Walla Walla Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: October 19, 2021 - 10/14/21

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997
Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information:  https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
 

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Wade_Smith.jpg
District seeks parent/guardian input through annual Educational Effectiveness Survey (Photo) - 10/11/21

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla Public Schools is teaming with the Center for Educational Effectiveness to administer the annual Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES). This anonymous survey tool is used annually to help the district better serve parents and students through its commitment of continuous improvement. The district will use the data to track progress towards its Strategic Plan goals and initiatives.

This week the district will begin administering the survey to parents. Parents are asked to complete a separate survey for each child's school using their own electronic devices. Paper copies are also available by request from the child’s school and have been mailed to homes. The survey, available in multiple languages, takes about 10 minutes to complete and is accessible online using the link sent to parents and guardians. The parent survey closes Friday, Oct. 29. Students and staff are also taking the Educational Effectiveness survey.

“This survey helps the school district get a full picture of how staff, families and students perceive their school and their place in it,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This year it is especially important to get this feedback as the district begins preparing for its next five year strategic plan.”

The district is also conducting their regular statistically reliable community telephone survey of Walla Walla citizens. This annual phone survey provides the school board input on how well they are doing in their governance and policy role. The district encourages community members to respond to the survey if they are one of the randomly selected telephone recipients.

The survey questions were developed by the Center for Educational Effectiveness, a Washington-based educational research firm, in collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State. This survey has been used with over 750,000 educational stakeholders in the Western U.S. and provides a powerful tool for district staff to benchmark current school perceptions with high-performing schools across the nation.
 

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Attached Media Files: Wade_Smith.jpg
Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Study Meeting & Executive Session: October 5, 2021 - 10/01/21

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997
Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information:  https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
 

WWPS Board of Directors Adjourned Regular Business Meeting & Executive Session of September 21, 2021: September 28, 2021 - 09/23/21

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997
Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information:  https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule

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Derek_Sarley.jpg
WWPS School Board to reconvene meeting virtually (Photo) - 09/22/21

Regular business meeting to continue Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 5:30 p.m.

WALLA WALLA, WA – SEP. 22, 2021 – The Walla Walla Public Schools board of directors will continue its September regular business meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021. Those wishing to attend the virtual meeting can find instructions at: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997

Tuesday night’s school board meeting was disrupted by an unknown individual who refused to comply with state-mandated health and safety requirements for in-person public meetings. The individual refused multiple offers of assistance from staff, refused the reasonable accommodation of the virtual meeting option, and refused to leave the premises when notified the meeting could not continue with their presence.

Officers from the Walla Walla Police Department were called for assistance. The responding officers dealt professionally with the individual to resolve the situation and were able to move them outside so that the meeting could begin.

Once outside, the individual claimed an exemption from the mandate and reentered the meeting. With a lack of clarity regarding the overlapping Washington state public health orders and governor’s proclamations, officials from WWPS and WWPD agreed to deescalate the situation by continuing the meeting virtually at another time, with proper public notification.

Attorneys for the city and school district have since confirmed there are no exemptions to the state-mandated health and safety requirements for in-person attendees. Public agencies offering an in-person meeting option are required to provide a reasonable accommodation for someone who cannot wear a mask. That accommodation is the remote, virtual option the district provides.

The following statement is issued by Derek Sarley, president of the board of directors of Walla Walla Public Schools:

The board and administration of Walla Walla Public Schools thanks the Walla Walla Police Department for its prompt and professional assistance at last night’s meeting. At a time of heightened tensions across society, law enforcement officers continually face difficult situations that require, in equal measure, firmness and tact, both of which were on display last night.

As in many other places, recent school board meetings in Walla Walla have attracted significantly more attendees and public comment than usual. The overwhelming majority of these individuals have conducted themselves in an exemplary and community-minded way. 

It is a shame that these Walla Walla citizens are losing their opportunity to speak in front of and hear from the board in an in-person setting, simply because of the actions of one other individual.

Some have asked why the board could not simply ignore the individual who refused to follow the state-mandated rules. Each day, the administrators, teachers, and staff in Walla Walla Public Schools are called upon to enforce the same rules for our students. Virtually all students have had no problem following these rules. However, adolescent rebelliousness and simple forgetfulness means some students occasionally need a gentle reminder or a sterner discussion.

The board takes seriously its responsibility to protect the health and safety of everyone who comes into our buildings each day. We cannot, with a straight face, call on staff to have those difficult conversations if we are not willing to do likewise. 

We know the last 18 months have been difficult for staff, students, and parents. We are excited to see students back in schools, learning in classrooms, running around playgrounds, and rejoining their extracurriculars. We thank the community for its support, and we will continue doing our best to navigate these occasionally challenging situations.

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Attached Media Files: Derek_Sarley.jpg
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WWPS Maintains Strong Credit Rating: Moody's Investor Service affirms district's strong Aa3 status (Photo) - 09/21/21

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla Public Schools has received good news from one of Wall Street’s top ratings agencies by joining only 216 districts across the nation to maintain a favorable credit rating in their recent review. Walla Walla Public Schools recently learned from Moody's Investors Service the district's strong rating of Aa3 has been maintained during their regular revaluation process. 

According to Moody’s rating scale, these ratings are indicators that the district is fiscally strong and has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. A strong Aa3 rating means the district is a very low credit risk, and continues to spell good news for local taxpayers if the district goes to sell bonds or refinance debt in the future. 

“This strong rating is a testament to our board’s leadership and sound fiscal oversight,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Moody’s recognizes our school board’s commitment to maintain sound fund balances, low long term debt ratios and modest fixed costs.”

Since Superintendent Smith’s hiring in 2016, the district passed the largest bond in school history, at $65.6M, which also qualified for over $50M in state match dollars. The district’s strong Aa3 credit rating at the time bonds were sold resulted in lower than anticipated bond tax rates for the community. Additionally, voters approved maintaining the replacement education levy at near record rates and student test scores and graduation rates have continued to trend upward. 

“The Moody’s rating is also a testament to Fiscal Services Director Nancy Taylor's leadership and financial oversight,” said Superintendent Smith.  “I could not be more proud to be the superintendent of a school district that believes in being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and remains committed to ensuring their investment results in higher academic outcomes and the preservation and improvement of our facilities.”

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