Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 6, 2009

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Blue Ridge Principal to take new position next school year
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. Her duties will include Title I, Learning Assistance Program (LAP), new teacher induction and recruiting.

Taylor-Randall has specialized training in the Guided Language Acquisition Development (GLAD) program and will provide GLAD professional development for teachers as part of her new position.

“We look forward to having Connie join our central office team and use her talents to advance the district in these areas,” Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan said.

Taylor-Randall will remain at Blue Ridge through the end of the 2008-09 school year and transfer to the
Curriculum Department July 1. A search for a new principal will begin immediately.

Classified Employees Week: March 9 - 13
Tuesday night school board members and Superintendent Rich Carter honored the district’s support staff as part of Classified Employees Week - March 9 to 13. Carter read a proclamation from Governor Gregoire officially recognizing this week across the state.
“Our classified employees are involved in nearly every aspect of education, including maintaining school buildings and grounds, providing secretarial and clerical assistance, preparing and serving meals, providing safe transportation, keeping school facilities clean and orderly, assisting in the classroom and school health clinics, providing a secure environment, and many other specialized services,” Carter said.

He also thanked PSE President Larry McCauley for his dedication and professionalism as the union’s leader. McCauley applauded the school board and administration for the continued support classified employees receive from the district. He said he is humbled to lead such an outstanding group of employees.

Walla Walla School District employs 361 classified employees in a variety of job classifications:
Bus Drivers - 23
Campus Security - 3
Custodial - 30
Food Service - 39
Health Clinician - 10
Intervention Specialists - 20
Maintenance - 17
Para Educators - 164
Secretaries - 52
Software Support - 3

Total - 361

District plans parent networking meetings
The district is scheduling parent networking/involvement meetings next week. Contact your school principal to get involved. Representatives from each school are expected to participate.

The meetings are being held to help district parents develop relationships with parents at other district schools and find ways to be more efficient and effective. It’s also a great opportunity to network with district office administrators and the school board. School board member Cindy Meyer and Communications Director Mark Higgins are facilitating the meetings.

Meeting details:

Elementary Parents Meeting
Monday, March 9
5:30 to 7 p.m.
District Board Room

Secondary Parents Meeting (Pioneer, Garrison, Wa-Hi, Lincoln)
Wednesday, March 11
5:30 to 7 p.m.
District Board Room

Parent Networking/Involvement Meeting Agenda

1. Dinner (Sub sandwiches) - All

2. Introductions - 5 minutes

3. PTA group share time (provide overview of what you do, how you organize your meetings and who attends) - 5 minutes per group

4. What appeals to you about the other PTAs (Group discussion) - 10 minutes

5. PTA Calendar Coordination (Mark Higgins) - 5 minutes

6. Parent Networking Council listserv (Mark Higgins) - 5 minutes

7. Volunteer Participation Table Discussion - 10 minutes
(What have you done at your school to recruit and retain volunteers? Brainstorm potential new volunteers)

8. Volunteer Participation Share Out— Share thoughts and ideas with group - 10 minutes

9. Where do we go from here? What topics need to be addressed next? How often should we meet? - 10 minutes

Federal Way defeats Wa-Hi boys’ basketball team Thursday. Blue Devils face Inglemoor Friday
The Wa-Hi Boys Basketball team faces Inglemoor (16-6) after losing to Federal Way Thursday evening 52-37.
The game will be aired on KTEL 1490 AM at 2 p.m.

Wa-Hi vs. Inglemoor
Friday, March 6
2 p.m.
KTEL 1490 AM
Go Big Blue!

Personnel Report (from 3/3/09 school board meeting)
New Hires
James Bennett, Bus Driver, Transportation
Richard Bunnell, Bus Driver, Transportation
Heather Davidson, Bus Driver, Transportation

Scott Ford, Physical Education teacher, Berney, 5 years
• Scott was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year
Kim Cassetto, English, Walla Walla High School, 7 years
• Kim was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year
Peggy Willcuts, Science Coordinator, Curriculum Dept., 19 years
• Peggy was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year
Jason Harrison, Graduation Advocate, Lincoln Alternative High School, 10 years
• Jason was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year

Kelley Hubbard, Assistant Secretary, Head Start/ECEAP, 7 years
• Kelley was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year
Carmen Guery, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Elementary, 9 years
• Carmen was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year
Karen Larson, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary, 10 years
• Karen was on a leave of absence for the 2008-09 school year
Maria Remington, Para-Educator, Prospect Point Elementary, 5 years
• Maria was on a leave of absence for the last half of the 2008-09 school year
Alison Spencer, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Special Programs, 2 years
• Alison was on a leave of absence for the last half of the 2008-09 school year

Leave of Absences
(Certificated) Maria Garcia, School Psychologist, Special Programs, 13 years
• Maria will continue as the RTI Coordinator for the 2009-2010 school year
Laura Grant-Herriot, Fifth grade teacher, Berney, 17 years
• Laura is on a leave of absence to serve in the Washington State Legislature

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.

Calling all Parents of Teens -- Help is just a phone call away thanks to Project SAFE
Are you stressed out by your teen? Losing sleep over your child’s behavior? Are you thinking of kicking your son or daughter out of the house because you don’t see any other option? Help is available through Project SAFE.

Project SAFE provides FREE counseling to parents like you and from the comfort of your own home. Counseling is provided over the phone by licensed clinical therapists who specialize in teen/parent relationships, adolescent development and teen behavior. These counselors want to help you come up with new and effective solutions that will make a difference in the relationship you share with your child. Services consist of a 90-minute consultation call, the crafting of an action plan, and a 30-minute follow-up call two weeks later. Calls are confidential and you can remain anonymous.

The Project SAFE program is based in Everett, Washington at an agency called Cocoon House. It’s a prevention program that has experienced success in keeping families with pre-teens and teens intact. In fact, it was recognized as a Best Practice by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Currently Project SAFE is serving Walla Walla families thanks to generous funding provided by the Walla Walla Community Network. Any parent in Walla Walla in need of this service is eligible – it’s as easy as making a call.

So call now and schedule your initial consultation — or just call the toll-free number to find out more and make your decision from there. You’ll find the staff at Project SAFE to be warm, friendly and helpful. Bilingual therapists are also available. The number is 1-877-339-4179 and it’s toll free. What have you got to lose? Call today!

Walla Walla High School choirs to perform at Columbia Basin Music Educators contest
Three Walla Walla High School choirs will be performing at the Columbia Basin Music Educators Large Choir Contest at Kamiakin High School Thursday, March 12. The Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Treble Ensemble will sing at the event. There will be over 120 singers from WWHS participating.

Each choir will be adjudicated by three judges. Choirs receive a clinic from the judges and a rating for their performance. Choirs are judged in areas including Tone Quality, Pitch and Rhythmic Accuracy, Blend, Balance, and Interpretation. Choirs participating are from the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Othello areas.

The event is open to the public and is free of charge. The times for the performances will be posted on the WWHS Choir website: http://resources.wwps.org/wwhs/choir/

The choirs are directed by Norbert Rossi and accompanied by Melissa Cadieux.

Pioneer students to package meals for African children
This winter, Pioneer PTSA sponsored a candle fundraiser to purchase meals for children in a third world nation. The fruits of the Pioneer PTSA fundraiser are in and ready to be packaged.

“We need at least 250 students, parents, and other volunteers to help package 8,000 meals for children in Africa,” said Pioneer Middle School Principal Dana Jones. “Community members, along with our parents and students are invited to stop in on Friday, April 24 after school between 3:30 and 5 p.m. to help assemble the packages that the “Children of the Nations” program is coordinating. It’s going to take a village to help a village, so please plan to join us!”

Walla Walla High School Special Education classes organize fund-raiser to pay for Silverwood trip
Walla Walla High School Special Education classes (VES & EST) are organizing a fund raiser in partnership with Hepler’s Big Cheese Pizza to help raise money for their 16th annual class spring trip to Silverwood.

Gift certificates sell for $10 each which is good for a large gourmet or specialty pizza at Hepler’s Big cheese Pizza in the Eastgate area. This is a $17.99 value and each gift cerficate sold will net the students $3 to help pay for their trip.

To purchase a certificate:
- Contact Gretchen Baker (gbaker@wwps.org) or Jeanne Lothspeich (jlothspeich) at Walla Walla High School
- Certificates may also be purchased at Hot Mama’s Espresso at 1447 W. Pine St.

National Geographic giant traveling map coming to Sharpstein March 6-8, 2009
What better way to teach young people the power of maps and the limitless depth of geography than a gym-sized map on which they can explore, travel from place to place, hop around, compete, collaborate and have lots of fun?

That’s exactly how local students will get to explore North America, courtesy of National Geographic, when a giant 26 by 26 foot map makes a stop at Sharpstein Elementary School today and this weekend.

The map will be located in the Sharpstein Elementary School Gym and is open without charge to the public on Friday, March 6, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., then on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, from noon to 5 p.m. Everyone is invited. Just remember that socks are required for walking on the map.

The huge map, designed for grades K-8, tours with a trunk full of accessories, including interactive games, geography adventures, atlases and books that teach students about the physical characteristics of North America as well as its rich history and varied cultures. Some of the activities included are “A Tale of Twenty Cities,” in which students explore the physical and economic reasons behind the locations of North American cities, and “Grocery Store Geography,” in which bean-bag-tossing skills are called upon to test students’ knowledge of where foods are produced in the continent.

National Geographic Traveling Maps are produced by National Geographic Live! – the live events division of the National Geographic Society. “Experiencing a map of this size can really awaken a student to the power of maps and the limitless depth of geography, “ says Dan Beaupré, National Geographic’s director of education partnerships. “The result is an experience that is a cross between geography and a gym class.”

To learn more about the Giant Traveling Map project, visit www.ngsednet.org/giantmaps.

For more information, contact Mary Cortinas at Sharpstein Elementary School, 527-3098.

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

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.

Great Explorations event offers girls opportunities to learn more about math, science and technology
“Great Explorations”...a math/science/technology conference for girls in grades 5-8

DATE: Saturday, March 21
TIME: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
PLACE: Whitman College Campus, Boyer and Park Streets
FEE: $5 per person; scholarships available. Contact Carol at 525-3531 or pcmorgan@charter.net.
PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Registration forms have been distributed to schools. Additional forms can be downloaded and printed at www.aauw-wallawalla.org or picked up in person at the YWCA. Completed registration forms must be returned by Monday, March 21 to allow time for workshop scheduling.

• Twenty-one diverse, hands-on, fun-filled WORKSHOPS are presented by area women who work in math, science and technology-related fields. Girls indicate preferences on their registration form; three workshops are assigned on a first registered, first served basis.

• A PARENT/EDUCATOR PANEL DISCUSSION on The Economics of Education will run concurrently with the girls’ workshops. Interested parents and educators must also submit a registration form to attend.

• KEYNOTE SPEAKER, Erika Marin-Spiotta, an environmental scientist, will speak on “People, Cows, and Climate.” She has traveled the world to study tropical forests and the soils below them. Hear about some of her adventures feeding ants and dodging seed-throwing monkeys. She will also talk about the doors opened in her career by math, science and technology courses that she took in school.

• Healthy SNACKS are provided mid-morning, between the second and third workshops.

• CO-SPONSORS include the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Walla Walla Public Schools, Whitman College, and the YWCA.

• QUESTIONS? Contact Jeanne Beirne at 525-7401, jbeirne@my180.net or Carol at 525-3531, pcmorgan@charter.net.

2009 Kindergarten and Open Enrollment registration dates set
Walla Walla Public Schools Kindergarten and Open Enrollment period is Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27, 2009. Kindergarten registration will be conducted at the student’s attendance area elementary school. New elementary and middle school boundaries take affect in the fall of 2009.

Parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child to a school outside of their attendance area may pick up an open enrollment application form at their attendance area school during normal business hours beginning March 9; however, the form will not be accepted in the receiving school until Monday, March 16.

If there is space available to accommodate open enrollment requests, then the priorities outlined in School Board Policy No. 3130 will be used to determine movement of a student. School Board Policy manuals are available for public viewing at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the Administration Office. School Board policies are also online at http://www.wwps.org/leadership/board.htm#11

Open Enrollment and Kindergarten Registration Hours:
Monday, March 16
7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

March 17 — March 27
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Please contact your attendance area school for more information. District boundary maps are available at all schools, the Administration Office at 364 South Park Street, and online at www.wwps.org . Click on the District A to Z link and then click on Boundary Map (Revised).

Classroom Close-Up features Green Park Title I teacher
This week Green Park Elementary Title 1 teacher Brenda Sims 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 Sims is now playing on regional stations.

Erik Gordon shines in leading Lincoln's formal dinner
Special thanks to Lincoln Alternative High School teacher Erik Gordon for going above and beyond to make last weekend’s formal dinner and movie night a huge success.

Gordon is the leadership instructor at Lincoln. He and his class orchestrated a formal dinner and a movie night last Saturday.

“It was a delight to help with the food for the evening and be privileged to watch the Lincoln students, staff and Mr. Gordon plan, setup, and enjoy the great evening,” said Food Services Director Pam Milleson. “They planned a five course dinner and were available to help with the preparation.”

The Lincoln gym was then transformed into a beautiful setting for the evening. The staff came as waiters to serve the students. Students came dressed in their finest and enjoyed a wonderful night of food and entertainment.

“I was so impressed with the staff and students throughout the whole event,” Milleson said. “One thing that spoke volumes to me was at the end of the evening one young man was being picked up by his mother and was adamant that she come in and see the wonderful setting and meet some of the staff. He was so full of pride for his school.”

Gordon spent untold hours planning, working and leading to provide a memorable night for a great group of kids. Thanks again to Erik Gordon and the Lincoln staff and students for this effort.