Walla Walla Sch. Dist.
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Slight change to school hours to save district $400,000 annually in transportation costs (Photo) - 03/20/19

WALLA WALLA - Following weeks of study and input, school board members unanimously approved the Transportation/School Time Efficiency proposal which will save more than $400,000 a year in transportation costs by adjusting and aligning school start times. All elementary schools will start at approximately 7:50 to 8 a.m. as will 1st period at Wa-Hi. Middle Schools and 2nd period Wa-Hi will begin at 8:50 a.m.

Superintendent Wade Smith conducted a Communication and Engagement Plan over the past several weeks to elicit feedback. He met with staff to discuss the proposal. The district also sent home a fact sheet to parents and created a webpage on the district's site which housed a public survey. Superintendent Smith reviewed data from the study which included nearly 1000 completed surveys.

“There was overwhelming support for the proposal to adjust school hours slightly to enhance transportation efficiencies,” said Smith. “People understand funding is tight in today's post-McCleary public schools environment and were willing to make a minor change to further stretch our precious resources.”

Transportation Director John Griffith will begin developing new bus routes and have them completed by June. The new school start and stop times will be in place to start the 2019-20 school year.


Attached Media Files: Wade_Smith.jpg
Garrison Middle School principal position open; Elizondo named Touchet Superintendent - 03/20/19

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla Public Schools announces an opening for principal of Garrison Middle School. Current Principal Robert Elizondo has accepted Touchet School District’s superintendent position and is resigning his position at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year. Elizondo has been principal at Garrison Middle School since the 2013-2014 school year.

The Middle School Principal serves as the instructional and cultural leader of the school. This individual is responsible for carrying out the district’s mission at the school level, ensuring all students receive high quality instruction in an aligned and coherent system while addressing their social and emotional needs in a safe and engaging environment. Visit the district website for more information about applying for this position. The position closes April 9. The new principal will start July 1.




Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: March 19, 2019 - 03/15/19

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1001835

Preliminary schematic designs for new Walla Walla High School science building released (Photo) - 03/14/19

WALLA WALLA – Preliminary schematic designs released today for the new Walla Walla High School science building provide a sneak  peak  to the significant facility improvements that are right around the corner for students and faculty. Approved by voters in the November 2018 bond program, the new science building will feature eight, 1400 sq. ft, lab classrooms fully equipped to support all disciplines of science offered at Walla Walla High School. The new science building design conforms to best practice recommendations for laboratory sciences, allotting nearly 50 sq. ft, per student, with state of the art amenities and fully equipped lab spaces.

“This is a major milestone for the school district following months of research, including site visits to various high school campuses,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “Since the bond passed in November, we’ve conducted multiple meetings with science faculty, architects and consultants to develop these proposed plans.”

New Science Project Summary Facts:

  • Groundbreaking - Fall 2019 / Project Completion - Summer 2020
  • 18,000 sq. ft, facility includes:
    • 8 identical fully-functional laboratory classrooms
    • 1 general education science classroom
    • 4 science prep rooms
    • Flexible seating and classroom arrangements to accommodate the various disciplines and teacher preferences
    • Student lobby
    • Fully ADA accessible site
    • Built-in display casework
    • Architecture to match existing campus
    • Energy efficient heating/cooling systems
    • 10 foot ceiling height
    • Natural light considerations

“Our students will have the modern learning spaces they need to gain the skills necessary to meet state graduation standards and post high school requirements,” said Smith. “We heard loud and clear from our community science education is a priority, and we have developed a facility to deliver on this promise.”

More online: http://www.wwps.org/bond/projects/walla-walla-high-school-renovation/new-science-addition


Attached Media Files: WaHi_Science_Bldg_rendering.jpg
Berney Elementary roofing and HVAC project released for public bid (Photo) - 03/13/19

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Public Schools reached a major milestone following its successful November 2018 bond election by releasing the first major project for public bid for infrastructure improvements at Berney Elementary. The $3.5 million project includes a heating and cooling system upgrade and new roof, replacing the aged 41-year-old systems. Construction will begin this summer. Bids are due back to the school district April 2.

“This is the first of several projects slated for this summer to be released for public bid in the coming weeks,” said Superintendent Wade Smith. “Once we determine the successful contractor, we will be finalizing construction schedules and working closely with staff and parents to coordinate and communicate proactive safety measures.”

Considerable time and effort was put into the bid package, instructions, and detailed scope of work to ensure that the district communicated their level of expected craftsmanship. In addition, a third party commissioning agent and roof consultant has also been involved to ensure the district maximizes roof longevity and heating/cooling efficiencies.

According to Smith, "we spent considerable time investigating roofing and HVAC systems to maximize our community's investment in Berney. We were able to stretch the current roof and HVAC system out for four decades and are striving to reach that same level of longevity with these improvements as well." 


Attached Media Files: Berney.jpg
Pioneer Middle School teachers tour regional schools as part of bond planning process (Photo) - 03/11/19

WALLA WALLA - Friday, March 8, Pioneer Middle School staff serving on the Educational Specifications Bond Construction Planning Team toured Armand Larive Middle School (Hermiston) and Chinook Middle School (Kennewick) to review current educational designs and best practices. Representatives from Architects West and Wenaha Group construction management firm also participated. These tours were an opportunity to generate ideas and begin a discussion about potential design decisions for the Pioneer Middle School remodel. Construction on the Pioneer Middle School remodel project is expected to begin Fall 2020.


Attached Media Files: Pioneer_teachers_tour.jpg
Casey named interim principal at Prospect Point Elementary for 2019-2020 (Photo) - 03/08/19

WALLA WALLA – Superintendent Wade Smith announced Barb Casey will serve as Interim Principal at Prospect Point Elementary for the 2019-2020 school year. Current Principal Dana Chandler has resigned her position effective at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year. Casey currently serves as the district’s Lead Behavior Specialist. She will take a leave of absence from this position next school year. Casey begins her new duties at Prospect Point beginning July 1, 2019.   

“With the School Board's decision to review and study elementary configuration, alignment, and early learning expansion over the next eight months, the district felt it best to seek an interim principal for next year until a final decision is made and a permanent replacement can be made,” said Superintendent Smith. “We’re excited for Barb to take on this leadership role at Prospect Point. She is well versed in our strategic plan initiatives and efforts and will be able to hit the ground running as we enter year three of our five year plan focusing on improved outcomes for students.”

Casey has been employed by Walla Walla Public Schools for 11 years. She was a special education teacher before assuming her current leadership duties in 2015. Casey began her career in education in the Puyallup School District as a special education teacher. She received a Bachelors of Education from Gonzaga University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Washington, Tacoma. Casey obtained her administrative certificate from Gonzaga University. Casey’s husband, Brian, is a science teacher at Garrison Middle School. They have three children, two who are currently attending Walla Walla Public Schools.

“I feel very fortunate to return to Prospect Point,” said Casey who served as a special education teacher at Prospect Point for three years. “My leadership journey began while I was teaching at Prospect Point and I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead learning along-side the staff, students and families of our school community.”


Attached Media Files: Barb_Casey_media.jpg
Wa-Hi JROTC to host 15-school Cascade League Championship drill, physical fitness, marksmanship meet March 9 - 03/06/19

Walla Walla, Wash., (March 6, 2019) – Cadets of the Walla Walla High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps will host peers from 15 schools at the Cascade League championship drill, physical fitness, and rifle marksmanship meet here Saturday, March 9.

"This event will include JROTC programs from all four military branches," said Lt. Col. Bill Bialozor, Senior Army Instructor. "We'll have eight Army programs competing, three each from the Navy and Air Force, and one Marine Corps team."

Teams will arrive at Walla Walla High School on Friday evening and depart Sunday morning. All competitive events will begin at 8 a.m. The schedule of events will be:

Color Guard Teams: 8-9 a.m.

Unarmed Drill Teams: 9-10 a.m.

Armed Drill Teams: 10-11 a.m.

Exhibition Drill: 12 noon-1 p.m.

Marksmanship Teams will have sporter and precision relays on the range at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 noon, and the finals will begin at 3 p.m.

Physical fitness teams will also begin at 8 a.m. and continue until complete.


The awards ceremony will begin after all scores have been tallied and verified, at around 3:30 p.m.


Participating schools and their service branch programs are:


School                                    Hometown           Program Service Branch

Redmond High School              Redmond, OR        Marine

La Pine High School                 La Pine, OR            Navy

Medical Lake High School         Medical Lake, WA    Navy

Mountain View High School      Bend, OR                Navy

Kennewick High School,           Kennewick, WA       Air Force

McNary High School                 Kaizer, OR              Air Force

Rogers High School                 Spokane, OR           Air Force

East Valley High School           Yakima, WA            Army

Lebanon High School              Lebanon, OR           Army

Madras High School                Madras, OR             Army

North Salem High School         Salem, OR               Army

Sunnyside High School            Sunnyside, OR          Army

Walla Walla High School          Walla Walla, WA       Army

Wellpinit High School              Wellpinit, WA           Army


This event is open to the public and there is no admission fee. Several food truck vendors will be on location throughout the day for the convenience of participants, competitors, and visitors. Print and broadcast media are welcome and Walla Walla High School JROTC will have assistants available throughout the day, if desired. Attending media will have access to cadets, coaches and guests for images and interviews.

Team competitions for this league championship meet will include:

Color Guard - The color guard is a four-person team composed of two rifle bearers and two flag bearers.  Each school is allowed to enter two color guards.  Color guard #1 is usually members taken from the armed drill team and color guard #2 members are usually taken from the unarmed drill team. The team is graded execution and sequence of commands, dress, weapon and flag alignment and unity.


Unarmed Drill Team - Each unarmed team goes through an inspection testing their military knowledge, bearing and appearance before moving on to a regulation drill that is the same for every school.   The last portion of their performance is an exhibition drill that is unique to each school.  The team is graded on execution and sequence of commands, bearing, cadence, precision and unity.


Armed Drill Team - The armed drill teams go through the same events as the unarmed drill team, performing with demilitarized rifles or replicas.  During their inspection the team is graded on military knowledge, weapon knowledge, bearing and appearance.  Regulation and exhibition performances are graded by execution and sequence of commands, precision, bearing, cadence and unity.


Physical Fitness Team - Physical fitness teams are five-person teams with at least two males and two females.  Each school is allowed to enter two teams into the competition.  Cadets are judged on the amount of pushups completed in two minutes, sit ups done in two minutes and their mile time.  Individual scores are added together for the team score.


Rifle Team - There are individual marksmen in various categories ranging from sharpshooter to precision. They fire single-shot, air rifles that discharge .177 caliber pellets, powered by compressed air.  Each shooter has two target sheets of ten to shoot in three positions:  prone, kneeling and offhand.  Schools are allowed to enter two four-person teams and are scored by compiling the individual scores of four shooters into one for a team score.  The categories for the teams are sporter and precision.


Individual Armed Exhibition Drill (demilitarized or replica rifles):

- Singles A solo performed by an individual with a rifle.  The individual performs a short regulation drill and then their own exhibition drill.  The judges grade on execution and sequence of commands, precision and bearing.

- Duals  A drill performed by a pair of cadets with rifles.  The two individuals perform a short regulation drill and then their own exhibition drill.  They are usually performing simultaneously with the individual armed exhibition cadet.  The judges grade on execution and sequence of commands, precision, unity and bearing.


# # #


Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Study Meeting: March 5, 2019 - 03/01/19

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1001835

District considers slight adjustment to school hours to trim transportation costs (Photo) - 02/27/19

WALLA WALLA -  Walla Walla Public Schools is considering a moderate change to school starting times next fall to improve efficiencies, coordinate school start/end times across many campuses, increase transportation services and access for students/families, and better align with district programs, community partners, and parent/family schedules. 

Under the proposal, which is being studied by the district, elementary schools would shift start times ahead slightly, Walla Walla High School would move start times back marginally, and middle schools would be adjusted to better align with the high school student day. Ending times would also be adjusted accordingly.  

Any proposed changes, if approved, wouldn’t take effect until school begins in fall, 2019.

Provide Feedback
•    Please complete our survey to provide feedback regarding this proposal by visiting: www.wwps.org 

Some of the identified benefits to this proposal include:
•    Proposed efficiencies would result in annual estimated savings of over $400,000 in fleet and fuel consumption costs, helping close a $350,000 annual operating deficit currently being backfilled with general fund education dollars
•    Overall operational savings would allow the district to reduce travel costs assessed to field trips, clubs, and athletic programs
•    Cost savings permit the district the ability to provide an after-school activity bus for many students participating in after-school clubs/athletics 
•    Adjustments will likely reduce current student bus travel times due to more efficient routing

At the Elementary Level
•    Proposed start time better aligns with most parent/family work schedules 
•    Provides consistent start/end times across all campuses, including coordination with after school activities and community partners 
•    Addresses many transportation complaints and harassment concerns by separating middle school and elementary school bus riders
•    Improves busing efficiency and opportunities for elementary students, including transportation to and from the middle schools for elective opportunities (e.g. orchestra)

At the Middle School Level
•    Improves busing efficiency and ridership opportunities for middle school students
•    Maintains morning parent drop-off time for students, consistent with many parent/family work schedules
•    Better aligns with before-school 21st Century Programming (currently have to start as early as 6:30 a.m. could now start closer to 7 a.m.)
•    Permits middle school staff greater time to drop off their elementary-aged student before the start of their work day

At the Middle School Level (continued)
•    Provides transportation opportunities for future zero-period and before-school activities that occur
•    Provides increased student and parent access to staff before the start of school
•    Supports enhanced first-period access to advanced high school coursework/electives for select honors students
•    Allows the financial viability to provide an after-school activity bus for students participating in after-school activities
•    Middle and high school start/release times are aligned to support sibling supervision opportunities for families

At Walla Walla High School
•    20 minute shift results in minimal impact to students/families and after-school activities 
•    Improves busing efficiency and ridership opportunities for high school students
•    Allows students full-route bus access for both 1st and 2nd period start options as well as 6th and 7th period drop off needs
•    Allows the financial viability to provide an after-school activity bus for students participating in after-school activities

Elementary and middle school after-school events and activities are canceled today - 02/25/19

WALLA WALLA - Feb. 25, 2019 – All Walla Walla Public Schools elementary and middle school after-school events and activities are canceled today due to inclement weather. High school after-school activities and events remain on schedule.


Walla Walla Public Schools presents Bilingual Kindergarten Informational Nights - 02/21/19

WALLA WALLA - The WWPS Bilingual Education Department invites parents of incoming Kindergarteners, who are interested in the Dual Language Program, to attend one of three informational nights. At these informational nights, district representatives will explain the application process and share the benefits of being in a dual language program, which include:

  • The ability to develop the highest level of proficiency in a second language is greater if you start at an early age.
  • Research shows that, Dual students typically outperform English-only students in the classroom, by the end of their elementary years.
  • Students develop proficiency in both languages and have increased cultural awareness. The ability to interpret cross-cultural interactions is crucial in today’s world.
  • Students benefit from the ability to communicate with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Bilingual Kindergarten Informational Nights:

  • Tuesday, February 26 – Edison Elementary School @ 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 28 – Green Park Elementary School @ 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 5 – Blue Ridge Elementary School @ 6 p.m.