Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 19, 2010

In this Issue:

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School board names Miller new superintendent
Thursday night Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors named Mick Miller the district’s new superintendent. Miller, who is currently the superintendent of the Deer Park School District in Deer Park WA, will assume the duties of his new position July 1 following the retirement of Superintendent Dr. Richard Carter.

Miller has held the superintendent position in Deer Park for the past six years. He began his career as a classroom teacher at North Central High School in Spokane, WA where he taught English and Social Studies for seven years.

He moved into administration in 1990 by assuming the duties of Assistant Principal at North Central High School and then moved to Kelso, WA in 1994 to assume the position of principal at Kelso High School. Miller moved back to Spokane in 1996 to take the principal position at Mead High School; a position he held until 2004.

“Mick Miller has a desire to build relationships with the students, staff and parents and to be an integral part of our community,” School Board President Cindy Meyer said. “His diverse skills in education make him a great fit for our school district.”

Miller earned his undergraduate degree and Superintendent’s credential from Washington State University. He received his Master’s in Education with an emphasis in school administration from Whitworth College in Spokane, WA.

Miller says he has a passion for helping students learn and his philosophy on leadership includes building relationships, transparency and listening to stakeholders to move the organization forward.

For more information, contact Communications Director Mark Higgins at 509.526.6716 or by e-mail at: mhiggins@wwps.org.

School board approves school year calendar
Tuesday night school board members approved the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school year calendars. Calendars posted on the district website: www.wwps.org
Personnel report (from 3/16/10 school board meeting)
• Employment
(Classified) Estella Edison, Bus Assistant, Transportation
Janette Polley, Health Services, Edison

• Resignations/Retirements
(Classified) Mary Lou Whalen, Food Services Assistant, Prospect Point Elementary, 1.5 years

• Leave of Absence
(Certificated) Maria Garcia, Psychologist, Special Programs, 14 years
(Maria is requesting a leave of absence to serve as RTI Coordinator)

School Retirees’ Appreciation Week
School Board President Cindy Meyer honored Washington State School Retirees’ Association during Tuesday night’s school board meeting. Meyer read a proclamation from Governor Christine Gregoire which declared the week of March 15-21 as School Retirees’ Appreciation Week.
Transportation Department honored
Superintendent Dr. Rich Carter presented Transportation Director Steve Olson with a Certificate of Achievement from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State Patrol during Tuesday’s school board meeting for outstanding bus inspections for the period of winter and summer 2009.

“The criteria used for recognizing districts is 10 percent or fewer buses placed out of service and your district did an exceptionally good job in achieving this goal,” said Jan Clarence, Regional Transportation Coordinator. “The Washington State Patrol school bus inspection team and I wish to commend your district and those persons responsible for the maintenance of your buses for the outstanding bus inspections of winter and summer 2009.”
School board approves bid award for Support Services construction project
Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Tuesday named T.W. Clark Construction, LLC, to serve as general contractor for the new Support Services construction project. Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed by December 2010.

Scope of Project: The development of a new Support Services facility represents the second phase of a project to relocate the Support Services and the Transportation Department from 325 S. Park Street to 1162 Entley Street near Koncrete Industries. This facility will house the warehouse, maintenance, grounds services, print shop, and food services.

Construction Project Timeline:
March 16, 2010 - Contractor named
March 2010 - Construction begins
December 2010 - Project completed
January 2011 - District occupies building

Project Description:
- Site acreage: 9.5 acres (for both the new Support Services facility and new Southeast Washington Transportation Cooperative) - Location: 1162 Entley Street
- Support Services building size: 21,636 square feet (main floor) / 6904 square feet (mezzanine)

Construction Bid Terms:
Base Bid & alternates :$2,641,300
(Alternates include: shop offices, test kitchen, mezzanines, overhead doors, motorized door, wall lights, compressor, and miscellaneous electrical and casework)
Sales Tax (8.3%): $219,228
Other project expenses (to include: architectural fees, furniture, inspections, fees) : $372,849

Total Project Cost: $3,233,377

State Matching dollars to fund project:
The district is using the approximately $4 million state matching money from the Transportation Cooperative construction project to fund the new Support Services facility.

Meeting scheduled on middle school dual language program
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Boggs announced she is organizing a meeting Thursday, April 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the district board room to discuss the district’s dual language program.

The focus of the meeting is to address concerns the district is fielding in relation to a decision to not create a new program by extending the dual language program in middle school to students in grades 7th and 8th. Historically, district’s dual language program has always been a K-5 program, but this year the district was able to offer a component of a dual language program for Garrison Middle School 6th grade students.

Boggs recently sent a letter to parents with children in the Garrison 6th grade program stating the 6th grade dual language program will continue next year at Garrison. However, she also said due to shrinking budget revenue, limited qualified staff, and other middle school course demands, the district will not offer the program beyond 6th grade.

“We know this is a great program and share the disappointment parents are feeling,” Boggs said. “Afterschool programs, online offerings and other options for students to maintain and develop their language skills in middle school may be a possibility. These will be topics on the April 15 agenda.”

For information about the middle school dual language parent meeting, contact the district’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department at 526-6734.

Blue Ridge Elementary takes pro-active approach to addressing low-achieving school status
Walla Walla Public Schools has been informed by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Blue Ridge Elementary is on its list of low-achieving schools based on federal performance criteria linked to state assessment scores over the past three years.

Schools on the list represent the bottom five percent of the lowest achieving K-12 schools in the state. The list of lowest-achieving schools is connected to the Washington State Board of Education Accountability Framework which is designed to turn around persistently low performing schools.

Schools on the list of low-achieving schools have two options:
Option 1 - In 2010, volunteer to participate in a third-party Academic Performance Review and then have the local school board use the results to develop a Required Action Plan in collaboration with staff and the community to improve achievement.

Option 2 - Take no action in 2010, but be required to in 2011 to go through this process if significant academic improvement is not realized.

“We have already taken steps at Blue Ridge to increase achievement for all students, so we have opted for Option 1 and volunteered for an Academic Performance Review this year,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Boggs, who oversees the district’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department. “As part of this process, we have requested $379,000 grant to fund the implementation of our action plan. It is our goal to close the achievement gap and ensure all students have opportunities for an excellent education.”

Blue Ridge Elementary Principal Kim Doepker says everyone at Blue Ridge is committed to doing whatever they can to help children achieve success.

“We are already implementing initiatives and instructional practices which will be part of the academic review, including aligned curriculum, instructional best practices, focused professional development and high levels of family and community involvement,” Doepker said. “By going through this review process, we can further refine our plans and receive additional funding to support the academic progress of our students.”

Following the Academic Performance Review, school districts then must develop a Required Action Plan using one of four “Race to the Top” federal improvement models: Turnaround, Restart, Closure or Transformation. The school has three years to make significant progress based on approved criteria. Federal funds will be provided for plan implementation.

High School Skills Center update
Superintendent Rich Carter briefed school board members during Tuesday night’s school board meeting on the High School Skills Center funding process. Carter said he received confirmation from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Walla Walla is in line for architectural design funding during the next legislative session in 2011. Carter said the district would then be on the list and stand to receive construction funding in 2013.

“The new Walla Walla superintendent will need to travel to Olympia and continue to push for this funding,” Carter said. “We have put the district in a position to make this project a reality.”

Walla Walla High School Latino Club is Recognized for Sustained Community Service
The Walla Walla High School Latino Club recently received notice that they have been recognized as a “Gold Award” recipient of the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” for 2008-2009 school year. This honor is presented in recognition of the club’s volunteer service of providing over 1600 hours of service to the Walla Walla community. The award is given by the President of the United States to groups and individuals who have demonstrated a sustained commitment of volunteer service over a 12 month period.

Besides receiving the group award, 10 Latino Club members are recognized as “Bronze Awards” recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Award” for providing over 100 hours of individual service during the 2008-2009 time period.

The individual Latino Club “Bronze Awards” went to:
- Olivia Arevalo
- José Beleche
- Arón Castro
- Sergio Galván
- Luis Jaimez
- Bahiyyih Parish
- Yvonne Segovia
- Cristina Torres
- José Torres
- Karina Torres.

Latino Club members who provided 25 to 75 hours of service were also recognized as part of the “Club’s Service Team” including:
- Ana Andrade
- Krystal Bautista
- Marlene Fernandez
- Tony Esculante
- Jasmin Llanes
- Alex Ramos
- Aldeir Soleto
- Oscar Tapia
- Jessica Lozano
- Grasiela Ocampo
- Vanessa Alvarado-Rivas
- Virginia Suárez
- Mariela Bahena
- Latino Club Advisor Refugio Reyes.

Key service projects for the Latino Club during the 2008-2009 school year included the club’s work prior to the Walla Walla County Fair and Rodeo and providing a pre-school literacy program supported by the Walla Walla United Way during the Garrison Night School program.

The “President’s Volunteer Service Awards” are sponsored by Exploring Post 311 and the direct support from the Learning For Life Program which is a subsidiary program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Teachers Begin to Use Podcasting in the Classroom By Alice Long, WSU Early Outreach

A podcast is a downloadable media (audio or visual) file that may be easily accessed, usually through an automated [RSS] feed, by any computer with compatible software. Although the name suggests otherwise, users do not need an iPod to upload, download, or access podcasts.

Seeing podcasting as an opportunity to incorporate technology into the classroom as a teaching tool, the Pioneer Middle School GEAR UP program sent for two of Pioneer’s exceptional teachers, Chris Plucker and Dan Calzaretta, to attend a day-long seminar on podcasting taught by TechReach in partnership with WSU GEAR UP. Mr. Plucker is excited to put his training to use. He has already ordered a digital voice recorder and microphone, and is planning to use podcasting to record his humanity class lectures. After each recorded lesson he will upload the digital file to Audacity, a free audio editing software program, and spice up the lecture for the kids. His students can then access his lectures if they have been absent, or they can use them to review and study for his tests.

Mr. Calzaretta has already started using the curriculum he received at the podcasting seminar. His students hope to have their first class podcast done by the end of March. They have a lot of ideas for their podcasting projects; some of their ideas include weekly classroom updates, reviews of video games and music, and “welcome to our school” podcasts for new students at Pioneer. The actual productions of the podcasts will take a while to complete. Both teachers are still waiting to receive their media equipment, and it will take some time for the students to learn how to use the software. Calzaretta and Plucker have long-term goals for podcasting as well.

Eventually they’d like to begin teaching other teachers how to use podcasting in their classrooms and in communication with each other. They’d also like to set up a bi-school cooperative with Edison Elementary School that would allow the middle school students at Pioneer to share podcasts with Edison’s elementary students. GEAR UP Site Director Marika Tomkins is looking forward to seeing how the teachers utilize their training. “These are two energetic and dedicated GEAR UP partnership teachers,” she said of Mr. Plucker and Mr. Calzaretta. “They have the talent; we gave them a venue.”

Kindergarten and Open Enrollment Registration continues next week
Kindergarten and open enrollement registration continues through Friday, March 26. Registration forms are available at area schools during business hours.

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.

District website update allows site to be offered in Spanish
Today the district launched an updated version of its website: www.wwps.org. One new feature is a Google component which quickly converts to site to a new language, including Spanish. Communications Director Mark Higgins said the translation feature will allow a more diverse audience to better use the site. He went on to say the website update is an attempt to offer more information on the district’s home-page while still making it easy to navigate.
Strong state showing for Walla Walla High School Debate Team - By Debate Coach Jean Tobin
Last Saturday (March 13th), for the first time in recent memory, Walla Walla High School students attended and competed in the State Debate Tournament held in Tacoma at the University of Puget Sound. Twenty-nine 4A schools, 24 3A schools and several hundred competitors attended.

This tournament focused on Individual Events and Wa-Hi students competed in four of the eight events offered: Expository speaking, Original Oratory, Interpretative Reading, and Impromptu speaking. Seven students from Wa-Hi earned the opportunity to attend: Machado Mijiga (sophomore), Bryan Preston (freshman), Maddie Bronstein (freshman), Hope Grant-Herriot (freshman), Rosa Tobin (freshman), Carrie Moore (freshman) and Calvin Brigham (freshman).

Students competed in three preliminary rounds in the 4A school division. Although none of Wa-Hi’s competitors made it to the finals rounds, three students had strong showings overall: Hope Grant-Herriot, Rosa Tobin and Maddie Bronstein.

Hope Grant-Herriot has had a strong season, consistently earning top honors at tournaments. She continued her amazing performance, earning high marks in every round, and narrowly missing the finals round (by one point) in Interpretive Reading (students read a selection of prose and poetry chosen around a theme). Her marks in the preliminary rounds tied her for 7th place.

Rosa Tobin competed in Original Oratory (an event in which students present a 10-minute memorized persuasive essay) and her scores in the preliminary rounds placed her in a tie for 12th place overall. Rosa’s essay advocated for the repeal of Federal laws against the use of medical marijuana.

Maddie Bronstein had a strong showing in Impromptu, an event in which students are given a quotation, think for a moment (literally) and then speak for five minutes explaining their interpretation of the quotation. Her preliminary marks also tied her for 12th place in the event.

All members of the team appreciated the opportunity to attend. “This was a real learning opportunity for us,” commented Coach Jean Tobin. “We are a team of novices – most other teams have senior competitors to set an example for the younger students. We were learning as we went along this season. It was unusual to have sophomores and freshman competing at State – most of the other competitors were juniors and seniors from established programs. Like any other activity worth doing, it is not easy to be successful as a beginner – it takes time and effort. We have time and these students are very willing to work hard to achieve their goals. I know we will have even more success in the future.”

The students appreciate the support of the many community members involved in helping them start the program this year. Next weekend (March 19th and 20th) Calvin Brigham and Maddie Bronstein return to the University of Puget Sound to compete in the State Lincoln-Douglas Debate Competition. They will be debating the principle of Jury Nullification.

Hundreds of students participate in elementary math contest
More than 100 local fourth and fifth graders participated with their school teams in the Walla Walla Valley Elementary Math Contest at Edison Elementary Saturday, March 13. The contest is the culminating event of a season of individual school practices and preparation. With the help of nearly 30 volunteers, students competed in four individual math tests and enjoyed a pizza lunch provided by the Walla Walla public schools. Special thanks to two-time district Art Regier Volunteer of the Year and Whitman College Professor Laura Schueller for coordinating the contest.

Although many awards were presented in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Edison’s gym, the overall winners were:
For the individual contest:
- 1st place: Min-Jun Kim from Assumption School
- 2nd place: John Hoffman from Green Park Elementary
- 3rd place: Brinton Alexander from Freewater Elementary

For the team contest:
- 1st place: Assumption School
- 2nd place: Prospect Point Elementary
- 3rd place: Green Park Elementary

Walla Walla High School National Honor Society Induction Ceremony Saturday
Outstanding Walla Walla High School students will be honored Saturday evening during the National Honor Society Induction ceremony. The 65 eleventh and twelfth grade students selected for membership all have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service in the school and community and exhibited exemplary character as reflected through teacher recommendations. Applications were then screened by a five member Teacher Council.

2010 National Honor Society Inductees
Aichele, Nicole
Ambriz, Gilberto
Anderson, Gabrielle
Anderson, Mitchell
Ayala, Jazmin
Barcenas, Roxane
Beleche, Jose
Bermudez, Janella
Bezdicek, Ashley
Bogley, Kathryn
Bushman, Nick
Campeau, Jake
Campos, Rachel
Castillo, Marissa
Castoldi, Samantha
Chavez, Jahaira
Christensen, Sydney
Contreras, Roger
Dandrea, Shelby
Davis, Cameron
Duran, Azucena
Enriquez, Alexis
Felt, Mary
Gallinat, Nathan
Glaeser, Andrew
Golden, Jennifer
Goodwin, Kara
Gorkovchenko, Aksana
Henckel, Allison
Holbrook, Conner
Johnson, Graeme
Jones, Victoria
Juergensen, Krysta
Kammer, Camille
Kaylor, Allexa
Klicker, Hope
Ladderud, Ann
Lake, Linnea
Leier, Kevin
Leier, Kristine
Limburg, Shelby
Lubbers, Mary
Marcum, Amanda
McKinney, Brendan
Melling, Nigel
Neiffer, Sawyer
Olivos, Anthony
Parish, Bahia
Perez, Ruben
Pettyjohn, Elise
Pontarolo, Michael
Poolman, Nicholas
Prendiville, Leslie
Rivera, Gemma
Ruff, Bailey
Salazar, Berenice
Swinnerton, Andrew
Tegtmeier, Jacob
Thompson, Jocelyn
Welker, Olivia
Wernette, Cara
Wilson, Stephanie
Winn, Hayden
Yancey, Taylor
Zaro, Laura

Walla Walla High School boys basketball team awards - By Coach John Golden
This week Wa-Hi Boys Basketball Coach John Golden reported on the team’s end-of-season award banquet. The team recently took home the 4th place trophy from the 4A WIAA State Basketball Tourament in Tacoma.

Most Improved - Junior Seth Alden
Most Inspirational - Ryan James
Most Valuable Player - Michael Weisner
Team Captains: Ryan James, Michael Weisner, and Gary Winston
Senior Scholar Award - Jake Crawford

Weisner to play in All State game
Michael Weisner is playing in the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association All-State game this weekend at Mountlake High School.

Winston named to All State First Team
Gary Winston was named to the Tacoma News Tribune All-State first team and Seattle Times All-State first team.

District Choral Festival Tuesday
- 37th Annual District Choral Festival featuring district choir students in grades 4-12
- Tuesday, March 23
- 7 p.m.
- Walla Walla High School Large Gym
- $1 per person/$5 per family*
*All donations go to the Roberta Abraham Scholarship fund
Walla Walla High School JROTC Regional Drill Meet results (Roseburg, OR meet)

- Color Guard 1 - 2nd place
- Color Guard 2 - 3rd place
- Unarmed Drill Team - 3rd place
- Unarmed Drill Team Commander: cadet/Maj. Terrika Zapata- 2nd place
- Individual Armed Exhibition Drill: c/1st Lt. Seth Thomas - 1st place

- Sporter Team, Master Div.: c/Staff Sgt. Karri Mickelson - 2nd place
- Precision Team: c/Capt. Elliot Holt- 1st place
- Sporter Team- 2nd place
- Precision Team- 2nd place
- Combined Rifle Teams won League Champions

Walla Walla High School Drama Department Presents “The Wizard of Oz” musical version
This show is the musical version with all of your favorite songs!
Show dates: May 6, 7, 8, 13,14 and 15
Shows times: 7 p.m. (special 2 p.m. matinees are on Saturday March 8 and 15)
Location: Walla Walla High School Performing Arts Auditorium
Ticket Prices: $6 dollars for students and $12 for adults.
Tickets sales: Tickets go on sale in April and can be reserved by calling (509) 526-8613, the Wa-Hi Box office

Comments from Director Brian Senter: “This is a great show, and, with an added twist of excitement, this will mark the first time that Wa-Hi actors will fly on stage! Flying by Foy out of Las Vegas will be in town to rig and fly the actors. Don’t miss Glinda’s bubble and those scary flying monkeys, not to mention the Wicked Witch of the West. This is a classic with a wonderful story and beautiful singing! Fun for the whole family!”

Classroom Close-Up features Pioneer teacher
This week Pioneer Middle School teacher Gina Stahlheber 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 Stahlheber is now playing on regional stations.

Walla Walla Dance Company’s: The Windy Wizard of Walla Walla playing Saturday at Cordiner Hall
Written and produced by dance instructor Nancy Wells, The Windy Wizard of Walla Walla is a futuristic fantasy full of whimsy, charm and talented children. In a new world of technology and industry, there are no longer seasons.

The show features more than 150 students, including several from Walla Walla Public Schools. The art department at Walla Walla High School, under the leadership of teacher Julie Laufenburg, is creating some of the sets for the production according to Karen Binder, who is serving as the show’s marketing director. Binder is the mother of Prospect Point student Rachelle Binder. Wells is the former Walla Walla High School Dance Team coach who has led the school to multiple state championships in recent years.

Show Highlights
Farms are a thing of the past and the only sign of nature is on a computer screen. A small group of curious children Techtown follow a little light that leads them to the Wizard. An outcast for his nonconformity, he lives in his own Walla Walla world surrounded by windmills and the only surviving flowers. He has the capabilities to create his own energy and gusts of wind are protection from his long lost evil brother “Headtech” the Mayor of Techtown.

The children want to find Mother Nature and the Wizard is just the one they need to take them on their quest. They will travel through ice, snow, wind and rain to the magical forests until they find her. The sun will finally shine and the kids will grow gardens to bring Mother Nature back to stay. The children invited everyone to the garden where peace, harmony, and happiness prevail.

“There will be three-year-olds as sprouts, little flowers, farm crops, and a parade of birds, bugs, and animals,” Binder said.

Show Information:
The Windy Wizard of Walla Walla
Presented at Cordiner Hall (Whitman College)
Saturday, March 20, 2010 @ 7:30
Karen Binder: klbinder2001@yahoo.com

Tickets will be available March 3 at Earthlight books.
Reserved Seating - $15
General Admission - $12
Seniors/Students - $10

Some of the 150 students involved, according to Binder are:
Marisa McBride from Sharpstein
Rachelle Binder - Prospect Point
Aanika Swant - Prospect Point
Taylor Kontos - Prospect Point
Allison Shrouf -Walla Walla High School
Sophie Jenes - Prospect Point