||First day of school
- Tuesday, August 23
- Reminder, Wednesday August 24 is an early release day for staff professional development
- Please drive carefully in school zones and obey posted speed limits
||Improved math and reading achievement focus areas of 2016-2017 district goals
The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors set its sights on academic achievement gains in literacy and math through its unanimous approval of the 2016-2017 school year goals. The push for improvement in these areas falls on the heels of Tuesday’s release of state assessment results where the district is witnessing double digit dips below state averages in grades 3-8 literacy and math. The district will also seek continued improvement of its already commendable high school retention trends by further lowering drop-out rates. Superintendent Wade Smith said the goals will hinge on student, superintendent and school board performance targets focusing on the learning needs of all students.
“Each elementary and middle school campus will incorporate best-practice instructional strategies, targeted interventions, and challenging enrichment opportunities, in order to deliver robust individualized improvement for all students in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics,” said Superintendent Smith who helped facilitate the goal-setting process. “The district will improve student retention rates in grades 9-12 as evidenced by a .5% decrease in dropout rates for all students, students of Hispanic race/ethnicity, and students of poverty.”
Superintendent Smith has been tasked with successfully completing all four phases of the Superintendent’s Entry Plan and leading the school district through an inclusive strategic planning process to be completed by Summer 2017.
The Board of Directors will develop internal operations centered on best-practices and leadership behaviors. They will also seek to improve stakeholder and community involvement through structured committees and open and transparent processes to ensure high levels of staff, parent and stakeholder involvement prior to policy-level decision making. Fiscal accountability to maintain sound fiscal stewardship of financial resources and supporting Superintendent Smith in the strategic planning process are also school board goal areas.
Superintendent Smith plans to update the school board and stakeholders through detailed progress reports during school board meetings several times this school year.
2016-2017 Goals Summary
Goal 1: Student Performance Targets
- Increase Elementary and Middle School Literacy and Math Achievement
- Improve High School Retention Rates
Goal 2: Superintendent Performance Targets
- Successful Implementation of Entry Plan
- Lead Inclusive Strategic Planning Process
- Demonstrated Excellence in Relationship Building
Goal 3: School Board Performance Targets
- Improve Community Involvement
- Establish Best Practices for Leadership
- Ensure Fiscal Accountability and Transparency
- Support Strategic Planning Process
||District looks to keep pace with state averages in annual assessments
Focus on literacy and math continues in 2016-2017
Tuesday State Superintendent Randy Dorn released spring 2016 state testing results from the Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and math, taken by students in grades 3-8 and 10-11; the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) in science, taken by students in grades 5 and 8; and high school end-of-course (EOC) exams in algebra I, geometry and biology.
Walla Walla Public Schools assessment results indicate the district is lagging behind state averages in both English language arts and math achievement rates in grades 3-8 prompting the district to center its 2016-2017 goals on improvement in these content areas. The district will also focus on continuing its trend of low drop-out rates and higher than state average graduation rates.
“By ensuring a comprehensive focus on all students in literacy and math we expect to see individual achievement growth for each and every student,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “We will incorporate best-practice instructional strategies, targeted interventions, and challenging enrichment opportunities in order to deliver robust individual improvement for all students in English language arts and math.”
A total of 3,117 Walla Walla Public Schools students completed the English language arts exams and 3,108 were tested in math during the April and May state testing window. The district’s investment in technology and improved efficiencies in test preparation and proctoring significantly increased the amount of time for classroom instruction. Annual testing time for students was approximately one percent of their instructional day over the course of the year.
“By increasing the number of technology devices in each school, we were able to test more students at one time, thus reducing the overall impact of testing on the educational experience of all students,” said Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis.
Superintendent Smith reported the district will improve district office support to schools, enhance professional development, ramp up curriculum adoptions and alignment, better utilize assessment data and develop professional learning communities focused on improving instructional practices as steps to improvement. Each school principal has been charged with developing specific plans for improvement for their schools, and Superintendent Smith will provide progress reports to the school board throughout the school year.
2016 State Assessment Results at a glance:
- Below state average in grades 3-8 Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and math
- Below state average in high school Smarter Balanced assessment in English language arts
- Below state average in middle school and high school state science assessments
- Above state average in high school Smarter Balanced assessment in math
- Above state average in high school graduation rates
- Better high school drop-out rate than state average
For a complete look at all district state assessment information, visit the OSPI school report card.
JumpStartED offers local educators inspirational launch to new school year
Last week, nearly 400 Walla Walla teachers, administrators and instructional support staff participated in JumpStartED. This three-day dynamic professional development opportunity was developed to help the district hone in on Professional Learning Communities, integrating technology in the classroom and understanding how trauma impacts behavior and learning. The sessions begin with a keynote address at Walla Walla High School before transitioning to SEA-TECH and Walla Walla Community College for breakout sessions. Thanks to the Teaching and Learning and Technology Departments for taking the lead on this first-time ever event.
||School board calls for final review and recommendation for Bilingual Education programs
Parent volunteers and staff asked to serve
The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors has tasked new Superintendent Wade Smith to continue studying the district’s Bilingual Education program through the formation of a new Stakeholder Recommendation Committee. This new committee consists of parents from each bilingual program campus and both middle schools, bilingual and English-only strand teachers, select district staff, superintendent and school board representatives. The superintendent and school board representatives are charged with submitting program recommendations to the school board by February 2017.
The study process includes a historical review of past and current district bilingual programs, examination of applicable state and federal laws, requirements and mandates associated with bilingual education programs, assessment of findings from the 2015-16 Bilingual Steering Team, deliberate parent and staff feedback opportunities and additional study and research as needed.
“We will ensure during this study process there are multiple opportunities for parent, stakeholder, and staff input for program recommendations,” Superintendent Smith said. “All recommendations must be financially sustainable and programmatically feasible, research-based to best support the needs of English learner students and ensure optimal learning environments for non-participating students.”
The Board of Directors also charged the committee to consider continued exposure of second language acquisition skills to native English language speakers when feasible.
The committee will convene in September and meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the District Office Boardroom. The Board of Directors has asked for program recommendations during the Feb. 21, 2017 school board meeting to be considered for implementation Fall of 2017.
How to apply:
Interested elementary school parents are asked to fill out an application and submit no later than 4 p.m. Tuesday, September 6. Application forms are available at Sharpstein, Edison, Green Park and Blue Ridge Elementary Schools and on the district web page – Bilingual Programs.
Submit completed forms by mail, email, or hand deliver to:
Walla Walla Public Schools
Attn: Christy Krutulis
364 S Park St
Walla Walla, WA 99362
||District teams with SchoolMessenger for notifications
Parents and staff determine how they wish to receive general messages
Walla Walla Public Schools is now partnering with SchoolMessenger to keep parents and staff informed through telephone calls, emails and text messages. SchoolMessenger services will also include a new mobile app and expansion of district social media messages.
Parents and staff have the ability to set their preferences to determine how they wish to receive general messages. Simply go to the district webpage and click on the SchoolMessenger logo and follow the instructions for setting your preferences. Those who also want to receive text messages, may follow the instructions below.
Text Message Sign Up Instructions:
1. Text 67587
2. Type in the word Yes
3. Send message
Reading training supports goal to improve literacy achievement
This week 40 district K-2 teachers and para-professionals participated in Reading Mastery training in support of the district’s goal to improve literacy achievement. The Reading Mastery program will serve as an intervention for students struggling to reach grade level standards.
||Personnel Report (from August 16, 2016 school board meeting)
Jeanette Alvarez, First Grade, Sharpstein Elementary School
Jeff Bartlow, Counselor, Pioneer Middle School
Jose Beleche, Math (.5 FTE), Garrison Middle School
Jessika Chapman, Science, Garrison Middle School
Alina Delarosa, Learning Specialist, Prospect Point Elementary School
Vanessa Glogower, English Language Arts/Social Studies, Wa-Hi Opportunity Program
Kasey Humbert, Second Grade Dual Language English, Sharpstein Elementary School
Eric Matson, Construction Trades, SEA-TECH
Jordon Poynor, Special Education, Green Park Elementary School
Donna Abrams, Health Room Assistant, Blue Ridge Preschool
Thomas Beebe, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Yesenia Campos, Bus Assistant, SE Transportation Co-Op
Esther Dutton, Assistant Secretary, Walla Walla High School
Nathan Gibb, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School
Emanuel Guerrero, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Mary Johnson, Bus Assistant, SE Transportation Co-Op
Jennifer Lantz, Para-Educator, Edison Elementary School
Jesus Leon, Custodian, Walla Walla High School
Alicia Martinez, Music Department Secretary, Garrison Middle School
LeAnn Nelson, Para-Educator (temporary), Walla Walla High School
Jamie Noffsinger, Bus Assistant, SE Transportation Co-Op
Ingrid Olsen-Young, Para-Educator (temporary), Green Park Elementary School
Jamie Olson, Bus Assistant (temporary), SE Transportation Co-Op
Bahia Parrish, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Preschool Program
Tyler Pester, Bus Assistant, SE Transportation Co-Op
Danelly Salgado, Para-Educator, Special Education
Miriam Torres, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Elementary School
Ariana Valverde, Para-Educator (temporary), Edison Elementary School
Certificated: David Tegtmeier, Counselor, Pioneer Middle School, 17 years
Catherine Barranco, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Community Preschool, 1 year
Diane Cherry, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 12.5 years
Guadalupe Fraire, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Elementary School, 24 years
Rosalva Vasquez, Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary School, 5 years
Coaching: Hollis Erikson, Head Boys’ Soccer Coach, Walla Walla High School, 1 year
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Laurie Ferraro, Bus Assistant, SE Transportation Co-Op, 6 years
(For the 2016-2017 school year)
William Heiser, Trades Assistant, Facilities and Operations, 26 years (Leave: July 2016 – March 2017)
||Walla Walla High School air conditioning project gets green light
Temporary wall mounted units seen as short-term solution for academic and science buildings
The days of 90 degree temperatures in many of Walla Walla High School’s classrooms during warm days seek some reprieve following unanimous support by the school board to install window air conditioning units in the school’s Academic and Science buildings. The approximately $150,000 price tag for the project will be funded from one-time dollars generated from higher than anticipated enrollment during the 2015-2016 school year. Board members also considered installing new central air conditioning throughout the school with an estimated cost in excess of $1 million, and another $500,000 plus option featuring a split-system air conditioning approach. Both of these longer-term, permanent options exceed available resources.
“Our long-range plan is to modernize Walla Walla High School, but we must value and recognize today’s students will benefit greatly from this limited improvement,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “Clearly this is not a perfect, nor long-term solution, but this short-term fix is a step in the right direction to providing our students an environment conducive to learning,”
The approved window-type units will be mounted above the classroom doors or in windows depending on the location. The necessary updates to the Walla Walla High School’s 53-year-old electrical system and the air conditioning unit installations will be completed this fall. The anticipated useful life of the wall units ranges from five to seven years.
“Although these units will not serve our long-term needs, they will serve to provide some level of reprieve for thousands of students over the next few years,” said School Board President Cindy Meyer.
Walla Walla Electric has also reported the project’s most expensive feature, additional power drops per classroom, can be re-purposed to support learning needs such as ceiling-mount projectors, voice lift technology, or additional needs as part of a future modernization.
“This project represents a good faith message to our students and staff that we value their well-being, student learning, and instruction,” Smith said. “This one-time cost is affordable and does not detract from other resources and needs currently allocated.”
||Walla Walla High School track facilities naming nominations due this fall
Nominations are now being accepted for the naming of the new Walla Walla High School Track. This process will honor an individual who has greatly contributed to Walla Walla High School, WA-Hi Athletics, and been a positive member of the greater Walla Walla community.
Criteria for consideration:
- Demonstrates exceptional achievement in educational service and/or athletics
- Positive role model for current and future students
Include one-page summary description and three (3) one-page letters of support.
Summary description must include:
- Individual name and current contact information (home address, email and telephone)
- Years of service to WWPS/Wa-Hi
- Name and contact information of nominator
- Brief examples of educational and career accomplishments
- Brief examples of personal and civic achievement
- Brief listing of awards or honors received
- Conclusion statement summarizing why you believe this nominee should be honored
Nomination packets are due October 7, 2016.
Send completed packets to:
- Pete Peterson, Principal / 509.527.3020 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- 800 Abbott Road
- Walla Walla, WA 99362
||Afterschool educators from across state flock to Walla Walla
This week nearly 100 educators from across the state are attending the DO Conference “Doers, Doing” sponsored by School’s Out Washington. Classes are being taught by WWPS 21st Century grant staff on a variety of tech-related topics.
Walla Walla’s program is seen as a model across the state and this conference was developed to help spread the knowledge to other districts. Drones, filmmaking and 3D printing are just a few of the courses being offered at SEA-TECH and WWCC. Thanks to Director Brent Cummings and 21st Century staff for their professionalism and dedication in making this learning opportunity available to so many educators.
||Walla Walla High School students participate La Cima Bilingual Leadership Camp 2016
This summer eight Walla Walla High School students participated in the week long La Cima Bilingual Leadership Camp. Students learned essential skills including team building, communication, creative thinking and public speaking. La Cima staff is composed of teachers, counselors, administrators, professionals and college age role models dedicated to serving Latino Youth.
“Our eight students selected for this opportunity were screened for grades, attendance and school involvement and all this information was taken into consideration,” said Walla Walla High School Intervention Specialist Melito Ramirez. “Students were so energized on the trip back home that most of the conversation was regarding what the process would be to initiate a new club at Wa-Hi and all of the possible community engagement opportunities we can have during the coming school year.”
La Cima Camp Participants:
1. Mark Lua
2. Kyle Marr
3. Pamela Lozano
4. Cynthia Montalvo
5. Diego Lara
6. Ana Carbajal
7. Estela Gonzalez
8. Cecilio Flores
||Parents, coaches, educators, athletes invited to hear Seahawks doctor discuss concussions
- Concussion Summit – Heads up on Concussions: Lesson from the Frontline
- Monday, Sept. 26
- 7 to 8:30 p.m.
- Walla Walla Community College (Building E. Health Sciences & Performing Arts Auditorium)
- FREE (School staff will be offered two free clock hours through the WIAA)
Participants will learn about the signs and symptoms of concussions and how to recognize the condition. They will also learn about how the healthcare community addresses and manages patients suffering from concussions. Seattle Seahawks and Mariners team physician Dr. Stan Herring is one of the featured speakers. Attorney Melissa Carter will discuss legal issues in the area of traumatic brain and spinal injuries and Zachery Lystedt and his parents will discuss the state’s 2009 Lystedt Law. Learn more at: email@example.com.
Local Children’s Resiliency Initiative founder featured in New York Times article
Children’s Resilience Initiative leader Teri Barila discusses efforts being taken in the Walla Walla Valley to support children impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences in a New York Times article. The work of Barila and other CRI leaders addresses how trauma-informed educational practices can help students overcome their learning barriers. David Bornstein of the New York Times reports on this issue in great detail in his article – “How Community Networks Stem Childhood Traumas.