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

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Winter weather is coming! School closure procedures
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: www.wwps.org)
- Twitter message (twitter.com/wwschools)
- Facebook page message
- Orange signs posted in front of schools

District plans 2010 Holiday Food Drive
Join us in helping make a difference for families in our community, so nobody goes hungry during this holiday season.
- Monday, Nov. 29 to Friday, Dec. 17
- Food donations support the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank
- Collection sites - All Walla Walla Public Schools

Volunteers are needed for the “Fill the School Bus” Event
- Saturday, December 4
- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Area Grocery Stores

Food Drive Chairs
- Christina Price-Huntington: cpricehuntington@wwps.org
- Lori Finn: lfinn@wwps.org

Personnel Report (from 11/16/10 school board meeting)
Employment - (Classified)
Heidi Braman, Intervention Specialist, Berney
Ian Gregoire, Intervention Specialist, Green Park
Taren Hartzheim, Food Service Assistant (temp.), Prospect Point
Melissa Teal, Food Service Assistant (temp.), Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge “Playground of Dreams” equipment ordered
School board members Tuesday, November 17 approved the purchase of new playground equipment for the “Playground of Dreams” in memory of Jeremy Richards, the Blue Ridge student who passed away in 2008 from brain cancer.

Blue Ridge is taking advantage of a 50 percent discount on the equipment. Vast fundraising efforts, including a $5000 donation from Coffey Communications, have helped fund the project to replace the school’s 30-year-old playground equipment.

“These generous donations have made a dream become reality,” Blue Ridge Principal Kim Doepker said. “This project will help us provide our students safe and fun playground equipment for years to come.”

Special thanks to district parents, community leaders and sisters Staci Wanichek and Cassie Rothstrom for playing a key role in the Blue Ridge Playground Project fundraising effort. The equipment is expected to be installed later this spring.

Thanksgiving Holiday Break
- Early Dismissal: Wednesday, Nov. 24
- No School: Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26
- Classes resume Monday, Nov. 29

Gillespie “Golden Onion Award” recognizes Walla Walla educators for excellence
Longtime Walla Walla resident and one-time teacher Sue Gillespie and her husband Mike recently established the “Golden Onion Award” to provide school supplies, equipment and professional development funds to Walla Walla educators.

“The Gillespie Teacher Development Fund was a gift to my husband Dr. Mike Gillespie for our 45th wedding anniversary,” said Sue Gillespie. “Mike and his brother set up a similar foundation in Texas in honor of their mother Velma Freeman-Gillespie and Mike’s aunt Zelma Freeman-Root who both taught at Borger Junior High School in Texas for more than 25 years. Teachers are very important to us and they need our support. We want to make sure they are appreciated and recognized.”

The “Golden Onion Award” will be presented annually to three district teachers representing elementary (P-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12) grade levels. Each recipient will receive $500 for use in their classroom or to better their teaching skills. 

The awards will be peer nominated and peer judged. Nomination forms are now available at the Walla Walla Public Schools district office and the school district website: www.wwps.org. Nomination forms will be accepted for consideration until Monday, May 2, 2011. Recipients will be honored during the Walla Walla Public Schools All-Staff Breakfast June 10, 2011. The Gillespie Teacher Development Fund is a component fund of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation with underlying investment at Edward Jones.

Sue Gillespie taught social studies, science and math in high school and junior high school for 10 years in Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma and Okinawa Japan. Dr. Mike Gillespie is a retired orthopedic surgeon. Sue Gillespie was the office manager for Mike Gillespie’s orthopedic practice in Walla Walla and therefore did not return to teaching. The Gillespie’s raised three children in Walla Walla, all who attended Walla Walla Public Schools.

Walla Walla Public Schools serves 6200 students in 10 schools. The district has more than 800 employees, including approximately 400 certificated teachers.

For over twenty-five years, the Blue Mountain Community Foundation has supported the giving of people who care about the Blue Mountain area.  Through this generosity, BMCF grants reach nearly $1.5 million each year.  It has grown to over 220 component funds, like the Gillespie Teacher Development Fund and Mike and Sue Gillespie Sustaining Endowment Fund, directed to benefit the people and progress of the Blue Mountain area.  Learn more at www.bluemountainfoundation.org.

Wa-Hi FFA Holiday Wreaths sale
- 16" ring (the wreath will be 20"-24" wide when it is finished)
- Bow colors: Red, White or Blue
- Cost: $20 (payable upon delivery or pick-up)
- Deliveries begin Wednesday, December 1
- To place an order, contact FFA Advisor Arch McHie - amchie@wwps.org / 527-3020

Community Center for Youth - Gang Prevention Night (Friday, Nov. 19)
The Community Center for Youth presents: Exposing the Lie, Revealing Truth to our Youth
- Walla Walla Police Gang Unit Officers warn about the dangers of gang involvement and the destruction it can bring.
- Friday, Nov. 19
- 7 p.m.
- St. Patrick’s Church (408 W. Poplar)

Refugio Reyes named Latino Club Teacher of the Month
The Walla Walla High School Latino Club is pleased to announce that Spanish Teacher Refugio Reyes has been selected as the Walla Walla High School Latino Club Staff Member of the Month for October 2010. This recognition is based on his faithful service to students that are Latino Club members. As a staff member, Mr. Reyes is making a significant impact on all students at Walla Walla High School.

Comments from Latino Club members included:
- Mr. Reyes is a really funny, cool, and awesome teacher.
- He is always a big help to all and is a great advisor for Latino Club.

Walla Walla High School cadets win big at Yakima Drill & Marksmanship meet
Cadets from the Walla Walla High School JROTC “Blue Devil” Cadet Battalion traveled to Yakima Nov. 13 to compete at the East Valley High School Marksmanship and Drill meet and brought home the hardware for their efforts.

Cadets from the Walla Walla High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps took several top honors in individual and team categories. More than 350 cadets on drill and marksmanship teams from a dozen regional schools competed.

“Our cadets worked hard and competed well and earned trophies, medals and ribbons for their efforts,” said retired Army Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, who coaches the Walla Walla drill teams and serves as Senior Army Instructor for the Wa-Hi JROTC program. “Among the many categories where our students excelled, for example, Cadet 1st Sgt. Kevin Brown came home with first place for his performance in the Individual Armed Exhibition Drill.”

Cadet Lt. Col. Robyn Paul, a senior, who serves as the Blue Devil Battalion Commander, listed the honors her fellow cadets earned at the event: “Our Color Guard #2 took 4th place, Color Guard #1 took 5th place, the Armed Drill Team took 5th place and Cadet Capt. Kaylee Bialozor took 4th place for Armed Drill Team Commander. Our Physical Training Team #1 won 5th place.”

The Blue Devil Marksmanship Team fired outstanding individual and team scores, too, according to their coach.

“Our Precision Team took 1st place and swept the top three individual spots. Cadet Kyle Jameson won first place, Cadet Capt. (and Rifle Team captain) Katie Chavre took 2nd, and Cadet 1st Lt. Wyatt Wilks took 3rd,” said shooting team coach, retired Army Master Sgt. Gerry Taylor. Sporter Team#2 brought home 2nd place. The sporter team won honors at several levels, also,” “At the Marksman level, Cadet Christa Juergensen won 3rd, and Cadet 1st Lt. Shane Perkins took 6th. At the Sharpshooter level, Cadet Hailee Fenton won 3rd. At the Expert level, Cadet 2nd Lt. Rishi Patel won 1st place and Cadet 1st Lt. Skyler Carpenter took 2nd.”

JROTC cadets learn military history, precision drill and ceremonies, marksmanship and leadership skills. The Wa-Hi “Blue Devil” Cadet Battalion competes in drill and ceremony and marksmanship events around the region.

Walla Walla High School Drama department presents Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”
The Walla Walla High School Drama department will be producing Jon Jory’s 2005 adaptation, of Jane Austin’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice.

In this sweeping adaptation the main curtain never closes as the set is changed right before the audiences eyes. John Jory uses story theater style to propel the plot with characters narrating directly to the audience, moving us deftly through the story.

The play contains the original live accompaniment created by Kristin Vining-Stauffer, as both underscoring, and music that she has composed for the many balls. The production will open Thursday November 11th at 7:00 PM in the Walla Walla High School Performing Arts Auditorium. Tickets are $6 for students and $12 for adults.

The show will run on the dates of November 18, 19 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on November 20. The Box office is open from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the auditorium lobby. Call 527-8613 during those hours to reserve tickets or email Bsenter@wwps.org

Walla Walla High School students host Holocaust Survivor
Students in Social Studies teacher Michelle Higgins’ 20th Century U.S. History class at Walla Walla High School played host Tuesday morning to Frieda S., a Holocaust Survivor from WWII.

In 1943, at the age of 14, Frieda was deported to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in her native country of Czechoslovakia, because she was a “mischling” – half Jewish. Frieda’s mother was not Jewish, but her father was. Against the odds, Frieda survived the Holocaust in Theresienstadt.

Frieda states, “I didn’t know at that time that 1.5 million children were going to be murdered because they were Jewish. I also didn’t know that of the 140,000 Jewish people sent to Theresienstadt between 1941 and 1945, 15,000 were children.” Only 10 percent of the children sent to Theresienstadt would survive the war (USHMM).

Students have been preparing for her visit for two weeks now. They have learned about the political and economic factors during the 1930s in the United States and around the World. They have studied how the Nazi Party was elected in Germany and Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor, which led to the establishment of 400 laws against Jews in Germany (USHMM). They have also studied the location of concentration camps in Europe.

“Our students work very hard to study important events during history,” Higgins said. “Meeting Frieda and hearing her story helped them understand the conditions people were forced to endure during this time period. This was an unforgettable and life-changing event for these students.”

Walla Walla Gang Task Force meets to discuss gang impact on schools
Thursday the Walla Walla Gang Task Force, under the leadership of School Resource Officers Kevin Braman and Scott Brashear, met to discuss gang activity in schools. Sheriff Deputy and gang expert Luke Watson and City of Walla Walla Police Department Gang Task Force officers Saul Reyna and Kevin Bayne joined in the discussion.

Principals discussed activity in their schools and the strategies they are using to prevent and intervene in gang activity. Court Services representatives discussed how gang membership impacts the local courts system. Representatives of the Prosecutor’s office discussed disposition of gang cases involving school safety and members of the Department of Corrections advised the group about adult offenders returning to area schools. The Walla Walla Gang Task Force will meet three times a year to help prevent and suppress gang activity in schools throughout the Walla Walla valley.

Gang Task Force Membership (not all in attendance Thursday, Nov. 18):
- Mick Miller, Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent
- Mark Higgins, Walla Walla Public Schools Communications Director and Safe Schools Chair
- Pete Peterson, Walla Walla High School Principal
- Jim Sporleder. Lincoln Alternative High School Principal
- Gina Yonts, Garrison Middle School Principal
- Dana Jones, Pioneer Middle School Principal
- Tim Payne, College Place Public Schools Superintendent
- Bill Vardy, Saager Middle School Principal
- Marissa Waddell, Saager Middle School Counselor
- Jay Rodighiero, Milton-Freewater High School Vice Principal
- John Turner, Walla Walla County Sheriff-Elect
- Chuck Fulton, Walla Walla Police Department Police Chief
- Luke Watson, Walla Walla County Gang Deputy
- Saul Reyna & Kevin Bayne, Walla Walla Police Department Gang Officers
- Craig Jones, Department of Corrections Parole officers
- Joe Golden, Walla Walla County Prosecutor’s office
- Juvenile Justice Center representatives
- Walla Walla Penitentiary representative

Walla Walla High School students attend CASHE Conference to prepare for college
Eight Walla Walla High School students along with 255 other Washington State high school students recently attended the 14th Annual Children of Aztlán Sharing Higher Education (CASHE) conference at Washington State University. These students were Janella Bermudez, Jahaira Chavez, Rubi Villegas, Roger Contreras, Alexis Enriquez, Cristian Marin, Anthony Olivos, and Gesner Rangel.

The CASHE Conference, hosted by Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A) promotes higher education for Latina/o high school students throughout Washington State through multicultural leadership and awareness workshops, while developing a network for students seeking higher education. The students were able to attend through the financial and counseling support of the TRiO-Educational Talent Search program housed at Walla Walla High School. “Attending CASHE is a great honor for these eight outstanding seniors and is an overall reflection of the Walla Walla Public School system,” said Max Weber, TRiO-ETS Assistant Director-Advisor.

One of the highlights of the conference for six Walla Walla High School attendees was the announcement at the dinner banquet on Saturday night that Janella Bermudez, Rubi Villegas, Gesner Rangel, Anthony Olivos, Alexis Enriquez, and Roger Contreras have been admitted to WSU next fall through the University’s “Assured Admission” program.

The “Assured Admission” program provides academically talented students with immediate admission to WSU during the college application process. Washington state high school students who are ranked among the top 10 percent of their high school class or who have a GPA of at least 3.5 are assured admission to Washington State University through this program. “It was an exciting moment for our students to be recognized and accepted to Washington State University,” said Diana Erickson, Bilingual coordinator for the Walla Walla School District. “Many of these students will be the first members of their family to attend college.”

Homelink Program Parent Teacher Organization to host Hunger Banquet
The Homelink Program Parent Teacher Organization and Homelink students are hosting a Hunger Banquet for Family and Friends December 9 at 6 p.m. at the Berney Elementary cafeteria.

“The Hunger Banquet is our school’s service project for the holiday season,” said Becky Betts, event organizer. “This is a way to give back and at the same time, raise awareness among our student body that everyone on earth has the same basic needs.”

Guests at the banquet draw tickets that randomly assign them each to either a high, middle or low-income tier based on the number of people worldwide who live in poverty. Each guest receives a meal matched to their “income level.” The high-income tier (15 percent) are served a meal of spaghetti, bread, salad, and dessert; the middle-income tier (35 percent) eat a simple meal of rice and beans; and low-income tier (50 percent) receive small portions of rice and water.

After the meal, guests are invited to share their thoughts, and a speaker will discuss the pressing impact hunger has on our local community. All proceeds from the Hunger Banquet will be donated to charity, with most going to local charities that combat hunger and a portion to Oxfam America. Homelink students will be working at the event and many of the Homelink teachers will incorporate learning activities into the classroom as well.

For more information: Becky Betts, Event Organizer
509-876-1970 / bobeck@charter.net

Classroom Close-Up features Berney Elementary teacher
This week Berney Elementary 3rd Grade Teacher Danielle Van Dyke 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 Van Dyke is now playing on regional stations.

Walla Walla High School students selected to northwest honor choirs
Five singers from Walla Walla High School have been selected to participate in the MENC Northwest Honor Choir in Bellevue in February. High School singers from six states in the Northwest (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and Alaska) were eligible to audition.

Singers selected are:
Courtney Bruner - Soprano 2
Natalie Ingersoll-Allen - Alto 2
Kiersten Jenkins - Soprano 1
Kolton Kolbaba - Tenor 2
Mallory Livingston - Soprano 2

Community Center for Youth plans Fall Fun Dance
- Middle School only ID
- Friday, Nov. 26
- 7 to 10 p.m.
- St. Patrick’s Church Gym (7th and Poplar)
- Live DJ: Sonido Nueva Era
- $1 cover charge