Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - December 1, 2023

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
December Pulse video with Superintendent Smith

December Pulse video with Superintendent Smith

This month Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith discusses how the district prepares for winter weather conditions with Transportation Director John Griffith and Facilities and Operations Director Robert Foster. Maintenance and transportation crews are busy getting snow removal equipment and school buses ready for snow and ice. These district leaders get up early throughout the winter to carefully watch weather forecasts, drive area roads and communicate with other school districts prior to making a decision to delay or cancel school. Safety is always the primary factor in all of these decisions.


School Closures and Delays Announcements

Walla Walla Public Schools reminds everyone safety is the primary factor for delaying or canceling school due to inclement weather. Driving of local roads, studying weather forecasts, and communicating with surrounding school districts are components included in this thoughtful process. Decisions to delay for two hours or cancel school usually are made by 5:30 a.m. or earlier. A decision to delay or cancel school launches the district’s comprehensive School Closure/Two-Hour Delay announcement plan. The district makes every effort to begin announcements by 6 a.m.

Please be reminded that under most circumstances, afterschool activities, practices and community use events are also postponed if school is canceled for the day.

Announcements include:
• TV/Radio
• ParentSquare
• WWPS Website
• Staff Email
• Social Media Post (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
(NOTE: Announcements are only made if the district implements a change to the normal schedule)


Early dismissal Dec. 8 (TK-12)

Attention families! Friday, Dec. 8 - 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.


Winter Break Holiday Schedule

• Dec. 18 to Jan. 1
• Classes resume Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024


WWPS Levy Measures on Feb. 13 ballot

WWPS Levy Measures on Feb. 13 ballot

The renewal Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy and a Capital Levy to improve outdoor athletic and activity facilities will be on the Feb. 13, 2024 special election ballot.

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 full-time positions and more than 230 part-time 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.

THE EP&O “LEARNING LEVY” WILL CONTINUE TO FUND:
• 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

THE PROPOSED 38 CENT SHORT-TERM CAPITAL LEVY WILL:
• 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



School Stories
2023 Holiday concert series

Dec 5 - Wa-Hi Gift Concert, Wa-Hi Auditorium 7 p.m.
Dec 6 - Garrison MS 7th & 8th Band/Choir/Orchestra Concert, Garrison 7 p.m.
Dec 7 - Berney Winter Program, K-1 / 9 a.m., 2-3 / 10:30 a.m., 4-5 / 1 p.m.
Dec 7 - Pioneer MS Winter Concert #2, Pioneer 7 p.m.
Dec 8 - Sharpstein Program, K-1 / 10:30 a.m.; 2-3 / 9:30 a.m.; 4-5 / 8:30 a.m.
Dec11 - Wa-Hi Band Concert, Wa-Hi Auditorium 7 p.m.
Dec 12 - Berney Holiday Tour
Dec 12 - Prospect Pt. Program, K-1 / 9:15 a.m.; 2-3 / 10:30 a.m.; 4-5 / 1 p.m.
Dec 12 - Wa-Hi Choir Concert, Wa-Hi Auditorium 7 p.m.
Dec 13 - Wa-Hi Orchestra Concert, Wa-Hi Auditorium 7 p.m.
Dec 14 - Edison Program, K-1 / 9 a.m. 2-3 / 10:30 a.m. 4-5 / 1 p.m.
Dec 14 - Green Park Program, K-1 / 9 a.m., 2-3 / 10 a.m., 4-5 / 1:15 p.m.
Dec 15 - Wa-Hi Band Tour


Pioneer & Garrison Middle Schools plan joint Winter Reading Challenge 

Garrison and Pioneer libraries are holding their annual Winter Reading Challenge Dec. 1 through Jan. 26. This year's challenge is a Bingo style board which asks students and staff to expand their reading experiences to include graphic novels, poetry, biographies and of course fiction and non-fiction choice reads. Participants can come to their school's library to pick up a board and check out a book to begin playing. Prize drawings will be awarded by category and grade level. Pine Cone Creamery is again sponsoring the Grand Prize, creating and naming a new ice cream flavor!

Last year’s Winter Reading Challenge proved that Garrison and Pioneer Middle School students and staff can read many books, 2239 books to be exact.


Garrison Middle School students visit Whitman Mission thanks to WWPS Foundation field trip program

In November 7th grade students from Pioneer and Garrison Middle Schools visited the Whitman Mission National Historic Site to learn about the Cayuse people, the Whitmans, the impact of Oregon Trail settlement on our area, and the 1855 Treaty of Walla Walla. The field trip took place as students were wrapping up their study of these topics as part of Washington State history. Students were able to simulate the impacts of overcrowding, see original sites, and do exercises that show the role of perspective in relating history.  The program was made possible by the Walla Walla Public Schools Foundation, thanks to a generous grant from the Wildhorse Foundation.


Walla Walla High School football coach steps down

The Walla Walla High School Athletics Department has started a comprehensive search for a new Head Football Coach following the resignation of current coach Greg Lupfer.

“After five seasons of hard work and dedication to his student-athletes, Coach Lupfer has decided to step away and have someone else lead the program,” said Athletic Director Chris Ferenz. “On behalf of the Athletic Department and school, I would like to thank Greg for his commitment to his players and service to Blue Devil athletics.”

Lupfer will continue to serve the students of Walla Walla Public Schools in the Career and Technical Education Department, as well as in the Drivers Education program.

Ferenz is finalizing a job description for the head football coaching position and will post it soon for those interested in applying. The extensive hiring process will include input from students, parents, alumni and members of the Wa-Hi football staff. A new coach will be named later this school year.


Grant funds to provide farm experience for elementary students

The Blue Mountain Community Foundation Grant award of $24,652 will provide a farm experience for third and fourth grade students. Partnering with the Walla Walla Public Schools Foundation, the Blue Mountain Community Foundation will use this grant to offer farm field trips for 1,080 third and fourth graders. Walla Walla Public Schools’ third graders will visit the organic Welcome Table Farm in the spring and then repeat the visit for more in-depth learning in the fall when they are fourth graders.

Many students' parents work in agriculture, and yet farming is rarely put forward as a viable and honored career. The goals of this program are to share the importance of farming and farmers to society, let students taste fresh produce and share where food comes from. It also teaches students about beneficial insects, insect and plant life cycles and water cycles.


Community Stories
Camp Fire Afterschool Program Update

Our theme for next week is Animals of the Arctic Week. Registration for the rest of the month is open. Enroll here: https://wwcampfire.org/programs/

We are hiring after school program subs. Applicants can email resume, availability, and 1-2 sentences explaining why they are a good fit to natalie@wwcampfire. We are often able to work around the WWPS schedule so WWPS subs looking for extra work are encouraged to apply, especially elementary school subs.

Please consider supporting us in Valley Giving Guide! This giving event put on by our friends at Blue Mountain Community Foundation is a great opportunity to support your favorite local nonprofits because BMCF provides a partial match to each dollar donated. https://www.valleygivingguide.org/organizations/wwcampfire

Reminder: there is no Camp Fire programming on half days or no school days. WWPS staff FAQ: wwcampfire.org/wwps-faq


Washington State Youth Ballet performances of The Nutcracker

Magical dolls, life-sized mice, dancing snowflakes, and an enchanting kingdom of sweets return to the Gesa Power House. The Washington State Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker will transport audiences of all ages into a wonderland that has become a lasting holiday tradition not to be missed. Performances will take place:
• Friday, December 15 at 7 p.m.
• Saturday, December 16 at 2 p.m.
• Saturday, December 16 at 7 p.m.
• Sunday, December 17 at 2 p.m.

For tickets: https://phtww.org/


City Parks & Rec Update 

• Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony December 2 at 5pm. Carols, Cookies, and more!
• The Reindeer Races December 9 – All Ages. 1K - $20/5K - $35.
• Indoor Soccer - Grades K-8. Cost is $60.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes on sale. Family Pass $140, Youth/Senior/Veteran $50, Adult $60.
• Fencing – Ages 8 years and up. Cost is $20-$75.
• M.E.L.T Fitness – Ages 12 years and up. Cost is $12-$40.
• Pottery Studio Helpline SoupPort Bowl donations are open. $10.89 each.

Youth scholarships available. Visit www.wwpr.us or the Parks and Recreation office to apply.

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.


See WWPS students at Parade of Lights

Come support Walla Walla Public Schools students and staff as they showcase their holiday parade floats!

Holiday Parade of Lights
Saturday, December 2, 2023
6-7 p.m.
Downtown Walla Walla


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