Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 21, 2008

In this Issue:

(Click on article
to read more)

District to further study health center
School board members approved accepting a $20,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study and needs analysis to determine if a School Based Health Center is a good fit for Lincoln Alternative High School. The concept was presented by local physician Alison Kirby MD.

Kirby said statistics related to health care of youth living in our community are alarming. She said many students are under served or not receiving any health care services. Kirby says her proposal would be funded by community sources and not paid for by the school district. Students would be able to receive medical attention, mental health services and substance abuse counseling should her idea become a reality at Lincoln.

Lincoln staff in attendance during Tuesday night’s public work session stressed the need for a School Based Health Center. Intervention Specialist Brooke Bouchey shared statistics from a recent self-reported student survey. Although the statistics show the students believe the school staff care about their needs, high percentages of students revealed they are participating in risky behavior and have limited contact with health care services. Kirby said the feasibility study could take several months and that she would provide updates to the school board.
Green Park student takes top honors in math contest
Last Saturday more than 150 fourth and fifth grade students from 13 schools throughout the region came to Berney Elementary to compete in the Walla Walla Valley Math Contest. Green Park 5th grade student Russell Skorina took first place in the individual category while Green Park Elementary earned top team honors.

With the help of more than 40 volunteers including teachers, Explorer parents and community members, these students were given the chance to compete in Addition/Subtraction, Multiplication/Division, Spatial Relations/Patterns, and Team Problem Solving contests. Special thanks to Volunteer Laura Schueller for coordinating the contest.

The tests were scored while the students enjoyed a pizza lunch provided by WWPS, and the awards were presented in front of many proud parents and family members. Special thanks to Berney faculty and staff for the use of their classrooms, library, and other facilities.

Although there were numerous individual and team victories, the top overall individual and teams were:

Top Individuals
1. Russell Skorina (Green Park)
2. Seth Chapman (Sharpstein)
3. (TIE) Sawyer Goodsel (Columbia) and Courtney Cox (Green Park)

Top Teams
1. Green Park
2. Columbia
3. Assumption

Homelink introduces virtual learning
Next fall students enrolled in the K-8 Homelink program at Berney Elementary will have the option of taking courses online as part of a new virtual learning program after school board members Tuesday night approved an agreement with K12 Inc. to serve as the vendor. K12 Inc. operates in more than 16 states serving more than 25,000 students.

“They are the leading provider of curriculum in virtual school programs,” Berney/Homelink Principal David Talley said. “We also believe that K12 offers the quality curriculum that Walla Walla is known for providing its students and families.”

Talley said K12 Inc. allows many flexible options for parents/students from serving the gifted and talented to those that struggle in the traditional school setting.

“Parents choosing this option will work with their Homelink advisory teacher to develop how many and what level of course(s) may be taken,” Talley said. “There is no cost for parents or families that enroll in the Homelink program.”

Homelink is a parent partnership program for families interested in using district classes and resources to supplement their home-based instruction. Talley said teachers Valerie Gentzler and Pam Clayton played key roles in researching this virtual program.
Japanese students to visit Walla Walla schools
Monday a delegation of 12 students from Sasayama, Japan, will visit Walla Walla as part of an 11 day stay. The students will be visiting Prospect Point, Garrison Middle School and Walla Walla High School during the visit. In addition to the 12 students, three adult chaperones will be accompanying the students.

This will be the 15th year that there has been a group of students from Sasayama. In addition to visiting local schools, the students also visit museums, historic sites and cultural centers in the area. Each October a group of students from the Walla Walla area go to Sasayama for a home stay exchange.

The Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Committee was established in 1972. The purpose of the organization is to bring together the social interaction of cultures, develop understanding, and cultivate friendship between the two communities. There are now second generations participating in the exchange programs.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Sister City program can contact the current chairman, Robert Keatts by phone (525-0049) or email: robert_wwscc@yahoo.com<mailto:robert_wwscc@yahoo.com>.

Bowling for the Bee ends in victory for Green Park Elementary School
Green Park claimed the title at the first annual Bowling for the Bee contest at Bowlaway Lanes last Saturday. Green Park student Juan Pena received the highest score at 175. The event, organized by Altrusa of Walla Walla, was the official kick off for the promotion of the Altrusa Spelling Bee, scheduled for Saturday, May 10, at the Balloon Stampede.

Led by Principal Mike Lambert, Green Park’s team racked up a collective score of 498 after 10 frames. In addition to Lambert, Leticia Uribe, Dakota Schavrien and Juan Pena bowled for Green Park. The runner up was the team from Meadowbrook Middle School from College Place with a score of 482. Meadowbrook’s Principal, Bill Varady, was the highest scoring Principal with 212 points.

Other high scores included Ben Parsons from Edison, Lexi Groom from Sharpstein, Adrian Sandoval who bowled for Prospect Point, Erick Garcia who bowled for Berney, Junior Lozano from Blue Ridge, Juan Pena from Green Park, Allyson Gibbar from Meadowbrook and Hayden Leber from Davis in College Place.

As the tournament winner, Green Park was awarded the inaugural “Bee” plaque. They will have to fight to keep the plaque next year at the second annual event.

“Bowling for the Bee” was created to generate “buzz” for the Spelling Bee in May. Said Altrusa President Sandi Blackaby, “We wanted to stage a friendly competitive event that would motivate the students to take notice of the upcoming Spelling Bee. If the kids are talking about this weekend’s competition for the Bee at school, they will be primed to talk more seriously about the Spelling Bee in May.”

Applications and event rules for the Spelling Bee are available this week at every elementary school for grades three, four and five. Altrusa has also provided word lists for each grade. Soon the forms will be available at www.balloonstampede.com, thanks to the support of the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce. The deadline to enter the competition is Friday, April 25, 2008.

Altrusa is currently recruiting volunteers for the Spelling Bee. Says Blackaby, “We are also accepting new members. Our monthly meeting is always the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m.” Call Blackaby at 529-2261 for more information.

Altrusa is a community based, grass roots organization that seeks to address the problems in our own backyards. Altrusans world-wide raise money for local charities, volunteer at battered women’s shelters, help runaway teens, build houses for Habitat for Humanity, and much more. The Walla Walla club, organized in 1929, has chosen to focus on projects that promote literacy and leadership. Some of the projects include: Summer Reading Skills Lab, School Supplies Drive, Make A Difference Day, YWCA Residents Support, Father Read, and the Spelling Bee.

School Retirees Appreciation Week
Tuesday night school board and Walla Walla Columbia County Retired Educators Association member Mary Jo Geidl read a proclamation from Governor Gregoire honoring School Retirees Appreciation Week.

Retired educators Joan Helm and Harriet Michael were present to represent the association. Geidl said the Retired Educators Association also serves as an advocate for retiree benefits at the state level. They received a round of applause from all present.

Personnel Report (from 3/18/08 school board meeting)
• New Hires
(Certificated) A. Sofia Parsons, Bilingual Teacher, Sharpstein
Claudia Salazar, Bilingual Teacher, Sharpstein

(Classified) - NONE TO REPORT

• Resignations/Retirements - NONE TO REPORT

• Leaves of Absence
(Certificated) Heather Babbitt, 4th Grade, Prospect Point, 4 years
- This is for the 2008-2009 school year
Toni Lynn Steele, Title I Reading Specialist, Blue Ridge, 19 years
- Toni Lynn will continue as .5 FTE teacher and serve the other .5 as WWVEA President

Staff key to Energy Management program success
District Energy Manager John Butenhoff reported to school board members Tuesday night the district’s program continues to have a positive impact on district finances and the environment.

Since the program began eight years ago Butenhoff reported the program has helped the district save $2.3 million and trim usage more than 20 percent. He said the energy not used is the same as removing 4,129 cars from the road and planting 8,561 trees.

Butenhoff said utility costs continue to soar. In the past eight years natural gas has increased 133 percent, electricity is up 47 percent and water has jumped 36 percent. Butenhoff said trimming usage helps offset the rising cost of utilities. He thanked staff for establishing an “energy ethic” and said they are the key to the program’s successes.

Wa-Hi Journal newspaper places at state competition
The Wa-Hi Journal placed 2nd Runner Up in Best of Show at the state competition March 15 at Auburn High School. Best of Show was awarded to Emerald Ridge High School, and 1st Runner Up was awarded to Inglemoor High School.

More than 50 schools, many with award winning papers, competed according to Wa-Hi Journal Advisor Gay Buissink.
Newspapers were judged by professional journalists. Best of Show included four categories: coverage, writing & editing, design, and photography. Wa-Hi chose to compete with Issue #5, released on Feb. 28.

“As our editor-in-chief Amelia Mickelson was walking down to accept the award, we were all a little stunned because we know how good some of these newspapers are,” Buissink said. “Issue #5 contained excellent school coverage and the judges recognized this. They also mentioned that the issue ‘exhibits a consistently high level of journalism across all categories.”

Buissink says the journalism students are continually evaluating their work and looking for ways to improve. “I’m very proud of them,” she said.

Other editors attending the state conference were seniors Lucas Miller, Kayla Hodson, Brian James, Katharine Farrington, and junior Michelle Reardon.

Pioneer GEAR UP model to be showcased throughout state
Marika Tomkins and Richelle Palmer recently presented at the GEAR UP Regional Conference, “Innovative Designs and Integration into Schools.” Their presentation focused on how Walla Walla’s lesson model interfaced with GEAR UP /Navigation 101. The all school “Plan Now” event held at Pioneer in December was highlighted.

“Dan Barrett, Navigation 101 State Coordinator, sat in on this presentation and then proceeded to exemplify our work in his Navigation 101 marketing session,” Literacy Trainer Richelle Palmer said. “Dan asked permission to use our power point presentation, handouts and our “Model of Excellence” poster to share with schools throughout the state.”

Wa-Hi student named Washington Scholar
Walla Walla High School Senior Shanie Bushman was named a Washington Scholar. Bushman was selected from the top one percent of seniors in the state of Washington. Each Legislative District may have only three Washington Scholars. The selection is based on academic achievement, leadership and community service. This scholarship can provide her with up to four years of college tuition.
Wa-Hi student’s art earns Education Service District Superintendent’s Choice Award
Congratulations to Wa-Hi student Tani Kitchen for being selected to receive the Superintendent Choice Award for Walla Walla Public Schools for her Raku fired Sculptured Vase titled Coral Reef.

Honorable Mention Award Winners for the ESD Art show are: Jeff Neher for his pottery serving bowl titled Turquois Sand and Alexandra Melling for her sculpture titled Found a Peanut. These award winning art projects will be on display next week at the district office with other student projects on display.

Wa-Hi FFA Floral Team dominates regional contest
Last weekend the Wa-Hi FFA Floral Team took first place in the regional Floral Contest in Warden. This was the last contest before state on April 4 in Spokane. There were 22 teams and 85 contestants who competed.

Overall - 1st
Test - 1st
Problem Solving - 1st
Practicums - 2nd
Plant ID - 6th

Individual Scores
Amy Bell - 1st
Alex Melling - 2nd
Lorrayne Pinza - 3rd
Susie Dandrea - 9th

“Forty-eight hours prior to the contest we asked Amy if she would like to participate,” Advisor Arch McHie said. “She received permission from her parents and traveled to her first contest two days later. Amazing!”

McHie and fellow advisor Lindsey Butcher extended their thanks to the Wa-Hi staff and community for all the continued support of these great students.

Green Park teacher to be featured on KVEW TV next week
Green Park Fourth Grade Teacher Missy Johnson will be featured on KVEW TV next week as part of the station’s Top Notch teacher program. The feature will air during the Good Morning Northwest program (ABC-KVEW) sometime during the time slot of 6 to 7 a.m. through Wednesday.
Garrison students hit it big in Stock Market game
A team from Garrison Middle School won 1st place in the middle division for the state of Washington in the National Council on Economic Education Stock Market game. Team members are: Travis Stinebaugh, Garrett French and Mac Clifton. The students are “given” $200,000 and they can invest in stocks, mutual funds, and more, according to teacher Beth Clearman. At the end of a semester the team with the most assets (they liquify their stocks) wins.

Whitman College Presentation -- A new twist on educational “assessment”
Does educational “assessment” need to hold the same connotation as “Fire!” shouted in a crowded room? Carol Rutz, director of the writing program at Carleton College, will make the case for answering “no,” when she visits the Whitman College campus Tuesday, March 25.

Rutz, whose talk is being cosponsored by the Whitman Center for Teaching and Learning and the Mellon Foundation Grant on Assessment, will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Olin Hall on the Whitman campus. Her presentation, “Assessment as Scholarly Research,” is free and open to the public.

Rutz maintains that educational assessment need not create panic if assessment is considered scholarly inquiry within a research agenda. When approached as research, she said, assessment frames investigation into problems that need to be understood and solved. Her presentation will present a model for assessment as well as practical examples.

CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-6167 -- parishlj@whitman.edu

Exchange Club Easter Egg Hunt Saturday
The Walla Walla Exchange Club is holding its 49th Annual Children’s Easter Egg Hunt on March 22 at 9 a.m. in Pioneer Park.

This year’s Easter Egg hunt features 21 prizes, including three bicycles, which will be awarded to children in categories 1-3 years old, 4-6 years, 7-10 years, and special-needs.

Special thanks to sponsor Alexandra Communications and volunteer Master of Ceremonies Jim Bock. For more information call Jim Peterson at (509) 301-1077.

Walla Walla Spring Concert Schedule
March 27
• 35th annual WWPS District Choir Festival, 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Gym

April 10
• Berney Concert, 1 p.m., Berney Gym

May 8-10
• Wa-Hi Drama -- Seussical Production, 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Auditorium

May 15-17
• Wa-Hi Drama -- Seussical Production, 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Auditorium

May 20
• WWPS Jazz Night, 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Auditorium

May 21
• 35th Annual WWPS District Orchestra Festival, 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Auditorium

May 22
• 35th Annual WWPS District Band Festival, 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Auditorium

May 29
• Wa-Hi Choir Spring Concert, 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Auditorium

June 3
• Spring Orchestra Concert; 7 p.m. - Wa-Hi Auditorium; featuring: Wa-Hi String Orchestra; Wa-Hi Symphony Orchestra; Pioneer 7-8 Orchestra; Pioneer 6th Gr. Orchestra; & the Senior Awards

Classroom Close-Up features Wa-Hi teacher
This week Wa-Hi French Teacher Kerri Tucker is featured via the district’s Classroom Close-Up weekly series.

A 60 second radio spot highlighting Tucker 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.

Wa-Hi music students qualify for state competitions
More than 75 Wa-Hi music students performed at the regional Columbia Basin Music Educators’ Solo-Ensemble Contest held at Southridge High School on Saturday, March 15. Each entry performed before an adjudicator and received feedback on their performance along with a rating.

The following distinguished themselves by winning their division and will compete with the best musicians in the state when these qualifiers travel to Ellensburg to compete at the state Solo-Ensemble contest on April 25 and 26.


2nd alternate: Anna Tupper-Bridges
Snare Drum-
1st Alternate: Tom Callister

State Qualifier: Emily Crouter

Small Woodwind Ensemble-(clarinet duet)
State Qualifier: Emma Burgess and Emily Crouter

Director Andrew Ueckert says, “Please take the time to congratulate the following band students for their achievement of placing at this annual event.”

State Qualifiers: Rebeccah Bagley; Sierra Tinhof
First Alternates: Stephanie Juergensen; Samantha Herriot

Mezzo Soprano
State Qualifiers: Anne Marie Jones; Eva Reich
First Alternate: Kristin Glaeser
Second Alternate: Morgan Filan

First Alternate: Mallory Livingston

State Qualifier: Peter Anderson
First Alternate: Chester Holt
Second Alternate: Thomas Rowley

State Qualifier: Jordan Christensen
First Alternate: Michael Bell
Second Alternate: Daniel Lockart

First Alternate: Martin Sanks

Women’s Small Vocal Ensemble
First Alternate: Alli Fowler/Katherine Dyer Duet

Small Mixed Vocal Ensemble
State Qualifier: Anne Marie Jones-Stephen Trego Duet

Alternates are chosen when the nominee cannot compete at state.
Choir Director Norbert Rossi expressed gratitude to the many accompanists who made the performances possible. They include: Melissa Cadieux, Kirsten Rieke, Katherine Truscott, Katherine Vining-Staffer and Karen Kelly. “The students all did a great job and should be proud of the progress they made. To put it in perspective, the most vocal entries that I am aware of from any other school was 12. Walla Walla High School had 62 vocal entries! ” he stated.

Large Group Band Festival
• March 5 -- The Wa-Hi Wind Ensemble and director Andrew Ueckert, traveled to Kennewick for the CBMEA Large Group Band Festival.

Garrison Choir competes in festival
• March 19 -- The Garrison Choir travels to McLoughlin Middle School for the CBMEA Large Group Middle School Choir Festival. Their instructor is Ronda Gabbard.

Chamber Singers compete in choral festival
March 20 -- Choral teacher Norbert Rossi and his Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Treble Ensemble travel to Kamiakin High School for the CBMEA Large Group High School Choral Festival.

Virginia Beach School of the Arts director visits Walla Walla
• March 20 -- Frank Garcia, Director of Instrumental Music for the Virginia Beach School of the Arts, will be meeting individually with the Garrison and Pioneer Middle School bands as a clinician.

Garrison band to compete in middle school band festival
• March 25 -- The Garrison Band, directed by Roger Garcia, will travel to Richland for the CBMEA Large Group Middle School Band Festival.

Congratulations to all of these students for their outstanding musical achievements!

Technology technicians plan major computer and telephone upgrades during spring break
District Technology Department technicians will take advantage of empty classrooms and computer labs during spring break
to complete major upgrades and repairs across the district. Prospect Point Elementary staff are in line for computer upgrades. Prospect Point students will also benefit from upgraded computers in the school’s computer lab and library. Numerous telephone and internet connectivity improvements will be made across the district.

Major telephone upgrades will limit and in some cases shut down phone and voicemail services
Tuesday, April 1 through Thursday, April 3 -- Expect telephone service interruptions at:
• District Administration Offices (364 S. Park St.)
• Sharpstein Elementary
• Blue Ridge Elementary
• Prospect Point Elementary
• Walla Walla High School
• Lincoln Alternative High School

District Internet Service Interruptions
• Tuesday, April 1 to Friday, April 4 -- Intermittent Internet and WSIPC connectivity
• Wednesday, April 2 -- Complete Internet service halted from 3 to 5 p.m.
• Thursday, April 3 and Friday, April 4 -- Individual sites will experience complete network downtimes of approximately one hour as server upgrades are completed.

For questions or additional information, contact:
Janis M. Barton, Director
Technology, Telecommunications
& Library Media Services
Walla Walla Public Schools
364 S. Park, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Office: 509.526.6744
Cell: 509.520.1945
Fax: 509.522.1833
E-mail: jbarton@wwps.org

Students say Camp Fire afterschool program is fun
Camp Fire USA Executive Director Karen Wolf updated school board members on the organization’s afterschool program which currently serves 217 students at five district elementary schools.

Wolf said the program began in 1989 and has blossomed into the program we see today. She reported $50,000 in scholarship assistance has been provided over the past three years. The program offers enrichment programs like fitness, crafts, arts, cooking, finance and more.

Wolf said the program could not exist without the partnership with the school district. She said the daily attendance average is 106 students. Wolf showed a video highlighting the program and featured comments from participants, staff and community volunteers.