Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - December 1, 2017

In this Issue:

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Winter Break Holiday schedule

- No School Dec. 25 to Jan. 5
- Classes resume Monday, January 8


School Board meeting Dec. 19 

- Tuesday, Dec. 19
- 5:30 p.m.
- Location: Anne Golden Boardroom (District Office – 364 S. Park St.)


Parents and Community Invited to View Proposed Instructional Health Materials

Walla Walla Public Schools hosted a community event Tuesday evening to inform participants about health materials being proposed for curriculum adoption. Those materials were also available for community members to view and provide feedback at the district office. A proposal for an adoption is expected later this winter.

¡La Chispa! leadership workshop helps middle school students understand the importance of being bilingual
The WWPS Bilingual Education Department recently sponsored 64 middle school students from both Garrison and Pioneer to attend ¡La Chispa! in Selah, WA. ¡La Chispa! (The Spark) is a workshop that helps bilingual students build their self-confidence, strengthen their cultural identity, and increase their academic success. This event was presented entirely in both Spanish and English. At this workshop, students participated in team building focused on the importance of communication, having a positive support system, and sharing a voice to create change.

“The students were also asked to reflect on their family’s education and their inspirations,” said Latino Outreach Coordinator Marilyn Melgoza. “Many of the students shared how their parents were forced to drop out of middle school or high school in order to provide for their families financially.”

Melgoza says the students shared how these stories inspire them to continue their education so one day they are able to provide for their own parents and families. She said one student shared how he recognized the importance of being bilingual and how he shouldn’t be ashamed of knowing another language. Another student shared how she had learned the significance of having a voice and utilizing it to help her community, according to Melgoza.

“¡La Chispa! continuously emphasized the importance of being bilingual and celebrating your heritage,” said Melgoza. “Throughout the day I witnessed our students establishing solidarity with their peers and our staff that attended. This is a very critical piece when it comes to Latino success because our culture is highly dependent on building relationships and having a strong support group – it was evident that these connections were occurring at ¡La Chispa!”


District names 2017 Gillespie Golden Onion award recipients

Jeremy Hubbard (Blue Ridge Elementary Learning Specialist), Nicole Duncan (Pioneer Middle School teacher) and James Polson (SEATech teacher) were named recipients of the 2017 Gillespie Golden Onion grant and award. Each recipient received $750 for use in their classroom or to better their teaching skills.

Longtime Walla Walla resident and one-time teacher Sue Gillespie and her husband Mike established the Golden Onion Award to provide school supplies, equipment and professional development funds to Walla Walla educators. The Golden Onion Award is presented annually to three district teachers representing elementary, middle school and high school grade levels. The Gillespie Teacher Development Fund is a component fund of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.

Elementary Recipient
Jeremy Hubbard – Blue Ridge Elementary, Learning Specialist
• Nominator: Principal Kim Doepker
• Jeremy has been a classroom teacher, ESL instructor, math coach and currently is a Learning Specialist
• As Learning Specialist, he specializes in building relationships between home and school
• Principal Kim Doepker says he cares for students as if they were his own
• He continually looks for ways to provide support and problem solve to help students be successful
• Jeremy supports school Emergency Planning efforts and is part of the District Math Fellows cohort
• He is a Boy Scouts cub master, active church member and youth sports coach

Middle School Recipient
Nicole Duncan – Pioneer Middle School math teacher
• Nominator: School Psychologist Alicia Quackenbush
• Nicole has a special ability to connect with her students and bring the staff together
• She constantly is pushing herself to increase academic rigor and achievement
• She has played a key role in bringing AVID school-wide and implements AVID strategies in her teaching
• Nicole serves on the Building Leadership Team and was on the district math curriculum adoption committee
• She also recently added 6th grade volleyball coach to her resume
• Nominator Alicia Quackenbush says Nicole is an innovative educator, team player and invaluable asset

High School Recipient
James Polson – SEATech Advanced Welding and Manufacturing teacher
• Nominator: Teacher Jeffrey Townsend
• James is an innovator, he relates well with all students and works tirelessly to make positive connections
• His work is project-based and results driven
• Former students drop in all the time to say hello and update him on their careers
• He is patient and has high expectations and inspires students to push themselves to achieve
• James is a leader at SEATech and is well respected
• Nominator Jeffrey Townsend says John is exemplary and is honored to work alongside him


School Stories
Walla Walla High School students receive Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Month awards

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School seniors Estela Gonzalez and Alexander Johanson for receiving Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Month Awards this month. These students will also be eligible to compete for the Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Year Award and a special $1,000 college scholarship. 2017-18 Youth of the Month Theme: “Strengthening America through socially responsible communities.” Mark Higgins is the program coordinator.

Walla Walla High School senior Estela Gonzalez maintains a 3.6 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. She participated in the La Cima Bilingual Leadership Camp and is a member of Latino Club. Estela mentors freshmen in the Link Crew program and is a GEAR UP Ambassador and AVID tutor. She plays soccer and participates in track and field. She also enjoys Folklorico dancing. She plans to attend college next fall.

Walla Walla High School senior Alexander Johanson maintains a 3.82 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is active in Boys Federation, Key Club and Knowledge Bowl. Alex participates in cross country and golf. He plans to attend Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, next fall.


WSU Gear Up hosts event to assist completing financial aid form

Students who haven’t applied for financial aid yet are encouraged to attend the FAFSA/WASFA Night December 4 at the Walla Walla High School library. This event provides one-on-one assistance filling out and filing the free application for Federal Student Aid.


Big Cheese pizza fundraiser supports Lincoln High School Drama Department

If you don’t feel like cooking dinner right after the holidays, then support the Lincoln High School Drama Department at Big Cheese Customer Appreciation Day Wednesday, December 27. Get a medium 12” cheese or pepperoni pizza for $4.99 plus tax! All proceeds support The Addams Family Musical scheduled for March 2018.


Wa-Hi FFA teams shine at 2017 State Tractor Driving and Potato Evaluation Career Development Events

The Washington FFA hosted the 2017 State Tractor Driving and Potato Evaluation Career Development Events on November 16 at the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center. Walla Walla FFA members participated in both CDEs. Leighton Dorman and Emerson Bennett competed in the competitive tractor driving CDE. The Tractor Driving CDE provides FFA members the opportunity to demonstrate their skill and precision in operating farm machinery. Participants complete an exam that tests their knowledge of tractor safety and operation, operate a tractor pulling a trailer through an obstacle course, and participate in a team activity that challenges their problem-solving skills.

The first ever Walla Walla FFA Potato Evaluation team enjoyed a great day of fun and learning. Team members include Skyler Bettencourt, Daniel Girardin, Hannah Ruth Pettyjohn, Mya Dalan and Kayla Pitzer. Students who participate in the Potato Evaluation CDE develop the ability to evaluate potato products to optimize economic returns for producers and industry, as well as meeting customer needs. FFA members graded potatoes based on industry standards, selected seed potatoes for optimal growth, identified blemishes found in potatoes, and graded potatoes while giving oral reasons to a judge.


Cadets from the Walla Walla High School drill and marksmanship teams excelled in an all-services meet

Story courtesy of WWHS JROTC Public Affairs, Cadet Capt. Taylor Carlile

The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps event was held Nov. 18 and included events in unarmed and armed drill and ceremony performance and air rifle marksmanship, according to a Blue Devil Battalion official.

“We were one of 13 schools on hand at this meet that had cadets from all the different services,” said Cadet Command Sergeant Major Ben Bialozor. “We had outstanding performances in several individual and team categories.”

The Armed Drill team led by Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Locke placed third. Locke won individual third place honors in the best unit command category. The Unarmed Drill team, led by Cadet Major Alex Young, placed third and Young placed fourth in the best commander category. Color Guard 1 led by Cadet Command Sergeant Major Ben Bialozor placed fifth, and Color Guard 2 received sixth place. Color guard teams consist of four cadets presenting an American flag, the Washington state flag, and two escorts carrying drill rifles. The team commander carries the national flag. Wa-Hi cadets also competed in the Individual Armed Exhibition Drill category. Cadet First Lieutenant Kail Lynn won third place and Cadet Sergeant Jarek Hamm finished in fifth. Competitors in IAED perform a marching exhibition that includes various spins of their parade rifle. These participants are judged on the complexity of their performance, bearing, and skill.

Before the winners of all the drill competition events were announced, each of the 13 schools competing sent small groups of first- or second-year cadets from both the Unarmed and Armed Drill Teams to compete in two drill downs, according to Locke.

“These drill downs are smaller competitions where one judge calls commands while other judges look for the tiniest mistakes among the competitors. When those errors are spotted, the judges ‘tap them out’ until there is only one cadet left standing,” Locke explained.

Cadet Sergeant KaiRhea Gordon placed third in the Armed category. Cadet Corporal Joshua Grau placed second in the Unarmed Drill Down, which are performances without rifles. Cadet Private First Class Dominic Walker placed fifth. Blue Devil Battalion precision and sporter air rifle teams captured several honors at Lebanon. The Wa-Hi precision team won first place overall. That team included cadet First Lieutenant Brock Betzler, cadet Second Lieutenant Madeline Steinle, Cadet Captain Christopher Davin, and Cadet First Lieutenant Katherine Thompson. Individual precision honors included Betzler in second place and Steinle in third. The Wa-Hi Sporter team also did well, according to Sgt. 1st Class Mark Mebes, rifle team coach. Cadet Sergeant Nicholas Carpenter placed second in the Open Class. In the Expert Class, Cadet Sergeant Jose Gonzalez placed third. In the Master Class, Cadet Captain Gavin Acevedo placed fifth. The Sporter Rifle Team captured third place overall, and includes Acevedo, Gonzalez, Cadet SFC Braden Salcedo, and Cadet Captain Kyle Martin.



FFA Members Receive Recognition in Agriscience Fair

Celeste Plummer of the Walla Walla FFA chapter was named a national finalist this year in the Animal Systems category of the competition allowing her to compete at the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Plummer received a silver ranking and a 12th place finish. Walla Walla FFA members Mikayla Hardin, Chloe Koehler, Leighton Dorman, Alyssa Drader, Katelyn Pitzer and Ryan Jackson all received a first place finish at the Washington State agriscience fair held in Puyallup, Washington in April and received a bronze National ranking in their respected divisions of the competition. The team of Hardin and Koehler placed 13th, Dorman placed 15th, Drader finished 19th, Pitzer finished 22nd and Jackson 26th.

The National FFA Agriscience Fair is a key competition that is part of the annual national convention and expo. To qualify, members working as individuals or teams in grades seven through 12 are required to conduct a scientific research project pertaining to the agriculture or food science industries and win their state’s FFA agriscience fair. Individuals or teams compete in one of six categories – animal systems; environmental services/natural resource systems; food products and processing systems; plant systems; power, structural and technical systems; or social science – in six divisions – individuals in grades 7-8, teams grade 7-8, individuals grades 9-10 and teams grades 9-10, individuals in grades 11-12 and teams grades 11-12.

The 2017 National FFA Agriscience is sponsored by Cargill, Chevrolet, John Deere and Syngenta. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.


Wa-Hi Wrestling Program Spaghetti Feed Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction

- Spaghetti Feed Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction
- Thursday, Dec. 14
- 3 p.m. at Wa-Hi Commons
- $15 per dinner (kids eat free) – ticket also serves as admission to first home dual match of the year after dinner
- Tickets – Contact Coach Jake Buttenhoff (jabutenhoff@wwps.org) or Barbara Brown (bbrown@wwps.org)
- Event sponsors: Blue Valley Meats and Grocery Outlet
- Wa-Hi vs. Hanford Wrestling Match to follow dinner (JV – 6 p.m. and Varsity – 7 p.m.)


School gardens provide platform for learning

Over 1,500 students at five elementary schools experienced the bounty of their school gardens this fall through 74 class lessons and 21 after school or recess garden clubs. School gardens have tremendous lifelong benefits for children. Research has shown that when children participate in a school garden program, they show marked improvement in healthy eating; social emotional skills; environmental attitudes; scientific achievement; and attitudes toward learning. With support from Walla Walla Public Schools, Wood Orthodontics, Inland Family Dentistry and AAUW, Walla Walla Valley Farm to School delivered this program over seven fall weeks.

“Many thanks to the 76 volunteers who gave over 180 hours of time,” said Coordinator Beth Thiel. “What a gift!”

Please look for the upcoming 3rd annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser sponsored by Maple Counter Café with sauce made from local heirloom tomatoes donated by Frog Hollow Farm. If you are interested in being more involved as a garden coordinator, a volunteer or board member, please contact Thiel - beth.wwvf2s@gmail.com.


Community Stories
“A Seussified Christmas Carol” performances at Gesa Power House Theatre

Walla Walla Valley Honda presents “A Seussified Christmas Carol” with two performances on Sunday, December 12 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Gesa Power House Theatre as part of the ongoing Little Watts Series of Family Entertainment.

“A Seussified Christmas Carol” is a whimsical reinvention of Charles Dickens’ most beloved Christmas story performed in wacky rhymed couplets. With zoot fruited juices and binka bird geese, from Bed-Headed Fred to Timmy Loo Hoo, this tale of glorious holiday cheer is similar to something Dr. Seuss might have come up with -- if he ever had his way with the story. Local actors will perform all the parts with multiple costume changes. The cast is comprised of: Anthony Ochoa, Bill Dunham, Bradley Nelson, Dayna Ochoa, Harmon Ramon, Jennifer Riggs, and Tracey Ochoa. This Little Watts production is suitable for all ages, but is meant for ages 10 and under. The performance runs about 45 minutes with photo opportunities with the characters afterwards.

Reserved seating tickets ($12 Adults, $8 Youth 12 and under) are available online (www.phtww.com) or by calling the box office at 509-529-6500.


The Dance Center presents holiday performance “The Fantantic Toyshop”

The Dance Center, directed by Idalee Hutson-Fish presents for your Holiday entertainment, a delightful family production of “The Fantastic Toyshop”. The performance takes place on December 9 at 7 p.m. at Cordiner Hall. Tickets are available beginning November 17 at Earthlight Books. Come see this charming ballet danced by over one hundred talented children from ages four through adult. Choreographed by Idalee Hutson-Fish with additional choreography by Ashley Akacich and Brooke Perkins. This production is sponsored in part by: Danza Classica Ballet Foundation and Alexandra Communications. Tickets available November 17 at Earthlight Books:
- Reserve $20 General $15 Stu/Sen $12


Kirkman House features holiday theme

Come and enjoy the Kirkman House on Saturday, December 2, between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.  The Museum is decorated with a Victorian Christmas theme.  Music, entertainment, cookies and beverages will be enjoyed throughout the day.  The Kirkman House is located at 214 North Colville Street in Walla Walla.


Children’s Home Society Open House Dec. 6

• Meet the Children’s Home Society staff and learn more about their programs during a public Open House
• Wednesday, Dec. 6
• 1 to 4 p.m.
• 1612 Penny Lane, Walla Walla


City Parks and Recreation Update

Winter Wrestling Workshop – December 26-28 – Ages 5-13 - $40
Indoor Soccer - K – 8th grade - $50 after December 4th cost is $60
Adult First Aid/CPR – Ages 12 & Up - $70 includes materials

For more information on these programs or to register, please go to http://www.wwpr.us
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