Walla Walla Public Schools

Week in Review - October 21, 2005

Survey seeks community input on facilities perceptions and needs
The district has teamed with Strategic Research of Spokane to conduct a telephone survey among Walla Walla residents to assess their perceptions about the condition and adequacy of the district facilities, according to a report to school board members Tuesday night by Communications Director Mark Higgins.

“Strategic Research has a proven track record of helping school districts gain information and input from their communities on a variety of issues, including recently working with the Richland School District to assess facilities needs,” Higgins said.

The move is aligned with the district’s recently adopted Strategic Plan which calls for periodic surveying of community members. It also addresses a request from the school board and the district’s Community Facilities Task Force to get more information from the community regarding facilities.

Type of survey
- Telephone (random survey of 350 community members)
- 13 to 14 minutes to administer (provisions for Spanish speaking community members)
- Margin of error (+ or - 5.2 percent)

Survey Timeline
1. Field work (make calls) - Nov. 1-11
2. Compile survey results - Nov. 14-25
3. Survey results finalized - Nov. 28

Architects West unveils “first draft” conceptual building designs
Staff members at Edison, Wa-Hi, Paine Alternative Programs, and Support Services had their first glimpse into the future this week as Architects West displayed the initial conceptual designs of these facilities.

Although preliminary, the designs captured the imagination of staff as Architect John Evans took them on a virtual tour of the concepts. Staff members had many questions, suggestions and even concerns. Evans -- who has helped numerous school districts through this process -- reassured staff this is normal. Architects West will now take the feedback and begin making adjustments in preparation for their Nov. 17 and 18 visit.

This week’s visit marks the third since being hired as the district’s architectural consultant. Business Manager Aron Rausch said the district will also be working to get more accurate cost figures related to the projects. He said Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and other economic factors, are driving up construction costs. The district is targeting a Spring 2006 school bond.

District hires construction manager in preparation of school bond
The district hired Roen Associates of Spokane as the district’s construction manager. The construction manager will provide professional support to help the district control cost, schedule and quality of projects, should voters approve a future bond measure. School districts are required to have a construction manager in order to receive state matching funds for capital projects.

School board looks to go “paperless”
School board members heard presentations Tuesday night on two document management systems that would allow them to conduct “paperless” school board meetings and limit the need to have hard copy reports and supporting materials.

The systems are designed to allow all board business to be web-based. Meeting agendas, minutes, policies, and other school board business would be posted using the document management system. The Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) supports the concept and has endorsed “BoardDocs” as its vendor of choice.

Long-standing school board member Anne Golden, who also recently served as WSSDA president, also supports the concept and believes it would improve efficiency and ultimately cut costs through paper savings and staff time. Currently three districts in Washington state are using BoardDocs: Central Valley (Spokane), Kent and Monroe school districts. Technology Director Janis Barton also showcased a system available through “EduPortal.” School board members said they would like more information on document management systems and indicated they would be open to trying one at some point.

Community members tour Edison and Wa-Hi during Patron Tour program
The district continued its Patron Tour program this week with tours to Edison Elementary and Walla Walla High School. The goal of the program is to improve two-way communication and encourage a better understanding of the district’s mission, programs, needs, and accomplishments.
Special thanks to the following for taking time out of their busy schedules to participate:

Patron Tour Participants
- Kathy Hiatt McConnell - Director of the “Kids Place” Preschool
- Cynthia "Cindy" Shields - RN, BSN YVFWC (St. Mary’s, WW Clinic, Family Medical Center)
- Craig Miller - Senior Vice President, Key Technology
- Helen and Marshall Gray - Retired community members

The next Patron Tour will be Thursday, January 19 where guests will tour Paine Campus and Support Services. Contact Communications Director Mark Higgins at 526-6716 or mhiggins@wwps.org if you are interested in participating.

District plans American Education celebration - Thursday, November 17
Thursday, November 17
10 a.m. to 12 noon
• Visit the school of your choice (tour schools, visit classrooms, learn school improvement goals, meet students)
• We’ll even treat you to lunch!

Last year nearly 100 community members participated. Please contact Communications Director Mark Higgins at 526-6716 or by e-mail at: mhiggins@wwps.org if you know of people who are interested in participating.

Memorial Service held for bus driver
A Memorial Service for Bus Driver Tom Hull who passed away earlier this month will be Friday, October 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. at 521 E. Chestnut. This will be a potluck gathering.

Wa-Hi invites Veterans to assembly
All area veterans are invited to be special guests at Walla Walla High School’s annual Veterans Day assembly Wednesday, November 2 from 10:30 - 11:09 a.m. in the Wa-Hi Gymnasium. There will be coffee and cookies from 11:10 - 11:45 in the Commons following. Veterans who attend will have special seating. Please RSVP if possible to Lori Finn 526-8650.

Prospect Point parent event draws large crowd for Bilingual program overview
Prospect Point staff played host to 150 parents Wednesday night for a Bilingual/ESL program overview. Participants ate dinner, listened to good music, and even did some dancing. Parents appreciated the opportunity to learn about our programs and meet some of our staff. At the end of the program they participated in a survey that gathered valuable information about how our bilingual community perceives Prospect Point. We are hoping this will be the first step in a series of ways to connect with our parents.

Homelink staff and students support Hurricane Relief efforts
Congratulations to Homelink staff and students (grades 1-8) for raising nearly $500 to support hurricane relief efforts.

Patron Survey - District seeks community input
Walla Walla Public Schools is conducting its Fall 2005 Patron Survey. Community members are encouraged to take a few moments to complete this survey and provide the district with valuable feedback. The survey is on the district web site homepage. Direct link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=94687971776

Twelve Wa-Hi teams post state academic awards
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has announced the fall academic award winning athletic teams and as in past years our Blue Devil fall teams have excelled with 12 of our 14 fall teams winning WIAA academic performance awards. WIAA gives two team academic awards. The first is the Outstanding Team Scholastic Award for teams with a team accumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and the Distinguished Team Academic award for teams with a GPA of 3.0 to 3.499. The awards are based on the grades from their last grading period. The following are our teams that received recognition and their coach:
Outstanding Team Academic Award
- Frosh A Volleyball (3.864) - Brent Cummings
- Varsity Girls Cross Country (3.626) - Mike Locati
- J.V. Volleyball (3.616) - Angie Potts
- Varsity Volleyball (3.601) - Amy Hisaw/Audra Cummings
- Girls Varsity Soccer (3.584) - Genie Huntemann

Distinguished Team Academic Award

- Varsity Boys Cross Country (3.442) - Mike Locati
- Soph Volleyball (3.412) - Aneliese Stein
- Varsity Girls Swim ( 3.393) - Brad Daly
- J.V. Girls Soccer (3.354) Alyssa Latham
- Boys J.V. X-C (3.238) Clayton Hudiberg/Stacie Martin
- Frosh B Volleyball (3.131) Carolyn Pemberton
- Varsity Football (3.119) Marc Yonts and staff

“Our two teams that did not receive the awards were very close, missing by a fraction of a point—one had a 2.977 team GPA and the other a 2.864 team GPA—oh so close,” Athletic Director Don Wilkins said. “Congratulations to our athletes, teams and coaches. These awards are the result of the efforts of many—our athletes for their dedication and commitment to athletics and academics, to our coaches for their high expectations and the emphasis they place on academics and citizenship and to all of our staff for all they do to provide a quality education for our students.”

Gear Up program prepares students for college
Walla Walla High School Gear Up Site Director Mike Gwinn reported to school board members this week on how the program - designed to prepare students for college - is having a positive impact on campus. Gwinn, who is employed by Washington State University which serves as the fiscal agent for the Gear Up federal grant, said the program is gaining momentum.

The program offers support programs including: in-class tutoring, afterschool programs, college campus visits, assignment labs and more. The program is now in its second year at Wa-Hi.

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

District schedules Facilities Community Forums to discuss 25-Year Facilities Improvement Plan
Thursday, November 17
Edison Elementary School (1315 E. Alder)
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 29
Walla Walla High School Commons (800 Abbott Road)
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

- Review district’s conceptual 25-Year Facilities Improvement Plan
- Discuss potential projects: Edison Elementary, Wa-Hi, Paine Campus, Support Services
- Offer feedback on district’s facilities needs; provide input on projects and strategies
- Q & A session with Architect John Evans and Superintendent Rich Carter

Wa-Hi FFA Tractor Driving team on cruise control to another state title
Tuesday night’s school board meeting could have been a scene from the popular movie ‘Groundhog’s Day’ as the Wa-Hi FFA Tractor team once again repeated its state title performance. The Wa-Hi’s FFA Tractor team members -- led by advisors Mike Martin and Arch McHie -- don’t seem to mind the repeat appearances at school board meetings to show off their championship hardware. This is the team’s sixth state title in the past eight years.

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.

Garrison students support county flu shot program
Garrison Middle School 8th grade students in Leadership Class worked their Late Start and 1st period at the fairgrounds Wednesday directing traffic and helping with other odd jobs within the Flu Clinic at the WW County Fairgrounds. Teacher Conor Fish and student teacher Melissa Williams supervised the 22 students during their volunteer efforts. The students are part of a Leadership/Civics class that connects young leaders in our schools with opportunities to support community projects.
“We are constantly looking for ways to have our students share their talents with the larger community and the flu clinic (being on a Late Start) allowed us to combine the mission of our leadership class with the opportunity to support our community,” Garrison Assistant Principal Gina Yonts said. “This was a win/win for us!”

Dads visit elementary schools for Donuts for Dads
Dads went back to school Friday to learn more about their children’s elementary school during the annual Donuts for Dads program to help keep parents connected to school. Dads also helped read to their children and had a great time.

Pioneer supports Dessert for Dads
This week 35 fathers came and enjoyed cookies with their sons and daughters at lunchtime. The district is committed to organizing activities to bring parents and community members into their schools.

Personnel Report
• New Hires
(Certificated) - NONE TO REPORT

(Classified) - Veronica Esparza, Central Office Bilingual Receptionist, Admin Bldg.

• Resignations/Retirements - NONE TO REPORT

• Out of State Travel - NONE TO REPORT

Wa-Hi Instructional Coach has immediate impact of teaching and learning
Instructional Coach Mary Matau recently collected reading assessment for a group of 30 freshmen students who teachers knew were not being successful. She then called a meeting and facilitated a dialogue with all Freshmen English teachers and shared each student’s reading scores. Freshmen teachers gained valuable information about their students that each used to provide improved instruction for these students. Oscar Graybill, Director of Teaching and Learning, emphasized, “The role of an Instructional Coach is many faceted. Supporting new and veteran teachers in improving their classroom practice is one very important role, but providing data and information directly to teachers so teachers can immediately address the academic needs of students in their classes is an equally important role.”