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WaHi_grand_piano.jpg
WaHi_grand_piano.jpg
Music Boosters donate grand piano to Walla Walla High School (Photo) - 08/05/22

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla Public Schools Music Coordinator Roger Garcia was all smiles this week as a Steinway B grand piano was delivered to the Walla Walla High School Performing Arts Auditorium thanks to a generous donation from the Music Boosters. The $24,000 used piano was purchased from a church in Salem, OR following nearly two decades of fruit sale fundraising by the Music Boosters.

“I am beyond thrilled as this has been one of my major goals since taking the position 16 years ago,” said Garcia. “The piano has a beautiful walnut finish and is in excellent condition.”

Garcia says the Steinway will be housed in a special cabinet on the stage of the auditorium for the Wa-Hi Choir and other performances. The school’s current Yamaha Baby Grand will be moved from the auditorium to the choir room of the new bond-funded Music Building for rehearsals and practice sessions.  

A local piano tuner is scheduled to come to Wa-Hi to service the piano later this month. The piano broker who secured the purchase will come back in two months to make sure it is working properly.

“This is a significant improvement for our program and I can’t wait for the students to see it on the first day of school,” said Garcia. “This piano will sound so much better and enhance the experience of our music students. We can’t thank the Music Boosters enough for this amazing gift.”


PHOTO - Piano broker Matt Hirschfelder delivers the Steinway B grand piano to the Walla Walla High School Performing Arts Auditorium.

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Attached Media Files: WaHi_grand_piano.jpg
Brent_Cummings.jpg
Brent_Cummings.jpg
Cummings named to lead Walla Walla Center for Children & Families (Photo) - 08/05/22

WALLA WALLA – Current Director of Accelerated Learning and Support Brent Cummings has been named the Director of Walla Walla Center for Children & Families following an extensive selection process. Cummings replaces Samantha Bowen who recently accepted the statewide Executive Director of Early Learning for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Walla Walla Center for Children & Families provides early learning services for youth and parents as a coordinated and comprehensive community learning hub located in the former Blue Ridge Elementary School. Programs include four-year-old kindergarten (Transitional Kindergarten), Head Start, ECEAP and a host of community and agency partners. Established in 2019, the center represents a decades-long community quest to help ensure all children enter kindergarten socially, emotionally and academically prepared.    

"I am deeply honored and excited to continue to serve Walla Walla students and families in this leadership role,” said Cummings. “The opportunity to work with our youngest learners and their families is a special calling. Through the dedicated work of our tremendous teachers, educators, building staff and community partners, we will continue to expand upon the significant academic and social wellbeing foundations already established at the Walla Walla Center for Children & Families."

Due to his extensive grant management experience and program development skill set, Cummings was tapped two years ago to oversee the coordination and delivery of the district’s extensive federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund dollars to help address the impact of COVID on students. The district’s Summer SOL program, afterschool initiatives, and development of community partners such as Communities in Schools, are just a few of Cummings’ most recent accomplishments.  Prior to his current position, he served as the district’s Director of 21st Century Afterschool Programs for eight years.

Cummings holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana where he also earned All-Academic Honors while playing on the men’s basketball team. Cummings and his wife Audra, a Walla Walla High School graduate and former district teacher, have four young children.

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Attached Media Files: Brent_Cummings.jpg
Walla Walla Public Schools Bond Oversight Committee Meeting: August 4, 2022 - 08/02/22

In accordance with their duties to review the 2018 Bond program, a meeting of the WWPS Bond Oversight Committee will be held on Thursday, August 4, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. at the Wenaha Trailer along Fern St, on the Walla Walla High School Project Site, 800 Abbott Rd, Walla Walla.

Details are available via the following link:  http://www.wwps.org/bond/bond-oversight-committee

Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Special Meeting/School Board Retreat: August 3, 2022 - 08/02/22

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

Wade_Smith.jpg
Wade_Smith.jpg
Student Performance Reaches all-time High on Annual iReady Assessment (Photo) - 07/25/22

WALLA WALLA - Since 2018-19, WWPS has partnered with Curriculum Associates to implement annual diagnostic assessments in both reading and math for all students in grades K-8. This instrument provides teachers and administrators valuable data on a student-by-student basis as it relates to the district’s efforts to ensure high outcomes for all students. 

Additionally it provides parents an important insight into their child’s progress as well as an added layer of accountability and benchmarking, allowing the district to analyze year-to-year improvements and compare local results to nationwide data. 

Last night district officials presented their annual end-of-year data from the 2021-22 school year. Results revealed sound learning growth over the course of the school year in addition to the strongest performance standing the district has achieved since implementing the diagnostic exams four years ago. 

When the tool was implemented districtwide for all K-8 students in 2018-19, WWPS performed below the national average in all but 2 grades in reading and all but one grade with respect to mathematics. Fast forward to this year, WWPS students are now on par or outperforming the nation at nearly every grade for both subjects. Over the course of last year the district experienced strong growth across most grade spans, the most notable at the elementary level. For example, in kindergarten, only 22% of incoming students were deemed proficient at the start of the school year. By the end, 80% of all kindergarteners were reading at grade level by the spring. 

As district officials presented data comparing performance from spring 2019 (prior to the pandemic) to spring 2022, they highlighted significant improvement. “Despite our students having experienced academic disruption to their learning as a result of the pandemic, students this spring outperformed their pre-pandemic peers in nearly every grade for both reading and math,” notes Dr. Smith. “This is a remarkable accomplishment and a credit to our staff, students and families for their perseverance and hard work supporting children during school closures.”

While the district results were the strongest on record, officials still pointed to the need for additional improvement. As with their nationwide counterparts, middle school performance still lags in comparison to elementary results and disproportionate outcomes still exist when analyzing subgroup performance as it relates to ethnicity, poverty and students with disabilities.

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Attached Media Files: Wade_Smith.jpg
Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: July 19, 2022 - 07/15/22

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