Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - January 22, 2010

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Radon experts meet with Blue Ridge staff and parents to discuss air quality test results
This week radon experts met with Blue Ridge Elementary parents and staff to review recent air quality test results from a study Fulcrum Environmental Consulting completed at the school in which radon concentrations were identified above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) benchmarks.

The meetings were part of the district’s proactive approach to communicating the results and what they mean to staff and students. It was also an opportunity to explain the district’s short-term and long-term plans to mitigate the levels in an effort to meet EPA guidelines.

Ryan Matthews of Fulcrum Environmental Consulting and Michael Brennan, a radiation Health Physicist with the Washington State Department of Health Offices, led a parent meeting at Blue Ridge Elementary Thursday afternoon to provide information about the test results. Both Matthews and Brennan said the school is safe to continue use and applauded the school district for its open and proactive approach to addressing these concerns. When asked if he would send his own children to the school, Brennan immediately said, “yes.”

Both Matthews and Brennan reported the district is taking the correct approach to reducing levels of radon, but said the levels generated in the report are no where close to the levels needed to recommend an evacuation of the school. They reported the test results indicated elevated levels primarily occurred during evening and weekends when the school’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system (HVAC) was not operational.

The school’s HVAC is now operating 20 hours a day, seven days a week to maintain constant air flow, per a recommendation from Fulcrum as a short-term solution. According to Fulcrum’s assessment data, radon levels at Blue Ridge are reduced while the HVAC system is operational.

The district is also following the recommendation of Fulcrum Environmental Consulting to work with an industry professional to develop a long-term radon mitigation solution. The district has already started this work. A representative from Advanced Radon Technologies of Spokane was in the district Wednesday to study the school’s building plans in an effort to design a long-term solution.

Earlier in the week, Walla Walla County Health Department Director Dr. Harvey Crowder met with staff and also said the school is safe to continue use. Crowder reported the district’s action plan has effectively lowered radon levels for the short-term and is confident it has assembled the necessary team of professionals to develop a long-term solution. He also stressed Fulcrum’s report revealed elevated levels occurred after normal school hours and the data from the report indicates operating the school’s HVAC system is effectively minimizing the levels of radon.

The district is currently doing additional tests at Blue Ridge. New test results will be available next week. The district is also contracting with a mechanical engineering firm to test and balance the school’s HVAC system. This work is expected to begin next week. The district is also planning to do radon testing at other district schools that have basements and will then follow the recommendations from Fulcrum regarding future steps.

“The safety of our staff and students is our number one priority,” Superintendent Dr. Rich Carter said. “We will do whatever it takes to develop a permanent solution to ensure radon levels are mitigated.”

Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. Lung cancer is the only health effect which has been definitively linked with long-term radon exposure according to the EPA. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency website at: http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html

School board members honor Walla Walla educators for earning National Teaching Certificates
Tuesday night school board members congratulated Walla Walla educators for recently earning their National Board Teaching Certificates.

School Board President Cindy Meyer and Superintendent Rich Carter presented Brenda Kirk (Blue Ridge), Marc Yonts, Kris Duncan, Scott Tibbling (Walla Walla High School), and Wes Sanders (Green Park) with pins recognizing their accomplishments. Walla Walla High School Physical Education Teacher Gayle See and Green Park 5th grade teacher Elissa Stites served as coaches and mentors.

Washington Second in New National Board Certified Teachers
OLYMPIA - January 20, 2009 - For Jamie Yoos, completing National Board certification was about more than adding another title to his name.

“The significance resides in the deep, reflective process that is the foundation of the work,” said Yoos, a Bellingham chemistry teacher.

The 2010 Washington state Teacher of the Year, Yoos was one of the 1,248 Washington teachers who this year became National Board Certified teachers. That number placed Washington state second nationally in new National Board certified teachers, behind North Carolina. Washington’s 3,974 total NBCTs place the state fifth in the nation, up from eighth in 2008.

In addition, three districts in the state ranked in the top 20 nationally in new NBCTs. Bellevue ranked 10th (64 new NBCTs), while Spokane was 12th (63) and Seattle 15th (57).
“The increased number of board certified teachers isn’t an accident,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction. “Quality teachers give quality instruction to students. That message is at the heart of board certification. It’s a message everyone in the state understands. We wouldn’t keep increasing our numbers if everyone - principals and parents and community leaders - didn’t.
“Also, the Legislature did a great thing by giving a bonus to teachers in poor schools. Often students in those schools don’t get the best teachers, and that bonus will help many teachers stay in their schools, and it will help others get their Board certification.”

In 2007, the state Legislature passed a bill that awards a $5,000 bonus to each NBCT. Teachers can receive an additional $5,000 bonus if they teach in “challenging” schools, which are defined as having a certain percentage of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch (50 percent for high schools, 60 percent for middle schools and 70 percent for elementary schools).
In addition, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction offers a conditional loan of $2,000 of the $2,500 registration fee to go through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification process.
About 23 percent of new Washington NBCTs teach in challenging schools, compared to 22 percent for all NBCTs through 2008, and about 50 percent teach in a Title-I school, a federal designation for schools serving high percentages of poor students.

According to Jeanne Harmon, executive director for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, “National Board candidates must demonstrate their ability to improve student learning. They essentially submit a year’s worth of evidence about their classroom practice - how skillful choices in instruction and assessment result in student growth.”
A joint effort led by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the Washington Education Association and OSPI, as well as broad bipartisan support in the state Legislature, has led to a rapid increase in NBCTs.

“National Board Certification is one solution to the challenges facing our schools,” Gov. Gregoire said. “Our state is committed to growing the number of National Board Certified teachers in schools where they are needed the most. We know that leveraging human capital is a key factor in improving teacher effectiveness, student learning and school culture.”
Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association, said that students stand to benefit the most from the increase in NBCTs. “Simply put, National Board Certification improves the quality of teaching and student learning,” she said. “The WEA is proud of the many educators who have undertaken this powerful, professional experience.”

National Board Certification requires teachers to submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment. The 10 entries document a teacher’s success in the classroom as evidenced by his or her students’ learning.

The portfolio is then assessed by a national panel of peers. Created in 1987, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the quality of teaching and learning.

Personnel Report (from 1/19/10 school board meeting)
• New Hires
Yazmin Behena, Para-Educator (Temp), Garrison
Amie Barnett, Bus Assistant, Transportation
Daniel Beuck, Custodian, Walla Walla High School
Gladys Coley, Food Service Assistant, Garrison
Mary Claire Gegen, Para-Educator (Temp), Garrison
Justin James, Para-Educator (Temp), Edison
Barbara Kenny, Bus Driver, Transportation
Erika Montgomery, Para-Educator (Temp), Edison
Chris Myers, Bus Driver, Transportation
Michelle Poulson, Para-Educator (Temp), Sharpstein
Twyla Swanson, Para-Educator (Temp), Green Park
Jennifer Wood, Para-Educator (Temp), Edison

• Resignations/Retirements
NOTE: All resignations/retirements are for the end of the 2009-2010 school year unless otherwise noted.
Steve Droke, Resource Room, Edison 6 years
Joe Jansen, High School, Lincoln Alternative High School, 11 years
Don McCoy, Special Education, Walla Walla High School, 34 years
Jessica McDaniels, Kindergarten, Blue Ridge, 3 years
Greg Reid, Social Studies, Garrison, 41 years
JoAnne Savage, First Grade, Blue Ridge, 3 years
Lynn Waldron, Library Media Specialist, Walla Walla High School, 36 years
Harvey Wellington, Counselor, Walla Walla High School, 43 years

Gabrielle Arrowood, Para-Educator, Green Park, 2 years
Vicky Cornelius, Records Secretary, Special Programs, 23 years
Pat Hanford, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 11 years
Bonnie Hanson, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 11 years
Sue Bloom, Head Secretary, Walla Walla High School, 31 years
Kathy Jordan, Head Secretary, Blue Ridge, 4 years
Toni Kelm, Assistant Secretary, Garrison, 16.5 years
Cindy Morales, Assistant Secretary, Blue Ridge, 2 years
Kathy Olson, Para-Educator, Garrison, 16 years
Abigail Roman, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Preschool, 2 years
Linne Wagner, Para-Educator, Pioneer, 5 months (1/14/10)
Bill Watson, Plumber, Plant Facilities, 22 years

Kathy Jordan, Head Secretary, Blue Ridge, 4 years (For the remainder of the 2009-2010 school year)

Walla Walla High School Varsity Sports weekend highlights

Boys Basketball vs. Kamiakin
Friday, Jan. 22nd
7:30 p.m.
Wa-Hi Gym

Girls Basketball vs. Kamiakin
Friday, Jan. 22nd
7:30 p.m.
Location: Kamiakin HS

Wrestling Clearwater Classic
Friday, Jan. 22nd
Location: Lewiston HS

Boys Basketball vs. Eastmont
Saturday, Jan. 23rd
6:00 p.m.
Location: Eastmont HS

Girls Basketball vs. Eastmont
Saturday, Jan. 23rd
6:00 p.m.
Wa-Hi Gym

Boys Swimming vs. Wenatchee/Eastmont
Saturday, Jan. 23rd
11:00 a.m.
Whitman Pool

Wrestling Clearwater Classic
Saturday, Jan. 23rd
Location: Lewiston HS

Edison Family Fun Night features a Dance Party led by Laura Scheuller
Edison Elementary is planning its second Family Fun Night Tuesday, Jan. 26 and has a theme of a Dance Party, led by Laura Scheuller. She’ll be leading the Chicken Dance, the Hokey Pokey, the Macarana and the Limbo, just to name a few.

The third and final Family Fun Night is Feb. 9 with a theme of Reading and Storytelling. Many local authors and talented actors will be reading from some of your favorite books as well as some you may not have heard before and others will be telling stories. Loren Dickinsin, former professor of Oral Interpretation at Walla Walla University will be presenting. Also, Michael Wenberg will be reading the book he authored, Elizabeth’s Song. There will be books read & stories told in Spanish, as well as English. Watch for more details as the event gets closer.

The event is free and all families of Edison students are welcome to attend.

Retired employees association offers scholarships to graduates
Scholarships” Two $1,000 scholarships are available
1. Graduate of a high school in Walla Walla County or Columbia County
2. Student teach between September 2010 and June 2011.
Deadline: Applications are due April 1, 2010
Contact person: Mardel Bierwagen at 525 6117 or gbierwagen6117@charter.net

Wa-Hi Conspiracy of Hope Benefit Concert This Month
Walla Walla High School presents the annual Conspiracy of Hope benefit concert Tuesday, January 26 and Wednesday January 27 at the Walla Walla High School Auditorium. Both Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. with a $5 donation to be collected at the door.

Conspiracy of Hope is a student production which benefits both the Dave Meyer Foundation and Love 146. The Dave Meyer Foundation was created to help athletes of low-income families with expenses associated with sports participation such as equipment and camp fees. Love 146 is a child sex trafficking protection and research foundation in which children are helped through prevention across the world. For more information about this event, contact Wa-Hi Social Studies and Leadership Teacher Jillian DeBritz at 526-8659.

Conspiracy of Hope Fact Sheet
- Event highlights: Student produced benefit concert highlighting the multi-talented student body
- Concert dates: Tuesday, January 26 and Wednesday, January 27
- Location: Wa-Hi Auditorium
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Cost: $5 donation

Volunteers needed to serve on Senior Project evaluation panels by Associate Principal Mira Gobel
The class of 2010 is preparing to present their Culminating Project (Senior Presentation) and I invite you to be a member of the evaluation panel. The senior students are creating PowerPoint presentations, professional binders, video productions, visual aids, and/or combinations of various modes of presentation.

Students will tell their inspirational stories by sharing their accomplishments in music, visual arts, academics, athletics, community involvements and/or challenges they had to overcome. We believe that this event is a celebration of our collective efforts and will provide each senior an opportunity to reflect on their past, present, and future.

The presentations dates are February 22 & 23, and March 22 & 23, from 3:30 - 7:30 each day. Some of you have volunteered in the past and found this event to be an amazing experience. If you are interested in being a panel member, please contact, Mira Gobel at mkgobel@wwps.org to receive further information.

Walla Walla County Health Department to offer H1N1 vaccinations at district schools
All students who wish to receive a free H1N1 vaccination at district schools must have a completed Walla Walla County Health Department parent consent form. These vaccinations are strictly voluntary. There will be activated nasal and inactive injections available based on individual needs. Parent consent forms and vaccine information statements (VIS) are being sent home in English and Spanish before the scheduled school clinic dates (see schedule below). Vaccination forms and information on the vaccine 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 for free 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 (remaining dates)
Pioneer Middle School
January 25

Garrison Middle School
January 28

Lincoln Alternative High School
TBD (per Lincoln Health Center Schedule)

Walla Walla High School
January 29

Dohe leads Walla Walla High School students to national ranking in WordMasters competition
A team of students representing Walla Walla High School recently won highest honors in this year’s WordMasters Challenge, a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry. Participating with 526 other school teams from all across the country, their school’s twelfth graders tied for fourteenth place in the nation in the year’s second meet, held in December. The team was supervised by Walla Walla High School English Teacher Lori Dohe.

Several of the school’s students won honors for individual achievement as well: Junior Charlotte Keisting and seniors John Boone and Anna Tupper-Bridges all earned perfect scores in the meet — while in the entire country only 44 eleventh graders and only 82 twelfth graders did so.

Freshman Anna Pettyjohn and sophomores Marcus Agidius and Amy Sinden placed, respectively, finished among the 51 highest-scoring ninth graders and the 115 highest-scoring tenth graders nationwide, while freshmen Stephanie Garcia and Isabelle Taylor and juniors Cameron Davis, Dylan Locati, and Olivia Welker earned honorable mention. More than 52,000 students from across the country participated in the meet.

Classroom Close-Up features Sharpstein teacher
This week Sharpstein first grade teacher Kathy Emmert 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 Emmert is now playing on regional stations.