Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 25, 2013

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
School board studies option for improving Walla Walla High School
The Board of Directors conducted a public work session Tuesday, Oct. 22 to discuss facility improvement options for Walla Walla High School. Board members received information on election date choices for 2014. Board members also reviewed information from its listening campaign following the Feb. 12, 2013 bond failure. Public work sessions, surveys, and meetings with community members were at the core of the district’s listening campaign. 

Themes from the listening campaign:
-Wa-Hi improvements are needed
-Focus on needs, not wants
-Facility priorities (#1 science building, #2 academic building)
-Community members had enough information to make a decision
-Look for ways to reduce costs (cost was the greatest factor for people who voted no)
-Consider phasing the project (to spread out the costs over time)
-Better explain costs and how the dollars will be used

The district reconvened its Community Facilities Task Force this fall to help develop options for improving Wa-Hi. The committee has met twice this fall. The committee has looked at several options for improving Wa-Hi during these meetings, including re-running a bond similar to the Feb. 12, 2013 bond proposal. Committee Chair Dan Reid and Greg McCracken of BLRB Architects shared a Conceptual Design Option developed by the committee for school board members and the public to review, discuss and provide input. The presentation was not a formal recommendation from the Community Facilities Task Force and the school board did not taken action on this Conceptual Design Option.

Below are highlights from the Oct. 22 Conceptual Design Option presentation:
-Phased approach (two bond elections)
-First bond election in 2014 and second bond election in 2019 (Edison paid for in December 2018)
-First bond approximately $25 million and the second bond approximately $26 million (these amounts could change based on the economy, interest rates, construction costs, etc.)
-First bond focuses on academic needs: Renovate the existing science building and existing academic building. Build a STEM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) addition next to the existing CTE building and build a Fitness Center attached to the existing small gym. The Fitness Center construction is needed in the first phase according to BLRB to complete the student parking areas. Also, extensive site work would be completed in the first bond. Administrators would be housed in portables throughout the first phase.
-Renovations to the existing science and academic buildings will not demolish existing walls as proposed in the Feb. 12, 2013 bond. The breezeways will remain, but the buildings will have interior hallways and no exterior doors to the classrooms. Students will enter classrooms from the inside of the building.
-Second bond focuses on student commons area, food service kitchen, library, administration areas, music and drama building improvements, upgrades to the CTE area, tennis courts and additional site work.
-Cost per thousand is approximately 54 cents per $1,000 for each bond election. (These tax rates could change based on economic factors including interest rates and higher than usual inflation.)

Next Steps:
School Board President Anne Golden said the school board will further review the option presented last night and discuss it in greater detail. She said the school board will most likely conduct another work session and seek input from the community on a design concept prior to a Resolution recommendation for a bond measure. Dan Reid, chair of the Community Facilities Task Force, said he will schedule another meeting later this fall after he receives feedback from the school board and district leadership team.

Local grants help bolster Farm-to-School program
The Farm-to-School Program received $1500 from Jane Coffey, $1500 from Coffey Communications and $2500 from the Blue Mountain Community Foundation to purchase equipment to support school garden programs. 

“While the program has taken giant steps forward in the past year thanks to school garden coordinators, teachers, nutrition services staff, parent volunteers, and the local food producers working together, I’m now considering the overall sustainability of the program,” said Beth Thiel, Farm to School Coordinator. “Building this type of program requires financial and volunteer support and I’m extremely grateful for the interest in the health of our community and the community’s generous nature.”

The funds have helped provide cooking equipment at each elementary school with a school garden. These materials make garden related cooking activities easier. Funds may also be used to purchase school kitchen equipment, harvest of the month promotional materials, school garden education training, and services necessary to initialize a school garden support network.

The program was initially started with Blue Mountain Community Foundation funds, and has been operating on a USDA grant for almost a year with about one year of funds remaining.

For more information about the program or to get involved, contact Beth Thiel: bthiel@wwps.org

Farm-to-School program featured in television series
Walla Walla Public Schools Farm-to-School Program was featured in the “Washington Grown” TV Series Episode 3 on Oct 21. The series is available for view in the archive section of the Washington Grown website. Walla Walla appears at 18:20 during the 22 minute episode. The episode also covers WSDA’s food safety work featuring Claudia Cole of Office of Compliance and Outreach.
Superintendent Miller invites public to participate in Patron Tour
Superintendent Mick Miller invites you to join him for a behind the scenes look at Walla Walla Public Schools. The Superintendent’s Patron Tour program is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the district, ask questions, tour local schools and enjoy lunch together.
- Wednesday, November 13
- 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (lunch provided)
- Tour sites: Berney Elementary, Wa-Hi, Lincoln HS
- RSVP by contacting Mark Higgins at: 526-6726 or mhiggins@wwps.org

District joins effort to provide accurate class size counts to state legislators
October is Class Size Counts Month in Washington. The quality of a classroom teacher, combined with the number of students the teacher serves, are the most important variables in school improvement. In the state of Washington, our class sizes are too large. Our state’s class size rank is 47th out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia.) Fortunately, we can do something to change this statistic.  

Class Size Counts is a statewide effort to reduce overcrowded class sizes in Washington. As our teachers continue to work to differentiate core instruction to meet individual learning needs, the need for small numbers of students in each class grows. Further, high class sizes make it more difficult to provide students the individual help and support they deserve.

Class Size Counts is collecting class size numbers and stories from across the state throughout October. Share yours and help raise awareness of the need to reduce class sizes for all grades and subjects. To get involved and share your class size, or that of your child, please go to www.ClassSizeCountsWA.com. Once there, you can share the actual number of kids in our classrooms, not the building average. You can also share how class size numbers impact teaching and learning for our students.

All children deserve a quality public education and small class sizes are essential.

Mick Miller, WWPS Superintendent
Margo Piver, WWVEA President


School Stories
Former Walla Walla gang member talks to Wa-Hi student about making positive choices
Former Walla Walla Public Schools student Noe Salazar visited Walla Walla High School Thursday to meet with students to discuss how his poor choices and gang affiliations led to a failed high school career and numerous arrests. Salazar’s sister Mireya Vargas, an intervention specialist at Wa-Hi, organized the visit to help students understand the choices they make today have a lasting impact. Salazar met with approximately 300 students during the day. He volunteered to drive here from out-of-state on his day off  and at his own expense to present to students. 

“Noe feels so bad for how much he took from the community and now he is willing to do whatever he can to pay back for his mistakes,” Vargas said.

Salazar was born in Mexico and migrated to Washington at age five. He grew up in an abusive household and began using drugs and alcohol at a young age. He was fully immersed in the gang lifestyle at age 13. He attended Blue Ridge, Green Park, Garrison, Wa-Hi, and Paine Alternative School. He was also one of the first students to attend the Opportunity Program under the guidance of the late John Matau. He eventually earned a General Education Diploma.

Salazar told students it is a miracle he is still alive. He challenged them to make good choices, get involved in positive activities and work hard in school. He said he makes $9.50 per hour and his employment choices are limited due to his past. However, he said he is thankful to be happily married, employed, in the process of purchasing a house and sober and drug-free. He is also an active volunteer in his home town working with at-risk youth and former prison inmates. Salazar is a participant in the community-based tattoo removal program, INK-OUT.

Lincoln High School plans free kids Halloween event
Lincoln High School is planning its Fall Festival from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Halloween. Youth activities are planned for the gym and some will be located outside on the school grounds. There will be games set up for elementary to middle school kids to play and get candy.
Wa-Hi Trunk-or-Treat offers safe and fun Halloween experience
- Thursday, October 31
- 5:30 to 7 p.m.
- Walla Walla High School Science Parking lot
- Admission is canned food for donation to the Christian Aid Center Food Bank
- Trunk-or-Treat is sponsored by Key Club for all elementary school students
- Candy, treats and other goodies for all
- Information: Contact Key Club Advisors Stacy Morrison (smorrison@wwps.org) and Rob Ahrens (rahrens@wwps.org)

Spanish classes offered at Garrison Night School
Beginning Spanish: Instructor: Aaron Martin
- Mondays and Wednesdays / 6 to 8 p.m.
- November 18 to February 27
- Cost: $150

Advanced Beginning Spanish: Instructor: Carol Franklin
- Tuesdays and Thursdays / 6 to 8 p.m.
- November 19 to February 27
- Cost: $150

Register at the Walla Walla School District Business Office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Clock hours are available for Walla Walla Public Schools employees. Call Melito Ramirez at 526-8638 or 629-1560 if you have any questions.

Exchange Club honors Wa-Hi and Prescott students
Congratulations to Walla Walla High School seniors Lea Davidson and Kiana Molitor for receiving Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Month Awards this month. Prescott High School seniors Emily Wilson and Erik Sandoval also received awards. These students will also be eligible to compete for the Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Year Award and a special $1,000 college scholarship. 2013-14 Youth of the Year Theme:  “Parading the spirit of community service with passion and commitment.” Mark Higgins is the Youth of the Month program coordinator.

Lea Davidson – Walla Walla High School
Parents: Tim and Krista Davidson
GPA: 3.963
Lea Davidson is taking AP calculus, AP Spanish, AP literature and composition, AP, government, concert choir, and honors chemistry — which she takes through an online school. She has participated in the Wa-Hi choir for four years.

She is co-captain of the varsity cross-country team this year and has run varsity cross-country for three years. In the spring, she will run for the track and field team and has been a varsity member for three years. Lea is the vice-president of Wa-Hi National Honor Society. She has been the co-president of FBLA for two consecutive years and has been a member for three years and is a member of the Latino Club.

Last summer, Lea volunteered three days a week at the Farm Labor Home’s summer children’s program. She has also earned many of her volunteer hours doing environmental work through various organizations in the valley.

This past spring, she took 1st at the FBLA State conference in the Client Service event and competed in the national conference over the summer. She has also earned the AP scholar with honor award for scoring a three or higher on all four of her AP tests. After high school, Lea plans to attend a four-year college or university and major in environmental science with an emphasis on international studies.

Kiana Molitor – Walla Walla High School
Parents: Skip and Amy Molitor
GPA: 4.0 (She ranks #1 in a class of 516 students)

This spring Kiana will graduate with a total of 13 advanced placement and honors courses, as well as completing a Spanish course at Whitman College. Kiana presently serves as Wa-Hi’s Associated Student Body President. Her past leadership roles have included junior class president, sophomore class president, and a freshmen council member.

Kiana has also been a member of Key Club, Link Crew, National Honor Society, FFA and Drama Club. Kiana has participated in three years of varsity soccer and is currently entering her 4th year of varsity basketball, where she will lead as team captain during the 2013-2014 season.

She has been a member of the Treble Ensemble Choir for two years and is enrolled in voice lessons outside of school. She enjoys traveling, and will be attending a four year university this upcoming year in hopes of pursuing a career in International Relations.


Wa-Hi students selected to Western International Band Clinic
Five Walla Walla High School students were selected to participate in the 2013 Western International Band Clinic Nov. 22-25 in Seattle. Approximately 900 students from throughout the Northwest and Canada audition each year with about 650 students being selected to play in four different honor bands. Students are directed by top flight college directors from around the world,  according Andrew Ueckert, Wa-Hi Band teacher.

2013 Western International Band Clinic Selections:
- Hannah Cabasco: Freshman clarinet (1st time)
- Michael Dandrea: Junior trombone (1st time)
- Kara Guizar: Senior trumpet (1st time)
- Kyli Humphreys: Senior french horn (3rd time)
- Brandon Rohde: Senior alto sax (2nd time)

 Lincoln students sponsor free showing of Grease at Milton Freewater drive-in
- Saturday, Nov. 2
- Gates open at 6:30 p.m. / Movie starts at 7 p.m.
- Free: donations accepted to help fund Lincoln Drama Program
- Lincoln students will be in costume taking tickets
- Lincoln HS Drama will perform Grease at the Gesa Power House Theatre in January

Wa-Hi JROTC cadets seeking veteran photos
 Calling all VETERANS! The Walla Walla High School Junior ROTC cadets are looking for you, and your photos.

"We want to reach out to all veterans in our community," said cadet Lt. Col. Zach Chlipala, Blue Devil cadet battalion commander. "We hope they and their families will attend our annual Veterans Day assembly on Friday morning, Nov. 8. This year we're trying to expand the way we recognize and honor our veterans. We'd love to get photos from area veterans to use in our video that will run during the ceremonies."

The Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets, along with the ASB staff are already hard at work organizing the event to honor those who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, whether active, reserve, National Guard or retired, according to the Senior Army Instructor at Wa-Hi.

"Our cadets this year are working hard to gather photos of veterans, any photo would be a great start, but we're hoping to get 'then and now' images of every veteran, back when they were in the service and another more recent photo, too. We can accept images by email, or hard copy prints that we can scan and return immediately to the veterans or their families," said Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, WWHS JROTC SAI.

Further information for attendees and veterans intending to participate will be announced closer to the event. For more information about submitting photos, call the Senior Army Instructor at 509-527-3035 or email wwhs_rotc@wwps.org.

Community Stories
Dia de los Muertos free street festival fun for the entire family
Join us for Dia de los Muertos - a free street festival at the Gesa Power House Theatre - October 25 & 26.  Fun for the entire family - free activities and performances - food and art! The fun starts with our kick-off party Friday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. - Bonfire, food vendors, and a special performance by Ballet Folklorico!

Saturday - Festival begins at 11 a.m!
Free Kids’ Activities include:
- Face painting
- Sugar Skull Decoration
- Mask Decorating

Whitman College Art Department Steamroller Print Project – 1 to 5 p.m.
Giant relief prints are created using a steamroller as a printing press! A community activity table will be set up for adults and children to carve their own mini-relief blocks, which can be printed on t-shirts using the steamroller.

Pageant of the Dead - FREE 30 minute performances at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Lincoln High School students will perform the famous death scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most iconic works, narrated in English and Spanish. Lincoln High School students also created an 8’ altar art piece for the event.

Free show of the Anonymous People supports Trilogy Recovery
The film The Anonymous People will be shown next Wednesday, October 30 at 7 p.m. (ending at 8:30 p.m.) in Maxey Auditorium at Whitman College.  The screening is free, though donations will be accepted for Trilogy Recovery Community through the Mr. Whitman campaign.  

Check out a trailer here: http://vimeo.com/64948005

Whitman students team to form Girl Scout Troop
You are invited to join our Girl Scout Troop! Come have fun, make new friends, learn new skills, and take a new adventure! Please join us for an informational meeting for parents and their kindergarten/1st grade girls!

What: New troop information session
Who: Kindergarten & 1st grade girls (with their parent/guardian)
Date: Tuesday, November 5
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Whitman College Reid Campus Center Room G02 (280 Boyer Avenue)
For more information please contact: Brooke Bessen at bessenbl@whitman.edu or (310) 561-4806.

Whitman College students develop Story Time Project to promote literacy
The Story Time Project pairs college students into reading pairs, who then read for half an hour a week to children ages 2-8 in elementary schools, day cares, preschools, and pediatric clinics around Walla Walla. 

“Story Time is an important promoter of early literacy, and this year we are sending readers to classrooms in all six of Walla Walla's elementary schools,” said Marika Lou, Whitman College intern for the Story Time Project at Whitman College. Lou works in the Whitman College Student Engagement Center with Susan Prudente.

Recently, Story Time hosted an event for its volunteer readers at the public library, with the help of Whitman College Events and Reflection intern Katie Steen and Liz George, the Young People's Librarian at the public library. Volunteers were introduced to the library, learned how to be library advocates in the classrooms where they read, applied for library cards, participated in service projects to clean and alphabetize the children's section of the library, and set goals for themselves and their reading partners with regard to their participation in Story Time.

Milton Freewater Rotary brings Harlem Ambassadors basketball show to town
The fun begins at 7 p.m. on November 14 when the internationally acclaimed Harlem Ambassadors take on your local Rotarians in a fun-filled, family-friendly evening of basketball showmanship featuring high-flying slam dunks, ball-handling tricks, and hilarious comedy routines at the Mac-Hi gym in Milton Freewater. Bring the whole family to this event and experience laugh-out-loud comedy basketball for a good cause.  

There will be an opportunity to win an autographed basketball, purchase Harlem Ambassadors souvenirs, meet the Harlem Ambassadors during a free post-game autograph session, and snacks and beverages will be available for purchase. A limited number of tickets are available for this event, which supports the Milton Freewater Rotary Club, so get yours today! The MF Rotarians includes teachers, coaches, firefighters, police officers, and other local leaders.

Music, laughter, interactive games with the kids, prizes, hoops, hijinks, and more!

Advance tickets are on sale now: only $5-7. Tickets are available at Walla Walla Ace Hardware, the Milton Freewater Chamber of Commerce, the Milton Freewater US Bank, or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/476847

Call 509-526-1490 for more information.


Family fun planned at Walla Walla Community Resilience Festival Friday, Oct. 25
The Walla Walla community is invited to eat hot dogs, play RESILIENCE board games created by Lincoln High students, engage in a treasure hunt for "resilience" and just generally have fun at the Walla Walla Community Resilience Festival Friday, Oct. 25, in the Lincoln High School gymnasium. 

The celebration, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., is hosted by Walla Walla's Children’s Resilience Initiative in commemoration of the City Council's declaration of October as "Children's Resilience Month." The CRI is a team of community members, led by Teri Barila (Walla Walla Community Network) and Mark Brown (FRIENDS of Children of Walla Walla), working to increase positive, resilience-building experiences in the lives of community children, parents and families while working to reduce the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

The evening will give community members an opportunity to consider how "resilience" can trump ACEs, said Barila. ACEs, which include such things as verbal, emotional or physical abuse or growing up with a parent who suffers from drug addiction or alcoholism, have been linked to serious health problems in children and adults if left unaddressed. For more information on the festival, ACEs, resilience or the CRI, go to www.resiliencetrumpsaces.org or contact Barila at 509-386-5855.

D.A.R.E. Halloween Spaghetti Fundraiser
What: D.A.R.E. Halloween Spaghetti Fundraiser
Where: WW Elks Lodge, 351 E. Rose, Walla Walla
When: October 31 - 4 to 7 p.m.
Cost: $5 each or $20 for family of 6 - To Go Orders for $5 each
Menu: Scary Marinara Sauce, Frankenstein Meat Sauce, Spooky Salad, Creepy Bread, and Orange Witches Brew
Throughout the evening we will be including a parade of costumes with prizes.

Prescription Take Back Day October 26
Date: Saturday, October 26 
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Information: 509-524-4409
Location: Walla Walla Police Department
- No needles, sharps, or syringes
- No mercury thermometers
- No oxygen containers
- No chemotherapy/radioactive substances

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