Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - October 18, 2013

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School Board Public Work Session: Wa-Hi bond planning discussion 
- Tuesday, Oct. 22
- 6 to 8 p.m.
- WWPS District Office Board Room (364 S. Park St.)
- Meeting Topic: School board listening campaign review, facilities planning, Wa-Hi project discussion
- No school board decisions will be made. This meeting is open to the public

Board Work Session Agenda:
- District Listening Campaign Review: Mark Higgins
- Community Facilities Task Force Update: Dan Reid
- Wa-Hi Facility Improvement Options: Greg McCracken (BLRB Architects)
- District bond/levy debt capacity (cost per $1,000 rates): Ted Cohan
- School Board Discussion / Q & A with community: School Board members / Community

Calendar committee developing options for two year calendar
This week the district’s Calendar Committee met to begin studying options for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school year calendars. Superintendent Mick Miller is chairing the broad-based committee. He will ask committee members to gather feedback over the next few weeks. Committee discussions resume November 13. Superintendent Miller is hopefully the group will have a recommendation to the school board for its November 19 meeting. 
Business Office update: Enrollment, Fund Balance, Facilities use fees
By Business Services Director Ted Cohan

Enrollment numbers near budget target
October’s enrollment numbers are stronger than anticipated. The district gained 27 students this month so it is only three students below budget projections. Running Start and Greenways Online Learning program enrollment numbers accounted for the gains.

Fund balance remains strong
The district is near to closing the books on the 2012-13 budget cycle. It appears the district will finish the year with a $6.5 million fund balance which meets or exceeds the budget target.

Facility use agreement fees
The district is reviewing its policy on Facilities Use by community groups. Currently the district is not collecting fees as required by board policy. The district is considering enforcing this policy beginning next year. The district could collect up to $50,000 in revenue to offset utilities and custodian fees.

National School Bus Safety Week - October 21-25 by Steve Olson, Transportation Director
NATIONAL SCHOOL BUS SAFETY WEEK is October 21-25. Walla Walla School Public Schools buses transport over 2,500 students total each day to and from school. Safety of all students is the department’s number one priority. Walla Walla School District buses travel a total of more than 350,000 miles annually and are subject to mandatory state inspections biannually. 

This year’s theme: “Be aware at all times of school buses transporting kids to school.” A recent study found there are approximately 1500 school bus stop arm violations each day. Thanks to all the district bus drivers, mechanics and support staff who dedicate their careers to ensuring students are transported to and from school safely.

“Fill the Bus” event Saturday
- Saturday, Oct. 19 / 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- All donations help the BMAC Food Bank.
- Locations: Albertsons, Safeway - Rose Street, Safeway - Plaza Way, Super One, Loney's Harvest Foods

District develops plan to improve achievement of second language learners
Walla Walla recently received its 2013 AMAO status report, which is the accountability system for our second language learners.  Federal law requires Washington state to set standards for the development of English proficiency skills and academic progress for children learning English.  Schools test students learning English annually with the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA), which measures English proficiency in the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

Programs for students learning English must meet three targets, called Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO):

AMAO 1 measures annual increases in the number or percentage of children making enough progress in learning English. The district met this AMAO.

AMAO 2 measures the number or percentage of children becoming proficient with the English language. The district met this AMAO.

AMAO 3 measures the number or percentage of second language learners who reach academic proficiency in reading and math based on the state assessments (MSP/HSPE/EOC). The district did not meet this AMAO.

School District 140 and Walla Walla schools have developed a plan of improvement to address the achievement of our second language learners in the areas of reading and math. The plan includes a number of strategies and programs already in place, including Guided Language Acquisition Design and AVID to promote the development of academic language, Response to Intervention to support struggling learners, and the addition of strategies and instructional supports at the secondary level to address the needs of older students continuing to need language supports.

Contact Marit Nierman, State and Federal Grant Manager, if you have questions or would like further information. Office: 509-526-6736

Personnel Report (from 10/15/13 school board meeting)
Stephanie Eastman, Assistant Secretary, Pioneer Middle School

Leave of Absence
Karen Hanson, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary, 2 years
• January-May 2014 for student teaching

Kate Keyes, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary, 3 years
• January-May 2014 for student teaching

Superintendent Miller invites public to participate in Patron Tour
Superintendent Mick Miller invites you to join him for a behind the scenes look at Walla Walla Public Schools. The Superintendent’s Patron Tour program is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the district, ask questions, tour local schools and enjoy lunch together.
- Wednesday, November 13
- 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (lunch provided)
- Tour sites: Berney Elementary, Wa-Hi, Lincoln HS
- RSVP by contacting Mark Higgins at: 526-6726 or mhiggins@wwps.org

School Stories
Wa-Hi Trunk-or-Treat offers safe and fun Halloween experience
- Thursday, October 31
- 5:30 to 7 p.m.
- Walla Walla High School Science Parking lot
- Admission is canned food for donation to the Christian Aid Center Food Bank
- Trunk-or-Treat is sponsored by Key Club for all elementary school students
- Candy, treats and other goodies for all
- Information: Contact Key Club Advisors Stacy Morrison (smorrison@wwps.org) and Rob Ahrens (rahrens@wwps.org)

Pioneer students showcase Feats of Strength
Fundraiser brings in $10,000 without sales

Tuesday night, Pioneer Middle School teacher Chris Plucker and students from his Leadership Class reported to school board members on the school’s newest fundraiser Feats of Strength. Students developed, organized and staffed all 16 events. Games included basketball, a dunk tank, slip n’ slide and more. The students earned more than $10,000 by getting pledges for participating in these fun competitions.

Plucker said the students improved their leadership skills, took ownership in the event and learned how to work better with their classmates. The students reported how much fun they had while developing these skills. Pioneer Middle School teachers Anne Schulz (6th grade), Donna Morris (7th grade), and Dennis Bennett (8th grade) will keep the school-wide grade level trophies in their classrooms this year since their classes raised the most funds. Superintendent Mick Miller and Principal Mira Gobel presented the awards to students Monday.

Ready for Kindergarten prepares Sharpstein students for school
Tuesday night, Sharptein Elementary Principal Matt Bona, kindergarten teacher Terry Morgan and Sharpstein Elementary Title I Specialist Donna Austin reported to school board members on the school’s Ready for Kindergarten program. 

Austin said she has noticed a steady decline in students prepared for kindergarten so she sought out the program being used district-wide in the Kennewick School District. This program is now in place at Sharpstein Elementary.

This year 38 families are participating in the program. Some of the families have a four-year-old child who will enroll next year and others have a current kindergarten student. Participants in the program meet three times a year for two hours to develop skills for working with their child. They learn games and a better understanding of what is expected to be successful. Each family in the program receives a kit at each training session. The learning kits have games, puzzles, books and more.

“Our goal is to teach children learning is fun,” said Morgan. “We want them to feel comfortable coming to kindergarten.”

New program helps provide clothing items to Garrison Middle School students
Garrison Middle School counselor Angie Gardea is developing “The Closet” to provide students in need of clothing items. Gardea is in her first year at Garrison. She created a similar program during her previous assignment at Pioneer Middle School.

“We are currently accepting donations of gently used clothing that is school appropriate,” Gardea said. “We plan to donate all left over clothing to area charity organizations such as the Goodwill and St. Vincent's. We will send the smaller sized clothing to Blue Ridge.”

Drop off donations at Garrison Middle School (906 Chase St.) or for more information contact Gardea: 526-1907 or agardea@wwps.org.

Edison “Fun Run” nets proceeds for school PTA
Edison students held their annual Fun Run Monday during lunch recess. Proceeds from the event go to support the Edison PTA. The Whitman College cross country team helped organize the event and were there to encourage students as they ran in the fun run. The students raised more than $5200. In meeting the goal of $5000, Edison principal, Josh Wolcott, will have to sleep in a tent at the school. Fourth grader, Samantha Miller, was the top pledge collector. She raised over $1000 and will receive a pair of Brooks running shoes for her efforts.

Wa-Hi Chamber Drama students entertain Berney students
Walla Walla High School students in the Chamber Drama class performed a version of the Great Pumpkin and other Halloween skits for Berney Elementary first and second grade students. The students performed for about 90 minutes. Thanks to drama teacher Brian Senter and the Chamber Drama students for making this year’s Halloween season at Berney extra special.
Pink Night volleyball game Oct. 22
Walla Walla High School volleyball team is sponsoring PINK NIGHT Tuesday, October 22 as they take on the Richland Bombers and raise money for breast cancer awareness. Freshmen, sophomore and junior varsity teams all play at 5:30 p.m. and the Blue Devil varsity begin at 7 p.m. 

PINK items, such as beads, pins, pompoms and more will be sold at the game. All proceeds from the event go to St Mary Medical Center Breast Cancer Special Needs Fund.

Wa-Hi JROTC cadets seeking veteran photos
 Calling all VETERANS! The Walla Walla High School Junior ROTC cadets are looking for you, and your photos.

"We want to reach out to all veterans in our community," said cadet Lt. Col. Zach Chlipala, Blue Devil cadet battalion commander. "We hope they and their families will attend our annual Veterans Day assembly on Friday morning, Nov. 8. This year we're trying to expand the way we recognize and honor our veterans. We'd love to get photos from area veterans to use in our video that will run during the ceremonies."

The Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets, along with the ASB staff are already hard at work organizing the event to honor those who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, whether active, reserve, National Guard or retired, according to the Senior Army Instructor at Wa-Hi.

"Our cadets this year are working hard to gather photos of veterans, any photo would be a great start, but we're hoping to get 'then and now' images of every veteran, back when they were in the service and another more recent photo, too. We can accept images by email, or hard copy prints that we can scan and return immediately to the veterans or their families," said Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, WWHS JROTC SAI.

Further information for attendees and veterans intending to participate will be announced closer to the event. For more information about submitting photos, call the Senior Army Instructor at 509-527-3035 or email wwhs_rotc@wwps.org.

Community Stories
Family fun planned at Walla Walla Community Resilience Festival Friday, Oct. 25
The Walla Walla community is invited to eat hot dogs, play RESILIENCE board games created by Lincoln High students, engage in a treasure hunt for "resilience" and just generally have fun at the Walla Walla Community Resilience Festival Friday, Oct. 25, in the Lincoln High School gymnasium. 

The celebration, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., is hosted by Walla Walla's Children’s Resilience Initiative in commemoration of the City Council's declaration of October as "Children's Resilience Month." The CRI is a team of community members, led by Teri Barila (Walla Walla Community Network) and Mark Brown (FRIENDS of Children of Walla Walla), working to increase positive, resilience-building experiences in the lives of community children, parents and families while working to reduce the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

The evening will give community members an opportunity to consider how "resilience" can trump ACEs, said Barila. ACEs, which include such things as verbal, emotional or physical abuse or growing up with a parent who suffers from drug addiction or alcoholism, have been linked to serious health problems in children and adults if left unaddressed. For more information on the festival, ACEs, resilience or the CRI, go to www.resiliencetrumpsaces.org or contact Barila at 509-386-5855.

Library offers communications program for area schools
Presentation Titled “U No Wut I Mean?” Invites Students to Consider New Modes of Communicating

Beth Hudson, Director of the Walla Walla Public Library, announced an assembly program that describes some of the fast­changing frontiers of language and the increasing importance of successful communications. School staff are encouraged to contact Hudson at the library to sign up. Jeffrey Townsend, Media Lab Director for the library, will show a brief video that reveals some of the shortcomings of contemporary communication as well as some advice from both historical and current masters of language.

Rather than rejecting “twitterspeak” and other social­media­derived simplifications and shortenings of the King’s English, the presenters will show that there is a time and place for both, and that the superior communicators of the future will understand the importance of context when using each.

There are some terrific tools available for communicators of all ages at the public library, and they will be highlighted in detail along with the latest addition, CrewSpace. The state­of­the­art media creation lab was built and outfitted at the library over the summer, and the presenters will show off its capabilities and opportunities, which are free to all library cardholders. Funded primarily by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, CrewSpace offers classes, workshops and drop­in programs on media creation of almost every kind. There are after­school programs on music, audio, photography, design, filmmaking and writing, as well as upcoming classes in animation, voice work, and editing.

With an understanding that the superior communicator, in any field, will tend to succeed more dramatically than his or her peers, “U No Wut I Mean?” aims to encourage learners of all interests to increase their awareness of their own communication skills, in a lighthearted and entertaining program.

D.A.R.E. Halloween Spaghetti Fundraiser
What: D.A.R.E. Halloween Spaghetti Fundraiser
Where: WW Elks Lodge, 351 E. Rose, Walla Walla
When: October 31 - 4 to 7 p.m.
Cost: $5 each or $20 for family of 6 - To Go Orders for $5 each
Menu: Scary Marinara Sauce, Frankenstein Meat Sauce, Spooky Salad, Creepy Bread, and Orange Witches Brew
Throughout the evening we will be including a parade of costumes with prizes.

Prescription Take Back Day October 26
Date: Saturday, October 26 
Tiime: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Information: 509-524-4409
Location: Walla Walla Police Department
- No needles, sharps, or syringes
- No mercury thermometers
- No oxygen containers
- No chemotherapy/radioactive substances

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