Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - August 22, 2014

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District Stories

School Board unanimously approves 2014-15 budget

The district remains on solid fiscal ground following the Board of Directors’ unanimous approval of the $67.5 million 2014-2015 General Fund Budget during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting. The General Fund maintains a $5.8 million reserve or approximately 8.7 percent.

Executive Director of Business Services Ted Cohan says a fund balance in excess of eight percent is considered outstanding. He also reported the approved General Fund Budget contains no recurring expenses from the fund balance. Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan insisted on this budgeting strategy. Jordan said taking recurring expenses from reserves is not sustainable.

The 2014-2015 General Fund Budget is based on student enrollment of 5975 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students. Last year the district set its enrollment budget target at 6117 FTEs, but the actual school year average came in at 6040. The scaled back enrollment estimate for this year is a conservative target, according to Cohan. He stated he anticipates it coming in slightly higher, but wanted to build in a cushion in light of last year’s missed estimate. Each FTE student generates nearly $6000 in state revenue.

2014-2015 Approved Budgets

General Fund - $67,555,250

ASB Fund - $1,217,118

Debt Service Fund - $3,566,244

Capital Projects Fund - $788,303

Transportation Fund - $272,914

Enrollment Targets for 2014-15

- 5975 FTEs 14-15 Budget target

- 6117 FTEs 13-14 Budget target

- 6040 FTEs 13-15 actual average

Subject to Change: Currently, 45 College Place 9th grade students have elected to attend Wa-Hi this school year. Approximately 18 Wa-Hi 9th grade students to date have “choiced” to attend College Place High School. This is presently a net 27 FTE for WWPS.


Washington’s ACT Participation and Results Slowly Continue to Rise

Our state’s graduating seniors outscore national average, but achievement gap remains
Washington’s 12th graders have again outscored the national average on the ACT exam in the 2013-14 school year, according to numbers released by ACT this week. Washington’s average composite score is 23. That is the nation’s seventh highest among the 46 states and the District of Columba in which at least 20 percent of graduating seniors took the test.

A “composite score” consists of four content areas: English, reading, math and science. Scores are scaled from 1 (lowest) to 36 (highest). This year’s national average composite score is 21.

“Our students perform well, overall, on the ACT, and they continue to improve,” said State Superintendent Randy Dorn. “But the achievement gap remains between racial subgroups and we need to do better.”


SEA-TECH Skills Center Public Dedication

- Thursday, Sept. 18
- 9:30 to 10 a.m. (Program)
- 10 to 11 a.m. (Tours)
- SEA-TECH Skill Center (525 Campus Loop -- WWCC)
- Event open to the public


Personnel Report (from 8/19/14 school board meeting)

EMPLOYMENT
Certificated:
Megan Blair-Cabasco, State & Federal Program Accountability Coordinator, CIA
Ashley Collins, Science (temporary), Garrison Middle School
Diana Erickson, Bilingual Literacy Specialist (retire/rehire .25 FTE), CIA
Sarah Foster, Social Studies, Walla Walla High School
Nicholas Genereux, Science (temporary), Walla Walla High School
Lindsey James, English, Walla Walla High School
Kelsie Loree, Special Education, Edison Elementary
Nathan McClure, English (temporary .8 FTE), Walla Walla High School
Vanessa Prull, LAP Teacher, Blue Ridge Elementary

Classified:
Charles Broughton, Assistant Secretary, CIA
Gretchen Foertsch, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Elementary
Brittney Kubik, Para-Educator (temporary), Walla Walla High School
Karen Larson, Sign Language Para-Educator, Sharpstein Elementary
Jordon Poynor, Para-Educator, Pioneer Middle School
Nicole Redman, Homelink Program Assistant Secretary, Berney Elementary
Stacy Shake, Substitute Coordinator, Personnel Department
Lindy Tibbling, Para-Educator (temporary), Lincoln High School
Susan Weber, AVID Coordinator, Walla Walla High School

Coaching:
Hollis Erikson, Head Boys’ Soccer Coach, Walla Walla High School
Nancy Rose, Head Boys’ and Girls’ Swimming Coach, Walla Walla High School

RETIREMENT/RESIGNATION
Certificated: Andrew Blumel, Social Studies, Walla Walla High School, 4 years
Makena Busch, English Language Arts/CTE, Walla Walla High School (did not begin)
Colleen Chamberlain Biddle, Learning Specialist, Green Park Elementary, 10 years
Michelle Enriquez, Bilingual First Grade, Sharpstein Elementary, 2 years
Eva Hanson, Counselor, Walla Walla High School, 14 years

Classified: Kathy Gifford, Substitute Coordinator, Personnel Department, 17 years
Dean Harman, Custodian, Facilities & Operations/Transportation, 3 years
Elizabeth Hernandez, Bilingual Assistant Secretary, Edison Elementary, 4 months
Tina McCrae, Health Clinician, Blue Ridge Elementary, 1 year
Karen Watson, Cook, Berney Elementary, 15 years

LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Certificated: Georgiann Delgadillo, Homelink, Berney Elementary, 4 years (September – December 2014)
Chad Hulett, Math/Science, Garrison Middle School, 22 years
(Chad is taking an LOA from his math/science position to teach industrial arts)
Lindsey Parkins, Physical Education, Garrison Middle School, 5 years (For the 2014-2015 school year)
Sean Reid, Garrison Middle School, 11 years (Sean is taking an LOA from his ELA position to teach physical education)

Classified: Brooke Bouchey, Intervention Specialist, Lincoln High School, 7.5 years (For the 2014-2015 school year)
Susan Echtenkamp, Cook, Pioneer Middle School, 13 years (September – December 2014)
Sarah Spiess, Para-Educator, Lincoln High School, 4 years (For the 2014-2015 school year)


Walla Walla Public Schools notify parents district schools did not meet federal academic progress targets

Thousands of Walla Walla Public Schools parents received letters in the mail this week informing them their child’s school did not meet federal academic progress targets. This action stems from the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of a state waiver to ease No Child Left Behind Adequate Year Progress (AYP) requirements which lists most schools in the state as failing.

“For schools to meet AYP this year, 100 percent of all students – regardless of special needs or English Language proficiency – must meet proficiency standards,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Boggs who manages the district’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department. “We feel these unrealistic requirements are overly demanding and regressive as we know not all schools in our state are failing.”

The loss of the waiver has a significant economic impact on the district as well. In order to receive the $1.4 million in Title I funding, Walla Walla Public Schools must set aside 20 percent of these funds to pay for students to transfer to a school that meets the federal requirements or pay for private tutoring. Title I funds were established by the federal government to be used at schools with high poverty rates.

Edison and Blue Ridge Elementary and Garrison and Pioneer Middle Schools and Lincoln High School families are receiving letters this week. The other schools escaped receiving notifications due to complex federal and state rules.

“While not all students have reached proficiency, we are proud of the academic growth our students are making,” Boggs said. “Our use of target resources to assist struggling students and schools has made a significant difference in their academic achievement.”

Parents are encouraged to talk to their school principal for more information.



First day of school Tuesday, Sept. 2

School starts Tuesday, Sept. 2. Visit the district website for back-to-school information and news. www.wwps.org


School Stories
Local donations pave way for students to see presentation from famous astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Approximately 400 Walla Walla students will be able to attend a once-in-a-lifetime presentation from world famous scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson thanks to nearly $20,000 in local donations. Students will join Tyson Sept 11 and 12 to see his “Cosmos” presentation at Cordiner Hall on the campus of Whitman College. This amazing learning activity was made possible in coordination with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program. The CCLS program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

“Tyson is the premiere astrophysicist in the USA and is a bonafide celebrity with regard to his passion and desire to engage the American public in the mysteries of space through popular mediums including his FOX TV show Cosmos,” said Brent Cummings, 21st Century Community Learning Centers director. “The importance of his presentation to the community and our at-risk 21st CCLC students, who would be attending, is enormous.”

Cummings said numerous local community organizations and businesses have risen to the challenge of raising the necessary funds to make this experience possible for Walla Walla students.

“The money they donated will be applied directly to seating costs for 410 impoverished, minority, and/or underserved Walla Walla Public Schools students,” said Cummings. “Like the students targeted to attend his presentation, Neil DeGrasse Tyson grew up an impoverished, minority public school student waiting for his moment of inspiration.”

Approximately 60 Walla Walla students will also have a private sit-down conversation with Tyson at Main Street Studios as another opportunity for inspiration.


New boiler installed at Berney Elementary

This week, two new energy efficient boilers were set in place at Berney Elementary School by local contractor Cutting Edge Plumbing. The crane operation services were provided by Opp and Seibold General Construction of Walla Walla. The original Berney stream boiler was only 60 percent efficient while the two new boilers boast 92 percent efficiency ratings. The total project cost is approximately $162,000 and will be completed in early October.

“The main vessel of the boiler has deteriorated to the point of creating a substantial water leak and is no longer repairable,” said Dan Johnson, WWPS Facilities Operations director. “The two new two energy efficient boilers will provide a safe and comfortable learning environment.”


Slots still available for Head Start preschool

Walla Walla Public Schools Head Start/ECEAP preschool invites families to apply for the 2014-2015 school year!  If your child will be three or four-years-old by August 31, he/she may have the opportunity to have fun while learning and preparing for Kindergarten, at no cost. Classes are held 3 ¼ hours, four days a week, with meals provided. The program is focused on school readiness in all areas of development and provides comprehensive family support. Special education, counseling and limited busing services are available to qualified families. Space is limited and acceptance is based on eligibility. Visit www.wwps.org/programs/head-start-eceap or call (509) 527-3066 for more information.  Applications always available and accepted at Blue Ridge.


2014 Open Houses and Welcome Back Socials

Berney Elementary: September 24
- 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Blue Ridge Preschool: September 18
- 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Blue Ridge Elementary: September 18
- 6 to 7 p.m.

Edison Elementary: August 27
- 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Green Park Elementary: August 28
- 4 to 6 p.m.

Prospect Point Elementary (Curriculum Night): September 18
- 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Sharpstein Elementary: August 27
- Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Garrison Middle School: September 23
- 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Pioneer Middle School: September 15
- 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Lincoln High School: September 4
- 5 to 6 p.m.

SEA-TECH Skills Center: August 25
- 5 to 7 p.m.

Walla Walla High School: September 22
- 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.


Community Stories

Stories coming soon...

This school year look for news on community events and activities which have links to children and families. We are excited to continue our partnership with the community this school year. 


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