Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Jan. 12, 2024

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

No School Jan. 15 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

There is NO SCHOOL Monday, Jan. 15 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Classes resume Tuesday, Jan. 16. 

Remember to Vote – Feb. 13, 2024

Ballots for the Feb. 13, 2024 Special Election will mail out to voters the week of Jan. 22. The district’s Educational Programs and Operations Levy and Capital Levy to improve outdoor athletic and activity facilities will both be on the ballot. Please remember to return your ballots by Feb. 13. Levy Information: https://www.wwps.org/levy2024

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

Two school levies on February ballot

Have you heard two school levies are on the Feb. 13 ballot? The first levy is the renewal of the district's Educational Programs and Operations Levy (commonly referred to as the "Learning Levy"). This IS NOT A NEW TAX. It is a renewal of the district's long-standing "learning levy," that has been consecutively approved by voters 28 times dating all the way back to 1971. Per state law, this levy requires reauthorization from voters every four years. It replaces the same tax rate overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2020 (73% yes), and provides the same opportunities and experiences Walla Walla students have experienced for decades. It funds the learning and programming that the state's basic funding model doesn't, such as: honors/AP classes, music, art, drama, foreign language, athletics, clubs, activities, classroom technology, school safety, maintenance/custodial staffing, school nurses, counselors, highly capable programs and more. It provides for a large percentage of our district/community workforce, encompassing over 110 full time staff and over 230 part time coaches and advisors. To learn more about the Learning Levy renewal, feel free to visit our website here: https://www.wwps.org/ep-o-learning-levy or review the fact sheet which will be arriving in mailboxes later this month.

The second levy is a short-term capital levy that addresses outdoor athletic and activity improvements that were intentionally not included in the prior 2018 bond measure. As you may recall, one of our community's top expectations was that bond dollars would be prioritized to address classroom/indoor spaces, safety and infrastructure preservation. The community Bond Oversight Committee carefully safeguarded this promise, and as a result indoor classrooms, labs, music, art, drama, career and technical, and other indoor facilities were brought up to current standards. As promised, no bond dollars were used on outdoor athletic/activity improvements. However, the need to address outdoor facilities, many of which are more than 50 years old and/or lack current amenities and safety measures, didn't go away. A 20-member community task force spent months studying the issues and prioritized needs, recommending two levels of possible improvements. In order to minimize impact to taxpayers, our school board chose to proceed with the lower-cost recommendation and has identified grants and outside funding sources to help further reduce costs. As a result, the Capital Levy rate is estimated to be no more than 38 cents per $1,000 (about $9/month for a $300,000 assessed value home), and will automatically expire after six years. To learn more about the short-term capital levy, click here: https://www.wwps.org/outdoor-athletic-and-activity-capital-levy

Ballots will be arriving in mailboxes towards the end of this month. Additionally, both the replacement levy and short-term capital levy are subject to senior citizen (61+) and disability exemptions. To learn more about exemptions, you can contact the Walla Walla County Assessor at: https://www.co.walla-walla.wa.us/departments/assessor/index.php

Remember to vote on February 13.

Reminder – Sign up for ParentSquare text messages

All parents/guardians and staff are reminded to update their ParentSquare account to sign up for text messaging. ParentSquare automatically includes email messages for all parents and staff, but users must click text messaging on in order to receive text messages. The district also recommends all ParentSquare users get the free ParentSquare app to maximize this communications tool. Learn more about ParentSquare here: https://www.wwps.org/parentsquare

January 2024 Pulse Video


This month in his Pulse video series, Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith interviews Wa-Hi Athletic Director Chris Ferenz about the Feb. 13 levy proposals. Superintendent Smith also reminds families to pay attention to district communications regarding school closures and delays due to winter weather conditions. Please take a few minutes to watch this informative video.

Nominations due March 15 for Graduates of Distinction

Nominations are now open for Walla Walla Public Schools' Graduates of Distinction program through March 15. This program, in its 24th year, provides an avenue for recognizing high school graduates of Walla Walla Public Schools. These outstanding graduates have distinguished themselves in their communities and professions. This award also provides a platform to honor Walla Walla Public Schools staff members who were the most inspirational in their lives.

The Walla Walla Public Schools Graduates of Distinction selection committee encourages you to consider nominating a Walla Walla Public Schools graduate for this prestigious award. This program is the highest honor for district graduates.

More information, including nomination packet forms that may be typed and printed, is available on the district's website:
• Forms: http://www.wwps.org/programs/graduates-of-distinction

Should you have questions or need assistance, feel free to contact Walla Walla Public Schools Director of Communications and Program Chair Mark Higgins at 509-526-6716 / mhiggins@wwps.org or Susie Golden at 509-526-6715 / sgolden@wwps.org.

Graduates of Distinction Selection Committee

Mark Higgins, Chair
Doug Bayne
Tera Davis
Roger Esparza
Paul Schneidmiller
Ron Higgins
Ruth Ladderud
Mary Jo Geidl
Susie Golden
Sergio Hernandez
Susan Prudente
Joanne Martin

Graduates of Distinction Award Recipients ~ 1999-2022

James F. Aylward 1946
Richard P. Neher 1949
Karen E. Glover 1968
Dr. Eric Johnson 1968
Michael Murr 1969

Gordon S. Riess 1944
Dr. William C. Dement 1947
Wilber Pribilsky 1951
Philip N. Lane, Jr. 1962
Bruce T. Bjerke 1968

Gordon L. Jaynes 1946
Ned Lange 1952
Eugene Blattman 1954
Jeanne Parker Miller 1969
Vickie Anderson-VanZandt 1972

Charlotte Wirth 1944
Robert I. Brunton 1953
James K. Hayner 1968

Gene Frank 1946
Mark Anderson 1973
Irene Gonzales 1980

Harold R. Frank 1941
Ned Shafer 1961
Jeffrey Frank Ray 1978

Gerwyn A. Jones 1928
Dr. George Cole Williams Jr. 1947
Michael Maiden 1968

Val Jensen 1947
Dr. Stephen Hayner 1966
AnnRene Joseph 1973

Dr. Neil V. Follett 1944
Barbara D. Johnson 1967

Claro E. Bergevin 1941
Gretchen Miller Kafoury 1959
John E. "Jack" Pelo 1974

R.F. "Dick" Monahan 1958
Daniel DeSiga 1967
Greg Ralston Pepin 1968
Dr. Philip Phillips 1975

Richard K. Knuth, Ph.D. 1969
Mary Jane Towner-Glaser 1971
Tim Donaldson 1979

Edward Aliverti 1950
Lt. Gen. Robert D. Beckel 1955
Larry B. Siegel 1969
Drew M. Bledsoe 1990

John P. Folsom 1962
Jill A. Largent, M.D. 1968
Megan Ferguson Clubb 1974

Carol Minnick Santa 1962
Dan Reid 1974
Craig Nelson 1981

Thomas L. Copeland 1942
Daniel J. Hess 1968
Paul H. Schneidmiller 1970
David Wagner 1993

Judy Chamberlain Holloway 1962
Richard "Dick" Moeller 1963
Carol M. Barker 1974

Gary Hanson 1976
Mark Kajita 1987
Jerry Zahl 1962

Bruce Hunt 1974
Jeanne Eggart Helfer 1977
Richard D. Simon, Jr, M.D. 1968

Terry Atchison 1966
Dr. Randall Kenneth Barton 1971
Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald 1995

Dr. Tony Billingsley 1993
Scott Krivoshein 1983
Mary Lux Stumph 1983
Peggy Needham 1982

2020 – NO PROGRAM (COVID-19)

Elizabeth "Libby" Frazier Class of 1973
Judith Ann Huntington Class of 1964
Garth Lindsey Class of 1962
Mike Monahan Class of 1960
Allison Bingham, PhD Class of 1977
Kathy Covey Class of 1973

Russ Colombo Class of 1974
Deborah Underwood Class of 1979
Mark Thompson Class of 1970
J.P. (Jack) Fredrickson Class of 1952

Norm Passmore 1972
Mary Vixie Sandy 1978
Steve Bughi 1978
Tera Watts Davis 1998

School Board Regular Business Meeting 

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024
Walla Walla Public Schools District Office (364 S. Park St.)
5:30 p.m. – Regular Business Meeting
Board Meeting Agendas, Minutes & Recordings: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997

School Stories
SEATech organizes Blood Drive to help save lives

Months of planning came together for SEATech students Thursday in the Health Science Careers program with their successful Blood Drive in partnership with Vitalant. A total of 29 participants donated blood for those in need. Vitalant brought its mobile van from Lewiston to SEATech to house those giving blood. Instructor Sandy Thomas served a pancakes and bacon breakfast to help get the students prepared to give blood.

This blood drive activity is linked to Vitalant’s STEM Grant Program. Schools participating in the program can earn up to $5000 in STEM grants from Vitalant. The program aims to educate youth and the community on the importance of donating blood.

“This is our community project for HOSA-Future Health Professionals for 2024,” said Thomas. “We hope to have another blood drive in April and one in the Fall of 2024. We would like to make our goal of 100 participants which would give us 5,000.00 dollars for STEM equipment.”

HOSA- Future Health Professionals-The mission of HOSA is to empower HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience.

“The students also saw firsthand another career path they may be interested in pursuing for their future,” said Thomas. “It was a very successful day and staff from Vitalant commented on the professionalism of our students at SEATech.”

SEATech students will also be recognized at the State Competition in March for this project.

Community Stories
Program openings in Akin Early Head Start 

Akin formerly known as Children’s Home Society has program openings in Early Head Start Home Visiting and Parents as Teachers. Please check out our program offerings and let us know if you have any questions.

City Library Update

Walla Walla Public Library has programs for tweens, teens, and families that you won't want to miss!
• All students 4th grade & up are invited to a FREE interactive digital storytelling workshop: The Story of Salmon, Saturday January 27th 11am-1pm. Dr. William Bares, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Whitman College will guide participants to discover the life of salmon in Mill Creek & the impact of new improvements to the channel through Walla Walla. Through art and storytelling, participants will design a prototype salmon prop that will ultimately be part of a real immersive exhibit at the Water & Environmental Center at Walla Walla Community College. Grades 4 & up register at wwpl@wallawallawa.gov with participant name & grade, parent contact name, and phone number; or call 509-527-4550.

• Wa-Hi graduate and WWCC student Anyla Dior McDonald will share her personal stories and the experiences that motivated her to become a writer and advocate for black youth and restorative justice in the education system as the presenter of Big Idea Talks: Blacknificent, Thursday, February 1 at 6:45 p.m. following a reception and light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. She has published creative fiction, nonfiction, essays and more in publications such as Tumbleweird and led discussions with The Listeners Project: Queremos Escucharte in advocacy of black youth and restorative justice. More information is available on the library website; click on "Big Idea Talks" under the "Services" tab.

• The library will be closed Monday, January 15 in honor of Dr. Marting Luther King Jr. Day; book drops will be closed and locked beginning Saturday, January 13 at 3:00 p.m. and will re-open Tuesday, January 16 at 8:00 p.m. The library does not charge late fees for overdue items.

Join us at the library this Friday, January 12 at 2:00 p.m. for a special FREE concert of the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival Winter 2024 Series. All community members are invited this Sounds Like Fun! concert featuring the Girsky String Quartet.

Find a full listing of library programs and events at www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org or call 509-527-4550.

City Parks and Rec Update

• Father Daughter Ball (Disney Princess Theme) – February 10. Open to all ages. Cost is $25.
• Mother Son Superhero Bash – March 2. Open to all ages. Cost is $25.
• St Paddy’s Day Dash – March 16. Open to all ages. Cost is $20-$35.
• Pre Tee-Ball – Open to ages 3-5 years. Cost is $40.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Open to girls Kindergarten – 6th Grade. Cost is $45-$55.
• Youth Baseball Spring Training (Hitting, Pitching, & Fielding Camp) – Open to boys and girls grades 3rd-8th grade. Cost is $90.
• Youth Spring Lacrosse Academy – Open to boys and girls in pre-school (4 years) – 3rd grade. Cost is $40.
• Youth Volleyball Camp – Open to boys and girls grades 4th–8th. Cost is $50.
• Walla Walla Soccer Alliance Skills Clinic – Open to boys and girls ages 6-11 years. Cost is $60.
• Adult Softball Leage (Men’s, Women’s, Co-Ed) – Ages 16 years and up. Cost is $580-$920 per team.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes on sale. Family Pass $150, Youth/Senior/Veteran $55, Adult $65.
• M.E.L.T Fitness – Ages 12 years and up. Cost is $12-$40.
• NEW - Mad for Laughter Yoga – Open to all ages. FREE.
• Fencing – Ages 8 years and up. Cost is $20-$75.
• 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 or recreation@wallawallawa.gov

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