Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 23, 2014

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District names Partners of the Year

Walla Walla Public Schools named the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds, Original Design, Walla Walla Foundry, Fort Walla Walla Museum and Commitment to Community its 2014 Partners of the Year as part of May’s Partners in Learning celebrations.

Walla Walla School District established Partners in Learning Month in May 2010 to thank the businesses, organizations and agencies who partner with the district throughout the year to support students and staff. This month the district sent more than 130 proclamations and letters of recognition to the district’s Partners in Learning. See more at: www.wwps.org

No School Monday, May 26 - Memorial Day Holiday

- Memorial Day Holiday: Monday, May 26 (no school)
- Classes resume Tuesday, May 27

Last day of School Thursday, June 12

- All schools will be on an early dismissal schedule
- School resumes for the 2014-15 school year Tuesday, Sept. 2

Farm-to-School program update by Coordinator Beth Thiel

Farm to School is in full swing this time of year. Elementary school students are busy planting in their school gardens. Third graders planted greens weeks ago and will make a salad before the end of the school year with 5-8 different types of nutritious greens and a vinaigrette they make themselves. Certain classes at Sharpstein are visiting the garden several times this spring thanks to Eleanor Ellis, the Americorps garden coordinator who is using the garden to support teachers in science lessons.

Last week, for Harvest of the Month, the district enjoyed local salad greens from Welcome Table Farm and spinach from Finley's Fresh Produce. Nutrition Services prepared the greens and volunteers offered samples at tasting tables.

Last week the cafeterias featured local asparagus from Locati Farm. This spring season vegetable was featured last year as a Harvest of the Month and was brought back this spring by popular demand.

Thanks to Williams Brothers Farm and Welcome Table Farm for the field trips this spring. Students are learning about our local agriculture and what it takes to grow great food. Perhaps we are inspiring a few new farmers for the future.

End-of-Year Celebrations

Lincoln High School Graduation
- Thursday, June 5 @ 6 p.m.
- WW Fairgrounds

Wa-Hi Commencement
- Friday, June 6 @ 7 p.m.
- Wa-Hi Commons area (gym if raining)

Opportunity Program Graduation
- Monday, June 2 @ 6:30 p.m.
- Opportunity Program Facility: 1917 E. Isaacs

Pioneer Middle School 8th Grade Recognition
- Tuesday, June 10 @ 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Gym

Garrison Middle School 8th Grade Recognition
- Wednesday, June 11 @ 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Gym

Communications Department receives state public relations awards

The Walla Walla Public Schools Communications Department received several awards at the Washington School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) annual meeting. Nearly three hundred submissions from Communications Departments representing districts throughout the state were judged and scored. Categories included print publications, websites, radio and television, social media, calendars, annual reports and more.

“We have amazing staff and students in our district and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to help tell their stories,” said Communications Director Mark Higgins. “I’m proud of the work we do at Walla Walla Public Schools and believe what is best for children is at the forefront of all decisions.”

2014 WSPRA Awards
- Excellence: External Print Newsletter (Focus on Education community newsletter)
- Merit: Annual Report
- Merit: Video/Audio (Invest in Education radio and television campaign)
- Merit: Video/Audio (Support Staff Spotlight series)
- Merit: Video/Audio (Focus on Education Radio PSA series)
- Honorable Mention: Video/Audio (Classroom Close-Up series)
- Honorable Mention: External E Newsletter (Week in Review electronic newsletter)

School Stories
Edison Elementary principal accepts new position in Central Valley School District

Edison Elementary Principal Josh Wolcott has been named principal at University Elementary School in the Central Valley School District in Spokane. Wolcott began his tenure with Walla Walla Public Schools in 2007 as an assistant principal at Garrison Middle School. He was named principal at Edison Elementary in 2010.

“Josh has done a wonderful job at Edison, and was a terrific assistant principal at Garrison,” said Superintendent Mick Miller. “We will miss his calm and thoughtful presence and engaging personality. He is an outstanding educator. Best wishes to Josh and the Wolcott family as they enter a new chapter in their lives.”

Next week the district will determine a process for selection of Wolcott’s successor.

Interim Lincoln High School principal named to full-time position

Interim Lincoln High School principal Marci Knauft was named the school’s permanent principal following an extensive selection process. Knauft topped a diverse group of qualified administrative candidates to secure the Lincoln High School principal position. A total of 20 applicants applied for the position and five finalists received an interview. The interview process included a broad-based group of stakeholders, including staff, students and community members.

Knauft served as the acting principal during the 2013-14 school year following the retirement of Principal Jim Sporleder. She has been employed by Walla Walla Public Schools for 20 years.

“I’m honored to have been selected to be the principal of Lincoln High School,” said Knauft. “I love Lincoln’s students and staff and am excited to begin this next step in my career.”

Knauft began her tenure in the district in 1994 as a Special Education teacher. Knauft, a National Board Certified teacher, has also been a college instructor. Knauft received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree and Master’s of Education Degree from Walla Walla University. She serves on the College Place Public Schools Board of Directors.

Berney second graders visit Welcome Table Farm

Berney Elementary second grade students went on a field trip to the Welcome Table Farm this week. This activity supports the school’s science program. Students learned about soil, insects and life-cycles of plants. Thanks to teachers Shannon Hand, Denise Parodi and Jennifer Holbrook for planning this field trip. Visit the district website to see a fun video from the activity: www.wwps.org.

School bus driver reviewing officer for JROTC Annual Review

District school bus driver and former U.S. Navy member Gene Gossett served as the reviewing officer for the 95th Walla Walla High School JROTC Annual review. Gossett served in the Vietnam War and was a decorated sharpshooter.

This year more than 150 students participated in the JROTC program. The Wa-Hi JROTC program is based on six pillars: history, geography, leadership, fitness & health, first aid, and rifle marksmanship. Twenty seniors were honored for their commitment to the program during the Annual Review. Visit the district website to see a video capturing images from the event: www.wwps.org.

The following cadets received awards:
- Cadet Evan Jameson, Most Improved PT-Team member
- Cadet Victoria Van Mierlo, Most Improved A-Team member
- Team 1 Cadet Nicholas Groom, Most Improved Color Guard member
- Team 2 Cadet Micah Gordon, Most Improved Color Guard member
- Cadet Nathan Brewer, Most Improved Rifle Team member

Pioneer Middle School Assistant Principal to direct district athletics

A new era in Walla Walla Public Schools athletics will begin this summer. Pioneer Middle School Assistant Principal Jack Mehn will transfer to Walla Walla High School to direct district athletic programs as an assistant principal as part of an administrative reorganization. Longtime district Athletic Director Don Wilkins is not returning.

Wilkins has been on staff at Walla Walla High School since 1969 as a teacher, coach and assistant principal. He has served as district Athletic Director since 1994. Jack Mehn has been employed by Walla Walla Public Schools for 13 years. He was a science teacher and Dean of Students at Walla Walla High School for eight years prior to accepting the Pioneer Middle School Assistant Principal position in 2009. Mehn also coached the Walla Walla High School Girls Varsity Basketball team from 2001 to 2008.

“I’m excited about this opportunity to begin the next chapter of Walla Walla Public Schools athletics,” Miller said. “We have outstanding coaches, student-athletes and community support and Jack Mehn’s leadership and organizational skills will build upon an already successful program. We want to thank Don Wilkins for his years of service to the district and commitment to developing well rounded student-athletes.”

No decisions have been made regarding Mehn’s replacement at Pioneer Middle School. Mehn will assume his new duties at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

Blue Ridge Bike Rodeo promotes safe biking 

Blue Ridge Elementary second grade students practiced their biking skills on an obstacle course, received free helmets from the YMCA and had their bikes inspected by local bike mechanics during the school’s Bike Rodeo. The event was organized by Blue Ridge 2nd grade teacher Cheryl Thonney. Area firefighters also volunteered to help with the event. A parade of more than 50 students rode their bikes from Blue Ridge to Jefferson Park to conclude the event. Click on the link below to watch a video of the event. Visit the district website to see a video highlighting the event: www.wwps.org.

Walla Walla High School Latino Club elects new officers

The Walla Walla High School Latino Club recently elected officers for the 2014-2015 school year. The newly elected officers are: President, junior, Veronica Ocampo; Vice President; sophomore, Christian Moreno; Secretary, sophomore Dalia Olmos; Treasurer, freshman, Andy Flores; and Activity Coordinator, sophomore, Valeria Alonso.

Veronica Ocampo, the new president, stated that “being president of the Walla Walla Latino Club is a challenging position and requires a lot of responsibility which I am willing to take on.”

As new leaders of the Club, they are already planning activities for next school year starting with the Walla Walla County Fair and Frontier days before school starts this fall.

Walla Walla High School senior receives Exchange Club Youth of the Year awards

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School senior Kiana Molitor for receiving the Exchange Club of Walla Walla 2014 Youth of the Year Award and a $1,000 college scholarship. Molitor was also named the Exchange Club Youth of the Year at the district level representing Washington, Oregon and Hawaii. She will receive an additional $1000 scholarship for this district honor.

Kiana is currently, ranked #1 in a class of 516 students with a 4.0 GPA, this spring Kiana will graduate with a total of 13 advanced placement and honors courses, as well as completing a Spanish course at Whitman College.

Kiana presently serves as Wa-Hi’s Student Body President with past leadership roles which have included junior class president, sophomore class president, and a freshmen council member. Kiana has also been a member of Key Club, Link Crew, the National Honors Society, the FFA and Drama Club. Kiana has participated in three years of Varsity Soccer and was a four year member of the Varsity Basketball team, where she was Team Captain for her senior season. She has been a member of the Treble Ensemble Choir for two years and is enrolled in voice lessons outside of school.

Kiana attended Prospect Point Elementary and Garrison Middle School. She plans to attend the University of Redlands next year to study Global Business and International Relations.

DeSales High School senior Christal Hall also received an Exchange Club Youth of the Year award.

Green Park Elementary Carnival & Auction

Thursday, June 5
4 to 8 p.m.

Green Park Carnival is the longest running Carnival in Walla Walla. Twenty booths including Kid Wash, Plinko, Cotton Candy, Cookie Walk, Hair Salon, Face Painting, and Feed the Elephant are run by teachers and parents. Pizza, hot dogs, and salad are for sale in the cafeteria, as well as a large Silent Auction with plenty to choose and bid on from local businesses. Ticket prices are $.25 ea. All proceeds benefit Green Park PTA which supports classroom supplies, Library, Reflections Art Competition, AR, Missoula Children’s Theatre, Positive Celebrations and so much more. With Batman and Drew Bledsoe as alumni, Green Park is proud of its heritage and the future of its students. Come and enjoy with your family!

Co-Chairs Cyndy Knight @ 525-2861 or Stephanie Groom @ 522-3184

Calzaretta honored by national organization for classroom technology advancements

Tech & Learning magazine named Pioneer Middle School Explorer teacher Dan Calzaretta winner of an Honorable Mention award in its 27th annual Leader of the Year program. The organization states educators like Calzaretta are visionaries in education technology leadership, often working within budgetary restrictions and limited resources.

Pioneer Middle School Explorer teacher Dan Calzaretta received an honorable mention award for "Tech and Learning’s" Technology Leader of the Year program. This honor is typically received by superintendents and technology directors, according to Calzaretta.

Calzaretta’s students produce films, use computers for research and are exposed to a variety of software programs. Three years ago, Calzaretta developed a plan to integrate technology into his classroom with the goal to impact at three levels: the classroom, the district, and the community. In the district, Calzaretta is on a team which helped develop a plan to incorporate technology district-wide. He also helped the City of Walla Walla Library plan a multimedia creation center after it received a $136,000 grant.

“In the classroom, technology helps students with different learning styles to be successful,” said Calzaretta. “It’s a huge honor to have a teacher recognized. We are on the frontlines using technology everyday to improve learning.”

Walla Walla High School student’s photo selected for tech program login page

Walla Walla High School Technology teacher Dennis DeBroeck reports student Hans Bauman’s photo will be displayed when logging in to Testout's Labsim. Hans has completed two industry certifications in PC Pro and Network Pro and has become the first student to be selected for the login image program, according to DeBroeck. This certification training is provided world wide and Walla Walla has the first student selected for this acknowledgment. This certification training is offered to students in the Computer Technology Program at Walla Walla High School.

“Hans is a perfect student to put on the page and the students in computer technology were excited about this selection,” DeBroeck said. “TestOut has always been fantastic supporters of our program here in Walla Walla and are very dedicated to improving technical education to people all over the world.”

Tri-State Steelheaders make learning science fun for Pioneer students

Members of the Tri-State Steelheaders recently visited Pioneer Middle School to work with students on its Watershed Health Evaluation Program. See entire story at www.wwps.org. Students in Angie Butler’s science class then evaluated water quality of Garrison Creek. Students studied parameters such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and turbidity. They also investigated riparian health, aquatic invertebrates, and hydrology of the site.

Since 1996 the Steelheaders have collaborated with teachers from schools in Walla Walla, College Place, Asotin, Clarkston, Touchet, Waitsburg, Burbank, and Prescott to give students hands-on experience collecting watershed data.  The primary function of the program is to collect valuable data and allow students to have fun doing science. It also provides students an experience with the technical equipment typically used by water quality professionals.

Walla Walla High School Farewell Concert Changes Venue

The Walla Walla High School “Farewell Concert” had been rescheduled. The performance will be May 28, at 7 p.m. at the Walla Walla Valley Academy Theater, in College Place. The Concert has been moved to accommodate a larger crowd anticipated, as this year the Walla Walla High School Choir Program is also saying good-bye to their much loved Director Norbert Rossi. Rossi has taught at Walla Walla High School for 14 years, and has inspired young adults. When asked about the highlights of his career, Mr. Rossi’s response: “Watching these amazing students grow over these many years.  They have taught me and inspired me to do better.”

The Walla Walla High School Orchestra Concert is May 29 at the Wa-Hi Auditorium.

No early release for Wa-Hi students for the remainder of the school year

As has been the case for the past few years,  Walla Walla High School will not have early release for students for the next three Wednesdays of the school year due to state testing. This change to the regular schedule satisfies OSPI’s state testing requirements which state all late starts and early dismissals must be canceled on testing days. 

Student Produced Independent Films for Youth Festival May 30

- 4th annual SPIFFY film festival. SPIFFY (Student Produced Independent Films for Youth)
- Friday, May 30 from 6 to 9 p.m.
- Free (donations accepted to support filmmaking program and travel costs to New York for award winning students)
- Walla Walla High School Auditorium
- Information: Pioneer Explorer Teacher Dan Calzaretta - dcalzaretta@wwps.org

“We have some amazing films this year, including two that were accepted into the National Film Festival for Talented Youth and one that was awarded a Gold Medal at the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards,” Calzaretta said. “Treat yourself to an evening of great student films. You will be astounded by these young filmmakers!”

Community Stories

Carnegie Picture Lab offering part-time summer employment

Carnegie Picture Lab is looking for part time curriculum and volunteer materials prep and administrative and communication support from July 1 to September 15. For a more information on our organization, a full job description and how to apply, go to: www.carnegiepicturelab.com

City Parks and Rec offers free summer meals for children

Parks & Recreation serves FREE summer meals to children 1 to 18 throughout the Walla Walla Valley beginning June 16. For more information, please visit Parks & Recreations website at www.wwpr.us<http://www.wwpr.us> or call 527-4527.

Register for Parks & Recreation Summer Programs at www.wwpr.us<http://www.wwpr.us>

Whitman College to host youth volleyball camps

Whitman College will be hosting five volleyball camps this summer for grades K-12.  A brochure will be sent home with students this week with the specifics.  Camps are divided into ages.  For more information check the brochure or go to their website:  http://athletics.whitman.edu/sports/2014/4/17/VBall.skills.clinic.aspx?path=wvball

The Moms’ Network 5th Annual Diaper Drive a Success!

For the past 5 weeks, The Moms’ Network has been collecting diapers throughout the Walla Walla Valley. All the diapers donated are given to Helpline, SonBridge Community Center and Catholic Charities of Walla Walla to be distributed to local families.

“We are excited to announce that 10,361 diapers were donated this year to our Diaper Drive”, states Moms’ Network member Amy Reed. “We are so excited about the donation numbers. Our community has had an increase in diaper demand and these donations were needed. Walla Walla is a tremendously giving community and we are so thankful to the businesses, The Moms’ Network members and the community for embracing this fundraiser.”

A special thank you to Ace Hardware, Harvest Foods, the YMCA, Providence St. Mary Medical Center, Walla Walla Catholic Schools, Nelson Irrigation, Walla Walla City Library, and Junior Club of Walla Walla.

Even though The Moms’ Network Diaper Drive is officially over, anyone can still donate diapers directly to Helpline, SonBridge Community Center and Catholic Charities of Walla Walla.

The Moms’ Network is a local nonprofit that provides tools for members to communicate, receive and exchange information, network with each other and be involved in the community. For more information visit www.themomsnetworkww.com or contact Beth Swanson at 509-301-7471.

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