Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - December 11, 2009

In this Issue:

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School board meeting Tuesday, Dec. 15
7:30 p.m.
District Board Room (364 S. Park St.)
Public encouraged to attend
Statement by State Superintendent Randy Dorn on Gov. Gregoire’s proposed 2010 supplemental budget
Education stands to take another big hit in preliminary budget
Governor Gregoire struggled mightily to develop her budget, and I commend her on that. I know that she’s required to deliver a balanced budget in December, and she has indicated that she will produce a revised budget in January. But if the proposed budget passes it will be devastating to school districts already struggling to stay afloat financially. They will have to absorb $500 million in cuts to education for the 2010-11 school year on top of the $400 million cuts made during the 2009 Legislative session.

The situation the state faces even without this new budget proposal is dire:
- The state only pays districts enough to replace curricula every 18 years.
- The state pays only 47 percent of the cost of heat, lights, insurance and all other basic costs.
- Nearly 70 percent of local levy funds subsidize basic education costs that the state is constitutionally obligated to fund.
- Five districts are on “binding conditions,” which means they have overspent their available revenue and their budgets are being overseen by the state.

The proposed budget is historic. It cuts away at the heart of what we consider basic education. As many as 5,000 teachers could be laid off. Added to the 1,300 teachers we lost this year, and the cuts will even further increase class size. We have world-class standards, but fewer teachers and larger class sizes will make teaching those standards extremely difficult. How can we expect our teachers, already stretched thin in their jobs, to teach standards to a class of 30 or 35 students?

The cuts will have terrible consequences beyond class size. To balance their budgets, many districts have already reduced their investments in facilities maintenance, which could compromise the health and safety of teachers and students. Many districts will also have to cut their reserves to impossibly low levels. A small emergency could bankrupt many of them. We also need to look beyond next year. This school year, many districts were kept afloat by federal stimulus funding. But that money won’t be available in 2011-12. In that school year, the contribution rates that districts pay into the teachers and staff retirement systems will increase dramatically because of legislative action and depressed investment earnings. Those contributions will need to be replaced.

The triple-whammy of lost federal resources, increased pension contributions and reduced state funding will mean that the education system we have enjoyed for three decades will be devastated. Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a crucial education bill. Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2261 follows decades of increased costs without proportional funding. It is the first step to begin to fully address school funding, and requires a new funding system to be in place by 2018.

The underlying message of ESHB 2261 is that Washington hasn’t fulfilled its obligation to fully fund education. While the key goal of ESHB 2261 is to set the future of education, the proposed budget is a giant step backward. And it comes at a time when calls to move forward are being made from everywhere, including our federal government. The education we’ve known for decades is being threatened. I know this is the first step in a long budget process for the Governor and Legislature. I will work to ensure that all parties understand the gravity of the problem. Today’s students won’t get educated tomorrow. And if they don’t get educated today, our entire society will suffer far into the future.

Randy Dorn
State Superintendent, Office of Public Instruction

Winter Break Schedule
Friday, December 18 is the last day of school prior to the winter holiday break. Classes will resume Monday, January 4.
Winter storm in forecast for weekend and next week - School closure procedures reminder!
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

“Fill the School Bus” event brings in thousands of pounds of food
Walla Walla Public Schools “Fill the School Bus” event last Saturday netted 5,326 pounds of food and $638.45 in cash for the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank.

School buses decorated with student-made signs were parked at Albertsons, both Safeway locations, SuperOne Foods and Loney’s Harvest Foods Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Staff, students and parents volunteered their time collecting food items and promoting the event.

Students greeted shoppers at store entrances and encouraged them to support the food drive. They made thank you stickers, passed out candy canes and helped load the food items on the school buses for delivery to the food bank.

Volunteer school bus drivers then drove the school buses to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank to unload the items. Finn introduced the “Fill the School Bus” idea to Walla Walla this year after being involved in a similar activity in Spokane years ago as a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) mom. Finn says she wanted to take it to another level and involve all the schools in the district and get students from K-12 together.

“Our goal was to teach kids that “Every ONE can make a difference,” Finn said. “It was wonderful to see students from all age groups, working with staff members and administrators on a project. This drive will have a huge impact on our community. Not only every person, but every CAN, will make a difference this year.”

Lincoln Alternative High School teacher Lori Finn and Green Park teacher Michelle Carpenter are coordinating this year’s Holiday Food Drive which continues through December 18. Collection bins are at each district school and the district office at 364 S. Park St. For more information on the Holiday Food Drive contact Carpenter at: mcarpenter@wwps.org or Finn at: lfinn@wwps.org.

Friends organization hosts public Family Game Day Saturday
In partnership with the Downtown Foundation, Friends is inviting parents and kids of all ages to come play games with the Friends Organization and local partners. Games will be located in the building across from Macy’s, on the corner of Main and Colville.
Date: December 12
Time: 10 a.m. -1 p.m.
Free and open to the public!
61 E. Main (Corner of Main & Colville, across from Macy’s)
Information: 527-4745

Walla Walla County Health Department to offer H1N1 vaccinations at district schools
All students who wish to receive the H1N1 vaccination at district schools must have a completed Walla Walla County Health Department parent consent form. These vaccinations are strictly voluntary. Parent consent forms and vaccine information statements (VIS) will be sent home in English and Spanish before your child’s scheduled school clinic date (see schedule below). Vaccination forms are also available on the district website -- Health Services page at: http://www.wwps.org/support/healthservices/default.htm.

The Walla Walla County Health Department will also vaccinate staff during the school clinics for those who wish to receive them . Staff will also need completed consent and VIS forms. All former restrictions for receiving the H1N1 vaccinations have been lifted due to additional availability of the vaccine. For more information, contact Health Services Director Jennifer Douglas at 526.8507.

School Vaccination Schedule
Berney Elementary (includes Homelink students)
January 15

Blue Ridge Elementary (includes Head Start/ECEAP students)
January 13

Edison Elementary
January 22

Green Park Elementary
January 14

Prospect Point Elementary
January 21

Sharpstein Elementary
January 20

Garrison Middle School
January 28

Pioneer Middle School
January 25

Lincoln Alternative High School

Walla Walla High School
January 29

Berney Elementary students learn lessons of compassion
Berney students are getting lessons of compassion this holiday season. The student council, made up of 4th and 5th graders, worked hard to come up with a project that would encourage their fellow students to donate food to the district’s food drive. The students decided to offer hot chocolate in the morning in exchange for cans of food. The students created the posters to advertise the offering and provided reminders and updates on the announcements.

Students take responsibility for lifting and counting the heavy cans to ensure everyone is being helped with their donations. Many children who bring extra cans are seen sharing their hot chocolate with fellow students.

The Berney lobby is also the site of another positive activity. Just a few feet away, a group of student council members are selling holiday cards to Berney students. For $1, students can buy a card to send to their friends. The card has a personal message as well as a candy cane attached to it. All of the money collected from the sales will go to the Blue Mountain Humane Society. This holiday season our students are not only learning about compassion, but also putting it into practice.

Walla Walla High School weekend varsity sports highlights
Boys Basketball vs. Southridge
Saturday, Dec. 12
7:30 p.m.
Wa-Hi Gym

Girls Basketball vs. Southridge
Saturday, Dec. 12
7:30 p.m.
Location: Southridge

Boys Swimming
Saturday, Dec. 12
12:00 noon
Whitman College Pool

Santa to make appearance downtown Saturday
The Downtown Foundation is sponsoring Hot Cocoa with Santa Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Walla Walla Bread Company. Santa will be taking requests, along with Mrs. Claus.

The space is small, so they are taking reservations for 30-minute time slots. There are openings at 9, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30. The cost is $7 per person, which includes hot cocoa and fresh-baked goodies from WW Bread Co., and a professional photo either by digital image to your email or a 4x6 print you can pick up at Tallman’s next week. Kids under 2 are free. Call the Foundation office if you’d like to make a reservation, 529-8755.

Holiday Concert Series (remaining concerts)
December 14 - Wa-Hi Band Holiday Concert*
December 15 - GREEN PARK Holiday concert, 4, 5 & Choir, 1:30 PM
December 15 - Prospect Pt HOLIDAY CONCERTS, K-2, 12:30 PM, 3-5, 1:30 PM
December 15 - Walla Walla Symphony Holiday Concert, Cordiner Hall, 7:30 PM
December 16 - Wa-Hi Orchestra Holiday concert*
December 16 - SHARPSTEIN HOLIDAY CONCERT, K-1, 12:30
December 16 - Head Start/ECEAP Preschool and community preschool program at Blue Ridge - 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
December 17 - Wa-Hi Choir Holiday Concert*
December 17 - BERNEY Holiday Concerts, K-2, 12:30 PM; 3-5, 1:45 PM
December 17 - SHARPSTEIN HOLIDAY CONCERTS, 2-3, 10:30 AM, 4,5, Choir, 12:30 PM
December 18 - Blue Ridge Grades 3-5 will be at 9 a.m. and grades K-2 will be at 10 a.m.
December 18 - Berney Holiday Tour

*Wa-Hi Auditorium, 7 p.m.; Suggested Admission - $2/adults, $1/students, $5 family

Wa-Hi JROTC cadets win drill, marksmanship honors at Yakima meet
The Walla Walla High School JROTC “Blue Devils” Cadet Battalion drill and rifle teams brought home numerous awards after competing Saturday in Yakima at the second meet of the year.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps competitors represented Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine programs from 11 schools from the Cascade Mountains League which spans from Southern Oregon to Spokane, according to Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, Wa-Hi Senior Army Instructor.

Blue Devil cadet achievements include:
Unarmed drill team
Cadet Major Terrika Zapata, 1st place, Unarmed Drill Team Commander
Unarmed Drill Team, 5th place

Armed drill team
C/Sgt. Shane Perkins, 3rd place, Armed Drill Down
C/2nd Lt. Triton Perrin, 4th place, Individual Armed Drill and 6th place, Armed Drill Commander
Armed Drill Team, 6th place

Color guard
Color Guard #1, 5th place
Color Guard #2, 4th place

Rifle marksmanship
Air Rifle Precision Team #1, 1st place
Air Rifle Team #2, Sporter Class, 5th place
C/1st Lt. Elliot Holt, 3rd place, Air Rifle, Precision Class
C/Sgt. Skyler Carpenter, 4th place in Air Rifle Sporter Class, Sharpshooter Division
C/Sgt. Karri Mickelson, 5th place, Air Rifle Sporter Class, Master Division
Whitman College opens Wildnerness First Responder course to public
There are several spaces available in the January and March Wilderness First Responder (WFR) courses for community members. Registration for these spaces are handled by the Whitman College Outdoor Program Rental Shop on a first come, first served basis. For more information: 509-527-5965 or online at: http://www.whitman.edu/content/outdoor-program/first-aid
Walla Walla High School German Language program students plan Carol Sing-a-longs Saturday
What: German Christmas Carol Sing-a-longs
When: Saturday, December 12, 10 a.m.
Where: Walla Walla University, Fine Arts Center Room 208 (204 S College Ave, College Place)
Who: Anyone interested in German, Music and/or Christmas; you are welcome regardless of your level of German
Why: To celebrate the Messiah’s birth
What else: Music, treats, and a brief description of how Christmas is celebrated in Germany (we have real live Germans who will give us a first-hand account!)

For more information, contact:
Curtis Schafer, Walla Walla High School German & Spanish Teacher
509-527-3020 ext 4703
Classroom: L-3

Follow the district on Twitter
The district is now signed up on Twitter at: twitter.com/wwschools
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
District Holiday Food Drive continues through December 18
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: Now to December 18, 2009

Where: Collection sites at Walla Walla Public Schools and Walla Walla General Hospital through December 18.

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

Classroom Close-Up features Pioneer Explorers teacher
This week Pioneer Middle School Explorer teacher Dan Calzaretta 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 - A to Z section: Classroom Close-Up - (www.wwps.org).

A public service announcement radio spot featuring Calzaretta is now playing on regional stations.