Safe Routes to Schools grant to help fund Reser Road improvements
Walla Walla County is expected to receive $330,000 in June from the Washington State Department of Transportation Safe Routes to Schools grant program to help fund a $1.7 million project to improve Reser Road from Howard to Fern Streets. If all goes as scheduled, the project will begin June 13 and be completed August 19. The road will be closed during the construction phase.
A list recently released from the Washington State Department of Transportation places Walla Walla’s project in the highest ranking category citing the grant is most likely to receive funding. According to the state’s list, Walla Walla’s Reser Road project ranks 5th among the 124 Safe Routes to Schools applications submitted this session from 97 agencies and organizations. The total cost for the Safe Routes to Schools grant requests statewide is approximately $43 million. Funding requests will go to legislators during the 2011 legislative session. A final funding decision will be made by June 2011.
The Walla Walla County Public Works Department submitted the grant request last fall to secure some of the funding needed to make sidewalks, signs, bridge, roadway and bike lane improvements on Reser Road. This street provides access to Prospect Point Elementary and Walla Walla High School and is heavily used by students and families.
As part of the grant application process, Walla Walla County Public Works officials met with Safe Routes to School Coordinator Charlotte Claybrooke to tour the proposed project site on Reser Road. Claybrooke was welcomed by Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Mick Miller, Prospect Point Elementary Principal Chris Gardea, Walla Walla High School Principal Pete Peterson, Walla Walla County Public Works officials, law enforcement officers and concerned parents during her visit.
Claybrooke said Walla Walla Public Schools willingness to partner on the education component of the project and the county’s ability to accept the enforcement requirements improved the chances of the grant being funded. Claybrooke said she was also impressed with the outpouring of community involvement for safe school routes initiatives.
The purpose of the Safe Routes to Schools program is to improve safety and mobility for children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. Funding from this program is for projects within two miles of primary and middle schools (K-8) and will be targeted to address all of the following:
- Engineering and infrastructure improvements
- Education and encouragement activities
Learn more about the Safe Routes to Schools program online: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/localprograms/saferoutes/
Superintendent Miller encourages community members to take facilities improvement survey
Walla Walla Public School will conduct its Educate, Listen and Plan facility improvement effort over the next two months to further advance this process. A community survey is now posted on the district website: www.wwps.org to provide input to the district.
Per the Educate, Listen and Plan initiative, Superintendent Mick Miller will be educating staff, students and community members on past district facilities studies. He will be listening to their thoughts and ideas on these issues and will then be working in collaboration to develop facility improvement plans based on this process.
Miller says it is vital to get the right plan in place before taking anything to the voters. Miller says good plans begin with a lot of listening. Thanks for all your input as we continue the exciting process of addressing our facility needs to provide 21st century learning environments for our staff and students.
To schedule a meeting to further discuss this process or to share your thoughts on these issues, contact Superintendent Mick Miller.
Thompson visits Sharpstein 5th graders to discuss bullying
Thursday Local insurance agent and Bullying Prevention Specialist Mark Thompson met with all 5th grade students at Sharpstein Elementary School to discuss bullying and the negative impact this behavior has in school. Thompson spent 40 minutes with each class. He taught bystander techniques and what to do if they are bullied. He also asked students to talk about how it feels to get bullied.
Thompson finished the session by surveying students on what they see in school, where bullying occurs, how often and what they do about it. According to Thompson, the sessions were positive.
“The kids really took this seriously and were great participants,” Thompson said. “The staff at Sharpstein are also working hard at preventing and correcting bullying behavior.”
Superintendent Miller talks schools with Grandmothers’ Roundtable
Thursday morning Superintendent Mick Miller met with members of the Grandmothers’ Roundtable at Shirley Muse’s home. The visit is part of a community outreach program Miller has initiated to network with the community. Miller reported the district is approximately 140 FTE students above budget projections and remains fiscally sound despite the difficult economic times.
He said this year the district is focusing on improving customer service and building positive relationships with staff, students, parents and community members. He says relationships are the key to a successful organization.
Miller also discussed facilities improvement issues as part of his Educate, Listen and Plan initiative focusing on improvement needs at Walla Walla and Lincoln High Schools. Grandmothers’ Roundtable member Sarita McCaw was impressed with what she saw and heard.
“He’s articulate, a good listener and he has a positive vision for the future,” McCaw said. “This visit demonstrates he wants to get to know the community and hear what people are thinking. He was able to share what is possible in the schools if we all work together.”
Stubblefield Trust donates to Blue Ridge Playground of Dreams
The Stubblefield Trust recently made a $2500 donation to the Friends of the Blue Ridge Playground Project to help fund the school’s Playground of Dream project. The equipment has been ordered and will be installed this spring. Thanks to local attorney and Graduate of Distinction Jim Hayner for serving as the executor of the trust and overseeing the transfer of payment.
Nationally renowned rodeo clown to teach bullying prevention at Camp Fire After School camps
Nationally renowned rodeo clown and former middle school teacher JJ Harrison will present anti-bullying materials to students participating in the Camp Fire USA After School Camps in Walla Walla. Harrison will have Walla Walla Community College rodeo team members and their coach with him to help implement a fun and innovative curriculum.
JJ Harrison will be featured at the After School Camps January 10-31. Sessions will be held Monday through Friday from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. For more information, contact Camp Fire Executive Director Karen Wolf at 525-3180.
2011 Board Ongoing Committee Assignments
- Safe Schools
- Career/Technical Education
- Classified Negotiations (with Cindy Meyer)
- Head Start Policy Council
- Community Facilities Task Force
- Extracurricular Supervisors Negotiations
- Administrative Negotiations
- School-Based Health Center
- Curriculum Advisory and Instructional Materials
- Certificated Negotiations (with Jim Lehmann)
- Legislative Representative
- District Calendar (back up)
- WIAA Liaison
- Certificated Negotiations (with Anne Golden)
- District Calendar
- Explorer Advisory Committee
- Parent Advisory
- Classified Negotiations (with Max Carrera)
- Citizens for Schools liaison
Pioneer Middle Schools take action to give back to community
Students and staff at Pioneer Middle School continue to model a belief in giving back to their community. This school year they have participated in several successful charitable activities. Thanks for all your support and effort.
- 4,500 lbs of food donated: Pioneer Food Bowl vs. Garrison, Dan Calzaretta’s class, school food drive
- $627 in cash donated to the food bank: Penny drive and staff contributions
- $212 donated to the Christian Aid center: Student and staff donations
- Peer Tutors: These are students who volunteer their lunch time. They have donated more than 100 hours of service to help other students.
Holiday Food Drive brings in 10,000 pounds
This year’s Holiday Food Drive netted more than 10,000 pounds of food for the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. Gail McGee, who manages the food bank, said this donation makes a big difference for area families.
“As a community we are all working together to alleviate the hidden problem of hunger,” McGee said. “It is a problem you can’t see, but it is here in Walla Walla.”
Walla Walla High School JROTC “Cadet of the Month” earns on-the-spot promotion
The Walla Walla High School JROTC “Blue Devils” Cadet Battalion has selected its “Cadet of the Month” for December 2010 and rewarded her achievement with an immediate promotion.
Cadet Cpl. Angela Romo, an 18-year-old senior, was promoted to this new rank after she won the top spot with a total score of 311 points, according to the presiding official on the board. The top Cadet was selected from two candidates who were inspected and examined in oral interviews by a board of four advanced Cadets, according to Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, Senior Army Instructor for the Walla Walla High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
Romo said that she joined JROTC because she thought it would be a good experience and it would get her ready for serving in the Army. She plans to pursue a career in the Army after graduating high school. She enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends, and coming up with funny stories.
“Her strongest competitive category was her extremely well put together uniform,” said Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Seth Thomas. “This Cadet of the Month was a close match, since both of the Cadets’ performances were outstanding.. Runner up was Cadet Pvt. Sara Beko, a 14-year-old freshman, whose strongest suit was her confidence. She came in a close second with 253 points.
“After the board tallied the points and the winner was clear, we held a ceremony to promote the winning Cadet one rank higher, to recognize her for her hard work and personal success,” said Bialozor.
Wa-Hi JROTC Cadets participate in the program to develop leadership skills and to strive to be better citizens in society. Many Cadets compete with drill, marksmanship, and physical training teams as well as attend the class. These Cadets get to travel to and compete in drill meets at 16 other schools in the Cascade Division that include Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy Cadet programs.
Blue Mountain Community Foundation scholarships available
Blue Mountain Community Foundation scholarship applications are currently available for students seeking financial aid for the 2011-2012 school year.
One application form will qualify applicants for consideration for a variety of scholarships. While most awards are for need-based aid to graduates of Walla Walla County high schools or individuals who have resided in Walla Walla County for at least three years, there are additional scholarships available to students in Columbia and Garfield Counties and northern Umatilla County. For full details and to download an application, visit www.bluemountainfoundation.org or call the Foundation office at (509) 529-4371. The deadline for consideration is March 1, 2011.
Since its inception in 1984, the Blue Mountain Community Foundation has enhanced and improved the quality of life in Southeastern Washington through the annual award of scholarships to individuals and grants to local nonprofit organizations.
Classroom Close-Up features Garrison Math teacher
This week Jami Eggart 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 Eggart is now playing on regional stations.