Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - September 28, 2007

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Traffic Safety Task Force honors school programs
It was a big week for school safety programs as the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force recognized Blue Ridge Elementary, the district’s Transportation Department and parents Peggy Needham and Kathryn Farrell Guizar for their efforts to make our community a safer place to walk, ride and drive.

“This is what happens when tenacity and collaborative partnerships between entities stay the course,” Blue Ridge Principal Connie Taylor-Randall said. “A dream kept alive by Debi Allessio and Gail Callahan with support from a Blue Ridge PTA officer and parent, Kathy Farrell Guizar, and the Blue Ridge staff improved the safety for our students and families. Our children continue to be our stars!”

Blue Ridge Educational Outreach Award Highlights:
• Model school for the Safe Kids Blue Mountain Walk This Way Program
• Staff conducted school assemblies stressing the importance of pedestrian safety
• Helped secure grant to improve sidewalk and biking conditions near the school

Transportation Department -- Government Program Leadership Award Highlights:
• Promotes school bus safety program
• Buster the Bus is a robot used to help educate students on pedestrian safety

Parent Kathryn Farrell-Guizar -- Citizens Activist Award Highlights
• Instrumental in helping secure grants to improve walking and riding conditions near Blue Ridge, Pioneer and Edison
• Regularly attends Walk this Way Programs
• Uses her photography skills to help promote awareness for safety issues.

Parent Peggy Needham -- Citizens Activist Award Highlights
• Worked to change traffic habits near Prospect Point Elementary
• Helped get four-way stop signs at Howard and Abbott
• Pushed to get 30 mph speed sign further away from intersection to get drivers to slow down
• Her efforts helped get flashing 20 mph speed signs surrounding Prospect Point

Wa-Hi teacher honored by WSU freshman
Class of 2007 Walla Walla High School graduate Kaori Lynn Graybeal, a current Washington State University freshman, named Gary Peasley as the teacher who made the greatest difference in her life and education. WSU students who were selected as Regents Scholars were asked by the WSU education program to nominate a former teacher for this special WSU recognition.

Peasley and his family were invited to attend a dinner banquet in the education building on campus at WSU as part of the recognition program. WSU President Elson S. Floyd handed out the awards and the assistant dean of education was the event’s main speaker. Peasley was given a special plaque in recognition of this honor and four WSU football tickets for the night game against the University of Idaho.

“Anytime a student or past student says something nice about you it fills you up,” Peasley said. “It reminds you of the powerful influence teachers can have on kids and their lives and the awesome responsibility that comes with it.”

Safe Schools Committee continues work on bullying prevention programs
The district’s Safe Schools Committee met this week to continue work on bullying prevention programs, emergency planning and building relationships with area first-responders. Safe Schools Committee Crisis Prevention Specialist Mark Thompson reviewed a checklist he created to help district principals track procedures and strategies being used in district schools to curb bullying.

Walla Walla County Sheriff Deputy Scott Brashear reported he and WW City Police Officer Mike Moses will be visiting schools this fall to help update the school’s electronic mapping system used by first-responders during emergencies. WW County Emergency Management Director Don Marlatt and WW District Four Fire Chief Rocky Eastman reviewed Incident Command System procedures with the committee to help prepare for crisis management.

Pioneer students study team building at annual Stars Camp adventure
Last week Pioneer Middle School sixth graders and several of their parents had an overnight adventure at Camp Kiwanis during STARs Camp 2007. Now in its 16th year, students started their camp day with fishing at Lyons Park and continued to Camp Kiwanis with activities focusing on outdoor education, citizenship, school spirit, and team building. Students attend camp with their advisory teacher.

“Camp is an amazing way to bring together groups of students from several elementary schools and meld them into one cohesive 6th grade Pioneer class,” Event Coordinator and Dean of Students Judy Anderson said. “Parents and volunteers are instrumental in making STARs Camp a success. STARs Camp has been going strong for over 16 years, and many of our parent volunteers this year attended camp when they were in middle school at Pioneer.”

High School Task Force narrows areas of study
The district’s High School Facilities Task Force met again this week to discuss recent tours of Walla Walla High School and Lincoln Alternative High School as they continue work on a comprehensive study of area high school needs. Architect John Evans lead a discussion on current district high school facilities conditions. Following Evans’ briefing, committee members were divided into sub-committees to narrow their focus of study. The Task Force will meet again Thursday, Oct. 25.

High School Facilities Task Force Sub-Committee Assignments:

• Facility Impact on Student Achievement
Rob Ahrens
Dick Cook
Jim Hayner
Linda Newcomb
Ruth Russo
Dave Warkentin

• College Place Issues
John Butenhoff
Lawson Knight
Everett Knudson
Ruth Ladderud
Mike Pettyjohn

• Safety and Security Issues
Max Carrera
Clint Gabbard
Scott Krivoshein
James Payne
Jim Sanders
Carina Stillman
Nanqi You

• Deferred Maintenance Issues
John Rowley
Jim McCarthy
Mindy Meyer
Jody Schneidmiller
LaDessa Smelcer
Cindy Widmer

Youth night highlights tonight’s varsity football game
Youth Football Night and Kids Cheer Night will be part of festivities during tonight’s varsity football game against Davis High School. Join us in support of these outstanding young students.
Edison student helps family get out of burning house
Monday morning Edison Third Grade student Dennis Moore heard a smoke detector go off in his home and alerted his grandfather to help everyone safely get out of the house. Lint in an air purifier caught on fire and set off the smoke detector.

The previous week Moore received fire safety training at Edison School through a program called Safety Always Matters or SAM. Personnel from valley fire departments participate in this program to teach students important lessons on fire safety issues.

“Dennis performed exactly as he was taught in the SAM program, to evacuate other members in the house at the time of the fire,” WW City Fire Deputy Chief Brad Morris said. “It is not often that there is an opportunity to put into practice what is just learned. In this case, Dennis was obviously taking the lessons seriously and was able to apply the training he received in an emergency situation. Dennis modeled the actions of an outstanding student. Great job!”

SAM teaches students:
• benefits of having exit plans for their home
• importance of smoke detectors and what to do when they sound
• importance of staying low while exiting the home
• how to call 911
• Stop, Drop and Roll
• general fire safety in the home.

City Firefighters will honor Moore for his efforts to help keep his family safe during an all school assembly Friday.

Simple Majority Fact Sheet (EHJR 4204 on ballot November 6)

Questions & Answers – EHJR 4204

How does Washington’s current school levy system work? Currently, local school levies must receive both a 60% supermajority approval and meet the 40% validation requirement to pass.

What would EHJR 4204 do? EHJR 4204 would amend the Washington State Constitution and would provide that a simple majority of voters (50% + 1) could authorize local school district levies. The amendment also removes the 40% election validation requirement for levy elections. It does NOT apply to school bond elections. EHJR 4204 will be on the November 6 ballot.

What do school levies pay for? Local levies support school needs. Our levy pays for approximately 14 percent of the District’s operating budget. In Walla Walla, the M&O levy helps to support education programs and school operations such as:
• approximately 30 additional teachers
• approximately 50 additional non-certified staff
• school safety staff
• elementary music specialists
• health clinicians
• library-media specialists
• elementary physical education specialists
• school supplies
• building maintenance
• technology
• athletics
• transportation for school activities

What happens if school levies don’t pass? Some school levies have failed because they do not meet the supermajority requirement. Levy failures can result in budget cuts, which require program cuts, staff and/or teacher layoffs, and other disruptions.

Elections cost money. If school districts need to run a subsequent election for the same levy, it will take money away from educational programs. It cost our district approximately $40,000 to run the most recent levy election.

Do all types of levies require a supermajority to pass? No, they do not. Regular tax levies do not require supermajority approval. Public hospital districts, metropolitan park districts, and other taxing jurisdictions can pass levies to operate hospitals, parks, and other facilities with a simple majority vote. School districts are held to the supermajority standard to pass a local levy.

Berney Kindergarten teacher this week’s Classroom Close-Up feature
This week you be able to visit Berney Kindergarten Teacher Lori Thomas’s classroom via the Classroom Close-Up feature series. Learn what subjects are being studied this week and what are some of the learning objectives. You will also hear about the strategies being used to enhance achievement and how technology is linked to classroom lessons.

Look for her fun, photo-filled newsletter and 60 second radio spot to be posted next week on the district’s website (A to Z area — Classroom Close-Up).

Next week we’ll travel to Garrison Middle School and discover how Sue Parrish helps students learn science skills.

Edison 70th Anniversary Open House and Celebration a hit
This week Edison Elementary celebrated its 70th Anniversary with an open house event. Alumni were recognized during a special program in the gym. Guests went on school tours and were treated to cake and punch.