Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - February 8, 2008

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Refinancing of bonds to save thousands
Move expected to save taxpayers $400,000

Board members Tuesday night took the first step to save taxpayers an estimated $400,000 by refinancing existing district bonds. Interim Business Manager Pat Johnston said low interest rates make the timing right to refinance. Seattle Northwest Securities is assisting the district throughout this two month process. Johnston said there are several steps the district must complete before the bonds get new, lower interest rates.

Lincoln drama production signals school’s new direction
Lincoln Alternative High School students performed their first ever after-school drama production last week as part of the school’s new push to offer students more activities to enrich their school experience. Principal Jim Sporleder reported parent turnout was terrific and that the students had a great time performing. He has promised to keep listening to the students’ desire to have more school activities.

This year Sporleder has added elective courses, physical education classes, a school cook, a school resource officer and sports teams. Staff and students also regularly dress in purple to show school pride.

Blue Ridge starts new program to reward good behavior
Blue Ridge elementary recently started its “Eagles Soar” program to recognize students for making good choices and being good citizens. The program models the Green Park Panthers Pride program.

Students are nominated by their teachers for demonstrating academic, social and behavior excellence. Students must also have staff throughout the school sign off that the students are meeting these high standards. Students then receive recognition tokens in the form of a necklace to show they are an “Eagles Soar” student.

Wa-Hi art teachers begin evening open studio sessions
Students hoping to expand their artistic expressions have more time to do so thanks to Art Teachers John Butenhoff and Julie Wallace for developing an Open Art Studio Wednesdays from 4 to 9 p.m. at Walla Walla High School’s S 16 and 17 classrooms.

This year Butenhoff and Wallace have put more student art on display at Wa-Hi and the district office hallways.

For more information, contact Wallace at jwallace@wwps.org or Butenhoff at: jbutenhoff@wwps.org.

Garrison students win cash awards in VA essay contest
Congratulations to students in Susan Bauer’s class for winning the top three awards for grades 4-6 in the recent Veterans Administration essay contest. The students will be reading their essays Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the VA hospital. The students are:

1st Place -Kylie Humphreys, $100 savings bond
2nd Place -Forrest Swant, $75 savings bond
3rd Place -Josh Cornia, $50 savings bond

Hundreds of Pioneer students make honor roll
Nearly 400 Pioneer Middle School students were honored at the school’s annual Academic Recognition Night Wednesday evening. The keynote speaker for the event was Whitman College Communications Director, Ruth Wardwell. Students were praised for their hard work, all of them having achieved a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA this year.

In addition, 44 students were recognized for taking the PSSS test at Whitman College. Principal Dana Jones acknowledged the support parents give their students, and noted that while education is a team effort between parents, staff, and students, in the end, it is the students who make the choice to excel.

Wa-Hi basketball teams qualify for post season tournaments
Congratulations to Wa-Hi Girls Basketball Coach Jack Mehn and Wa-Hi Boys Basketball Coach John Golden and their staffs and teams for excellent seasons and their qualifying for the YVIAA District Basketball Tournament.
“As the tournament continues we will keep you posted as to game times, dates and locations,” District Athletic Director Don Wilkins said.

The first games for each team are:
- Wa-Hi Girls vs. Eisenhower at Wa-Hi on Tuesday Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
- Wa-Hi Boys vs. winner of the Richland vs. Davis game on Friday February 15 at Wa-Hi at 7:30 p.m.

“Following these games, we will know our next game times, dates and locations and will share that with you,” Wilkins said. “These are YVIAA district games and no passes or ASB cards are good for admission.”

C.A.S.T program hinges on teamwork
Elementary teachers, specialists and principals now have a “running record” of each student thanks to the Collaborative Academic Support Team or C.A.S.T.

Tuesday night Berney Elementary Principal David Talley and School Psychologist Maria Garcia updated the school board on the program designed to improve the information sharing process. Talley praised the work of District Assessment Director Ron Higgins and District Math Director Chris Gardea for developing a dynamic database that groups the vast assessment data into one source. Talley said this tool is key to the successful program.

The database also has a “note” function so narrative information on each child’s needs can be documented and shared with teachers and support specialists. Talley said all elementary schools are using the system and have dedicated time each month to use the program. The data helps schools develop programs to meet the needs of at risk students via group interventions.

Strong performance for Wa-Hi FBLA students at regional competition
Monday 25 members of the Walla Walla High School chapter of Future Business Leaders of America competed in the Southeast Regional FBLA Winter Conference at The Trac in Pasco.

“We had some very strong and surprising performances in several events,” Advisor Scott Reardon said. “Our performance in the presentation events was particularly pleasing. However, I always stress with the kids that just competing and getting out of your comfort zone is the key to this competition.”

Reardon, a second year FBLA advisor, is assisted by Wa-Hi business education teachers Lori Finn and Karen Dazell.

All told, the regional competition included 300 students from 16 area high schools competing in 43 different events. The Wa-Hi FBLA chapter members earned 18 places in 11 events. The following students placed in the top five in their various events, and are automatically eligible to compete in the state competition on April 10-12 in Bellevue (order of finish in parenthesis):

Team Events:
Laura Barnes, Sarah Bridges, Jared Slawson: Business Ethics (5)
Sarah Bridges and Jared Slawson: Emerging Business Issues (4)
Phuong Pham, Michelle Reardon, Allen Yu: Business Ethics (1)
Phuong Pham and Kristina Smith: Global Business Issues (1)

Individual Events:
Elizabeth Bahena: Computers Applications (4), Business Law (3)
Sarah Bridges: Personal Finance (2), Management Decision Making (2)
Nathan Christen: Technology Concepts (4)
Renee Eggart: Business Law (4)
Marina Marin: Management Decision Making (5)
Tyler McCoon: Business Procedures (4)
Lizbette Morin: Computer Applications (3)
Jared Slawson: Management Decision Making (1), Marketing (1)
Kristina Smith: Public Speaking II (1)
Kelsey Wolf: Computer Applications (1)
Allen Yu: Public Speaking II (2)

Other student competitors were Brianne Javaux, Kelsey Trejo, Luis Jaimez, Brianne Roberson, Savic Palomino, Pang Ngamchaluai, Claudia Vargas, Irene Ureño, Elise Pettyjohn, Melissa Santana, and Anh Truong

Personnel Report (from 2/5/08 school board meeting)
• New Hires
(Classified) Michelle Beito, Para-Educator, Green Park

• Resignations/Retirements
(Certificated) Rilke Klingsporn, Math Teacher, Pioneer, 4 years

(Classified) Kay McCauley, Secretary, Music Dept. 25 years

Wa-Hi Chamber Singers invited to WSU choral concert
Congratulations to the Walla Walla High School Chamber Singers for being invited to perform at a special choral concert at WSU Saturday.

The concert features music of American composers. The Chamber Singers will have a 30-minute clinic with renowned American composer Mr. Whitacre. Wa-Hi Choral Teacher Norb Rossi says the Chamber Singers will be the only high school choir featured at the concert.

Voters receive ballots for Replacement Levy
Voters should have received their ballots in the mail last weekend. for the four-year replacement levy. The district also sent out fact sheets to all community members with information on the measure. If you need more information, visit the district’s website at www.wwps.org.

Replacement Levy Facts
• Replaces levy funding nearly 68 percent of voters approved in 2004
• Provides 14 percent of district’s operating budget
• Helps maintain existing programs and activities
• Pays for 30 teachers and 50 support staff members
• Funds all extra-curricular activities
• Ballots must be postmarked by midnight February 19

School Board Committee Assignments -- 2008

Max Carrera
- Safe Schools
- Career/Technical Education
- Classified Negotiations (w/Cindy Meyer)

Mary Jo Geidl
- Head Start Policy Council
- Extracurricular Supervisors Negotiations
- Administrative Negotiations

Anne Golden
- Curriculum Advisory and Instructional Materials
- Certificated Negotiations (w/Jim Lehmann)
- Legislative Representative
- Boundary (NEW)
- Facilities (NEW)

Jim Lehmann
- WIAA Liaison
- Certificated Negotiations (w/Anne Golden)
- Technology/Telecommunications

Cindy Meyer
- Explorer Advisory Committee
- PTA Council
- Classified Negotiations (w/Max Carrera)

Wa-Hi Principal Master of Ceremonies at ‘Sweethearts for Kids’ benefit luncheon
Walla Walla High School Principal Darcy Weisner will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the Sweethearts for Kids benefit luncheon sponsored by the Children’s Home Society of Washington. Weisner is in his second year as principal at Wa-Hi. Weisner spent 20 years as a high school classroom teacher in four school districts throughout the state of Washington. He has extensive educational training in clinical supervision, Understanding by Design, Mentor Matters, and developing small learning communities within large comprehensive high school settings.

He earned his Administrative Certification from Washington State University, Master of Arts in Education Degree from Lesley University, and completed his undergraduate studies at Western Washington University with a major in history and minor in Social Studies. He also has been a successful high school basketball coach.

‘Sweethearts for Kids’ Event Fact Sheet
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 20
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Marcus Whitman Conference Center (6 W. Rose St.)
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Doug Barram
Master of Ceremonies: Darcy Weisner
Information: 529-2130
Proceeds: All proceeds benefit Walla Walla Children’s Home Society programs

District seeks Graduates of Distinction nominations
Walla Walla Public Schools graduates who have distinguished themselves in their communities, professions, or careers will be formally recognized this spring through the Graduates of Distinction program. Nominations for inductees to this special program are now being accepted.

• Must have graduated from high school in the Walla Walla Public Schools at least 10 years prior to nomination.
• Need not be a current resident of Walla Walla.
• Need not be present to accept the award, but will make a concerted effort to be present or send a representative to accept the award.

Complete an application form (available at the district office, 364 South Park Street and online at www.wwps.org), and return it by April 15, 2008. Inductees will be recognized during a public reception and at the Wa-Hi Academic Recognition evening.

For more information, please contact Kay Schisler at 526-6735.

Classroom Close-Up features Pioneer Physical Education teacher
This week Pioneer Middle School Physical Education teacher Jim Eggart is featured via the district’s Classroom Close-Up series.

A 60 second radio spot highlighting Eggart is playing 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.