Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 20, 2009

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Blue Ridge principal thanks staff, students and parents
Blue Ridge Elementary Principal Connie Taylor-Randall is transferring to the Curriculum Department at the end of the 2008-09 school year to serve as a Principal on Special Assignment. This position was made available when current Employee Induction Coordinator Judy Peasley applied for an open teaching position at Edison Elementary and was the successful candidate.

Peasley is moving to Edison to teach 5th grade next school year. Current Title One/LAP Coordinator Leah Crudup was filling a one year only contract as a retire/rehire, so will not be coming back next year. Taylor-Randall will combine these two full-time central office positions into just one district-level position.

“The stars aligned perfectly,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Boggs. “When Judy decided to follow her calling back to the classroom and with Leah in retire/rehire status, we knew Connie’s skills were exactly what we needed to continue this systems work at a high level across the district.”

Taylor-Randall also has specialized training in the Guided Language Acquisition Development (GLAD) program and will assist Bilingual Coordinator Diana Erickson in providing GLAD professional development for teachers as part of her new position.

This week Taylor-Randall took a moment to thank the Blue Ridge community for its support during her tenure as principal.

“I am humbled by the support of staff, parents, students, and the community with regard to my leadership at Blue Ridge,” Taylor-Randall said. “In this position, I will continue to support teacher leadership and parent involvement at all schools including Blue Ridge.”

Deputy Superintendent details Berney and Blue Ridge principals hiring process
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan reported to school board members Tuesday night on the process being used to hire new principals at Berney and Blue Ridge Elementary Schools.

Jordan said only in-district candidates are being considered at this time. Both positions have closed. He said candidates for both positions will participate in a day long selection process Monday, March 23. Hiring teams will include staff and parent representatives from each school, as well as district administrators and a school board member.

The selection process will include five areas:
1. Present a presentation
2. Observe a video-taped classroom lesson
3. Meet one-on-one with Superintendent Carter
4. Complete a written exercise
5. Work with other candidates on an issue

No hiring announcement date has been set.

Budget savings plan information online
This week district staff were briefed on the district’s budget savings plan. The main message was no budget decisions have been made as the district is waiting to get budget targets from Olympia. A timeline of the district’s budget process was discussed and frequently asked questioned were shared.

Superintendent Rich Carter recorded a video to share information on the budget savings plan as it relates to the state’s economic crisis. Staff were also encouraged to submit additional questions, comments or suggestions.

Information on the budget savings plan is posted on the district’s website: www.wwps.org. An online section is also available to submit additional questions, comments or suggestions.

Personnel Report (from 3/17/09 school board meeting)
New Hires -
(Classified) Sandra Yates, Food Service Assistant, Lincoln Alternative HS

Laura Droke, Director of Special Education, Special Programs - 18 years

Beverly Allen, Business Education, Lincoln, 9 years
Heather Babbitt, Fourth Grade, Prospect Point Elementary, 5 years
- Heather was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year.
Gail Callahan, Title I Reading Specialist, Blue Ridge, 40 years
Karen Sinclair-Okerlund, Language Arts/Reading, Garrison, 19 years
Kris Takemura, Kindergarten, Prospect Point, 19 years

Mariela Lopez, Assistant Secretary, Prospect Point, 8 years
- Mariela was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year.
Veronica Rosales, Intervention Specialist, Blue Ridge Elementary, 6 months

School Board Meetings - July to December 2009
• Tuesday, July 21
• Tuesday, August 18
• Tuesday, September 1
• Tuesday, September 15
• Tuesday, October 6
• Tuesday, October 20
• Tuesday, November 3
• Tuesday, November 17
• Tuesday, December 15

All meetings begin at 7:30 p.m., unless rescheduled by the school board. Additional meetings may be scheduled as necessary.

Public invited to meet nationally known authors tonight
Walla Walla Kids Read will host nationally known authors David Shannon and N.E. Bode tonight at the Walla Walla Public Library from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Local author and Walla Walla Kids Read originator Patrick Carman coordinated the visit. Walla Walla Kids Read is designed to inspire every K-5 child in the Walla Walla valley. All costs for the event are paid for by Walla Walla Kids Read.

Free Public Event - Friday, March 20
- “Meet The Authors” -- David Shannon and N.E. Bode
- Location: Walla Walla Public Library
- Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
School Retirees’ Appreciation Week
School board members honored retired employees Tuesday night as part of School Retirees’ Appreciation Week - March 9-13. Retired employees’ president Harriet Michaels was in attendance to represent the retired employees. Michaels said retired employees remain committed to advancing public education and she thanked the school board for their continued support.
Homelink - Connecting with Families, Students and Schools
Homelink teachers Valerie Gentzler and Pam Clayton reported to school board members Tuesday night on the Homelink Program located at Berney Elementary. Several Homelink students talked about why they love Homelink. Students said the program pushes them academically and is fun.

This year the school features a new online program through K12 Inc. which has boosted enrollment to 120 students, up 40 from this time last year. Online learning options through the K12 curriculum for grades K-8, includes language arts, literature, history, math and music.

Homelink also offers classes on campus two days a week: Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday. Campus courses include science, art, writing, primary reading/writing, and physical education. Community based enrichment opportunities are available in Spanish, geography, drama, sign language, art, and dancing.

Parent Testimonials
“The flexibility of home schooling coupled with the social opportunity at Homelink has been a good “fit” for my son with learning difficulties. Initially, when we wondered if he would EVER be able to read, the teachers went out on a limb to try to help him with private tutoring and specialized materials.  Traditional school hours and curricula don’t accommodate all learning styles. So I appreciate the combination of the “freedom” of home schooling with the supplemental classes offered by Homelink staff. All of my interactions as a parent/teacher have been productive with the Homelink folks. Thank you!”
- Elizabeth Reese (Parent of Homelink student, Alexander, Grade 8)

“As a home schooling mom for the past 15 years, I would just like to share a few observations about our experience over the years.  Our “adventure” began with home schooling our two now-adult daughters in their 3rd and 4th grades.  We tried many different approaches, including a teaching-mom co-op, home schooling with one other family, a home school/ESD class combination in La Grande, OR, along with at-home teaching exclusively.  For us, the past five years with Homelink has been by far the best combination, giving us the advantages of traditional home school and Homelink’s enrichment and positive social interaction.  In addition, I’ve very much appreciated Pam and Valerie’s approachability and professionalism and will miss Homelink when our youngest son completes 8th grade next year.”
- Cheryl Dowdy (Parent of Homelink student, Trevor, Grade 8 and Justin,
Grade 7)

“Our family is forever grateful for the warm community and support Homelink provides for our son Rylan. Due to sensory processing difficulties, when Rylan needed to discontinue attending private school in November 2007, our world became very small in order to support his healing and growth. This last fall Rylan was longing to develop friendships and begin to interact more with others so we joined the Walla Walla Home School Association. Attending classes there on Friday mornings offered him the opportunity to begin to stretch his world a little bigger and receive support with learning. When I learned about Homelink in December, I arranged to observe the classes with Rylan and he immediately wanted to begin attending. We placed him in second grade, wanting him to experience success re-entering a classroom setting and confidence in completing seatwork. At first he was easily overwhelmed by the number of students attending Berney, especially at lunch time and recess, however he has been able to develop a trusting relationship with Valerie Gentzler knowing she will hear him and support him any time. He has also been able to develop trusting relationships with each of his teachers and is experiencing budding friendships with his classmates. The K-12 program truly supports our continued learning at home. History has really come alive for Rylan. He loves reading and creating picture narratives. Having Valerie’s support in creating a curriculum that meets Rylan’s unique learning style as well as teach me how to navigate the materials has been such a blessing. Now Rylan eagerly looks forward to school days exclaiming an enthusiastic “Yes!” upon hearing it’s Tuesday or Friday. The transformation in our son in just a few months amazes us; he is enjoying learning again! We are so grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the Homelink Program and experience an environment that truly supports our sons continued learning and growth as well as offers support to us as parents.”
-With profound thanks,
Richard and Gloria Lybecker (Parent of Homelink student, Rylan, Grade 2)

“As a homeschooler, the financial support from partnering with the Homelink program has made a big difference in helping me to expand the educational opportunities for my five children.
- Tracy Klassen (Parent of Homlink students, Jocelyn, Grade 8; Morgan, Grade 6; Corren, Grade 4; and Evan, Grade 2)
Homelink has been a great experience for my son, Thomas. He has blossomed academically through the Homelink Program. I’m absolutely thankful for it!”
-Sherry Kau (Parent of Thomas, Grade 3)

For more information on Homelink, visit the district website at: www.wwps.org.

Classroom Close-Up features Lincoln Alternative High School teacher
This week Lincoln Alternative High School English/Drama teacher Riki Wauchek is featured as part of the district’s Classroom Close-Up series. A fun, information filled newsletter will be posted on the district website next week — (www.wwps.org).

A radio spot featuring Wauchek is now playing on regional stations.

Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City partnership to bring Japanese students to area
Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee will bring students from Sasayama, Japan to area schools on March 26 and 27. The five students will visit Walla Walla High School on March 26 and Garrison Middle School and Prospect Point Elementary on March 27. The students will be accompanied by two chaperones. The students are staying with host families who have students attending Walla Walla and Waitsburg Schools.

“We encourage everyone to welcome our sister city students to the schools as well as in the community,” said Robert Keatts, Chairman, Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee.

Exchange Club honors Lincoln Alternative High School seniors

Congratulations to Lincoln Alternative High School seniors Bobbie Doll and Mary Peery for being named Youth of the Month students by the Exchange Club of Walla Walla. Doll and Peery said Lincoln High Alternative School feels like a family to them and that principal Jim Sporleder and teacher Natalie Allen-Tibbling have inspired them to do their best.
Volunteer “Grandpa” Bob Cripe passes away
Longtime Head Start/ECEAP friend and volunteer “Grandpa” Bob Cripe recently passed away. Cripe turned 92 last month and volunteered into his 90s. He was a recipient of the Art Regier Volunteer of the Year award in 1995.

The Head Start/ECEAP staff are going to present Bob’s family with a memory book. If you know of a student who had a bond with Bob, please inform Head Start/ECEAP Director Donna Painter (dpainter@wwps.org or 526-1780). They are hoping to have letters or cards from students included in the book.

Food Service update
Food Services Director Pam Milleson provided school board members with an overview of her department during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Her department has prepared more than 200,000 breakfast meals so far this year and more than a half a million lunches to date. Milleson said her staff works hard to prepare healthy, delicious, low cost meals. Approximately 52% of district students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
Wa-Hi JROTC cadets win many drill, marksmanship awards at all-services meet in Prineville, Ore., including top rifle team honors
The Walla Walla High School JROTC “Blue Devils” Cadet Battalion drill and rifle teams brought home numerous awards after competing Saturday at Prineville , Ore.

“Our drill team earned several individual awards for excellence in their categories,” said Retired Army Master Sgt. Gerry Taylor, advisor to the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. “Cadet Sergeant Triton Perrin, a sophomore, won 1st place in the individual armed drill down; Cadet Corporal Kevin Brown took 2nd place in individual unarmed drill down; and our cadet battalion commander, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Naomi Dunham, earned 2nd place as unarmed drill team commander.”

The Blue Devil shooting team was right on target, too, according to Taylor, a former member of the Army Marksmanship Unit and coach of the WWHS shooting team.

“The rifle team earned enough points this weekend to win the Conference Overall Championship for the year,” said Taylor. “We compete against 14 other schools in the Cascade Division of the 32-school Northwest Conference. I just couldn’t be more proud of the cadets and their achievement. These young people invest many hours on the practice range developing their talent and concentration. This recognition is testimony to all their hard work.”

At Prineville, the Blue Devils sporter team won 1st place and the precision team took 2nd place. Individual achievements were as follows:

Precision team - Cadet Command Sergeant Major Cole Smith, a senior, 3rd place; and Cadet First Lieutenant Logan Heater, a junior, 4th place.

Sporter team - Master Class - Cadet Corporal Kyle Jameson, freshman, 1st place; Cadet Captain Alexa Hummel, senior, 2nd place; Cadet Captain Kortni Razzolini, senior, 4th place, Cadet Captain Riley Owens, senior, 5th place.

Expert Class - Cadet Corporal Karri Mickelson, freshman, 2nd place, Cadet First Lieutenant Matthew Hastings, junior, 4th place.

Sharpshooter Class - Cadet Captain Stephen Cook, senior, 3rd place.

“Prineville was our last meet of the year in our division and conference,” said Taylor, who has worked with Wa-Hi cadets for 20 years. “Our seniors will graduate with a lot to be proud of from their years on our drill and rifle teams. The underclassmen have shown tremendous ability and potential and have a great legacy to carry forward.

ESD 123 High School Art Show Award winners named
Congratulations to the following Wa-Hi students who were selected to receive awards at the ESD 123/Washington State High School Art Show. An awards ceremony was held Wednesday, March 18 at Columbia Basin College. These students competed against hundreds of submissions from students representing more than 20 schools in the ESD 123 region.

For the 3D category:
Judge’s Choice Award winners: (goes on to the state competition)
#1611 Rebeccah Bagley “Helping Hands” (Pottery/Sculpture)

Honorable Mention Award Winners are:
#1618 Rebeccah Bagley “Artists Hands”(Pottery/Sculpture)

For the 2D category:

Judge’s Choice Award winner: (goes on to the state competition)
#4001 Luke Nelson “Old Car”(3D Space)

Honorable Mention Award Winners are:
#4004 Madison Filan “Seven”(3D Space)
#1422 Janet Hill “You Only Live Once”(Watercolor)

Superintendent Award Winner:
#4014 Danika Marquis “Midnight Dinner For Two” (3D Space)

Walla Walla High School choirs receive superior ratings
Three Choirs involving over 130 students from Walla Walla High School participated in the Columbia Basin Music Educators Large Choir Festival on March 12 at Kamiakin High School. The Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Treble Ensemble each received “Superior” ratings from a panel of three judges. The choirs received high praise for their performances.

The Concert Choir performed “Cantique de Jean Racine” by Gabriel Faure. It featured violinist Jeffrey Ladderud. “Ave Maria” followed, featuring soloists Michael Bell, Malila Kiliona and Thomas Rowley. The double-choir work utilized a small ensemble of Sierra Tinhof, Eva Reich, Denali Molitor, Alina Reese, Kristin Glaeser, Rachel Martin-Alger, Thomas Rowley, Joseph Quiner, and Kolton Kolbaba. The choir finished with the spiritual “Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord” which included two soloists: Peter Anderson and Cameron Coronado. The choir was congratulated on their high level of achievement in choral concepts by Dr. Scott Anderson from Idaho State University.

The Chamber Singers performed “Dirait-on” by Washington native Morten Lauridsen. They followed with “There is No Rose of Such Virtue” featuring soloist Martin Sanks, and finished with Ralph Vaughn Williams setting of the English folktune “Just as the Tide was Flowing.” The ensemble received high marks while performing college-level literature. One judge commented that “your maturity surpasses that of most high school groups.” Members of the group include: Peter Anderson, Rebeccah Bagley, Michael Bell, Will Bergstrom, Nicolai Carrera, Jordan Christensen, Chris DeLeon, Katherine Dyer, Alli Fowler, Jamaica Gaines, Kristin Glaeser, Sarah Hemenway, Samantha Herriot, Delene Hutchison, Daniel Lockart, Nichole Locken, Preston Loomer, Denali Molitor, Tony Nichols, Joseph Quiner, Eva Reich, Tom Rowley, Martin Sanks, Willa Schober, Frank Stahl, Sierra Tinhof and Dana Wardwell.

The Treble Ensemble performed “Die Meere” by Johannes Brahms, followed by a South American folk tune “El Monigote” (“The Ragdoll”). The choir then finished with an American folk song “He’s Gone Away.” The group of 24 young women were lauded for their warm, open tone and musical phrasing. Members of the group include Madelyn Angulo, Stephani Barnett, Kathryn Bogley, Courtney Bruner, Sydney Christensen, Kailee Davisson, K’Lah Dyer, Teddilynn Dyer, Kara Goodwin, Lori Goodwin, Allison Henckel, Victoria Henderson, Natalie Ingersoll-Allen, Kiersten Jenkins, Kaitlyn Jessee, Krysta Juergensen, Mallory Livingston, Joy Marquis, Rebekah McConnell, Kelsey Palmer, Stacie Trego, Maryangel Unutoa, Faith Volkers, Kailee Willard.

The groups were accompanied on the piano by Melissa Cadieux and directed by Norbert Rossi.

Exchange Club Easter Egg Hunt - Saturday, April 11
The Walla Walla Exchange Club is holding its 50th Annual Children’s Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, April 11 at 9 a.m. in Pioneer Park. This year’s Easter Egg hunt features 21 prizes, including three bicycles, which will be awarded in categories, 1-3 years old, 4-6 years old, 7-10 years old and special-needs.

Special thanks to sponsor Alexandra Communications and volunteer Master of Ceremonies Jim Bock. For more information call Chris Drake at (509) 301-1777.

Art Regier Outstanding Volunteers of the Years Award nominations accepted
Nominations are being accepted through Friday, March 27 for the Art Regier Outstanding Volunteers of the Year Award. Recipients will be recognized at the April 21 school board meeting. Nomination forms are available at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the district office.

Criteria for Selection:
Criteria for selection may include the following:
1. Exceptional service or contributions to the children of Walla Walla Public Schools
2. Unusual dedication
3. Demonstration of care, compassion and empathy

Recipients of the Art Regier Outstanding Volunteer Award will be honored with a plaque to display at their home or place of business, and their name will be permanently affixed to a memorial plaque in the school district’s board room at 364 South Park Street.

For more information, please call Communications Director Mark Higgins 526-6716

Walla Walla High School seniors rank fourth nationally in WordMasters reading competition
Walla Walla High School’s 12th grade WordMasters team placed fourth in the nation in the year’s third meet held in February. WordMasters is a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry. Texts for the competition included poems by Robert Hayden and James Meredith and a speech by President Barack Obama.

Wa-Hi’s 11th grade team tied for 15th in the competition featuring 556 schools and 54,000 students from across the country. The teams were supervised by Walla Walla High School English teacher Lori Dohe.

Individual honors included:
- Juniors Jonathan Barnes and Andy Swinnerton: 48th in 11th grade category
- Anna Tupper-Bridges: Honorable Mention in 11th grade category
- Tom Callister, Ryan Campeau, Casey Hutchinson, Eva Reich: 57th in 12th grade category
- Ellen Brigham, Paul Froese, Janet Hill, Tyler Hurlburt, Claudia Vargas: Honorable mention in the 12th grade category
- Tressa Criss: Honorable Mention in the 10th grade category

Graduates of Distinction nominations now accepted
Nominations are open for the 2009 Graduates of Distinction Program. All nominations and recommendation forms must be received in the district Curriculum Department by April 15, 2009.

The purpose of the Walla Walla Public Schools’ Graduates of Distinction program is to provide an avenue for recognizing high school graduates of Walla Walla Public Schools who have distinguished themselves in their communities, professions, or careers; and to honor the Walla Walla Public Schools’ staff members who were the most inspirational in the lives of those individuals.

In order to be eligible for nomination, an individual must have graduated from high school in the Walla Walla Public Schools at least 10 years prior to nomination.

The recognition is intended to honor Walla Walla High School graduates for outstanding achievement. The honor will be given to mature adults who are exemplary citizens and have distinguished themselves in their communities, their professions, or their careers. Nominations will be held for five years, and will automatically be included in the selection process during that time.

Nomination forms are available at the district office, 364 South Park Street, or on the district website: http://www.wwps.org/news/grad_distinction.htm . Please call Kay Schisler, 526-6735, for more information.

BUNKO Benefit & Silent Auction planned for ailing Prospect Point dad

All proceeds from this event go to help pay for Adam Piercy’s medical expenses. Adam is a single dad of two Prospect Point Elementary School boys. He is currently waiting for a heart transplant.

Date: Sunday April 19, 2009
Place: Marcus Whitman Hotel, Explorer Ballroom -- Corner of 2nd & Rose, Walla Walla, WA
Time: 2 p.m.
Tickets: May be purchased in advance.
Ticket Cost: $25 each or - 2 or $40

Ticket Information:
- Contact Jodi Ferguson: 301-2042
- Penny Dimino: 522-7055 - diminomk@msn.com
- Kim Corcoran: 529-5333 - kimcorcoran@bmi.net

Get Your Tickets Today!
Can’t come? Donations also accepted.

Prizes, Prizes, Prizes!
Gather your friends & buy tickets for all, come and enjoy an afternoon of fun for a great cause! There will also be a silent auction on-site.

Make Checks Payable to: Adam Piercy Donation

Walla Walla High School student named Washington Aerospace Scholar
Congratulations to Walla Walla High School Junior Jonathan Barnes for being named a Washington Aerospace Scholar for 2009. Barnes is among 260 talented juniors from across the state accepted into the first phase of Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS).

These 260 students are currently participating in Phase One of WAS: distance learning with a NASA-designed curriculum covering the history of space exploration, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, the Moon, and Mars. From January through May, the Scholars will complete ten lessons - submitting quizzes, math solutions, essays, and graphics concerning these topics every other week. Scholars will independently select a topic of interest for a final project combining an essay with a graphic. Scholars are also competing for a space in one of our four summer residency sessions.

Phase Two of WAS is a six-day summer residency experience for 160 students. Selection is competitive and centers around performance in Phase One of WAS. In each residency session, 40 Scholars are selected to work cooperatively to plan a human mission to Mars with support from professional engineers/scientists, university students, and certificated educators. Each session also includes briefings from aerospace professionals, tours of engineering facilities, and hands-on engineering challenges involving model rocketry, robotics, landing devices, and payload lofting. The daily schedule is quite full, and the students lodge in double rooms at a local hotel under the supervision of certificated teachers. Travel, lodging, and meal expenses are provided to participating students and teachers thanks to the WAS Foundation and our many generous donors.

For more information: www.museumofflight.org/washingtonaerospacescholars

Altrusa Bowling for the Bee kicks off annual Spelling Bee contest
Altrusa International, Inc. of Walla Walla and the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce are having a Spelling Bee pre-event, Bowling for the Bee, Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Bowlaway Lanes. The following schools will bowl for bragging rights and their name inscribed on the traveling trophy:

Green Park
Blue Ridge
Prospect Point
Davis / Meadow Brook

Each team will consist of one adult (principal or designee), a 3rd grader, a 4th grader, and a 5th grader. The team with the highest score will be declared this year’s winner! Last year’s winner was Green Park.

The Spelling Bee is Saturday, May 9, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, the Pavilion at the Fairgrounds (in conjunction with the Balloon Stampede).

Registration for the Bee will be limited to the first 100 entry applications received. The Bee is for 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who reside in the Walla Walla Valley. For more information, visit the district’s website at: www.wwps.org (Parent Resources area) or contact Altrusa member Linda Thorson at: linda.thorson@wwcc.edu.