Walla Walla Sch. Dist.
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District waives middle school sports and activities fees to increase participation - 06/23/17

WALLA WALLA - The district took a bold step to increase student engagement in school activities by waiving all middle school sports and activities fees. The decision follows the recent adoption of a new strategic plan which calls for increased student participation and engagement as a strategy for improved student achievement and success. Last spring, school board members approved a focused spending plan which directed significant resources to support the new Strategic Plan goals centered on high quality instruction, aligned and coherent systems, social and emotional well-being, safety and student engagement.

"We need to remove barriers to participation, especially for our students living in poverty," said Superintendent Wade Smith. "We believe student engagement in positive school activities leads to improved academic outcomes and enhances the overall school experience."


Local Law Enforcement leaders provide Campus Safety and Security Recommendations to Community Facilities Task Force - 06/21/17

WALLA WALLA - Superintendent Wade Smith briefed school board members on highlights of a recent district-wide safety and security review conducted by Sheriff John Turner and Chief of Police Scott Bieber. The study was commissioned by the Community Facilities Task Force, chaired by local businessman and Graduate of Distinction recipient Paul Schneidmiller. This local review supports a comprehensive safety audit the district conducted last spring. Sheriff Turner and Chief Bieber offered practical solutions to safety concerns including better signage, standardized visitor check-in systems, cameras, tinted glass, improved communications systems and staff training. Superintendent Smith said the report will be helpful as the Task Force proceeds.

"These recommendations include physical and non-physical improvements based on current open campus designs," said Smith. "The Facilities Task Force and its site-based committees are heeding this local guidance as they consider pragmatic physical improvements to campuses to ensure student, staff and visitor safety as they work towards capital recommendations for board and community input and feedback starting in late fall of 2017 in preparation for a potential November 2018 bond measure."

Task Force members will continue their work in July by studying bond financing options and continuing to look at design solutions.

Safety and Security Recommendations at a glance:
(complete report online: http://www.wwps.org/fp/facilities-planning-overview)
- Improved signage
- Ability for teachers to communicate quickly with office and support staff in case of an emergency
- Enhanced cameras
- Install tinted ("one way") safety glass when replacing aged Wa-Hi windows
- Establish district-wide visitor check in procedures
- Additional training for staff and students on prevention and detection
- Vestibule entrances when remodel or capital improvements are being considered

Task Force Membership
Paul Schneidmiller (Chair)
Tony Cabasco
Jim Dumont
Roger Esparza
Darcy Fugman-Small
Chris Garratt
Don Holbrook
Dean Lodmell
Linda Newcomb
Jim Peterson
Phil Shivell
Craig Sievertsen
Casey Waddell
Jerry Zahl
Keith Swanson
John Kiefel
Peter Swant
Randy Glaeser
Dick Moeller
Kara Schulke

Non-Voting Members
* Derek Sarley, School Board
* Ruth Ladderud, School Board
* Wade Smith Superintendent
* Mark Higgins, Communications Director

Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Special Meeting/School Board Retreat: June 21-22, 2017 - 06/20/17

Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Special Meeting/School Board Retreat: June 21-22, 2017

Supporting documents are available via the following link: http://www.wwps.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2705&Itemid=1028&jsmallfib=1&dir=JSROOT/agendas/2017/2017-06-21-22+BOARD+MEETING-SCHOOL+BOARD+RETREAT

Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Regular Board Meeting: June 20, 2017 - 06/16/17

Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Regular Board Meeting: June 20, 2017

Supporting documents are available via the following link: http://www.wwps.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2705&Itemid=1028&jsmallfib=1&dir=JSROOT/agendas/2017/2017-06-20+BOARD+MEETING

Ron Higgins named Interim Principal for Walla Walla High School (Photo) - 06/12/17

WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla Public Schools announced Pioneer Middle School Assistant Principal Ron Higgins has been named interim principal of Walla Walla High School for the 2017-2018 school year. Dr. Kenneth Renner-Singer and Justin Lieuallen interviewed for the position June 8 and were not selected after a comprehensive and inclusive staff and community process.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Walla Walla High School where I began both my teaching and my administrative careers," said Higgins. "My experiences at Wa-Hi over the years have been so great and influential in developing who I am as an educator and as a person. I consider myself blessed to have this opportunity to serve as interim principal of this amazing school, and to support its outstanding students, staff, parents, and the entire Blue Devil community."

Higgins has an extensive professional background at Walla Walla High School dating back to 1985 when he began his career as a math and computer science teacher. Most recently, Higgins has served as Assistant Principal at Pioneer Middle School since 2014. Prior, he served as an Assistant Principal at Walla Walla High School as well as the district's Director of Assessment and Technology. He holds a Master's of Educational Administration Degree from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Carroll College. Higgins is active in Junior Achievement, deeply involved in the Walla Walla community, and when not participating in school, church or local events, you may see him on the court as a referee for the Blue Mountain Officials Association.

"We are thrilled to have a leader of Ron Higgins' caliber step up and lead Walla Walla High School in this time of amazing opportunity and growth," said Superintendent Wade Smith. "His integrity, character and positive spirit are a perfect fit for Walla Walla High School as we strive to realize our vision of Developing Washington's Most Sought-After Graduates."

Higgins will remain at Pioneer Middle School in his current role through the end of the school year. Long-time Walla Walla High School science teacher, and current Walla Walla High School Administrative Intern, Rob Ahrens will serve as Interim Assistant Principal at Pioneer Middle School for the 2017-2018 school year.

The district will initiate a comprehensive search for Wa-Hi's permanent principal replacement next school year, with the intent of naming its finalist by early spring 2018 and assuming leadership on July 1, 2018.


Attached Media Files: Ron_Higgins.jpg , Rob_Ahrens.jpg
New Strategic Plan focuses on student success - 06/07/17

WALLA WALLA - Last night, School Board members finalized a year-long journey by approving the 2017-2022 long-range Strategic Plan. The new plan focus areas: High Quality Instruction; Aligned and Coherent Systems; Social and Emotional Needs and a Safe and Engaging Environment. Superintendent Wade Smith facilitated this inclusive process which involved multiple layers of dialogue with students, staff, parents and community members.

The Strategic Planning process resulted in new Vision, Mission and Belief statements for the school district as well as measurable goals and detailed initiatives to support today's learning needs. The new plan serves as a framework for focusing efforts, allocating resources, and prioritizing initiatives in the years to come.

"Our new Strategic Plan is a direct reflection and outcome of what we heard from staff, parents, students and community stakeholders over the past year during this extensive adoption process," said Superintendent Wade Smith. "Our time, energy and resources over the next five years will now be directly connected to these new goals and strategies in support of our vision of "Developing Washington's Most Sought-After Graduates."

Earlier this spring, the School Board authorized increased funding in curriculum, technology, safety, behavioral support, student engagement and Latino student and family outreach. The Board of Directors directed Superintendent Wade Smith to strategically spend down about 1% of the district's ending fund balance reserve to target programs, activities, and enhancements next school year and beyond. These strategic investments were a direct result of the feedback from staff, parents, students and stakeholders during the near-six-month listening campaign that helped inform the strategic direction and plan.

The Strategic Plan will utilize several success indicators to measure progress, monitor trends and guide decisions. Success Indicator examples include:
* Perception survey data
* Assessment results
* Graduation rates
* Postsecondary enrollment and remediation rates
* Healthy Youth data
* Absenteeism rates
* Student participation statistics in Extra and co-curricular and club activities

Strategic Plan Goal Summaries
Goal 1: Supporting a districtwide culture where all instructional staff reflect on their practice, collaborate with their peers, and incorporate best-practice teaching strategies to ensure high levels of learning for all students.

Goal 2: Ensuring articulated programs and systems to support a comprehensive, consistent, and responsive learning environment for all students.

Goal 3: Implementing high-quality behavioral models and interventions to support the social and emotional needs of all students.

Goal 4: Ensuring all students are engaged and connected to their school, peers, and community in a safe and secure educational setting.

Developing Washington's Most Sought-After Graduates

Walla Walla Public Schools ensures 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.

Belief Statement - We believe:
* in challenging and supporting all students
* quality instruction is critical to student success
* in investing in staff to ensure excellence
* in maximizing the impact of our resources
* in collaborative and transparent operation
* in the importance of family and community
* diversity is a strength

Link to adopted Strategic Plan:


Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Graduates of Distinction Reception & Regular Board Meeting: June 6, 2017 - 06/02/17

Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Graduates of Distinction Reception & Regular Board Meeting: June 6, 2017

Supporting documents are available via the following link: http://www.wwps.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2705&Itemid=1028&jsmallfib=1&dir=JSROOT/2017/2017-06-06+BOARD+MEETING

Finalists named for Walla Walla High School Principal position (Photo) - 06/01/17

WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla Public Schools announced Dr. Kenneth Renner-Singer and Justin Lieuallen have been named finalists for the Walla Walla High School Principal position following an extensive applicant screening process. Parents, staff and students are encouraged to meet candidates Wednesday, June 7 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. during public meet and greet sessions at the Walla Walla High School Library. Attendees are asked to complete candidate feedback cards and be present for both candidate sessions, starting at 4:00 and 4:45 p.m.

Dr. Kenneth Renner-Singer maintains 16 years in the field of public education. He began his career as a middle school teacher at Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla before assuming a principal role at Icicle River Middle School in Leavenworth, WA. During his five year middle school principal tenure, Icicle River earned the OSPI Distinguished School Award twice, was the Washington Achievement Award recipient three consecutive years, and achieved the Great School Award recognition from Washington State's Phi Delta Kappa. As a result of his leadership, Dr. Renner-Singer was awarded the Washington State Middle Level Principal of the Year Award in 2012. Following his middle school principal tenure, Dr. Renner-Singer was promoted to principal of Osborn Elementary while also serving on the Superintendent's cabinet team as Director for Cascade School District's Title 1/LAP Programs. During his impressive tenure he has lead the district's collective bargaining process, managed the design of a new $15M elementary school, fostered college-going initiatives through his leadership as College Access Coordinator, and received the North Central Washington Elementary Principal of the Year Award in 2014. Among his other skills, attributes, and experiences, Dr. Renner-Singer is heavily involved in community service, served as a legislative assistant to Congressman Earl Blumenaur prior to his educational career, and is a graduate of Whitman College.

Mr. Justin Lieuallen, a native to the Walla Walla Valley region, maintains 22 years in the education field. Before graduating with his Master's in Education at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR, Mr. Lieuallen served two years as a special education assistant. After receiving his teaching license he spent six years as a secondary science teacher and head wrestling coach at Westview High School, a large 6A-level high school in the Beaverton School District. After receiving his educational administrative degree from Lewis and Clark College, he spent 13 years as assistant principal at McNary High School, a 2,100 student school in the Salem Keizer School District. During his tenure, he was heavily involved in the AVID program, supported the English Language development programs, and highly involved in curriculum development and professional learning community work. Most recently, he assumed the principal role at Silverton High School, a 1,300 student high school near Salem, OR, helping lead STEM initiatives and initiating their first-ever Latino Club. As stated in his letter of application, "...my wife, kids and I look forward to the possibility of returning to the Walla Walla Valley to help the district achieve its vision of Developing Washington's Most Sought-after Graduates."

The successful candidate will replace current principal Pete Peterson who has been promoted to serve as Director of Assessment and Student Services after the resignation of current Director Kerri Coffman.

Wednesday, June 7 - Meet and Greet Sessions (Location: Walla Walla High School Library):
- 4 p.m. Candidate Justin Lieuallen
- 4:45 p.m. Candidate Dr. Kenneth Renner-Singer