Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - June 24, 2011

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Connie Taylor-Randall named new Homelink Principal
Principal on Special Assignment Connie Taylor-Randall has been named principal of the Homelink program. Homelink is a Parent Partnership Program housed at Berney Elementary which serves approximately 170 students in grades K-8. Homelink students can either attend classes on campus two days per week or complete their educational hours entirely at home with weekly meetings with their advisory teacher.

Taylor-Randall will be the half-time Homelink Principal. She will continue to serve as the district’s certified GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) instructor and the Families in Transition/Homeless Education Program Coordinator. Taylor-Randall will also assist in the transition of *Title I/LAP (Learning Assistance Program) to a new Grants Coordinator and will consult on Supplement Educational Services issues.

During her career, Taylor-Randall has served as:
- Principal at Blue Ridge Elementary School
- Principal on Special Assignment at the Central Office
- Learning Specialist at Blue Ridge Elementary
- Middle School Language Arts teacher at Pioneer Middle School
- Primary and intermediate teacher at Sharpstein and Blue Ridge Elementary
- District Communications Officer
- Assistant to the Athletic Director

“Homelink is an important program for the district and we are excited about the leadership skills Connie will bring to her new assignment,” Superintendent Mick Miller said.

* Title I/LAP: Title I is a federally-funded program established by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The Learning Assistance Program (LAP) is a state-funded program established by the Washington state legislature in 1979. The object of both programs is to accelerate the achievement of students performing below grade level by providing supplemental academic support.

New bullying prevention procedures and reporting form online
The district recently posted its new Bullying Prevention Procedures on the district website (www.wwps.org). The district’s new Bullying Prevention reporting form is also posted on the district website. This form makes it easy to document a bullying situation and report it to the proper district authorities. The district remains committed to ensuring a safe and civil school environment. Students and parents are asked to report any incident of bullying to school officials immediately.
District Office Summer Hours
- 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 4 p.m.
- 364 S. Park St.
- 509.527.3000

Community members and administrators weigh in on draft strategic plan
Walla Walla Public Schools held a public meeting Thursday to continue the strategic planning process with consultant Susan Newton of Development Strategies Plus.

School Board President Dr. Jim Lehmann opened the meeting by welcoming the group of nearly 20 people and thanking them for taking time to learn more about the district’s efforts to develop a new strategic plan. Superintendent Mick Miller explained to participants why a strategic plan is necessary for the school district. Newton reviewed the strategic planning process and reviewed data generated during the process. She then outlined the draft strategic plan overview and discussed it with the group. Newton shared the information with district administrators Tuesday morning.

See the draft strategic plan overview and data on the district website at: www.wwps.org - A to Z: S = Strategic Plan.

The district began work on a new strategic plan earlier this school year with a goal to have the finalized plan completed prior to the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

The strategic planning process started with a comprehensive data collection phase which included more than 220 survey responses, 50 one-on-one interviews with various stakeholders and four student focus group sessions at Walla Walla High School and Lincoln Alternative High School.

In May, the Board of Directors and members of Superintendent Mick Miller’s leadership team spent seven hours at the Port of Walla Walla Conference Room during a public work session reviewing the data, studying trends and beginning to frame goals for the plan. All school board members were present. The district will also rework its mission and vision statements as part of the strategic planning process.

Data suggests nearly 80 percent of the people believe the district is headed in the right direction and say Superintendent Mick Miller is off to a great start in his first year. The data suggests there is high regard for Miller’s outreach efforts and transparent communication style. The community would like to see the district better involve parents, students and community partners in the school system. Data calls for ensuring programs and educational choices are available to meet the needs of all students. There is a desire to maintain high standards for staff, balance state testing with other school activities and offerings, continue to provide a safe learning environment and communicate to all audiences.

For more information, contact Communications Director Mark Higgins: 509.526.6716 / email – mhiggins@wwps.org

Personnel Report (from June 21, 2011 school board meeting)
Employment - (Classified)
Alex Escalente, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School
Ashia Jordana, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge Head Start/ECEAP Preschool
Kate Keyes, Para-Educator, Sharpstein
Ericka Sayers, Para-Educator (temporary), Sharpstein
Sonia Soto, Para-Educator, Sharpstein
Sara Strickland, Library/Media Technician, Pioneer
Yasmin Torres, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge

(Certificated) Carlos Granados, 5th Grade, Edison, 1 year
(Classified) Kristen Coffeen, Para-Educator, Blue Ridge, 1 year

Leave of Absence
(Certificated) Margo Piver, Special Education, Walla Walla High School, 16 years
- Margo will be on a half-time leave of absence to serve as the new Walla Walla Valley Education Association President beginning with the 2011-2012 school year.

Blue Ridge continues to make academic gains
Blue Ridge Elementary Principal Kim Doepker reported to school board members Tuesday night how students continue to make academic gains since the district volunteered to implement a school improvement plan after being placed on the state’s lowest performing schools list in spring of 2010. Doepker credits the staff for embracing change and working as a team to improve. She thanked the school board and district administration for support.

This summer more than 200 students are involved in summer school. Blue Ridge kindergarten students will begin in early August to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Academic Gains
- 45 kindergarten students at or above grade level in reading (14 previously)

- Math scores soar (based on Aimsweb math computation assessments)

- 97% of kindergarten students reached or exceeded intermediate level - WLPT II (86% prior to dual language program)

- 68 out of 73 students in grades 3-5 passed WLPT II writing test (level 3 or 4)

(WLPT is the only assessment of reading, writing, speaking, and listening knowledge and skills used in Washington State for English language proficiency for English language learners)

Keys to Improvement
- Improved communication and professional development and collaboration sessions

- Platooning (students rotate to different teachers for core content subjects)

- Dual language program

- Math coach (Jeremy Hubbard)

District continues efforts to transform to a standards based grading model
This week more than 40 district educators and adminstrators received two days of professional development support from Dr. Karen Harvey as the district continues its journey of transforming to a standards based grading and reporting model. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Boggs is heading the effort for the school district.

This process will take several years to adopt, roll out and fully implement. The primary principle of a standards based grading and reporting model is to clearly communicate student achievement of targeted curricular outcomes.

Boggs stressed during the training session that this process to transform the district to a standards based grading and reporting model will be thoughtful, inclusive and transparent. She said open communication and vast input and dialog will be critical at every step of the process.

School board honors state softball champions
Players and coaches from Walla Walla High School’s softball team brought their state championship trophy to Tuesday’s school board meeting. Coach Jerry Humphreys praised the team for being the first in Wa-Hi and Big Nine history to win the state title.

The Walla Walla High School softball team defeated Marysville-Pilchuck 1-0 in the 4A championship game in Spokane this spring. The Blue Devils did not give up a single run in the state tournament. The team is expected to be strong again next year as all but three players are returning, including Big Nine, Tri-Cities Herald and Gatorade Player of the Year Alyson Ambler.

This week it was announced Ambler was named one of just 160 student-athletes from 107 high schools spanning 33 states to have earned the distinguished honor of being named to one of 10 Louisville Slugger/NFCA High School All-Region teams. Ambler has not lost a game as pitcher for the Blue Devils in her first three seasons with the team.

The team also placed near the top in academic achievement based on WIAA state ranking criteria.

Summer school programs and activities
Contact your attendance area school for a complete listing of summer school programs and activities.

“BDAD” - Blue Devil Athletic Development program June 28-August 4
- Improve Overall Athletic Ability for All Sports!
- For Boys and Girls Grades 5-12
- June 28 to August 4

Weekly Schedule (Monday - Thursday)
- Session 1: 8 - 9 a.m. (for incoming 9th-12th grade students)
- Session 2: 9-10 a.m. (for incoming 5th-8th grade students)
- Session 3: 10-11 a.m. (for incoming 9th-12th grade students)

Instructors: Eric Hisaw & Amy Hisaw

Location - Wa-Hi Weight Rm & Gym
Cost: $30 pre-registered or $35 at door
Note: Students will need a medical release and a parent permission form, which they can obtain at the Wa-Hi Athletic Office any time or at the door.

Information: Contact Eric Hisaw at 527-3020 or by e-mail at: ehisaw@wwps.org or Amy Hisaw at ahisaw@wwps.org