Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 10, 2006

In this Issue:

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Union Bulletin Correction -- Bond cost figures wrong
There was an error in fact regarding finances of the proposed May 16 bond issue in the Wednesday, March 9 publication. The total for major projects (Wa Hi, Edison, Paine and Support Service Building), extra funding for improvements for all schools, technology and security upgrades in this first phase is $87,622,000 -- not $95.6 million as was reported.

The district’s first bond will be for $53,950,000, but the district will only intend to sell $46,950,000 in bonds in anticipation of College Place Schools’ paying an estimated $8 million for their share of secondary facility work (Wa Hi and Paine). The district also stands to receive $33,672,000 in state matching dollars for the May 16 bond proposal.

Cost for proposed PE/Athletic facility at Wa-Hi
Total cost for the PE/Athletic facility -- complete with a public all weather track, all weather infield, and bleacher system -- will be approximately $3 million. Approximately 25 percent or about $750,000 will be paid through local tax dollars.

The State of Washington will match approximately 25 percent and a private matching donation of $1.5 million from the Wa Hi Athletics Facility Funding Partners will pay for the rest. In essence this is a three to one match for taxpayers with these facilities, that will be used regularly for physical education activities, on site extracurricular activities and the public.

Construction cost expert explains why waiting to do projects will cost more
By Roger Roen, Director - Roen Associates, Construction Management

Any of us in the community who has tried to schedule subcontractors for a home remodeling project knows how busy trades people have been and what this has done to construction costs. We usually end up feeling grateful when they do show up whenever that may be.

We often end up paying substantially more for the work than originally anticipated. For people who are involved in large institutional or commercial building projects, the problem is magnified many times.

Because those projects have much longer planning, design, and construction schedules, greater caution is required to keep them on schedule and under budget.

The Walla Walla School District is acutely aware of the risks involved and has retained the services of my firm, Roen Associates — statewide construction cost experts — to ensure their taxpayer bond issue dollars are handled carefully and efficiently. School districts are required by law to retain these services.

While construction industry experts are predicting the residential building market will cool off during the coming years due to higher interest rates, the commercial and institutional building markets will heat up.

In the last several years the construction market has weathered the cost impacts of rapidly rising steel prices, concrete shortages, and a wildly fluctuating lumber market. While those effects have abated somewhat, local contractors find themselves very busy and have the chance to choose among numerous projects to bid.

This lack of competition also forces construction costs still higher and is actually a stronger influence than material price hikes. Predictions for cost increases vary from region to region; my experience indicates that most planners are using between six and eight percent for Eastern Washington.

The Walla Walla School District has considered these effects carefully in preparing the budget for this bond issue. The intent is to under promise and over deliver. Starting with a conservatively prepared budget and a well defined scope of work, the District will work diligently at every step of the way to insure that all of the projects are completed on time and under the budget.

My experience strongly indicates that this will require cooperation and sensitivity to budget among staff, community, and designers. This will require an ongoing understanding of local construction market forces and a proactive stance by the entire design team and other participants.

Along with Roen Associates, the District has an experienced management team in place to control cost and schedule in this uncertain construction market.

While construction costs have been increasing at an average of eight percent per year, the general inflation for the entire economy has been about half of that. All of this translates into construction costs which are rising faster than average consumer inflation.

This inflation rate, fueled by a very busy construction market, is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. Washington State University has many major projects in early planning stages, the University of Idaho will likely soon increase its construction activity, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver will have a major impact on our local market.

All of this makes the cost of deferring construction higher than it otherwise would be. The longer the District waits to address its construction needs, the more it will cost the taxpayer.

Staff Spotlight Employee of the Month - Brian Senter
Job title: Acting Teacher/ director/coach at Wa Hi.

Favorite food: Right now it’s singing pork, dancing veal -- what an entertaining meal!

Favorite movie: Viva Las Vegas

Most memorable moments: Meeting my wife Mary. We literally ran into each other in a doorway. She was going and I was coming. We hit, circled each other with much animosity. Thin line between love and hate.

Favorite Music: The album Learning to Crawl, by The Pretenders. The best concert I ever saw. Oh, Roy Orbison is amazing too.

Hobbies: Talking, Reading, Lawn chairing in the summer, camping, most all of the ings.

Something we don’t know about you:I have seen Spinal Tap in concert, the movie as well, and had at least six of them performed on me. The concert was the best of the three.

Favorite book: Santa land diaries, by David Sedaris, has to be the funniest read on the planet.

WASL testing begins Monday
Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) testing begins next week for all 10th grade students enrolled in Walla Walla Public Schools as well as for those 10th graders throughout Washington State. Students will test in Reading on Monday and Tuesday and in Writing on Wednesday and Thursday. Math and Science WASL testing is scheduled for April 18-21.

Testing at Opportunity will begin at 8 a.m.; at Paine, at 9 a.m. and at Wa-Hi, at 8:45 a.m. Students who are absent for any one of the days of testing will not receive a score for that section and will need to take the next scheduled WASL in that area to receive a score.

This 10th grade class (Class of 2008) is the first class required to meet standard on the Reading, Writing and Math WASLs in order to graduate. Current 9th, 11th and 12th graders may opt to take the WASL for the first time or a retake to attempt to raise their score, if they wish. Students may opt to retake only one section or all of the WASL if they so choose.

WASL scores currently appear on each student’s high school transcript. Only the highest score from any testing period will appear on the transcript: a Reading score from the Spring WASL could be used along with a Math score from an August retake. Students have up to five opportunities to meet standard on the WASL. The first retake is scheduled for August 2006, again in Spring 2007, again in August 2007 and if need be Spring 2008 for the Class of 2008.

WASL scores will be returned to students and parents by mid-June 2006. Students who score a Level 2, which is below standard, may register for a summer program designed to target specific skill areas where the student performed below standard. The Summer Institute will be offered over a six week period and end the week before the August retake.

Walla Walla will be one of the sites for this program. The location of the Summer Institute has yet to be determined. Students will be able to register for this program June 12-23, 2006. More information will be forthcoming regarding the Summer Institute. There is no charge for this six week summer program.

New WASL Online Resource Center
A new Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) online resource center for parents & students is now available. Visit it today at www.wasl2006.org!

The resource center provides students and their families with a convenient source of timely and important information regarding the WASL and the graduation requirement taking effect with the Class of 2008.

Key features of the site include:
• Schedule for this year’s WASL administration
• Straightforward answers about the development and scoring of the WASL
• Simple tips to help prepare students for the exam
• Link to a sample 10th grade WASL test
• Alternative assessment information
• Links to other important information

Wa-Hi Spring Leadership Camp this weekend
“We have had a great turn out for Wa-Hi’s spring leadership camp this weekend at Meadowwood Springs Camp near Tollgate with about 90 students planning to attend,” Assistant Principal Kirk Jameson said. “We look forward to a great time with the students and will tell you more next month.”

Local writers to visit Garrison Middle School
Monday, March 20
6:30 p.m.
Garrison Commons

Garrison Middle School will be host to Kelly Milner Halls and fellow writers Terry Davis and Chris Crutcher Monday, March 20. Kelly Milner Halls is a full-time freelance writer and reviewer specializing in children’s nonfiction, young adult literature and writing about writing.

Ms. Halls will make three presentations to students during the day and then will stay for an evening program for parents and teachers from throughout the district. The evening program is being sponsored by the Millennials grant and will include refreshments after the presentation. There will be a drawing for autographed books at the conclusion of the presentation.

Fort Walla Walla Museum offers Walla Walla schools free tours
Fort Walla Walla Museum offers free school tours with tour guides beginning April 1 through October 31. Boise Cascade, LLC and PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning provide funding for these tours allowing the Museum to offer them for free.

“The visits are important to the schools, too. It’s great to let kids come and explore the Museum,” Dr. Rich Carter, Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent said. “They get to experience first-hand a part of their curriculum that deals with State of Washington and local history.”

Museum tours match several aspects of both Oregon and Washington school curriculum requirements, and the Museum provides educators with a Teacher’s Guide to Fort Walla Walla Museum explaining curricular connections; offering fun, pre-visit worksheets for students; and providing a bibliography for additional reading.

The Museum covers the period from the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805-1806 through the fur trade era, the coming of missionaries, the Oregon Trail and pioneer days, Indian Wars and treaties, the Territorial period, and agriculture through the period of horse-powered farming in the 1930s. Learn more online: www.fortwallawallamuseum.org.

Wa-Hi Choirs qualify for state choral festival
Last week three Wa-Hi choirs -- Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Treble Ensemble -- participated in the Columbia Basin Music Educators Large Choir Contest at Whitman College.

All three groups received a “Superior” rating which qualifies them to participate in the Washington State Gold Standard Choral Festival at the University of Washington May 1-2.

Future Problem Solving teams qualify for state
Congratulations to Garrison, Pioneer and Wa-Hi Future Problem Solving (FPS) teams for qualifying for state. Garrison, under the direction of Explorers Teacher Beth Clearman, had eight out of nine teams make it to state. All sixth grade teams made it (5) and 3 out of 4 Garrison 7/8 grade teams qualified. Pioneer Middle School, led by Explorers Teacher Adam Withycombe had two teams qualify.

Wa-Hi Business Education and Occupational Education teacher Gay Buissink is the advisor for the Wa-Hi Future Problem Solving teams; the qualified FPS teams will travel to Stanwood, Washington, to compete at the State Bowl, April 12-14. If a team wins the State Bowl, they continue to the International Bowl in Denver, Colorado, in June.

Congratulations to the Wa-Hi State Future Problem Solving qualifiers:

Senior Division Team:
Nicole Sawatzki
Rocky Eastman
Nick Hurlburt
Yasmeen Colis

Senior Division Team:
Maeve McClellan
Emily Pinney
Josh Ness
Katie O’Brien

Middle Division Team:
Sierra Tinhof
Eva Reich
Jordan Ely

Middle Division Team:
Jeff Ladderud
Holly Erwin
Ryan Campeau
Tyler Hurlburt

Middle Division Team:
Glynis McClellan
Cameron Yancey
Casey Hutchinson

Middle Division Team:
Claudia Vargas
Jennifer Cains
Derek Reid
Jose Gomez

Scenario Writers
2nd place in State: Kate Stone

Garrison teacher selected to state writing leadership team
Congratulations to Garrison 6th and 7th grade reading teacher Susan Bauer for being selected to be a member of the statewide Writing Leadership Team.

“I am looking forward to learning more about the Writing WASL process and sharing it with my staff at Garrison and with the district,” Bauer said.

Goals for the team: New Writing Modules (Introductions and Conclusions, Elaboration, and the High School Writing Course) and review the status of writing in Washington state public schools.

Walla Walla students receive “Awards of Excellence” in state Reflection competition
Three Walla Walla students were awarded “Awards of Excellence” at the Reflections State Program level. This is an excellent showing from Walla Walla.

The students are:
• Andrew Hoffman - Pioneer
• Hannah Hampson - Sharpstein
• Alexis Nordman - Prospect Point

The Washington State PTA Reflections Program Awards ceremony will be held beginning at 1 p.m. on April 1st, 2006 at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien, WA. The ceremony is open to the public. During the awards ceremony, there will also be an Art Gallery displaying all the Washington State PTA Reflections Program Award Recipients’ art work.

Artwork from those students receiving the Outstanding Interpretation Award in Visual Arts, Photography, Literature, and Musical Composition will be forwarded on to the National PTA Reflections Program for further judging. Further information may be obtained by either calling me or by visiting the Washington State PTSA website at www.wastatepta.org

Sixteen students from the Walla Walla Valley participated in the Reflections program at the State PTA level. They were:
Greggory Heller - Garrison
Renée Heller - Prospect Point
Andrew Hoffman - Pioneer
Phillip McGuire - WA-Hi
Kiana Molitor - Prospect Point
Jason Barber - WA-Hi
Alexis Nordman - Prospect Point
Adelin Chapman - Edison
Avery Cortinas - Edison
Lisandra Dobson - Sharpstein
Hannah Hampson - Sharpstein
Solmayra Mendoza - Garrison
Josette Rader-Byrne - Garrison
Sarah Ray - Prospect Point
Corina Vernon - Green Park
Samantha Ward - Sharpstein

District sets Open Enrollment and Kindergarten registration dates
Walla Walla Public Schools Open Enrollment and Kindergarten Registration period is Monday, March 20, to Friday, March 31, 2006. Parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child to a school outside of their attendance area may pick up open enrollment application forms at their attendance area school during normal business hours beginning March 13; however, forms will not be accepted in the receiving school until Monday, March 20. Kindergarten registration will be conducted at the student’s attendance area elementary school.

If there’s space available to accommodate some but not all open enrollment requests, then the priorities outlined in School Board Policy No. 3130 will be used to determine movement of a student. School Board Policies are on the district website (www.wwps.org) and manuals are available at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the Administration Office.

Open Enrollment/Kindergarten Registration Hours
Monday, March 20 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 21 – March 31 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the Administration Office at 364 South Park Street.

Wa-Hi Drama Department gears up for Spring Musical - Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
March 16, 17, 18, 23 and 24 (Curtain Time: 7 p.m.)
March 18, 25 (2 p.m. Matinee)
Location: Walla Walla High School Auditorium
Cost: Students/Seniors $6, Adults $8 * Reserved Seating
Tickets: Telephone reservations begin March 1. Call 526 – 8613 or visit the auditorium Box Office March 13 – 15 and 20 –22, 5 – 6 p.m. * Box Office opens one hour prior to Curtain

Director: Brian Senter
Assistant Director: Carina Stillman
Musical Director: Ronda Gabbard
Orchestra Director: Andrew Ueckert
Choreographer: Allison Collette
Costumer: Maribeth Bergstrom
Set Design: Brian Hearden
Producer: Lynn Junke

Boggs reports All Day Kindergarten having positive impact
Assistant Superintendent Linda Boggs presented to school board members Tuesday night on the district’s all day kindergarten program. Now in its first full year districtwide, the program is already having a positive impact on academics according to Boggs. She said reading assessments indicated fewer students are at risk for literacy deficiencies.

She also said the program is popular with parents as only 12 out of approximately 400 students are participating in the district’s half-day program.
The district offered a half-day program to meet the needs of families who prefer more time with their children during the daytime.

Boggs said the all day program enriches the school experience by allowing more time for the following:
• Poetry
• Journal writing
• Drama
• Songs
• Art
• Science
• Social Studies
• Health
• Physical activity
• Handwriting
• Choice reading
• Mixing native English and Spanish

Boggs said the all day program also has other benefits for students, teachers and families.
“The teachers know the parents better,” Boggs said. “The environment is more relaxed and feels less rushed.”

The district’s Open Enrollment and Kindergarten Registration period is Monday, March 20 to Friday, March 31. Kindergarten registration will be conducted at the student’s attendance area elementary school.

Classified School Employee Week -- March 13-17

Tuesday night Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan led a recognition presentation during the school board meeting for the district’s classified employees in honor of Classified School Employee Week, March 13-17.

Walla Walla Public Schools Employees (PSE) President Larry McCauley and Vice President Mike Stroe were present to receive a proclamation from Governor Christine Gregoire recognizing and thanking classified employees for the outstanding work they are doing.

“These employees keep the system working,” Jordan said. “We can’t operate without their services.”
Assistant Personnel Director Pat Johnston was also on hand to extend her thanks to these employees. She said she appreciates the leadership and professionalism McCauley and Stroe bring to their positions.

“They have been great to work with,” Johnston said. “We keep the lines of communications open and meet on a regular basis.”

Public School Employees officers
Special thanks to the following classified staff members for their leadership and service to classified employees.

• President Larry McCauley (Plant Facilities)
• Vice President Mike Stroe
(Transportation Department)
• Secretary Jeanne Brewer
(Library Technician, Pioneer)
• Treasurer Rose Martin
(Para-Educator, Sharpstein)

Personnel Report - March 7 school board meeting
• New Hires - NONE TO REPORT

• Resignations/Retirements
(Certificated) Craig Mason, English Teacher, Wa-Hi, 7 months
(resignation effective 3/28/06)
Barbara Rutzer, Library Media Specialist, Prospect Point, 21 years

(Classified) Deanna Aichele, Kitchen Manager, Green Park, 26.5 years

(Coaching) Amy Hisaw, Head Girls’ Volleyball Coach, 2 years

Wa-Hi students to attend migrant leadership conference
Wa-Hi students Yesenia Ayala, Marina Marin, Victoria Meza, Oscar Pascual and Veronica Marin are set to participate in “The Opportunity to Succeed!” 20th annual Student Leadership Conference (SLC) at Central Washington University on March 23 - 26, 2006. Wa-Hi Bilingual teacher Karen Peddicord and district Migrant Intervention Specialist Melito Ramirez are advising the students.

The four-day conference sponsored by the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Migrant Education Program will bring 90+ high school students to the Ellensburg Campus. The students represent over 35 school districts from throughout the state.

“Students were selected based on outstanding leadership skills and their potential for future development,” Linda Roberts, Conference Coordinator, said.

Small group forums, led by a corps of volunteer professionals from both education and non-educational fields, will serve as the vehicle to promote student leadership, problem solving, self-esteem, trust building, communication skills, and values and goal setting. Recreational activities are designed to promote cooperation, trust and bonding. Students will also learn valuable life-skills which can be implemented in their own communities.

The Student Leadership Conference has received national recognition by the Department of Education by the Washington State School Board as an exemplary program serving educationally disadvantaged students.