Walla Walla Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
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Tomas_Cortez.jpg
Scholarship award supports local bilingual staff pursuing teaching careers in education - 01/15/21

WALLA WALLA - This week the district’s Beca Maestro/a del Futuro Scholarship committee awarded five, $1,500 scholarships to bilingual district para-educators and other classified support staff interested in pursuing a teaching career in education. This program supports the district’s priority of increasing the number of bilingual teachers across its campuses.

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 Scholarship Recipients:

  • Armando Rubio, Paraeducator, Pioneer Middle School
  • Juan Faba Lopez, Paraeducator, Green Park Elementary
  • Tomas Cortez, Paraeducator, Edison Elementary
  • Ashley Cesena, Secretary, Garrison Middle School
  • Javier Hernandez, Intervention Specialist, Pioneer Middle School

This scholarship aims to assist current bilingual Walla Walla Public Schools classified staff who desire to become certificated employees in Walla Walla Public Schools. Up to five, $1,500 scholarships will be awarded per year and are renewable once.

“We wish nothing but the best for these talented staff as they pursue their dreams to become classroom teachers,” said Human Resources Director Liz Campeau. “We look forward to watching their progress and supporting them to begin teaching careers here in Walla Walla.”

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Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting & Executive Session: January 19, 2021 - 01/15/21

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997

Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Executive Session: January 19, 2021 - 01/15/21

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997

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Teachers approve in-person learning plan: District initiates comprehensive safety review & prepares for AM/PM Hybrid - 01/11/21

WALLA WALLA - On Jan. 8, teachers in Walla Walla Public Schools endorsed the transition to in-person learning and accompanying safety protocols and procedures. These plans are consistent with revised guidance and recommendations provided from state health officials late last month. According to the approved reentry Roadmap, reviewed by the School Board during their special meeting on Jan. 5, students in the district’s preschool and transitional kindergarten program will convert to in-person learning utilizing the AM/PM Hybrid Model on Tuesday, Jan. 19.  

Kindergarten through 5th grade students are set to transition to in-person AM/PM Hybrid learning on Monday, Jan. 25.  Additionally, students in self-contained Special Education programs, SEATech students, students in specific Career and Technical Education programs, and a select number of struggling middle and high school students will also be permitted onsite access as soon as the 19th. As articulated in the revised Roadmap, and consistent with state health authorities, the district will return middle and high school students to in-person learning once case counts reach state-recommended levels.

As noted by School Board President Derek Sarley last week, “We understand remote learning has been a challenge for families and students across the district. The good news is there is a significant amount of research showing we can offer safe in-person instruction as long as we are following all of the state guidelines. This is especially true if we start with our younger learners then gradually phase in the older students as we are able to keep kids safe in schools and as local conditions improve.”  

In preparation for on-site learning, the District has contracted with NV5/DADE MOELLER© to perform a comprehensive third party COVID Preparedness Review. The audit includes a review of facility and personnel practices against the latest CDC and WaDOH guidance on re-opening schools, to ensure campuses, HVAC modifications and COVID protocols are compliant with the latest standards. Additionally, it incorporates a review of physical areas, employee work arrangements and administrative controls to ensure necessary protocols are in place to minimize exposure to pathogens for staff and students. Stephen Bump, a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Health Professional from NV5, performed on-site inspections at each of the district’s elementary and preschool sites today as they prepare for students returning to in-person instruction over the coming weeks.

“This comprehensive third party audit ensures the district has fully reviewed and implemented all of the safety protocols and procedures recommended from state health officials and industry experts,” noted Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This serves as an additional layer of protection for all staff, students and parents and is a part of our continued commitment to keep students and staff safe.”

Over the coming days, significant communication to parents will take place. Families are encouraged to check their phones messages, mailboxes and email as buildings, programs and staff begin outreach and coordination related to the transition and learning options available to students and families. Additionally, district officials encourage stakeholders to review their comprehensive COVID Safety and Preparedness Protocols by visiting the district’s website (www.wwps.org).      

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School board targets a return to school this month for its youngest learners and specific student groups - 01/06/21

WALLA WALLA – Based on updated guidance from state health officials, Walla Walla Public Schools’ Board of Directors and administration is working with staff to adjust its reopening plans, paving the way for preschool through 5th grade students to resume in-person learning later this month. The revisions align current district plans with new state health and safety guidelines released late last month from the State Department of Health and the Governor’s Office. 

The school board instructed Superintendent Smith and staff to implement safety, coordination and communication measures necessary to transition kindergarten through 5th grade students to in-person AM/PM hybrid learning on Monday, Jan. 25. Based on the board-reviewed framework, students in preschool and transitional kindergarten programs at the Walla Walla Center for Children & Families may begin in-person hybrid learning as soon as January 19. Under the state-aligned plan, students in self-contained Special Education programs, SEATech students and a limited number of high school students in Career and Technical Education and laboratory science programs will also be permitted to attend in-person lab sessions later this month. A select number of students in grades 6-12 who are struggling academically will also be served on campus for in-person distance learning with additional staff support. Consistent with new state guidance, the district will closely monitor local COVID cases as it eyes returning middle and high school students to in-person learning once case counts reach state-recommended levels. The district is also awaiting new guidance expected this week from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association regarding athletic practices and activities. 

“We understand remote learning has been a challenge for families and students across the district,” said School Board President Derek Sarley. “The good news is there is a significant amount of research showing we can offer safe in-person instruction as long as we are following all of the state guidelines. This is especially true if we start with our younger learners then gradually phase in the older students as we are able to keep kids safe in schools and as local conditions improve.”
   
According to state officials, numerous studies and research from credible sources like Harvard, MIT, Brown and other institutions have shown with a diligent focus on health and safety measures, it is possible to bring children back to the classroom safely while also protecting our students, staff and community from further transmission of COVID-19. 

“To leave no rock unturned, we have also contracted with a third party agency to perform a comprehensive COVID Preparedness Review of our plans, protocols and facilities,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This third party inspection, led by certified hygienists and licensed safety experts, will ensure we have thoroughly vetted and put into practice all of the latest CDC and WaDOH guidance, as we make safety our number one priority.”

Prospect Point Elementary Principal Barb Casey says she is excited to see students return to her campus. 

“I know I can speak for all of my principal colleagues as we are so excited to welcome students back into our buildings,” said Casey. “This pandemic has really highlighted the importance of having kids in our schools and we cannot wait to see those eyes light up as they join us again on campus.”

Superintendent Smith says the district remains committed to transparency and communication as the district begins returning to in-person learning. 

“It is critical to collaborate with staff, coordinate with departments and communicate with parents and students to ensure a safe and successful experience for all,” said Dr. Smith. “While there are still many things to work out as we prepare for this transition, trust we will work tirelessly to ensure it is successful.” 

Walla Walla Public Schools will announce additional updates as planning continues regarding next steps. Visit the district’s website (www.wwps.org) for more details on the Safely Reopening Schools plan. 

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Attached Media Files: Wade_Smith.jpg , Derek_Sarley.jpg
(canceled) WWPS Board of Directors Special Meeting/School Board Retreat: January 6, 2021 - 01/06/21

***This Special Board Meeting/School Board Retreat has been canceled and will be held at a later date yet to be determined.***

 

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997

Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Special Meeting: January 5, 2021 - 12/30/20

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997