Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - (October 11, 2007)

In this Issue:

(Click on article
to read more)

No School Friday
Fall Professional Day (Friday, Oct. 12)
Classes resume Monday, Oct. 15

School Board meetings Tuesday
Tuesday, Oct. 16
6 p.m. -- Work Session: Value Engineer Report, Edison Construction Project
7 p.m. -- Public Hearing: Sale of Support Services Building
7:30 p.m. -- Regularly scheduled meeting
364 S. Park St.
All meetings open to public

Sharpstein recognized by state as school of distinction
State School Supt. Terry Bergeson applauds Sharpstein as one of 86 “amazing” schools in Washington state

Sharpstein Elementary has been named one of 86 “Schools of Distinction” by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for dramatic improvements in student reading and mathematics over the past several years. On Wednesday, Principal Laure Quaresma received recognition at a ceremony at ESD 123 in Pasco.

“This is a school where everyone works hard and keeps children the focus,” Quaresma said.

OSPI’s Schools of Distinction represent the top 5 percent of elementary, middle and high schools whose students have shown outstanding growth in both reading and mathematics skills during a six-year period. This year’s winning schools include 51 elementary schools, 20 middle schools and 15 high schools – out of nearly 2,500 schools in the state.

To be considered for the award, each school had to meet the current year’s state learning targets on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning for students in both reading and mathematics.

Schools that met the reading and mathematics targets were then evaluated for six-year gains on the state’s “Learning Improvement Index.” Because the award is based on improvement across a six-year period, only results from grades four, seven and 10 were used, as those are the only grade levels with six years of trend data.

“Sharpstein Elementary School is driven by a strong sense of community and student success,” Quaresma said.

Some of the many strategies implemented for improvement of student achievement are:
• Three Tier Intervention - students are supported by highly trained staff using the Three Tier model of intervention.
• K-5 Dual Language program - The goal is for all students to be bilingual and bi-literate by the end of 5th grade.
• All Day Kindergarten for all kindergarten students.
• Kindergarten Home Visitor - Up to 30 students participate in this program providing literacy lessons for parents & students in both English and Spanish.
• Instructional Coaching and Professional Development - Staff work with building-based reading and math coaches to improve teaching and learning for all students.
• Extended Learning opportunities - students at risk of not meeting standards participate in extended learning opportunities two days a week.
• Weekly Collaboration - early release for teachers to learn together.

School leaders from each of the winning schools were presented with awards and a large banner reading “School of Distinction – 2007 State Superintendent’s Learning Improvement Award.” Additional information on the award program, and a list of all Schools of Distinction, can be found on the OSPI Web site at www.k12.wa.us.

‘Life’s a Dance’ — Musical anti-bullying program set
“Life’s a Dance, Rhythm of a Caring Community,” is coming to the Walla Walla Community October 22 through 26. Nationally recognized singers/songwriters Monte Selby and Steve Seskin will join a number of Walla Walla organizations and businesses and the Walla Walla Public Schools to help build community awareness about the issues of bullying and harassment.

The celebrities will meet with students during the week at various local schools, culminating in a community concert Thursday, October 25 at 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College Campus.

Students at several Walla Walla schools will have the opportunity to meet with Seskin, who wrote the Grammy award-nominated song “Life’s a Dance,” and foremost educational entertainer Selby. They will examine all sides of bullying and harassment and write songs, sing, and learn about how these behaviors affect everyone. The purpose of this community collaboration is to emphasize kindness, courtesy, making friends and having fun. Life is easier for everyone if we can dance through it together.

“We are very excited to bring a program of this quality and scope to the community,” says Pioneer Principal Dana Jones.

The Pioneer staff has been instrumental in putting this program together for our students according to Jones.

“We truly thank our community partners who are making such a positive program possible through donations of money, services and goods,” Jones said. “The impact it will have on our children will last a lifetime.

Wa-Hi Drama Department fall play set for November
This fall the students involved in Walla Walla High School’s THEATRE ARTS PROGRAM are working on two plays, “Courtship” and “1918” in Horton Foote’s Orphans’ Home Cycle, a nine play epic.

Show dates:
November 8, 9, 10 (7 p.m.)
November 15, 16 (7 p.m.)
November 17 (2 p.m.)

Horton Foote has been called “The Supreme Musician” of American playwrights, along with Tennessee Williams. The plays take place in small town, turn of the century Texas, and are loosely based on Foote’s own family. Never vulgar, but plumbing the depth of human experience through humor and tragedy, themes that flow throughout the piece are love, forgiveness, honor and sorrow. At its center is a love story and an exploration of the intricacies of family life. Tickets are $8 adults and $6 for seniors & students.

Please call the ticket office at 526-8613 for reserved seating.

Regional college fair comes to Wa-Hi
Walla Walla High School is hosting a Regional College Fair Thursday, October 25 in the gym from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. More than 50 colleges/trade schools from across the nation are scheduled to attend this free, public event.

“More registrations are arriving every day,” said Wa-Hi Career Information Specialist Pat Hanford. “This is the occasion to ask questions of admission representatives about applying, deadlines, essays, SAT/ACTs, costs, financial aid, scholarships, majors and campus life. Twenty four area high schools have been invited to attend as well.”

No School Friday -- Classroom Close-Up feature to resume next week
Next week we will visit Lincoln Alternative High School Teacher Natalie Allen-Tibbling’s classroom via the Classroom Close-Up feature series. Learn what subjects are being studied 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 the following week on the district’s website (A to Z area — Classroom Close-Up).

Next we’ll travel to Edison Elementary school and learn more about how Dave Larson is helping students learn.

Retirees Association sponsors tethered hot air balloon rides event
The Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association is sponsoring Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides Saturday, October 13 at Tietan Park from 4 to 6 p.m. The cost of each ride is $25.

Money raised from this event will be used to fund scholarships available to Walla Walla/Columbia County High School graduates who will be student teaching during the September 2008-June 2009 school year. Applications for the scholarships are available the first week in November 2007 and are due by April 1, 2008. For more information about the scholarships, interested parties may contact Linda Jacky at 529-0189 or Mardel Bierwagen at 525-6117.

Special thanks goes to Jerry Cummins for donating his time and hot air balloon, and to the Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association for sponsoring the event. Bring your family and friends!