For Immediate Release | Thursday, March 22, 2017
CONTACT: Maggie Meyers at 724-263-9826 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Walla Walla’s First Charter Public School Finds a Home at Last, Prepares to Welcome Students and Teachers for 2018 Launch
Walla Walla, WA – Willow Public School, which will open its doors to serve students in the fall, announced this week that it has at last found a home. Willow, a startup charter public school authorized in 2015, was incubated through WA Charters’ School Leadership Program. Founder Dan Calzaretta, a 2015 WA Charters fellow, has spent the last three years developing the school’s academic program, engaging the community, and searching for the right facility to house the school’s innovative project-based, individualized learning model focusing on meeting the needs of all students, especially those from systemically underserved communities.
The school is located at 444 Poplar Street, in the heart of the Washington Park, Edith and Carrie, Jefferson Park, and Blueridge neighborhoods. This location, home to a large and thriving Spanish-speaking Latino community, is where Calzaretta and the Willow team are focusing their family engagement efforts. The building, which formerly housed St. Patrick’s Grade School, is also walking distance from the public library, the YMCA, and downtown—where students will pursue job shadowing opportunities and service learning projects as part of the school’s academic program. Most students will be able to walk to school, part of Calzaretta’s vision for a “truly neighborhood school.”
Even prior to announcing its location, more than 50 families had already enrolled their students in the school, reflecting the strong local demand for another high-quality public school option. With a building now secured, Willow is focused more than ever on getting word out to families and hiring teachers. The school’s student-centric model has captured the interest of talented educators from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The school is on track to have a full staff hired by the end of April. If more students sign up to enroll than there are seats available, a random lottery will be held in April.
Said Calzaretta, “Parents and kids can’t wait for school to start in the fall. One student told me how he wanted to skip summer vacation so that he can go to Willow sooner! The Willow team is grateful for the support we continue to receive from the community as we launch a school that will prepare students to lead with courage, think boldly, and dream big.”
WA Charters CEO Patrick D’Amelio remarked, “From before day one, Calzaretta and his team have sought to make Willow an integral part of the fabric of Walla Walla, by thoughtfully engaging families and the community in the process of designing a state-of-the art academic model. Now that Willow has a place to call home, it is ready and poised to help students succeed. WA Charters looks forward to continuing championing and partnering with Willow in 2018 and beyond.”
Willow’s first day of school is August 13, but it will be opening its doors to prospective families and teachers throughout the spring and summer during “office hours”.
For more information, visit https://www.willowps.org/.
Read about Willow ion the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin