Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - June 15, 2007

In this Issue:

(Click on article
to read more)

Green Park salutes Masons for bike donations
This week the Masons donated six new bikes to Green Park students during an all school assembly in support of the Books for Bikes program. Special thanks to the City of Walla Walla Fire Department for donating the helmets to go along with the bikes.

Thanks also to Wal-Mart and the Frito-Lay Corp. for donating a computer and printer to the school to enhance technology learning opportunities for Green Park students.

Principal Mike Lambert also recognized Bill and Eileen Hepler of Big Cheese Pizza for donating pizza each month for one classroom. Lambert then thanked sponsors for his “Lunch with the Principal.” Each month Lambert takes 30 students to Tony’s Sub Shop to have lunch with the principal. Special thanks to Tony’s Sub Shop for offering discount lunches to help support the program.

2006-2007 “Lunch with the Principal” sponsors:
• Quality Sealcoating
• Lohrmann Law Offices
• Valley Vision
• Crossroads Steakhouse
• Walla Walla Dental Care
• O'Brien Motors, Inc.
• McDonald Zaring Insurance

Blue Devil Athletic Development (“BDAD”) summer program set
Program Goal: Improve Overall Athletic Ability for All Sports

• July 2 to August 8
• For Boys and Girls Grades 6-12

Monday - Thursday
Session 1 - 7:30 - 9:00 a.m.
• Incoming 9th-12th grade students

Session 2 - 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
• Incoming 6th-8th grade students

Session 3 - 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
• Incoming 9th-12th grade students

Instructors: Marc Yonts, Eric Hisaw, Amy Hisaw

Location: Wa-Hi Weight Room
Cost: $30 pre-registered (by July 1) and $35 at door

Note: Students will need a medical release and a parent permission form, which they can get at the Wa-Hi Athletic Office any time or at the door. (PHYSICALS ARE NOT REQUIRED)

Contact Marc Yonts at
526-8624 or by e-mail at: myonts@wwps.org

School Board organizes High School Facilities Task Force
By Cindy Meyer - Co-Chair

I will be representing the Walla Walla School Board of Directors as the Co-Chair of the recently formed High School Facilities Task Force. We have assembled a dynamic group of Walla Walla leaders to help us study our district high school needs and issues. Please see a list of the Task Force members below.

We want to thank these committed community members for their willingness to serve on this Task Force. It is a major commitment of their time and we really appreciate it. Our school board believes school organizations function best with community involvement. This group has a comprehensive topic before them and their interests, passions, and expertise will make a difference in the direction the school board and district may take.

The high school experience for the children of Walla Walla is our topic of research. After the 2006 failed bond and during the “We’re Listening” campaign, it became apparent our community wants a well researched, thoughtful study of our high school programs and what they should look like to meet the needs of our students in the 21st century. The school board understands we need a community approach to find solutions to this multi-faceted issue.

During our first meeting Wednesday, June 20, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the district office board room, we will start this journey. During this first meeting, we will select one other person to co-chair this committee with me. The co-chairs, the superintendent, communications director, and Dave Teater -- a private consultant -- will form the steering committee. The steering committee will work throughout the summer building agendas and timelines for the Task Force.

Community input from the “We’re Listening” campaign fell into six areas of study.
- Replace vs. remodel existing Wa-Hi buildings
- Second high school option
- College Place High School (future potential)
- Alternative Education
- Vocational Education
- Athletic facility options

We were delighted at the outpouring of support for this study and the large number of community members interested in participating. In order to keep the Task Force efficient and effective, we had to limit the number serving.

Although some were not selected to serve on the core group of the Task Force, we would like to use their expertise and input later in the process, as a member of a sub-group focusing on a specific area of study. We will be calling on them next school year to help. On behalf of the Board of Education and the district, I thank everyone involved for committing their time and thoughts to this worthy project.

High School Task Force
Darcy Weisner
Scott Krivoshein
Lawson Knight
Jim McCarthy
Mike Pettyjohn
Jody Schneidmiller
Jim Hayner
Cindy Widmer
Clint Gabbard
Mindy Meyer
Jim Sporleder
Rob Ahrens
Max Carrera
Everett Knudson
Nanqi You
John Butenhoff
Dave Warkentin
Ruth Russo
Ruth Ladderud
LaDessa Smelcer
Carrina Stillman
John Rowley
James Payne
Dick Cook
Jim Sanders

Garrison plans summer school program
Dates: June 25-July 19
Program overview: The Garrison Middle School Summer program is a voluntary enrichment program offering interactive, hands-on, student-centered academic activities. This program is offered by the GEAR UP and Millennials grants with classes being taught by Garrison certified teachers.

Math & Reading
8:00-11:00 a.m.

Free Lunch (11:00-11:30 a.m.)

Enrichment Activities
11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

Thursdays Fun Time
• Movie Day
• Ropes Course
• Water Games
• LIGO Field Trip

For more information, contact Jerri Doyle at 527-3040

Outstanding staff recognized by peers for achievement
Honorees for prestigious Staff Achievement Grant named today

• Mike Dill (Custodian - Pioneer Middle School)
• Sherry McConn (Learning Opportunity Center Teacher - Walla Walla High School)
• Jean Tobin (Fourth Grade Teacher - Green Park Elementary School)
• Nancy Anhorn (Learning Specialist - Edison Elementary School)
• Elaine Bluhm (Payroll Officer - Business Office)

Staff Achievement Grant Winners are nominated and chosen by teachers and support staff for superior performance, innovation; exemplary leadership; exceptional service or contributions to the Walla Walla Public Schools. No administrators are included in the selection process. Staff Achievement Grant Winners receive a $1,000 stipend and five days of paid release time for professional growth activities. These outstanding educators are recognized by their peers as the best of the best. Congratulations!

Here’s what Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan said about each recipient at today’s All Staff Celebration Breakfast...

Mike Dill - Pioneer Middle School Custodian
With a smile constantly fixed on his face and a quick joke to tell, Pioneer Custodian Mike Dill works tirelessly every day to make sure his school is ready for learning. Nominators for Mike are: Cheryl Herr, Doug Venneri and Jon Abbott.

Known for his positive attitude and helpful approach to work and life, Mike is always eager to lend a hand to help in any way needed. He's handy too. You'll often find him repairing chairs and desks and will even take time to fix a student's eye glasses or jewelry. Mike is passionate about his work and is always one of the first to arrive in the morning.

In the winter he's out putting down de-icers and shoveling snow to keep everyone safe and in the spring hornets and yellowjackets don't stand a chance with him on the job. His fun and uplifting demeanor make him a hit with students. As one of his nominators said, "His sense of humor lights up the faces of anyone he comes in contact with. There is no one in our building that has a more positive attitude, which speaks immensely for him, as his job can often be a thankless one.”

Thank you for all you do to help make Pioneer a safe, fun and positive place to learn.

Sherry McConn (Learning Opportunity Center teacher - Wa-Hi)
Many of the students who enter the Wa-Hi Learning Opportunity Center are lagging behind on their knowledge base and considered at-risk. That term soon leaves them, once enrolled in the program as teacher Sherry McConn begins her magic. Nominators for Sherry are Jeanne Ruecker, Kim Cassetto and Mary Matau.

Sherry soon finds out what passions these students have in life and links this positive energy to their education. She is a master in building relationships and trust. Despite lacking credits, facing behavior issues and an assortment of other life's challenges at home and at school, Sherry's students soon begin to believe in themselves and open their minds to learning.

Sherry maintains high expectations for all students. She had a group of juniors in her English class that had not met standard on the READING WASL last year. After spending the year in her class, 100% of these students -- 11 of 11 -- met standard. In fact, they registered an average gain of 45 points on the WASL Reading test over their score last year. This is truly an incredible accomplishment for these students and a LOT of it has to do with Sherry. Her teaching model works!

Those who spend time with Sherry are amazed at how former students flock to her when out in public to introduce family members, show off newborns or just say hi. According to one of her nominators, Sherry on numerous occasions has been recognized as the one "who turned their lives around."

Thank you Sherry for finding the good in people and helping all students reach their true potential. Congratulations on receiving this recognition.

Jean Tobin (4th Grade Teacher -- Green Park Elementary School)
We've all heard there is no I in team. Green Park 4th grade teacher Jean Tobin lives by this creed. Jean's nominators are Diane Mires, Elissa Stites and Missy Johnson.
One of her nominators said she is the most giving person she knows. Jean believes in sharing her experience and knowledge with others in the school and district. Some examples of her generousity include developing learning materials for others, briefing staff on training and seminars she has been a part of, and giving of her time.

Jean is known as the Math Machine at Green Park. Her passion for math helps students and staff alike. Jean lives her life doing what is best for all. She helps prepare Green Park students for the Math Team each year. Jean does whatever it takes to prepare her students. She even takes the time to gather materials for the students to make their own math shirts. You'll find her in school early and staying late so all students are supported and feel connected to Green Park.

She also loves field trips, hands-on learning opportunities and has embraced technology by experiementing with video-conference learning with students from around the state. As stated in one of her nomination letters, Jean's work is always about kids. Thank you for your commitment to our teachers, students, parents, community and our entire school district.

Nancy Anhorn (Learning Specialist/Assessment Coordinator - Edison)

According to one of the nominators for our next recipient --- whenever Nancy Anhorn is involved, the ball never drops! Nominators for Nancy are Genie Huntemann, Karen Fuller and Nancy Withycombe.

As Edison's Learning Specialist and Assessment Coordinator, she plays a key role in developing programs to meet the needs of all students. Nancy is involved in most all aspects of the school. You'll find her filling in for the secretary, nurse and even Principal from time-to-time. She is a resource for parents, organizes testing, coordinates assessment results, serves on the Griefbusters and even takes on a weekly recess duty. She does all this with a terrific sense of humor and a good laugh.

She is also a stickler for detail and considered very organized. Oh yes, she likes a tidy workplace. One of her nominators explained how she had a small "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" wooden mailbox. Apparently, it was getting a bit full for Nancy's standards. So, she cleaned it out, prioritized and organized the contents. This made for a big laugh between the two and endless jokes amongst the staff.

Congratulations to Nancy Anhorn for being a team player and life-long learner who fosters the well being of all students.

Elaine Bluhm - (Payroll Officer -- Business Office)
In today's fast-paced, technology driven world it's easy to feel like a number when you need service. Those who come in contact with Business Office lead Payroll Officer Elaine Bluhm always go away feeling their issue is her top priority. Nominators for Elaine are: Susie Golden, Judy Gwinn, and Terri Gilbert.

Elaine is a special employee. She has served as a school secretary at Wa-Hi and Sharpstein and now leads all payroll activities in the business office. She is known for going the extra mile to help, support and encourage the people around her. It's not uncommon for Elaine to go to someone's house to discuss private and often personal payroll issues.

Her energy and focus to keep current on the vast amount of payroll related laws helps the district maintain positive audits. She has excellent judgement regarding payroll issues and handles each situation appropriately.

According to one of her nominators, if she doesn't know an answer to a question, she will research and investigate until she can share that answer with you. Another nominator said -- Elaine actively promotes the Business Office vision of providing support to our district-wide staff, so they may focus on our greatest asset, our children.
Congratulations to Elaine Bluhm for leading with her heart and treating all staff with kindness, respect and professionalism.

Local donations help Berney students visit state attractions
Berney Elementary fourth grade students in Laura Grant-Herriot’s class recently went on a once in a lifetime field trip to Seattle and Olympia thanks to generous donations from area community members, agencies and businesses. Students took a ferry ride across the Puget Sound to Blake Island’s Tillicum Village. They learned about the Northwest Coastal Native Americans through presentations of legends, dances, and arts and crafts demonstrations.

Students experienced a traditional Pacific salmon feed prepared on cedar stakes over fires. The students also toured the state capitol in Olympia to experience first hand, the halls in which state laws are made. They saw the Legislative building which houses the Governor’s office, the Senate and House Chambers and the Temple of Justice, which is home to the Washington State Supreme court.

On the final day of the trip, Berney students went to the Pacific Science Center. The students were able to view the IMAX presentation of “Lewis and Clark.” They had the experience of touching living Puget Sound animals in the saltwater tide pool and of doing many other hands on science activities. According to Grant-Herriot, this was the first time many of the students had been to our state subsidized science museum. She said another highlight of the trip was for the students to go to the top of the Space Needle.

“It was humbling to discover that many of these children had never been in an elevator at all previously,” Grant-Herriot said.
“On the way home we stopped at the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park, to appreciate yet another amazing geological treasure in our state.”

According to Grant-Herriot, the trip evolved from a desire to give the students a hands-on, real life experience with the rich resources across the state.

“In Washington, fourth graders must learn about their state: the history, government and geography,” she said. “Their science curriculum covers habitats and rocks and minerals. Through extensive planning, the students on this trip were able to travel through 3 out of 5 of the state’s regions, see dormant volcanoes, basalt columns and have lunch at Snoqualmie Falls on the way.”

Grant-Herriot said they decided to develop an ambitious itinerary and then see where fundraising could take us. Berney students then embarked on a persuasive letter writing unit to local businesses and civic organizations. According to Grant-Herriot the response and level of community support was amazing.

“ The children took in over $5,000 in response to these letters,” she said. “Additional fundraisers included an unbelievable gift basket raffle, yard sale, and selling concessions and taking tickets at the AAU basketball tournament this winter. These activities garnered the children over another $2,000!”

Special thanks to the following supporters for their generous donations:
Dr. James Parrish
Fountainhead Irrigation
Lisa and Mike Braddock
Bob and Becky Betts
John and Amy Warinner
Linda Alva
Bank of America
The Elks Club #287
Gary Burt
Nelson Irrigation
Valley Vision Clinic
Abajian Motor Sales
Banner Bank
Bank of Whitman
Kiwanis Club
The Pelo Foundation
Walla Walla Electric
Walla Walla Farmers’ Co-Op
Coffey Communications
Rose Street Safeway
Kimberly Daniel
Swire Coca-Cola
Shane Harris
Jennifer Castro, Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce

Walla Walla High School plans WASL Summer Institute
The Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) Summer Institute sessions are designed for current 10 & 11th grade students who did not meet the standards in math, reading and writing.

Course Session: June 25 - Aug. 2 (Monday - Thursday)
Time: 8:15 - 11:15
Location: Walla Walla High School
- Math P-2
- Reading P-4
- Writing P-1

For more information, contact Wa-Hi Assistant Principal Mira Gobel at 527-3020.

Wa-Hi plans Summer Credit Retrieval Program

June 25-Aug. 2, Monday-Thursday
Session 1 - 8:15-10:15 (P-3)
Session 2 - 10:30-12:30(P-3)

Program is designed for students who are currently attending WWHS and need to make up credits in English, Math, and Social Studies in order to meet graduation requirements.For more information, call 527-3020.

Russo and Prull earn Southeast Washington awards for volunteer service
District volunteers Jim Russo and Vanessa Prull were recognized Thursday night by Superintendent Dr. Rich Carter for their outstanding efforts in community service at the Southeast Washington Association of School Administrators (SEWASA) Awards Conference. Russo and Prull received plaques of appreciation and Carter thanked them for their commitment to quality public schools.

Volunteer Highlights
Jim Russo
Volunteer Highlights
• As chair of the School Health Advisory Committee, he has been very active in the development and
implementation of the district’s Nutrition and Physical Fitness Policy and Procedure
• Dedicated to researching and providing important information which helped the district establish improved Nutrition and Fitness standards that are in place today
• Volunteers at Berney with hands-on science projects and other positive learning activities

Vanessa Prull
Volunteer Highlights
• Chair, Citizens for Schools Committee -- Key to a successful Edison Bond election
• Leads Edison PTA efforts (current Edison PTA President)
• Active in Edison’s literacy improvement efforts
• Volunteers daily for the school’s designated reading hour

Author Patrick Carman leads book study for alternative program students
Bestselling local author Patrick Carman facilitated a book study this week with students of Creekside Alternative Middle School located on the Pioneer Middle School campus.

Carman let the class borrow and read copies of his newest novel, Atherton. Teachers Barb McRae and Andy Maheras, led the class in reading the novel for the past several weeks. Carman visited the class and discussed the book, answered students’ questions and explored themes related to the book, including environmental issues of a consumer society and the social structure of the fictional society in the novel. Carman also shared a motivational message with the class about how they can improve themselves as writers.

First phase of Prospect Point playground equipment project fund-raising goal met
Prospect Point Playground Project chair Staci Wanichek reported this week the committee has raised more than $45,000 to meet its Phase One (details below) fund-raising goal to replace the schools aging playground equipment. Wanichek says they hope to place an order soon for Phase One equipment and are scheduling August 10-12 installation.

“We have had a great team. The generous support from the community is helping us make this dream become a reality for the kids. It’s all about the kids.”

Phase One includes new equipment for grades 3-5:
• Area features a Safe Playground site (grades 3-5 play area -- located on Howard St. across from cemetery)
• Equipment includes: Evos play system (features arches, climbing bars, balance equipment, glider, nets, hanging ring climbers, pod stompers, swiggle sticks, gyro twister for spinning)
• System is designed for fun exercise -- builds upper body and core strength
• Six swings
• Climber (Curved “rock wall” -- material does not get hot so kids can climb on it all year long)
• Shade trees
• Trash receptacles
• Benches
• Possible plans for shaded area and picnic tables

The group is now focusing on Phase Two of the drive to replace the school’s kindergarten equipment. Phase Two is estimated at $27,000 and includes (at this time - subject to change):
• Farm theme (linked to the Walla Walla farming community)
• Climbers
• Rock wall
• Swings and slides
• Monkey bars

Prospect Point Playground Fund-Raiser Hot Air Balloon Ride Recap
Special thanks to Jerry Cummins for donating his balloon “Spirit of Walla Walla” and time to organize the tethered hot air balloon ride fund-raisers Tuesday night. The event netted $1300. During the event photos of participants were taken for a special keepsake. Photos will be uploaded to the Prospect Point Playground Project website (www.prospectpointplayground.com) for those interested in getting a free photo. Contact Wanicheck at 527-0607 for more information.

Special thanks to the following for their generous donations:
• Coffey Communications
• Walla Walla Rotary
• Baker Boyer Bank
• Evergreen Labs
• Walla Walla Builders Supply
• Prospect Point PTA
• Gilbert Family
• Exchange Club of Walla Walla
• Terry Brown Construction
• Gary’s Paint Center
• Banner Bank
• Pelo Foundation
• Many other individual and business donations

Robin Peterson presents motivational speech to Migrant Student Leadership team
Thursday, Walla Walla High School students participating in the Migrant Education Program spent a few extra hours at school for a special learning opportunity. Students were treated to a motivational talk by Robin Peterson and introduced to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.

Students explored what a habit is and how habits can have both a positive and negative impact on their lives. Pizza was served for lunch. Students were transported home with the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and its workbook in hand, as well as a backpack filled with useful supplies. The district plans to continue the book study during Migrant Student Leadership activities that will be held next school year. District Bilingual Coordinator Diana Erickson and her husband Bill facilitated the event.

Pioneer Middle School plans free summer learning camps

Space and Technology Boot Camp: June 18-29
This two-week long investigation will teach students the fundamentals of how to measure activity in outer space -- black holes and cosmic storms. Partnered with Hanford LIGO Observatory, students will learn how to be scientists of the earth and sky. Students will do a two week long project that is similar to the work of the scientists and engineers who work at LIGO. They will build circuits, do basic computer programming, study weather patterns, and much more. Students will go to LIGO Observatory on the first and last day of this camp, where they will get the first hand opportunity to work with Hanford scientists. Go to http://www.ligo-wa.caltech.edu/ to see more information about LIGO.

Human Health Expedition: Emergency Medicine: July 9-13
This hands on study of the human body and careers in emergency medicine is partnered with Walla Walla Community College and St. Mary’s Medical Center. In this camp students will get first hand practice at emergency medicine. As part of their coursework, students will become first aid and CPR certified. This camp is an excellent introduction to the many opportunities available in the health care industry. Students will practice their skills in the nursing lab and the Allied Health center at WWCC on the final day of camp.

Advanced Pro: July 16-20
In this camp students will get a deeper look at medical careers that require an advanced degree. Students will practice occupations such as nursing, physical therapy, and sports medicine. Students will get the opportunity to work with professionals and practice hands on medicine. Fun math and science skills activities will accompany this camp.

Creative Writing & Recreation: July 23 to August 2 (No Fridays with this camp)
Let your creative juices flow! In this camp students will use photography to help guide their writing ideas. This camp will encourage students to explore their imagination.

Contact Marika Tomkins at 527-3050 for more information about these wonderful camps. All camps will be taught by Walla Walla district teachers in conjunction with our career partners. Camps will run from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily.

There will also be a 8-9 a.m. supervised recreation time for students who wish to start their day earlier. Lunch will be provided by Walla Walla Parks and Recreation. All cost for these camps is paid by the GEAR UP and Millennials grants with NO COST to the participants.

Blue Ridge plans summer program
Who: 21st Century Millennials grant
What: Will serve 105+ students grades K-5, first come first serve, FREE (Registration has passed and program is full)
Where: Blue Ridge gym, library, classrooms
When: June 25-August 16 (NO program on July 4 or 5)
Times: 7:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays

Program goals: To provide a variety of activities such as recreation, computers, reading, social skills, arts & crafts, educational games

For more information, contact Erica Swingholm at 527-3066.

Wa-Hi Drama program featured in national theater magazine
The Walla Walla High School Drama Program was showcased in national Back Stage news magazine (www.backstage.com) in the May 31-June 6 issue. Featured in the “Teen Drama” section -- ‘A National Picture of Performing Arts High Schools -- Wa-Hi was mentioned alongside well established and funded private Arts Academies.

Wa-Hi Drama teacher Brian Senter offers hints to his methods for teaching successful drama instruction. Senter says his focus is often on voice. “Valley-speak has ruined the way we speak in America,” Senter says in the article.

Whitman College is also mentioned in the article as Senter praises local professional actors and guest artists for coming over to work with high school students.

Senter says it’s an honor to be featured in a prestigious national magazine and speaks to the quality of the programs being produced and performed through the Walla Walla High School Drama Department.