Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Sept. 1, 2023

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board Regular Study Meeting 

Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023
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

Superintendent’s Pulse Video – Sept. 2023

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith welcomes everyone back to school for the 2023-2024 school year. He reminds everyone to complete the back to school checklist and register for ParentSquare. VIP – Volunteer in Person coordinator Beth Swanson is Superintendent Smith’s guest this month. She shares information about the new volunteer system and why it’s important to get involved. Click on link to watch the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo9Wv9nlGME

New VIP “Volunteer in Person” program makes getting involved in your local schools easy

Have you ever considered volunteering to read to a child, helping out in a classroom, or assist a classroom on a field trip? These volunteer opportunities and many others will be easier this school year thanks to Walla Walla Public Schools’ new volunteer program, VIP – Volunteer in Person. VIP features a one-stop, easy-to-use online volunteer management system. Those interested in volunteering, whether a parent, grandparent, community member or local businessperson, will simply visit the district or any school website and click on the VIP logo graphic. This will allow you to see what volunteer opportunities are available by school, complete an online onboarding and background check process, and sign up for volunteer opportunities. Interested parents or community members can register to volunteer for a specific event, classroom, experience or signup to be contacted when their assistance may be needed.

During the extensive strategic planning process last school year, Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith says there was strong feedback from stakeholders and staff to expand volunteer opportunities and streamline the process.

“Goal 4 of our new Strategic Plan – Vision 2030 is centered on leveraging partnerships with families and the community,” said Dr. Smith. “We know we can’t do this alone, that is why we are committed to maximizing family engagement and enhancing volunteer opportunities across our schools.”

What do volunteers do? There are vast opportunities to tutor and mentor students, chaperone activities, assist teachers, have lunch with students, help out in the office and so much more. The goals of VIP are to enrich the overall school experience and enhance learning opportunities.

Longtime community leader Beth Swanson is serving as the district’s Volunteer Coordinator through a partnership with Communities in Schools. She has been busy creating the VIP website and working with schools to see where they need help.

“We are focused on enhancing all aspects of the educational process,” said Swanson. “VIP allows volunteers to choose the type of volunteer experience they would like to have, how much time they want to commit and where they would like to help out.”

If someone has previously signed up to volunteer and gone through a background check in the last two years, they will automatically be enrolled in the new VIP system and receive an email notifying them of their next steps to complete the process.

Question? Will parents need to sign up for the VIP program?
Answer: For most parents, the answer is No. See details below:
• When a parent stops by to eat lunch with their child, attend a classroom or school celebration, or drop something off to the classroom, enrolling in and registering for an account in the VIP Volunteer Program is NOT necessary.
• To be considered a volunteer, parents are most often working in a capacity supporting students who are not their own, or in a non-parent role capacity. This includes assisting teachers or staff at the school, attending a field trip where they are helping supervise other children, or assisting at a school or district event. Under these circumstances parents are deemed volunteers and will need to enroll and have a VIP volunteer account.

For all new volunteers, getting started is easy.
1. Visit the VIP website at https://wwps.galaxydigital.com/
2. Create an account
3. Review volunteer handbook and complete background check
4. Review volunteer opportunities
5. Schedule a volunteer assignment

For more information, contact Beth Swanson, Communities in Schools.

Staff gather to kick off new school year with special surprise video

Monday Walla Walla Public Schools staff gathered at the Wa-Hi gym for the annual Back to School all staff meeting and watched a heartfelt video about the importance of educators in our community. Thanks to all the community members and students who participated in the closing video. We appreciate all the support from the community and are looking forward to a great school year!
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxf0AF696_g

Make sure to register your ParentSquare account

Walla Walla Public Schools is now using the ParentSquare platform for the district, school and classroom communications; primarily with email, text and app notifications. ParentSquare automatically generates an account for each parent/guardian, using their email address and/or phone number (use the email and phone number that you have provided to your school and is in the WWPS Skyward Student Information System).

Click HERE to register your account 

Make sure you go to My Account and set your notification settings. If you select Digest Mode, messages will arrive at 6 p.m. If you select Instant, you will receive messages right away. Be sure to click on the Text message button so you receive text messages. Also, install the FREE ParentSquare app on your smartphone. Contact your child’s school secretary if you need additional support.

District seeks input on community’s priorities for outdoor athletic and activity facilities improvements

Walla Walla Public Schools launched a survey to get public feedback to determine which recommendation, the Comparable Plan or Comprehensive Plan, best meets the community’s priorities for outdoor athletic and activity facilities improvements. The survey link is on the district’s website and remains open until Sept. 15.

English Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FFFSBW9

Spanish survey Link: https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/GMHDL5Y

Earlier this summer representatives from the 20-member independent Outdoor Athletic and Activity Facilities Committee wrapped up months of research and planning by recommending to the school board two options for addressing the district’s outdoor athletic and activity facilities needs. Both options meet the district’s charge of bringing Walla Walla Public Schools middle and high school outdoor athletic and activity facilities up to comparable league standards. The survey is part of the community engagement phase of the planning which will wrap up in October.

“The committee recommended the district consider placing a capital levy on the February 2024 ballot to complement the district’s replacement “learning levy” that continues to fund programs and educational enhancements not paid for by the state, said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “We look forward to engaging with our entire community about these recommendations and look forward to your input.”

Committee Recommendations:
• Construct an adequate multi-purpose facility that complements the current Klicker Track that can accommodate soccer, football, marching band, cheer/dance, lacrosse, PE, youth sports and year-round field utilization
• Consistent with all other schools in the league, install artificial turf playing surfaces to maximize field utilization, participation and post-season play at Wa-Hi
• Replace the failing 60-year-old original tennis courts at Wa-Hi
• Repair the 43-year-old Garrison MS tennis courts (Chubb Courts) and resurface the 20-year-old track
• Install an all-weather track at Pioneer MS for athlete, school and community access
• Consistent with all league schools, install outdoor lighting (low spill/low glare) for early evening play in order to minimize instructional loss and maximize family participation for baseball and softball players
• Provide adequate access to restrooms and locker rooms for high school athletes
• Construct a JROTC “Raider Obstacle Course” for student, first responder and community use
• Ensure facility improvements support hosting of playoff competition and events for regional schools and community organizations for local economic impact and reduced travel

Contact the district office for a guided tour of the facilities being considered for improvement, or if you need additional information about the committee’s recommendations.
• (509) 527-3000

Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days – continues through September 3

Stop by the district’s Information Booth at the Education Building during the fair. Pick up a free book for your child and all your back-to-school information. The information station is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Education Building is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. See you at the fair!

School Stories
U.S. News names Walla Walla High School in national Best High Schools rankings

Walla Walla High School earned high National marks as a 2023-2024 Best High School, which U.S. News released this morning. Ranking factors include college readiness, college curriculum breadth index, state assessment proficiency and state assessment performance rank.

"We are so pleased to learn that Wa-Hi earned recognition as a U.S. News Best High School,” said Walla Walla High School Principal John Schumacher. “We ranked in the top 1/3 of all high schools in the state and nation, boasting especially high marks on our college readiness and breadth index, in addition to our strong graduation rates, reading and science scores."

By earning a national ranking in the top 40%, Walla Walla High School achieved status as a U.S. News Best High School and gained eligibility to display a U.S. News-trademarked 2023-2024 Best High Schools award. Wa-Hi’s ranking landed them as one of the top rated high schools in the entire region.

The U.S. News Best High Schools rankings include data on nearly 25,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 18,000 schools were ranked on six factors based on their performance on state assessments, graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college.

Free admission to all Wa-Hi home games and drama productions

Attention Blue Devil fans! All Walla Walla High School home games and drama productions remain free for everyone to attend. The decision to drop all ticket fees aligns with the district’s Vision 2030 Strategic Plan.

Anyone wishing to attend home athletic contests for free simply needs to show up. Parents/guardians must accompany all middle and elementary aged children while in attendance. Some theatrical events, like drama productions and musicals, will require pre-registration to ensure seating capacities are not exceeded.

Visit the Walla Walla High School Athletic Department’s website for game schedules and information. https://wallawallaathletics.com/ or our Fine and Performing Arts Events Calendar at: https://wahibluedevils.org/c-p/courses/fine-performing-arts/events-calendar

Public invited to POW MIA Remembrance Day event

Wa-Hi JROTC, Volunteers Love to Serve Veterans and HAPO are sponsoring the September 15, 2023 POW/MIA Remembrance Day in the Walla Walla High School Commons from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We are fortunate that we have a Medal of Honor Recipient, John McGloughan as the guest speaker,” said Wa-Hi JROTC Senior Army Instructor CSM (R) Anthony Marrero. “His actions were recognized for his heroism during a battle in Vietnam, May 13-15 1969. Also in attendance is Nancy Wilson who served as a nurse on the USS Repose, Vietnam, 1964-1969.”

This event is open to the public.

Walla Walla Public Schools to offer elementary flag football

This fall elementary students across the school district will have an opportunity to compete against each other in flag football thanks to the school district’s levy funds and grant support from the district’s 21st Century Afterschool Program.

This free new co-ed flag football program, for 4th and 5th grade students, begins September 18 and continues through October 24. 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 21st Century Afterschool program. The goal of the program is to provide a positive afterschool activity where students can enhance their football skills, learn to play as a team and develop good sportsmanship.

Practices will be held after school from 2:45 to 4:30 p.m. with games being held on Mondays, Tuesdays, 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 September 5 through September 15:
To register for this exciting new program, please complete the following forms and return them to your child’s classroom teacher. Hard copy packets are also available at the school’s main office.
● Walla Walla Public Schools Medical Release for Athletics
● Request for Waiver of School Accident Plan Coverage
● Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form
● Walla Walla Public Schools Concussion Training Sign-off Form

Please let us know if you have any additional questions. We look forward to seeing our students compete and have fun representing their school.

Don’t miss FFA students at the Fair

The fair continues through Sept. 3. Wa-Hi's Agriculture teachers team of Peggy Payne, Jenn Crane, Alyssa Drader and Jessica Johnson will be advising 47 students with animal projects at the fair.

“This annual event is the playoff/championship/title game for FFA members,” said Johnson. “All of these students have invested months of work into their projects as well as their own financial investment.”

The FFA advisors would like to invite the community to visit the animal barns and see the students.

Wa-Hi FFA members showing this year:
Rabbits - Alexa Kemp
Chickens - Mica Hartman
Goats - Kenny Gabel
Steers - Paige Gartner, Amiria Cross, Kasey Wegner, Alexa Kemp, Sheldon Coburn, Jaycee Cox
Lambs - Kylie Cochran, Violet Clark, Owen Hand, Teegan Timmons, Hanna Wright, Kaiya Witcher, Jaycee Cox, Ellie Edwards, Kendra Kelly, Korbin King, Emma Loyd, Josie Van Dyke, Easton Van Dyke, Nathan Smith, Kairi Kincheloe, Natalie Lieuallen
Hogs - Quinton Grimes, Jake Humphreys, Ashley Lane, Sara Bowen, Baylee Appleford, Kinzey Appleford, Molly Duncan, Alexis Jones, Logan Petty, Allison Eakins, Wyatt Aycock, Tazie Betzler, Zace Clark-Paolino, Race Hubbard, Brenna Perry, Rem McBride, Parker Morgan, Ben Stillman, Devon Kelley, Natalia Horn-Quintero, Isaac Coon, Hagen Taylor

Community Stories
Walla2Hoops AAU basketball club tryouts and parent meetings for 2023-2024 season 

Walla2Hoops AAU Basketball Club will conduct tryouts for boys and girls in grades 2-8 for the 2023-2024 season Sunday, Sept. 10 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at the Walla Walla High School main gym. Parent meetings will coincide with the tryouts schedule.

2023-2024 Walla2Hoops AAU Tryout Schedule – Sunday, Sept. 10 at Walla Walla High School
• Grades 2-4 (boys and girls) – 12 to 1:30 p.m. (also a parent meeting at this time)
• Grades 5-6 (boys and girls) – 2 to 3:30 p.m. (also a parent meeting at this time)
• Grades 7-8 (boys and girls) - 4 to 6 p.m. (also a parent meeting at this time)

Tryout Requirements:
• Have a current AAU number - https://aausports.org/Join-AAU
• Be registered with Walla2Hoops on SportsEngine https://w2hoops.sportngin.com/register/form/556329821
• Cost for an AAU number is $22 per player and needs to be renewed annually
• There is no cost to register with W2Hoops on SportsEngine to tryout; club fees will be billed once teams are formed
• Please email us with questions or issues at walla2hoops@gmail.com.

The 2023-2024 AAU basketball season runs from October 2023 to March 2024. The club consists of approximately 21 teams and nearly 200 athletes. Players represent Walla Walla Public Schools, College Place Public Schools, Assumption Catholic School, Touchet School District, Rogers Adventist School, Dayton School District, Pendleton, Waitsburg School District, Weston School District, St. Basil Academy and homeschool students.

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.

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

City Public Library Update

The Walla Walla Public Library invites all community members to join us October 5 from 7:00pm-8:00pm for an empowering presentation tailored to immigrant families seeking to navigate the maze of post-secondary opportunities. Melissa Rodriguez, director of Outreach at Walla Walla Community College will share invaluable insights and success stories, inspiring confidence and resilience. You can do this! This talk will be presented in Spanish. No registration is necessary to attend this event. More information is available at https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/services/big-idea-talks/big-idea-talks La Biblioteca Pública de Walla Walla invita a todos los miembros de la comunidad a unirse a nosotros el 5 de octubre de 7:00 p.m. a 8:00 p.m.para una presentación empoderadora diseñada para familias inmigrantes que buscan navegar por el laberinto de oportunidades postsecundarias. Melissa Rodríguez, directora de Alcance de Walla Walla Community College, compartirá ideas invaluables e historias de éxito que inspirarán confianza y resiliencia. ¡Puedes hacerlo! Esta presentación se realizará en español. No es necessario registrarse para asistir a este evento. Más información está disponible en https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/services/big-idea-talks/big-idea-talks

All Walla Walla Public Schools students, including those at Opportunity, Homelink, Walla Walla Online, and Walla Walla Center for Children and Families, are eligible for a FREE library card at Walla Walla Public Library. One card gives your child access to books, online learning resources and databases, themed educational activity kits, DVDs, board games for checkout, and much more! Register online at https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/services/library-cards/get-a-library-card or visit us in person at 238 E. Alder Street, Monday-Friday 10am-7pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.
Todos los estudiantes de las Escuelas Públicas de Walla Walla, incluidos los de Opportunity, Homelink, Walla Walla Online y Walla Walla Center for Children and Families, son elegibles para obtener una tarjeta de biblioteca GRATUITA en la Biblioteca Pública de Walla Walla. ¡Una tarjeta le brinda a su hijo acceso a libros, bases de datos y recursos de aprendizaje en línea, kits de actividades educativas temáticas, DVDs, juegos de mesa para prestar y mucho más! Regístrese en línea en https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/services/library-cards/get-a-library-card o visítenos en persona en 238 E. Alder Street, de lunes a viernes de 10 a.m. a 7 p.m. y sábados de 10 a.m. a 3 p.m.

Kirkman House to honor Adam West Day September 9

• On September 9 the Kirkman House will be open from 10 am to 4 pm.
• Admission to view the Adam West exhibit will be $5.00.
• Admission for those wishing to tour the Kirkman House is $10.00.
• The exhibit contains one of a kind memorabilia and a unique photo opportunity.

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