||Districtwide impact profound as Strategic Plan hits mid-plan milestone
Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith reported how the school board’s prioritized investments are having a profound impact across the district during his 2017-2022 Strategic Plan Mid-Plan Review at the Feb. 4 regular study meeting.
Targeted investments over the past two years have been prioritized on the following Strategic Initiatives:
• Curriculum Adoption Program
• Technology Program Development
• Post-Secondary/Career Culture
• District-wide Behavioral Support
• District-wide Safety and Security
• Student Engagement Programming
• Latino Student & Family Outreach
As the district reaches the mid-way marker for it’s five-year Strategic Plan, Superintendent Smith says it is critical to remain disciplined on these high-yield initiatives.
“We need to practice them, support them and actually get good at them before we move on to something different,” said Dr. Smith.
Superintendent Smith shared highlights of the key investments including significant curriculum adoptions the past three years, significant technology enhancements in the classroom and an expanded behavior team to address the social and emotional needs of students. Latino outreach has been enhanced and an additional campus safety officer ensures full-time coverage at both middle schools. Engagement expansions including middle school soccer, 21st Century, weight room and start-up clubs are connecting students.
Strategic Plan Investment Summary
Goal: Aligned and Coherent Systems
• Curriculum Adoption: Implemented a robust curriculum adoption schedule that updates one or more core curricula every year. Since 2017, WWPS has adopted a new 6-8 math curriculum, K-5 language arts, 5-12 health materials, 6-12 English language arts, 6-8 life science kits, K-5 science kits, Algebra/Geometry/Algebra II, Biology, Physics, K-5 math, and 6-12 social studies (scheduled for adoption later this spring).
• Technology Improvements: Implemented a comprehensive computer and chromebook replacement program to ensure improved access and up-to-date systems for staff and students, enhanced interactive technology in classrooms, and AV rotations for document camera and other classroom systems. As a result, WWPS has provided unprecedented access to Chromebooks, now supporting nearly 5,600 units districtwide (nearly a 1:1 ratio). In addition, the district has updated more than 100 classrooms with interactive technology and put into place an AV and workstation rotation schedule to ensure quality, functioning equipment for staff.
Goal: Social and Emotional Supports
• Established a four person Social and Emotional Behavior Team, which supports staff, students, and families, consisting of a Mental Health Specialist, Behavior Specialist, and two Intervention Specialists. Last year, the team supported 84 students and their families. The team also assists staff by providing access, training, intervention, strategies and solutions to students in need of these services.
Goal: Safe and Engaging Environments
• Campus Safety Improvements: Since 2017, the district has made significant enhancements to its outdated surveillance camera system, installing and replacing dozens of cameras. In addition, the district invested in additional campus safety guards to ensure full-time personnel at each middle school. The district established the annual WWPS Summer Safety Summit and has completely revamped and aligned its campus emergency radio communications. All school buses are equipped with two-camera audio/video systems, and the district is currently in the process of installing stop-arm cameras on five buses.
• Student Engagement Improvements: WWPS eliminated athletic and course fees and middle school ASB fees. The district increased afterschool and school break open gym opportunities. It also implemented an athletic uniform rotation schedule, incentivized five new student clubs and established a middle school soccer program that has expanded to eight teams.
• Latino/a Student/Family Engagement: Supported Latino/a student attendance at LEAP, La Cima, and similar events. The district hired a district Latino/a liaison (Marilyn Melgoza), provided additional funds to increase Friends mentors and doubled its Spanish radio PSA's. WWPS also performed a Spanish signage audit and enhancements across all campuses, and added cultural celebrations such as the Day of the Child event.
||Replacement Levy ballots due Feb. 11
Q: When is the election?
A: Ballots must be postmarked by election day (February 11).
Q: Didn’t we just pass a levy last November?
A: No. That was a school construction bond. Remember that bonds are for buildings, and levies are for learning. Bonds can only pay for school facility improvements. Levies must be renewed every 4 years by law, and pay for educational and program opportunities the state’s basic education program doesn’t provide.
Q: What will this learning levy do to my tax rates?
A: Tax rates will not go up. This is a replacement levy. The $2.50/$1,000 proposed rate replaces the expiring 2016 levy, and maintains the current tax rate we are paying now, through 2024.
Q: What does the levy pay for?
A: Levies pay for programs and learning opportunities the state basic education program doesn’t fund. In Walla Walla, this funds about 1 in every 5 employees. For example, the levy pays for every Honors/AP teacher, in addition to music, fine arts, drama, PE, and many other elective teachers the state prototypical model does not fund. It provides for approximately 13 school health clinicians, 16 intervention specialists, 13 classroom/kindergarten assistants, 11 custodians, 6 school safety officers, additional front office staff, 6 technology staff, and 10 facilities/maintenance employees. In addition, it pays for our entire extra-curricular program, supplementary pay for staff, employee professional development, additional classroom supplies, the bulk of our classroom technology, and additional special education programs/staff.
Q: How long has Walla Walla maintained this “learning levy”?
A: This “learning levy” has been in place for over 50 consecutive years in Walla Walla.
Q: Do most districts have levies?
A: Levies are in place in over 290 of the 295 school districts in Washington. While many other districts also maintain technology, maintenance, and transportation levies, the Walla Walla Board of Directors is only proposing to replace the expiring four-year “learning levy” (2017-2020), with a new 4-year levy (2021-2024). Walla Walla Public Schools maintains one of the region’s lowest overall education tax rates.
Q: Where can I learn more about this levy?
A: Visit our website at: https://www.wwps.org/levy
A: Watch our brief levy video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGhba3445D4
A: Contact Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith (email@example.com / 509.526.6715) or Communications Director Mark Higgins (firstname.lastname@example.org / 509.526.6716)
||February Parent/Teacher Goal Setting Conferences
Tuesday, February 11 - 3:15 - 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 12 - 3:15 - 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 13 - 8:00 a.m. - 3:10 p.m.
Tuesday, February 11 - 3:00 - 6:35 p.m.
Wednesday, February 12 - 2:20 - 6:35 p.m.
Thursday, February 13 - 8:00 a.m. - 3:10 p.m.
Tuesday, February 11 - 3:10 - 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 12 - 3:10 - 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 13 - 8:00 a.m. - 2:40 p.m.
Wednesday, February 12 - 3:10 - 6:40 p.m.
Thursday, February 13 - 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 11 - 3:10 - 6:55 p.m.
Wednesday, February 12 - 3:10 - 6:55 p.m.
Thursday, February 13 - 7:40 a.m. - 3:10 p.m.
Tuesday, February 11 - 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 12 - 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 13 - 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 11 - 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. (arena-style in both gyms)
Thursday, February 13 - 8:15 - 11:30 a.m. (arena-style in both gyms), 12:30 - 3:45 p.m. (drop-in, in classrooms)
Tuesday, February 11 - 3:45 - 7:15 p.m. (drop-in, in classrooms)
Thursday, February 13 - 8:15 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. (by appointment, in classrooms)
Home visits by appointment
Walla Walla High School
Tuesday, February 11, 3:30 - 7:00 p.m. (drop-in, large gym)
Thursday, February 13, 7:45 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. (by appointment, in classrooms, with a lunch break from 11:30- 12:00)
Tuesday, February 11, 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. (drop-in, in classrooms
Thursday, February 13, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (by appointment)
||No School Days in February
Thursday, Feb. 13 and Friday, Feb. 14: NO SCHOOL (Parent/Teacher Conferences)
Monday, Feb. 17: NO SCHOOL (Presidents Day)
||School board continues to invest in new curriculum
February 4, 2020 school board members approved a new K-5 mathematics curriculum marking a $500,000 investment milestone for the Strategic Plan. The adoption process spanned 12 months and included materials review, standards alignment to state requirements, piloting of materials, parent input and final review by the Instructional Materials Committee. The next step is ordering materials and planning for teacher professional development later this spring.
||National School Counseling Week
National School Counseling Week is Feb. 3–7. A perfect time to recognize the work of 100K+ #schoolcounselors across the nation. Our school counseling staff serve critical roles from guidance and career counseling to supporting student social and emotional needs. Our staff put forth valiant efforts every single day to help meet the needs of our 6000 students.
||February Pulse video series
Be sure to watch the February Pulse video as Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith provides timely updates on district operations and accomplishments. The link is available on the district’s YouTube page. Click on the icon at the bottom of the www.wwps.org website to connect.
||Personnel Report (from February 4, 2020 School Board meeting)
Alisha Walker, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary School
Sandra Bushnell, Speech Language Pathologist, Special Education, 2 years
Gregg Marron, School Psychologist, Special Education, 2 years
Deborah Schade, Fifth Grade, Berney Elementary School, 27 years
Jameson Clark, Para-Educator, Berney Elementary School, 5 years
||Instrumental solo and ensemble music students place at regional competition
Congratulations to the Walla Walla High School band and orchestra students for their successful results at the Solo and Ensemble Festival at Richland High School.
• Olivier Nicault, 2nd alternate - alto sax solo
• Blake Averett, 2nd alternate - piano solo
• Hannali Berglin, violin & Mozea Havens, violin - small strings duet, 2nd alternate
• Reid Tyler, violin - 2nd alternate-violin solo
• Mozea Havens, viola - 1st alternate, viola solo
Wa-Hi AVID partners to present Mother-Son Superhero Bash
The WaHi AVID classes are partnering with the Walla Walla Parks and Recreation to put on the Annual Mother-Son Superhero Bash. This is a casual event meant for moms and sons to spend time together and have fun. Obstacle courses, games, lego building, crafts, face painting and more. The event is Saturday, Feb 8 at Garrison Middle School from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Ages 3 and up. $15 per mom. Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be given for best costumes. Register online at www.wwpr.us
||Volunteers needed to serve on Walla Walla High School Senior Culminating Project Panel
Reserve your spot now to serve on the Walla Walla High School Senior Culminating project panel to hear the stories and accomplishments from the Class of 2020. This hands-on project provides seniors a formal opportunity to demonstrate in a variety of ways their learning competencies. Students will showcase their abilities to think analytically, logically and creatively. They will also feature the importance of work and how performance, effort and decisions directly affect future career and educational opportunities.
This is a graduation requirement. Volunteers will serve on a review panel to score the presentations.
• March 12
• March 19
• April 21
• April 22
Presentation Times: 3:15 to 7 p.m.
Location: Wa-Hi Library (dinner provided)
Email email@example.com if you are interested in serving on the Senior Project Panel or if you need additional information.
||We Are Wa-Hi – Planning Your Future
• Tuesday, Feb. 25
• 5 to 7 p.m.
• Wa-Hi gym
• Students and families of current 8th-11th grade students are encouraged to attend
Join us to learn about the many opportunities and pathways available to students. This event features an academics/course fair, information sessions and clubs and sports fair. Childcare is provided.
||Walla2Hoops AAU 8th grade boys basketball team wins Lewiston tournament
Walla2Hoops AAU Basketball Club’s 8th grade boys basketball team, coached by Chris Gardea, defeated Asotin County Tarheels 61-60 to win the Battle Basketball AAU Basketball Championship in Lewiston, ID on Feb. 1. The championship win also qualifies the 8th grade team to compete in the State Basketball Championship March 13 and 14 in Spokane, WA.
“Walla2Hoops’ now has five teams qualified for state to represent our club and community in this prestigious tournament,” said Walla2Hoops Club President Matthew Price-Huntington. “We’re proud of the 8th grade boys team for winning six games in a row and two consecutive AAU tournament championships.”
8th Grade Boys: Head Coach Chris Gardea / Assistant Coach Mark Higgins
Walla2Hoops is a 501C3 Non-Profit basketball club which operates under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Walla2Hoops provides an enriched basketball environment with a mission to create a positive competitive culture focused on developing character and basketball fundamentals. For more information about the club or to provide donations for the scholarship program, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
||Become a Soccer Referee
In a rare opportunity, the USSF Soccer Referee Association is bringing a referee training clinic to Walla Walla. They are hoping to train and certify more soccer referees in our Walla Walla Valley to support the local youth Walla Walla United Soccer Club (WWUSC) as there is a serious shortage of soccer referees in our community.
When: February 15, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Murr Field in Walla Walla
Cost: $85 – However upon completion of the course and reffing three WWUSC games this amount will be refunded to you.
Who: Anyone 14 years and older. Adults must pass a background check.
Pay Rate: Refs earn between $30-$60 per game
Additional Information: Training involves some online study materials and five hours of field training (the clinic)
Questions?: Contact Claudia Garcia at email@example.com
To Register online: http://www.wareferees.org/Registration/HowToBecomeAReferee.aspx
For more information about the Walla Walla United Soccer Club please visit: https://www.wwusc.com/
||Storybook Art with Carnegie Picture Lab
The second session of Carnegie Picture Lab’s Storybook Art series will be presented on Wednesday, February 19 at the Walla Walla Public Library. Designed for elementary age children, the featured book will be Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. The lesson begins at 2:30 p.m. and will include storytelling, Artful Thinking and a drawing with wire art project.
The mission of Carnegie Picture Lab is to nourish creativity by supporting and enhancing art education for elementary school children in the Walla Walla valley. Currently delivering art education/art making lessons in 13 area elementary schools, Carnegie Picture Lab also has a five-year history of partnering with the library to present creative and innovative events for youth in our community.
||Spring flag football league sign-ups
• Who: Boys and girls grades 1st-8th living in Walla Walla, College Place, Touchet, Milton-Freewater, Dayton, Waitsburg, Prescott and Dixie
• When: March 9-May 2
• Practice Locations: Dayton-Prescott-Waitsburg Teams Practice in Waitsburg Area; Milton-Freewater Teams Practice in Milton; Walla Walla Teams Practice in Walla Walla at Garrison or Pioneer Middle Schools
• Game Locations: Games will rotate between towns week to week. Practices are held where team is located. 7/8th grade will be a travel team playing games in both Walla Walla and Pasco.
• Cost: $40; Register online at: https://clubs.bluesombrero.com/default.aspx?Portalid=3045
• Questions/Information: Facebook page Walla Wallla Valley Youth Football League; email firstname.lastname@example.org; Jon Wright 775-455-1336; Shawna Wolford 509-386-6788; Callan Seward 360-350-9387
||City Parks & Rec Weekly Update
• Mother/Son Superhero Bash – Ages 3 and up. Cost is $15. Saturday, February 8 at 6pm.
• NEW Blue Mountain Pre Tee ball League – Open to boys and girls ages 3 &4 (age as of 3/30/20) - $40
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Grades K-6 - $40 - $55
• Spring Softball Skills Clinic – Ages 7-14 – March 28 – $35 - Pitching and catching clinic - $15
• Blue Mountain Baseball League – Registration opens February 3 – Ages 12-16 - $75
• St Paddy’s Day Dash – March 15 at 10am. 5k & 10k for ages 10 & up - $25. NEW Leprechaun Lap (1k) at 9:30am for ages 10 & under $15.
• Youth Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 9-18. Cost is $60. Saturdays 8:50 – 9:50 and 10am – 11am. Equipment provided.
• Adult Fencing – Classes for ages 18 and up. Cost is $75. Saturdays 11:10 – 12:10. Equipment provided.
• Youth Art Class (taught in Spanish) for ages 5-13. Cost is $20. Mondays 5pm – 7:30pm.
• Ukulele Class Ages 16 and up. Cost is $65. Mondays 1:30-2:30pm or Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes – February prices Youth/Senior/Veteran $60 Adult $70 Family $150. Prices will increase on March 1.
• Scholarships available for youth programs. To apply stop by the Parks and Recreation office
at 55 E Moore St.
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to:
• Web: www.wwpr.us
• Like us on facebook: www.facebook.com/wallawallapr
• Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wallawallapr/