Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 5, 2023

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District receives clean state fiscal audit

This week district officials received word the annual state financial and accountability audit for the 2021-22 fiscal year was again strong. Issued by the Office of the Washington State Auditor, who is required to review school district financial statements every year, the report noted that there were no significant deficiencies, no material weaknesses, and no instances of noncompliance in the district's internal controls over financial reporting.

The audit exit report noted, in all the selected areas that were audited, district operations complied, in all material respects, with applicable state laws, regulations, and its own policies, and provided adequate controls over the safeguarding of public resources.

Additionally, reviews of major Federal programs within the district's jurisdiction also noted the same. As a result, an unmodified opinion was issued with no findings identified. Auditors once again called this audit as good as it gets during the exit conference with the district's financial team and school board representatives. This year’s results mirror the findings from last year.

“It is critical that our taxpayers and community maintain trust in our financial controls and accountability,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "This free and clear audit confirms our continued efforts around fiscal accountability and transparency under our school board’s oversight and administrative protocols. A history of strong audits like this has helped the district secure outstanding bond rates, helping save the taxpayers money over the life of school bonds through lower interest rates.”

Director of Fiscal Services, Nancy Taylor, who oversaw the business department for the district throughout the audit period, credits her staff for their tireless efforts, as well as the school board for their established policies and financial controls.

School board study meeting May 9

The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors next regular study meeting is May 9, 2023. The meeting will be held at the Walla Walla Public Schools Administration Building, 364 S Park Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362 and is open to the public. Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule.

NO SCHOOL Friday, May 12

There is NO SCHOOL Friday, May 12 for all students. This was a possible snow day built into the calendar that was not used.

Graduations and End of Year Celebrations

Opportunity and Walla Walla Online Graduation
• Wednesday, June 7
• 6:30 p.m.
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds

Lincoln High School Graduation
• Thursday, June 8
• 6 to 8 p.m.
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds

Walla Walla High School Commencement
• Friday, June 9
• 7 p.m.
• Walla Walla High School

Walla Walla Online 8th Grade Recognition
• Tuesday, June 13
• 6 p.m.
• SEATech Multipurpose Room

Pioneer Middle School 8th Grade Recognition
• Tuesday, June 13
• 7 p.m.
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds

Garrison Middle School 8th Grade Recognition
• Wednesday, June 14
• 7 p.m.
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds

School Stories
SEATech Health Sciences Graduation Pinning Ceremony

• Public invited to the Graduation Pinning for the Pre-nursing Class of 2023
• Wednesday, May 17
• 6 p.m.
• SEATech (525 Campus Loop – on the campus of Walla Walla Community College)

Wa-Hi Drama Presents - 2023 Spring Show: Dreamland 

Synopsis of show: An over-the-top, B-movie-style musical comedy with a score that blends contemporary musical theatre pop with the smooth sounds of the 1950’s, Dreamland is a musical riff on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set during the declassification of Area 51.

Tickets are FREE and available at the door 30 minutes before curtain.
Location: Wa-Hi Auditorium

Remaining Show Dates: May 5-6, 10-13
May 5 – 7 p.m.
May 6 – 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
May10 -7 p.m.
May 11-7 p.m.
May 12- 7 p.m.
May 13-2 p.m.

Donations are accepted and go to Wa-Hi Drama for future productions! Questions? Email khessler@wwps.org

Gear Up presents parent workshop on staying connected to your teen

• The transition to college can be a daunting and overwhelming experience.
• GEAR UP has organized an event May 16, 6-7 pm, Wa-Hi room A131 to provide support and resources to families navigating this process.
• The event will feature guest speakers Heather Robinson, Love and Logic, facilitator, and dinner will be provided.
• Please RSVP using the following link: https://forms.gle/Se3fu1odozsMP917A

Sports Medicine students test knowledge at state competition

Twelve Walla Walla High School sports medicine students competed at the 29th annual Washington Career and Technical Sports Medicine Spring Symposium and Competition. This is the state competition for Sports Medicine. Students were challenged to complete two, 100-point general knowledge tests in sports medicine and then one, 100-point test in one of the specialties, including exercise physiology, medical terminology, CPR and first aid, anatomy and physiology, or oral practical.

“This is the most sports medicine students who have attended this event and we had our first state placer in Stella Billingsley who placed 4th out of 84 competitors in the Exercise Physiology/Strength and Conditioning speciality,” said Sports Medicine Teacher Kelsey Dill, who is also the school’s athletic director. “This is considered the most difficult specialty at the event.”

The instructors were also invited to participate in an anatomy competition on the Anatomage table and team Mid-Columbia Conference, which included Kelsey Dill (Wa-Hi), Ciara Ashworth (Kamiakin), and Matt Gray (Hanford), placed first in this event.

Battle of the Books tests knowledge of award winning books; Prospect Point team wins title

District elementary school students gathered at Sharpstein Elementary last week for the annual Battle of the Books competition. A team from each of the district’s five elementary schools competed to show their knowledge of the 20 Washington State Library’s Children’s Choice Picture Book Award nominees. Students were selected to compete on their school team based on results from the individual school’s battles. Teams were quizzed on genre, literary elements, author’s purpose, and text references from each of these books. A practice round was played with a sixth team made up of principals from each elementary school competing. The final battle went into a tie breaker between Edison Elementary and Prospect Point Elementary, with the team from Prospect Point emerging victorious. Edison Elementary placed second, and Green Park took third place. All participants were rewarded with a bag full of prizes they shopped for at the Battle of the Books prize “store.”

Battle of the Books first appeared on a Chicago radio program in the 1930's. Since then it has expanded to Battle of the Books competitions taking place all across the country with each state selecting their own books to learn about.

I AM WWPS – Kelley Hubbard


Bermey Elementary Kindergarten teacher Kelley Hubbard grew up in western Washington and has worked in the school district for 21 years. She graduated from Eastern Washington University where she met her husband Jeremy who is a Title I Specialist at Sharpstein Elementary. Kelley has two children at Walla Walla High School and stays active supporting their interests. She loves teaching kindergarten and has a heart for helping the district’s youngest learners get off to a good start in school.

Garrison Color Run Fun!

About 200 people came to Garrison Middle School Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to noon for the Sources of Strength 5K Color Run. Garrison’s Sources of Strength, Latino Club and ASB students/advisors worked together to sponsor the event. Sources of Strength is a Suicide Prevention program which promotes finding people in your lives who provide strength when times get tough. Each student teamed with a positive adult in their lives to complete the six laps around the school’s perimeter. Each time participants completed a lap they were showered in color powder from three different stations to add to the fun. JROTC also brought out its obstacle course and there were fun games and activities for everyone to enjoy.

Special thanks to all the event partners:
• Communities in Schools: coordinated volunteers
• Blue Zones Project: donated Tshirts & brought their Art Bike
• Young Life: Emcee & hype team
• USACE: Brought a booth with prizes
• BMAC: Donated DJ & Prizes for Raffle
• Wa-Hi JROTC: Obstacle Course
• Cody Maine from City of WW provided First Aid booth

District families invited to Wa-Hi Cinco de Mayo Celebration

• Friday, May 5
• Walla Walla High School Commons
• 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• FREE dinner by Dora's Deli (First 500 people)
• Thanks to the support of the WWPS Department of Equity and Dual Programs and the Department of Family and Community Engagement and Support for the event meal
• Food trucks will also be on site
• Wa-Hi Club and College Fair - The festival will feature a career and activity fair as part of the celebration that will include many community partners, colleges, universities and school clubs

Wa-Hi Senior Party planning meeting scheduled

Attention parents of Wa-Hi seniors. The next post-graduation party planning meeting is Monday, May 8. Please mark your calendars! All seniors are welcome at no cost to this fun, safe, activity- and prize-filled party to celebrate their accomplishments.
• General meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Wa-Hi Library
• We need lots of help in getting activities, decorations, food, security, and communications set up for the event.
• Volunteer signups will be taken for setup, staffing, and tear down.
• Looking forward to seeing you all there!
• Any questions? Email laura.norris1119@gmail.com or khubbard@wwps.org

Community Stories
Asking is Caring suicide prevention workshops offered in May

Asking is Caring is offering two training workshops this month to educate parents on supporting their children’s mental well-being and recognizing when a child may be in crisis. These sessions are presented by trained parent leaders with lived experience. One in five young people ages 10-18 live with a mental health condition. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 10-18-year-olds.

Parent Training Workshop Details
Tuesday, May 9
• 6-8 p.m.
• SonBridge (1200 SE 12th St, College Place, WA)
• No childcare available

Tuesday, May 23
• 6-8 p.m.
• SonBridge (1200 SE 12th St, College Place, WA)
• Childcare available

Walla Walla Library Update

Walla Walla Public Library invites kids of all ages to pick up a free comic book at the library this Saturday May 6th, when we celebrate National Comic Book Day. Create your own comics, check out newly-arrived graphic novels and superhero comics, and snag a free Marvel or DC comic on us! Visit our website at wallawallapubliclibrary.org or call 509-527-4550 for information on upcoming library events.

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).

2023 Suicide Prevention Walk – Together we can STOP Suicide in Walla Walla

• Wednesday, May 24
• 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Macy’s Parking Lot (119 E. Alder St.)
• 35+ organizations
• All are welcome
• Event information HERE   

Save the Date for the 26th Annual Ducky Derby – May 13

Duck Race and Family Festival to Support Local Youth and the Prevention of Child Abuse

The 26th annual Community Bank Ducky Derby will be held on Saturday, May 13, at Mill Creek on the campus of Walla Walla Community College. The duck race will begin at 2 p.m. during the Family Fun Festival that will run from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Last year’s Fun Fest was cancelled due to inclement weather, but the committee is committed to holding the event this year.

This annual community event is generously sponsored by Community Bank and organized by the Walla Walla Exchange Club Foundation. Proceeds from this event go toward child abuse prevention and support many programs that benefit youth in the Walla Walla Valley and surrounding areas.

The highlight of the event is the race of approximately 20,000 little yellow plastic ducks down a stretch of Mill Creek. Community members are encouraged to purchase Ducky Derby tickets (one duck for $5 or five ducks for $20) for a chance to win one of approximately 20 prizes generously donated by local businesses. Prizes will be awarded to the individuals who hold tickets with numbers matching those of the first ducks to cross the finish line.

Over $60,000 in guaranteed prizes will be awarded, with the featured prize being a $10,000 cash prize donated by Walla Walla Valley Honda. Regardless of whether you win a prize or not, each ticket is a winner in that a $5 ticket stub is good for a free ice cream at Baskin & Robbins and a $20 ticket stub is good for a free small Blizzard at Dairy Queen.

Ducky Derby tickets are available to purchase from any Exchange Club member, at community events such as the Spring Fling and Downtown Farmer's Market, and at designated ticket outlets: Any Exchange Member, Albertsons, Blue Palm Frozen Yogurt, Community Bank, Downtown on Alder, Community Bank, Hwy 125, Falkenberg Jewelers, L&G Ranch Supply, PFI Mart - Isaacs Ave, Super One, Walla Walla Daily Grind, Walla Walla Valley Honda, or wherever you can find Matt Mahan!

Last-minute tickets may be purchased before the race at the Family Fun Festival at Walla Walla Community College on May 13.

Return to the River Salmon Festival May 13

• Come celebrate our natural resources
• Saturday, May 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• WWCC (by the ballfields along Tausick Way)
• Salmon releases at noon, 1 & 2 p.m.
• Lamprey and native fish on display
• Hands-on activities like fish printing, relay races, obstacle course, demonstrations, free face painting and more

Walla Walla County survey seeks input from families on behavioral health

Walla Walla County is seeking input from parents/families about school behavioral health in local schools. All information is being gathered anonymously. They will use information to improve behavioral health in schools.

The survey will take most respondents approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. There is an option to complete the survey in English or Spanish. Please complete by May 31.


City Parks & Rec Update

• Beginning Ukulele – 10 years and up. Cost is $60.
• Adult Softball League (Men’s & Co-Ed). Ages 16 years and up. Team fee is $920.
• Pickleball – 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!

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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