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

In this Issue:

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No school next week (November 23-27)
Next week the district will conduct Parent/Teacher conferences Monday and Tuesday and break for the Thanksgiving holiday Wednesday through Friday. Classes resume Monday, Nov. 30.
Survey seeks input on Superintendent Search
The district recently posted a survey on its website (www.wwps.org) seeking input on the characteristics and qualifications staff, students, parents and community members are looking for in a new superintendent. The survey also seeks opinion on the district’s strengths and challenges. This feedback will be used to generate a position posting to market the job announcement.

The survey is located on the district site - www.wwps.org at:
- Bottom of the home page near the School Closure and Suggestion Box
- Employment page (open positions area)
- A to Z button (S = Superintendent Search)

The survey will be active until Tuesday, Dec. 1. You can only take it once per computer. The district also has hard copies at the schools and district office.

District pays tribute to Mary Jo Geidl
After serving two terms on the school board and more than 30 years as a classroom teacher, School Board President Mary Jo Geidl is retiring from the school board. Tuesday night Superintendent Rich Carter and fellow school board members thanked Geidl for her service during a celebration reception. Geidl received a Golden Apple award and the other tokens of appreciation.
Superintendent Dr. Richard Carter thanks educators for American Education Week
As I reflect upon my pending retirement at the end of the school year, this year’s American Education Week celebration means even more to me. The 88th annual American Education Week will be celebrated November 15-21. This year’s theme: Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.

This week spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. The week long celebration will spotlight distinguished individuals who are critical in building great public schools for the nation’s 50 million students.

As I look into the eyes of our students and see their smiling faces, I see hope for our future. When I watch our parents spend time with their children, I see unconditional love and longing for them to succeed and live happy lives. Our staff members rise to the challenge of making sure all students have opportunities to reach their full potential and be competitive in today’s global society. They love and nurture students each day.

It is through education that all dreams can come true. It is through education that we can live in a peaceful society that respects everyone. Thank you for your support as we partner to do what is best for children. Thank you for taking time this week to reach out and praise educators for all they do for Walla Walla children. Please join me in Celebrating American Education Week - November 15 to 21.

Walla Walla High School football coach resigns
Walla Walla High School Head Football Coach Marc Yonts announced today he is resigning his position after 14 years of service. Yonts worked as an assistant football coach at Walla Walla High School under Gary Mires for five years prior to his taking the head position. He also coached for one year at Fresno Community College before moving to Walla Walla.

The Blue Devil overall record under Yonts was 87-62, including nine Big Nine conference playoff appearances. In 2002, Yonts led the Blue Devil football team to the state semi-finals.

“I’m very thankful and honored to have been given the opportunity to carry on Walla Walla High School’s proud football tradition,” Yonts said. “I have loved coaching football at Walla Walla High School. I’ve always felt football was an excellent vehicle to teach students about life. Lessons you learn in football such as team work, goal setting and being accountable to something bigger than one person, are a big part of what this game is all about.”

District Athletic Director Don Wilkins said Yonts leaves the program in excellent shape and will be missed.

“Coach Yonts built on the success of our program and continued the rich tradition we have here,” Wilkins said. “We appreciate everything he has done for the program and student-athletes and coaches he has worked with over the years.”

Yonts said he couldn’t pin it down to one reason on why the timing was right to resign.

“I understand the heavy responsibility the head football coach carries in Walla Walla and I just had a feeling now was the right time to move on,” Yonts said. “This program is in excellent shape. The assistant coaches I have worked with are all class people who put kids first. I’m confident this program will attract great interest from other coaches. I wish the program the best in the future.”

District withdraws consideration for energy grant
The district is no longer pursuing a $500,000 state energy grant to install new heating and air conditioning and lighting systems in district facilities. Projects at Wa-Hi and Pioneer were being considered. Superintendent Rich Carter said the December deadline to apply for the grant and the district’s obligation to invest $750,000 prompted the decision.

“We just don’t have enough time to do the research,” Carter said. “In these economic times, it’s difficult to commit funds against an uncertain budget.”
Sharpstein launches new website
This week Sharpstein Elementary launched a new web site. The site features an electronic calendar, parent and student information, handbook information and much more. Visit the new Sharpstein site at: www.sharpstein.org

District plans Holiday Food Drive
Theme: Everyone “CAN” make a difference

Who: Food donations support the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank (cash donations also accepted)

What: Holiday Food Drive — Project Goal: Help replenish local food bank supplies

When: November 30 to December 18, 2009 (Look for us at area grocery stores December 5 - see more below)

Where: Collection sites at Walla Walla Public Schools and Walla Walla General Hospital November 30 to December 18. Look for us at area grocery stores Saturday, December 5

Types of food needed: Non-perishable items — tuna, macaroni & cheese, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, granola bars, etc.)

Why: This year’s focus will teach students the importance of helping others.

For more information:
Michelle Carpenter
Green Park Teacher
509.527.3077 or e-mail: mcarpenter@wwps.org

Lori Finn
Lincoln Alternative High School Teacher
509.527.3083 or e-mail: lfinn@wwps.org

Fill the School Bus Event planned to support food drive
School buses to be parked in front of area stores for shoppers to fill with donated Holiday Food Drive items.
- Saturday, December 5
- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Store locations:
- Albertsons
- Harvest Foods
- Safeway (Rose Street and Plaza) TBD
- SuperOne
- Wal-Mart (TBD)

Scamming attempts continue to target Walla Walla businesses
The following is a Nov. 20 press release from the City of Walla Walla Police Department:

Walla Walla Police received information from Mark Higgins, Communications Director for the Walla Walla School District. He advised that a local business received a call from “Melody, ” claiming to be selling advertising space for a Wa-Hi athletic poster. The business owner became suspicious, kept the woman on hold and called Wa-Hi to confirm the legitimacy of the offer. Wa-Hi Athletic Director, Don Wilkins stated that their athletic program was not involved. The business owner then asked the female if they had been in contact with the school and was told they had. Upon further questioning, the alleged solicitor hung up.
“The business owner handled this situation correctly. ALWAYS confirm the information with the benefiting agency before providing account information,” said Officer Tim Bennett, Public Information Officer - Walla Walla Police Department.

Anyone with additional information, should contact Officer Bennett at:
509.527.4434 (office)
509.520.9114 (cell)

City of Walla Walla union work force donates coats to students
This week City of Walla Walla employees Dana Hood (Police Dept.) and Gary Goodwin (Fleet Maintenance) delivered 50 coats for distribution to Walla Walla students as part of a donation from Union Work Force 1191W. Goodwin serves as
union president.

“Last year I was driving home during the big snow storm and I noticed a group of five kids walking down 9th with only sweat shirts and sweaters on and they were freezing,,” Goodwin said. “I said to myself we need to step up and do something for the kids. We feel real good as a union work force for the city that we were able to help out in these hard times and successfully complete the project.”

The coats were delivered to district elementary schools this week for distribution to students in need. Special thanks to Maryelyn Hebel and Kay Schisler in the Curriculum Department for delivering the coats to district schools.

Big Cheese Pizza fundraiser benefits Autism program
Eastern Washington Autism Spectrum Disorder Association (EWASDA) is selling Big Cheese pizza certificates to raise money for an equipment library for children affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“Some of the equipment these children can use to communicate and help with sensory integration issues is quite expensive and out of reach for families,” said Special Education teacher Kathleen Gilmore who coordinates the district’s elementary autism program at Edison. “We hope to provide this equipment for families to use free of charge and if their child outgrows it, it goes back into our library where it can be checked out by another family.”

The certificates cost $10 and are good for one large gourmet or specialty pizza. This is an $8 savings! From that sale, EWASDA makes $3 toward our library of equipment, according to Gilmore.

“They make great holiday gifts for the paper deliverer, postal carrier, co-workers, or busy families,” Gilmore said.

To purchase these certificates, please contact Kathleen Gilmore at: kgilmore@wwps.org.

Garrison Night School to offer Spanish classes
Beginning Spanish
Class begins Monday, November 30
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m.
Location: Garrison Middle School
Taught by Erin Morgan
Cost $150 for 19 class sessions
Opportunity to practice your Spanish with native Spanish speakers
38 Clock Hours available

Advanced Beginning Spanish
Class begins Tuesday, December 1
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-8 p.m.
Location: Garrison Middle School
Cost $150 for 20 class sessions
Opportunity to practice your Spanish with native Spanish speakers
40 Clock Hours available

Register at the District Office in the business office. Please call or e-mail Diana Erickson if you have any questions: derickson@wwps.org or 526.6771.

Public Schools Employees (PSE) union elects new officers
Congratulations to the new PSE officers!
- President Bill Heiser
- Vice President David Webber
- Secretary Justine Benson
- Treasure Ginger Heiser

Walla Walla High School technology teacher featured in national case study
The following is a Case Study published by LabSim Online Labs featuring Dennis DeBroeck, Wa-Hi Technology Teacher

The Need: Employable Skills and A Connection to the Real World

Like many rural schools, the realities of life at Walla Walla High School seemed detached from the rest of the world. For years, many students at the rural Washington State school struggled to fully grasp what it would be like to work for a large organization. They not only needed a way to prepare for occupations they had only heard about, but they had to become motivated to prepare for challenging industry certification programs that, from their perspective, seemed almost meaningless.

“Nearly 73 percent of our students may never complete college,” said Dennis DeBroeck, the instructor for the high school’s Information Technology (IT) program. “We needed to provide these students with a vocational program so they could gain employable skills and find a starting point for careers when they graduated.”

Since DeBroeck launched the IT program nearly 16 years ago, he has strived to provide his students with access to the most state-of-the-art technology education. While maintaining a physical computer lab is important, it was also very costly and time consuming. Trying to keep up to date with all of the myriad technologies students need to learn was especially difficult.
DeBroeck also struggled to measure how each student was doing. With as many as 120 students each term, keeping track of the progress of each student was made even more difficult when students would miss class and get behind.

“Classes are a journey and I take an apprentice approach,” DeBroeck added. “I try to bring into the class real-life experiences and employable skills related to the technology industry. I have to make it rigorous and relevant or students are not going to be prepared to compete.”

The Solution: LabSim “Hands-On” and “Green”

DeBroeck first became aware of TestOut’s LabSim software in 2001 via the vendor’s academic grant program. He installed LabSim onto the classroom’s local area network (LAN) server, and from each computer, students were able to gain the real-world experience DeBroeck was hoping to give them. The LabSim lab simulations provide the hands-on learning, while the videos, practice exams and other instructional content supplement DeBroeck’s teachings in courses related to certifications such as A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA and MCSA.

“We used to have more physical computers in our classrooms, but now, we use LabSim instead, which has reduced our costs significantly,” DeBroeck said. “While we do have a state-of-the-art physical lab here at Walla Walla, we no longer need to purchase and upgrade so much additional software, boards and other components and worry about whether the students are going to break anything or that the hardware is going to go to waste. When you think about it, LabSim is an environmentally ‘green’ product, another benefit to the school and community.”

In the introductory classes, students work through the entire A+ Essentials LabSim online labs and then supplement their learning with physical computer lab work and logic. The students also delve deeper into electronics, then add networking with LabSim. In the more advanced classes, the students can pick the topics they want to go into such as Network+. DeBroeck requires that students achieve 100 percent on the labs before they move on to the next assignment. While they work towards this 100 percent, LabSim provides instant feedback on their lab results that points them towards the content that will help them better learn the content.

“LabSim is really tailored to the way high school students in the digital age are used to learning,” DeBroeck said. “It’s media-based and visual. They even bring in their own headphones and get in their own zone so they can focus on what they are learning, instead of a noisy classroom.”

LabSim also records the results for each student online, enabling DeBroeck to track the progress of - and evaluate - his students in real-time from any location with an Internet connection.

“The students have so many activities, distractions and are always missing out on lectures and important information, he added. It’s hard for them to catch up with other students. Then there are the students who want to go faster than others. Now I have the ability to let the students go at their own pace whether they need to review and catch up or speed ahead.”
The Results: Experienced & Motivated Students

“We’ve had a tremendous success rate with LabSim,” DeBroeck said. “In fact, our students are coming out of the program ready to start work — and start this work with higher level IT jobs, not just computer repair. They’re working at companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Chevron USA, with the vast majority getting those jobs right out of high school.”

While many students are going right to work, they might also have already earned some significant college credit taking these courses. In addition to their high school grades, students in the program can earn up to 60 college credits at Walla Walla Community College. Requirements for the credits include earning an A or B in the class, completing a list of competencies, completing a portfolio of the work they’ve done, and putting together a resume and cover letter.

“Only about 25 percent of the kids will get those college credits, though, but that’s 25 percent more than were able to get those credits before our classes,” DeBroeck said.

In addition to preparing for work and IT certification testing, LabSim helps prepare the students for the scenario-based tests Washington State requires for “No Child Left Behind” reporting.

“LabSim’s scenarios helped my students prepare for the WASL testing by helping them to learn to
think out of the box and solve problems based on scenarios. LabSim has been a huge asset to our curriculum.”

Walla Walla High School Journalism class students attend national journalism convention

Story by Wa-Hi Journal staff
Members of the Journalism class attended the National Journalism Convention in Washington D.C. during the week of Nov. 9. The attendees included seniors print editor-in-chief Lindsie Wagner, online editor-in-chief Anna Tupper-Bridges and Journal adviser Gay Buissink.

Over 6,300 students from across the country attended this convention, and 2,267 competed in write-off competitions, including the Wa-Hi representatives. Tupper-Bridges placed second with a rating of Excellent in the News Editing/Headline Writing write-off out of about 80 students.

Wagner placed third with a rating of Honorable Mention in the Newspaper: Layout write-off out of about 100 students.
Within the News Editing/ Headline Writing Write-off were a grammar section, geopolitics and current events section, two articles to be edited and two headlines to write.

“Anna’s exam was extremely difficult. They changed the test this year to include current events and geopolitics along with the usual headline writing and editing, grammar and punctuation,” Buissink said.
The Newspaper: Layout write-off included creating a page layout and explaining why the layout would be effective to the entire group then submitting the layout to a judge.

“Lindsie’s competition included design ability and her proficiency using InDesign. It also tested her ability to work well within given limits,” Buissink said.

Wa-Hi Cross Country and Swimming athletes have strong showing at state
Congratulations to Walla Walla High School Freshman Rachel Nelson for recently finishing 10th at the 4A State meet in Pasco. Rachel’s brother Junior Aaron Nelson finished 20th at the meet.

Wa-Hi swimmers performed strong at their state meet in Federal Way. Below are the results:
- Senior Erica Burmood placed 14th in the 100 yd Butterfly and 16th in the 200 yard Individual Medley.

- The 200 Medley Relay team of Abby Crowley (freshman), Tori Jones (junior), Erica Burmood and Anna Reid (sophomores) placed 23rd with personal records by all and an aggregate best time by 2.5 seconds.

- The 200 Freestyle Relay team of Tori Jones, Abby Crowley, Anna Reid and Cheyenne Schoen (freshman) placed 22nd with personal records by all and aggregate best time by 2.8 seconds.

- The 400 Freestyle Relay placed 20th with an aggregate best time by four seconds.

“Post season competition is an exciting time of year for our athletes and teams. It is that part of the season when all the practice, training and hard work payoff,” said District Athletic Director Don Wilkins. “It is great to see the dedication and sacrifice of the athletes rewarded with successful competition and post-season accolades. I appreciate the leadership and guidance provided by our coaching staff and their dedication and commitment to our student-athletes and their success.”

District celebrates International Education Week
By Linnea Keatts, AFS Volunteer for the Walla Walla Chapter
November 16-20 is International Education Week. We celebrate the Wa-Hi Administration and Teachers who have welcomed International students as exchange students this year 2009-2010. Thank you for your involvement with our AFS students this year and for many years in the past. We appreciate our coordinated effort to help the students from abroad and our American students learn more about other cultures. Everyone benefits!

As part of International Education week, our AFS students will be making presentations in several Walla Walla preschools and elementary schools to share their culture with young students. They may miss several classes, but will be busy being Ambassadors representing their home countries. This year there are six AFS students at Wa-Hi from China, Norway, France, Indonesia, Thailand, and Egypt.

Think about the importance of International Understanding!

Fall 2009– Parent/Teacher Conference Schedules
Berney Elementary
Wednesday, November 18 - 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 19 - 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Blue Ridge Elementary
Wednesday, November 18 - 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 19 - 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Monday, November 23 - 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Blue Ridge Preschool - HS/ECEAP
Wednesday, November 18 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Home visits
Thursday, November 19 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Home visits
Friday, November 20 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Home visits
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Home visits

Blue Ridge Preschool - Community
Wednesday, November 18 - 3:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Classroom visits
Thursday, November 19 - 3:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Classroom visits
Monday, November 23 - 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Classroom visits

Tuesday, November 17 - 3:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.

Green Park Elementary
Thursday, November 19 - 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Prospect Point Elementary
Wednesday, November 18 - 3:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, November 19 - 3:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Sharpstein Elementary
Thursday, November 19 - 3:10 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Monday, November 23 - 7:40 a.m. to 7:40 p.m.

Garrison Middle School
Thursday, November 19 - 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Arena style conferences
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Arena style conferences / 12:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. / 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Pioneer Middle School
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Scheduled conferences / 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Arena conferences
Tuesday, November 24 - 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Scheduled conferences

Lincoln Alternative High School
Monday, November 16 - 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Scheduled conferences
Wednesday, November 18 - 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Scheduled conferences
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p..m Scheduled conferences

Walla Walla High School
Thursday, October 8 - 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Arena style conferences
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Scheduled/classroom / 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Scheduled/classroom
Tuesday, November 24 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Scheduled/classroom

Homelink Program @ Berney
Tuesday, November 17 - 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 19 - 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Monday, November 23 - 8:00 a.m. to 5;30 p.m.

Winter weather is coming: District school closure communications plan
At Walla Walla Public Schools, we make every effort to post up-to-the-minute school closure information due to inclement weather or any circumstance that would delay or cancel the normal school schedule. Decisions to delay or close school usually are made by 5:30 a.m. or earlier. This triggers the district’s comprehensive school closure/delay announcement plan. The district makes every effort to begin announcements by 6 a.m.

Announcements include:
- Media release (radio, tv, newspaper)
- Telephone automated message (staff and parents)
- Web posting (www.wwps.org)
- Staff e-mail (GroupWise)
- E-news message (sign up on the district web site)
- Twitter message (twitter.com/wwschools)
- Orange signs posted in front of schools

Follow the district on Twitter
The district is now signed up on Twitter at: twitter.com/wwschools

“We want to use all the vehicles available to share our messages,” Communications Director Mark Higgins said. “It’s important to do whatever we can to keep our stakeholders informed and engaged in the work of the district.”

District Twitter Page Profile:
Name: WW Public Schools
Location: Walla Walla, WA
Web: http://www.wwps.org/
Bio: Walla Walla Public Schools - Student Achievement #1

Classroom Close-Up features Berney teacher
This week Berney teacher Debbie Schade 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 Schade is now playing on regional stations.