Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - November 21, 2007

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Thanksgiving holiday break schedule
- Wednesday, Nov. 21 (Early release for all students)
- Thursday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 23 (No School -- Thanksgiving break)
Classes resume Monday, Nov. 26
YMCA buys Support Services property
School board members last night took another step in replacing the district’s aging Support Services facility by unanimously approving the sale of the property and building at 325 S. Park St. to the YMCA.

The YMCA agreed to pay $580,000 for the property which represents the appraised market value. The YMCA also set up a long-term lease agreement with the district per the land and property purchase deal.

The agreement offers the district a five-year lease for $1 per year. After the five-year period, the district has the option to renew it annually at fair market value.

“This will allow the district to continue using the property until the new site west of 13th Avenue is developed,” Superintendent Rich Carter said. “This is a win-win situation for the school district and YMCA.”

Wa-Hi freelance writer published in UB
Congratulations to Wa-Hi student Amelia Mickelson for getting her first article as a freelance writer published in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. The article appeared in last Sunday’s edition of the UB. She is the editor-in-chief for the Wa-Hi Journal.
More than 400 Pioneer students make Honor Roll
Pioneer Middle School reports 409 Pioneer students, or 65 percent of its student body, made it on the honor roll the first quarter of the year. Principal Dana Jones extends her congratulations to these outstanding students and to the staff for preparing them for success.

Wa-Hi Band students named to All-State band
Congratulations to the following Wa-Hi Band students for being accepted (by an mp3 audition) to the 2008 Washington Music Educators Conference All-State Honor Bands:
• Anna Tupper-Bridges: Flute, All-State Wind Ensemble
• Tom Callister: Percussion, All-State Wind Ensemble
• Emily Crouter: Clarinet, All-State Concert Band

These students will perform in the All-State event in February over Presidents Day weekend in Yakima.

Personnel report (from 11/20/07 school board meeting)
• New Hires
(Classified) Michael Lorang, Custodian, Various Locations
Yajaira Page, Para-Educator, Green Park

District schools featured at Marcus Whitman Festival of Carols
The community is warmly invited to join us in the Explorer Ballroom as we celebrate the season with the sweet sounds of holiday music from local school children during the annual Festival of Carols at the Marcus Whitman Hotel.

Tuesday, December 4 -- Concert Schedule
- 10 a.m. Edison Elementary
- 10:30 a.m. Freewater Elementary
- 11 a.m. Prospect Point Elementary
- 12:30 p.m. Sharpstein Elementary
- 1 p.m. Praise Ringers, WWVA
- 1:30 p.m. Garrison Middle School

Cameras key to Wa-Hi security improvements
With 44 cameras perched strategically throughout the sprawling Wa-Hi campus, high school administrators now have the ability to closely monitor the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to a school board report from Principal Darcy Weisner.
Weisner said the addition of the cameras has been the most significant change made to improve safety. Since the system is web-based, cameras can be viewed at any time and at any location as long as there is internet connectivity. The user friendly system also stores information which allows for easy review of incidents. Operators also have the ability to pan cameras from side-to-side and up and down to better zoom in on a situation.

“A safe campus offers our teachers the freedom to teach and our students the confidence to learn,” Weisner said.
Weisner also thanked new custodian Mike Dill for his efforts to trim tree limbs and bushes for better campus visibility.
Weisner also developed a new, color-coded hall pass system. The system divides the campus into zones and assigns different colors for the zones. Students wear the colorful passes around their necks to make the passes easy to see.

“It lets us know immediately if a student is not in the zone they are supposed to be,” Weisner said.

Students must also log out and back in every time they leave class during the period to better track where students are at any given time.
Locker lobbies have also been modified by removing the brick center islands. Weisner said this allows for better traffic flow and improved visibility in these areas.

Parking arrangements have also been adjusted to improve safety. Student lots have been reduced from four to two lots to better supervise who is coming and going.
Weisner also eliminated the In-School Suspension program to pay for a third security officer. Security officers now wear uniforms, complete with a badge of the American flag for a more professional appearance.

“This has changed how students view them,” Weisner said. “They are treated with more respect.”

Weisner said the new electronic device policy has also had a positive impact at Wa-Hi by limiting the use of cell phones.

“We have seen a significant reduction in harassment and fights this year,” Weisner said. “We have worked hard to create a safer school environment for our staff and students.”

Wa-Hi students take honors in WordMasters Challenge
A team of students representing Walla Walla High school has won highest honors in this year’s first WordMasters Challenge, a national competition for high school students requiring close analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry. Participating with 608 high school teams from across the country, the school’s 11th grade team tied for tenth place in the nation among all participating grade-level teams. The meet was held in October. The 11th grade team was made up of students in Casey Monahan’s AP Language and Composition class.

Several of the school’s students won honors for individual achievement as well. Seniors Shanie Bushman and Austin Tucker, both students in Lori Dohe’s AP Literature and Composition class, placed among the 55 and 164 highest ranked twelfth graders in the country respectively. Juniors Ellen Brigham, Jordan Christensen, and Sierra Tinhof placed among the 92 highest-ranked eleventh graders. Sophomore Kelly Rapp placed among the 239 highest-ranked tenth graders. Approximately 600,000 students from across the country participated in the meet.

The texts for this WordMasters meet were a short story by Tobias Wolff (for 9th and 10th graders) and an essay by Garrison Keillor (for 11th and 12th graders). The students will participate in three more meets during the coming months, and medals and certificates will be presented in June to those who achieve and or improve the most in the course of the year.

Lincoln students volunteer at food bank
For the past two years Lincoln Alternative High School students have volunteered at Blue Mountain Action Council’s Food Bank. The students volunteer every third Thursday of the month from 1 to 2 p.m. Students help individuals carry their boxes of food to their car as well as distribute food.

“It is something they are very dedicated to and have even taken time during their Winter break to make sure help was available,” said Brandi McIntire, Linclon Alternative High School Special Education teacher.
Wa-Hi boys basketball season tips off Saturday
The Annual Blue and White Boys Basketball scrimmage is scheduled Saturday, November 24 at the Wa-Hi gym. The freshman players will begin the scrimmage at 4 p.m. The Sophomore and Junior Varsity will scrimmage at 5 p.m. while the varsity will tip off at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils open their season at home against Kennewick Friday, November 30.
Lincoln students help decorate Jefferson Park
This week Lincoln Alternative students volunteered to decorate the train and a special tree at Jefferson Park to help add to this festive time of the year. Lincoln English teacher Erica Wauchek organized the volunteer effort.
Wa-Hi Holiday concerts begin next Sunday
The Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will be at Cordiner Hall Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7:00 p.m. for the Feast of Carols. The Chamber Singers and Treble Ensemble will present the “Gift Concert” on Tuesday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Walla Walla High School Auditorium.

“This program is student-driven and features many numbers by soloists and small groups,” Wa-Hi Choral Director Norb Rossi said. “It is our traditional “kick-off” for the Holiday season.”
Admission is free.

Check the district website for a complete listing of the Holiday Concert Series.

School board meeting dates set
January 15
February 5 & 19
March 4 & 18
April 15
May 6 & May 20
June 3 & June 17

All meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. unless changed by the school board. Meetings are held in the district’s board room -- 364 S. Park Street. School board meeting are open to the public.

Wa-Hi Choir singers selected to All State Choir
Six students from Walla Walla High School were selected to participate in the 2008 Washington All-State Choir held in Yakima in February. Students were selected from a taped audition process that included hundreds of students from all across the state, according to Choral Director Norb Rossi.

WWHS students chosen include:
• Senior Stephanie Juergensen, Soprano 1
• Senior Morgan Filan, Alto 1
• Junior Rebeccah Bagley, Soprano 1
• Junior Sierra Tinhof, Soprano 1
• Thomas Rowley, Tenor 2
• Sophomore Samantha Herriot, Alto 2.

“I would like to congratulate all of the students who auditioned for the groups,” Rossi said. “The students will prepare music in advance of the event. They will have the opportunity to rehearse with the honor choirs for three days, culminating in two large concerts on Presidents Day in Yakima.”

Berney teacher and author schedules book signing

Berney fourth grade teacher Joe Gribnau will talk about his recently published book “Rocky Mountain Night Before Christmas” and sign books at Book and Game Saturday, Dec. 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. for a book signing.