November 3, 2016 
In This Issue
Famous historical figures visit Tahoma schools
Discovery program's "Night of the Notables" offers rich learning
Kaylin W., dressed as Eleanor Roosevelt, answers questions in character during "Night of the Notables" at Glacier Park last week.
Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonardo da Vinci and Anne Frank made an appearance in two Tahoma elementary schools last week -- and perhaps not in the way you might expect.
Rather than adults dressing up as famous historical figures to teach students, the roles were reversed at Shadow Lake Elementary and Glacier Park Elementary during their "Night of the Notables" celebrations. As parents, relatives and other attendees filtered into the room, each Discovery program student stood ready to answer in-depth questions about their famous historical figure, all while staying in character.

"Give me a description of yourself as a child," one visitor asked.

"I was shy, and I liked to help my mother," Kaylin W., a third-grade Glacier Park student responded about her choice from American history. "I lived in New York, and I went to England for school."

Kaylin, who was dressed as Eleanor Roosevelt, and other students had each studied the subject of their choice for about two months, researching many facts about their lives, creating complex presentations involving art, science, and reasoning. Some students created board games based on the life of their subject. Others built circuit board quizzes with questions about their subject (when the correct answer is given, a light bulb illuminates). It all adds up to an impressive body of work. The Discovery Program is Tahoma's highly capable program for third- through fifth-graders.

Some of the evening's mysteries were harder to solve than others. Glacier Park fourth-grader Shaw N. said not many audience members were able to guess who he was dressed as. Shaw gave clues such as: "I made the first electromagnet and the electric motor. ... I was born in Germany, but I mostly lived in England. ... I was more famous after death."
(Editor's note: He stumped me, too. I had to Google the answer, which was William Sturgeon).

At Shadow Lake Elementary, students answered questions about their subject of choice in the library while those who attended tried to guess their identity.
Fourth-grader Hyrum K. shared that he discovered gravity, invented a reflecting telescope and developed calculus. Hyrum explained that he chose Isaac Newton after reading a book about him last year.

The project started out many years ago at Shadow Lake as a high school project that teachers Sue Chase and Liz White adapted.
"The project helps us begin our year teaching about Bloom's Taxonomy - a hierarchical way of 'thinking about thinking,'" Chase explained. The Discovery teachers encourage their students to move away from basic knowledge and comprehension to the point where they can demonstrate their understanding of a concept by creating, comparing, contrasting and evaluating.

"They learn about each level and throughout the year we refer to them to encourage a deeper and broader type of learning," Chase said. "The students are always so proud as they share with their own families as well as others. When we sit back and reflect on all the work/learning done over the past two months, they are amazed."

Fellow Shadow Lake teacher Liz White agreed, pointing out that the project incorporates multiple sources, statements of inquiry, a classical Greek face art piece, a timeline, analysis, Future Ready components, writing, circuitry and more.

"Our students demonstrate metamorphosis before our eyes," White said. The day after the celebration, students enjoy watching the video of themselves performing their "Bio Riddles," reflect on their efforts and compliment each other's public speaking strengths.

Shadow Lake Principal Jerry Gaston said he likes the "Night of the Notables" because of how much the students love their projects.

"They are so enthusiastic," Gaston said, adding that he appreciates the in-depth learning the project provides. And, if you're curious how Gaston did guessing students' identities this year, he estimated his success rate at 75 percent.

Parents and audience members take photos of one of two groups of notable historical figures at Shadow Lake Elementary.
District, city officials discuss common issues at annual joint meeting
Tahoma School Board members and Maple Valley City Councilors met recently for their annual joint discussion and collaboration.
The elected leaders and top administrators for Tahoma School District and the City of Maple Valley met Oct. 24 in what has become a yearly gathering to discuss common issues, share information and explore ways to work collaboratively to benefit students and the greater community.

School board members and city councilors discussed several topics, including working together to develop more play fields, progress by the school district to create closer ties with local colleges for high school and community classes, an update on school construction (all projects on time and on budget), economic development, potential sign-code changes to allow high school reader boards, and the process for naming the streets that will serve the new Tahoma High School.

Several members of the school board and council said that the meeting is just one example of how the two public agencies are working together for the public good. "We're really doing some incredible partnerships," school board member, Didem Pierson, said.

"It's something to celebrate," Councilor Erin Weaver said.

The city council's recent decision to ask voters to approve a bond measure for development of parks and athletic fields was discussed. The school district has proposed making property available to the city for development of athletic fields adjacent to the new Lake Wilderness Elementary School. The site is where the existing school now stands on Witte Road. When the new school opens next September, the old building will be demolished and the site will be available for development into athletic fields. City officials have expressed interest in owning and developing the property for recreation.

"We think it's good for the school district and good for the city," Superintendent Rob Morrow said.

Tahoma and the city also would partner on development of the Summit Park property, adjacent to the new Tahoma High School. The city and school district already have an agreement that allowed the school district to purchase city property that provided an access route to the east side of the new high school from Highway 169. In exchange, the city will have access to the road and to the east high school parking lot for Summit Park users when it is constructed.

The school board will formally discuss whether to endorse the city's parks bond measure at a future board meeting.
Tahoma global academy students help out at Elk Run Farm
Jasmine Steiner Doge and Saxon Piksa

Editor's note: This is an article written by two Tahoma High School students who are in Clare Nance's global academy class.

By Saxon Piksa and Jasmine Steiner Doge

On Oct. 19, our Global Academy class from Tahoma High School visited the Elk Run Farm and helped harvest food for our local food banks. Even though we only helped out on the farm for two or three hours, together we did a day's worth of work for the women who work there every day running the farm. Being at the farm was a real eye-opener for some kids who have never really known not having enough food, but, knowing that our work here actually helps a lot of those in need has really put in perspective how many people rely on the food banks to feed their families. Elk Run Farm provides healthy, fresh in-season produce to 12 South King County food banks.

We are all very thankful for Elk Run Farm. It's a great addition to our community. Not only does it provide a tremendous amount of help to stock our food banks with fresh produce, it teaches those who help out how to successfully and sustainably farm without hurting the environment. The farm itself is the picture of sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practice, with its own well, compost bin and worm bin. 

Elk Run Farm is completely self sustainable thanks to our local community members putting lots of time and effort into running and building the farm. Maple Valley is a such a family-oriented town that everyone should do their part at the farm at some point. It is a great place to teach kids and adults about farming practice along with bringing more attention to helping out our local food banks.

We are very grateful for the Elk Run Farm, and wish to see it expand over time. We hope to see it helping more families here in the Maple Valley community and surrounding areas as well.

Anyone can volunteer at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. For more information, email or visit

Courtesy photo 
Students in Clare Nance's global academy class pose for a photo after helping out at Elk Run Farm recently.

Bond Oversight Committee tours new high school, LW elementary, middle school sites
Members of the Bond Oversight Committee check out the performing arts center at the new Tahoma High School. 
The community members who are keeping watch over how the money is being spent to expand and renovate school facilities got to see the work for themselves last week during an afternoon tour of construction and remodeling throughout the school district.
The Tahoma Bond Measure Oversight Committee visited Tahoma and Cedar River middle schools to see changes that are being made to convert the buildings for use as elementary schools next year. The group wound up its tour by visiting the new Lake Wilderness Elementary School and new Tahoma High School.

The committee is comprised of representatives from the Maple Valley City Council, Maple Valley Rotary, Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce, Tahoma PTA/PTO and at-large community members. Superintendent Rob Morrow and Assistant Superintendent Lori Cloud acted as tour guides and introduced the committee members to construction superintendents at the Lake Wilderness and THS sites who could answer detailed questions about the construction projects.

All of the district's construction projects are on time and within budget. The new and remodeled schools will be ready for use in time for the 2017-18 school year.

The community will have an opportunity to visit the new high school and Lake Wilderness Elementary in August. Formal dedication of the new high school will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 8 and there will be a community open house on Saturday, Aug. 12. Formal dedication of the new Lake Wilderness Elementary will be held on Thursday, Aug. 31. Ceremonies to rename four schools (Cedar River Elementary, Tahoma Elementary, Maple View Middle School and Summit Trail Middle School) will be held on Friday, Sept. 8.
The committee visited classrooms in the new Tahoma High School. Carpeting and other finish work is being installed in some of the classrooms.
Committee members look at the new Lake Wilderness Elementary building. The wing on the left will soon get its roof.

Marching band performs in field show competitions
Courtesy photo
The Tahoma Field Show Ensemble had its first competition of the year recently at Everett Memorial Stadium, where the group competed against 23 other bands from three states. The band earned its highest starting point total in more than 20 years. They finished just outside the top 12 finals bands by less than 1 point out of the 100-point potential. Director Matthew Cole reports that the group has expanded to include a majority of the freshmen band members.

"This is a tremendous success with having over half of the band and guard as first-year members with the senior high school program," Cole said. "This really shows the high caliber and hard work the new members are investing," and also highlights the leadership skills of the upperclassmen, he added.

This is the first time since the late 1980s or early 90s that the band has achieved such a large size between the woodwinds, brass, front ensemble, drum line and color guard members, Cole said. He thanked the help of staff members, Tahoma Band Boosters, parents and community members. The band will perform its final competition and performance of the field show season on Nov. 5 at Auburn Stadium.

Bear Metal hosts Girls Generation robotics tournament
Courtesy photo
Cassidy Beyer, Andy Debolt and Ryleigh Weston work with other Bear Metal team members during a match at the Girls Generation event.
Tahoma High School's Robotics Club recently hosted its annual Girls Generation competition at the high school. 

"This competition is a way to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM-related careers," said Avery Weston, secretary of communications for the club. "Additionally, participants in Girls' Generation work on and drive large robots created by students." 

Bear Metal's team during the event included Cassidy Beyer, Jayce Grimm, Corinne Roppel, Victoria Vasquez, Alicia Veach, and Ryleigh Weston. The team performed well and advanced to semifinals, Avery Weston said.

More than 800 people attended to watch 31 teams from around Washington state battle. 

For more:

Courtesy photo
Bear Metal team members work on the robot in between matches.

Kindergarten pre-registration begins for 2017-2018
Parents of incoming kindergarten students are invited to complete an early registration program by Nov. 30 for next school year.

For families that complete the early registration:
  • We will mail a registration packet directly to your home.
  • You will find out which of the six Tahoma elementary schools your child will attend next September.
  • Monthly Tahoma kindergarten learning connections will be delivered to your email address.
  • You will receive a free early learning book.
To pre-register your child for kindergarten, click here:

Kindergarten registration will take place the week of December 5-9, 2016. You will need to bring your child's birth certificate and verification of residence with you when you register.

Save the date for school dedications
The dates have been set for the dedication ceremonies at the new Tahoma High School and new Lake Wilderness Elementary School, as well as re-dedications at four other schools. More details will be shared as the events approach. The dates are:
  • Aug. 8, 2017: Dedication at the new Tahoma High School.
  • Aug. 12, 2017: Open house and tours for those who can't attend on Aug. 8, which is a work day for many community members.
  • Aug. 31, 2017: Dedication at the new Lake Wilderness Elementary.
  • Sept. 8, 2017: Re-dedication at Tahoma Elementary, Cedar River Elementary, Summit Trail Middle School and Maple View Middle School.

Nomination period opens to identify highly capable students
The nomination period for students to be identified as highly capable in kindergarten through 11th grade, and to receive service services in the 2017-18 school year is now open. Nominations must be received on or before Dec. 2.

Tahoma offers the following service options:
  • K-2: Students are served in the general education classroom through extension activities.
  • 3-5: Students are served through a continuum of services from the Cougar Classrooms (general education) to the Discovery Program (self-contained).
  • 6-7: Students are served through accelerated math and extension activities.
  • 8-12: Students self-select into a variety of accelerated, pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement, or college-level classes.
All students in second grade will be screened/tested for possible highly capable identification and service for next school year, so there is no nomination process for current second grade students.

Mattress fundraiser will benefit WTP, Bear Metal
Tahoma's We the People and Tahoma Robotics groups will team up next weekend for a one-day mattress sale fundraiser.
The event will offer new, brand name mattresses, bed frames, pillows and mattress protectors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 at Rock Creek Elementary. For more information, visit

Bridge the Gap fundraiser Monday
The PTA group for the middle schools and junior high will receive 25 percent of sales from S'Wiched restaurant between 3 and 8 p.m. on Nov. 7. S'Wiched is located in the Four Corners Safeway shopping complex.

District power savings continue
The latest data from the People Power Planet website shows the district at a savings of 2 percent. That's a slight drop from previous savings, due to facility challenges that used more power in the month of August.

The facilities team is working to address building performance, but ups and downs are normal.

The district contracts with McKinstry to work on sustainability efforts throughout the school system, which have resulted in $23,317 cost avoidance so far.

For more information, click here.

School Board holds work study session about budget
Board members on Tuesday had a work study session about the budget, in which they received a brief presentation about the impact and possible implications of state-funding issues, including the levy cliff, levy swap, McCleary lawsuit, and how each of those issues may affect Tahoma.
The presentation was followed by a time for the board members to ask questions and get answers from staff.

As a general practice, the board gets monthly updates about the budget and enrollment figures.

The next regular school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Central Services Center. For the meeting schedule, agendas or other information about the board, click here.

All families asked to update military status in Skyward
The State of Washington is intensifying its focus on educating K-12 teachers on how to support military youth in schools and communities before, during and after the deployment of a parent or loved one.

Beginning this fall, school districts are required by the state to collect data regarding active duty military families as well as active reserves, all branches, and the Washington National Guard. The state is requiring districts to survey their families annually as to their military status.

Reasons for collection of data include:
  • To be better able to provide additional services to the students
  • To remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents
  • To give a closer look at the test scores for these students, possibly showing the need for increased services to keep them on track for on-time graduation
  • To reduce the paperwork parents face at the beginning of each school year, we have created a survey in Skyward Family Access. Please take a moment to log into your Family Access Account to complete the survey. All families must complete the survey. There will be a "no affiliation" option for those to whom it applies.

Ballots for Nov. 8 general election can be dropped at Rock Creek-Central Services location
The King County Elections ballot drop box will be open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at its location in the parking lot at Rock Creek Elementary School and Central Services Center, 25700 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Road SE.

King County Elections workers will be on hand on Monday, Nov. 7 and on Tuesday, Nov. 8 to assist voters.

Volunteers work throughout community on Make a Difference Day
On Oct. 21, volunteers from multiple organizations and the community at large came together to work on many improvement projects throughout the greater Maple Valley area, and at several school sites.
Make a Difference Day is an annual event. For information about next year's event, follow their Facebook page here.

Photo courtesy of Keith Forte
Volunteers at Glacier Park Elementary on Make a Difference Day repainted the map on the playground, picked up trash, repainted the Buddy Benches and more.

Tahoma High School fall sports update
Cross country
The Tahoma cross country runners are heading to the state meet, with the girls team making its 14th straight appearance at state (one of the longest current streaks in 4A) and the boys team looking to defend its state title from last year.

Last weekend, the girls finished second at the district meet, and the boys finished third.

The following runners will compete at the state meet in Pasco on Friday: Dawson Besst, Devon Walters, Colton Egberg, Chandler Nill, Brian Martinez, Ethan Martin, Evan Mickelson, Kobe Shields, Jeremy Hernandez, Breanna Glover, Phoenix Aguilar, Melinda Day, Katarina Zosel, Mattilyn Hohn, Kayla Contreras, Daria Cawthorn, Moira Woods and Aubrey Dillon.

On the boys team, Besst was recognized as athlete of the year. Receiving first team all-league were Besst, Egberg, Martinez, Martin and Nill. Receiving second team all-league were senior Walters and junior Kobe Shields.

On the girls team, Glover was recognized as athlete of the year. Receiving first team all-league were Glover, Day and Zosel. Receiving second team all-league were Aguilar, Hohn and Contreras.

Coach Jeff Brady was also awarded the "Coach of the Year" for NPSL Cascade.

The Bears varsity volleyball team will play in the West Central District tournament at noon and 3 p.m. Friday at Kentwood High School. Their record is 7-0 in conference play and 13-3 overall.

Swim and Dive
The Bears swim team is headed to the 4A state championships on Nov. 11 and 12. Two team members qualified individually: senior Lindsey Hanger in the 50 free and 100 free; and freshman Emiri Nishizawa in the 200 free and 500 free. All three of the team's relays also qualified for state competition: the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free.
Their regular season record was 6-1 overall.

Tahoma's girls soccer will play the first game of the district tournament against Kentwood, 7:30 p.m. today at home. The team's league record was 10-4-0; overall was 12-4-0.

In boys tennis, Tahoma's conference record was 10-4; overall was 11-4.
"The tennis team had an amazing season," coach Mike McCaffery said.

Six players made it to the second day of sub-districts and two players finished with all-league honors: Brody Magbaleta and Kyle Sherick. Magbaleta finished 10th in the West Central District tournament. 

Coach McCaffery was also recognized as "Coach of the Year" in the NPSL.

Varsity records included:
No. 1 singles; Brody Magbaleta, 12-3 league
No. 2 singles: Kyle Sherick, 13-2 league, WCD tournament third round
No. 1 doubles: Nick Bennett / Nick Dazell, 10-5 league record, sub-district Saturday qualifier
No. 2 doubles: Henry Kombol / Andrew Bruneel, 11-3 league record, sub-district qualifier
No. 3 doubles: Matt Simmons / Andrew Lovre, 7-8 league record, sub-district Saturday qualifier.
No. 3 singles: Tagen Whitaker, played JV singles and varsity, sub-district qualifier.

Tahoma's football team ended its season with a loss to Federal Way High School 28-0 in the first game of playoffs Tuesday night at French Field. The Bears finished with a 3-4 conference record, 3-7 overall.

The golf teams finished up their seasons several weeks ago.  For the last newsletter's update, click here. 
Run, Rock, Read fundraiser raises the bar on fun
Students at Tahoma Middle School, Cedar River Middle School and Tahoma Junior High recently participated in "Run, Rock, Read" and "Run, Walk, Read" ASB fundraisers. Pictured are a few of the activities from TMS event, which raised nearly $16,000, Principal Sean Cassidy reported.
Seventh-graders Megan H. and Natalie J. enjoy working on art during one session of the day's celebration.
Tahoma Middle School students dance to music played by a deejay in the new play shed.
Staff members got into Friday's spirit day theme of "rock star." From left: Heidi Chamberlain, Lisa Madson, Branda Almli and Michelle DiDonato.
The gym was open for students who wanted to play basketball and volleyball during one of the day's free choice sessions.
Coming up in Bear Country
Lake Wilderness Elementary Watch D.O.G.S. kick-off, 6 p.m., LWES

FRIDAY, Nov. 11
NO SCHOOL, district-wide, in recognition of Veterans Day

MONDAY, Nov. 14-18
Cedar River Middle School PTA book fair, CRMS
Tahoma Middle School PTA book fair, TMS

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16-23
Half-day early release for ADK-5th grade for elementary school conferences; no half-day kindergarten

FRIDAY, Nov. 18
Rock Creek Elementary PTO Family Fun Night, 7 p.m., RCES
Full-day Friday for Tahoma Junior High (no early release)

MONDAY, Nov. 21-23
Half-day early release for grades 6-12 for secondary conferences

THURSDAY, Nov. 24-25
NO SCHOOL, district-wide, in recognition of Thanksgiving

What's for lunch?
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The Tahoma School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.  The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination:

Title IX Officer
Director of Human Resources
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038

ADA Coordinator   
Director of Human Resources
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038

Section 504 Coordinator
Director of Special Services
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038

Tahoma Matters staff: Wendy Castleman:
Tahoma School District
25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Rd. S.E.
Maple Valley, WA 98038      425-413-3400