Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Feb. 23, 2024

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
NO SCHOOL (grades 6-12) - March 7-8 (MS & HS Parent/Teacher Conferences)

There is NO SCHOOL for students grades 6-12 on March 7 and 8 due to Parent/Teacher Conferences. Check with your child’s school to schedule a conference.

2024-25 & 2025-26 school year calendars approved

In December, school board members approved calendars for the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 school years. These approved calendars place the first day of school in the third week of August to better support academic needs, including ending the first semester prior to winter break and better alignment with Advanced Placement testing in the spring.

The Calendar Committee, with feedback from staff and the community, determined the academic advantages for starting before Labor Day significantly outweighed the advantages for starting after Labor Day.

- Provides more instructional days before required testing
- Academic Calendar better aligns with State and AP testing
- Students tend to be less engaged and attendance wanes the further we go in June
- Possible alignment of semesters with winter break (when start time is 2 or more weeks before Labor Day)

Calendar Highlights:
- Starts: Third week of August
- Ends: First week of June
- Winter Break: 2 Weeks
- Built in Snow Days (and possible air quality days): 2
- Semester 1 – Ends before Winter Break

Visit the district website for copies of the calendars 

iReady Math and Reading goals met

During the Feb. 20 school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith, Assistant Superintendent Chris Gardea and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis provided school board members a review of iReady data from fall to winter. The district met growth goals for reading and math improvement.

School Board Presentation Summary:

All four growth goals met!
• Strong growth results in moving students from below to at or above grade level
• WWPS results mirror state results (despite significant demographic differences)

• Steady improvement since 2021-22, especially at the middle school level

• Steady improvement at the primary and middle school levels

i-Ready results mirror state SBA results
• Students in poverty performing at state levels
• Students not in poverty exceeding state levels

Other areas of note
- Continued efforts paying off in personalized instruction access
- Striving to attain stretch growth goals between winter assessment and spring SBA

School Safety #1 - See Something, Hear Something, Say Something – Report It!

Call the police and district officials any time there is a school safety concern or threat of violence. WWPS SafeSchools Alert system allows anonymous reporting of bullying, threats and safety concerns.
• Phone: 1-855-4ALERT1, ext. 1057
• Text: Text #1057 @tip + your tip to ALERT1 (253781)
• Email: 1057@alert1.us

Annual family survey open until March 1

Did you know each year Walla Walla Public Schools surveys parents to help us assess the job we are doing? The annual Center for Educational Effectiveness survey for all parents is now open through March 1, for you to share insights and feedback. This anonymous survey aligns to our Vision 2030 Strategic Plan, which charts a promising future for Walla Walla Public Schools. Your input will be used to help us better serve students and families.

Please take a few minutes to complete this important survey. It should take only about 10 minutes and can be accessed using the link below. If you need help accessing the survey, please contact your child’s school.

EES Annual Family Survey Link & Instructions:
1) Access the survey at this link - https://www.wwps.org/ees
2) Choose your language preference on the opening page of the survey (16 different languages).
3) Please complete one survey per child. If you have two or more children who attend the same school only one survey is necessary, but you may complete one per child if you choose.

We value your input as we strive to continue to improve. Thank you for your feedback. Surveys must be completed no later than March 1, 2024.

School Stories
Class of 2024 Big Blue Boosters scholarships available

Scholarship Details:
This year Big Blue Boosters will offer four $1000 scholarships to graduating Walla Walla High School varsity senior athletes.

The Big Blue Booster Scholarship is a one-time $1000 award to each recipient. The primary criteria for choosing the recipient will be based primarily on athletic participation at Walla Walla High School, and then criteria like campus leadership, academics (minimum of a 2.5 overall GPA), citizenship, and community involvement will be evaluated. The committee will also accept and review any other information supplied in the application.

Selection will be made by the BBB Scholarship Committee with input from Wa-Hi athletic representatives. The scholarship funds will be sent directly to the student-athlete and can be used at the student-athlete's discretion.

Big Blue Boosters is asking Wa-Hi coaches and teachers to nominate seniors who would qualify for this award by submitting the information below (please allow one form per nominated student).

Self-nominations are also accepted but must include at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher and/or coach.

The deadline to nominate is April 30, 2024. Awards will be announced by the second week of May.

Applications should include the following:
1: Completed Application Information (below)
2: Transcript
3: Accompanying materials and/or letter

Visit the Big Blue Boosters website to access the application:

Submit materials electronically via email to:

Or mail your completed application, postmarked by April 30 2024 to:
Big Blue Boosters
P.O. Box 1554
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Tickets available for annual JROTC Benefit Dinner and Auction

The Walla Walla High School JROTC Blue Devil Battalion invites the community to its Annual JROTC Boosters Competitive Teams Benefit Dinner & Auction Saturday, March 2 at 5 p.m. in the Walla Walla High School Commons. Last year’s event netted over $10,000, enabling the Cadets to continue their high level of competitiveness and nationwide representation of the community.

A Chef’s Creation featuring Marty Bray will be providing his usual exceptional fare and tickets are $25. To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, visit the JROTC Boosters’ website, https://www.wahijrotcboosters.org/ or call Gene Gossett at (509) 520-0778.

SEATech teacher named Chamber Educator of the Year

Congratulations to SEATech Construction Technology teacher Eric Matson for receiving the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce Hometown Hero Educator of the Year award. Eric was honored today at the Chamber’s 2024 Community Awards program at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Eric provides relevant learning opportunities to students at Southeast Area Technical Skills Center – SEATech -- with a community focus, and he establishes a foundation for students to build careers upon once they complete Construction Technology. SEATech is a half-day career preparation program for high school juniors and seniors during the school year, serving students from Dayton, Waitsburg, Prescott, Touchet, College Place, and Walla Walla.

Under Eric’s Leadership, Construction Technology focuses on training for multiple careers, to include carpentry, electrical, plumbing, architecture and engineering, masonry, heavy equipment operation, and more. Students can earn college credit, industry certifications, and meet multiple graduation requirements

Thanks to the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce for recognizing Eric Matson for his excellence in the teaching profession.

2023-2024 Secondary Spring Conferences

Garrison Middle School
Wednesday, March 6 – 4 to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Pioneer Middle School
Wednesday, March 6 – 3:45 to 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Lincoln High School
Tuesday, March 5 – 4 to 7 p.m. (Academic Night)
Thursday, March 7 – 8 to 9 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Opportunity Program
Wednesday, March 6 – 3:30 to 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 5 – 3:45 to 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Walla Walla High School
Tuesday, March 5 – 4:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Walla Walla Online (Secondary)
Wednesday, March 6 – 3:30 to 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Berney Building Belonging Award

Tuesday night school board members honored Sadie Hartelius and the Berney Student Leadership Team with a Building Belonging Award. The Building Belonging Award is a student/staff recognition program aligned to the district’s "We All Belong Here" unity message promoting a civil, safe and compassionate learning environment. The "Building Belonging" Recognition Award recognizes students/staff who promote activities that create and sustain a sense of belonging, fairness, and justice for all students. Equity and Dual Programs Department Director Dr. Julie Perron coordinates the Building Belonging Award program.

This year Sadie has created and facilitated a student leadership team at Berney Elementary which has student representatives from fourth and fifth grades. Throughout the school year there are two teams; the first team focuses on community outreach, the second focuses on school improvement. This first team of students researched different organizations that help our community and decided they wanted to help the Walla Walla Christian Aid Center with a supply drive. The students planned and developed all parts of this fundraiser including meeting with and interviewing a representative from the Christian Aid Center. This fundraiser was recently completed and the donations were used to help the Christian Aid Center open a new men's facility. The students have also helped provide feedback on monthly assemblies, and the leadership team is now taking an active role in presenting at these assemblies. It is amazing to see these young students in our district show such active leadership skills and engage with their teachers, school and community.

Interim Principal, Don Davis, says, "Mrs. Hartelius has taken the initiative to implement a student leadership team here at Berney Elementary School. Her dedication to her students as well as our school community has not gone unnoticed. She meets with the leadership team frequently to discuss fundraising for local non-profit agencies and ways to build a positive school culture, among other things, that not only benefits our school but the community as well."

SEATech students going to State Event for Film Productions

This year, over 20 students from SEATech Careers in the Media class competed in two regional SkillsUSA competitions. The first contest was called Digital Cinema. Before the contest day, students were required to create a 4 to 5-minute short film and submit their resumes, storyboards, and scripts to the judges. On the contest day, teams were given only 4 hours to complete a trailer for their film.

The second contest the students competed in was titled "TV Production." Similar to Digital Cinema, students submitted resumes, scripts, and storyboards to the judges. They were required to produce a one-minute public service announcement before the contest and on the contest day, create a television commercial based on a prompt. SEATech students faced stiff competition from high schools in Spokane. This year, we are thrilled to announce that we are sending six students to the SKILLSUSA State Competition.

For Digital Cinema: Soren Thompson, Sarah Jousma, Kosmo Nerdin, Jazz Zanger.
For TV Production: Olivia Shiffler, Natasha Kuschatka.

They are excited to represent Walla Walla and SEATech in the upcoming SkillsUSA Washington State Leadership and Skills Conference from March 21 to 23, said Instructor Andrew Sayers.

Walla Walla High School music students named to All State Ensembles

Congratulations to the following music students for performing in All State Ensembles February, 16-17 in Yakima. These students auditioned in October and competed against music students from across the state to have this opportunity to perform at state. These students also had the distinct honor of working with some of the finest conductors in the country and the top musicians in the state of Washington.

Walla Walla High School
• Jordan Fox - All-State Treble Choir
• Asher Sutton - All-State Symphonic Choir
• Teresa Wheeler - All-State Treble Choir
• Simone Wheeler - All-State Treble Choir
• Jazz Zanger - All-State Symphonic Choir
• Micah Vawter - All-State Wind Ensemble

Wind Ensemble - Dr. Matthew R. Arau, Lawrence University
Symphonic Choir - Dr. Eugene Rogers, University of Michigan
Treble Choir - Dr. Kristina Ploeger-Hekmatpanah, Eastern Washington University

Garrison Middle School Choir
• Gideon Jenkins - All-State Mixed Ensemble
• Aidan Garrett - Treble Choir

Mixed Choir - Kyra Rengstorf, Western Washington University
Treble Choir - Tiffany Walker, University of Washington

Walla Walla FFA Alumni Blue and Gold Shindig fundraiser March 16

The Walla Walla FFA Alumni invite the community to its annual fundraiser to support the Wa-Hi FFA. This year’s Blue and Gold Shindig fundraiser will be held Saturday, March 16, 2024 in the Walla Walla Fairgrounds Community Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 each or community members can purchase a table of 8. Get tickets here: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/wallawallaffaalumni/1115853

• Call or text Staci at (509) 386-3484

Elementary Science Nights planned

Be sure to mark your calendars for Elementary Science Nights. Learning stations include the Catapult Challenge, Magnification, Ice Cream, Slime, Fossils and more. All events are from 6 to 7 p.m. Thanks to the Whitman College Science Outreach program for partnering with the school district to bring these exciting activities to elementary schools.
• Edison- March 7
• Sharpstein- February 29
• Prospect Point- April 11
• Green Park- April 18
• Berney- April 25

Save the Date! Important High School Registration activities planned

• March 1-27: Incoming 10th grade registration in class
• March 4-7: Secondary Parent/Teacher Conferences
• March 11: High School Counselors visit middle schools
• March 11: Parent Presentations for incoming 9th grade families (Wa-Hi Commons: Garrison MS 6 p.m. / Pioneer MS 7 p.m.)
• March 11: We Are Wa-Hi Pre-Registration Fair (Wa-Hi Gym – 6 to 8 p.m.)
• March 19: Incoming 9th Grade Registration for Garrison MS in class
• March 21: Incoming 9th Grade Registration for Pioneer MS in class

Contact your child’s school counselor for additional information.

Community Stories

AAUW Book this weekend at Marcus Whitman Hotel

You and your family are invited to attend the 59th Annual AAUW (American Association of University Women) Book Sale at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, Friday, Feb 23, 9 am – 7 pm; Saturday, Feb 24, 9 am – 7 pm; and Sunday, Feb 25, 9 am – 4 pm. Children (14 and younger) each receive one free book from the extensive children’s section (Picture and Chapter Books). There is also a Young Adult category, featuring books for 12 to 18-year-olds, with more adult themes than children’s Chapter Books. The Book Sale’s approximately 40,000 books are divided into more than 40 categories. Prices range from $1.00 to $4.00 for most titles. Picture Books are $1.00 and Chapter Books are $1.00 for paperbacks and $2.00 for hardbacks. The Collectible Books section featuring rare, collectible books are priced individually. Credit and debit cards will be accepted, along with checks and cash. Proceeds from the sale fund local scholarships for women returning to college, and local educational projects and events.

City Library Update

This Saturday at the Walla Walla Public Library, families and kids of all ages are invited to join us from 10am-2pm for Pokémon Day! Battle other Pokémon trainers, learn to draw Pokémon and create your own comics, treasure hunt for Pokémon cards in the library, and meet Pikachu in person! For a full listing of library programs and events, please visit https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/ or follow us on Facebook. 

City Parks and Rec Update

• Mad for Laughter Yoga – Open to all ages. FREE.
• 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.
• Youth Baseball Spring Training (Hitting, Pitching, & Fielding Camp) – Open to boys and girls grades 3rd-8th grade. Cost is $90.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Open to girls Kindergarten – 6th Grade. Cost is $45-$55.
• 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 $160, Youth/Senior/Veteran $60, Adult $70.
• M.E.L.T Fitness – Ages 12 years and up. Cost is $12-$40.
• Fencing – Ages 8 years and up. Cost is $20-$75.
• Pottery Studio Helpline SoupPort Bowl - Donations and painters are needed. $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 or contact the Parks & Recreation Office at 509-527-4527.

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