Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - August 21, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

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District Stories
Smarter Balanced assessment test results provide new baseline to measure academic achievement

Monday school districts across the state of Washington received results from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessments taken electronically this spring by students in grades 3-8, 10 and 11. The exams were in English Language Arts (reading, writing and listening) and mathematics. This was the first year of full implementation of the new tests which are designed to measure the Washington State Learning standards (Common Core State Standards). The SBAC exams will gradually replace the High School Proficiency and End of Course exams by the Class of 2019. Student results from this year’s assessment establish a new baseline for data that will be able to show progress toward college and career readiness, according to Curriculum Director Dr. Tracy Williams.

“Student results from this year’s assessment will be a new starting point from which we will be able to show growth in student learning in the future,” said Dr. Williams. “The 2015 results are not an “apples to apples” comparison from previous results and will not be featured in a side-by-side glance with Spring 2014 results.”

Annual assessments provide an academic check-up and give teachers, students, and families a snapshot view about how students are doing in school and whether they are on the path to success after high school. Nearly 4,000 Walla Walla Public Schools students participated in the state exam this spring at all grade levels. District students generally are on par with students across the state in English Language Arts. A highlight includes 73 percent of 10th grade students scored at or above the career and college readiness benchmark in English Language Arts.

“This is a new way of assessing and the first year we have administered the new Washington State Learning Standards,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan. “These results will provide useful feedback for our administration, teachers and students as we continue to refine our school improvement plans especially as it pertains to math.”

States are required to reach 95 percent participation on state tests as one way to help ensure schools are meeting the needs of all students in all groups. Walla Walla Public Schools total participation rate for all grade levels in both content areas exceeded 97 percent. High school students who earn a 3 or 4 on the tests can use their scores for college course placement at nearly 200 colleges and universities in six states, once they are admitted, instead of taking costly additional placement tests or additional courses that do not accrue college level credits.

Career and college readiness goals are key: A March 2013 Washington Roundtable report states 50,000 jobs will remain unfilled in Washington state for highly skilled workers by 2017. The report also cites 80 percent of the new jobs created in Washington will be in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and healthcare by 2017 and 70 percent of jobs in the state will require a college degree or certificate by 2018.

“We are committed to strengthening college and career ready learning environments,” Dr. Williams said. “Curriculum and instruction alignment will continue this fall and throughout the school year to assure that Walla Walla Public Schools students receive a quality education and are making academic progress.”

Test Results: http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?schoolId=266&reportLevel=District&orgLinkId=3004&year=2014-15&yrs=2014-15


School board approves balanced budget

Board members unanimously approved a $70.2 million 2015-2016 General Fund budget Tuesday night. Executive Director of Business Services Ted Cohan said this is a balanced budget.

“Last year we used $572,529 from reserves to balance the budget and this year our revenues are keeping pace with expenditures,” Cohan said.

The budget is based on student enrollment of 5,710 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students and maintains a $5.4 million, or nearly 7.8 percent, reserve. This year’s enrollment target was scaled back due to the ongoing College Place High School transition and the closure of the Homelink program. The 2015-2016 General Fund budget includes an additional $300,000 for curriculum adoptions, $100,000 for staff professional development, funds for a new kindergarten readiness program at all elementary schools and $100,000 to maintain the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Program.


School board clears final hurdle for new Walla Walla High School track

Construction on a new all-weather track at Walla Walla High School could begin next month after the Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Tuesday night unanimously voted to increase the district’s contribution for the project. The school board voted to authorize the use of the $100,000 track project contingency fund and add another $50,000 to ensure the $875,000 project was adequately funded. The district previously committed $150,000 for the project, bringing the total district contribution to $300,000. The remaining funds, about two-thirds of the revenue needed for the track project, were raised privately by the Big Blue Boosters under the leadership of Scott Krivoshein.

In July, the school board unanimously rejected all bids for a new track after they came in higher than anticipated. After the bids were rejected, Facilities Support Director Dan Johnson reached out to the King County Directors Association, a buying co-op that provides member school districts with predetermined preferential pricing by approved vendors whose product has already been bid at a national level, to get a bid on a track. FieldTurf in conjunction with Beynon Sports Surfaces presented a bid of $875,000 for a 9-lane, blue track. This price, which includes tax, but does remove fencing and concrete work temporarily that was associated with the original bids, is approximately $50,000 less than the lowest bid in July for a similar track. These cost savings efforts and the additional district funds allowed the project to move ahead using the KCDA bid. The school district had considered waiting until winter to put the track project up for public bid, prior to agreeing to contract with KCDA.

“We have learned from the bid process and KCDA that this is what it will cost to do this project so it doesn’t make sense to wait when we can get started now and have it ready for next spring’s track season,” said School Board President Sam Wells. “This is a great deal for the district to get a quality facility for only about one-third of the cost thanks to the generous community support for the project.”

Walla Walla High School is currently the only 4A school in the state to have a cinder track for physical education classes and track and field competitions. The current 50-year-old cinder Wa-Hi track is no longer suitable for physical education classes or the school’s successful Track & Field program. Currently, Track & Field practice and events are held at the aging Martin Field facility at the Borleske Stadium site. The new track will also eliminate $8,000 in transportation costs annually to bus track athletes to Martin Field. It will also improve safety as students will not be driving across town daily for practice. The facility will also be available for community events and public use for walking and fitness.

“We have waited a long time for this moment and I’m excited for our kids and community,” said Track coach and Physical Education Teacher Eric Hisaw. “I look forward to seeing the renewed energy in our students as they use this wonderful facility.”

Construction is expected to begin in mid-September pending final approval from Walla Walla County for all permits.


Several district studies underway to start the year

Sleep Study
Executive Director of Business Services Ted Cohan is leading this study to determine if the district should have later high school, and possibly middle school, start times. The group is studying the Bellevue district’s plans for a later high school start and will meet again this fall. The Sleep Study Committee is expected to make a recommendation later this fall.

Bilingual Study
Assistant Superintendent Laure Quaresma and Edison Principal Dr. Jennifer Cowgill are leading this study to review current bilingual programs.

Highly Capable Study
Assistant Superintendent Laure Quaresma and Curriculum Director Dr. Tracy Williams are reviewing the district’s middle school Explorer Program. It has been several years since the last review.

Facilities Study
Ted Cohan and Paul Schneidmiller are leading an update of the district’s facilities improvement plan. A broad-based group of community members, parents and staff are on the Community Facilities Task Force. The group has toured all district schools and is in the initial stages of setting priorities. The Community Facilities Task Force will make a recommendation to the school district administration and school board at the conclusion of its work.


Personnel Report (from August 18, 2015 school board meeting)

EMPLOYMENT
Certificated:
Jeanette Alvarez, Bilingual Kindergarten (temporary), Sharpstein Elementary
Theresa Doyle, Counselor, Pioneer Middle School
Shauna Millett, English (temporary), Walla Walla High School
Valeria Mims, Bilingual Second Grade, Blue Ridge Elementary
Rachael Pederson, Head Start/ECEAP, Blue Ridge Head Start/ECEAP
Caralyn Smith, Special Education, Prospect Point Elementary
Michael Tominski, Math, Walla Walla High School

Classified:
Jameson Clark, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary
Jade Cramer, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Community Preschool
Eva Katsel, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Community Preschool
Tasha Mayne, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary
Jaimee Rossi, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary
Elizabeth Schille, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary
Sarah VanDewark, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Douglas Wold, Mechanic, SE Transportation Co-Op

RESIGNATIONS/RETIREMENTS
Certificated:
Lora Chesnut, Preschool, Blue Ridge Head Start/ECEAP, 10 years
Mike Garcia, Fourth Grade, Blue Ridge Elementary, 7 years
Terri Gilbert, Fifth Grade, Sharpstein Elementary, 28 years
- Terri is retiring in June 2016

Classified:
Francis Byrnes, Lead Mechanic, SE Transportation Co-Op, 4.5 years
Terri Davis, Kitchen Manager, Berney Elementary, 22.5 years
Sharyl Dill, Health Clinician, Garrison Middle School, 32 years
- Sharyl is resigning two hours and will continue as a five hour health clinician
Karen Hanson, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary, 4 years
Jennifer Lee, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary, 7 years
Chris Myers, Bus Driver, SE Transportation Co-Op, 5.5 years
Traci Riggs, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary, 3 years
Amy Wells, Health Clinician, Blue Ridge Elementary, 1 year

LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Classified:
Eilin Bowerman, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School, 9.5 years
- For the 2015-2016 school year
Diane Cherry, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 11.5 years
- August 2015 – January 2016 to complete student teaching internship
Guadalupe Fraire, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Elementary, 23 years
- For the 2015-2016 school year
Tracy Longmire, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary, 7 years
- For the 2015-2016 school year



First day of school Wednesday, August 26

- All schools open for business Monday, August 17
- Visit the district and school websites for Back-to-School information
- We look forward to seeing everyone Wednesday, August 26 for the first day of school


No early release on first day of school

The 2015-2016 school year begins Wednesday, August 26. There will be no early release on the first day of school. The district Calendar Committee agreed to make this a full day of school when the two-year calendar was adopted Nov. 18, 2013.


Report threats to safety via SafeSchools Alert

SafeSchools Alert is Walla Walla Public Schools tip reporting service. If you have information about a threat to our safety, do your part and report it! And remember, you can remain anonymous.

Report tips on:
- Bullying, Intimidation, Harassment
- Weapons
- Drugs
- Other

Four Easy ways to report:
- Online: http://1057.alert1.us
- Email: 1057@alert1.us
- Call: (855) 976-8772
- Text: (855) 976-8772


School Stories
SEA-TECH students shine during summer internships

Merry Gottschall, Youth Employment Counselor for Blue Mountain Action Council, shared the following report on SEA-TECH students Jorge Garcia and Trenton Mangarero. They completed internships this summer through the YouthWorks program.

Jorge Garcia: In June, Jorge Garcia, 18, graduated from Touchet High School, and a week later started a paid YouthWorks Internship at Doyle Electric in Walla Walla as an electrician helper. A collaboration with SeaTech Skills Center and Blue Mountain Action Council, both in Walla Walla, lead to Jorge’s placement. Jorge attended SeaTech’s Sustainable Energy Program for a half day during his senior year. His special interest was in electrical work. He was excited to get some actual experience helping electricians with their various daily tasks. When Jorge’s YouthWorks internship ended, he was eager to gain more experience, and was considering an eventual apprenticeship at Doyle. BMAC enrolled him in the out of school youth WIOA program and granted him another paid work experience. Jorge said he is working with some “great guys who are like teachers” and that he appreciates the thorough, hands-on experience he wasn’t able get in a classroom setting. He’s even more interested now in becoming an electrician, and will be entering the apprenticeship program, through Doyle Electric, hopefully this autumn. “Overall, it’s been a great learning experience,” Jorge says.

Trenton Mangarero: In June,Trenton Mangarero, 18, was placed as a YouthWorks intern at Walla Walla Web Weavers, a website design business. As a SeaTech skills center student, he had studied Digital Technology for half day sessions during his senior year. Trenton says that his internship supervisor, business owner, Nanqi You, has been a true mentor to him. If he is unfamiliar with a new technical task, she will sit down with him and teach it to him one-on-one. Besides deepening his technical knowledge, Trenton has learned the importance of working with the company’s clients, by helping them to define their message, and designing highly accessible websites. “If it’s too difficult (to get to the information), it drives people away,” he explains. He has especially enjoyed helping Web Weaver’s local business clients that he is already familiar with in the community. The YouthWorks internship has been a unique learning opportunity that is even leading to a job for Trenton. Nanqi You values his talent and work ethic and has offered him a part-time job this fall while he attends Walla Walla Community College to continue his education.


Free Wa-Hi Gold Cards allow senior citizens admission to school activities 

Walla Walla valley residents and Walla Walla Public Schools retirees 60 and older are invited to attend most school events at no charge. Get a complimentary Gold Card and see outstanding concerts, plays, art shows and athletic events (except playoff games governed by YVIAA or WIAA regulations). Gold Cards are issued from the ASB office at Walla Walla High School, 800 Abbott Road. Proof of residence is required.

For more information, contact Barbara Brown at: bbrown@wwps.org / (509) 526-8611.


Community Stories
Crime Watch program brings free bike safety program to area schools

Crime Watch is launching a new program this fall called Back on the Road to promote bicycle safety. This free activity is coming to district elementary schools this fall on Saturdays to repair flat tires, perform bicycle maintenance and give away bike helmets. “Eric Hisaw has committed his football players to help out with flat repair and helmet fitting,” said organizer Kay Barga. “Local bike shops will send mechanics to determine if the child's bike is fit to ride.”

Bikes determined not fit to ride will be exchanged through a bike exchange with the penitentiary. Old bikes are rebuilt and then donated back to the community.

September 2015
Sept. 12 - Green Park
Sept. 19 - Sharpstein
Sept. 26 - Berney

October 2015
Oct. 3 - Blue Ridge
Oct. 10 - Edison
Oct.17 - Prospect Point


City Parks & Rec Update

Registration is open for the following Programs:
- Youth Circus Lessons (Ages 8 - 13) September 3 - Cost $60
- The Body's Way (Ages 3 - 6) August 11 - Cost $120
- Fencing (Ages 9 - 17) Cost $38 beginning $48 Intermediate
- Guitar (Ages 12 & up) September 21 - Cost $40
- Ukulele (Ages 12& up) September 21 - Cost $40
- Youth Track & Field Camp (Ages 4-12) August 26 - Cost $50

For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us. Like on Facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr


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