Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 4, 2016

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board names new superintendent

The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors unanimously named Mr. Wade Smith the district’s new superintendent pending successful contract negotiations. Smith will begin July 1, 2016 following the retirement of current Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan.

Smith has been Interim/Deputy Superintendent for the Hermiston School District since 2011. He assumed the role of superintendent for Hermiston School District from 2011 to 2013 while the superintendent was on military leave abroad. He was also Assistant Superintendent for Support Services for Hermiston School District for four years and Assistant Superintendent and Principal of the Morrow County School District. He has been a secondary education science teacher in the Long Creek School District. Mr. Smith is enrolled in a doctorate program through Concordia University. He earned his Administrative/Superintendent license through Lewis and Clark College and has a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Willamette University. He is President of the Hermiston Kiwanis Club and past co-chairman of the Hermiston Futures Task Force.

Smith is married to Marianne, an art teacher at Hermiston High School. They have two daughters, Emily, 6th grade and Cheyenne, 9th grade. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time at his lake cabin. Smith is a first generation college student and son of a drywall contractor and career secretary.

“My parents are the two hardest working people I have ever met and have instilled in me a strong work ethic and character centered on the importance of developing relationships,” Smith said. “We are excited to move to Walla Walla and become part of this amazing community and school district steeped in a tradition of excellence.”

School board members reached out to their counterparts at all three school districts during the superintendent search process. Administrators and staff also contacted many of their peers at the other districts to gain feedback and insight on the candidates to share with the school board. The search process also included many opportunities for district stakeholders to learn more about the candidates and share their feedback.

“We had three outstanding candidates and utilized an exhaustive process to determine our final selection,” said School Board President Cindy Meyer. “We are thrilled to have Wade Smith as our next leader. He has the experience and characteristics we are looking for in a leader and feel collectively he is the best fit for Walla Walla.”

For more information on the hiring of Mr. Wade Smith, contact Communications Director Mark Higgins at (509) 526-6716 or by email: mhiggins@wwps.org.


Quaresma accepts Athena-Weston superintendent position

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Laure Quaresma has accepted the position of Superintendent of Athena-Weston School District. She will begin her new position July 1, 2016. Quaresma has been employed by Walla Walla Pubic Schools since 1989. She has served as a third grade teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary, physical education teacher at Walla Walla High School, Garrison Middle School Assistant Principal, Sharpstein Elementary Principal, and Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. Quaresma says it has been an honor and privilege to serve in the district for 27 years.

“I have appreciated the opportunity for professional growth and relationships developed with staff and students during my career in Walla Walla Public Schools,” Quaresma said. “I’m looking forward to helping students be successful in school and life and building relationships with the Athena-Weston staff and community.”

The district will begin a search for Quaresma’s successor. For more information, contact Communications Director Mark Higgins at (509) 526-6716 or by email at: mhiggins@wwps.org.


Enrollment up in March

The district’s enrollment grew by two students this month compared to last month's figures, according to Executive Director of Business Services Ted Cohan. We usually see dips in enrollment this time of the year so this is a good sign going forward, he said to the school board Thursday night. The district’s General Fund spending rests at 47 percent of the budget, right on target for this time of the year according to Cohan. Budget discussions for 2016-17 are underway he reported. 


School board sets minimum fund balance reserve window

School board members approved Policy 6022 which calls for the district to maintain a General Fund balance reserve of 6 to 8 percent. This is a new policy recommended by WSSDA to help ensure financial stability. Executive Director of Business Services Ted Cohan said this will help set consistent spending targets during budget development.


District plans summer training institute to jump start school year

Walla Walla Public Schools is excited to announce Jump StartED 2016. This dynamic opportunity offers participants three paid days (per diem) of local professional learning August 9-11. Jump StartED 2016 focuses on teachers as learners, professional learning communities, and integrating technology in learning, both for students and teachers. A variety of breakout sessions are planned to meet the professional learning needs of all teachers and instructional support staff. School board members will attend special events and report highlights during school board meetings.

Training Focus Areas
- Professional Learning Communities
- Trauma-informed education
- Technology as an instructional tool

Keynote Speakers
- Jeff Utecht: He is an educational technology consultant, educator and author. See more about Jeff Utecht at: http://edurolearning.com/wired-with-wine/jeff-utecht/

- Joellen Killion: She is Senior Advisor for Learning Forward. See more about Joellen Killion at: http://learningforward.org/

- Greg Benner: He specializes in preventive approaches for meeting the academic and social/emotional needs of students. See more about Greg Brenner at: http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/strongschools/aboutus.html



Personnel Report (from March 3, 2016 School Board Meeting)

EMPLOYMENT
Certificated: Jesse Torres, Bilingual Elementary, Sharpstein Elementary School
Felipe Virrueta, Bilingual Elementary, Blue Ridge Elementary School

Classified: Catherine Fine, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Jorge Gallaga, Technology Specialist, Technology Department
Tamara Tucker, Payroll Coordinator, Business Office

RESIGNATION/RETIREMENT
Certificated: Dennis Bennett, Science, Pioneer Middle School, 24 years
Daniel Calzaretta, Explorers, Pioneer Middle School, 9 years
Arthur Curry, Science, Walla Walla High School, 17 years
Cindy Daves, Special Education, Berney Elementary School, 9 years
Sara Erwin, Fourth Grade, Edison Elementary School, 17 years
Carrie Givens, Special Education, Prospect Point Elementary, 7 years
Jacquelyne Lewis, Special Education, Walla Walla High School, 24 years
Chris Neese Blackman, Special Education, Walla Walla High School, 11 years
Colleen Ochocinski, Choir, Pioneer Middle School, 2 years
Linda Seibold, Library Media Specialist (.5 FTE), Sharpstein Elementary School, 32 years
- Linda will continue as a .5 FTE Library Media Specialist

Classified: Clinton French, Assistant Head Custodian, Garrison Middle School, 25 years

LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Certificated: Sara Van Donge, Dual Spanish/Language Arts, Pioneer Middle School, 14.5 years
- Half-time leave for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year

Classified: Anne Marie Jones, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School, 1 year
- August – December 2016 to complete her student teacher practicum.


Retirees’ Appreciation Week

Retired school employees are being honored for their service and support March 14-20 during School Retirees Appreciation Week.

“This week we thank retired school employees for their dedication to the education profession,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan. “We value their continued involvement in our schools and appreciate their commitment to public education.”


Police alert community to luring incident - By City of Walla Walla Police

A parent reported to police this week that a subject tried to coax her daughter into his vehicle March 1 after school. The suspect attempted to coax the 15-year-old girl into his silver mini-van as she was walking along South 7th Avenue. The vehicle had no license plate on the back and was described as possibly a Dodge Caravan.

The suspect was described as a heavy set Hispanic male with an orange hat, in his early 40’s. When the girl denied his offer of a ride, he followed her for a few blocks continuing to talk to her. He told her she was pretty and that he knew her dad and it was OK if he gave her a ride.

Parents are reminded to talk to their children about never accepting a ride from strangers and to call 911 immediately if it happens.


School Stories

Pioneer Middle School AVID program in spotlight

Educators from throughout the region will visit Pioneer Middle School Thursday, March 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the AVID Showcase Day event. District and school administrators and AVID site team members will also be in attendance. Guests will learn how the AVID program improves school culture and promotes leadership and improves instruction to support college readiness for all. The event features a student panel, tours and opportunities for questions and answers.


Scottish Rite of Freemasonry to host All-Army JROTC Championship rifle team

Educators from throughout the region will visit Pioneer Middle School Thursday, March 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the AVID Showcase Day event. District and school administrators and AVID site team members will also be in attendance. Guests will learn how the AVID program improves school culture and promotes leadership and improves instruction to support college readiness for all. The event features a student panel, tours and opportunities for questions and answers.

Scottish Rite of Freemasonry to host All-Army JROTC Champship rifle team
The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Walla Walla Masonic Center, 607 East Main Street. This will not be a formal Lodge business meeting. The Brethren are hosting a "meet and greet" special event featuring the Precision Rifle Team of the Walla Walla High School Army Junior ROTC program.

This "Wa-Hi Blue Devils" team recently won All-Army first place nationwide and the top two marksmen won first and second place competing as part of 18 teams and 92 marksmen. They will travel to Anniston, Alabama later this month to compete against the top JROTC precision teams from all services.

The Cadets will be providing an informational program about their team and their gear, special equipment, uniforms and Olympic-grade air rifles. Their coach will present a brief audiovisual program and the team will be available to answer questions from the audience.

We will have the great privilege to be joined by the highest-ranking Scottish Rite Mason in Washington, as well as several notable members of the community and friends of the JROTC program. Light refreshments will be provided. This is not a fund-raising meeting, however, a voluntary donation bucket will be set out for the team to assist with some of their personal expenses for the trip to All-Service Nationals. For questions, please call Dutch Meier at 509-527-0422 or email to paodutch@yahoo.com.


Drew Bledsoe visits Walla Walla High School to deliver commemorative football
Walla Walla High School graduate Drew Bledsoe visited his former school in celebration of the Super Bowl 50 Honor Roll program. The NFL provided a gold football to every high school in the world that's produced a player or coach who's appeared in a Super Bowl. The NFL estimates that over 3,000 players have played in the Super Bowl, along with 52 coaches. Bledsoe presented the football to Principal Pete Peterson in front of the staff during a faculty meeting. Bledsoe was a letterman in football, basketball and track. In football, he was named a first team All-State selection. He said Walla Walla Public Schools provided him a foundation for success through supportive teachers and coaches. He went on to star at Washington State University and have a 13 year career in the NFL on three teams. He now lives in Bend, OR and is a successful businessman. He also coaches his sons Stuart and John in football at Summit High School. 
Winter sports conference awards announced

Mitch Lesmeister, 11, Basketball boys, Defensive player of the year, Guard
Mitch Lesmeister, 11, Basketball boys, Honorable mention, Guard junior
Andrew Harvey, 12, Basketball boys, Second team all conference, Post senior
Noah Porter, 12, Basketball boys, Second team all conference, Guard senior
Kate Hogan, 12, Basketball girls, First team all conference, Forward senior
Olivia Doepker, 9, Basketball girls, Honorable mention, Guard freshman
Jason Postlewait, Coach, Bowling, Coach of the year
Kayla Davis, 10, Bowling, First team all conference, Avg 185.54
Bryan Ocampo, 11, Wrestling, First team all conference
Kurt Blackman, 12, Wrestling, Honorable mention
Andrew Granchukoff, 12, Wrestling, Honorable mention
Ryan Rogel, 12, Wrestling, Honorable mention
Ely Kimball, 11, Wrestling, Second team all conference
Joshua Pettyjohn, 11, Wrestling, Second team all conference
Chris Yaw, 12, Boys swim, First team all conference, 200-yard freestyle
Darian Corpus, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 50-yard freestyle
Eric Cho, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 100-yard freestyle
Andrew Feistner, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 100-yard breastroke
Chris Yaw, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard medley relay
Calum Close, 11, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard medley relay
Bryan Lopez-vargas, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard medley relay
Zach Cobb, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard medley relay
Eric Cho, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard freestyle relay
Chris Yaw, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard freestyle relay
Zach Cobb, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard freestyle relay
Darian Corpus, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 200-yard freestyle relay
Darian Corpus, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 400-yard freestyle relay
Davidson Norris, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 400-yard freestyle relay
Eric Cho, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 400-yard freestyle relay
Chris Yaw, 12, Boys swim, Honorable mention , 400-yard freestyle relay


Varsity Boys Basketball team excels in the classroom - By Head Coach John Golden

Our varsity team GPA this year was a 3.538. We had eight Honor Scholar athletes and two Scholar Athletes; in addition, our junior varsity team had a combined 3.323 GPA, with four Honor Scholar athletes and four Scholar athletes.

Our varsity finished tied for 2nd in the league and 2nd in the District Tournament and lost out in the Regional round. The success that our players had is a direct reflection of their hard work in the classroom as well as on the court. In addition, it's a tribute to our dedicated Wa-Hi staff.



Community Stories
Parks & Recreation update

- Belly Dancing - Starts March 3 - Ages 12 & up - $65

- Blue Mountain Girls Softball - Ages 5 - 12
6U: 5 & 6 Year Olds - T-Ball - $40
8U - 12U - $55
Mini-camps: Mill Creek Sports Complex
10U - Tuesday, March 15 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm / 12U - Thursday, March 17 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Saturday, March 19 - 10U 11:00am - 12:30pm / 12U 1:00pm - 3:00pm

*All players must attend the mini-camp for their age group - Players who wish to move up must attend the mini camp for their age group and the mini camp for the age division that they wish to play in. You must pre-register for all of these events and space is limited so don't wait. For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us. Like on Facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr


Altrusa Spelling Bee returns to Walla Walla

Altrusa International of Walla Walla is hosting its annual Spelling Bee for third, fourth and fifth grade students on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The event will take place in the SEA-TECH Skills Center on the Walla Walla Community College campus and is open to the first 100 students who return entry forms.  Prizes are given to the top contestants in each grade level competition. More information and entry forms are available on the Walla Walla Public School website in the A to Z section under Altrusa Spelling Bee. The deadline for applications is April 15, 2016.  


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