Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - November 22, 2006

In this Issue:

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Board approves February Edison bond
Edison Elementary students will have access to modern, climate controlled classrooms, state-of-the-art technology, a larger library, and safer campus design if voters approve a February 6 bond measure. School board members Tuesday night unanimously approved Resolution 7-2006 to put the measure on the ballot.

Replacing the aging Edison Elementary received strong community and staff support during board listening efforts following the rejected May bond proposal. Board members said a comprehensive study of the high school experience, including alternative education, will begin, following the Edison bond election.

School board members said if the proposal is approved they would recommend reconvening the Community Facilities Task Force to help prioritize needs to best use the estimated $3.4 million in state match dollars available with this project. Ballots for this bond measure will be mailed out Friday, January 19.

Election date: Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Scope of project: Replace existing 70-year-old Edison Elementary on an expanded current site with a 63,000 square foot school designed to serve approximately 450 students to meet district growth demands.

Project Cost: $19.5 million

Cost per $1,000:The Edison bond will increase the projected bond rate 20 cents per thousand of assessed valuation. This breaks down to an average of $2.50 per month on a $150,000 house. NOTE: The new total bond rate proposal would be about $1.38 per $1,000, which is less than the current total rate of $1.50.

State Matching Dollars: $3.4 million

Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule
- Wednesday, Nov. 22 (Early release all schools -- NO secondary schools late start)
- Thursday, Nov. 23 (No School)
- Friday, Nov. 24 (No School)

Classes resume Monday, Nov. 27. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday break.

District mourns loss of Pioneer Middle School teacher
Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors, administration, staff and students are deeply saddened by the death of Pioneer Middle School math teacher Matthew “Matt” Stevens. Stevens, 35, passed away Saturday, Nov. 18. He taught in Walla Walla Public Schools for 8 years.

“We had Griefbusters team help our school community deal with this tremendous loss,” Deputy Superintendent of Personnel Dr. Bill Jordan said.

School support staff and community counselors were set-up in the school Monday for staff and students who need this grief support.

“We are doing everything we can to help our students and staff get through this loss,” Jordan said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Matt’s family, friends, students and colleagues.”

Matt Stevens Memorial Service
Friday, Nov. 24
11 a.m.
Pioneer Middle School Gym

Enrollment remains above projections
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan reported to school board members Tuesday night the district’s Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) student count remains above beginning year budget projections.
The district’s General Fund budget is based largely on student count projections made prior to the start of the school year.

Currently the 2006-07 school year enrollment number rests at 162 FTE over budget projections. Trend data from the past suggests the district may end the year approximately 118 students above budget projections. Dr. Jordan said since students generate revenue for the district this is good news as the district continues to recover from funding shortfalls and rising operations costs.

Enrollment comparisons from last year:
• High School (up 21 FTE)
• Middle School (up 51 FTE)
• Elementary (up 11 FTE)

Board weighs in on collaboration schedule
According to a report Tuesday night from Assistant Superintendent Linda Boggs, this fall’s parent and staff survey addressing a Common K-12 Collaboration schedule has only resulted in one clear message: collaboration time for teachers is important.

The district was looking for evidence following concerns from some parents and staff the current split schedule -- late start for secondary and early release for elementary -- was not working. Boggs said the survey results have not reflected that conclusion.

She said results reinforced parents and staff believe this time is valuable and supports learning, but there was not strong support either way to change the schedule. School board members said they haven’t seen enough evidence to recommend a change.

Boggs said she will further discuss this issue with district administrators. She said our stakeholders deserve a timely decision.

Golden named next school board president

Tuesday night school board members voted for Anne Golden to serve as Board President in 2007 and Toni Rudnick as Vice President.
Wa-Hi boys basketball Blue/White scrimmage Saturday
The Annual Blue/White Wa-Hi Boys Basketball Scrimmage will be held Saturday, November 25 at the Wa-Hi Gym. Freshmen will begin around 4 p.m., with the Sophomores and JVs beginning around 5 p.m. The varsity will tip-off about 6 p.m. The scrimmages are free and open to the public.

Garrison program helps students build character
Garrison Special Education teacher Chris Blackman shared with school board members Tuesday night a new program at her school designed to help students build character.

Blackman said staff buy-in for this program has helped it have a tremendous impact on the school climate. Students participate in monthly training to study the six pillars of character. Staff use reward tickets to recognize students who are demonstrating good character.

The school’s morning announcement network also features staff and student skits to reinforce examples of good character. Blackman said staff teach and advocate for this program. A grant has helped provide funding to support this program.

Paine teams with local agency to develop business mentors
Paine students will soon be working with the Blue Mountain Action Council to help them transition from school to work. The new business mentoring program offers 25 juniors and seniors an eight to 10 week program to intern with local businesses.

Students will also learn job interview skills, how to develop a resume, portfolio and work place expectations. Steve Peery from BMAC is the agency contact for this program. Businesses wishing to partner with Paine students are encouraged to contact Peery at 529-4980.

Wa-Hi FFA teams perform strong at national event
Wa-Hi FFA advisors Mike Martin and Arch McHie reported to school board members Tuesday night on the teams’ recent participation in the 79th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. There were over 55,000 FFA members in attendance with 14 Walla Walla High School FFA students competing in the four-day event.

National Convention Summary
Andi Bughi, Jillian Bughi and Ciera Christensen placed 4th in Marketing. The team developed a Marketing Plan geared towards selling to the tourist market. McHie recognized the Bughi family for their support over the years. The three Bughi sisters competed in eight national events during their tenure in the Wa-Hi FFA program.

Competing in Floriculture and receiving a Silver Award were Ashely Davin, Amber Davin, Torri Ebding and Ashley Mason.

Taking on the Illahee development was the Issues Team of Anna Forge, Zach Harvey, Jordan Palmer, Aly Buckley, Robin Backus, Yvette Nunez and Kristan Frierichs. The Issues Team received a Bronze Award for their debate pro and con on this complex community topic.

Personnel Report (from 11/21/06 school board meeting)

• New Hires
(Classified) Danielle Alaniz, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Gladys Coley, Bus Assistant, Transportation Department
Jill Gentry, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School

• Resignations/Retirements
(Certificated) Cindy Gregoire, Bilingual Coordinator, Special Programs (20 years)
(• Cindy’s retirement is effective December 6, 2006)
(Classified) Traci Munns, Food Service Assistant, 8 years
(• Traci will continue to serve as a bus driver for our district)