Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - September 25, 2009

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Edison dedication signals the completion of a successful project
Thursday night hundreds of parents, staff, students and community members flocked to the new Edison Elementary to celebrate the completion of the project. Guests toured the facility and met with teachers to learn how the new school better supports learning during the dedication ceremony.

Music teacher Ronda Gabbard and the Edison Choir started the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of “America the Beautiful.” Special thanks to the Walla Walla High School JROTC for presenting colors during the event.

Superintendent Rich Carter thanked all those involved in the project for their support, expertise and leadership. Principal Nancy Withycombe described how the school meets the needs of 21st Century learning. Teacher Leslie Hanson-Anderson provided a teacher’s perspective of how the school supports learning. School Board President Mary Jo Geidl received a special plaque and symbolic key to the building from Architect John Evans.

Thanks again to Walla Walla voters for supporting the bond measure which made this project become a reality.

Lincoln launches new website
Lincoln Alternative High School launched its new web site this week. Visit the site at: www.lincolnalternative.org

The new site features school information, photos, events calendar, staff directory and more. Lincoln teacher Erik Gordon is helping manage the site with the assistance of Lincoln Alternative High School students.

State explores national Common Core Standards Initiative
The national Common Core Standards Initiative is a significant and historic opportunity intended to help states take the next steps toward ensuring that U.S. students receive a world-class education that positions them to compete and innovate in the 21st century.
The initiative involves developing a core set of academic standards in mathematics and English language arts (reading, writing and communication) that can be considered for adoption by individual states. The Common Core Standards Initiative web site has additional national-level information about this project.

Two levels of standards are under development for consideration by states:
- College and Career Ready Standards (DRAFT standards released Sept. 21, 2009)
- K-12 Standards

This initiative has been informed by foundational research. Download the report: Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education (PDF, 52 pages, 2.8 MB) Governor Gregoire and Superintendent Dorn are committed to maintaining the strength of Washington’s learning standards.

“I embrace the idea of multiple states working together to ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers and to compete globally,” says Superintendent Randy Dorn. “As the population of the U.S. is increasingly mobile, it is critical to support all students with a strong and consistent curricular foundation. It is my hope that this initiative will promote increased collaboration among states in developing curriculum resources and identifying best practices that will lead to Washington students being well-prepared to enter our 21st century global economy.”

Washington’s Role in the Common Core Standards Initiative
Washington is among the majority of states and territories that have joined the Common Core Standards initiative (48 states and 3 territories as of September 2009). We have agreed to provide input on the draft standards and, once the standards are final, consider adopting them in the future. Adoption of the standards, once complete, will be a state-level decision.

Important Note: As Washington state continues with the common core process, schools and districts in the state should move forward with implementation of the newly revised K-12 Washington state mathematics standards. Students in grades 3-8 will be assessed on these revised standards with the Measurements of Student Progress in May 2010. High school students will be assessed on the revised standards with end-of-course tests in May 2011.
The entire process of adopting core standards will be a lengthy endeavor. We do not anticipate any short term changes (within the next two years) to our current standards or assessment system. If changes occur, they will be approved after a thorough and transparent process that solicits input from educational stakeholders statewide.

Why Washington is participating in this initiative:
There are several reasons Washington is participating in this national initiative and why we will carefully consider adopting the proposed standards:
- Our students deserve to have the knowledge and skills necessary to compete globally for the jobs of tomorrow. Economic studies show that high skills lead to better wages, more equitable distributions of income, and substantial gains in economic productivity.* However, the U.S. is falling behind other countries in student achievement, especially in math and science. It is our economic imperative to give students a world-class education so they can compete in an increasingly global economy.
- National benchmarking offers insights and ideas that cannot be garnered solely from looking within state lines. Washington wants to collaborate with other states on curriculum, professional development and best practices. But at this time, each state has its own set of standards. Shared standards would support national collaboration and make this work more productive.
- Washington’s existing state standards in mathematics and English language arts (reading, writing and communication) are already strong and based on national and international work. We anticipate that any differences might result in minor changes to our standards versus major revisions. Regardless, we are committed to the thoughtful and transparent consideration of the core standards. We look forward to statewide input on both the content of the draft core standards and the process by which we ought to proceed as a state.

OSPI’s next steps
Once each set of the draft standards (College and Career Ready and K-12) is released, OSPI will provide information regarding how the Common Core Standards align/compare to the existing Washington standards in reading, writing, communication, and mathematics. During this public review period, we will be sharing information and gathering input through a variety of ways, including at meetings and conferences.

Once the Common Core Standards are finalized at the national level, states will have an opportunity to consider them in the context of their own state revision and adoption cycles. We, too, are committed to a thorough analysis of the core standards and a full discussion of the implications of adopting them in Washington.

Key dates
- September 2009 – draft of Common Core State Standards for college and career readiness English-language arts and mathematics completed and publicly released by standards development committee.
- Fall 2009 – following input from states, college and career readiness standards approved by a national validation committee.
- December 2009 – K-12 Common Core State Standards in English-language arts and mathematics completed and publicly released.
- January 2010 – following input from states, K-12 standards approved by a national validation committee.
- Early 2010, states submit timeline and process for adoption of Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics.

Do you have a question about Washington’s role in this initiative? Please e-mail your inquiry to corestandards@k12.wa.us.

Department of Human Services to offer parenting courses
Parenting Wisely - A Parenting Group for Resolving Family Conflict In At-Risk Families

Parents and caregivers will learn the skills of:
- Active listening and assertive discipline
- Chore, school and homework compliance
- Contingency management point systems
- Contracting and specific commands
- Managing sibling conflict and supervision
- “I” statements and role modeling behavior

Single parent solutions and step family conflict management
Praising and Problem Solving
When: Mondays (October 5 to November 23)
Time: 4-5 p.m.
Location: Department of Human Services (1520 Kelly Place)

This group is open to parents who are actively involved in services at DHS and /or parents whose children are actively involved in services with DHS. SPACE IS LIMITED, SO PLEASE CALL DIANE AT 524-2920 TO SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE BY Wednesday, September 30.

Early Learning Coalition to bring in national speaker to address early childhood issues
Our Kids: Our Business - A call to action

The Walla Walla Valley Early Learning Coalition is hosting the first annual Walla Walla Our Kids: Our Business luncheon on October 7, 2009 from Noon to 1:00pm at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center. Keynote speaker David Lawrence Jr. will focus on the importance of investing in children and what difference a community can make. David Lawrence Jr. retired as publisher of the Miami Herald in 1999 to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness.

He is currently president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and “University Scholar for Early Childhood Development and Readiness” at the University of Florida. In 2002 he led the campaign for the Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade County.
He was also a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide high-quality pre-K for all 4 year olds in Florida.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. on October 7 and the Coalition is requesting a minimum $30 donation for the event. No other funds will be requested during the luncheon. Beautifully framed and matted artwork, created during the 2008 Nurturing Children’s Creativity campaign, will be available for purchase.
Please RSVP by Thursday October 1, 2009 by calling 527-4453.

All proceeds from the luncheon and sale of the artwork will go toward future Coalition activities. The mission of the Walla Walla Valley Early Learning Coalition is to support parents as their children’s first teachers, improve access to high quality childcare/preschool and develop a community mobilization effort that will result in quality early learning opportunities for all young children.

For more information visit www.wwcc.edu/elc

Wal-Mart donates several thousand dollars of school supplies to students of Walla Walla School District
Last week Steve Deck, Community Involvement Coordinator, and Matthew Dittman, Assistant Manager, personally delivered the truck-load of supplies. They said it was a group effort by store employees and customers. Employees pre-packaged bags of most-requested items, such as pencils, crayons, scissors, glue and hand sanitizer.

Then, customers could pick up a bag or two, add the amount to their marketing totals and then donate them to the cause. Wal-Mart also donated a variety of supplies. Deck said he was pleased with the response to the campaign. Supplies are also being given to students in College Place, Milton-Freewater, Prescott, Dayton and other surrounding school districts.

The donated items were sent to all schools within the district.

Walla Walla High School choir students to perform next week
The WWHS Choral Music Department will present “Talent Show 2009” October 2 at 7 p.m. in the Walla Walla High School auditorium. The program will feature choir members performing a wide variety of music. Admission will be $4 for adults; $3 for students; $2 for children under 12/student with WWHS ASB card. Family admission is $10.

All entries are prepared and produced by individual members of the various choirs. The program will include a mix of soloists and small ensembles. Proceeds will go to help students defray costs of choir activities.

Walla Walla High School student wins trip to Valley Forge
Congratulations to Walla Walla High School 10th grade student Gregg Heller for winning the American Veterans Americanism essay contest and a free trip to Valley Forge in November. Heller won the Amvets Americanism essay contest last spring for the local WW Amvets Post 1111. Then his essay went on to be selected as the 9th grade Freedom Foundation Winner for WA state, earning him a free trip to Valley Forge coming up in November. His essay was also judged as the best overall written essay submitted to Post 1 (WA Amvet’s headquarters) for evaluation.

Below is Heller’s AMVETS Americanism Essay - What Does an American Veteran Mean to Me?

As I trudge down the sidewalk on Pearl Harbor day, I can hardly flex my poor, stiff hands, nearly frozen around the pole of an American flag. When I plant my flag in the sidewalk, water splatters over the bottom of my jeans. Anxious to be done, I head to the truck for another flag.

As I do, I spot the man working across from me. He’s a veteran from P ost 1111 working double duty with a flag over each shoulder. No matter how disagreeable the weather, he’s still willing to make sure the Star Spangled Banner still waves. He’s done this every morning of every holiday of every year since before I was born.

The first time U.S. Army Colonel Glaeser came and talked to my Boy Scout troop, I was only 11 years old. He was the American veteran who taught me how to properly stand at attention, salute, and respect the flag. “Stand up straight, legs together, feet at a 45-degree angle, hands in loose fists at your side pant seam, and mouth shut.” I learned that the flag represents our country, as well as every veteran that has died serving her. It signifies generations and generations that served with honor and courage, bravery and sacrifice.

My step-granddad Lt. Colonel David VanPelt, joined the military in 1943, and served for 30 years. He says he was one of the lucky ones. Many of his comrades went down and never came back home. I’ve seen the small velvet box, sitting next to a model of his B26, which holds the Silver Star that he earned for completing a vital mission with a damaged aircraft.

American veterans have lived and died to preserve our freedom, and our rights, and those of allied countries as well. Our only memory of some veterans may be a white cross on a field of green in Arlington.

What an American veteran means to me is much more than the history of our country’s wars. They continue to be an example in the present and work to encourage America’s future. They live with values and integrity. I think that American veterans are the ones that give positive meaning to the words American citizen. They show true love and loyalty for their country, as well as their fellow man. Without veterans, America would not be the place it is today.

HIV/AIDS Parent Information meeting scheduled
- Grades 5 through 12 HIV/AIDS Parent Information Meeting
- WWPS District Office Board Room (364 S. Park St.)
- Wednesday, September 30
- 7-8 p.m.
- HIV/AIDS Curriculum available for review
Classroom Close-Up features Blue Ridge 4th grade teacher
This week Blue Ridge Elementary 4th grade teacher Kristen Garcia 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 public service announcement radio spot featuring Garcia is now playing on regional stations.