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

In this Issue:

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Winter Break schedule
• Friday, Dec. 21 - Early release for all students (winter break begins)
• Classes resume - Monday, Jan. 7 (winter break ends)

Have a safe and happy holiday break.

District welcomes new school board members
New School Board members Jim Lehmann and Max Carrera and re-elected board member Anne Golden were sworn into office Tuesday night by Superior Court Judge Don Schacht.

Carrera and Lehmann replace retired board members Toni Rudnick and Tim Donaldson. Golden, who also serves on the board for the National School Board Association, begins her fifth term on the Walla Walla school board.

Involvement key to boundary study
Pioneer Middle School Principal Dana Jones and District Math Director Chris Gardea are leading a boundary review study as the district prepares for the addition of a modernized Edison Elementary.

The new and improved Edison will accommodate up to 200 more students than are in the current Edison boundary, thus prompting a review of the boundaries to shift more students to the district’s newest school.

“Boundary changes are needed to take the pressure off schools that have seen increased enrollment since the last review in 1995,” Gardea said during a report to school board members. “This is just the start to a long and thoughtful process.”

The review process will stress the importance of listening and communicating according to Jones.

“This will be a fair and inclusive process,” Jones said. “We will have community forums to share information and listen to community input.”

District leaders will also be meeting with city, county and Port of Walla Walla officials to study future growth projections. Superintendent Rich Carter said there would be “Grandfather options” and plenty of notice to families impacted by boundary changes. A Boundary Review Committee will be established this winter to begin work on a timeline for final recommendations. Boundary changes are projected to be in place to start the 2009-2010 school year.

Community members sought for high school culminating project panel by Mira Gobel
The class of 2008 is preparing for their commencement in June. Their journey to graduation has not been easy, due to the changes in the Washington State graduation requirements.

Following are the four steps to graduation for the Class of 2008 and beyond:
1. High School and Beyond Plan
2. Earn required credit
3. Earn Certificate of Academic Achievement (WASL)
4. Culminating Project

Our seniors are preparing to present their Culminating Project and we would like to invite you to be a member of the evaluation panels. The students are creating PowerPoint presentations, professional binders, video productions, visual aids, and/or combinations of various modes of presentation. Students have decided to tell their stories via their accomplishments in music, visual arts, academics, athletics, community involvements and/or challenges they had to overcome. We believe that this event will be a celebration of our collective efforts and will provide each senior a moment to reflect on their past, present, and the future.

Enclosed please find: the agenda for the presentation day; Presentation Evaluation Rubric; student presentation planning sheet; and an RSVP card. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mira Gobel @ 526-8661 or mkgobel@wwps.org.

Replacement levy on February ballot
Walla Walla voters will soon be voting on a Replacement School Programs and Operations Levy. This proposal replaces local funding nearly 68 percent of Walla Walla voters approved in 2004.

Replacement Levy dollars pay for approximately 30 teachers in Walla Walla and 50 support staff. Levy funding ensures Walla Walla’s youngest students will continue to have elementary music and physical education teachers.

Students in need of medical attention will still be able to count on trained health clinicians in each school if the measure is approved.

Students visiting school libraries will have teachers with special training in library-media to help support their learning. All these positions are made available through local levy dollars.

Positive school activities like music, sports, drama and FFA are also funded by local levy dollars. In fact, all extracurricular programs exist because of local replacement levy funding. Research is clear students involved in school activities perform better academically.

Please remember to vote. Ballots mail out to voters February 1 and must be postmarked by midnight, February 19.

Teachers receive national teaching certificate pins
Tuesday night Superintendent Rich Carter and School Board President Anne Golden presented special pins to Walla Walla teachers Missy Johnson (Green Park), Curtis Schafer, Casey Monahan (not present) and Matt Bayley (Walla Walla High School) for recently receiving certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Deputy Superintendent Bill Jordan highlighted requirements for earning this certification which includes authoring a detailed professional portfolio, video taping classroom instruction and passing a challenging assessment to test subject knowledge. These teachers earn a 10-year certificate. The district now has a total of 24 teachers with national teaching certificates.

Jordan also thanked district employees Gayle See and Cindy Nass who also work for WSU as mentors to national board candidates.

Washington State Statistics
• Total -- Nationally Certified: 1,803 (U.S. Rank: 10th)
• Percentage of Nationally Certified in WA: 3.5% (U.S. Rank: 7th)

Pioneer parents and students learn more about college and high school opportunities
This week all Pioneer Middle School students participated in a school wide event, which is part of the year long advisory curriculum, aimed to prepare them for high school and college.

Parents were also invited to a special luncheon to help students develop a vision and plan for their future.

Each grade participated in the following activities:
• 6th grade - educational and career training options after high school
• 7th grade - how to pay for post secondary education
• 8th grade - how to be successful in high school and be prepared for college

Special thanks to Gear Up Coordinator Marika Tomkins for organizing the event.

Art class begins next month
Homelink Art Teacher Vicki Shafer is offering an eight session Art Class for 4-6 graders Monday afternoons from 3 to 4:15 p.m.

The class begins January 14 and runs through March 26 in the Homelink art room at Berney Elementary. Space is limited to 12 students. Shafer will focus on drawing, perspective, and a sculpture project. For more information contact Shafer at: vshafer@wwps.org

Personnel Report (from 12/18/07 school board meeting)
• New Hires
(Classified) Megan Murray, Personnel Secretary, District Office
Brianne Peters, Para-Educator, Wa-Hi
Alfredo Avalos, Para-Educator, Lincoln Alternative

• Resignations/Retirements
(Administrative) Aron Rausch, Business Manager, District Office, 15 years
(Classified) Kathryn Austin, Health Clinician, Blue Ridge, 1.5 years

• Leave of Absence
(Classified) Jodi Hand, Para-Educator, Berney, 1.5 years (• Jodi will return to her position after spring break.)

Golden elected school board president
Tuesday night Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors elected Anne Golden to serve another year as school board president and Mary Jo Geidl to serve as vice president.
Classroom Close-Up features Green Park teacher
This week Green Park 2nd Grade Teacher Martin Telstad is featured via the district’s Classroom Close-Up series. After the holidays we’ll travel to the Homelink Program to visit Art Teacher Vicki Shafer.

A 60 second radio spot highlighting Telstad begins playing today on several stations. A fun, photo-filled newsletter and the radio spot will be posted on the district website (www.wwps.org -- A to Z section) next week.