Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - August 25, 2006

In this Issue:

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Back to school basics

- School starts Wednesday, August 30 (NO DELAYED START OR EARLY RELEASE -- FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!)
- School hours online (www.wwps.org)

Board approves 2006-2007 budget
Trend to reduce spending may continue next year

School board members Tuesday night approved the district’s 2006-2007 Annual Budget -- which includes the $51,038,621 General Fund. Business Manager Aron Rausch reviewed highlights of the budget prior to recommending to school board members they approve the document which has been discussed at several work sessions and preliminary meetings prior to Tuesday night’s meeting.

Upon approving the budget, school board president Mary Jo Geidl praised Rausch and Superintendent Rich Carter for keeping the school board involved throughout the entire budgeting process.

District administrators, with the input and assistance of staff and other stakeholders, worked as a team this school year to develop a budget which brings the district’s expenditures more in line with revenue.

After dipping into reserves to the tune of $1.1 million last fiscal year to balance the General Fund budget, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan and Assistant Superintendent Linda Boggs led the district through a budget trimming process last school year which netted more than $1 million in spending reductions.

This team effort to trim expenditures began last fall as Administrative Council members were briefed by Superintendent Rich Carter on the need to reduce spending to meet the school board’s call for a three to five percent cash reserve.
After receiving direction, Jordan and Boggs began a series of meetings with staff to find ways to save money. Their efforts resulted in numerous internal personnel shifts and creative cost cutting efforts in supplies, equipment purchases and contractual services.

Through it all, no staff members lost their jobs through Reduction In Force maneuvers, as all staff adjustments were made through attrition from retirements or positions becoming vacant for other reasons.

Rausch said the 2006-2007 General Fund budget is balanced, accept for approximately $300,000 in special education expenses over revenue which is expected to correct itself once federal “Safety Net” dollars for those programs come in. Rausch said the projected three percent cash reserve is based on conservative budgeting and could come in higher when the district closes out the 2005-2006 budget later this fall.

Rausch stressed the trend to continue reducing and re-prioritizing expenditures may remain for at least another budget year to ensure adequate cash reserves.

2006-07 Budget Basics
• General Fund: $51,038,621

• Enrollment Projections: 5,665 FTE (down 30)
(5,695 FTE projections for 05-06)

• Staffing: 397.4 Certificated / 237.8 Classified

• District Fiscal Year: September 1 to August 31

Board seeks community input and recommendations for facilities issues
School board members conducted a public work session Tuesday night to resume discussions on district facilities needs following last May’s rejected bond issue. School board president Mary Jo Geidl chaired the session attended by approximately 50 people.

Geidl reviewed themes and messages which have surfaced as to why the bond was not successful. She stressed the school board was committed to garnering community involvement to help get input as to what the district’s next steps should be. School board members and district officials will be conducting surveys this fall in hopes community members will be open about their thoughts, concerns and ideas regarding the district’s facilities needs.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first formal discussion on facilities issues since May. No further meetings on this issue have been set at this time.

Staff busy this week reviewing classroom learning strategies
Across the district this week staff members were attending workshops to review and learn new strategies for effective learning. Tuesday approximately 100 elementary teachers met at the Walla Walla Regional airport to receive an overview of the district’s recently adopted new reading curriculum. The three-hour workshop was designed to help teachers get familar with the new materials to best meet the needs of all learners.

Secondary teachers met Thursday at the district office to study effective instructional strategies. New Wa-Hi Principal Darcy Weisner brought his entire administrative team to participate in the session. Special programs staff members attended training this week too as they strive to find the best strategies possible to serve students and their families.

Author and educator Doug Buehl meets with staff
Today author and educator Doug Buehl met with intermediate, middle and high school teachers in all content areas at the Wa-Hi Auditorium to introduce a user-friendly collection of literacy skill-building strategies. These strategies are designed to easily be adapted to a variety of ability levels and content areas.

Buehl recently presented at a WORD conference in the Tri Cities and Walla Walla teachers who attended highly recommended that we bring him to our district. Doug has authored a book, “Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning,” that is widely used by secondary teachers.

Wa-Hi Orchestra to play at Farmer’s Market Saturday
Members of the Wa-Hi Orchestra will perform Saturday, August 26 at the Farmer’s Market for Kids Day. There will be lots of activities there especially for kids - including an instrument petting zoo! Members of the Wa-Hi Orchestra will be at the Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to give kids an opportunity to play the violin, viola, cello, & double bass.

“If you’ve ever wanted a chance to try playing a string instrument ... come visit us on Saturday,” Orchestra teacher Julia Woods said.

PERSONNEL REPORT (from School Board Meeting August 22)

Certificated: Carrie Gonzales, Kindergarten Teacher, Berney Elementary
Rich Gwinn, Physical Education, Sharpstein Elementary
Erin Morgan, ESL Teacher, Walla Walla High School
Terry Olson, Vocational Teacher, Walla Walla High School
Al Sievertsen, Math Teacher, Walla Walla High School

Classified: Amber Broel, In-School Suspension Supervisor, Pioneer Middle School
Israel Martinez, Assistant Secretary, Pioneer Middle School
Sara McMasters, Health Clinician, Pioneer Middle School
Timothy Palmer, Custodian, Walla Walla High School
Edna Walker, Library/Media Technician, Pioneer Middle School
Teresa Weaver, Health Clinician, Blue Ridge Elementary


Certificated: Keenan Failing, Science Teacher, Pioneer Middle School, 5 years
Classified: Jacqueline Broel, In-School Suspension Supervisor, Pioneer Middle School, 26 years

Classified: Cami Coers, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 2 years
· Leave of absence for the 2006-2007 school year.

Joe Selby, Custodian, Walla Walla High School, 7 years
· Leave of absence for September 2006

Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days
Next week Walla Walla Public Schools student work and projects will be on display at the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days. Remember to stop by the Education Building to see student art, science projects, poems, shop projects and more.

The district will also have an information station at the Education Building stocked with school calendars, sports schedules, district information and surveys regarding the district’s facilities needs.

Retired Wa-Hi teacher Jim Ebding will continue to serve as the Education Building Coordinator.

Wa-Hi Latino Club members attend leadership camp
Eariler this summer Wa-Hi juniors Marina Marin, Stella Miranda, Kelsey Trejo, and Flor Gomez attended the Bilingual Leadership Development Camp at the Chewelah Peak Learning Center located 40 miles northwest of Spokane. Topics covered included goal setting, organizational techniques, communication, group process, problem solving, and human relations.

“The four girls had a wonderful experience and are anxious to use their new skills as the Latino Club officers for the 2006-07 school year,” District Bilingual Coordinator Diana Erickson said.

Flor is also an ASB commissioner this school year.

District migrant specialist earns state honors
Congratulations to district Migrant Intervention Specialist Melito Ramirez for recently being honored by the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction as the Washington State Migrant Records Clerk of the Year.

Ramirez earned the accolades for his efforts working with migrant youth in the Walla Walla Valley. He was honored at an awards banquet in Yakima August 17.

“The quality he demonstrates in his work for our valley carries over into his work for Walla Walla School District, which we greatly appreciate,” District Bilingual Coordinator Diana Erickson said.

Wa-Hi students participate in Hispanic Youth Exploring Engineering Camp
Earlier this summer seven Walla Walla students joined other Hispanic students from Granger, Wapato, and Toppenish at the third annual Hispanic Youth Exploring Engineering (HY’EE) camp held at Washington State University.

Students Claudia Vargas, Edgar Ruiz, Jennifer Lopez, Jorge Garcia, Chantell Lopez, Dulce Ramirez, and Jessica Lozano spent four days at WSU focusing on career opportunities available in engineering, math, and science fields. Diana and Bill Erickson attended the camp with the group.

“HY’EE was a great experience and it will always be part of a memory that we will never forget,”said Chantell López.

The participants attended workshops to explore engineering careers, robots, physics, rockets, bridge building, chemistry, and math. The HY’EE camp is organized and operated by the WSU College of Electrical Engineering to promote math and science fields to Hispanic students in the central basin region of Washington State. One of the highlights of the trip was when the students connected with former Walla Walla High School graduate and former WSU point guard, Thomas Kelati at the WSU recreation center.

Latino Club students volunteer to spruce up fair grounds
Last weekend Wa-Hi’s Latino Club organized a workday at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds in preparation for the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days. Seventeen current and former club members participated and five Touchet students joined them.

The students weeded flowerbeds, dusted, polished, swept, and did other chores in the Pavilion including tearing out the floor in the WSU Extension booth in preparation for its replacement. They put in 102 total volunteer hours and are looking forward to attending the fair.

Participating students were: Veronica Marin, Marina Marin, Stella Miranda, Dulce Ramirez, Sandybell Salazar, Wendy Castillo, Jacky Alonso, Jazmin Ayala, Ana Ayala, Guadalupe Cota, Alan Romero, Amy Trejo, Kelsey Trejo, Flormaria Gomez, Laurencio Cota, Sergio Velazco, Sergio Orozco, Daniel Pedroza, Pedro Rodriguez, George Velazco, Salvador Rodriguez, and Vader Castillo. Look for the Latino Club in the fair parade on Saturday, September 2.