Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - October 6, 2006

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Freedom from Discrimination Month brings guest speaker to valley

WHAT: Dr. Allan Johnson (more information below)

WHEN: Monday, October 9th

WHERE: Walla Walla College’s Village Hall

TIME: 7:30 pm

FREE to the Public

Questions? Call Dr. Victor Chacon: 529-4440

Noted writer, professor, and public speaker, Dr. Allan Johnson will be visiting Walla Walla to talk about Diversity and issues of privilege in the United States.

Wa-Hi Music Boosters schedule visioning workshop - A message from Vice President Katie Christianson

The Walla Walla Music Boosters need your help. The non-profit organization is dedicated to supporting music education for grades K through 12 in the Walla Walla Public School District. The Boosters have provided funds to cover nearly half of the Music Department’s annual budget for the past several years. Last year’s budget was funded at only 55%, despite high membership numbers and a major fundraiser. Income projections for the 2006/2007 school year indicate that the Boosters will only be able to fund this year’s budget at 50%. The group is trying to move away from local fundraisers to funding the budget through membership dollars and grant writing, but that transition will take time.

The Music Boosters are hosting a Vision for the Future Workshop on the 28th of October at Garrison Middle School, 906 Chase St. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This workshop is open to the public and all interested parties are urged to attend. All music lovers and all those who care about the state of music education in Walla Walla are urged to attend. Cost will be $7.00 per participant and will include coffee, refreshments and lunch. The purpose of the workshop will be to reshape the vision and direction of the Walla Walla Music Boosters and to get community input as to how the organization can best fulfill the needs of music students and educators in the Walla Walla Public Schools.

Admission fees to the workshop and membership dues are tax-deductible donations. Donations are accepted by mail at Walla Walla High School (800 Abbott Road, WW), at any school performance or to any Booster b oard Member or Music Teacher. Volunteer opportunities include staffing information tables at school events, grant writing, mailing, fundraising through the next two years and more.

General Membership meetings are held the second Monday of every month at the Garrison Middle School Band Room from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Free child care is provided. Board Members include President Richard Brunton, Vice Presidents of Fundraising Carl and Katie Christianson, Treasurer Mike Dandrea and Secretary Kim Locken. Currently, the position of Membership Chairman is open. For more information regarding the Vision Workshop, membership or volunteer opportunities, please contact Katie Christianson at 526-5469 or ktchris@charter.net.

Blue Ridge Staff organize breast cancer fundraiser
Blue Ridge Elementary staff will Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Monday. Staff will wear pink and collect donations for the Breast Cancer foundation.

Pioneer math teacher attends national math conference
This week Pioneer Middle School math teacher Anthony Barba attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Barba expects to bring ideas back to Walla Walla to help improve student achievement.

Wa-Hi Cross Country Team sponsors Elementary School Fun Run
Date: Wednesday, October 11
Time: 3:45 p.m.
(3:30 to 3:45 p.m. registration)
Location: Murr Sports Park (corner of Fern & Abbott Road)
Event Details:
• All Walla Walla Public Schools’ elementary students invited
• Running categories:
- Grades K-2 will run a 1/2 mile course (3:45 p.m.)
- Grades 3, 4 & 5 will run a 1 mile course (4:00 p.m.)
• All runners will receive a participation ribbon
• Participation fee - one can of food
• Transportation NOT provided
• Run with Wa-Hi varsity cross country athletes
Additional Information: Contact Wa-Hi Cross Country Coach Michael Locati at 527-3037
Personnel Report (from Oct. 3 school board meeting)
• New Hires
(Certificated) Kerri Tucker, French Teacher, Wa-Hi
(Classified) Tara Jasper, Library Technician, Blue Ridge
Gretchen Riley, Para-Educator, Green Park
Jacqueline Scholl, Para-Educator, Garrison

• Resignations/Retirements
(Classified) Christie Forsyth, Intervention Specialist, Berney, 16 years (Retirement effective at the end of the 2006-07 school year)
Joe Selby, Custodian, Walla Walla High School, 7 years
Jane Sporleder, Outreach Specialist, Paine, 18 years

• Out of State Travel
Nora Carillo and Maggie Miranda to attend Love and Logic Instructor Training in Denver, CO (Funding: HeadStart/ECEAP)
Jennifer Douglas to attend Speaker for Mental Health for School Nurses Conference in Baltimore, MD (Funding: No cost to district)
Anne Swant to attend NCTM Conference in Atlanta, GA (Funding: No cost to the district)

City grant to pave safe walking route for Blue Ridge students
Walla Walla Public Schools is teaming with the City of Walla Walla to make getting to and from Blue Ridge Elementary School safer for students.

Thanks to the “Safe Route to School Grant” recently secured by the city, nearly $120,000 will be used to improve sidewalks near the school, railway crossing signs and crosswalk stripping. The grant also improves special needs access ways through the installation of eight handicapped ramps.

The district will receive $4,000 to help purchase a “Buster the Bus” educational safety tool to help teach district students the safest ways to walk, bike, or bus to school. Blue Ridge students will also receive safety training this school year.

Summer School offers students more opportunities to learn essential skills
“It’s clear we have year-round school,” School Board President Mary Jo Geidl said following the summary report of this year’s summer school program by District Assessment Director Ron Higgins.

Higgins detailed the numerous Summer School Programs offered this year to help students learn essential skills necessary to be academically successful. He reported programs were offered from mid-June to mid-August.Although program curriculum varied from site to site, reading was a focus for all summer school students.

Higgins said 10th grade students who did not meet standards in the Washington Assessment of Student Learning in April had opportunities to participate in a five-week program to improve their skills prior to the August retake. Thirty-four students took advantage of this opportunity. Retake results are not available until later this fall.

Wa-Hi Assistant Principal Mira Gobel and Gear Up Coordinator Mike Gwinn reported on the Wa-Hi Transitional Summer School designed to help students who struggled during their 8th grade year have success at Wa-Hi.

Thirty students met for seven days in August to get adjusted to the new campus, discuss study skills and develop a personal connection to the school. Transitional School students continue to meet during the school year to stay connected with their adult mentors and track academic progress.

2006 Summer School Programs
• Special Services ESY “Extended School Year”
• Millennials Elementary Summer School
• Migrant Services Elementary Program
• ELL Summer Enrichment Program
• Migrant Services Secondary Program
• Credit Retrieval Secondary Summer Program
• WASL Summer Institute
• Wa-Hi Transitional Summer Program

Pioneer STARS Camp volunteers recognized
Images of students laughing and learning filled nearly every frame of the DVD Pioneer Principal Dana Jones showed school board members at Tuesday night’s school board meeting highlighting this year’s STARS Camp.

Jones reported this year approximately 230 sixth graders and 30 staff members and parent volunteers made the trek to Camp Kiwanis for the annual program to help sixth grade students transition to middle school.

“The purpose of the STARS Camp is to create a positive atmosphere for students, one of trust and good citizenship, says Jones. “When the students feel safe and know each other and the staff members, it creates a positive environment for learning.”

Jones thanked her staff for all their hard work and passed out Volunteer Appreciation awards to Carol Noal, Tim Edwards, Kevin Halazon and Germaine Brown for their support. (*An award will also be given to Caroline Keyes who wasn’t in attendance at the board meeting.)

District practices help keep insurance rates stable
Of the 47 school districts in the School Insurance Association of Washington pool, Walla Walla Public Schools have consistently had some of the fewest claims of participants, according to a report last night from Business Manager Aron Rausch.

“It’s been a very successful program for us,” Rausch said. “We work at managing insurance risks in our own district which promotes safety for staff, students and patrons.”

He said rates increased seven percent this year, but the district’s low claim history helped keep rates from climbing even higher. Rausch explained how the insurance pool of like-sized districts keeps Walla Walla Public Schools adequately covered with a cost effective insurance plan.

“Our insurance covered the $135,000 expense of replacing the boiler parts at Pioneer last year,” Rausch said. “Our pool helps us balance the risk of potential liabilities and lower the cost.”

District begins tabulating facilities survey results as more come in
After being in circulation for about a month, this week district administrators began tabulating “Let’s Talk Schools -- We’re Listening” surveys, according to a report to school board members Tuesday night from Communications Director Mark Higgins.

Higgins said approximately 800 surveys have been submitted to date and will continue to be accepted through Oct. 13. He went on to say final results will be made public at the Tuesday, Oct. 17 school board work session at 6 p.m. The public and staff are encouraged to attend this work session.

Superintendent Rich Carter said themes and common messages are surfacing from the surveys, but didn’t want to indicate any of the findings until the final report is available at the Oct. 17 work session. School board members spent the past two weeks talking to staff and parents at district schools before the start of the school day.

Tuesday night school board members held their second listening post prior to the start of their regularly scheduled meeting. This was an opportunity for community members to talk one-on-one with a school board member.

“Let’s Talk Schools -- We’re Listening” Highlights
• Approximately 800 surveys returned (to date)
• Board school visits (open house & before school)
• Focus Groups (WWVEA, PSE, Key Communicators, retired administrators, former school board members, Habitat for Humanity, Ad Council.)

Konen Rock Products donates “Spirit Rock” to promote Wa-Hi school pride
Thanks to Konen Rock Products to donating a “Spirit Rock” to Wa-Hi to encourage school pride. Konkrete Industries delivered the 12,000 lb. boulder.

“The idea behind the rock is to paint it frequently with events and activities on campus,” Wa-Hi Leadership Teacher Lori Finn said. “Any group can submit a proposal to paint the rock.”

Wa-Hi gears up for Homecoming
Homecoming activities are in full force for next week. The school staff and students are planning dress up days, lunch time activities, and evening events to promote involvement and school spirit.

“We have added a prince and princess from 9th, 10th, and 11th grades to our Homecoming Court to encourage the younger grades to get involved,” said Wa-Hi Leadership teacher Lori Finn. “We have also added Homecoming Floats to our football game. Each grade level will make a float for the half time show.”

Homecoming Activities Schedule
Monday - Class Color Day
Students and staff are encouraged to wear a specific color shirt to school that day.
• Staff - Black
• Seniors - Tie Dye
• Juniors - Red
• Sophomores - Green
• Freshman - Orange

- Homecoming Court and Spirit Court will be announced
- Evening event - “Buff Puff” - The senior boys will take on the junior boys in a volleyball match starting at 7 p.m. in the large Gym. Cost is $3 each to attend.

Tuesday - Decades Day
- Students and staff are encouraged to wear clothes from the past.
- Lunch activity - Decades Fashion Show
- Evening event - “Pack the Park” - Go out and support Girls’ Soccer at the Wa-Hi Soccer field at 5 p.m.

Wednesday - Nerd Day
- Students and staff are encouraged to wear their most academic clothing.
- Lunch activity - Change drive to support the Food Bank.
- Evening event - Student/Staff Football at 6 p.m. at Borleske stadium followed by Powder Puff football at 7:01 p.m. Cost is $3 per person or a family of 4 for $10.

Thursday - Blue and White Day
- Students and staff are encouraged to wear blue and white Wa-Hi gear.
- Lunch activity - Tug o’ war competitions
- Evening event - “Cram the Gym” - Come out to the Wa-Hi gym to support Girls’ Volleyball. JV, Sophomores, and Freshman A will play at 5:30 p.m. Varsity and Freshman B team will play at 7 p.m.

Friday - Float preparation during the day followed by the Homecoming game at 7:30 p.m. at Borleske Stadium.

Saturday - Havana Nights - Homecoming Dance from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. in the Wa-Hi Gym. Tickets are on sale through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, October 12 in the ASB Business Office. Cost is $10 each or $20 per couple.

Secondary teachers continue instructional practices training
Today teachers from Wa-Hi, Garrison, Pioneer, and Paine met to continue their five days of Secondary Instructional Practices training.

“This group is committed to providing instruction that meets all learners,” Title One and Mentor Teacher Coordinator Judy Peasley said.

The district implemented the instructional coaches model at the secondary grade levels to offer teachers support to enhance their teaching strategies.

“I appreciate the district for not dropping the instructional coaches program after just one year because of the expense,” Wa-Hi Science teacher Mike Locati said. “Things take time before we see results. Relationships need to be developed and we need to learn how to be able to utilize them (coaches), so we can grow as teachers.”