||Third Party COVID Safety Review says district’s secondary schools safe to allow in-person learning
Walla Walla Public Schools contracted with NV5/DADE MOELLER© to perform a comprehensive third party COVID Preparedness Review of middle and high schools in preparation for on-site learning. This is a follow-up to a similar review performed for the elementary schools in January 2021.
Stephen Bump, a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Health Professional from NV5, spent several hours performing on-site inspections Friday, Feb. 5 at Garrison Middle School, Pioneer Middle School, Lincoln High School, Walla Walla High School and SEATech.
“Our review indicates the Walla Walla School District has implemented the health agency guidance and has adequate controls and protocols in place to allow in-person learning at secondary schools in a safe and healthy environment,” as noted in Mr. Bump’s executive summary of the review. “We confirmed that the documents and protocols developed by the district were consistent with the guidance promulgated by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Washington State Department of Health, and the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health."
The audit included 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 incorporated 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.
The audit included a two-phased review process. During the Phase 1 audit, certified staff from NV5 performed a comprehensive review of all district protocols against the latest WaDOH, CDC and L&I guidelines. Cleaning protocols, masking and other PPE standards, COVID response protocols, staff training and other practices were reviewed. Their findings indicated that all of the district’s protocols met, and in many cases, exceeded safety guidelines. During the Phase 2 audit, thorough on-site inspections of district facilities were performed.
Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith says this comprehensive third party audit ensures the district has fully reviewed and implemented all safety protocols and procedures recommended from state health officials and industry experts.
“This serves as an additional layer of protection for all staff, students and parents and is part of our continued commitment to keep students and staff safe,” said Dr. Smith. “Safety has been, and will continue to be, our top priority, and the results from our third party safety audit spoke to all of our staff members’ hard work.”
Walla Walla Public Schools will begin transitioning 6th grade students back for AM/PM hybrid in-person learning Tuesday, Feb. 16 with 7th and 8th graders returning using the same instructional model Thursday, Feb. 18. The district is closely monitoring local COVID cases and will return high school students to AM/PM hybrid in-person learning as soon as state recommended COVID case targets are met.
||School Board Regular Business Meeting and Executive Session – Tuesday, Feb. 16
• Tuesday, Feb. 16
• Regular Business Meeting: 5:30 p.m. (virtual meeting open to the public)
• Executive Session: Approximately 6:30 p.m. (meeting not open to the public)
• IMPORTANT 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/96654806106
- Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 966 5480 6106
• Spanish Access:
- Subtítulos en español: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/96654806106 (Seleccione “Live Translation” en el menú inferior).
- Agenda española: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
Presidents Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL Feb. 15
There is NO SCHOOL Monday, Feb. 15 in observance of Presidents Day. Classes resume Tuesday, Feb. 16.
||Scholarship award supports bilingual staff pursuing administrative careers in education
Walla Walla Public Schools announces Amy Kasenga, Cesar Hernandez and Claudia Salazar have received the Director/a del Futuro scholarships for bilingual certificated staff pursuing careers in administration. Each of these outstanding educators will receive $1,500 scholarships to assist their pursuit of administrative credentials.
This program supports the district’s priority of increasing the number of bilingual administrators across its campuses. Kasenga is a Spanish Language Arts teacher at Garrison Middle School, Hernandez is an assistant principal at Green Park Elementary and Garrison Middle School and Salazar is a Spanish Language Arts teacher at Pioneer Middle School.
“These recipients are excellent teacher leaders who are working to further develop their leadership skills and credentials,” said Director of Human Resources Liz Campeau. “We are pleased to support their pursuit of a career in leadership.”
||Dates set for Highly Capable Review Process
Walla Walla Public Schools announces dates for the K-8 Highly Capable Program referral process. Parents are asked to talk with their child’s teacher(s), the building learning specialist or counselor if you have questions about participating in the referral process.
• Grades 2 and 5: March 1-5
• Grades 6-8: March 1-5
• Grades 3 and 4: March 15-19
• Grades K and 1: April 12-16
“We test all 2nd and 5th grade students to ensure equitable access to programming and to provide enough information to locally examine our data,” said Christy Krutulis, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. “For other grades, parent permission to test is required and included in the referral packets posted on the district website.”
Look for information about specific testing details released from your child’s school as the dates get closer.
• Website: www.wwps.org/programs/explorers
• NOTE: Paper copies are also available by contacting the school secretary.
||Boeing recognizes SEATech teacher for commitment and contributions to aerospace program
Boeing Workforce Development Senior Manager Michelle Burreson recently sent a letter to SEATech Advanced Manufacturing and Welding instructor James Polson recognizing him for his continued commitment and contributions to the Core Plus Aerospace program.
Core Plus Aerospace is a two-year high school manufacturing curriculum that prepares students for high-demand jobs through hands-on learning. Students learn real-world skills that open doors to good-paying manufacturing jobs and give them a clear advantage when pursuing apprenticeships, post-high school certificates, or college degrees. Developed and supported by industry leaders like Boeing, Core Plus Aerospace is designed to be delivered in an engaging classroom setting and provides opportunities for students to explore careers in industries of interest while still in high school.
“James invests in the success of his students and works diligently to ensure that they are prepared to take advantage of post-high school opportunities,” said Burreson. “Just this week, members of our team participated in mock interviews with James’ students, and came away impressed by their preparation, professionalism and thoughtful responses to our questions.”
Polson reports approximately 20 percent of his graduates are involved with Boeing through paid internships or employment. He regularly takes students to Boeing facilities for field trips and curriculum related experiences.
“It’s a great partnership and gives the students more options when they graduate to start a career in manufacturing,” said Polson. “Students typically start at $20/hour and make about $60,000 in their first year, and can build their career from there.”
Burreson says Polson is masterful at preparing students to be successful.
“When we engage with students from SEATech, we have confidence that not only will they possess a high-degree of technical proficiency, but that they will also display an impressive ability to effectively communicate their knowledge and expertise,” said Burreson. “In our experience, in addition to highly capable students, this is also a product of James’ hard work and dedication.”
||Wa-Hi plans Job Fair
Walla Walla High School is planning a virtual Job Fair Tuesday, March 23 at 1 p.m. on Zoom. Sign up to participate: wahi.link/jobfair
||Walla Walla High School’s Girls League Tampon Drive continues through February 22
Walla Walla High School’s Girls League is organizing a Tampon Drive and is seeking community support. Community members are asked to buy and donate tampons, pads, overnight pads, and panty liners.
“Girls League recognized that menstrual products are essentials, but can be a financial burden for some,” said Girls Club officer Sadie Robinson. “We noticed a greater need in the community during the COVID-19 recession and decided to expand this year’s tampon drive to gather more products for local non-profits and shelters.”
Donation boxes will be located in front of Wa-Hi’s main office, Quirk Brewing, Grocery Outlet and The Market by Andy’s. The drive continues through February 22. All the products raised by the community will be donated to the YWCA, the Sleep Center of Walla Walla, Children’s Home Society, and Blue Mountain Action Council. Girls League officers Sadie Robinson, Ella Nelson, Olivia Taylor, Miki Joshua, Sophia Schonder, and Jacob Rose are organizing the project.
||Sunrise Rotary plans fundraiser for playground project
A new community project is being spearheaded by Walla Walla Sunrise Rotary Club. Working with the City of Walla Walla, Sunrise Rotarians and other volunteers will enhance the existing Vista Terrace Park, in the AdairVista neighborhood, 920 Mountain Park Drive, north across Highway 12 from the Wilbur Avenue area. Plans include new playground equipment and a picnic shelter with walking paths connecting them. The group is excited for this park redevelopment for the community to continue to enjoy. Donations are being accepted to help support this project.
• Purchase a brick with your special message, which will be used in the walking path: https://www.bricksrus.com/donorsite/VistaTerracePark
• Make a monetary donation to help with the purchase and installation of playground equipment, picnic shelter and walking path: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/wwsr
Visit the Walla Walla Sunrise Rotary website for more information about the Club:
||Whitman College Story Time YouTube channel promotes love of reading
Whitman College students participating in the school’s Story Time program created a YouTube channel featuring college students reading aloud to Walla Walla Public Schools students. New videos will be posted every week throughout the school year.
Story Time YouTube Channel Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHJBqfAZxJ4L2bE2BXmjBnA
“Reading with the youngest members of our community remains essential, especially during the pandemic,” said Program Leader Claire Weissman. “This project aims to improve kids’ listening, speaking, writing, reading, and critical thinking skills through exposure to reading while also promoting diversity, acceptance, and the celebration of differing cultures through stories.”
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis says this longstanding partnership has a tremendous impact on district students and educators.
“For nearly 20 years our students have benefited from our partnership with Whitman students and their Story Time program,” said Krutulis. “We are so grateful for the innovation Whitman students have shown this year to continue to enrich our students’ engagement with literature through their YouTube channel while they are waiting to return in-person to our classrooms.”
||Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Update
• Youth Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 8-18. Cost is $60. Equipment provided.
• Adult Fencing – Classes for ages 18 and up. Cost is $75. Equipment provided.
• Ukulele Class Ages 12 and up. Cost is $65.
• Spring Soccer – Grades K-8. Cost is $40-$70. Starts March 1.
• Spring Flag Football – Grades 2-8. Cost is $70. Starts March 1.
• Pee Wee Multisport Series – Ages 3-5 years. Cost is $65. Starts March 8.
• Veterans Memorial Pool Passes – February prices Youth/Senior/Veteran $60 Adult $70 Family $150. Prices will increase on March 1.
NEW – Parks and Recreation App! Download it from your App/Google Play Store - Walla Walla Parks and Rec!
In need of financial assistance to help with youth program costs? We have simplified the youth scholarship application process for 2021, thanks to private community donations we are able to help with 75% of the program cost! Call 527-4527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org us to request a scholarship for your child(ren). The only requirement is that you establish an online account so that we have a place to apply the scholarship. Please visit our website at www.wwpr.us for updated information regarding recreation programs as it becomes available. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Parks & Recreation Office at 509-527-4527, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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