much if not more improvement from winter to spring and look forward to celebrating and communicating end of the year student performance with families and our community.”

March 2023 Pulse video with Superintendent Smith 


This month Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith updates viewers on the Strategic Planning process. Last month the district held its Strategic Planning Summit at the Walla Walla High School Commons. Stakeholders learned more about the draft goals of the plan and shared their input as part of the outreach phase. The next step is to operationalize the plan and get it ready for implementation this fall. Superintendent Smith also praised district staff and students for the tremendous academic performance growth in iReady math and reading exams from fall to winter. He also thanked the community for its support of the levy and noted how these funds are being used to bring back Traffic Safety Education this spring to high school students. This month also features Parent/Teacher Conferences for students in grades 6-12.

Public Schools Week 2023 - Feb. 27 to March 3

2023 Theme: Here for the Kids

Join us in saying THANK YOU to the dedicated teachers and staff for keeping our students learning and growing this year. Celebrate Public Schools Week Feb. 27-March 3. Thank you for your support of Walla Walla Public Schools as we work collectively to Develop Washington's Most Sought-After Graduates.

School Stories
Marlene Perez named principal for Edison Elementary school

Walla Walla Public Schools announces Marlene Perez has been named principal of Edison Elementary School. The extensive hiring process included a formal interview in front of two committees as well as a public meet and greet session where parents, faculty and students provided input on both finalists.

“I am so excited to join the Edison Shocker school community beginning the 2023-24 school year,” said Mrs. Perez. “As a first-generation Mexican-American, I believe with my whole heart the importance of multilingual education. Embracing multiple cultures and multiple languages better prepares each of our scholars to be leaders in the future. Everyone I met during the interview process; the classrooms visited, the formal interview, and perhaps most importantly, the community and family members who came to the evening forum, demonstrated clearly that Edison is a school community that believes in the potential of our kids. I can’t wait to get to Walla Walla, with my family, and look forward to the 2023-24 school year.”

Marlene Perez has served the community of Pacific Beach Elementary School since 2019. Pacific Beach Elementary is part of the North Beach School District, located in Pacific Beach, Washington. Marlene began her teaching career in a dual language immersion program in Vancouver School District. Marlene has been an educator for 18 years and has served as a bilingual para educator, teacher, Title I/Highly Capable Coordinator, Bilingual/Migrant Coordinator and principal.

"We are excited to welcome Mrs. Perez to our Edison family and Walla Walla community,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Her experience as a principal and former dual language teacher, as well as her unique skill set, will help ensure Edison continues on their path toward becoming one of the state's finest dual language schools."

Mrs. Perez will assume her new duties as Edison principal July 1, 2023.

Walla Walla Public Schools teams with Chevrolet of Walla Walla to offer elementary soccer


This spring elementary students across the school district will have an opportunity to compete against each other in soccer thanks to a generous donation from Chevrolet of Walla Walla, the school district’s levy funds and grant support from the district’s 21st Century Afterschool Program.

This free new co-ed soccer program, for 4th and 5th grade students, begins April 10 and continues through May 18. Program management will fall under the umbrella of the district’s 21st Century Afterschool program, and equipment and program associated costs will be funded by the donation. The goal of the program is to provide a positive afterschool activity where students can enhance their soccer skills, learn to play as a team and develop good sportsmanship.

“We wanted to have a direct impact on our children and give back to the community,” said Jaime Tiscareno of Chevrolet of Walla Walla. “We didn’t have a soccer program in our elementary schools when I was a kid and I want to make sure today’s students have this opportunity. We look forward to seeing the students compete and have fun representing their schools.”

Practices will be held after school from 2:45 to 4:30 p.m. with games being held on Mondays and Thursdays after school. There are no practices or games on Wednesdays. Schools will play each other twice during the season. Transportation will be provided from the school to the game sites for all players. Parents are encouraged to pick up their children after all practices and following the games at the hosting schools. However, school transportation home is available if needed.

Registration Open March 6 through March 22: To register for this exciting new program, please complete the following forms and return them to your child’s classroom teacher. (See link above) Hard copy packets are also available at the school’s main office and electronic forms are on school websites.

Elementary Soccer Parent Packet
o Request for Waiver of School Accident Plan Coverage
o Walla Walla Public Schools Medical Release for Athletics
o Walla Walla Public Schools Concussion Training Sign-off Form
o Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form

Please contact your child's school if you have any additional questions. We look forward to seeing our students compete and have fun representing their schools!

Parent Night for Incoming 9th Grade Families

Please join us to learn more about high school credits, graduation requirements and the registration process. See firsthand the amazing opportunities for your child in our high school programs. Our goal is to work together with families to help all students find success along their educational journey.
• Monday, March 13
• 6 to 7 p.m.
• Walla Walla High School Commons

Walla Walla Public Schools – Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates

Garrison Middle School teacher earns national board certification

Congratulations to Garrison Middle School teacher Michelle Paine for achieving NBCT standards in 2022. National Board Certification is recognized as the gold standard in teacher certification. The certification process requires that teachers demonstrate standards-based evidence of the positive effect they have on student learning in alignment with the Five Core Propositions. They must exhibit a deep understanding of their students, content knowledge, use of data and assessments and teaching practice.

Recipients must also show that they participate in learning communities and provide evidence of ongoing reflection and continuous learning. More than 133,000 teachers across the United States have achieved Board certification.

Parent/Teacher Conferences next week for Secondary Schools; No School grades 6-12 – March 9-10

Middle and High School Parent/Teacher conferences are next week. There is No School for students in grades 6-12 Thursday, March 9 and Friday, March 10. Look for information regarding the schedule from your child’s school. Contact the school secretary for additional conference schedule information. 

Spanish book fair at Pioneer MS next week; Public welcome!

The second half of the community-wide Spanish book fair is fast approaching. The book fair will be at Pioneer Middle School in the library. There will be 165 different titles (608 copies) available for purchase.

Spanish Book Fair Schedule:
• Tuesday, March 7 from 3:30-7:30 p.m.
• Thursday, March 9 from 8-4 p.m.

Tickets on sale now for FFA Blue and Gold Shindig

Walla Walla FFA Alumni and Friends announce tickets for this year's Blue and Gold Shindig are now on sale! Join us for a night full of fun!
• Saturday, April 29
• Walla Walla County Fairgrounds Community Center
• Dinner at 6:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.)
• Single Dinner Tickets - $30
• Reserve a table for your family (8 tickets included) - $250
• Buy Tickets Here: https://buytickets.at/wallawallaffaalumni/852065
• All proceeds support the local FFA Chapter
• For more information: http://wallawallaffaalumni.weebly.com
• Call Staci if you have questions: (509) 386-3484

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU basketball 5th grade boys win “Tournament of Hoops” 

Congratulations to Walla2Hoops 5th grade boys basketball team for winning the Tournament of Hoops in Walla Walla Feb. 26. The team defeated Pendleton 40-27 to take the championship.

Walla2Hoops welcomed 63 teams from Washington, Idaho and Oregon to Walla Walla for its “Tournament of Hoops” AAU Basketball Tournament Feb. 25-26 for boys and girls grades 3-8. Games were played at Walla Walla High School, College Place High School, Garrison Middle School, Pioneer Middle School, Berney Elementary, Green Park Elementary and DeSales High School during the two-day event.

“We’re so proud of all our teams for competing against all these competitive teams from throughout the Northwest,” said Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington. “Congratulations to our 5th graders for winning the championship and representing our club with great sportsmanship and class.”

5th grade Walla2Hoops team:
Coaches: Dustin Stocking & Curtis Pumphrey
Carter Bryant
Devin Boyd
Tytus Bockert
Case Pemberton
Edwin Erickson
Geovanni Munoz
Carson Stocking
Kellen Meliah
Parker Pumphrey

Special thanks to:
• College Place High School Cross Country team for running 22 games at CPHS on Sunday
• DeSales Basketball Programs for running 9 games at DeSales on Sunday
• WaHi Boys & Girls Basketball programs for covering scoreboards at WWPS (Miriam Hutchens, Jackson Unck, Mariah Locati, Lauryn Bergevin, Stella Billingsley, Cade Thonney, Marshall Lynch, Yuhan Marin, Colt Pemberton, Lucy Billingsley, Nile Dumser, Jacob Griffith, Max Biddiscombe, Basil Reed, Owen Hand, Bridget Boyd, Phoenix Arevalo, Jeffery Chun, Raul Alaniz, Macy Eggart, Korinne Hayes, Celia Generalo, Raiden Reibel, Madison Reibel, and Jailyn Davenport)
• And everyone that volunteered their time to cover Entry/Concessions: WWHS FBLA (Kai Lincoln, Finn Mosher, Elizabeth Allen, Jakob Sullivan, Tyler Grimm, Erik Auth, Andrea Mata-Cuellar, Zechariah Frierson, Henry Sharon, Wyatt Jenes, Jefferson Adams Lopez, Logam Manyrath, Jerry Yao, Piper Frederickson, Audry Graham, Josie Van Dyke), W2Hoops teams (4B Weseman, 6G McNeil, 8B W2/OTT), and several community members (Tony, Kara, and Audra Billingsley, Sidney & Cole McCauley, Erin Aycock, Ethan Locati, Lauryn Bergevin, Marlee Boyd, Emily Meliah, Lena & Lucinda Weaver, Carolyn & Jax Pemberton, Madyson Artz, Juliet Lugoloobi, and Nate Allen)

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.

City Library Update

Celebrate the joy of stories this Saturday, March 4th from 10:00 a.m.-12 noon at the Walla Walla Public Library's Storybook Celebration! Families & kids can color masks and act out Elephant & Piggie stories, make a set of "Wild thing" feet, get your picture taken with Pete the Cat in person, and of course check out books to read again and again. Come find your favorite story this Saturday at Walla Walla Public Library!

All middle & high school students are invited to a Black & White Party at Walla Walla Public Library next Wednesday, March 8th at 6pm. Featuring a black & white selfie station, crafts, food, vintage movies & more, come in your favorite black & white attire for a fun evening at the library! More program info is available on our website at www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org, on our Facebook page, or by calling 509-527-4550.

Parents, did you love Nintendo back in the day? Share your love with your kids and join us for retro gaming next Thursday at Walla Walla Public Library from 12:00-3:00 p.m.! Families and kids are invited to come play Nintendo classics together at this one-day special event. We'll have Pac-Mac, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros ready for multiplayer gaming fun, so bring the family for an old-school good time for all ages!

Sign up today for Great Explorations – Hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math Adventure

Spots are still available for the Great Explorations event March 11 at Whitman College for all kids in grades 5-7. This free event features more than 25 hands-on STEM workshops and a keynote address from Dr. Taylor Heckman. Dr. Heckman works at the University of California researching infectious diseases in aquatic animals. Visit the website sign up https://gewallawalla.com/#/

Gesa Power House Theatre presents Little Watts Family Shows

The first: Gesa Power House Theatre welcomes back Leapin' Louie on Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. Gesa Power House Theatre welcomes Leapin’ Louie to the stage on Sunday, March 12, at 2 p.m. Leapin’ Louie uses circus, cowboy tricks, puppetry, and lots of comedy to explore all those amazing critters—including us—who fly.

The second: Lighting up the stage on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. is the Tel Aviv Wind Quintet. Their award-winning and ground-breaking performance of "Peter & the Wolf" is aimed at making music entertaining and accessible to audiences of all ages! These five musicians are flying in from Israel to Walla Walla for their first stop on their first ever US tour.

Tickets for both of these shows are $12 for adults and $8 for youths 12 and younger.

Camp Fire Afterschool Program Update

Our theme for the week of 3/6 - 3/10 is Music Week. Campers will engage with percussion instruments, talk about their favorite music during circle time, and engage in other music-themed activities.

We have lots of as-needed and daily registration spots open at our Pre-K Camp Fire program at the Center for Children and Families. Register for CCF or other sites here: https://www.wwcampfire.org/programs

We're already gearing up for Summer Camp, and we have some exciting updates coming in April. Make sure you join the Camp Fire Parent Newsletter to stay in the know: https://www.wwcampfire.org/contact

Parks and Recreation Update

• Toddler Dance Party – Ages 6 months-10 years. Cost is $10.
• Father/Daughter Ball March 4 – Open to all ages. Cost is $20 per Father. Space is limited.
• Beginning Ukulele – 10 years and up. Cost is $45-$60
• St Paddy’s Day Dash – Ages 5 and up. Cost is $15-$25.
• WW Soccer Alliance Skills Clinic – Ages 7-12. Cost is $65.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Grades K-6. Cost is $40-$50.
• Pre Teeball-League – Ages 3-5. Cost is $35.
• Adult Softball League (Men’s & Co-Ed). Ages 16 years and up. Team fee is $920.
• Fencing - 8 years and up. Cost is $20-$75.
• Veterans Memorial Pool 2023 Season Passes are on sale! Prices increase the 1st of each month until May when they are full price.

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

If you have questions, feel free to contact the Parks & Recreation Office at 509-527-4527, recreation@wallawallawa.gov 

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