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News Releases
Experienced school administrator accepts Facilities and Operations position (Photo) - 12/06/22

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla Public Schools announces Robert Foster has been named Director of Facilities and Operations. He will replace current director Mike Kay who is retiring. Foster is currently the Director of Support Services for the Lake Washington School District. He has held this position since 2019. Foster oversees Maintenance, Grounds, Transportation, Custodial and Warehouse Departments for the Lake Washington School District. Foster was also the Director of Support Services for the Northshore School District for six years where he also managed Capital Projects and the Maintenance, Grounds and Custodial Departments. 

"Director Kay has been a tremendous asset to our school district and community," notes Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "We are so fortunate to be able to hire someone with Foster's experience who can continue the excellent work that Mr. Kay has helped lead over the last six years."

Foster brings a wealth of experience in budget oversight, risk management, community engagement and labor relations. In his current role at Lake Washington School District he is responsible for the maintenance and operations of 57 schools and the management of more than 300 employees in his organization.

“I value the student/teacher relationship and gauge decisions through the lens of what is best for kids,” said Foster, who has more than 30 years experience in construction and maintenance. “My mission is to provide a safe, clean and well maintained environment for optimal student learning, which I accomplish through engaged support and direction of staff with clear expectations of our mission and goals.”

Foster’s references noted his skills in building and leveraging the power of teamwork by being a good listener and problem solver.

“I work diligently to engage with staff at all levels by visiting schools whenever possible to meet with staff and parents when questions arise,” said Foster. “This personal touch allows for active listening and relationship building.”

Foster will begin his tenure with Walla Walla Public Schools January 3, 2023.


Attached Media Files: Robert_Foster.jpg
Superintendent's Student Advisory Council provides critical input to Elevate leaders (Photo) - 12/02/22

WALLA WALLA - Today Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith and students from his Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council met with the Steering Committee from United Way of the Blue Mountains’ Elevate project to provide input and insight. Over a two-hour window, students shared stories, suggestions and unique perspectives, helping provide powerful context from the viewpoint of a youth navigating today's high school experience.  

Among many topics discussed, students’ reiterated the importance of career-connected learning, the high cost of college education, the need to better support students and families through post-secondary planning and access, and the significant impact mental health is having on youth today.    

“As former Superintendent Dr. Wolf always shared, we are preparing students for their futures and not our past,” notes Superintendent Smith. “It is critical that we promote student voice and agency every change we get so that we are focusing our efforts on the right solutions and strategies for the challenges they are actually facing.” Elevate leaders left the meeting with a profoundly better understanding of the obstacles children now face across our communities, in addition the remarkable young adults and future leaders we are developing.”

Elevate is a community partnership of diverse, cross-sector members working collaboratively to help strengthen the educational pipeline, from cradle through career.  The workgroup includes educators, students, government, business, parents and the community at large in its work.

To learn more about Elevate, you can visit their website here: https://www.uwbluemt.org/elevate



Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Special Meeting: November 29, 2022 - 11/28/22

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

Grant to provide additional supports for Walla Walla students this school year (Photo) - 11/16/22

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Public Schools will utilize a one-time, pandemic recovery federal grant to provide tutoring, expand volunteer programs and enhance afterschool learning opportunities for students this school year.

“Two years ago, Walla Walla Public Schools applied for and was awarded a $1.4M extended day/extended year grant,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This targeted grant must be used to support outside-of-day programming, with a deadline to allocate resources no later than the fall of next school year.”

In addition to offering vast summer school opportunities the last two years, Walla Walla Public Schools also utilized these funds to bring a 21st Century afterschool program to Berney Elementary to ensure all elementary sites maintained access. Pandemic recovery grant funds also allowed the district to implement targeted afterschool academic programs at the elementary level that started last spring. These new offerings listed below, scheduled to begin this school year, will continue to help students move beyond the pandemic.

“These new programs we are offering are based on staff and stakeholder input,” said Superintendent Smith. “We are thankful to the school board for prioritizing these funds to help us further support students, many of whom were significantly impacted by the pandemic. We look forward to the positive results these opportunities will have on improving student academic recovery, attendance and engagement.”

2022-2023 Grant Funded Learning Enhancements at a Glance:

• Grow and expand the successful afterschool academic interventions, specifically targeting reading and mathematics.
• Continue to supplement afterschool academic interventions with dedicated Social Emotional Learning support through our 21st Century programs.
• Expand community engagement and volunteerism in district elementary schools to help support staff and the individual and personal needs of students and families.

• Expand the Communities in Schools (CIS) case-management approach into extended day and outside-of-school-time contexts, where CIS personnel will target specific struggling students.
• Implement after-school tutoring and math/reading/skill intervention programs, similar to the elementary model.
• Provide free, on-demand (24/7) online tutoring services to all middle school students.
• Broaden volunteerism to support staff in order to foster increased student engagement and address issues of chronic absenteeism.

• Hire extended day/after hours Communities in Schools (CIS) personnel to provide extended day academic, SEL, and social-wellbeing supports for students and families through dedicated case management.
• Provide free, on-demand (24/7) online tutoring services to all high school students.
• Utilize a broad-based volunteer framework to provide additional academic resources and support, remove barriers and increase engagement, and to bolster student connectedness to community and the real-world.



Attached Media Files: Wade_Smith.jpg
Traffic Safety returns to Walla Walla Public Schools - 11/15/22

WALLA WALLA - District officials are pleased to announce that the Traffic Safety Program will be returning as a class offered at Walla Walla High School.  The semester long course will include Financial Education & Traffic Safety, and will fulfill a .5 general elective or occupational education credit.  This course will be available, at no cost, during the school year to any active student of Walla Walla Public Schools.  A condensed summer offering will also be available for students/families, with first priority given to WWPS students, but also available to non-district students for a fee.  

“We are so thankful that our School Board has stepped up to prioritize this critical opportunity for our students and their families,” states Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Parents and students alike have shared how important financial literacy and access to driver’s education is. This initiative is just one more example of our board leaning into the work of removing barriers for families and ensuring students graduate high school with the essential skills and knowledge for lifelong success.”  

The district anticipates the course will be offered both semesters, in addition to the summer option, on an ongoing basis. The course will be offered both Zero and 1st Period on the Walla Walla High School campus beginning second semester this school year.  During the first half of the semester, students will learn important financial education topics such as income, benefits, taxes and budgeting.  During the second half of the semester, students will complete the Traffic Safety portion of the course, which includes 30 hours of Traffic Safety Education, 6 hours of scheduled drives, 4 hours of observations, and 12 hours of home-driving practice. This experience will fulfill all of the state requirements necessary to schedule an official Department of Licensing drive test and earn a license.  

To be eligible to sign up for the course, students must be at least 15 years old and have obtained a learner’s permit from the DOL by April 10, when the Traffic Safety portion of the class begins.

Additional information about the program and registration for spring semester can be found here: https://www.wahibluedevils.org/c-p/courses/traffic-safety-and-financial-literacy

Families are encouraged to register for spring semester by Friday, December 16.


District welcomes Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation - 11/15/22

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Public Schools is proud to partner with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) for a special performance in Walla Walla Thursday, Nov. 17 to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. District 4th and 7th grade students will travel to Cordiner Hall on the campus of Whitman College to be part of this 10 to 11 a.m. event. This event will feature dancing, music and story telling. 

Walla Walla Public Schools is working with CTUIR to further enhance opportunities for students to explore the heritage, culture, and experience of Indigenous peoples both historically and in American life today.


Great photo/video opportunities

Interviews available


Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: November 15, 2022 - 11/11/22

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