Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - April 2, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Spring Break – April 5-9 (No School)

There is no school April 5-9 for Spring Break. Have a safe and fun spring break. Classes resume Monday, April 12.


District plans late April transition to Blue Stage/full time learning for elementary and middle school students; high school to remain AM/PM in-person for remainder of school year

Walla Walla Public Schools is targeting a late April transition to the Blue Stage of its Safely Reopening Schools plan which includes resuming full-time, in-person learning for elementary and middle school students currently being served in the AM/PM hybrid model. Preschool students will continue in half-day sessions with their current classmates and teachers, however, the district will implement full day, on-site opportunities for specific families. High School students will remain in the current AM/PM hybrid model through the remainder of this school year with the expectation full-day accommodations be explored for specific, struggling students.

“This decision did not come lightly as the school board deeply reviewed the opportunities, logistical considerations, and student, staff and parent feedback,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith.

A class schedule audit performed by staff revealed that 55 classes currently maintain traditional class loads in excess of 30 students. After review, a majority of the current circa 1967 classrooms at Wa-Hi can only accommodate approximately 25 students at the strict 3-foot distance requirement. To implement full day programming would have required the immediate hire of many temporary staff and the rescheduling of a large number of high school students to different classes/teachers.

“When weighing this impact, in addition to other implications reviewed and the fact that the high school community just transitioned back 14 school days prior, a strong majority of the Board did not feel that this disruptive transition outweighed the benefit of a full day experience for the remaining three dozen school days left in the year,” noted Smith.

The late April timeline for this transition provides sufficient time to address logistic and communication needs and time to address the 3’ social distancing accommodations for the nearly 200 elementary and middle school classrooms.

“There is critical planning that needs to occur at the building and program levels to ensure a supportive and seamless transition for students,” said Dr. Smith. “It provides the critical time necessary to communicate with parents and address some of the logistical implications around matters such as nutrition services, transportation re-routing, and coordinating afterschool programs and opportunities that will now be made available with the return of full-day learning across elementary and middle school campuses.”

Superintendent Smith says the school board is confident the plan being put in place will maintain safety and provide students with the programs and supports needed to be successful.

“With all staff having the opportunity to be fully vaccinated by mid-April, availability to provide on-site COVID testing, the district's ability to control on-site spread of COVID since reopening in January, the significant feedback from elementary and middle school parents, and the ability to bring back after school programming and activities for students, the school board felt very comfortable affirming it's prior-adopted Roadmap that transitions students to the Blue Stage/full time learning for elementary and middle levels,” said Dr. Smith.

School officials will be busy planning, coordinating and communicating with students, parents and staff in the coming weeks. Parents will receive information via mail, SchoolMessenger notifications and other forms of communication well in advance of this transition.


Knight receives 2021 Southeast Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award

Local financial advisor Lawson Knight has been selected to receive the 2021 Southeast Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership award on behalf of Walla Walla Public Schools. He will be honored in June along with other individuals representing regional school districts. This week Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith and School Board member Ruth Ladderud surprised Knight at his Walla Walla office with the award announcement.

Knight has been an active volunteer with Walla Walla Public Schools for years serving on the Bond Oversight Committee, as a Finance Department Retreat facilitator, Lincoln High School Facilities Planning Task Force member, High School Facilities Task Force member, Green Park PTA member and Strategic Planning Committee participant. He also served as the Replacement Levy chair for Walla Walla Citizens for Schools during the successful 2018 levy approved by voters with a 73 percent yes vote.

“Our future depends on equipping our children with the skills, critical thinking and love for learning to sustain our community and society,” said Knight. “I want to be part of helping produce an educational experience that makes this possible for all children, not just mine.”

Knight was born in McMinnville, OR but was raised in Seward, Nebraska. He graduated from Central High School, Monmouth-Independence, OR in 1990 before attending Oregon State University and University of Lyon, France.

Knight is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Walla Walla. He has also served as Executive Director of Blue Mountain Community Foundation during his time in Walla Walla. His professional resume also includes serving as Development Office and Campaign Manager for the Oregon State University Foundation.

Knight earned the Philanthropy Northwest Mary Helen Moore Volunteer-of-the-Year award in 2012. He was also honored by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce with its Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year 2012 for his work leading the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.

“Walla Walla Public Schools is fortunate to have Lawson Knight as one of its strongest supporters,” said Superintendent Dr. Smith. “Lawson’s leadership and involvement helps the district realize its vision of Developing Washington’s Most-Sought After Graduates.”

Lawson and his wife, Cyndy, have three daughters; Madelyn (20), Wa-Hi grad and sophomore at EWU, Molly (18) Wa-Hi student and Chloe (15) Wa-Hi student. He enjoys track and field, soccer, hiking, travel, cooking and volunteering.


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 HERE 

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.


WW Dept. of Health Weekly COVID Dashboard Report

COVID Activity Report timeline: March 13, 2021 to March 26, 2021
Every Monday, Walla Walla Public Schools posts the Walla Walla Department of Community Health’s COVID-19 Activity Report. This report, provided weekly to regional school districts, is what the Walla Walla Board of Directors has used to guide school reopening.

This week’s report reveals local COVID rates remained stable again from the previous reporting period. There are 19 cases combined between Walla Walla and College Place over the last two weeks. There were also 19 cases combined during the last reporting period. Community cases are stable in the Low Risk category. Washington DOH reports the Positivity Rate for the previous 7 days for the week ending 3/25/21 is 0.4%. All counties now in Reopening Phase 3 as of March 22.



School Stories
Walla Walla High School artist receives scholarship through regional art competition - By ESD 123

Educational Service District 123 recognizes the 2020-2021 school year has presented numerous challenges to students and their families. In that spirit, we wish to express our special appreciation and admiration of the many talented students in our region who persevered, continued to create, and produced incredible art this year. We encourage everyone to view the 2021 Virtual Art Exhibit Gallery to celebrate our regional high school student artists – and this year’s award-winning submissions.

This year, a new award category was created, called the People’s Choice award, selected by the public through an online survey. The standard Judge’s Choice awards were selected based on achievement creativity, composition, and technique per Washington State Arts K-12 Learning Standards. Artwork selected for the Judge’s Choice awards will move on to the state competition in May, which is led by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Congratulations to the 2021 ESD 123 People’s Choice Award Winner, Margot Massey. Margot, a student at Kamiakin High School in the Kennewick School District, is receiving the People’s Choice award for her piece titled “Conscience.”

In addition to the People’s Choice Award, this year’s 2021 Judge’s Choice Winners include:
• “Eye of the Cat” by Maria Gardner, Hanford High School
• “Conscience” by Margot Massey, Kamiakin High School
• “Dr. Strange” by Morgan Madder, Kamiakin High School
• “Retro Buildings” by Peyton Purvis, Chiawana High School

Faculty at Central Washington University also awarded scholarships of $2,000 to the following six students:
• Maria Gardner, Hanford High School
• Morgan Madder, Kamiakin High School
• Kaylee Memmott, Kamiakin High School
• Grady Lemma, Walla Walla High School
• Peyton Purvis, Chiawana High School
• Aiyana Tajeda, Kamiakin High School

A huge thank you to the students, staff, and community members who participated and made this year’s Virtual Regional Art Show possible. We are looking forward to next year’s show already. For more information, contact ESD Art Show Coordinator Lori Ballard at lballard@esd123.org or 509-851-5216.


Pioneer Middle School student places in state digital photography competition

Pioneer Middle School student Taylinn Moore qualified for and competed in the State final round of the Technology Student Association (TSA) Middle School Digital Photography Competition. She participated in a two-hour “Challenge” as part of the competition format to take and edit photographs with a focus on color contrast. The challenge, with a theme of nature, required Taylinn to present her camera settings and rationale for the edits she chose to make. Taylinn earned 8th place in this highly competitive state competition.

The Technology Student Association fosters personal growth, leadership, and opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering. Members apply and integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts through co-curricular activities, competitive events, and related programs.


Garrison Middle School students shine in state STEM contest

Congratulations to Garrison CTE STEM students Hanen Mohamed, Mia Roughton and Miriam Hutchens, whose project was selected as a State of Innovation Challenge honoree. The team designed and built a prototype smartphone app to address the problem of teen mental health issues. Out of nearly 90 projects received from over 200 students statewide, their project was one of only eight projects selected for this recognition. Their project was commended for its creativity, detail, and effort.

The State of Innovation Challenge, sponsored by the State of Washington, was designed to engage youth in creating solutions to the real world problems facing our state. This year’s Challenge’s subject was COVID-19 and the team selected from three distinct challenge cases: The Food Chain, Responding to COVID-19, and After COVID-19. The project began when the girls volunteered to participate and soon discovered that each girl had a mutual concern about teens who experience mental health issues, highlighted by the pandemic.

They had an idea to create a non-profit business plan designed to fill in gaps in the mental health resources available locally. After the girls conducted thorough market research, they discovered an abundance of social services and could not find any gaps. Another venue would be a duplication of service so they developed a new plan: Connect teens who may be experiencing mental health crises with available services through a smartphone app.

Working initially through zoom, the girls sought guidance by discussing their project idea with members of the local community as well as an expert in human centered design. Once they started creating the prototype, they thought about different features for their app. Not only could teens use the app to find therapists and resources, they wanted to create an environment for teens to feel fellowship, and so they incorporated a safe space for people to connect. Additionally, they incorporated a prototype bot they named “Zen.” Similar to Siri or Alexa, Zen would enable users to open up about their problems without being self-conscious about speaking to an adult.

To test their prototype, the team even designed and implemented a survey and asked their classmates to answer questions about the app’s features and qualities in a focus group setting. That feedback enabled them to refine the app design even further.

The team was coached and led by Mr. Bertram, STEM Teacher, and Mr. Hammon, 21st CLCC Program Director. “It was challenging to create and nurture a team through Zfirsoom meetings, but in the end, the students performed brilliantly and we couldn’t be more proud of their hard work and achievement. Well done!”


Annual FFA Plant Sale set for first week in 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 plan on having the sale during the first week of May. More details will come out after Spring Break. Plant lists will also be available soon.   


Virtual informational meeting planned for World Language Curriculum adoption

Walla Walla Public Schools is updating its World Language curriculum as part of the district’s ongoing adoption cycle. The adoption process started last fall and is expected to be completed soon and go before the school board for adoption May 4. Staff in the Teaching and Learning Department are hosting a virtual informational meeting on Zoom Tuesday, April 13 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. This Zoom meeting is open to the public and a great opportunity to learn more about the materials being recommended for adoption. Guests will also be allowed to ask questions and review the materials online.
• Meeting Zoom Link: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/92881427010

Contact Curriculum Coordinator Casey Monahan with any questions. cmonahan@wwps.org



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.

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