Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - September 8, 2006

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State Superintendent recognizes district for reading gains during WASL release speech

Today State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Terry Bergeson recognized Walla Walla Public Schools for our outstanding achievement in reading. Walla Walla Public Schools Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) scores jumped 10 to 15 percent in 4th and 10th grades as the district is witnessing more than 80 percent of its students in these grade levels meeting reading standards.

“We have more work to do, especially in middle school content areas and districtwide math, and will not be satisfied until all students meet standards, but we are witnessing tremendous improvements and have much to celebrate,” Superintendent Rich Carter said. “Our staff members continue to challenge our students to be the best.”

A complete list of WASL scores are available online at: http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us. This spring, students in grades 3 – 8 were tested in Reading and Math as required by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. In addition, 4th and 7th graders were tested in Writing and 5th and 8th graders, in Science.

At the high school level, all 10th graders were required to WASL test in Reading, Math, Writing and Science. Meeting standard in Reading, Math and Writing are required for graduation for this class of 2008. Science will be added as a graduation requirement for the Class of 2010. Ninth, eleventh and twelfth graders were given the option to test in any area of their choice.

“Our instructional strategies, use of data, clear and focused professional development, targeted assistance for students with specific needs and commitment from staff and students to excel are making a difference,” Assistant Superintendent Linda Boggs said.

Tenth grade individual math, reading and writing scores were released in June to allow those students who did not meet standard to attend a summer WASL program as well as to retake the test in August. Both of these programs were voluntary and at no cost to students. Students have five state paid tries to pass the WASL and only need to retake the portion(s) of the WASL they did not pass.

For students who are having difficulty passing any area of the WASL, a variety of approaches to help students who are behind in learning key skills will be put in place by each school in the district.

For more information, contact Assessment Director Ron Higgins at (509) 526-6707 or by e-mail: rhiggins@wwps.org.

**NOTE: WASL scores are available online at: http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us

Preliminary enrollment counts positive
With the first official enrollment count of 2006-2007 due at the close of business today, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan is cautiously optimistic.

Preliminary “head count” tallies are 80 students ahead of last year at this time, according to Jordan’s report at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

He went on to state the preliminary FTE or Full-Time Equivalent count of 5835.2 puts the district roughly 170 FTEs over the estimate in the district’s adopted budget. Jordan said he will closely monitor enrollment counts this fall, but said the early counts are positive.

Let’s Talk Schools — We’re Listening” survey online
“Let’s Talk Schools — We’re Listening,” the district’s information gathering campaign, begins this fall to involve the community in a facilities needs study in light of last May’s bond issue.

An online survey is now available on the homepage of the district’s website. Please take time to get involved and have a voice in the future of our schools.

School board members to visit schools and listen to parents

Community members and parents will have opportunities to talk with school board members at their neighborhood schools regarding facilities throughout the month of September. This is a great opportunity to be heard.

Please see the schedule below:
• Monday, September 18 – Blue Ridge (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Tuesday, September 19 – Pioneer (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Wednesday, September 20 – Green Park (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Thursday, September 21 – Garrison (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Friday, September 22 – Sharpstein (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Monday, September 25 – Prospect Point (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Tuesday, September 26 – Wa-Hi (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Wednesday, September 27 – Berney (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Thursday, September 28 – Paine (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
• Friday, September 29 – Edison (7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)

(**Note: School board members will also be in attendance at Open House events to discuss these issues as well.)

School board members schedule listening posts to talk facilities
• Talk to a school board member one-on-one
• Participants may also leave written copies of their thoughts, ideas, concerns at the listening post following their session with a school board member.

School Board Listening Post Dates:
• Tuesday, September 19
District Office: 6 to 7:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, October 3
District Office: 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Community facilities planning symposium participants needed
Help shape the future of your Walla Walla Public Schools by participating in a facilities planning symposium.

School board members, administrators, staff, parents and students will join you at the table to discuss how the district should address its facilities needs. To volunteer to be a participant, please RSVP by September 29, to Mark Higgins at: (509) 526-6716.

Community Symposium Dates:
• October 12: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

• October 13: 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Walla Walla Regional Airport

Superintendent Coffee Hour
Edison Elementary
Friday, September 15
8:15 to 9:15 a.m.
Latino Club earns fair’s top community service award
The Walla Walla Latino Club received several recognitions for their efforts during and leading up to this year’s Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days.

First, the club received the second place award as a community service group for their parade entry. The club then received the Sweepstakes “Community Award” in recognition of the club’s many efforts in preparing for the fair.

“This makes a great start for this year’s club activities,” said District Bilingual Coordinator Diana Erickson, who has worked with the group over the last few weeks in preparation for the fair. “We have a strong group of 25-30 members, and the club leaders have stepped forward to make this service project happen.”

The past few weeks have been a busy time for the club starting with two scheduled work days at the fair grounds in which over 200 hours of service were provided in clean-up work and display set-up before the Fair. The club officers were busy the Friday before the parade preparing the decorations for their parade entry. The 2006-07 officers of the Wa-Hi Latino Club are: Wa-Hi Juniors Marina Marin, President; Stella Miranda, Vice President; Flor Garcia, Secretary; and Kelsey Trejo, Treasurer.

The purpose of the Latino Club is to:
a. promote the educational, cultural, and representation of the Latino Community at Walla Walla High School;
b. To develop and implement activities to develop relationships and understanding of all students in the high school community;
c. To mentor and provide information to increase the educational and career opportunities of Latino students;
d. To provide opportunities for club members to serve the Walla Walla community.

Personnel Report (from Sept. 5 school board meeting)
• New Hires
(Certificated) Larry Brown, Math Teacher, Wa-Hi
Kirstin Gehrett, 7th Grade Science Teacher, Pioneer

(Classified) Carlos Caicedo, Software Support Specialist, Technology
Liz Campeau, Personnel Secretary, Personnel
Jason Postlewait, Para-Educator, Wa-Hi

• Resignations/Retirements
(Certificated) Robin Lundwall, Psychologist, Special Programs, 23 years
Jan Thacker, French Teacher, Walla Walla High School, 23.5 years

(Classified) Elizabeth Brochu, Library Technician, Blue Ridge, 1 day
Chuck Hawman, Bus Driver, Transportation Department, 3 months
Israel Martinez, Assistant Secretary, Pioneer Middle School, 1 week
Rose Perry, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary, 15.5 years

• Leave of Absence
(Classified) Kristin Gehrett, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School
- For the 2006-2007 school year to teach science at Pioneer Middle School

2006 Open House Schedule (remaining)
Berney Elementary Open House
Wednesday, September 13
5:45-7:45 p.m.
(Barbecue at 5:45 p.m. and then Open House from 6:45-7:45 p.m.)

Blue Ridge Grade Level Curriculum Nights

Wednesday, September 13
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

1st Grade
Wednesday, September 13
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Special Services
Thursday, September 14
6:30 – 7:30 pm

Edison Elementary Open House
Monday, September 25
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Garrison Family Fun Night/Open House
Tuesday, September 12
5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Gear Up is going to serve pizza

Green Park Elementary Open House
Thursday, September 21
- Pizza Dinner at 6:00 p.m.
- Open House at 6:30 p.m.

Pioneer Middle School Open House
Monday, October 16
7 p.m.

Prospect Point Open House
Tuesday, September 12
7:00 pm
**Families will gather in the gym for a welcome/staff introductions and a short meeting with PTA, then will move on to their children’s classrooms. The PTA Book Fair will also be held that evening in the gym from 7:30-9:00 pm)

Walla Walla High School Open House
Monday September 18
5:30-6:15 p.m. (BBQ)
5:30-6:15 p.m. (Pick up student schedules)
6:15-9:00 p.m. (Classroom visitations)

(Note: Sharpstein had its Open House and Back to School nights prior to the first day of school. Paine and Opportunity do not have traditional Open House events.)

Area business leaders cautioned about purchasing ads for sports posters from outside groups
Several times a year Walla Walla business owners are contacted by groups outside of Walla Walla to purchase advertising for Walla Walla High School sports schedules posters.

Sales people often tell Walla Walla business owners the purchase of the advertising directly benefits the Wa-Hi Athletic Department. Big Blue Boosters are the district’s only officially recognized group affiliated with sports calendars & posters

“We don’t get anything from the sale of these ads,” Wa-Hi Athletic Director Don Wilkins said. “The Big Blue Boosters produce a sports schedule calendar each year. Profits made from the sale of the Big Blue Boosters sports schedule calendar does benefit the Wa-Hi Athletic Department through the purchase of equipment and supplies. We encourage local businesses to support the Big Blue Boosters product.”

Wilkins said community business leaders who wish to support the Wa-Hi Athletic program are encouraged to contact the Wa-Hi Athletic Department prior to purchasing these ads to ensure they are actually benefiting the program.