Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - December 10, 2010

In this Issue:

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School board work session, executive session and regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, December 14
- 4 to 5:00 p.m.: Special School Board Public Work Session (Review architect request for proposals as part of the district’s facilities improvement plan and facilities planning community outreach - meeting open to public)
- 5:00 to 6:20 p.m.: Executive Session - The school board will meet in Executive Session to discuss the performance of a public employee.
- 6:30 p.m.: Regularly scheduled school board Meeting

Walla Walla Public Schools Winter Break Schedule
- December 20 to January 2
- Classes resume Monday, January 3
- Have a safe and happy holiday break

Regional Future Farmers of America teams travel to Walla Walla for competition
Wednesday the Walla Walla High School Future Farmers of America chapter played host to the District Six Sales and Service contest. Schools from Southeast Washington, including Garfield-Palouse, Colfax, Rosalia, Pomeroy, Asotin, Waitsburg, Pullman, St. John-Endicott, and Clarkston, participated in the contest. Walla Walla High School Agriculture Business course teacher and FFA advisor Jessica Johnson coordinated the event.

This three part competition is a qualifier for the state competition later this school year. The students compete in sales, take a written test and complete a practicum focusing on customer relations, prospecting for new sales leads and order taking. According to Johnson, having the competition is a terrific opportunity for the Walla Walla High School program.

“The students are excited to show off our school and program,” Johnson said. “It is a great way to get people to our campus and let them see what a great program we have in Walla Walla.”

Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna visits Pioneer Middle School
Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna visited Pioneer Middle School Thursday to be interviewed by 8th grade student John Martin as part of a student produced video documentary on gangs. Martin invited McKenna and coordinated the visit in support of his school project. Martin asked McKenna a series of questions addressing state, regional and local issues related to gang activity. Martin and his classmates Hayden Hartwell and Caleb Thompson who served as videographers, plan to have the video documentary completed in January.

In November, McKenna proposed an anti-gang bill to state legislators calling for spending $10 million for gang prevention and intervention, stiffer sentence enhancements for gang crimes and empowering local governments and property owners to keep gangs out of certain areas. He told Martin students are often the key to curbing gang recruitment.

“John and all the students in the school district can help by reaching out to their classmates and making them feel included,” McKenna said. “They don’t have to join a gang to have a sense of belonging, they can be involved in their school.”

McKenna also praised Martin for having the leadership skills at a young age to coordinate his visit, formulate his questions and produce a meaningful school project.

Community input sought for Children’s Museum survey
Community survey to Children’s Museum of The Children’s Museum of Walla Walla needs your help. Like many non-profits, this organization is currently struggling, and is in the process of conducting a community survey to help shape its future.

“We would like to get as many survey participants as possible so that we have truly meaningful data,” said Damien Sinnott, President of the Children’s Museum of Walla Walla. “The community survey will help us determine whether it is providing a necessary and wanted service for families in the Walla Walla Valley.”

Here is a link to the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CMWW

Big Cheese Pizza certificates to help fund student trip
Those looking for a stocking stuffer should consider purchasing a Big Cheese Pizza certificates from Pioneer Middle School students to help support the 8th grade Washington DC trip. Students will be selling the certificates for a large gourmet pizza for $10. This is an $8 savings. The certificates are good until October 2011.

Make checks out to Big Cheese Pizza and put “8th grade DC Trip” on the note line. Contact Pioneer Middle School teacher Dan Calzaretta for more information: 527-3050 or dcalzaretta@wwps.org.

“Fill the Bus” helps fill area food bank shelves
Last weekend’s “Fill the Bus” event brought in nearly 5000 pounds of food for the Blue Mountain Action Council food bank. Staff, students and parents volunteered to work at four area grocery stores Saturday in support of the event.
The district’s Holiday Food Drive continues through December 17. Collection barrels are located at all district schools and the central office.

“Fill the Bus” tallies:
Albertson - 1593 lbs
Safeway - 1120 lbs
Super One - 712 lbs
Harvest Foods - 709 lbs

Pioneer Middle School and Grocery Outlet team to supply area food bank
Last weekend Pioneer Middle School students from the Explorer Program for gifted learners volunteered to collect food at Grocery Outlet. The effort netted more than 1000 pounds of food to support the district’s Holiday Food Drive.

“We heard some amazing stories from people who donated,” teacher Dan Calzaretta said. “We spoke with a gentleman who was on food stamps and still donated a can to us. Another man told us Blue Mountain Action Council was there for him when he was in need and he appreciated what the kids were doing. And then there was a woman who grew up during the depression. She told us she understood what it was to be hungry. What started as a friendly competition between 8th grade advisories at Pioneer turned into a life lesson for our students. That is the power of education.”

Walla Walla Asset Building Coalition offers tax preparation information to increase refunds
During Tax Season, the Walla Walla Asset Building Coalition helps spread awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit, a federal credit for working people who do not earn high incomes (families under $48,000). EITC can reduce a person’s taxes and result in a refund up to $5666. In Walla Walla, the average qualifying person will receive a tax credit of $1963. Qualified people must ask for this credit when they file taxes, and file a 1040 form. While the county brings in about $7 Million annually through EITC, Walla Walla stands to gain approximately $1 Million in unclaimed EITC dollars.

Residents can also save by receiving free expert tax preparation help through the AARP Tax Aide program. Contact information to sign up is below.
The bottom line: Do you know families who make under $48,000 per year? If so, tell them to ask for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when they file taxes. On average in Walla Walla, the EITC is worth $1963, and up to $5666.

Walla Walla Asset Building Coalition: The Walla Walla Asset Building Coalition is a local collaborative group which focuses on improvement of savings and financial skills for our area’s residents. We are comprised of individuals from all over the community, including bankers, human service agencies, and members of the school district. The Coalition offers adult financial education, such as Money Smart classes and a Forum on Identity Theft and Fraud, all with the goal of allowing Walla Walla residents to better understand how to save and spend household dollars in the most effective way possible.

If you’re interested in these and other financial education resources for students and their families, or have questions about the EITC, contact Noah or Stephanie from the Coalition: nsleavitt@hotmail.com or stephanies@bmacww.org; 529-4980.

Volunteers needed to serve on Walla Walla High School Senior Presentation panel
Volunteers are needed to serve on the Walla Walla High School Senior Presentation panel for the Class of 2011. Volunteers will listen to seniors as they share their personal stories, successes and struggles, academic accomplishments, community volunteer experiences, and future plans.

Volunteers may sign up for multiple panel dates, but they will only need to attend the training session on the first day they have selected to participate.

“Every year, I am filled with anticipation to experience this amazing event,” Walla Walla High School Associate Principal Mira Gobel said. “Many of our volunteers are becoming veteran panel members who look forward to this event each year.”

 Senior Presentation Panel Dates:
- February 14 & 15 (Monday & Tuesday)
- March 23 & 24 (Wednesday & Thursday)

Senior Presentation Day Agenda:
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. - Panel Orientation: Walla Walla High School Commons
4:30 – 4:45 p.m. - Presentation #1: Various classrooms
4:50 – 5:05 p.m. - Presentation #2: Various classrooms
5:10 – 5:25 p.m. - Presentation #3: Various classrooms
5:30 – 5:45 p.m. - Presentation #4: Various classrooms
5:50 – 6:05 p.m. - Presentation #5: Various classrooms
6:10 – 6:25 p.m. - Presentation #6: Various classrooms
6:30 – 6:45 p.m. - Presentation #7: Various classrooms
6:50 – 7:05 p.m. - Presentation #8: Various classrooms
7:05 – 7:30 p.m. - Debrief and collect evaluation sheets: WWHS Commons

To sign up, contact Gobel at: 509.527.3020 or by email at: mkgobel@wwps.org.

Holiday Concert series online
Visit the district website at www.wwps.org to see a complete listing of the school district’s holiday concert series. All school concerts and special events are listed. Please join us this holiday season!

Walla Walla students to perform in Walla Walla Symphony Nutcracker concerts
- Concert dates: Tuesday, December 14 & Wednesday, December 15
- Concert times: 7:30 p.m.
- Location: Cordiner Hall (Whitman College)
- There will be a number of students who attend Walla Walla Public Schools dancing in these performances with the professionals from the Eugene Ballet
- Information: http://www.wwsymphony.com/

Lincoln Alternative High School student Talent Show to support Holiday Food Drive
Lincoln Alternative High School is planning its first annual Talent Show and  Mexican Spiced Cocoa & Cookies Social Wednesday, December 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the school gym. The event is open to the public and supports the district’s Holiday Food Drive. Admission is a nonperishable food item and/or donation to “THE LIFT” Lincoln’s After-School Program. All food donations will be donated to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. Contestants must have at least one Lincoln High School student or staff, which includes the Lincoln Health Center, in the act.
Jeremy Gradwohl - The LIFT, 21st Century Program Director
Lincoln Alternative High School
421 S. Fourth St.
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Homelink Hunger Banquet brings awareness to food shortage conditions around the world
More than 200 people attended the Homelink Program Parent Teacher Organization Hunger Banquet at the Berney Elementary School cafeteria. The event raised more than $1500 to support charities focusing on combating hunger.

“A huge thank you to all the volunteers that worked so hard at last night’s event,” said parent Becky Betts, event organizer. “We’re deeply moved by the program and those who gave generously. We delivered leftover rice and beans to a very grateful Christian Aid Center last evening.”

Those in attendance were randomly assigned to either a high, middle or low-income tier based on the number of people worldwide who live in poverty. Each guest received a meal matched to their “income level.” The high-income tier (15 percent) were served a meal of spaghetti, bread, salad, and dessert; the middle-income tier (35 percent) ate a simple meal of rice and beans; and low-income tier (50 percent) received small portions of rice and water.

“I am so honored to have shared this experience,” said Betts. “I am proud to say 100 percent of the proceeds will go to charities.”

Special thanks to Betts for organizing the event and bringing more awareness to the issue of world hunger. Betts and all the parent and student volunteers put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to make this event successful.

Classroom Close-Up features Blue Ridge Elementary teacher
This week Blue Ridge Elementary 4th Grade Teacher Phyllis Garanzuay 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 Garanzuay is now playing on regional stations.