By Beka Compton
the Times 

Waitsburg School District Update


WAITSBURG—The Waitsburg School Board met Thursday, May 21 at 6 p.m. All school board members were present. During the meeting, the board discussed graduation plans, a continuous learning plan, and other items.

Secondary principal Stephanie Wooderchak reported to the board that the middle school had been invited to the Milton Freewater Drive-In Theater for the 8th grade promotion. After some discussion, the board decided it was best to come up with another plan in the event that Walla Walla County does not move on to Phase II of the statewide reopening plan.

The Class of 2020 will be participating in a gallery drive on Friday, May 29, which will end near the football field and the students will receive their diplomas, one at a time, in a drive thru fashion. Speeches, photos, and other fun happenings will be available at the school’s website that day. The students will get to ‘walk’ in their caps and gowns.

During the maintenance report, Mr. Pickel, on behalf of Colter Mohney, updated the board on the construction happening near the elementary parking lot. A waterline broke, and the City of Waitsburg has been working to repair the break.

Colter Mohney has been working with NextGen Services, the district’s new IT provider. They have begun moving all technology over to the new servers.

Mr. Pickel told the Board that one of the light poles in front of Preston Hall had been vandalized, and they were currently searching for replacement poles. The company that made the original light pole no longer produces the poles, so they are searching for something similar. Mr. Pickel said they did file a police report.

Basic maintenance including painting, weeding and spraying has been happening during the school closure. Walla Walla County crews will be out before graduation to grade the high school parking lot.

During the superintendent’s report, Superintendent Pickel reported that the school is currently preparing for a slightly smaller student population next school year. He said that schools across the state are anticipating lower numbers, mainly due to uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. He is hoping for more guidance from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in June. The school has also started exploring ways to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for teachers and staff for the upcoming school year.

Board member Christy House said that she had reached out to local printing companies, and Inland Saxum Printing in Walla Walla would be able to provide diplomas by May 29. House said she felt that the senior class deserved to receive diplomas during the ‘graduation ceremony’ after having so much taken away already. The board decided it was worthwhile to explore ways to print with Inland Saxum.

At a special meeting on Monday, May 18, the school board met to discuss the emergency school closure waiver. Due to the coronavirus-related closure, the school was under the required 180 contact-teaching hours. The emergency waiver would allow the schools to adjust schedules to comply with the required hours. The school board voted to approve the waiver application.

The Waitsburg School District will continue to post homework and graduation updates on their website,


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