Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 31, 2023

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Spring Break 2023

There is NO SCHOOL April 3-7 for Spring Break. Classes resume Monday, April 10. The district office will remain open during spring break from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Have a safe and happy spring break.

National School Librarian Day – April 4, 2023

National School Librarian Day is observed internationally on April 4. The day is observed to recognize the professionals who keep school libraries well-stocked and the books in perfect order. School librarians spend long hours keeping the library organized. They are also likely to be the first people to help students find the resources they need to learn. They also encourage students to pursue reading outside of academic texts. School librarians are also responsible for creating an environment where students are motivated to learn. Their work is truly an accomplishment. Thanks so much to all of the Walla Walla Public School Library-Media Specialists and staff who work in district libraries for making them a warm and welcoming learning environment. 

Superintendent Smith meets with community during advisory luncheon

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith invited community members to the district office for an Advisory Luncheon as part of his community outreach efforts. Dr. Smith discussed pandemic recovery efforts and provided bond project updates as the last of the punchlist items are getting checked off the list this spring. He also shared highlights of the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan the district will implement this fall.

Dr. Smith shared results of the recently released Outdoor Athletic and Activities Facilities study which reveals the district is lagging behind its Mid-Columbia Conference counterparts. Superintendent Smith has formed an Outdoor Athletic and Activity Facility Community Advisory Committee consisting of parents, community members and stakeholders. This group will review, research and prioritize needs and identity costs to make improvements. The committee will provide a progress update to the district in April with a final recommendation in May.

Thanks to the following community members for attending:
Tom Sawatzki
Staci Wanichek
Kara Billingsley
Mike Laughery
Elizabeth Chamberlain
Doug Hayes
Janisse Maxwell
David Maxwell
Tina Dumser
Matthew Price-Huntington
Bill Erickson
Sarah Magill
David Utschinski

The next Superintendent’s Advisory Luncheon is Wednesday, May 31 at 12 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please contact Administrative Assistant Susie Golden at: sgolden@wwps.org

WWPS staff featured in Communities In Schools new video 

As part of its pandemic recovery efforts, Walla Walla Public Schools has teamed with Communities In Schools of the Blue Mountain Region to provide additional support for students. The district invested a portion of its federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds to fund this program.

Communities in Schools Informational Video  

The mission of Communities In Schools of the Blue Mountain Region is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Communities In Schools of the Blue Mountain Region is part of a national and state network. The CIS Model of Integrated Student Supports is an evidence-based approach, adapted to meet each community's unique needs. Site coordinators are charged with establishing and implementing a process within a school to effectively deliver or broker Integrated Student Supports.

Integrated Student Supports
CIS staff are in schools during the school day. This allows CIS staff to see what’s going on in the students’ lives in and out of the classroom. This collaboration allows CIS to coordinate with community partners to bring outside resources inside schools.

Whole School Supports + Case Management
School-based staff empowers students to stay in school through individualized access to needed resources, and ongoing encouragement and guidance to build confidence to reach their potential and achieve their goals. CIS also provides whole-school support to help bridge gaps in the school.

Partnership Development
Surrounding students with a community of support requires brokering local and state-level partnerships to provide adequate services and resources to help students thrive. CIS brings the community to the school to help support students.

In Walla Walla Public Schools, CIS has 10 staff serving:
• Berney Elementary School
• Edison Elementary School
• Garrison Middle School
• Green Park Elementary School
• Pioneer Middle School
• Prospect Point Elementary School
• Sharpstein Elementary School
• Walla Walla High School

Current initiatives in the district
• Lead and organize Community Engagement Boards to address chronic absenteeism.
• Provide Digital Navigation to students and their families to help address the digital divide. CIS collaborates in ushering students into district-wide digital services such as Paper online tutoring and Hazel Mental Health.
• Organize and act as the point of contact for outside organizations and individuals to serve students in the school.
• At the High School, activities are focused on academic attainment and attendance.
• CIS is currently building a Volunteer Hub to facilitate parent and volunteer engagement in the schools.

Kindergarten and Early Learning Roundup April 12

Save the Date! Walla Walla Public Schools will host the Kindergarten & Early Learning Roundup at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds, April 12 between 3:30-6 p.m. If you have a child entering kindergarten or an early learning program like Transitional Kindergarten, Headstart and ECEAP this fall then this event is for you.
• Wednesday, April 12
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds
• 3:30 to 6 p.m.
• Meet principals, teachers and staff from your child’s new school
• Learn how and when to register for school
• Learn about Birth-to-5 options and resources for your child
• Visit community and school booths for information and resources
• YouTube video: https://bit.ly/kinderroundup2023
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wwfamiliesandschools/posts/pfbid02cNd6dnczKxrVceH1YNkP3VGWSGpHim9449zPHCRKRUFKq7UKDmDynSDMuL5KKm1Xl
• Website: https://www.wwps.org/departments/family-engagement
• Event Information: Pam Clayton: pclayton@wwps.org / (509) 526-6781

School Stories
Dance team takes third at state & Spring Sports Update – By Athletic Director Chris Ferenz

The Walla Walla High School Dance Team traveled to Yakima March 24 to compete in the WIAA State Dance/Drill Championships. The team earned a 3rd place trophy in the 3A dance category. Led by first-year head coach Brooke Cinnamon (Perkins), Class of 2019, the Blue Devils had their highest finish at State since 2017 (4th). Congratulations to our Blue Devil dancers for an outstanding season.

Spring sports are in full swing with our teams competing in the Mid-Columbia Conference. Please come out and watch our Blue Devils in action. Visit the Athletics website for schedules - https://wallawallaathletics.com/

Two events of note:
1. Big Blue Boosters will be holding their annual dinner/auction on Saturday, April 22 at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds. Visit the BBB website to buy your tickets. The Big Blue Boosters work to enhance the student-athlete experience by supporting all our Blue Devil teams.
2. The Walla Walla HS track and field team will be hosting the Legends Invite Track and Field Meet on Saturday, April 29 at Dave Klicker Track. We will have over 20 teams competing. Consider volunteering to help run events (email: cferenz@wwps.org) or attending as a fan.

Class of 2023 Senior Party Planning meeting

Attention parents of Wa-Hi seniors. The next post-graduation party planning meeting is Monday, April 10.  Please mark your calendars!  Committee meetings start at 5:30 p.m., general meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Wa-Hi Library.  All parents of seniors are invited to participate in planning activities, decorations, food, security and communications for the event.  Any questions? Email laura.norris1119@gmail.com or khubbard@wwps.org.   We hope to see you there!

WWPS Music updates and news

Regional High School Solo and Ensemble Contests occurred in February and the following students and groups will compete in April at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival.

WAHI Belles Voix Choir
Dylan Loney on Euphonium
Ember Richardson on Cello
Simone Wheeler Mezzo Soprano
Micah Vawter - Alto Saxophone

The following groups performed at their Regional Large Group Festivals and received the highest scores possible (Superior)
Walla Walla High School Symphony Orchestra
Walla High School String Orchestra
Garrison Middle School Choir
Pioneer Middle School Choir
Garrison Middle School 7th & 8th Grade Band

“Wind Ensemble and Concert Band received Superiors at the High Large Group Band Festival,” said District Music Coordinator Roger Garcia. “Congratulations to all the students and teachers involved.”

Blue Devil Rifle Team Competes at JROTC All Service Nationals

Over 220 of the top high school Junior ROTC cadet marksmen in the U.S. met at the Gary Anderson Marksmanship Center in Camp Perry Ohio last weekend to compete in the 19th annual All Service JROTC National Air Rifle Championship. This contest marks the final stop on a journey that began in October when nearly 6400 junior rifle marksmen from Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps JROTC programs began competing in local rifle matches, vying for a berth in their respective service championships in February.

Walla Walla High School entered the competition as one of 1100 Army JROTC high schools with rifle marksmanship programs invited to compete. From local qualifications, 800 of the top competitors received invitations to regional service matches. The Army JROTC Western Regional Championships, held in Salt Lake City in February winnowed the field down to 5 teams in each service, leaving the top 3% of the original field still standing. Ranked number 2 in the west and number 5 in the nation, the Blue Devils’ precision rifle team, consisting of 4 cadets embarked on the last stage of this competition on March 24 and 25. Led by rifle team captain Cadet Major Benjamin Nelson, the scoring team included Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Kaden Kerr, Cadet Captain Raquelle Justice and Cadet Captain Tristan Scott.

On the first day of competition the Blue Devils produced a score only 6 points off their season-high mark with a total of 2289 out of 2400 points. Team members Justice and Scott ended the day in a virtual tie at 575 with Kerr just one point back at 754 and Nelson producing a 565. The team’s performance had them sitting in 13th place at the end of competition the first day.

On the second day of competition, Justice led the team in score with a career high total of 579, followed by Scott at 571. Wa-HiI’s performance the second day was lower, only totaling 2258 points and dropping them 2 places to 15th as the match concluded.

“This was our first time at this match since 2019” said rifle team coach Mark Mebes “COVID restrictions cancelled it for two years, and we didn’t qualify last season. It was great to be back here. I’m very proud of the team’s performance this year.”

The Blue Devils return to Walla Walla for a week of training before leaving for Utah to compete in the CMP Western Regional Championship, the third stop for them in their non-JROTC marksmanship season. The team will be traveling minus Justice, who has accepted an invitation to compete at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado over the same weekend.

Lincoln High School hosts Super Smash Bros gaming regional tournament

Lincoln High School’s black box theater was abuzz with energy Monday afternoon for the school’s first-ever Lincoln Invitational Super Smash Bros eGaming tournament. Students representing Selah, Waitsburg, Pasco, Walla Walla High School and Lincoln High converged on the campus for this highly competitive event. Teacher Erik Gordon and several Lincoln High School students planned the event the past two months. Several big screen monitors, including the theater’s massive projection screen, were set up for the tournament. Gaming consoles, specialized chairs, colorful theater lights and music added to the festive atmosphere. Hardware went to the winners in the form of a sizable trophy and large medals. Gordon says he’s proud of the students for working so hard to make the tournament a huge success.

Wa-Hi Floral Team shines at FFA competition

The Walla Walla High School FFA Floral Team took 3rd Place at the Washington State FFA Floriculture CDE. Participants in the Floriculture CDE gain real-world knowledge of all aspects of the industry relevant to production and retail of flowers, plants and foliage. Students must identify plants, make pertinent decisions in solving day-to-day problems that occur in any part of the business and complete an exam that tests their general knowledge. Skill activities, such as flower arranging and corsage design, allow students to showcase their knowledge and talent.

Abigayle Hedges - Tie for 10th place Individual
Mila Petit - Tie 10th place Individual
Joscelyne Baughman
Carly Newton
Teckla Ware

CDE Format
• 50 Question KnowledgeTest
• Identify 50 out of possible 320 Plants and Equipment
• 10 Question Problem Solving Set
• Practicum (Make Corsage, Make Arrangement, Job Interview, One on One Selling and Application of Growing Procedures)
• Team Activity

Advisor Arch McHie says the team consists of quality young people who represent the school and program at the highest levels.

Tickets on sale now for Big Blue Boosters Annual Fundraiser

Attention Big Blue Supporters! Tickets are now available for the 3rd Annual Big Blue Boosters Fundraising Dinner & Auction on April 22, 2023. The event will take place at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds Pavilion, with doors and silent auction opening at 5 p.m., dinner served at 6 p.m., followed by a live auction. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased here: https://bigblueboosters.ejoinme.org/tickets

The Big Blue Boosters of Walla Walla has spent tens of thousands of dollars in the past year to support its athletes. This includes providing basketball shooting machines, gym flooring graphics, bowling lockers, jerseys, t-shirts, sweatshirts, warm-up gear, coach apparel, team meals, sports equipment, sports photography and so much more.

“The goal of Big Blue is to improve the athletic experience for our Wa-Hi student-athletes and coaches,” said Big Blue Boosters Secretary Colby Burke. “We raise funds only through our annual auction and dinner, gym sponsorship programs, and generous donations. We do not ask our student athletes to be responsible for fundraising. As the Walla Walla School District no longer charges admission to regular season sporting events, our mission to generate funds for our athletic programs is more important than ever.”

The Big Blue Boosters is a 501c3 organization, and sponsorships and donations may be claimed as a charitable donation for tax purposes. Donations are accepted throughout the year to support our athletes. We thank you for your support!

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

COCOA announces Juneteenth Jubilee

COCOA would like to invite everyone in our community, especially families with children, to come to the Juneteenth Jubilee on Saturday, June 17, 2023. The event will take place in Washington Park from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Our celebration of joy and the end of enslavement in America is FREE and ALL ARE WELCOME. We will have FREE food, beverages, games, music, crafts, and more. We hope you join us! Follow us on Instagram (wwjuneteenth) and Facebook (cocoawwv).

Camp Fire Afterschool Program update

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

If you are interested in donating to help support Summer Camp or even sponser a camper, email natalie@wwcampfire.org or send a check to the Camp Fire office: 414 S Park st.

City Library Update

Walla Walla Public Library invites all kids and families to join us for a week of fun, games, and reading--when school’s out, the library is open! A full program is planned for the Walla Walla Public Schools spring break at the Walla Walla Public Library, 238 E. Alder Street in Walla Walla. All activities are free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 1, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Family Joke Day: Love to laugh? Have pun & share all-ages jokes at the library!

Monday, April 3, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Get Growing: Families and kids can visit the seed library, make recyclable starter pots, plant sunflower seeds, and get a family garden started.

Tuesday, April 4, 10:00 a.m.; Wednesday April 5th, 6:00 p.m.; Thursday, April 6th, 10:00 a.m.: Dinosaur Storytime: Young children and families are invited to meet the dinosaurs, read dino-stories, and do some stomping. Then stay for dino-themed crafts and play! Tuesday April 4th story time is conducted in Spanish.

Wednesday, April 5, 1:00-2:00 p.m.: ArtSpace for Teens & Tweens (Cricut): Kids 10 and up can learn to create & print with the Cricut and Cricut software, along with a draw/paint/craft open lab.

Friday, April 7, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Pirate Day: Kids and families are invited to dress like a pirate and join us for pirate stories, music, crafts, and fun.

Friday, April 7, 1:00-2:00 p.m.: ArtSpace for Teens & Tweens (3D Printing): Kids 10 and up can learn the 3D printing process and explore .OBJ and .STL files, along with a draw/paint/craft open lab.

Friday, April 7, 4:00-7:00 p.m.: Dungeons & Dragons: In-person play for ages 10 and up; bring your own character or use one of ours. All experience levels welcome!

Saturday, April 8, 11:00 a.m.: Bingo for Books: This hugely popular program returns to the library for kids and families to play bingo and win a new book!

Saturday, April 8, 1:00-2:30 p.m.: Retro Games: All ages are invited to try a hand at Super Mario, Donkey Kong, and more! Multiple gaming stations will be set up for this special pop-up event. Parents, warm up those thumbs and get ready to go head-to-head with your kids on the games you used to play!

Parking is available on Alder Street and throughout downtown Walla Walla; please follow the library access and local access signs and visit https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/about-us/hours-location/ for ongoing updates to parking access. Please do not attend these events if you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of illness. For more event information, please visit the library’s calendar at www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/calendar or call 509-527-4550.

Whitman College swim team offers swimming lessons

• Learn to swim with the help of Whitman College swim team athletes
• Session One: April 3-6 & Session Two: April 10-13
• Times: 4 to 4:30 p.m.; 4:30 to 5 p.m.; 5 to 5:30 p.m.
• Whitman College Campus (Baker Ferguson Fitness Center)
• $75 for private lessons
• $120 for competitive clinic
• For ages 4 and up, including adults
• Sign up: sapperr@whitman.edu

Whitman Sorority plans Story Time family event

• Kappa Alpha Theta presents Carnival for Child Advocates
• Saturday, April 8
• 12 to 3 p.m.
• Whitman College Campus (Cordiner side lawn)
• Carnival games, prizes and snacks
• $1 per activity
• All proceeds go the Child Advocates program which provides advocates for children in the foster care system

Little Watts Family Show at Power House Theatre

Gesa Power House Theatre welcomes Little Watts Family Show performer Duke Otherwise on Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m. Duke Otherwise is a playful wordsmith, a spirited performer, a skilled guitarist and captivating tap-dancer. Using his distinct baritone, he sings his hilarious and imaginative songs that all ages will delight in together. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for youths 12 and under. 

Camp Invention returns to Berney this summer

Camp Invention® is coming back to Berney Elementary! After earning rave reviews from campers, parents and educators, this action-packed program is returning with a brand-new program, Wonder! From July 10 to July 14, 2023, children in grades K-6 will collaborate with friends to take on fun, hands-on STEM challenges, from building a mini skate park and planning a celebration to launching a pop-up shop and transforming a robot into a stuffie. Each experience inspires creativity and boosts confidence. Visit https://invent-web.ungerboeck.com/programsearch/moreinfo.aspx?event=39786 or email shuse@wwps.org to secure your spot.

City Parks & Rec Update

• Toddler Dance Party – Ages 6 months-10 years. Cost is $10.
• Beginning & Intermediate Ukulele – 10 years and up. Cost is $45-$60
• Youth Fishing Derby – Ages 14 and under. FREE.
• Adult Softball League (Men’s & Co-Ed). Ages 16 years and up. Team fee is $920.
• Pickleball For Youth and Adult – Ages 9 years and up. Cost is $30-$60.
• 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

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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