Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - November 7, 2014

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

Regional education leaders meet with District 16 elected officials

Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan and district school board members joined education leaders from throughout the Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Basin at the Southeast Area Technical Skills Center to discuss issues with 16th District Representatives Maureen Walsh and Terry Nealey. Senator Mike Hewitt was not available due to a medical procedure. Discussion topics included Initiative 1351 (funds smaller class sizes), testing mandates related to the Common Core Standards, restoring Learning Improvement Days and lagging teacher and staff compensation. Representatives Walsh and Nealey thanked everyone in attendance for the opportunity to learn more about these issues. The legislative session begins in January. 

District approves final commissioning report on Southeast Area Technical Skills Center

Tuesday night, the school board approved the final acceptance of Commissioning Report for the Southeast Area Technical Skills Center marking the end of a seven year process to bring a high school skills center to Walla Walla.

The Washington state legislature, with the strong support of Senator Mike Hewitt and Representatives Maureen Walsh and Terry Nealey, approved $11,519,000 to fund the design development, construction and equipment for the Southeast Area Technical Skills Center during the 2011-13 biennium. Walla Walla Community College leases the land to Walla Walla Public Schools for $1 per year. As a result, this project did not raise local bond rates.

SEA-TECH offers digital media technology, welding, renewable resources and health occupation programs. 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. Dennis Matson is the SEA-TECH director.

Personnel Report (from November 4, 2014 School Board Meeting)

Administrative: Dr. Tracy Williams, Interim Special Education Director, District Office

Classified: Amity Priore, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Head Start/ECEAP Program
Yesenia Trujillo, Para-Educator (temporary), Blue Ridge Elementary

Classified: Laura Snowberger, Kitchen Manager, Lincoln High School, 14 years

Certificated: Cindy Daves, Special Education, Berney Elementary, 7 years (through February 2015)

Classified: Tracy Longmire, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary, 6 years (Remainder of the 2014-2015 school year)
Kelli Jo Smith, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School, 12 years (February through May 2015 to complete student teaching)

School board members embrace Open Government Act

School board members received Open Government Training Tuesday night as required by the Open Government Trainings Act enacted by the 2014 Washington State Legislature. The Act is designed to foster open government by making open government education a recognized obligation of public service. The Act is also designed to reduce liability by educating agency officials and staff on the laws.

Assessment Coordinator runs New York City Marathon in support of autism programs

Assessment Coordinator Maria Garcia recently completed the New York City marathon. Her time of 4:54 exceeded her personal goal of five hours. Maria reports the conditions were extremely cold and windy with 30 to 50 mph gusts. She also said the course was deceivingly hilly.

“Given the conditions, I was extra pleased to meet my goal,” Garcia said. “I raised almost $600 for FACES Northwest, which provides summer programming for kids with autism. These kids and their families run a marathon every single day, and that thought propelled me through those last difficult miles!”

School Stories
Former Rose Bowl quarterback to meet with Garrison Middle School AVID students

Former Washington State University Rose Bowl quarterback and current WSU radio broadcaster Jason Gesser is planning to speak with Garrison Middle School students Thursday, November 13 at 11 a.m. Students in Conor Fish’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) classes will hear from the former Heisman Trophy candidate.

Gesser played quarterback for Washington State Cougars under head coach Mike Price, and played in the 2003 Rose Bowl. As a professional, Gesser played for the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League, the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, and the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League. He has also coached at Eastside Catholic High School, the University of Idaho and the University of Wyoming. Gesser is the grandson of Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame member Joseph “Red” Dunn.

AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, accelerates student learning, uses research-based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional development, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change.

What differentiates AVID from other educational reform programs is its astounding success rate. Since 1990, more than 85,500 AVID students have graduated from high school and planned to attend college.

Of the 22,210 AVID seniors from 2010 who reported their plans: 91.3% intended to attend a postsecondary institution, 58.3% a four-year university and 33% a two-year college.

Sharpstein Ninja warriors raise funds for school

Sharpstein elementary students raised nearly $10,000 in the 4th annual Stomper Fun Run. Students raced past the all-school goal of raising $7,000 in sponsorships to support programs and activities of the Sharpstein PTA. Each student ran or walked one mile during the school day in support of the event.

In celebration of a successful fundraiser, five teams of Sharpstein teachers and staff competed in the ultimate test of their ninja skills in the first-ever Sharpstein Ninja Warrior obstacle course competition on October 31. The second and third grade team, self-named the Dancing Ninjas, completed the course with the fastest time and were named this year’s Sharpstein Ninja Warriors! Teachers Ben VanDonge and Kate Keyes were Masters of Ceremonies for the fundraiser.

Wa-HI to face Gonzaga Prep in first round of football playoffs

- Wa-Hi vs. Gonzaga Prep
- Friday, Nov. 7
- 6 p.m.
- Gonzaga Prep Stadium (Spokane)

Wa-Hi Veterans Day Assembly November 10

Walla Walla High School is planning its annual Veterans Day Assembly Monday, Nov. 10 at 9:20 a.m. in the large gym. Veterans of all branches of service, and their spouses and relatives, are encouraged to attend. This year’s theme: “Veterans helping Veterans.” Programs including “Wounded Warriors”, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion will be featured and recognized.

Retired Air Force service member Don Schack is the event’s keynote speaker. All veterans are invited to the Wa-Hi Commons immediately following the assembly for coffee and fresh cinnamon rolls. For more information, contact Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor at 527-3020 ext. 3035 or bbialozor@wwps.org.

Garrison Night School registration period Nov. 18-20

Walla Walla Public Schools in partnership with Walla Walla Community College will again offer Garrison Night School for adults. Garrison Night School will offer several levels of ESL classes, a computer class, and GED preparation from November 24 to March 3. Beginning and Beginning Advanced Spanish class will also be offered.

Registration for the ESL classes is November 18,19, and 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. Classes start Monday, November 24. Class sessions run from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, computer class takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Our Spanish class program runs from November 24 until March 3. Beginning Spanish class meets Monday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Advanced Beginning class on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Registration for the Spanish classes will takes place at the District office starting on November 3 and clock hrs are available for staff. Cost for either program is $25 for the whole period. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Melito Ramirez at 509-526-8638 or 509-386-5408.

Entrepreneurs win Pitch-It competition - by Wa-Hi Journal

The Wa-Hi Pitch-It competition was held on Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. in the Commons to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. Four teams presented two-minute pitches for small businesses and fielded questions for five minutes from three judges from the Walla Walla Valley business community. The team comprised of seniors Jennifer Cho and Madyson Gabriel were chosen to advance to the next round and received a $100 prize, which was presented by the Business Advisory Committee.

"I'm excited to perfect our presentation for the final round," Gabriel said.

The championship round will be held at Whitman College in Olin Hall on Nov. 18.

Project Trio to perform free concert at Walla Walla High School

- Saturday, November 8
- 4:30 p.m.
- WA-HI Auditorium
Walla Walla Symphony, the Walla Walla Music Boosters and the Walla Walla Schools Music Department are offering a free performance for district music students and their families on November 8, 4:30 p.m. at the Walla Walla High School Auditorium. Seats are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis. Tickets can be downloaded at the following address: http://wwpsmusic.ticketleap.com/wwps-project-trio/

Community Stories
YCCY announces new Youth & Government Program

The YMCA Community Center for Youth is introducing a new program for local high school students. Youth & Government is a nationally recognized YMCA program that began in 1947 and has been taught all over the United States through YMCA youth departments.

Youth & Government will give local teens the opportunity to gain practical insight on how a democracy works by using a set curriculum, local guest speakers and by observing local governmental meetings. “This is an exciting program for us,” states Teen Director Kerstin Fenton. “Our participants will be writing and debating their own bills on important issues that face the community and nation.” In the spring the local Youth & Government class will visit the Capital Building in Olympia and deliberate their bills with hundreds of other participants from around the state.

Youth & Government meet on Tuesday evenings at the YMCA. The program is open to local high school students. For more details, contact Teen Director Kerstin Fenton at 509-525-8863 or kfenton@wwymca.org

Universal Children’s Day promotes peace

Join us for Universal Children’s Day and Hot Cocoa November 20 at the YMCA of Walla Walla anytime between 4:30 and 6 p.m. Universal Children's Day is about taking important steps to create a world where all children thrive. That is the vision of Children's Home Society of Washington (CHSW). It’s a fun event bringing together local children and families through a fun, family friendly activity that raises awareness to the most pressing needs facing our children today. Coloring contest available. Coloring pages can be picked up at all local elementary schools or Children’s Home Society office and returned by November 19 by 4:30 p.m. 1612 Penny Lane, Walla Walla, for more information call (509) 529-2130.

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