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21st Century program receives $1.8 million grant to expand elementary afterschool programs (Photo) - 10/17/17

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Public Schools received a $1.8 million federal five-year grant to provide 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs at Edison, Green Park and Sharpstein elementary schools. This new funding allows 300 additional students, 100 per elementary school, to participate in these high quality programs focused on improved student academic performance. The primary objective of the new grant is to raise English Language Arts and math skills. The grant also provides additional resources to develop social-emotional support, reduce discipline referrals through improved student behaviors and curb chronic absenteeism.

"With adoption of the new Strategic Plan, our afterschool program sites are poised to provide high quality instruction through the aligned and coherent systems established by our district," said 21st CCLC Director Brent Cummings. "Afterschool implementation of our newly adopted iReady curriculum and assessment, particularly at the younger grades, will provide the essential supplementary support our attendees need."

Walla Walla Public Schools now houses eight federal afterschool program sites, which includes the existing Blue Ridge, Garrison, Pioneer, Lincoln, and Wa-Hi programs. Annually, WWPS serves 800 total students through 21st CCLC afterschool programs. Cumming says integral to the success of the new grant are the four community partners: Community Resilience Initiative, Friends of Children of Walla Walla, Commitment to Community, and SOS Health Services.

"Each partner is a respected community leader and is a valuable asset to our students' academic success," Cummings said. "Community Resilience Initiative will help us build capacity and evaluate outcomes on a wider scale. Friends will connect us with an engaged and compassionate mentorship base. Commitment to Community will help us strengthen bonds with our school's families and local neighborhoods. SOS Health Services will provide essential after-hours wellness resources, including the free walk-in clinic, to support our students and their families."

21st Century Program Background:

21st CCLC programs support the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. These programs help students meet state and local standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offer students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and provide literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

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Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: October 17, 2017 - 10/13/17

Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: October 17, 2017

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

District seeks parent input through Educational Effectiveness Survey - 10/05/17

WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla Public Schools is seeking feedback from key stakeholder groups through the Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES) as an extension of the Board of Director's strategic planning process. This survey tool will be used annually going forward.

Next week the district will begin administering the survey to parents. Parents will have an opportunity to complete the survey using their own electronic devices. They may also take the survey when they arrive for conferences at their respective schools. Hard copies will also be available. A survey link is being posted on the Walla Walla Public Schools webpage -- www.wwps.org.

Later this month students and staff will receive the survey. In addition a community telephone survey is being conducted this fall to garner feedback about the quality of education offered in Walla Walla Public Schools. The district will use the data to track progress towards its goals and initiatives.

"This survey will provide our staff and leadership valuable information and feedback about our school environments from the perspective of current parents, students, staff and community members, including those who don't have children in our schools," said Superintendent Wade Smith. "We value your input and welcome your ideas as we strive for a world-class education for all students."

The survey is completely anonymous and available in both English and Spanish. 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.

Parent Survey Link - https://www.research.net/r/wwps-parent-2017

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Walla Walla Public Schools and United Way of Walla Walla Combine Forces to Create "Adopt-a-Blue Devil" Program - 09/29/17

WALLA WALLA - This year when United Way of Walla Walla reaches out for donations in support of its 2017-2018 Annual Fundraising Campaign, community members will have an opportunity to check the new Adopt-a-Blue Devil program box to help support students in financial need participate fully in school activities. This exciting new program is a collaboration between Walla Walla Public Schools and United Way of Walla Walla.

"Whether a student is lacking money to pay for a pair of cleats, rent a band instrument, purchase a graduation cap and gown, or pay dues to join a school club/activity, the newly-created Adopt-a-Blue Devil Program is here to help," said Superintendent Wade Smith. "One of our four strategic district goals involves engaging students in our academic, athletic, and co-curricular programs. Unfortunately, many of our students lack the financial resources nowadays to participate. This program will serve instrumental in ensuring that no willing student in Walla Walla is turned away due to their family's limited financial capacity."

The Adopt-a-Blue Devil concept took shape this fall when Superintendent Smith and Executive Director of United Way of Walla Walla Christy Lieuallen met to discuss collaborative efforts between their two entities. Smith shared with Lieuallen how impactful poverty levels have become in Walla Walla as nearly 60% of the district's students qualify for free and/or reduced lunch. This figure has jumped three times what it was 25 years ago. This school year the district lowered ASB fees and eliminated middle school pay to participate fees. Smith reports there are still significant costs related to other programming and student participation that limit involvement.

"Last school year the district's employee sponsored United Way campaign program generated $14,000 district-wide through payroll deduction," said Lieuallen. "We are hoping that this year, with the Adopt-a-Blue Devil Program and additional support from other outside entities, we will be able to double that amount."

All Walla Walla Public Schools payroll deductions for the Adopt-a-Blue Devil fund will be maintained and accounted for by United Way of Walla Walla. Requests to access the resources may be submitted by teachers, coaches, club advisors, and students. All funding requests will be reviewed and approved by Walla Walla school officials.

"We encourage staff to consider a $20 dollar per month pledge to give a Blue Devil or future Blue Devil (middle school student) a chance to prepare for college, learn new skills, stay engaged and make new friends without the worry of how their family will pay for it," states Lieuallen. "However, any contribution level will help to sponsor a Walla Walla Public Schools student in need."

Walla Walla Public Schools employees will receive an email with a link to the online payroll deduction form. Community members wishing to donate may visit the United Way of Walla Walla website: http://www.unitedwayww.org/

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Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Regular Study Meeting: October 3, 2017 - 09/29/17

Walla Walla School District Board of Directors Regular Study Meeting: October 3, 2017

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

Community Facilities Task Force releases survey to test needs priorities - 09/27/17

WALLA WALLA -- Following 13 months of study and extensive research, the eighteen-member Community Facilities Task Force is seeking a second round of public input on its work to date. Based on staff and community survey engagements last spring, in addition to comprehensive facility analysis performed, the committee is recommending practical renovations of Walla Walla High School, Lincoln High School, and Pioneer Middle School. Other facility needs across the district like roofing, heating and cooling systems and life safety have also been identified as priority projects. The district is eyeing November 2018 as a potential date for a bond issue and has declared this school year as one dedicated to community input and engagement.

Step one of this year's input process begins with a survey testing the facilities improvement priorities established by the Community Facilities Task Force. Information gathered from this survey will help shape bond package options the Community Facilities Task Force will present to the school board in December. The school board will then seek further community input on these potential bond packages following winter break before making a final decision in May on a November 2018 bond proposal.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and share your thoughts. The survey remains open through Oct. 11. Hard copies of the survey are available by request at the district office.

Participants may wish to preview the draft concepts first prior to completing the survey. Conceptual drawings and project details for Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School, and Lincoln High School can be viewed here: (http://www.wwps.org/fp/facilities-planning).

To access the survey please visit one of the following links:

English survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GC6ZJY7

Spanish link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PV3KTM7



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Walla Walla County Commissioner to speak at Health Center ribbon cutting - 09/25/17

WALLA WALLA - The Health Center Board of Directors is planning a Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the new Walla Walla High School clinic Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. Tours of the facility will follow the brief ceremony. Walla Walla County Commissioner Jim Duncan will speak at the event.

The new Walla Walla High School student-based health center opened the first day of school with a focus on mental health services. Significant funding for the expansion was made available through Walla Walla County. Funds were allocated from the county's one-tenth of one percent of sales tax revenue which specifically called for the expansion of mental health services in the area. The $400,000 county allocation ensures services are in place at Walla Walla High School for at least the next five years.

The Health Center clinics provide no cost primary care, care coordination and behavioral health services focusing on mental health support. The Health Center clinics started operations in Walla Walla Public Schools in 2009 at Lincoln High School. Expansion continued at Blue Ridge Elementary in 2012. Pioneer Middle School was the organization's most recent expansion in 2016.

Walla Walla Public Schools continues to emphasize the importance of social and emotional well-being, a key component of its new strategic plan. Superintendent Wade Smith has advocated for this expansion since assuming his duties in July 2016.

"The Health Center services directly support the district's new Strategic Plan as we further address the social and emotional needs of our students," said Superintendent Wade Smith. "Issues like chronic absenteeism, mental health and lack of access to quality health care are embedded in the mission these school-based health centers."

The Executive Director and The Health Center Board extends its heartfelt gratitude to Walla Walla County Commissioners Jim Johnson, Jim Duncan and Todd Kimball for recognizing the organization's work and making it possible to reach even more students with these funds.

"We appreciate the support of the Walla Walla County Commissioners and are excited to provide quality services in support of these well documented mental health needs," The Health Center Executive Director Stan Ledington said. "We know quality health care supports academic achievement and student success."

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The Health Center announces Ribbon Cutting ceremony to celebrate Walla Walla High School expansion (Photo) - 09/21/17

Ribbon Cutting Event:
- Tuesday, Sept. 26
- 10 a.m.
- Walla Walla High School
- WW County Commissioner Jim Duncan to speak

WALLA WALLA - The Health Center Board of Directors is planning a Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the new Walla Walla High School clinic Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. Tours of the facility will follow the brief ceremony. The new Walla Walla High School student-based health center opened the first day of school with a focus on mental health services. Significant funding for the expansion was made available through Walla Walla County. Funds were allocated from the county's one-tenth of one percent of sales tax revenue which specifically called for the expansion of mental health services in the area. The $400,000 county allocation ensures services are in place at Walla Walla High School for at least the next five years.

The Health Center clinics provide no cost primary care, care coordination and behavioral health services focusing on mental health support. The Health Center clinics started operations in Walla Walla Public Schools in 2009 at Lincoln High School. Expansion continued at Blue Ridge Elementary in 2012. Pioneer Middle School is the organization's most recent expansion in 2016.

Walla Walla Public Schools continues to emphasize the importance of social and emotional well-being, a key component of its new strategic plan. Superintendent Wade Smith has advocated for this expansion since assuming his duties in July 2016.

"The Health Center services directly support the district's new Strategic Plan as we further address the social and emotional needs of our students," said Superintendent Wade Smith. "Issues like chronic absenteeism, mental health and lack of access to quality health care are embedded in the mission these school-based health centers."

The Executive Director and The Health Center Board extends its heartfelt gratitude to Walla Walla County Commissioners Jim Johnson, Jim Duncan and Todd Kimball for recognizing the organization's work and making it possible to reach even more students with these funds.

"We appreciate the support of the Walla Walla County Commissioners and are excited to provide quality services in support of these well documented mental health needs," The Health Center Executive Director Stan Ledington said. "We know quality health care supports academic achievement and student success."

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Walla Walla Public Schools laying groundwork for November 2018 bond proposal (Photo) - 09/20/17

WALLA WALLA - Superintendent Wade Smith reported the district is looking at November 2018 as a potential date for a bond measure during his September 19 update to the school board on the progress of the Community Facilities Task Force. Renovation of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School rest at the top of the needs list. The Community Facilities Task Force has determined renovation of these three facilities rather than tearing them down and building new is the best solution for Walla Walla. Other critical facilities needs identified at the other district schools include roofing, HVAC, life safety improvements and communications systems. These are also are being carefully studied for possible inclusion in a bond proposal.

"This has been a long journey thus far, beginning last September with the development of our 18-member Community Facilities Task Force," said Smith. "Last year we focused on technical analysis, information gathering and research and this year we will shift our attention to stakeholder engagement to ensure we develop the best proposal possible to meet the needs of the district and community."

Superintendent Smith reported the district's existing bond debt is paid off in December 2018. Options being considered for a potential bond proposal by the Community Facilities Task Force include no increases to local bond rates by replacing the existing bond rate with new projects, to options which include minimal increases to current bond rates. The district is also in a position to receive nearly a dollar-for-dollar state match on the three priority projects identified to further ease the impact on local costs. All state match funding will be applied to the projects identified in the bond proposal.

"The stars have truly aligned for us as for the first-time in recent history we will have completely paid off all outstanding debt," said Smith. "With our bond debt completely paid off, we have the capability to raise more than $65 million dollars locally by replacing our current bond rate, keeping bond property tax rates flat."

The Community Facilities Task Force will release a survey next week to help determine if it is going in the right direction regarding its needs priority list. In December, the Community Facilities Task Force will propose options to the school board for further review and community engagement.

"We need everyone to carefully scrutinize the proposed solutions and be sure to complete the survey," Smith said. "It will take all of our thinking, ideas, and teamwork in order to identify the best solution; a solution that balances the needs to support quality and lasting instructional learning environments, with the desires of our community."

School board members are expected to make a final decision on a bond proposal option in May for the November 2018 General Election ballot. For more information and to view the proposed rough draft concepts, click here:
http://www.wwps.org/fp/facilities-planning