Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - February 12, 2010

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School board meeting Tuesday
Tuesday, February 16
7:30 p.m.
School Board Room (364 S. Park St)
Meeting open to public
No School Monday, February 15 - Presidents Day
There is no school Monday, February 15 in honor of Presidents Day. Classes resume Tuesday, February 16.
Big Nine District basketball playoffs begin Saturday
This Saturday Walla Walla High School will host the first round of the YVIAA District 5 basketball tournament in the Wa-Hi main gym. Our boys’ team won the Cascade Division title and will play Kennewick at 8 p.m. The girls placed second in the Cascade division and will host Moses Lake at 6 p.m.

The doors will open at 5 p.m. The admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students with an ASB card and senior citizens. There will be no pre-sale of tickets. This is a YVIAA game, not a Wa-Hi game, so passes are not accepted.

Big 9 Conference Tournament Brackets - Saturday, February 13
Kennewick (4-16) at Wa-Hi (17-3) - 8 p.m.
Kamiakin (16-4) at Southridge - 7:30 p.m.
Wenatchee (15-5) at Richland (17-3) - 7 p.m. (Friday, February 12)
Eisenhower (15-5) at Davis (16-4) - 7 p.m.

Pasco (8-10) at Chiawana (18-2) - 7 p.m.
Richland (14-6) at Southridge (14-6) - 5:45 p.m.
Moses Lake (10-10) at Wa-Hi (13-7) - 6 p.m.
Eisenhower (9-11) at Wenatchee (16-4) - 5 p.m.

Regional Wrestling Tournament Saturday
The Regional Wrestling Tournament will take place Saturday (2/13) at Richland High School. Walla Walla High School will have four wrestlers competing and trying to earn spots in the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament.
They are:
- Dustin Taylor: 125 lbs. (first match at 10:18 a.m.)
- Ryan Harmon: 145 lbs. (first match at 10:42 a.m.)
- Eric Eastman: 189 lbs. (first match at 11:06 a.m.)
- Gerald Maib 289 lbs. (first match at 11:18 a.m.)
Congratulations to these wrestlers and coaches Clayton Hudiburg and John Butenhoff for their success.
Walla Walla High School raises $5000 in support of Haiti
Walla Walla High School staff and students continue to share their time, talents, and energy to offer help to Haiti earthquake survivors. Last Saturday during the boys and girls basketball games staff and students organized a coin drive, t-shirt sale, dance and silent auction. Their efforts netted more than $5000. Thanks to the staff and students and all the supporters for making these fundraising efforts a success.

Haiti Fundraiser Proceeds:
- Silent Auction: $1,390.81
- Donation cans at lunch: $293.50
- Class donation - $810.74
- Frolic: $745.77
- T-Shirt Sales: $1,747.51

District team invited to present Response to Intervention model to education leaders
A team of Walla Walla educators has been invited on an all expenses paid trip to Charleston, South Carolina to present on the district’s intervention strategies to improve student achievement at the Response to Intervention Summit, February 24-25.

District Response to Intervention (RTI) Coordinator Maria Garcia, Walla Walla High School Associate Principal Mira Gobel, Walla Walla High School teachers Casey Monahan and Peder Fretheim will represent Walla Walla Public Schools at the Southeast Comprehensive Center which will be attended by state educational leaders from throughout the Southeast United States.

Tiered Interventions and Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes in High School is the conference theme. The purpose of the summit is to build the capacity of state education agencies to implement these strategies.

According to Garcia, the district was contacted by representatives of the South Comprehensive Center to present at the RTI Summit after they read an article featuring efforts at Walla Walla High School which was published in educational magazine Principal Leadership, April 2009.

“I feel honored to be able to represent to people who are in a position to make a difference for students in their entire state,” Garcia said. “They want to know from our perspective what they need to know to implement tiered instruction effectively.”

Garcia will present on the district-level perspective, Gobel will discuss the school-level process and Monahan and Fretheim will talk about the teachers’ role and specific interventions. Gobel says they are working hard and seeing results and it’s exciting other schools want to learn from their journey.

“We are looking at one student at a time,” Gobel said. “We believe in the foundational belief system that RTI is built on; every student, every day, right now. We will do whatever it takes!”

Garcia and Gobel will report to the school board on their experiences in South Carolina during the March 2 school board meeting. The RTI model identifies children needing additional support in reading, math, writing, and helps prevent the development of serious learning problems. Response to Intervention also identifies children who, even when given extra help, make very limited progress. Research has shown that these children sometimes have a learning disability.

Middle school music students entertain retired educators
Monday middle school music students performed for retired educators during the Walla Walla/Columbia County Retired Educators monthly luncheon at the district office board room. Pioneer Middle School students Brelynn Hess, Kurt Funk, Kaitlyn Calhoun, Emily Prull and Garrison Middle School’s Kiana Molitor and Addily Dyer performed under the direction of Music Teacher Mike Jones.

Brelyn Hess said she enjoys sharing her music with others because it make them happy. Hess said music also helps students do better in school and develop friendships.

High School students tell Community Facilities Task Force members about their schools
Lincoln Alternative High School students Caleb Sherlock and Muffy Wimberly and Walla Walla High School students Olivia Welker and Anna Tupper-Bridges presented to the District’s Community Facilities Task Force on the condition of their schools. Lincoln students reported the school is too hot in the fall and spring and too cold in the winter. They said there are not enough bathrooms and that the school is in overall in poor condition. They recommended a new school.

Students from Wa-Hi reported the school is too hot in the fall and spring and too cold in the winter. They said the science labs are to small and inadequate, the locker rooms are cramped, the commons space is too small, and despite having three lunches daily, there are still not enough seats for students to sit and eat their lunches. They said they appreciated some aspects of the open campus, but that slick walking conditions and cold during the winter make it a challenge to get from class to class. They said the overall condition of their school is poor.

Task Force member Ruth Ladderud presented to the group the finding of the High School Facilities Task Force work completed in 2008. She summarized the process the group used and then reported on its conclusions and recommendations. Visit the district website to see the High School Facilities Task Force complete report: http://www.wwps.org/schools/hs_taskforce.htm

Community Facilities Task Force members will hear from Pasco School District Facilities Operations Director John Morgan on the process used in Pasco to develop a long-range facilities improvement plan. Members will also see a slideshow of new and modernized schools in Eastern Washington to learn more about 21st Century learning environments.

Hundreds of fathers and daughters attend Valentine’s Day Ball at Garrison
Last weekend Garrison Middle School hosted a sold out event for Walla Walla Parks & Recreation’s annual Father Daughter Valentine Ball. Nearly 300 dads and daughters participated in events such as the “Balloon Bustin Contest” and the “Soda Sippin Contest.” They also competed in dance competitions such as “The Best Twist,” “Wild & Craziest Dancer,” and “Best Country Dancer.”

Graduates of Distinction nominations now accepted
Nominations are open for the 2010 Graduates of Distinction Program. All nominations and recommendation forms must be received in the district Curriculum Department by April 15, 2010.

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.

2009 Graduates of Distinction
Dr. Philip Phillips - Class of 1975
Greg Ralston Pepin - Class of 1968
Daniel DeSiga - Class of 1967
R. F. “Dick” Monahan - Class of 1958

Nomination forms are available at the district office, 364 South Park Street, or on the district website: www.wwps.org/news/grad_distinction.htm. Please call Kay Schisler, 526-6735, for more information.

Screening process reduces number of students with documented learning disabilities
Districtwide the number of students identified with specific learning disabilities are down 20 to 30 percent this year due to strategic interventions as part of the district’s Response to Intervention (RTI) instructional model which organizes instruction and assessment.

The RTI model allows the district to identify children needing additional support in reading, and math. This helps prevent the development of serious learning problems. Response to Intervention also identifies children who, even when given extra help, make very limited progress. Research has shown that these children sometimes have a learning disability.

“The RTI model allows the district to fill in the academic gaps these students have prior to a special education referral,” said Special Education Director Marcia Walters. “What the district has found is we can remediate many of the deficiencies that students have without placing them in a Special Education program.”

Services and strategies Walla Walla Public Schools provides to ensure all children are learning:
Tier I: The student receives core instruction from their general education teacher at a particular age or grade level.

Tier IIa: The student shows some risk and receives appropriate interventions in a small group.

Tier IIb: The student is at significant risk and receives intensive research based interventions.

Progress monitoring will be conducted on all students receiving interventions to identify the effectiveness of the interventions and make adjustments accordingly.

RTI Screening Process:
1. Students in every school and at every grade level (K-10) are screened to determine their skill level
2. If students meet all benchmarks the RTI Support Team will continue to monitor their progress and they will be placed in all general education classrooms.
3. If they showed areas of concern, the RTI Support Team will recommend an intervention and monitor their progress. Intervention examples include: small group math or reading instruction, adult mentors and assistance with organizational skills.
4. Monitoring continues to check skill development. This can continue throughout the school year.
5. If students fall further behind, a more strategic intervention focusing on their specific needs is put in place. Progress monitoring continues.
6. If the student continues to struggle, despite intensive interventions, a referral for further evaluation may be made.

The district has been using elements of the RTI model since 2003, and is in year 2 of a 3 year grant to fully implement the system. Maria Garcia is serving as the RTI Coordinator. Walters says Garcia’s leadership has helped the district improve in student screenings and proper program placement.

“Maria has been instrumental in working with all district buildings to create teams that understand the RTI process,” Walters said. “Her leadership has created a climate of looking at what students need rather than putting a label on them without trying some other remediation.”

RTI promise to parents:
The school will keep parents informed of their child’s progress. If several interventions have been initiated and progress continues to be limited, parents may be asked to give consent for an evaluation. The purpose of such an evaluation is to determine what the child’s educational needs are, and to consider whether the child may have a learning disability.

A parent may request an evaluation for special education services at any time, including any stage of the RTI process. To request a special education evaluation, parents are asked to contact the building learning specialist or school counselor.

Walla Walla High School graduate featured at annual Bonneville Power Administration Science Bowl
Jennifer Lopéz, a 2009 graduate of Walla Walla High School was featured February 5th, at the 18th annual Bonneville Power Administration Science Bowl in Portland, Oregon. Now a Whitman College freshman, she had been a three year BPA Science Bowl participant and team captain and is currently a part of the agency’s student program during the summers and school breaks.

As a former Science Bowl competitor, Jennifer had the opportunity to relate to this year’s high school participants how her experiences in Science Bowl, and her interest in science, has led to her opportunity to work for the Bonneville Power Administration.

Jennifer’s summer was spent working in the Walla Walla office in BPA’s vegetation management and right-of-way program as a student Natural Resource Specialist. BPA’s vegetation program involves the maintenance and control of trees and vegetation that interferes with the BPA transmission system. Jennifer is the daughter of Macabeo and Emma Lopéz of Walla Walla who were able to attend the event.

Jennifer along with twelve Walla Walla High School students and one Desales High School student, traveled to Portland last Saturday to participate in the quiz-style question and answer science and math competition that is held on the University of Portland campus. There were 64 teams from Washington and Oregon competing in the Saturday, February 6th event.

The team members are members of Exploring Post #311 who are interested in math and science. They were: Sol Mendoza, Juliette Olivos, Anthony Olivos, Yesica Olivos, Bahia Parrish, Chantell Lopéz, Krystal Bautista, Jessica Lozano, José Beleche, Azucena Duran, Gaby Narciso, Luis Jaimez, Mariela Behena.

This is the fifth year that Walla Walla students have participated in the BPA event. “Each year the students answer more questions and win more matches. Our team of juniors won two matches and the other two were lost by just one question,” stated Diana Erickson, Walla Walla School District Bilingual coordinator. She, along with her husband Bill, a BPA employee, are coaches for the teams.

The two teams are organized and sponsored by Explorer Post 311, a Learning for Life Program which operates as a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. The Post also supports the Walla Walla High School Latino Club. The trip was made possible by funding support from the College Place First Presbyterian Church, who sponsors the Exploring Post, and Pacific Power and Klicker’s Strawberry Acres.

For a BPA produced video about Jennifer and members of Walla Walla’s Science Bowl team, the youtube link is:


Explorer Program nominations now accepted
Explorer Program nominations are now being accepted for the 2010-2011 school year. Information on the program for gifted and talented students is available in both English and Spanish on the district web site under the Support Programs/Explorers link: www.wwps.org/programs/explorers.htm

Information sheets, along with parent nomination forms, have been sent to schools. They are available in English and Spanish. Contact your child’s teacher for more information. He or she will be able to help you decide if your child is a good candidate for this rigorous education program.

The deadline for nominations is March 10, 2010. All nominated students will take a norm-referenced standardized test at their school and those who qualify for further testing will participate in cognitive abilities testing in a central location. In all cases, parents will be notified of the results of the process, and a child not selected one year may be re-nominated in following years.

Kindergarten and Fall Registration period is Monday, March 15 to Friday, March 26
Kindergarten registration will be conducted at the student’s attendance area elementary school. Parents wishing to pick up the kindergarten registration information may do so at your child’s school beginning March 8. However, the completed registration forms will not be accepted until March 15.

New Student Registration Hours:
Monday, March 15, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 16 - March 26, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parents/guardians who wish to open enroll their child to a school outside of their attendance area may pick up open enrollment application forms at their attendance area school during normal business hours beginning March 8; however, forms will not be accepted in the receiving school until Monday, March 15.

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

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.

Middle School students have strong showing at regional music festival
Last Saturday, more than 70 students from Pioneer and Garrison performed in the Columbia Basin Music Educators’ Association Middle School Solo & Ensemble Festival at Carmichael Middle School. Band, choir and orchestra students from Garrison and Pioneer have been preparing for the festival for several weeks. The students performed alone, or in a small group, for an adjudicator, who then gave feedback on their performance.

“The students performing in this festival went above and beyond their normal classroom work,” District Music Coordinator Roger Garcia said. “They did a wonderful job and I’m proud of them.”

Radon solution focus of Blue Ridge parent meeting
Thursday night Blue Ridge Elementary Principal Kim Doepker and Head Start/ECEAP Preschool Director Kerri Coffman led a parent meeting at the school’s gym to discuss the solution the district has developed to mitigate elevated radon gas levels. In January results from Fulcrum Environmental Consulting’s air quality study revealed the school had radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency benchmarks. Initial results showed levels exceeding EPA benchmarks occurred primarily in the evening and weekends when the school’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system (HVAC) was not operational. Upon discovering the results, the district then made adjustments to the school’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system and is now operating the HVAC system 20 hours a day, seven days a week to maintain constant air flow. Follow-up tests reveal radon levels are at or below EPA standards.

Walla Walla County Health Department Director Harvey Crowder attended the meeting last night to further explain health-related effects of radon exposure. He stressed the district is doing its part to ensure the safety of staff and students and continues to say the school is safe to use.

Ryan Mathews of Fulcrum Environmental Consulting detailed the district’s long-range plan to develop a permanent solution to mitigating the radon levels. Mathews said Blue Ridge Elementary will be closed March 5-7 (Parent Conference Week - no school scheduled March 5 due to Parent/Teacher Conferences) to allow Advanced Radon Technologies of Spokane to come on site and begin working on the long-range solution which includes sealing vents in the school’s HVAC system and installing a radon venting system. Vent tubes and a fan system will then be installed to vent radon gas out of the building. The goal is to have the radon mitigation system in place and actively working by the end of spring break in April when students return, according to Mathews.
Following installation of the system, further testing will be completed to confirm the radon mitigation system can effectively control radon concentrations. Radon testing at all district schools is currently underway as a precaution.

Walla Walla High School students recognized for AVID program accomplishments
Wednesday evening parents joined their children for celebration of success at the 1st Annual Advancement Via Individual Determination or AVID Recognition and Family Night. Baker Boyer Bank Commercial Loan Officer Rosendo Guizar was the event’s keynote speaker. Guizar challenged students to work hard and remain persistent in their pursuit of an education. Guizar told students about his childhood as a migrant farming family and how he turned to reading to open doors to success.

Wa-Hi Junior Jose Beleche, who serves as the AVID Club president, thanked his teachers for providing the support he needs to excel in high school. Beleche talked about how he sees education as a way to a better life.

“My mom raised me as a single parent, working two jobs, and unfortunately with arthritis,” Beleche said. “She has suffered so much that deep down I know I have to repay her. The only way to do that is to go to college and prepare for an excellent career as an engineer.”

Principal Darcy Weisner and Sue Weber presented students in the program a recognition certificate for their efforts. AVID Site Director Mike Gwinn served as the program’s announcer with the help of AVID Miguel Martinez as the event translator. AVID teachers and support staff were also honored for their support of this program.

AVID is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance.

AVID Mission
The mission of AVID is to ensure that all students, and most especially students in the middle with academic potential capable of completing a college preparatory path:
• will succeed in rigorous curriculum,
• will enter mainstream activities of the school,
• will increase their enrollment in four-year colleges, and
• will become educated and responsible
• participants and leaders in a democratic society.

Learn more about AVID at: http://www.avidonline.org/

Boy Scouts organize food drive in celebration of 100 Year Birthday
Saturday Boy Scouts of America troops in Walla Walla are organizing a food drive at area grocery stores from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in support of the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. The food drive is part of this week’s Boy Scouts of America 100 year birthday celebration. This week the Mayor of Walla Walla signed a proclamation at the Walla Walla City Council meeting declaring February 7 - 13 as BSA 100 Years of Scouting Week. This week there will be flags flying on Main Street courtesy of the local veterans.
Music boosters plan Citrus Sale fundraiser
The Walla Walla Music Boosters is holding a Citrus Sale during throughout the month of February. The goal is to sell a semi-truck load of Texas Red Grapefruit, Navel Oranges, Juice Oranges and Tangelos.

- Half case for $20
- Full case for $35

Contact Music Boosters at (509) 730-5605 or at WWMB@ymail.com to place an order. Fruit will be delivered the week before Spring Break. All proceeds benefit WWPS Music Programs.

State AP Scores, Participation Rate Continue Increase
OLYMPIA – February 10, 2010 - During the past five years, the scores of Washington students continues to increase on Advanced Placement exams even as the number of exams taken has risen, according to a national report released today.
The College Board’s sixth annual “AP Report to the Nation” shows that 17,274 Washington students (or 26.7 percent) in the class of 2009 took at least one AP exam, an increase of nearly 1,000 from the previous year and more than 7,000 from five years ago. Consequently, Washington’s percentage of 12th graders scoring three or greater, which in most cases qualifies for college credit, increased to 16 percent in 2009 from 11.1 five years ago.

That 4.9 percent increase tied Washington with four other states (Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Oregon) for seventh highest. The national average was 3.2 for the same time period.
The trends of increased participation and college-ready scores also held true for all subgroups, including African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander, white and low-income students.

“It’s important that we continue to open up access to more AP exams to all students,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “And as we do that, the numbers are certainly impressive as more students are participating and achieving.”

The state’s fastest growing population, Hispanic students, might be the best example of those trends. In 2009, 10 percent of the state’s graduating class were Hispanic, and they accounted for 7.4% of percent of AP candidates. Also, 6.2 percent earned a score of three or higher.

AP exams, which are offered in 37 subjects, are given each May and are scored on a scale from one to five. The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order): English language, U.S. history, English literature, calculus AB, U.S. government and politics, biology, statistics, world history, European history and chemistry. Washington ranked 16th in the nation with the greatest number of 12th graders (16 percent) scoring three or greater on AP exams – Maryland was first at 24.8 percent. The national average was 15.9 percent. For more information and to view the “AP Report to the Nation,” including state-by-state results, please visit www.collegeboard.com/apreport.

Art Regier Outstanding Volunteers of the Years Award nominations accepted
Nominations are being accepted through Friday, March 26 for the Art Regier Outstanding Volunteers of the Year Award. Recipients will be recognized at the April 20 school board meeting. Nomination forms are available at all Walla Walla Public Schools and the district office.

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.

Classroom Close-Up features Lincoln teacher
This week Lincoln Alternative High School teacher Brandi McIntire 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 McIntire is now playing on regional stations.