Walla Walla Public Schools

Week in Review - September 30, 2005

School Board meeting scheduled
Tuesday, Oct. 4
7:30 p.m. / District Office Board Room (364 S. Park Street)
Open to public

Modernizing Wa-Hi key discussion during this week’s Architects visit
Nearly 40 Wa-Hi staff and administrators met Thursday night with representatives of Architects West to discuss plans for modernizing Walla Walla High School. Staff members’ input will be turned over to architect John Evans as he begins developing conceptual designs for a modernized school. Wa-Hi staff members were surveyed on whether they wanted to rebuild current buildings or build new. Grade level configurations were also discussed -- including talks about separate areas for 9th and 10th grade students. Evans plans to have a first draft conceptual drawing of what a modernized Wa-Hi could look like when he visits again Monday, Oct. 17.

Staff design teams from Edison, Paine Alternative Programs and Support Services also met with architects this week to discuss modernizing their facilities. The school district is considering a bond issue to modernize Wa-Hi, Paine Alternative, Edison Elementary and Support Services this spring. Community forums will be held in the coming weeks to provide more information and take input from community members.

Coffee Chat -- Superintendent Carter meets with Edison parents
This morning Superintendent Rich Carter met with Edison parents to begin his 2005-2006 Coffee Chat campaign. Each month Carter visits a different school to discuss issues, concerns, needs and accomplishments. The public is invited and encouraged to attend these events as the district strives to enhance community relations.

Next Superintendent’s Coffee Chat
Friday, October 21
• Walla Walla High School, Paine High School, Opportunity
Time: 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Location: Wa-Hi Commons

District seeks participants for next Patron Tour - Thursday, Oct. 20
Community members are encouraged to sign up for the district’s next Patron Tour featuring stops at Edison Elementary and Walla Walla High School. Participants also have an opportunity to meet with Superintendent Rich Carter and other district office administrators to learn more about the district’s five year Strategic Plan and future plan.

Next Patron Tour agenda (Thursday, October 20)
• District Office - 8:15 a.m.
(Welcome from Superintendent & overview of school operations)
• Tour Edison - 9:00 to 10:20 a.m. (visit classrooms, meet with students, discuss issues and needs)
• Tour Wa-Hi - 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Campus tour, visit classroom, meet with students, discuss issues and needs)

To sign up for the October 20 Patron Tour, contact Communications Director Mark Higgins: 526-6716 or e-mail: mhiggins@wwps.org

Wa-Hi Cross Country Team Elementary School Fun Run next week
Tuesday, October 4
3:45 p.m. (3:00 to 3:45 p.m registration)
Murr Sports Park (corner of Fern & Abbott Road)

• All Walla Walla Public Schools’ elementary students invited
• Running categories:
- Grades K-2 will run a 1/2 mile course (3:45 p.m. start)
- Grades 3, 4 & 5 will run a 1 mile course (4:00 p.m start)
• All runners will receive a participation ribbon
• Participation fee - one can of food
• Transportation NOT provided
• Have fun and run with Wa-Hi varsity cross country athletes!
For more information Contact Wa-Hi Cross Country Coach Michael Locati at 527-3037

Band, cheerleaders and ROTC support community during Wal-Mart grand opening - by Glen Mitchell, Director of Music
In response to Chris Hyland’s letter to the editor: Yes indeed, the Wa-Hi band, cheerleaders and ROTC color guard were at the recent grand opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter. Our school groups often perform for public functions of this nature. These community oriented celebrations give our students wonderful opportunities to display their talents. As Wa-Hi’s band director for 29 years, I have fond memories of the band performing at the opening of the Eastgate mall, The Blue Mountain mall, the Key Technology building and the Walla Walla airport.

In fact, the Wa-Hi band is scheduled to perform at the Super One grand opening celebration next week. Throughout the year you will also find our school district musicians at local nursing homes, hospitals and service organizations. We do our best to represent our school and community whenever and wherever the good citizens of Walla Walla congregate. We are proud of our community and this is one way for us to say thank you to the fine citizens that support us with their tax dollars.

Sharpstein’s staff makes heartfelt appeal for teacher Angie Martinez by Terri Gilbert
In April 2005, four-year old Andrew Martinez - son of Sharpstein Elementary Bilingual teacher Angie Martinez - was diagnosed with leukemia. The family immediately packed up and headed to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Jaime left his new job behind and Angie, eight months pregnant, took a leave of absence from teaching. Jaime, their oldest, was left with family and friends for the remainder of the school year. Angie’s mother worked extra hours to help her daughter financially. Baby Luis was born into a whirlwind of life.

How does a mother celebrate the life of her newborn son while holding her other son while he fights for his life?
Sharpstein staff was contacted by NBC to submit a tape about Angie Martinez and her family. Considering their current challenges, she may qualify as a possible benefactor of the new show, “Three Wishes”. A tape was made and submitted in Angie’s behalf, along with other deserving community proposals. Although Walla Walla was not chosen for the first nine episodes, a producer told us that we could keep trying through their “Christmas Wishes” episode. This project would involve our Sharpstein students writing letters to Santa and being taped asking for their three wishes: one for themselves, one for a friend or family member, and another for the community.

The staff discussed many positive needs for our community. Some ideas included:
- Angie’s needs- food, formula, diapers, baby necessities, vehicle, gas, etc. This could be done through a community-wide fundraiser and could also benefit our local Red Cross.

- An aquatic center in Ann Weatherill’s memory- Ann rallied to get an aquatic center as her daughter was very involved in swimming. Staff would like to support former Sharpstein families, such as the Weatherills

- A fundraiser for our local cancer center to help our families receive treatment closer to home. Sharpstein Staff have been greatly affected by cancer. We have staff members who have fought cancer, and others who have lost family and friends to this horrific disease.
This is a heartfelt project for our Sharpstein community as our students are becoming “Everyday Heroes.” Students, staff and families are creating their “Three Wishes.” Members of our community are enthusiastically stepping forward to assist with all aspects of this project, from organization to videotaping.

Wa-Hi Varsity Football on KTEL 1490 AM (Wa-Hi vs. Kennewick @ Kennewick - Lampson Stadium)
Tune to KTEL 1490 AM for tonight’s Big Nine varsity football match-up -- Wa-Hi vs. Kennewick. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. (away game). Go Big Blue!

Sculpture for deceased Garrison teacher to be unveiled at Walla Walla College
A sculpture dedicated to the memory of a beloved Walla Walla teacher Ann Weatherill will be unveiled on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. on the Walla Walla College campus between the Fine Arts Center and Bowers Hall.

The sculpture was commissioned by local businessman and writer, Charles Potts, to honor the life and public service of his wife, Ann, who died in a bicycling accident in May 2004.

Weatherill taught at Garrison Middle School for 20 years and was heavily involved with Spanish-language students there. Weatherill was also a fitness enthusiast who participated in the school district’s swimming program and cycled often. Her death led to a new traffic law in Washington State. The Ann Weatherill Safe Passing law is designed to provide added protection for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The bronze sculpture promotes bicycle safety and honors Weatherill’s life. It was designed by Vancouver-based Robert McNealy and cast at the Walla Walla Foundry. McNealy will participate in the October 15 dedication along with Tom Emmerson, chair of the art department at WWC, and Dan Lamberton, chair of the Humanities Coalition and English professor at WWC. Music will be provided by saxophonist Tyson Haynes and drummer Robert Perish.

A reception will be held at Weatherill’s family home, 350 Palouse St., following the unveiling and dedication.Weatherill had many friends on the WWC campus and was well known throughout the community. In the days following her death, the Walla Walla College Church opened its doors to the family and community for a memorial service. The Potts family is donating the still life sculpture in appreciation of the support the WWC campus gave the family at that time.

Symposium Reunion a success
District delivers progress report to community leaders
Walla Walla Public Schools provided a progress report to community leaders Wednesday at the Reid Center on the campus of Whitman College. Participants received copies of the district’s recently adopted Strategic Plan and listened to accomplishments to date on goals indentified in the plan. Participants also received an overview of the district’s facilities improvement efforts — including a report from John Evans of Architects West.

More than 100 people attended the “Symposium Reunion” to stay connected to their Walla Walla Public Schools. The group was then surveyed at the end of the session. Survey results below: (The district is planning to put this same survey on its website in the near future for all community members to complete)

Symposium Reunion Participants
Roger Bairstow
Teri Barila
Doug Barram
Jeanne Beirne
Carmen Bernal
Suzanne Broetje
Mark Carlile
Charles Clizer
Merilyn Clizer
Megan Clubb
Kathy Covey
Mike Dedman
Roz Duthie
Jock Edwards
Tim Edwards
Chuck Fulton
David Hampson
Theresa Hampson
Bob Hill
Gretchen Hormel-Tomkins
Mary Koch
Scott Krivoshein
Maria Marin
Joanne Martin
Jim McCarthy
Tim McCarty
Cathy McConnel
Cindy Meyer
Carol Morgan
Steve Moss
Leticia Ornelas
Richard Pankl
James Payne
Tim Payne
Richard Pelo
Matthew Perkins
Jim Peterson
Robin Peterson
Dennis Poffenroth
JoAnne Price
Dan Reid
Abe Roberts
Phil & Jan Rolfe
Jackie Scholl
Laura Schueller
Ned Shafer
LaDessa Smelcer
Bill Storms
Hal Thomas
Terry Thomas
Mark Thompson
Jeffrey Townsend
Carl Tyler
J.R. Van Slyke
Dave Warkentin
Cindy Widmer
Ellen Wolf
Dana Yarwood

Symposium Reunion Survey Results (responses from the community members -- listed above -- in attendance)

1. Walla Walla Public Schools’ 2005-2010 Strategic Plan captures the vision of the Symposium group regarding district needs and its future:
Strongly agree: 32% / Agree: 49% / Not Sure: 13% / Disagree: 3% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 3%

2. I am generally pleased with the quality of education provided:
Strongly agree: 16% / Agree: 63% / Not Sure: 14% / Disagree: 3% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 3%

3. The quality of education has increased in the past two years:
Strongly agree: 14% / Agree: 17% / Not Sure: 57% / Disagree: 6% / Strongly disagree: 2% / No Entry: 3%

4. Graduates are ready to enter the workforce or higher education:
Strongly agree: 6% / Agree: 38% / Not Sure: 30% / Disagree: 21% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 5%

5. School employees in our community care about students:
Strongly agree: 43% / Agree: 48% / Not Sure: 5% / Disagree: 0% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 5%

6. The Walla Walla School District spends tax dollars wisely to meet learning needs:
Strongly agree: 21% / Agree: 43% / Not Sure: 25% / Disagree: 5% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 5%

7. Schools in Washington State are adequately funded:
Strongly agree: 3% / Agree: 5% / Not Sure: 17% / Disagree: 44% / Strongly disagree: 22% / No Entry: 8%

8. The district is fiscally responsible:
Strongly agree: 24% / Agree: 51% / Not Sure: 14% / Disagree: 5% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 6%

9. Schools have enough money to do what they need:
Strongly agree: 0% / Agree: 10% / Not Sure: 22% / Disagree: 48% / Strongly disagree: 17% / No Entry: 3%

10. I feel welcome in Walla Walla Public Schools:
Strongly agree: 49% / Agree: 32% / Not Sure: 14% / Disagree: 2% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 3%

11. Administrators in the district listen to me:
Strongly agree: 30% / Agree: 43% / Not Sure: 11% / Disagree: 10% / Strongly disagree: 2% / No Entry: 5%

12. Concerns are addressed by district administrators:
Strongly agree: 6% / Agree: 52% / Not Sure: 19% / Disagree: 16% / Strongly disagree: 3% / No Entry: 3%

13. The district does a good job of communicating with the public:
Strongly agree: 22% / Agree: 57% / Not Sure: 10% / Disagree: 3% / Strongly disagree: 3% / No Entry: 5%

14. I get the information I need and want:
Strongly agree: 16% / Agree: 56% / Not Sure: 16% / Disagree: 6% / Strongly disagree: 2% / No Entry: 5%

15. Walla Walla Public Schools have a good reputation:
Strongly agree: 29% / Agree: 56% / Not Sure: 8% / Disagree: 3% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 5%

16. District facilities are meeting the needs of students/staff:
Strongly agree: 3% / Agree: 11% / Not Sure: 24% / Disagree: 41% / Strongly disagree: 14% / No Entry: 6%

17. The district does a good job of maintaining schools:
Strongly agree: 11% / Agree: 49% / Not Sure: 27% / Disagree: 10% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 3%

18. I believe Walla Walla Public Schools are safe:
Strongly agree: 11% / Agree: 43% / Not Sure: 37% / Disagree: 5% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 5%

19. Walla Walla High School, Edison, Support Services, Paine Alternative School need modernization:
Strongly agree: 63% / Agree: 27% / Not Sure: 2% / Disagree: 3% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 5%

20. I support a long-range approach to facilities planning:
Strongly agree: 70% / Agree: 24% / Not Sure: 2% / Disagree: 0% / Strongly disagree: 0% / No Entry: 5%

21. Student access to modern technology is important to learning:
Strongly agree: 68% / Agree: 16% / Not Sure: 5% / Disagree: 2% / Strongly disagree: 2% / No Entry: 8%

22. Students have adequate access to technology:
Strongly agree: 5% / Agree: 8% / Not Sure: 43% / Disagree: 33% / Strongly disagree: 3% / No Entry: 8%

23. Would you give Walla Walla Public Schools a grade of:
A: 13% / B: 62% / C: 16% / D: 3% / F: 0% / No Entry: 6%

Investigation of Wa-Hi bomb threat continues
No bombs found - No arrests made

Walla Walla High School administrators – in cooperation with Walla Walla County Sheriff Department officers - are still investigating a bomb threat which caused a disruption to classes Wednesday. No bomb was found on campus following numerous searches and no arrests have been made.

The bomb threat notice was discovered Tuesday afternoon by a staff member and immediately led to the launching of the school’s Emergency Response Plan. Wednesday morning Walla Walla County Sheriff’s officers and Wa-Hi administrators searched the entire campus prior to students coming to school. School was in regular session Wednesday using the the normal delayed start schedule.

Bomb sniffing dogs were then brought in at mid-morning to further enhance searches. Students’ backpacks were also searched and cars were monitored coming and going from campus.
The incident led to many students going home for the day after receiving notes from their parents excusing their absences.

Principal Brian Pendleton sent a letter home with all students in English and Spanish detailing the incident. On Thursday, teachers will discuss this issue with students and talk about the seriousness of this type of behavior. The district has a zero tolerance policy regarding threats against school safety. Threats of this nature are criminal offenses.

“We commend the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Department for their support and expertise throughout this incident – they had a tremendous positive presence on campus today,” Communications Director Mark Higgins said. “Wa-Hi administrators, staff and students are also to be acknowledged for their efforts to keep their school safe. These types of incidents have a way of pulling people together as a team working for the common good of all.”
The investigation will continue. Those who have information regarding this incident are asked to report it to the Principal’s office, Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Department or the Safe School Hotline # 1-800-418-6423 Ext. 359 immediately. Contact Communications Director Mark Higgins for more information regarding the Wa-Hi Bomb threat: (509) 526-6716 (office) or (509) 520-6242 (cell).

Wa-Hi Latino Club volunteers to enhance parent involvement
Members of Wa-Hi’s Latino Club volunteered to call Hispanic parents last Saturday to remind them of Curriculum Night. The students took on this project to help promote the importance of parent involvement in school.

Garrison music teacher to play in local concert
Garrison Middle School Instrumental and Vocal Music teacher Sue Friese and the Inland Northwest Musicians Orchestra will be performing at the Wa-Hi Auditorium Sunday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. Friese plays the viola in the symphony which is conducted by her husband R. Lee Friese. The concert is free and will feature Young Artists competition winners. The orchestra also accepts donations to help pay for travel costs and other expenses. Contact Friese at 527-3040 for more information.

Wa-Hi FFA Team once again State Tractor Driving Champions
Wa-Hi’s FFA Tractor team continues to drive away from its competition after recently recording another state title. Three Wa-Hi students tied for 1st Place with perfect driving and knowledge scores. The State Winning Tractor Driving Team consists of: Bret McKinney, Blake Hale and Zach Harvey (all had perfect scores in both the knowledge and driving therefore placing for a 3 way tie for first). Shance Orchard -- whose mom Sherry is a secretary at Garrison Middle School -- placed 9th, while Pat Tucker -- whose mom Tami is a payroll specialist in the Business Office -- placed in the top 25 percent of contestants and Joe Wilder placed in the top third. Congratulations for another outstanding effort!

County Health Department offers flu shots at WW Fairgrounds
Walla Walla County Health Department is providing a clinic that will conveniently and effectively provide flu vaccine, while testing their ability to respond to an epidemic disease in our community.

Walla Walla County Health Department and other health care providers in the area (Blue Mountain Medical Group, Walla Walla Clinic, Walla Walla General Hospital, St. Mary Medical Center, St. Mary Physician Group and Family Medical Center are conducting a three (3) day flu clinic at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds Community Building.

NOTE: These clinics will be October 18, 19, and 20, from 7 am to 5 pm. The cost will be $25 per person. Valley Transit will offer free bus service to the clinic site.

They are also looking for volunteers to assist with clerical tasks, traffic flow, parking and hospitality. Medical personnel, active and inactive, would also have an opportunity to share the needed skills.

If you would like to volunteer your time or have any further questions contact Nancy Wenzel at Walla Walla County Health Department, (509) 524-2662, by October 7, 2005.

Narum Concrete donates concrete services for FFA project
Special thanks to Narum Concrete Construction for graciously donating eight yards of concrete and having a crew pour concrete for the new Wa-Hi FFA Sheep Barn. Narum employees will also be demonstrating how to perform this work for Wa-Hi Mechanic students.
“The students will be watching and learning about concrete, as this is part of the curriculum.” Wa-Hi Agriculture teacher Mike Martin said.
Funding for the 20’ x 48’ building was covered by grants and donations. Construction of the barn was completed with help of community volunteers, Agriculture teachers Mike Martin & Arch McHie, Ed Planteric (school farm neighbor) and a large number of Wa-Hi FFA alums.

Business Office puts in extra workload to complete payroll services
Each September staff in the Business Office take on extra workloads to complete payroll and accounts payable for the new budget year and to close out the prior fiscal year. Endless data entry functions must occur to get in all the new information for the school year and end of fiscal year.
“Open enrollment for health insurance and other deductions creates increased work load for our staff,” Business Manager Aron Rausch said. “They do this work with a smile because they believe in supporting the district and staff. I would put our staff up against any in the state. They do whatever is necessary to get the job done.”

Garrison teacher named 2005 Northwest Professional Rodeo Association Barrelman of the Year
Congratulations to Garrison Middle School 7th grade Social Studies teacher and football coach Jason Harrison for being named the 2005 Northwest Professional Rodeo Association (NPRA) Barrelman of the Year. “J.J,” as he is known in the arena - who has been a teacher in the district for seven years -- was honored in Klamath Falls for his accomplishments following the NPRA Finals. This is Harrison’s first complete season as a barrelman on the circuit. He also has experience as a rodeo clown and was on the college rodeo team while attending Washington State University. He loves animals and has several horses of his own. Congratulations!