Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 25, 2007

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No school Monday - Memorial Day Holiday
Have a safe holiday break. Classes resume Tuesday, May 29.
District Names Graduates of Distinction Honorees
Walla Walla Public Schools names this year’s honorees for the Graduates of Distinction program. Honorees are: Barbara D. Johnson - Class of 1967, and Neil V. Follett - Class of 1944.

These individuals have distinguished themselves in their communities, professions, or careers and continue to bring honor to the district. Celebrate alongside these distinguished alumni at a reception in their honor on Wednesday, June 6 (details listed below). Listen to their stories and hear who helped shape their lives during their school years.

Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Time: 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Place: Walla Walla School District Board Room

Barbara D. Johnson is a 1967 graduate of Walla Walla High School. She is currently the Assisting Presiding Judge of Clark County (Washington) Superior Court. She worked in private and public sector law practices from 1975 to 1987, then was appointed as the first female judge in the history of Clark County Superior Court. Barbara is an active Rotarian and has served on many volunteer boards and commissions, including the Clark College Foundation, Clark County Child Abuse Council and the Clark County Boundary Review Board. She and her husband Tom Ryall live in Vancouver, Washington.

Barbara chose Charlotte Wirth as her most inspirational staff person during her school years in Walla Walla. She said “the lessons she learned from Miss Wirth have often come back to me. She taught me to value my interests and strengths even though they were often different from those of my classmates. “

Jerry Cummins of Walla Walla nominated Barbara for this award.


Neil Follett is a 1944 graduate of Walla Walla High School. He retired in 1990, after working nearly 40 years in his own veterinary practice here in Walla Walla. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp right after high school graduation. He later attended Washington State University and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1951. Neil served as member and chairman of the College Place School Board for 10 years, is a life member of the Walla Walla Elks Club and has served on the Murr Family Foundation Scholarship Committee since 1994. He helped develop the Bluewood Ski Area outside of Dayton, working on the project for more than 20 years. Neil and his wife Betty live in Walla Walla

Neil’s inspirational staff person is the late Bess Kirk, who “made math fun and exciting.” He said he “was inspired by her to go into the fields of mathematics and science...making college classes enjoyable and meaningful.”

Nominators for Neil were his children: Marcia Follett, Debbie Schade, Laura Pasqua, and Robert Follett.

Green Park students interact with students around the state via video conference
This week Green Park Elementary fourth grade students in Jean Tobin’s class visited the central office to use the video conference center in support of their “Where in Washington” project.

In the project students created a presentation about Walla Walla, giving nine clues about where they are in Washington state. Green Park shared the presentation via videoconferencing with seven other “mystery schools” located around Washington. Some of the clues included: direction from Olympia, terrain, local geographical features, important historical events. The other schools also gave presentations about where in Washington they are located.

“I had wanted to do this as a powerpoint - some of the other schools did, but we don’t have the technology to use it during video conferencing,” Tobin said. “We made posters and dressed up instead - and used the internet to learn more about the information we wrote on the posters.”

During their presentations students took notes and then had 30 minutes to try to identify the name of their city based on the information they provided. Students used maps and the internet to link the clues. Then the students shared where they were from and their guesses as to the location of the other participants.

“It is not a competition, but more a game,” Tobin said. “I wanted my students to appreciate how interesting it is to study geography and learn about other places. I also wanted them to become more comfortable using the internet to access information.”

Tobin has had her students practicing reading maps all year. Technology Director Janis Barton sent Tobin information about this project, and it seemed like a great culminating experience according to Tobin.

Tobin says she is slowly becoming a supporter of using technology in the classroom. She strongly believes in teaching the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. She also in the past has had concerns about the difficult reading levels often found on the internet and the ability to simply copy information. However, the advancements in technology are tempting her to keep pursuing these new learning tools.

“Technology and the internet have come so far that now I think that using technology to teach and learn produces a qualitative difference in children’s learning,” Tobin said. “With computers and the internet you can access SO MUCH information so quickly - it is wonderful for teaching content. And there are so many more visual images on the internet - it really helps my kids -- especially my second language learners -- understand what they are reading.”

Tobin points out an example of how technology helped with a research project.
“When we were studying Native Americans, we could quickly find pictures of the “camas root” plant that was so important to many tribes in our region,” she said. “There are a lot of amazing projects available for free that allow us to interact with people and students from all over and learn to think critically and analytically. Last year I was involved in a national project that studied whooping crane migration - and my kids loved it, although we were more passive learners in that process.”

Tobin said she liked the way the “Where in Washington” program used technology. Her students had to learn to identify important clues quickly, and then use the search engine to locate additional information. According to Tobin this was hard for the students because it was difficult for them to understand which clues were more useful in identifying a place. Then they had to scan large amounts of text written at a higher reading level to locate the name of the place.

“It was not just word processing, but involved learning to think analytically and find and use appropriate information,” Tobin said. “And those skills are so important in our world today.

“I had never done it before so I was very nervous,” she said. “I will definitely do it again. My kids left very energized - I actually had kids thank me because they had so much fun. I have never had that experience before - even after great field trips! I think what they liked so much is that they got to see other kids from around the state, it was a challenging project that made them feel like they were doing something important, and they were proud of how good their presentation was – it was clear and informative.”

According to Barton, Walla Walla Public Schools is connected through the K-20 videoconferencing system in Washington, which enables the district to engage in these state-of-the-art collaborative videoconferences within Washington and throughout the world.
“This enthusiasm and excitement for learning generated among our students is a direct result of both our district’s support of technology and telecommunications and teaching staff who are willing to engage students in new ways,” Barton said. “I truly appreciate the commitment of Jean Tobin and her willingness to step out, try new instructional methods, and integrate technology into her classroom.”

Wa-Hi Softball team begins state play today
Congratulations to the Wa-Hi Girls Softball team for advancing to the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) state tournament. Earlier this month the team was named the state’s 4A Academic Champions.

Today the team plays Kentlake (23-0) at 1 p.m. at SERA Fields in Tacoma. If they win, they advance to second round play at 7 p.m. If they lose, they play in the first round of the consolation bracket at 5 p.m. The tournament championship game is Saturday, May 26 at 4:30 p.m.

Wa-Hi Softball Coaches
• Jerry Humphreys (Head Coach)
• Vicki Johnson (Varsity Assistant Coach)
• Arch McHie
• Nichole Riggs
• Patti Eagon

Team members:
• Alice Crosby
• Kaela DeBroeck
• Kelsie DeBroeck
• Caitlin Doherty
• Kendra Greenwood
• Kristen Griffith
• Taryn Hair
• Emily Hollenbeck
• Jennifer Keyes
• Courtney Krebs
• Kylie McConnell
• Jordan Paden
• Abbey Reardon
• Victoria Reardon
• Sara Rosso
• Kendall Wilson

District Safe Schools Committee simulates Wa-Hi crisis
This week the district’s Safe Schools committee simulated a crisis situation at Walla Walla High School with area first responders during a Table Top exercise led by Walla Walla County Emergency Management Director Don Marlatt. The training exercise challenged the group to discuss leadership responsibilities, staging locations, evacuation and lockdown procedures, parent reunification plans, and how to work with first responders and other agencies.

Committee members also reviewed new legislation requiring more of safe schools plans, district efforts to curb bullying, crisis management procedures, and this month’s Griefbusters Committee training. Next school year City of Walla Walla Police Officer Matt Wood and Walla Walla County Sheriff Deputy Scott Brashear will meet with district principals to review their crisis plans, enhance their electronic school mapping program, and complete a security checklist.

Safe Schools Leadership Team
Mark Higgins, Chair
Matt Wood and Scott Brashear, Law Enforcement Specialists
Mark Thompson, Crisis Prevention Specialist
Brett Cox, Crisis Management Specialist
Matt Bona, Post-Crisis Recovery Specialist

Safe Schools Committee members
Anne Golden, School Board
Cindy Meyer, School Board
Don Marlatt, Emergency Management
Keri Abernathy, Parent volunteer
Harvey Crowder, Health Services Department
Ed Taylor and Laurie Heikkenen – Palouse Counseling (Mental Health)
Wendell Prins, WA State Patrol
Terry Heisey, WW City Police
Brad Morris, WW City Fire
Scott Brashear, WW County Sheriff
Rocky Eastman, Fire District 4
Peggy Needham, Parent Involvement Specialist
Patty Courson, Emergency Medical Services
R.L. Miller, WA State Patrol
(*NOTE: All district administrators are also members of the Safe Schools Committee)

School zone flashing lights installed near Prospect Point
Recently four school zone flashing lights were installed near Prospect Point to improve safety. The Washington State Traffic Safety Commission paid for the lights, signs and posts thanks to a traffic safety grant written by Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Deputy Gerrod Martin. A joint team from the Walla Walla County Public Works Department and the Walla Walla City Public Works Department was formed to install the lights. Installation was done by city employee Mike Potts and county employee Everett White.

Light locations: Howard Street across from Shaw Place; Prospect Avenue -- west of Howard Street; Cottonwood near Ransom Road; and Reser Road near the Wa-Hi gym parking lot.

“Prospect Point was selected due to high traffic volumes and the number of traffic complaints,” Martin said. “The flashing lights and new school zone signs were installed to better grab the attention of the motorists who enter the school zone to alert them of the school.”

According to Martin, traffic safety studies have been done which show that a driver’s attention is more readily drawn to a flashing light/sign combination than just a restrictive sign alone, thus refocusing the driver to be more alert in the school zone.

“A driver traveling at 20 miles per hour greatly reduces the stopping distance from 30 miles per hour,” Martin said.

The Washington Department of Transportation has plans to install similar lights in Dixie, Waitsburg and Prescott.

Parents to learn about new Homelink virtual learning program Tuesday
Next school year the Homelink Program -- housed at Berney Elementary -- will go virtual by offering online courses through a partnership with the Columbia Virtual Academy. Homelink supports home-school students and families by offering a variety of courses in a public school setting.

Berney Principal David Talley says the demand for virtual learning is increasing. A parent information meeting on the program will be held Tuesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. at the Walla Walla Regional Airport. Contact Berney elementary for more information, 527-3060.

Spring Concert dates (remaining)
Wednesday, May 30
Wa-Hi Choir Concert - Wa-Hi Auditorium - 7 p.m. - $2

Thursday, May 31
Wa-Hi Orchestra Concert - Wa-Hi Auditorium, 7 p.m. - $2

Tuesday/Wednesday, June 5 & 6
Chamber Singers to Mariners game/National Anthem -- 1:35 p.m. (Wednesday game)

Wa-Hi French students yard sale Saturday
Saturday Wa-Hi French students are organizing a yard sale to raise funds for next summer’s 16 day trip to France. Parents of students involved in the program are organizing a yard sale to raise funds for the trip. Donations are gladly being accepted. Currently 25 families have contributed to the sale.

What: Voyage en France Yard Sale
When: Saturday May 26 - all day
Where: Wa-Hi Academic Parking Lot - Fern and Abbott

For more information, contact Wa-Hi French teacher Kerri Tucker at 527-3020.

District teams with Health Department to immunize students
An immunization clinic was offered Thursday morning at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds to nearly 100 fifth grader students from Walla Walla schools. Other regional schools participated as well.

This represented a combined effort by school district health clinicians and the Walla Walla County Health Department to make sure all students are up-to-date on required immunizations for admission to middle school.

Retirement Celebrations 2006-2007 (remaining -- as have been reported to the Communications Department to date)

Blue Ridge Elementary
Leah Crudup
Thursday, May 31
3:30 p.m.

Green Park Elementary
Mark Randow
Thursday, June 7
3:00-5:00 p.m.

Community invited to End-of-Year celebrations

Wa-Hi Baccalaureate
Sunday, June 3 - Blue Mt. Community Church, 6 p.m.

Wa-Hi Academic Recognition
Wednesday, June 6 - Wa-Hi Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Graduates of Distinction Reception
Wednesday, June 6 - Board Room, 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Opportunity Program Senior Celebration Luncheon
Wednesday, June 6 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (919 S. 2nd)

Paine High School Commencement
Thursday, June 7 - Paine Gym, 6:00 p.m.

Wa-Hi Commencement
Friday, June 8 - Wa-Hi campus, 7:30 p.m.

Pioneer 8th Grade Recognition
Tuesday, June 12 - Wa-Hi Main Gym, 7:30 p.m.

Garrison 8th Grade Recognition
Wednesday, June 13 - Cordiner Hall, 7:00 p.m.