Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 26, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Governor approves CDC guidance: school board announces meeting to review transition process to full-time, in-person learning under district’s Blue Stage

Thursday Governor Jay Inslee joined Oregon, California, and many other states across the country by adopting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revised physical distancing guidelines for schools to reflect at least 3 feet between students in classrooms rather than the previous 6ft standard. Schools across the nation have demonstrated the ability to keep students and faculty safe when implementing less restrictive distances due to the enhanced cleaning, screening, and masking required in school settings.

This new state guidance permits most districts across the state, including Walla Walla, the ability to offer a full-day experience for students/families, consistent with the Blue Stage of its Roadmap to Safely Reopening Schools. Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith said there is a considerable amount of planning, engagement and communication to take place before a successful transition can be implemented.

“The School Board has scheduled a special meeting on Tuesday to review this news and provide guidance on how we move forward as a district,” said Dr. Smith. “Rest assured any direction received by the board will include deep engagement with faculty, parents and students as we navigate a path to a safe and more robust learning experience for all our students through full-time, in-person learning.”

School Board Meeting
• Tuesday, March 30
• 5:30 p.m.
• Meeting Open to the Public (Virtual Zoom meeting)
• Meeting log-in details:
• Watch: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/95539982197
• Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 955 3998 2197
• Subtítulos en español: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/95539982197 (Seleccione “Live Translation” en el menú inferior).
• Agenda española: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule


Survey on Transition to Full-Time, In-Person Learning

District seeks input as it prepares to return students to full-time, in-person learning following updated state guidelines

Walla Walla Public Schools is seeking feedback from parents and students via a survey released today as it prepares to return students to full-time, in-person learning under the Blue Stage of its Safely Reopening Schools plan.

Yesterday Governor Jay Inslee announced Washington State is adopting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revised physical distancing guidelines for students, paving the way for districts across the state to safely return most students back to full time in-person learning. This new state guidance, which reflects at least 3 feet between students in classrooms rather than the previous 6ft standard, was the key adjustment needed from the state to return most students to a full-day, in-person experience. Parents and secondary students are encouraged to complete the survey by April 1.

• English Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DXWKB7W
• Spanish Survey Link: https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/SB2YPQC

The district’s latest survey focuses on what considerations these key stakeholders want the school district to consider and plan for during this transition. Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith said there is a considerable amount of planning, engagement and communication to take place before a successful transition can be implemented and the district wants to ensure stakeholders have input into the process.

“Similar to when we returned to campus from distance learning this winter, we want to make sure we take the time to engage with all stakeholders to ensure an informed transition that is safe and well-planned,” said Dr. Smith. “Extensive research from schools across the nation have conclusively demonstrated their ability to keep students and faculty safe when implementing slightly less restrictive distances due to the enhanced cleaning, screening, and masking required in school settings. We have been extremely successful with our COVID safety protocols during the AM/PM hybrid schedule and we plan to keep all of these safety protocols in place when students return full time.”

The district anticipates a target date of mid-to-late April for a transition back to full-time learning for current 1/2 day students. The School Board has scheduled a special meeting Tuesday, March 30 to review planning considerations and to provide guidance on how the district moves forward with its transition to Blue Stage.

School Board Meeting
• Tuesday, March 30
• 5:30 p.m.
• Meeting Open to the Public (Virtual Zoom meeting)
• Meeting log-in details:
• Watch: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/95539982197
• Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 955 3998 2197
• Subtítulos en español: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/95539982197 (Seleccione “Live Translation” en el menú inferior).
• Agenda española: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule


Annual parent survey closes next week

District seeks parent input through Educational Effectiveness Survey; Survey closes March 31

Walla Walla Public Schools is seeking feedback from key stakeholder groups through the Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES) as an extension of the District’s Strategic Plan and commitment to continuous improvement. This anonymous survey tool is used annually to help the district better serve parents and students.

Earlier this month the district launched the survey to parents. Parents will have an opportunity to complete the survey using their own electronic devices. Paper copies will also be available by request from their child’s school. The survey, available in multiple languages, takes about 10 minutes to complete and is accessible online by visiting the following website. Parents are asked to complete a separate survey for each child’s school. The survey closes March 31.

Parent Survey Link 

Students and staff are also taking the Educational Effectiveness survey. The district will use the data to track progress towards its goals and initiatives.

Survey questions were developed by the Center for Educational Effectiveness, a Washington-based educational research firm, in collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State. This survey has been used with over 750,000 educational stakeholders in the Western U.S. and provides a powerful tool for district staff to benchmark current school perceptions with high-performing schools across the nation.


Superintendent Smith releases video showcasing bond progress

March Bond Update Video  

Recently Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith visited Pioneer Middle School and Walla Walla High School to report on the bond projects.

Stay Connected!
• Bond website: wwps.org/bond
• Follow us on Twitter - @bondwwps
• Email – wwpsbond@wwps.org
• Live Video Construction Site Feeds

WWPS Bond Program - Delivering on our Promise


Local COVID numbers trend down again

COVID Activity Report timeline: March 6, 2021 to March 19, 2021

Every Monday, Walla Walla Public Schools posts the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health’s COVID-19 Activity Report. This report, provided weekly to regional school districts, is what the Walla Walla Public Schools’ Board of Directors has used to guide school reopening.

This week’s report reveals local COVID rates dropped again from the previous reporting period. There are only 19 cases combined between Walla Walla and College Place over the last two weeks. There were 21 cases combined during the last reporting period.



Walla Walla Public Schools sets April open enrollment and kindergarten registration dates for 2021-2022

Walla Walla Public Schools announces an April 19 date for kindergarten registration, dual language program enrollment and open enrollment procedures for the 2021-2022 school year. See detailed information below for programs available to Walla Walla families. REGISTRATION & OPEN ENROLLMENT 

Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Two-Way Dual Language Kindergarten Registration
• Walla Walla Public Schools’ Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten registration period will begin April 19. The registration process should be completed online by visiting https://www.wwps.org/schools/information/registration. Paper registration packets are available upon request by calling your home/attendance area school or the district office at 509-526-6717.
• If you would like your kindergarten child to participate in the district’s Two-Way Dual Language Program, housed at Edison and Green Park Elementary Schools, please complete the online general registration process (https://www.wwps.org/schools/information/registration) and mark “dual programming.” Also, complete the kindergarten dual application found at https://www.wwps.org/departments/equity-and-dual-programs/dual-language-program/kindergarten-dual-language.
• If you have a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten student starting school in the fall of 2021, please join us at our virtual Kindergarten and Early Learning Roundup on Thursday, April 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Kindergarten & Early Learning Roundup 

Elementary Open Enrollment
• Elementary parents/guardians, who live in the Walla Walla Public Schools’ district boundary and wish to open enroll their child to a different WWPS school outside their attendance area, will see paperwork come home with their child the week of April 12 and information will also be available on the district’s website.
• Open Enrollment forms will be accepted at your child’s attendance area school starting Monday, April 19.
• Priority will be given to forms returned starting April 19 and through April 30.

Middle School Registration & Open Enrollment
• Look for information coming home with fifth graders the week of April 12 regarding middle school open enrollment and registration for 2021-2022.

Choice Transfer for students living outside the WWPS boundary
• Parents/Guardians, who live outside the Walla Walla Public Schools boundary and wish to Choice Transfer/request enrollment into the WWPS boundary, will need to complete a Choice Transfer Request online.

Open enrollment requests for Walla Walla Public Schools will be granted according to priorities outlined in School Board Policy & Procedure 3130. The priorities are also listed on the backside of the open enrollment paperwork.
Policy 3130 
Procedure 3130 

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all schools, the Administration Office at 364 S. Park St, and online at https://www.wwps.org/schools/information/boundary-map.


School Stories
Ford promoted to direct Walla Walla Online 

Longtime district educator Amy Ford has been promoted to Director of Walla Walla Online. Ford’s tenure begins July 1 as temporary Director Carina Stillman returns to Garrison Middle School next school year in her previous role as Assistant Principal.

“I was ready for a challenge and love the team and families at Walla Walla Online,” said Ford. “We believe in offering families choices and I am excited to be a part of such an innovative program.”

Ford began her career in Walla Walla Public Schools 18 years ago as a teacher at Berney Elementary. She later relocated to Edison Elementary where she taught 4th grade and was the LAP/Title Assessment Specialist. Ford, who is currently teaching 4th grade at Walla Walla Online, graduated from McLoughlin High School in Milton Freewater. She went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Communications and a Masters in Education from Portland State University.

Walla Walla Online is a free, online public school option for students kindergarten through 12th grade. This program features high-quality online curriculum supported by WWPS teachers. Each student is issued a district-provided chromebook and has access to WWPS athletics and activities. Walla Walla Online has a flexible schedule and great local support making it an ideal fit for families who desire a homeschooling option and with students who like to work at their own pace.

“We offer rigorous programming while utilizing guidance and support from highly qualified Walla Walla Public Schools teachers,” said Ford. “My hope moving forward would be to continue the great work that was started this year and build upon it, ensuring that all students have what they need to experience academic and social-emotional success.”

Ford says the Walla Walla Online team is working on modifying and building upon curriculum and interventions for students and families.

“I am also hoping to develop a strong home to school connection with families,” said Ford. “I am excited to continue this work.”

Ford enjoys spending time with her family and watching her girls perform in dance productions. She is an outdoors enthusiast who enjoys camping and hiking. To learn more about Walla Walla Online, visit: wallawallaonline.org.


Annual FFA Plant Sale set for May 

Walla Walla High School FFA students are gearing up for their annual Plant Sale. An official date is not set at this time, but FFA students are looking at the first week of May for the sale based on deliveries and plant availability.

“Thanks to our Agricultural Team (Arch McHie, Jessica Johnson, Erin Peek and Peggy Payne) we were able to get soil mixed, flats filled and plugs planted,” said Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor Arch McHie. “Students helped get the last 3,000 of about 14,000 plugs planted once school opened to small groups, and hybrid classes are now caring for and prepping for the sale.”

McHie said COVID has made planning the annual sale more challenging, but he is energized when he sees how much it means to the students.

“It certainly hasn’t been the easiest process this year, but seeing how excited our students are right now to be a part of the annual sale was worth every long day and evening to get to this point,” said McHie. “Look for more details on dates and times as we continue to plan for this much anticipated annual event.”


April 1 Kindergarten Roundup 

Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton (pclayton@wwps.org) is busy planning the April 1 Kindergarten and Early Learning Roundup

This virtual event will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Learn about kindergarten, transitional kindergarten and preschool options, including dual language programs. Participants will also hear from principals, teachers and support staff about school readiness. Be sure to get all the information on timelines, registration procedures and helpful resources. Check out her new video with all the details. https://www.facebook.com/wwfamiliesandschools/posts/1322269631488810


ParentCamp a huge success

This week Family Engagement Coordinator Pam Clayton facilitated a virtual ParentCamp to share resources and tips to district parents. The 90-minute camp was a huge success as 37 people participated in the Zoom event.

“This number of participants exceeded my goal of 25,” said Clayton. “With so many positive comments about the event, I am feeling like we are moving in the right direction with family engagement.”

This was the first virtual ParentCamp offered to district parents. Clayton said she looks forward to seeing what more she can do with ParentCamps in the future.

“We are considering offering a hybrid model of this experience where people can choose to gather in-person at a location or participate virtually,” said Clayton. “This will allow parents to join individual sessions, but still have the advantage of a cohort to debrief, strengthen and collaborate with after the event.”

ParentCamp Comments 


Community Stories
Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Update

NEW – Parks and Recreation App! Easy access to game schedules, program registration and more! Download it from your App Store/Google Play Store - Walla Walla Parks and Rec

• Blue Mountain Girls Softball – Grades K-8. Cost is $30-$40.
• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball – Ages 12-16 years. Cost is $60.
• Adult Softball League – Ages 16 and up. Men’s and Co-Ed Leagues.
• T’ai Chi – Classes open to Ages 12 and up. Cost is $48.
• Pickleball Clinics – Ages 9-16 years. Cost is $60.
• Spring Soccer – Starts April 12 – Grades K-8. Cost is $40-$70.
• Spring Flag Football – Starts April 12 - Grades 2-8. Cost is $70.
• Pee Wee Multisport Series – Starts April 20 - Ages 3-5 years. Cost is $65.
• 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.

Veterans Memorial Pool Passes – Phase 3 allows for the pool to operate as normal while maintaining social distancing. THIS MEANS THERE WILL BE OPEN SWIM!! March prices Youth/Senior/Veteran $65 Adult $75 Family $160. Prices will increase on April 1.

Pottery Studio is OPEN! Thursday/Friday 2pm-5:30pm and Saturday 10am-12:30pm.
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 recreation@wallawallawa.gov 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, recreation@wallawallawa.gov or parks@wallawallawa.gov.

Like us on facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr. Follow us on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/wallawallapr/.


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