Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Cheer!

The WJHS boys choir caroled through the halls, treating everyone to some holiday cheer this afternoon!

Big News for Washington!

We were informed today that WJHS will receive just over $103,000 through the Arkansas Department of Education School Recognition and Reward Distribution Program!

This program provides financial awards to public schools with high student performance and academic growth. The money will be used to purchase equipment and other resources to help our students.

We are so happy that the hard work of our students and staff has been recognized and rewarded!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weird and Wonderful...

Brave students Angel Minellono and Charity Farriester hold the class pets in Mrs. Beach's science classroom--giant cockroaches!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Go Wildcats!

Today we raised the roof to cheer on our Wildcat basketball teams at the final pep rally of 2013! Go Cats!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bowling Together to Celebrate!

This year our staff made a commitment to learn from each other. We are celebrating over 350 visits to our colleagues'classrooms so far this year! Learning from the strengths and experience of others helps us provide the very best education for our students. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Toy Drive for St. Jude's Children's Hospital

The WJHS Children’s Hospital Club is doing a toy drive to help the children in residence at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Please bring in toys for all ages (1 – 14) for both boys and girls. The deadline is December 20. All donations will be delivered to the hospitals before Christmas. The seminar with the most donations will receive a pizza party in the Spring semester.

FCA Hot Chocolate Fundraiser

As the weather gets colder FCA invites you to enjoy a piping hot cup of hot chocolate before school! Cost is $1 per cup and your generosity will help in the purchase of snack packs for students in need. Sales will last throughout the winter months.

You can find your local FCA member in the front of the school on the following days:

Monday: 7:45-8:15
Wednesday: 7:45-8:15
Friday: 7:45-7:56

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Thanksgiving!

The Forensics kids show their appreciation for their WJHS teachers at this week's faculty meeting. We are so grateful to have such wonderful students!

The 21st Century Classroom At Work

Mr. Collier's Classroom

Friday, November 15, 2013

Need Help With Christmas?

Catalyst Church of NWA is helping local families provide Christmas gifts for their kids this year. If you think you will need help, please go by Catalyst Church, 2812 E. Central Ave. to fill out an application. Application deadline is NOVEMBER 15TH. If you have any questions, please call the church office at 479-273-7775

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It’s Cold Outside!

…And unfortunately some of our kids don’t have coats. If you have gently used coats or hoodies that could use a good home, please consider donating them to our students in need. Also, we are still collecting ready-to-eat, non-perishable food items for Snack Packs to feed students at home over the weekends. If you have questions or items that you’d like to donate, please bring them to the front office or contact Marla York in our counseling office at (479) 254-5365 or

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Veterans Day Assembly

Yesterday, WJHS observed Veterans Day with an assembly and honored several local veterans with moving speeches, poetry readings, vocal performances, and musical productions.

The assembly started when the Veterans Guard of Bella Vista Posted the Colors.

Student Council President Morgan Hasler led the Pledge of Allegiance which was followed by a flawless playing of The Star Spangled Banner by the WJHS Band.

Principal Sparacino's remarks grew from the last line of the National Anthem, "O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!"

In the picture above, you can see that the veterans in attendance where asked to rise during a portion of Mr. Sparacino's speech.

Mr. Sparacino said, "Since the early days of our founding fathers, America has never lacked for individuals who are willing to step forward to pay the price of freedom with their service, their devotion, and when necessary, their lives.

THESE are the veterans.  These are the BRAVE- the men and women who were willing to leave the comfort of their home, to forfeit their safety, and place themselves on the front lines of the battlefield.

These are the veterans, these are the BRAVE- the men and women willing to serve so that liberty will not only continue, but flourish in new places across the globe.

These are the veterans.  These are the BRAVE.  To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, these are the men and women that asked not what their country could do for them, but asked what they could do for their country.

These are the veterans.  These are the BRAVE.  These are the men and women who, when their nation called, answered enthusiastically, “I’ll go.”  They served to defend liberty; a liberty that we now cherish; a liberty they helped expand to us, our children, and God willing, for generations to come.

These are the veterans.  These are the BRAVE.  These are the men and women that we gather to honor on this special day.

Ladies and gentlemen, as they have honored us with their service, their sacrifice, let us honor them now with our thoughts, our prayers, and certainly, our applause.  Thank you veterans!"

The next portion of the assembly showcased the talents of several of our students.

Bailey Tadda and Laura Jones recited two poems: "The Noble and the Brave" and "The Best on Earth."

The 8th Grade Orchestra then performed a medley of patriotic songs.

Anna Disney and Emily Chase honored the veterans with their compilation of patriotic quotes.

Our Cantanti Select Choir beautifully sang "Song for the Unsung Hero."

Simon Mooney rose to recite "The American Hero."

An essay contest preceded the assembly and two winners were chosen to have their work highlighted during the ceremony.  Robby Burchit read his original essay titled "Patriotism."

Hannah Pointer chose to have one of WJHS's very own veterans, Mrs. Pollreis read her winning essay, "What does patriotism mean to me?"

A moment of silence to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice was followed by Echo Taps performed brilliantly by Patrick Bell and Henry Timpe.

The ceremony concluded with another rousing standing ovation for the veterans in attendance.  Then the student body flooded the court to personally thank the veterans for their service and to take pictures with them.

It was a great ceremony and wonderful to see not only the talent of our students on display, but their love and appreciation for our veterans.

Patriotism lives at WJHS!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WJHS Receives Outstanding Educational Performance Award

Each year, the Office for Education Policy (OEP) at the University of Arkansas creates a report titled the OutstandingEducational Performance Awards highlighting the highest-performing schools in Arkansas based on the Benchmark and End-of-Course exams.

We are pleased to announce that Washington Junior High School won a “High-Achieving Middle School” OEP award. 

These awards are based on the OEP-created “school GPA,” calculated on the basis of the percentage of students that perform at a particular level on the Benchmark exam (advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic). 

“High-Achieving Middle School” awards are given to middle schools that are high-performing in mathematics and literacy at the regional level and at the state level in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. 

To learn more about how the OEP award winners are determined and to see the full list of award recipients, you can view the entire report here.

Congratulations to the students and the staff at WJHS!

Go Wildcats!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wildcats are "Serving"

We had a great group working to plant trees on Saturday! Our Wildcats were part of a team that planted over 130 trees at Mary Mae Jones Elementary and Orchards Park. It's great to see our kids giving back to their community!

A Great Time!

Our Halloween Dance was a great success! Thank you to our Student Council and to the many parents that helped!

Teamwork Pays Off!

Thanks to the hard work and donations of our wonderful Cheer and Dance team parents, the girls locker room received a much-needed makeover. A special thank you goes out to Dana Stone for organizing this effort!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Give a gift that gives back!

Send flowers! Flowerama in Bentonville will donate 6% of your purchase price to help us feed students in need to any customer that identifies themselves as a “Friend of Washington Junior School”. These funds will be used to purchase food to fill Snack Packs. Snack Packs provide supplemental food to students over the weekends when there may not be enough to eat at home.

Flowerama is located at 1500 SE Walton Blvd. in Bentonville. Please contact them with your order today at (479) 657-6997 and don’t forget to mention that you’re a Friend of WJHS!

Thank you!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WJHS Dance Wins BIG!

This weekend, our WJHS dance team brought home 2nd place in all of their routines: kick, jazz, and pom! The girls also received an overall best costume award! The dance team will be competing this weekend in the Van Buren Dance Invitational. They are hoping to improve their scores and make Washington proud! Please, congratulate the girls for their hard work and wish them luck for this coming weekend in Van Buren!

Is there joy in your classroom?

As I read Teachers, Don't Forget Joy (Education Week) today, I flashed back to the retreat days that we had this past summer.

We asked ourselves, why teach?  Did you have a teacher or teachers that inspired you?  Are we being like those teachers?  Are we in this solely for test scores?

We answered those questions with inspirational stories of teachers that helped shape our lives.  Then we developed and made commitments to The Wildcat Way.

In Teachers, Don't Forget Joy, Judy Wallis asks, "Isn't it possible to feel joy and still care about student test performance, teacher-evaluation instruments, and the demands of our curricula?"

Like her, I believe that it is.

So, keep up the good fight...and, don't forget joy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No child should go hungry...

What did you have for dinner last night?

21.6% of children in NWA live in food insecure households.

Our number of kids in need has more than doubled since last year. We are in immediate need of ready-to-eat, non-perishable food items to create Snack Packs to feed many of our students. These Snack Packs help feed our students over the weekend when they may not be getting enough to eat at home. If you are a member of a religious, community, or business organization who would like to partner with us to help us feed these students, please contact our counselor, Marla York at or 479-254-5345.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Congratulations, Wildcats!

The Wildcats defeated the Woodland Cowboys 13-0 last night! Please join us on Thursday nights to cheer on the Cats!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Community Partners Make Learning Beautiful

Washington Junior High students will have a new Commons area to enjoy on Monday morning. Dozens of volunteers from Walmart, Scots Miracle-Gro, and Berry Family Nurseries spent several hours on Friday installing new trees and planters on the site. The new landscaping is part of an ongoing effort this fall by Washington’s community partners to beautify the Commons area for students. Other local businesses including Pavestone, Col-Met, AMES True Temper, and STR Trucking have volunteered time, materials, and equipment. The Washington Junior High School PTO also donated $10,000 to pave a new basketball court for students.

Washington’s principal, Tim Sparacino, was very appreciative, saying “We are extremely honored to have been the recipient of such an amazing gift.  Our students will benefit greatly from not only the beautification efforts but also from the constant reminder of how important and powerful it is to serve others and donate your time, talents, and efforts to a worthy cause.”

The school will be hosting a Ribbon Cutting ceremony on October 7th to celebrate its new Commons area and thank everyone who donated. The school ran a contest for students to design the mural that will be painted on a wall on the site. The student whose design is chosen will win a $50 Wal-Mart gift card from Scots Miracle-Gro and have the honor of cutting the ribbon at the ceremony.  

The Wildcat Way Defined

What exactly is The Wildcat Way?

The Wildcat Way for our faculty and staff can simply be defined as all the actions that we take to develop our students above and beyond standardized test scores.

There are many facets that comprise The Wildcat Way so we use the graphic below to easily communicate what it's about.

Let's break the graphic down and explore all the components of The Wildcat Way.

First, the arrow represents our actions.  You see, The Wildcat Way is more than a slogan.  It's a system that we operate within.  Our staff understands the need to move from beliefs to behaviors.  We do more than "say" The Wildcat Way, we live it.

Our CORE values are at the base of The Wildcat Way.  Those values are Collaboration, Observation, Relationships, and Expectations.

Our CORE values drive everything that we do.  In accordance with our "from beliefs to behaviors" mantra, our staff has made substantial commitments to each one of the core beliefs.

At the center of The Wildcat Way is our Focus on Excellence Framework.  We systematically "Look Back/Look Forward" which means that we, on an ongoing basis, seek input and brainstorm ways to improve things that happened over the past few weeks while also anticipating things that we could do in the future to ensure that we live up to our motto of "Excellence in all that we do- Academics, Activities, Arts, and Athletics."

At the pinnacle of The Wildcat Way is the students that we serve.  We strive to be about more than test scores and to connect with students on a personal level.  We know that the specific lessons that we teach may not be remembered for years to come but the relationships that we build and the life skills that we help instill will be.

We want our Wildcats to be Welcoming, Involved, Leading, Dependable, Cooperative, Ambitious, Teachable, and Serving.

That is The Wildcat Way.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Marshmallow Challenge

The Science Club had its first meeting yesterday! The kids competed in a marshmallow challenge to see which team could build the tallest freestanding structure out of marshmallows and spaghetti. The girls won this time around. Great work!  What a fun way to learn teamwork and design principles!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Many thanks to a Washington alumnus!

One of our amazing former students, Daniel Henning, just completed his Eagle Scouts book drive. He donated over 300 books to the classroom library in Ms. Pollreis's room. We are very grateful to Daniel for our new books. It was very thoughtful and we know our kids will love them!

Friday, September 13, 2013

PGPs, Focusing on Strengths, and Inspiration from George Costanza

What would happen if we spent as much time striving to develop our talents as we did attempting to eliminate weaknesses?

Recently our administrative team was talking about the teacher evaluation process and how we historically ask teachers to develop a professional growth plan (PGP) based on “weaknesses.”  We identify areas of needed growth, develop detailed plans for improvement, and strive to improve upon these perceived shortcomings.

How’s that working for you?

During our discussion, I thought about a book that I read several years ago entitled Now, Discover Your Strengths which basically encourages you to focus less on trying to repair flaws or weaknesses and learn to identify your talents and purposefully plan to capitalize on them.

Being a big Seinfeld fan, I also thought of an episode where George Costanza vows to “do the opposite.”  In this episode, George begins to do go against his every instinct.  He begins to eat, do, and say things that go completely against his normal behavior. 

Sometimes growth, or innovation, tends to come from deciding NOT to do something that you've always done or to do something that you would normally not even attempt to do.

Does your classroom still operate like it did five years ago?  Change it up.

Think that you lecture too much?  Set a timer and don’t allow yourself to talk more than a few minutes at a time.

Tired of mounds of paper work?  Pick a lesson or unit and make it paperless.

Always ask questions with one right answer?  Ask questions without one correct response.

PGP’s based completely on weaknesses aren't leading to the results you desire?  Focus on building upon a strength or talent that you have.

Again I ask, what would happen if we spent as much time striving to develop our talents as we did attempting to eliminate weaknesses?

What if we, like George Costanza, did the opposite!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crisis Drill Notification- Lock Down Drill Thursday, September 19

Crisis drills are one component of our continual effort to keep our students safe.  They are not a reaction to any perceived threat but rather an attempt to be more prepared for emergency situations.  Our first lock down drill of the year will be held on Thursday, September 19.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Please Remember to Vote

Please remember to vote in the upcoming millage election!

Early voting is Tuesday, 9/10-Monday, 9/16 8am-4:30pm at the County Clerk's Office for Bentonville and Rogers voters. Early voters in Centerton and Bella Vista can vote from Tuesday 9/10-Friday 9/13 8am-4pm at the Centerton Firehouse or Riordan Hall in Bella Vista.

Election day voting is Tuesday, 9/17 at your local polling location.

Design the Wall!

Please join in on the contest to design the wall on the commons.  All students are welcome to pick up a form from an art teacher or the office.  Create the design that will be painted on the wall on the commons area. 

If your design is chosen by the judges, your design will be painted on the wall and you will win a prize package which includes a $50 gift card to Walmart as well as participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating our commons make over this summer.  The designs are due Sept. 23 to the office for judging. 

Good luck!

Friday, September 6, 2013

WJHS Recognized as High Achieving

The Office for Education Policy (U of A) has released their Outstanding Educational Performance Awards which highlight high-achieving Arkansas schools (based on Benchmark Exam performance).

WJHS was identified for both Math and Literacy!!!

Like we say…Excellence in all that we do!

Congratulations to our students and staff.

Go Wildcats!