Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 27, 2023

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District Stories
Walla Walla Public Schools Board to submit levies for February election 

The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday night to submit a renewal Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy and a Capital Levy to improve outdoor athletic and activity facilities to voters for the Feb. 13, 2024 special election.

The EP&O Levy, often referred to as the “Learning Levy,” is not a new tax. It replaces the expiring levy approved in 2020 and requires voter reauthorization every four years. Its renewal maintains programs and offerings not funded by the state and has been approved consecutively at the ballot box for over half a century in Walla Walla. EP&O Levy funds make up 15% of the Walla Walla Public Schools budget and provide for the continuation of honors classes, music, art, drama, school safety, technology, nursing, athletic programming, financial literacy, driver education, counseling and support staff. Altogether, the levy funds over 110 teaching and support staff positions across the district. .

Replacing the same rate approved by voters in 2020, the EP&O “Learning Levy” remains capped at $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. It will run from 2025 to 2028.

The short-term Capital Levy will be used to update outdoor spaces for athletics, activities, JROTC, physical education, marching band and other outside programming, including community use. These improvements were identified by the independent Outdoor Athletic and Activity Advisory Committee and address the priority projects most in need of upgrades to maximize access, safety and participation. In order to minimize impact to taxpayers, the district has identified grants and outside funding sources to help reduce costs. As a result, the Capital Levy rate is estimated to be no more than 38 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and will automatically expire after six years. The Outdoor Capital Levy would cost about $3 per month for every $100,000 of assessed value. For a home assessed at $300,000 the annual cost would be $114 per year or $9.50 per month through the six-year Capital Levy time frame.

Ballots for these levies will mail out to voters in late January. Both levy propositions require a simple majority to pass, 50% plus one vote.

• Arts Programs
• Band, Choir and Orchestra Programs
• Honors & Advanced Placement Classes
• Theater/Drama
• School Safety
• Foreign Language Programs
• School Nursing/Health Services
• Explorers and Highly Capable Program
• Athletics, Activities and Clubs
• Driver Education
• Counseling and Intervention Specialists
• Facilities Maintenance & Custodial Staff
• Classroom Technology and Technology Staff
• Physical Education
• Educational Assistants/Para-Educators
• Library and Media Services
• Staff Professional Development and Training
• Curriculum and Classroom/Lab Supplies and Materials

• Replace the 60-year-old original tennis courts at Wa-Hi
• Install an all-weather track at Pioneer MS for athlete, school and community use
• Repair the 43-year-old Garrison tennis courts (Chubb Courts) and resurface the 20-year-old track
• Consistent with all league schools, install high-quality artificial turf playing surfaces and field lighting (low spill/low glare) in order to maximize utilization, participation and post-season play at both the Klicker and Hayner Park fields at Wa-Hi
• Install outdoor lighting (low spill/low glare) in order to minimize instructional loss and maximize family participation for baseball and softball players
• Install elevated bleachers with ADA access at the Klicker Track and Field site for soccer, football and track and field spectators
• Provide adequate access to restrooms and changing rooms for high school athletes
• Construct a JROTC "Raider Obstacle Course" for student, first responder and community use

Early dismissal Nov. 3 (TK-12)

Attention families! Friday, Nov. 3 - Early Dismissal for Students (TK-12)

Early Dismissal Times:
• 11:45 a.m. - 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.
• Lincoln High and Lincoln Open Doors will have classes until 12:30 p.m., but will not have afternoon classes

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

Remember to Vote – November 7, 2023

Ballots for the November 7, 2023 General Election have mailed out to voters. Please remember to vote by Nov. 7.

Voter Information:
• 315 W. Main St (Room 203)
• (509) 524-2530

Highly Capable Universal Screening Process - 2nd and 5th Grade Students 

Walla Walla School District's Highly Capable Program provides students of high academic and intellectual ability with opportunities to learn content and concepts in greater depth. The goal of the Highly Capable Program is to encourage the development of higher-level thinking skills.

Information on Highly Capable Program services and the 2024 referral process is available on the district website. Referral forms are available in all district schools and on the district website. https://www.wwps.org/programs/explorers

In Walla Walla Public Schools, all 2nd and 5th grade students are screened using the Naglieri General Ability Test (NGAT) to ensure equitable access to highly capable programming. Information about the NGAT can be found at https://naglierigiftedtests.com/test-prep

This year all 2nd and 5th grade students will be screened the week of November 12-17. Families should look for communication from their school to find out which days their student will be testing.

Results of the screening process, along with other data points, will be used to determine which students will be recommended to participate in the next steps of the identification process. Families will be notified of NGAT scores in early December via Skyward.

Families of students in K, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade should talk with their child's teacher(s) at conference time in February (elementary) and March (middle school) to determine if Highly Capable testing is recommended.

After this year's process, students selected for Highly Capable programming will begin services at the beginning of the 2024-25 school year.

For more information, please contact Casey Monahan at cmonahan@wwps.org or (509) 526-6783.

Walla Walla Community Hospice donation supports Walla Walla Public Schools

On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, Dr. Corina and Jaren Reyna, cofounders of Origins Pharmacy Solutions based in Idaho, visited with Walla Walla Community Hospice (WWCH) Executive Director Julie Reynolds in Walla Walla to present a check for $1000 to Walla Walla Public Schools (WWPS) Health Services Department. Through Origin’s “One for the Least of These” program, WWCH was able to designate a portion of its Origins pharmacy expenditures be donated by Origins to WWPS. The staff at WWCH chose the WWPS Health Services Department as the recipient of this year’s donation, which was a gesture that echoed the recent partnership between the two entities. On October 9, 2023, WWPS and WWCH co-sponsored a public Q&A for our region’s students and their families and caregivers, hosted by visiting Hospice physician Dr. Karen Wyatt on the topic of “Recognizing & Navigating Loss.”

“There is a beautiful message in a Hospice choosing to designate a portion of its expenditures from Origins to bolstering the Health Services Department at Walla Walla Public Schools,” stated Julie Reynolds, Executive Director at WWCH. “We are grateful Origins Pharmacy Solutions offers us this annual opportunity.”

Nina Buty, WWCH Outreach & Marketing Coordinator, continued, “And it feels really positive and healthy in our community when not-for-profit organizations are able to lift one another up.”

Origins Pharmacy Solutions is a pharmacy benefits manager built on the premise of providing hospices a pharmacy program that truly aligns a pharmacy program with the needs of each individual hospice. Origins strives to simplify the management of pharmaceutical services for end-of-life care by furnishing hospice clients with the systems, drug management tools, medication consultation, and education needed to maximize their medication programs.

In an effort to help their hospice clients make an even bigger difference in their communities, Origins started the “One for the Least of These” program. It allows each hospice client to choose a local charity serving those in need in their communities to be the recipient of a donation based on their annual medication costs.

WWCH was founded in Walla Walla in 1980. The not-for-profit agency provides compassionate end-of-life comfort care, family support and bereavement support in Walla Walla and Columbia Counties as well as NE Umatilla County. Hospice addresses all the needs of the patient and family during the last stages of an illness. Patients who contact WWCH when they first learn an illness is incurable are able to receive the most comprehensive care. Patients of any age and with any terminal illness are eligible for a hospice benefit.

School Stories
Wa-Hi track athletes named All-Americans

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School Track & Field athletes Isaiah Roberson, Caleb Morehead, Ian Calhoon and Jake Hisaw for being named All-Americans. This team qualified for the Nike Outdoor National Championships, after winning the state championship in the 4x100 meter relay in a school record time of 41.99.

These Wa-Hi student-athletes kept practicing for two additional weeks following state and competed in Eugene, Oregon at the historic Hayward field, on the University of Oregon campus. They won their preliminary heat, and then came back to finish 2nd overall at the Outdoor National Championships.

“Not only is this the first team to ever win a state title, but they are now the first team to be recognized as All-Americans for the 4x100 meter relay,” said Coach Eric Hisaw. “It’s a really cool honor for the kids and now they have their official All-American status certificate.”

Reptile Man and his friends make lasting impression on students

Walla Walla students have a chance to pet an alligator and hold a python thanks to the return of the Reptile Man and his interactive hands-on assemblies.

“We are excited to announce Walla Walla Public Schools new "Family First" opportunities,” said Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton. ”Families have told us they want more ways to engage in fun activities with their children at school, so for next month, elementary schools will host zoologist, educator, and author Scott Petersen as he presents his menagerie of reptiles at school assemblies and evening family shows.”

The Reptile Man, for over 35 years, has been bringing this exciting show to students as a way to teach children and adults the importance of all animals in nature. After each show, adults and students have an opportunity to interact with some of the reptiles. Learn more about the Reptile Man here - https://www.reptileman.com/

Ribbon cutting ceremony opportunity to celebrate new downtown Carnegie Education Center

The historic Carnegie Library building in beautiful downtown Walla Walla has been a hub for children and families for more than a century. Tuesday morning Walla Walla Public Schools celebrated with the City of Walla Walla to dedicate the building as the Carnegie Education Center during an official ribbon cutting ceremony. The Carnegie Education Center is home of the Opportunity, Walla Walla Online and Homelink programs. The transition to the Carnegie Education Center from the previous Eastgate location was made possible thanks to a low-cost lease from the City of Walla Walla. Guests took time to tour the building after the ceremony to see how it is being used for learning once again to support local children and families. 

WWCCF Literacy Night features Dolly Parton Imagination Library registration

Thursday evening the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families hosted a Family Literacy Night. The event included story time in the library, fun literacy games and activities for the whole family. WWCCF is also partnering with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and families were encouraged to register for this amazing program. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge to children from birth to age five, through funding shared by Dolly Parton and local community partners in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Republic of Ireland.

Walla Walla Youth Speaks

On Wednesday, Nov 1 and Thursday, Nov. 2, from 9:30-11:30, nearly 300 7th and 8th graders will be sharing their passions with the community in a Garrison and Pioneer collaborative event called "Walla Walla Youth Speaks." Each student will be given one minute and three slides to deliver a Ted-Talk style speech. Student topics run the gamut ranging from environmental and mental health concerns to the impact of Communism on humans and the importance of grandmas.

This event will be livestreamed on a private YouTube channel, and is being held, thanks to a generous donation from the Walla Walla Community College, in the college's Performing Arts Center. The students participating in the event are 7th and 8th grade Advanced Writing program students at both middle schools as well as Garrison 8th graders (not sure why “Garrison 8th graders” is listed because it already says 7th & 8th graders from both schools).

Sources of Strength suicide prevention training wraps up for the fall

Local Sources of Strength Trainers Shayna Hutchens and Nicole Mueller wrapped up the last training for Walla Walla Public Schools Thursday, October 26. Throughout the month of October, Shayna and Nicole trained four schools, totaling up to 124 Peer Leaders and 25 Adult Advisors.

On Thursday, Walla Walla High School Peer Leaders demonstrated their creativity through small groups sharing about what helps them during stressful times by presenting in skits, poems and songs. Peer Leaders want to start their first campaign by focusing on building relationships on campus between all staff and students.

JROTC cadets visit local veterans in preparation for Veterans Day

Cadets from the Walla Walla High School Army JROTC Program conducted their first visit to the local Washington State Veterans Home on the campus of Fort Walla Walla October 22. This was an opportunity for the cadets to visit the residents and coordinate with the activities director for future events.

“Members of the staff spent an hour and a half with the veterans getting to know one another and hearing their stories of service,” said Senior Army Instructor CSM (R) Anthony Marrero. “The veterans were delighted with the ability to speak to the younger generation of citizens, and the cadets were humbled to be in their presence.”

This is the first of many visits to come as the cadets are conducting their annual service learning project which every cadet must participate in by visiting, volunteering or donating blankets and socks to assist the veterans for the upcoming winter.

"This was my first time visiting a Veteran's Home, and it was a unique experience,” said c/CPT Aviella Wilson. “I believe my generation needs to take time and personally visit a facility to get a greater appreciation for what our veterans have sacrificed for our freedoms."

In honor of Veterans Day Week, cadets will be conducting numerous color guard assignments at local elementary and middle schools November 8-9. All veterans are invited to Walla Walla High School gym Nov. 9 for the Veterans Day Assembly from 10:25 to 11:25 a.m. Coffee and pastries will be served to veterans before the assembly at 9:45 a.m. in the Wa-Hi wrestling room. The week will end with a ceremony at the Washington State Veterans Home on November 10, and the battalion will be marching in Walla Walla's Annual Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11.

Red Ribbon Week promotes making healthy choices

It’s Red Ribbon Week across the district. This year’s theme is Be Kind To Your Mind. Live Drug Free. The theme is a reminder that by staying drug free, youth are sending a message they value their health, community and future. Various activities were held in district schools to promote making healthy choices. 

Wa-Hi to host Trunk or Treat on Halloween

Walla Walla High School invites the community to its Trunk or Treat Halloween event Oct. 31 from 4 to 6 p.m. Wa-Hi ASB is hosting the event, which will be held in the Vocational/Blue Devil building parking lot off Abbott Rd.

“Wear a cool costume, get some candy, meet some clubs and sports teams, and have lots of fun,” said Wa-Hi ASB Officers. “There will also be a Canned Food drive, so please bring something if you can! We hope to see you there!”

Garrison Middle School students to learn about career possibilities 

Garrison Middle School is planning an event Friday, Nov. 3, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., to help 8th grade students learn about career options, interviewing and workplace expectations. The Career Fair portion features 20 local employers and non-profits. Students will rotate among stations to conduct mock interviews before wrapping up with “Ted Talks” about workplace expectations. Each station is 30 minutes.

This event aligns with the following WWPS VIP program goals:
• Enrich the curriculum
• Enrich student’s learning opportunities
• Provide opportunities for meaningful service
• Assist teachers and staff
• Establish a school and community partnership for quality education
• Enhance all aspects of the educational process

Community Stories

Public Library Halloween community event

Next Tuesday evening, stop by the Walla Walla Public Library after school or downtown trick-or-treat to pick up the best treat... thrilling books and a bookmark to color. From 5-6:30 p.m., visit the library to see the original Dracula silent movie "Nosferatu" with popcorn, cider, and spooky music in the main reading room.

Coach Hisaw to speak at Friends of Scouting Walla Walla breakfast

Community members are invited to join the first ever Blue Mountain Council, Friends of Scouting Walla Walla Breakfast, November 9 at the Marcus Whitman Hotel at 7 a.m. Scouting has a profound and lasting influence on our youth. It fosters leadership, character development, and a strong commitment to service.

The keynote speaker is Walla Walla High School Track and Field Coach Eric Hisaw. He brings his extensive experience and dedication to mentoring youth to inspire and motivate everyone in attendance. His insights will resonate with everyone who believes in the power of young people to shape a brighter tomorrow.

Visit https://BlueMountainScouts.org/events/WallaWallaBreakfast/ for tickets and sponsorship information or email Amy.Rubio@scouting.org

Camp Fire Fundraiser supports afterschool program

This Saturday (October 28) Camp Fire is excited to bring back its annual s'mores party! Tickets can be purchased online HERE or at the door. This family-friendly event is sure to be a good time with music from Shanks Pony, tacos from Agapas food truck, stand-up comedy from Greg Kettner, Halloween costume contests for kids and adults, lawn games, and of course fire pits to roast up some marshmallows for s'mores. 

City Parks & Rec Update 

• Pumpkin Carving – Friday October 27. Ages 3-12 years. Cost is FREE.
• Family Movie in the Park Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – Friday October 27. All Ages. Cost is FREE.
• Fencing – Ages 8 years and up. Cost is $20-$75.
• M.E.L.T Fitness – Ages 12 years and up. Cost is $12-$40
• The Reindeer Races December 9 – All Ages. 1K - $20/5K - $35.
• Indoor Soccer - Grades K-8. Cost is $50 ($60 after 11/19).

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.

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