||Teachers approve in-person learning plan: District initiates comprehensive safety review & prepares for AM/PM Hybrid
On Jan. 8, teachers in Walla Walla Public Schools endorsed the transition to in-person learning and accompanying safety protocols and procedures. These plans are consistent with revised guidance and recommendations provided from state health officials late last month. According to the approved reentry Roadmap, reviewed by the School Board during their special meeting on Jan. 5, students in the district’s preschool and transitional kindergarten program will convert to in-person learning utilizing the AM/PM Hybrid Model on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Kindergarten through 5th grade students are set to transition to in-person AM/PM Hybrid learning on Monday, Jan. 25. RETURN TO SCHOOL VIDEO
Additionally, students in self-contained Special Education programs, SEATech students, students in specific Career and Technical Education programs, and a select number of struggling middle and high school students will also be permitted onsite access as soon as the 19th. As articulated in the revised Roadmap, and consistent with state health authorities, the district will return middle and high school students to in-person learning once case counts reach state-recommended levels.
As noted by School Board President Derek Sarley, “We understand remote learning has been a challenge for families and students across the district. The good news is there is a significant amount of research showing we can offer safe in-person instruction as long as we are following all of the state guidelines. This is especially true if we start with our younger learners then gradually phase in the older students as we are able to keep kids safe in schools and as local conditions improve.”
In preparation for on-site learning, the District has contracted with NV5/DADE MOELLER© to perform a comprehensive third party COVID Preparedness Review. The audit includes a review of facility and personnel practices against the latest CDC and WaDOH guidance on re-opening schools, to ensure campuses, HVAC modifications and COVID protocols are compliant with the latest standards. Additionally, it incorporates a review of physical areas, employee work arrangements and administrative controls to ensure necessary protocols are in place to minimize exposure to pathogens for staff and students. Stephen Bump, a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Health Professional from NV5, performed on-site inspections at each of the district’s elementary and preschool sites Monday as they prepare for students returning to in-person instruction over the coming weeks.
“This comprehensive third party audit ensures the district has fully reviewed and implemented all of the safety protocols and procedures recommended from state health officials and industry experts,” noted Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This serves as an additional layer of protection for all staff, students and parents and is a part of our continued commitment to keep students and staff safe.”
Over the coming days, significant communication to parents will take place. Families are encouraged to check their phones messages, mailboxes and email as buildings, programs and staff begin outreach and coordination related to the transition and learning options available to students and families. Additionally, district officials encourage stakeholders to review their comprehensive COVID Safety and Preparedness Protocols by visiting the district’s website - https://www.wwps.org/
||Return to School video released
Today the district released a new video highlighting plans for returning to in-person learning for preschool and elementary students. Information in the video includes reminding parents to conduct a health screening of their child before coming to school, remaining in vehicles during drop-off and pick-up and mask requirements. Parents will also learn about the safety enhancements the district has implemented, meals, transportation and more. A similar video in Spanish is coming out early next week.
||District initiates third party COVID Preparedness Review
In preparation for on-site learning, Walla Walla Public Schools has contracted with NV5/DADE MOELLER© to perform a comprehensive third party COVID Preparedness Review. The audit includes a review of facility and personnel practices against the latest CDC and WaDOH guidance on re-opening schools, to ensure campuses, HVAC modifications and COVID protocols are compliant with the latest standards.
Additionally, it incorporates a review of physical areas, employee work arrangements and administrative controls to ensure necessary protocols are in place to minimize exposure to pathogens for staff and students. Stephen Bump, a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Health Professional from NV5, performed on-site inspections at each of the district’s elementary and preschool sites Jan. 11 as they prepare for students returning to in-person instruction over the coming weeks.
“This comprehensive third party audit ensures the district has fully reviewed and implemented all of the safety protocols and procedures recommended from state health officials and industry experts,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This serves as an additional layer of protection for all staff, students and parents and is a part of our continued commitment to keep students and staff safe.”
NO SCHOOL – Monday, Jan. 18 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Holiday)
• No School – Monday, Jan. 18 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Holiday)
||Scholarship award supports local bilingual staff pursuing teaching careers in education
This week the district’s Beca Maestro/a del Futuro Scholarship committee awarded five, $1,500 scholarships to bilingual district para-educators and other classified support staff interested in pursuing a teaching career in education. This program supports the district’s priority of increasing the number of bilingual teachers across its campuses.
Congratulations to the 2020-2021 Scholarship Recipients:
• Armando Rubio, Paraeducator, Pioneer Middle School
• Juan Faba Lopez, Paraeducator, Green Park Elementary
• Tomas Cortez, Paraeducator, Edison Elementary
• Ashley Cesena, Secretary, Garrison Middle School
• Javier Hernandez, Intervention Specialist, Pioneer Middle School
This scholarship aims to assist current bilingual Walla Walla Public Schools classified staff who desire to become certificated employees in Walla Walla Public Schools. Up to five, $1,500 scholarships will be awarded per year and are renewable once.
“We wish nothing but the best for these talented staff as they pursue their dreams to become classroom teachers,” said Human Resources Director Liz Campeau. “We look forward to watching their progress and supporting them to begin teaching careers here in Walla Walla.”
||School Board Executive Sessions and Regular Business Meeting Jan. 19
• Meetings Date: Tuesday, Jan. 19
• 1 to 4 p.m.: Executive Session (meeting not open to the public)
• 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. (approximately) Executive Session (meeting not open to the public)
• 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. (approximately): Regular Business Meeting (meeting open to the public virtually)
• Regular Board Meeting (5:30 p.m.): Meeting open to the public
• MEETING NOTICE: Pursuant to the Governor’s Proclamation No. 20-28, school board meetings during the COVID-19 disease outbreak must not take place in-person, but occur remotely. Members of the public are invited to attend by utilizing the following methods:
• Watch: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/95551861832
• Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 95551861832
• Spanish Access:
• Subtítulos en español: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/95551861832 (Seleccione “Live Translation” en el menú inferior).
• Agenda española: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
||Sarley named to WSSDA board
Congratulations Walla Walla Public Schools’ Board President Derek Sarley for being named to the Washington State School Directors’ Association Board of Directors. The state is divided into eleven school director areas for the purpose of representation on WSSDA committees established by the association’s bylaw. Sarley will serve as director for area eleven which serves school districts within Educational Service District 123, except Asotin-Anatone and Clarkston. The board meets monthly and Sarley will serve a three-year term.
Formed in 1922, WSSDA has grown to include 1,477 locally elected school board directors from across Washington. As a state agency, per chapter 28A.345 RCW, WSSDA supports its members with research-based leadership development resources, policy and legal guidance and legislative advocacy. This work is of critical importance because school board directors build the future of public education by setting the policy, governance and budgetary priorities for all of Washington’s 294 school districts serving approximately 1.1 million students.
||Wake up Wa-Hi features principals in Sources of Strength videos
Walla Walla High School principals share stories about the people and activities in their lives which help them get through difficult times. The videos are featured on the Wake Up Wa-Hi series and are part of the school’s Sources of Strength program. Sources of Strength is a mental health support and suicide prevention program utilized by Walla Walla Public Schools to support Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan, focusing on the social and emotional support of students.
• Principal Ron Higgins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b042fWs61Lw&feature=youtu.be
• Assistant Principals Jack Mehn and Stacy Estes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBhAquPEudA
||Wa-Hi Assistant Principal featured in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day video
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 18. The 21st Century Afterschool program at Wa-Hi produced a video to celebrate the holiday. Walla Walla High School Assistant Principal Stacy Estes is featured in this meaningful video.
• Video Link
||Serving Our Public Schools: The 21st Century Library by City of Walla Walla Public Library staff
Walla Walla Public Library knows the importance of books for kids, and is working hard to remove barriers to library service for children. This year we’ve provided free library cards to all students, eliminated library fines for children, and continue to provide access to all library materials through curbside pickup.
Free library Cards
Thanks to the generosity of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Walla Walla Public Library is able to provide free library cards to all Walla Walla Public Schools students including pre-K and Walla Walla Online students, through 2021. The goal is full inclusion, giving all children equal access to the library regardless of where they live.
Two ways to register:
• Online: Students can register through our catalog at https://catalog.wallawalla.bywatersolutions.com/cgi-bin/koha/opac-memberentry.pl, and a library staff member will be in touch to help them complete the process. Please provide a contact phone number and/or email.
• By phone: Call the library at 509-527-4550 Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and staff will complete your student’s registration. Proof of address can be emailed or brought to the library in person.
The City of Walla Walla works to serve families at the highest level possible, so Walla Walla Public Library is fine-free for kids! City council has voted to eliminate library fines on youth materials due to the negative impact on children and families in our community. All fines on children’s materials have been removed from your account. Please call Walla Walla Public Library at 509-527-4550, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., if your account is still blocked due to fines on children’s items.
If you have long overdue items, please bring them back and we will remove lost item charges from your account for items still in good condition.
Quick and easy curbside pickup of all physical items is available Monday through Friday. Sign in to your library account, place items on hold, and schedule a curbside pickup from the comfort of home. If you need help with selecting items, scheduling your pickup, or home delivery, please give us a call at 509-527-4550, Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm.
Prefer a completely virtual or non-contact library experience? Thousands of free eBooks are available 24 hours a day through the Washington Anytime Library. Sign up with your library card for free access at https://anytime.overdrive.com/, then download the Libby app at https://www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org/how-do-i/download-the-libby-app to read or listen to your books.
If you’ve never had a Walla Walla Public Library card or it’s been a long time… register online at https://catalog.wallawalla.bywatersolutions.com/cgi-bin/koha/opac-memberentry.pl and library staff will contact you. You can also call Walla Walla Public Library at 509-527-4550, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Health Center expands services
The Health Center is expanding its services for students in grades 6-12. The Health Center is now offering its free medical health care visits for students virtually. These services are easily accessed through the student’s Chromebook.
If students are experiencing non-emergency headaches, eye problems, skin problems, stomach problems, breathing issues, sleep problems, joint or muscular pain, anxiety, cold symptoms or cough, sore throat or reproductive health issues, they or their parent(s) can contact THC at email@example.com to set up a virtual appointment. Parent permission is required for students under age 18 and a fillable form will be provided to be completed before the visit.
Appointments are available Monday through Friday and providers will help with referrals if additional care is needed. In-person visits are available for vaccines and physicals as well.
||Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association announces scholarship opportunity
• Three $2,000 scholarships
• Scholarship grants are given to prospective teachers and/or candidates in other school related fields who will student teach or do an internship experience in an educational setting to meet requirements for initial certification.
1. Graduate of high school in Walla Walla or Columbia County
2. Student teach/internship between September 2021 and June 2022
An on-line application is available on the Blue Mountain Community Foundation website. Go to the scholarship tab and locate the Walla Walla Columbia School Retirees application.
Contact for more information: Mardel Bierwagen at 525-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications available: January 1, 2021
Application due: March 1, 2021