Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Sept. 19, 2014

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Area leaders flock to Southeast Area Technical Skills Center for dedication ceremony

Walla Walla Public Schools officially dedicated the new Southeast Area Technical Skills Center Sept. 18. Elected officials, local higher education leaders and representatives from partner school districts converged on the site to join in the celebration. SEA-TECH staff and students led guests on guided tours of the facility.

SEA-TECH Background Information
The Washington state legislature approved a total of $11,519,000 to fund the design development, construction and equipment for the Southeast Area Technical Skills Center in Walla Walla during the 2011-13 biennium for this project. This state action was part of a development model for Skills Centers which provided 90 percent of the funding for the facility and equipment.

The state funded SEA-TECH with school construction dollars. Walla Walla Community College leases the land to Walla Walla Public Schools for $1 per year. The land agreement represents the district’s 10 percent matching portion of the project. The state funded the remaining 90 percent of the project. As a result, this project did not raise local bond rates.

During the 2011 legislative session, the district received $1,169,000 for design development for the 36,000 square feet facility located on the Walla Walla Community College campus, off of Isaacs Ave. In 2012, the legislature appropriated an additional $10,350,000 for construction and equipment for the new Skills Center.

The district broke ground on the project during the first week in March 2013 and SEA-TECH opened for the start of the 2014-15 school year. SEA-TECH offers digital media technology, welding, renewable resources and health occupation programs. SEA-TECH is a branch campus of the Kennewick School District’s Tri-Tech Skills Center. Partnering districts: Dayton, Waitsburg, Touchet, Prescott and College Place. Students from Walla Walla and all the partner districts attend a morning (AM) or afternoon (PM) block schedule at SEA-TECH.

- Architect: Architects West
- Contractor: Leone and Kibble, Inc.
- Director: Dennis Matson (dmatson@wwps.org / 509.526.2000)
- Website: www.myseatech.org

School board puts brakes on superintendent search

During the September 16 regular school board meeting, the Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion to delay conducting a Superintendent Search until the 2015-16 school year. The goal is to have a new superintendent assume the duties July 1, 2016.

Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan is expected to continue serving next year. He was hired as the interim Superintendent in July 2014 following Mick Miller's resignation to take a position with ESD 101 in Spokane.

“Superintendent Bill Jordan is a calm, cool and experienced leader who gets things done,” said School Board President Anne Golden. “We felt it was best to wait another year and focus on the positive direction we are seeing with the district.”

Television celebrity scientist makes time for area students

Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was in Walla Walla last week to share his Cosmos presentation. Dr. Tyson is the premiere astrophysicist in the USA and is a bonafide celebrity with his television show Cosmos.

21st Century Program Director Brent Cummings organized a $20,000 fund raising effort so nearly 400 at-risk Walla Walla youth could see the show. Tyson himself was an impoverished, public schools student living in New York as child. He also made time during his visit to meet with 50 middle and high school students at Main Street studios where he answered questions, signed autographs and joked with the students.

“We really appreciate Dr. Tyson taking the time for this special presentation to our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan. “Also, thanks to Brent Cummings and all of the 21st Century program staff for organizing this event.”

Memorial Service Saturday for certificated substitute 

Memorial services for certificated substitute Elisa Lovrak are Saturday, Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. at Life Church (116 S. 3rd Ave.). The service is open to the public. Lovrak was killed in a car accident in College Place Sunday evening.

Her son Curtis is a senior at Walla Walla High School and her son William is a 10th grade student at AEP (WWCC). Those wishing to provide additional support to the family are encouraged to visit the Life Church Facebook page.

All of us at Walla Walla Public Schools are extremely saddened by this tragedy and keep the family in our thoughts and prayers.

Walla Walla Public Schools and Shakespeare Walla Walla  present "Fiestas Patrias" concert

Walla Walla Public Schools and Shakespeare Walla Walla are collaborating to present a “Fiestas Patrias” benefit concert on Saturday, September 20, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Gesa Power House Theatre. Proceeds ($10 admission) will benefit the Shakespeare Walla Walla education program and the Walla Walla School District’s Ballet Folklorico, an after school program for students at Garrison Middle School and Pioneer Middle School.

Tri-Cities band Fino, featuring Garrison Middle School Principal Robert Elizondo, will headline the event. Other performers will include Salvador Hernandez, Laura Angulo e Hijas, Walla Walla Ballet Folklorico, Nidia Coria, Armando Rubio, and Gerardo Solis "El Buki".

“This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and support for the district’s Ballet Folklorico program,” says District Equity and Access Coordinator Sergio Hernandez. “We’re enthusiastic about giving the kids the opportunity to participate in an exciting community activity.”

Fiestas Patrias is a collective name for the independence days of eight Latin American countries which celebrate between September 15 and 21: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize.

This is the first of two collaborations between Walla Walla Public Schools and Shakespeare Walla Walla. In October, these two organizations, along with Whitman College, ArtWalla, and other local businesses and community partners, will organize the Second Annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival, a two-day community festival, on October 24 and 25. Last year's festival drew more than 1500 attendees. For the latest information on these and other events visit: www.shakespearewallawalla.org or www.phtww.com.

Taste Washington Day features locally grown products

Students and guests are in for a treat October 1 as district cafeterias will be bursting with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and meat. This year’s menu includes sweet and sour meat balls, corn on the cob, whole wheat rolls, melons and more area favorites. Nutrition Services Director Pamela Milleson says the event is an excellent opportunity to educate students about proper nutrition, provide a homegrown meal and partner with area farmers.

The Nutrition Services Department is also featuring locally grown peaches and nectarines throughout September as part of Harvest of the Month activities. Don Lefore Farms of Milton-Freewater is the grower for the peaches and nectarines. Teachers have also been provided flyers with information about the products to share with students.

Personnel Report (from 9/18/14 school board meeting)

Certificated: Alison Staley, Counselor, Walla Walla High School
Classified: Jesus Alonso, Custodian, Pioneer Middle School/Walla Walla High School

Classified: Lisa Fann, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary, 7 months
Krista Garcia, Transportation Secretary, 3 years
Richie Strozinsky, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School, 19 years

Classified: Ruthell Martinez, Intervention Specialist, Sharpstein Elementary, 3 years
- For the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year
Timothy Wauchek, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School, 5 years
- For the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year

School Stories
GEAR UP plans events to support career and college readiness
College Fair
- September 30
- College Fair on campus in the Wa-Hi gym
- Open to parents during their student's English class or 2:30 to 4 p.m. after school
- For more information contact Claircy Clizer in the Walla Walla High School Career Center, cclizer@wwps.org.

College Application Campaign
- Series of events in October and November
- College representatives will be on campus at WWHS working with students to help them apply for college and tech programs
- October 23: Whitworth College and Pacific Lutheran University will be in the Wa-Hi library
- November 5: Central Washington University will be in the Wa-Hi library
- November 10: University of Washington Bothell will be in the Wa-Hi library
- January 14, 21, 28: 2015 FAFSA nights at the Wa-Hi library

Walla Walla’s Cummings Selected as One of Just 13 ‘Afterschool Ambassadors’ from Across Nation

The Afterschool Alliance today announced that Brent Cummings, 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) Program Director for Walla Walla Public Schools, has been selected to serve as a 2014-2015 Afterschool Ambassador. He is one of just 13 leaders from 12 states to be chosen for the honor this year. Each Afterschool Ambassador will continue directing or supporting a local afterschool program while also serving the one-year Afterschool Ambassador term, organizing public events, communicating with policy makers, and building support for afterschool programs.

“In Southeastern Washington and around the country, quality afterschool programs are keeping students safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “These afterschool activities complement what they learn during the school day.”

As an Afterschool Ambassador, Cummings will work to build stronger support for afterschool programs among parents, business and community leaders, lawmakers and others.

“I am excited to have this chance to help increase support for afterschool programs, which give students opportunities to explore their interests and passions and give parents the security that comes with knowing that their children are safe and supervised, with engaging, educational activities after the school day ends,” said Cummings. “Afterschool programs are critical to students’ success in school, to their safety, to working families, and to the nation’s workforce and its economy.”

The 21st CCLC Afterschool Programs for Walla Walla Public Schools serve more than 500 youth daily between five sites: Blue Ridge Elementary, Garrison Middle School, Pioneer Middle School, Lincoln High School and Walla Walla High School. At each location, youth are engaged in fun, relevant and dynamic afterschool programs that bridge enrichment activities and projects with the rigorous academic goals of the school day. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are the major content areas specifically incorporated into nearly every afterschool activity. Additionally, each site provides healthy snacks and physical activities to promote the overall well being of their students.

Sharpstein Carnival next week

- Thursday, September 25
- 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Sharpstein School
- Open to the public! Fun for the whole family!
- Four inflatables (bounce houses, slides, obstacle course), carnival-style games, dunk tank, style studio
- Tasty treats! Serving pizza, tostadas and Mexican-style corn-on-the-cob. Dance performances by Ballet Folklorico
- Most activities $.50 or $1 each or all-inclusive wristbands available for only $6
- All proceeds benefit the Sharpstein PTA

Pioneer Middle School Science teacher leads school garden project

Kim Lawbaugh, science teacher at Pioneer Middle School, with funding from the Farm to School Program, is creating a school garden to enhance her science curriculum with an outdoor classroom for hands on, experiential learning. Students also benefit from planting, nurturing, harvesting and tasting fresh foods. Volunteers are needed this Saturday (September 20) at 9:30 a.m. to remove sod, lay gravel, make boxes, and move soil.

Walla Walla High School plans PINK events to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research

The Walla Walla High School Volleyball program is sponsoring DIG PINK the week of October 3 to 9. This year multiple athletic teams will be supporting PINK, and hosting events to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.

Kicking off the week, football, cheer and volleyball will host a PINK bake sale at the home football game, October 3 as the Blue Devils take on the Richland Bombers. Next, on Wednesday, October 8, Garrison and Pioneer volleyball will be wearing PINK as they take a stand against cancer. Games begin at 4 p.m. at both Garrison and Pioneer.

Finally, on Thursday, October 9, the Blue Devil Volleyball team takes on the Chiawana Riverhawks. Freshman, C and Junior Varsity teams play at 5:30 p.m. and the Blue Devil varsity begin at 7 p.m. PINK items such as beads, pins, pom poms and more will be sold at the game. There will also be a raffle and other fun prizes to win. Help the girls pack the gym in PINK. All proceeds will go to Providence St. Mary Medical Center Breast Cancer Special Needs Fund.

The volleyball teams are selling PINK "I can fight cancer" shirts. These can be purchased from your favorite volleyball player, from any school office and from the Walla Walla School District website, through the ONLINE PAYMENTS link. Shirts are $10.

2014 Open Houses and Welcome Back Socials (remaining dates)

Berney Elementary: September 24
- 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Blue Ridge Preschool: September 25
- 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Garrison Middle School: September 23
- 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Walla Walla High School: September 22
- 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Wa-Hi Journal earns national ranking

The National Scholastic Press Association has released its annual “Best of the High School Press” book showcasing student work, including The Wa-Hi Journal, which earned a coveted spot in the Best Cover Pages category.

The book features winners of NSPA contests as well as work selected by judges specifically for the “Best of the High School Press” from more than 6,000 digital files submitted.

Julia Cosma (Wa-Hi class of 2013) designed the featured cover page for the 2013 senior issue, a color page with every name of the senior class sculptured into the word, Finally. The cover page also features purposeful white space, a design concept that Cosma focused on that year with her editors, including current Editor in Chief, Madyson Gabriel.

Journalism programs use the book as a go-to resource for learning. “Frequently, we turn to past editions of the ‘Best of the High School Press’ for newspaper ideas, so it’s really exciting that our publication might be an inspiration for someone else,” Gabriel said.

The book also includes the Honor Roll for scholastic journalism. To be listed, student journalists must have a leadership role, have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.75, and must have completed at least one year of journalism and be currently enrolled. Honored students for the 2013-14 year were Gabriel, Hannah Mitchell (News Editor, Wa-Hi Journal), Jennifer Cho (Editor in Chief, Wa-Hi Journal Online), Ryan Manny (Assistant Editor in Chief, Wa-Hi Journal Online), and Erik Dohe (Wa-Hi class of 2014).

“These student journalists are constantly putting their work out there by publishing online and in their newspaper, so it is great to see them receive some recognition for their hard work,” adviser Gay Buissink said. “It really is an achievement, an honor.”

Gabriel, Mitchell, Manny and Makayla Wagner (Yearbook Editor in Chief), will travel to Washington, D.C., to compete at the JEA/NSPA Fall Convention in November, where the “Best of the High School Press” book will be on display.

Community Stories
Walla Walla Grand Ice Bucket Challenge supports ALS awareness and research

Gary D'Agostino, who has ALS, is challenging 1,000 or more Walla Wallans to participate in the Walla Walla Grand Ice Bucket Challenge Saturday, Sept. 27 at Martin Field next to Borleske Stadium.

“Our goal is to raise $10,000 for the care of ALS patients in the area and The ALSA Evergreen Chapter,” D'Agostino said. “Even if you have participated in the challenge before I guarantee you it is nothing like this one.”

Area businesses are providing ice and support. The Walla Walla Professional Firefighters will be present with a pumper truck to fill the buckets. D'Agostino says a crew will be filming this event for YouTube, Facebook and other social media outlets.

“All we are needing is for you to show up, hopefully with a donation, bucket and a willingness to get wet,” D'Agostino said. “Let's all stand tall as a community against ALS and show them how it's done.”

Donation tickets are available at the following outlets and are tax deductible:
- Blue Valley Meats 1162 W Pine St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
- Salumiere Cesario 12 E Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
- Main Street Studios 207 W Main, Walla Walla, WA
- Mill Creek Brewpub 11 S Palouse St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
- The Green Lantern 1606 E Isaacs Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362
- Home Loan Center 1 E Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362

For additional info:
- Facebook/ Gary D'Agostino / Events tab/ Walla Walla Grand
- Email: d2wallaman@gmail.com
- Phone: 509-529-7961

City Parks and Rec fall program guides available

Parks and Recreation's Fall Programs Guide is now available. To view programs, please go to www.wwpr.us or visit our facebook page at www.facebook.com/wallawallapr

Community Resilience Treasure Hunt 

- Saturday, October 11
- Land Title Plaza (starting point)
- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- This event is in support of Children’s Resilience Month (October)
- Fun prizes, educational opportunities, family event
- CRI is a local grassroots organization that strives to foster resilience by buffering the negative health outcomes of childhood traumas

October is Children’s Resilency Month
- September 24– City Council Proclamation at 7 p.m.
- September 29- Exchange Club Presentation
- Farmers Market Resilience Community Booth– every Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Oct. 8– Head Start Director evening event WWCC Room 185, 6 to 8 p.m. (details still being shaped)
- Oct. 9- Head Start Program Director Avis Smith– 8:30-12:30 Airport Conference Room
- Oct. 11– SPECIAL EVENT- Resilience Treasure Hunt / Start at Land Title Plaza, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Family Fun Night (TBA)
- October 16- Rotary Club Presentation
- Oct. 25– Resilience Activities at Day of the Dead event

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