June 18, 2018
In this issue

Congratulations, THS class of 2018! ClassOf2018
Tahoma High School celebrates more than 500 new graduates
The Tahoma community gathered with family and friends of Tahoma High School's class of 2018 for the school's 92nd commencement exercises on June 14 at White River Amphitheatre. The ceremony included performances by the THS combined Concert Ensemble, the Wind Symphony, the Jazz Choir and Jazz Band. Valedictorian Katarina Zosel and Salutatorian Melia Cleary spoke, as did Principal Terry Duty, School Board President Mary Jane Glaser and Superintendent Rob Morrow.

Cleary spoke of her hope for a world that is kind. Zosel encouraged her classmates to take advantage of their civic rights: "I don't care who you vote for, but please vote!" She also spoke about relationships, stating that friends can help adjust our perspective in life. She exhorted her classmates "... choose to live for Garrett; to live for each other; and, most importantly, to live for ourselves," Zosel said. "I hope that we each choose to take it to the max in our future!"

Morrow talked about the large investment that the graduates' families, along with the community and taxpayers made to get them to that point. "Let me be clear, graduates: We think you're worth every penny." He said that all the well-wishers would love to see a great return on their investment, mentioning the ways the world has changed since Sept. 11, and the increase in school violence. Morrow pondered whether perhaps one or more of this year's graduates holds the answer or answers to the needed change, and also encouraged them to use the tools at their disposal for good. 

"Instant access to information is a great tool, as long as you use it appropriately, just like a hammer is a great tool if you use it appropriately," Morrow said. "My dad used to tell me that you can use a hammer to build a house or to break a window."

Glaser talked about challenges overcome and the changes the graduates have weathered, urging them not to be afraid of further adjustments and adaptation.

Duty acknowledged some of the graduates' many impressive achievements.

"Now it's time to take your talent, skills and aptitude on the road of life," Duty said. "Give up the good life for the life that is good."
2018 graduates
The class of 2018 listens to senior class president Justice Williams and vice president Lindsay Harmon before the moving of the tassel. Many graduates brought a flower or bouquet to place on the empty chair at the center of this photo, in memory of their classmate, Garrett Sypole. For more pictures from graduation, please click here: http://bit.ly/TSDclassOf2018 To check out the awards presented during Senior Night, click here.
Backstage at White River Amphitheatre, graduates greeted one another excitedly, with many hugs, photographs and selfies.

Valedictorian Katarina Zosel laughs during her speech. 

Transitions graduates celebrated at Lodge
Congratulations to the seven students who graduated from the Tahoma Student Transition Program the week of June 4. Pictured are, front row: Kathryn Kienle, Mackenzie Croy, Maria Zavala-Dominquez; back row: Bryce Jaskari, Kyle Blevins, Alexander Giske, William Hier.
Tahoma School District receives clean audit reportCleanAudit
The Washington State Auditor's annual review of Tahoma School District's finances and accountability shows that the district is in full compliance and there are no negative findings.

"To summarize the results, the district had no significant weakness in internal controls, and did not have any material misstatements," according to a letter to the district from Jason Cole, Assistant State Auditor for South King County. The audit covered the 2016-2017 school year.

Cole complimented district representatives, including Superintendent Rob Morrow, Assistant Superintendent Lori Cloud, Chief Accountant Bridget Malaspino, and Administrative Assistant Barbara Roessler for their "dedication and professionalism throughout the audit process. The assistance I received from the Tahoma School District's staff made the audit go quickly and smoothly."

The audit was divided into two parts: Tahoma's financial statements and compliance with federal laws and regulations; and independent accountability in five specific areas that include basic enrollment, procurement, self-insurance, bid law for public works projects, and IT security controls protecting financial systems.

In comments to district officials during the audit exit conference, Cole and Audit Manager Saundra Groshong said the district's handling of federal funds and programs is especially noteworthy, given the intricacies of federal requirements.

School Board President Mary Jane Glaser, who attended the exit conference, reported at this week's board meeting that the district "passed with flying colors," and noted that the auditors "could not praise Tahoma School District enough." Glaser thanked Cloud and the finance department for their work.

Final copies of the completed audit will be available soon on the state auditor's web page and on Tahoma's Financial Services web page.

Day at the bog: 4th-graders study wetlands, glaciersDayAtBog
Students listen to Yeates
Students from Jaime Miranda's class listen to Ali Yeates talk about the acidic water of Shadow Lake Bog. Yeates is restoration and education manager for SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve.
Walking down a forest path one recent morning, a guide invited Rock Creek students on a field trip to imagine what the region would have been like when it was covered in ice. While looking around at the lush green shrubs, and listening to birds calling through the forest, students from Jaime Miranda's class listened as Ali Yeates set the scene for the day's learning, describing the time 5,000 years ago when the Puget Lobe Glacier carved out the land where the Shadow Lake Bog now sits.

"We're going to try to be scientists today and use all of our senses," said Yeates, who is restoration and education manager at the SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve. "What are you expecting the wetland to be like?" she asked. The students predicted they would see "nature, moss, maybe some animals or animal tracks, frogs, tadpoles and a bog."

The SHADOW (Save Habitat and Diversity of Wetlands) Lake Nature Preserve now protects more than 100 acres of land near Shadow Lake and Shadow Lake Bog. Founders Max and Erin Prinsen purchased the 18-acre bog area in 1995, and volunteers helped haul 110 truckloads of trash and garbage off the property. Since that time, SHADOW and volunteers have cooperated to restore land that has been clear-cut and overgrown with invasive species, as well as to protect the bog. In addition, they welcome visitors such as the nearly 1,500 students who visit the bog each year. In Tahoma, fourth-grade students study glaciers and bogs in science and then visit the Shadow Lake Bog at the end of the unit.

Breaking into two groups, half the students went to the lab while the other group followed Yeates along the path to the bog. The class moved into the forest, walking on the raised boardwalk among cedar trees, salal, sword and bracken ferns, salmonberry bushes and stinging nettle. Pausing at a wider platform area along the path, Yeates uncovered a wide piece of pipe that extends down from the platform into the water below.

"What does this water have in it that yours at home doesn't?" she asked. "Acid, right. ... Acid kills bacteria; it kills fungus. So, if our water is acidic, it's actually cleaning. This water moves from the bog down to Jenkins Creek."

The water is dark from the peat moss, and scientists check the water at regular intervals to measure its height and acidity. A short way down the path, Yeates stopped the group again.

"Everybody look this way -- what do you notice?" Fewer birds, less understory and less water, the students replied.

"You're seeing the edge of Shadow Lake Bog," Yeates said, noting that while the peat layer is about 10 feet deep near the beginning of the boardwalk, it is about 50 feet deep near the end of the trail. Together, the soil and acidic water create an environment that nurtures plants found nowhere else in the state, such as the bog laurel, labrador tea plant, bog cranberry and carnivorous Pacific sundew plant. Also visible from the boardwalk is the Western white pine, which died off elsewhere because of a fungus. The acidic water of the bog saved some of the trees.

There are an estimated 30 varieties of moss growing in the bog, in green mounds called "hummocks." The landscape is delicate, and if it is compacted, it takes decades for the moss to grow back -- that's why it's important for visitors to stay on the boardwalk. Students are allowed to touch the moss gently in one area.

Meanwhile in the lab, groups of students gathered around sets of two trays each: one filled with sand substrate and one with sharp gravel. Each group of students also had a large, square ice cube with rocks and sediment inside.

"In your hands you have a tiny glacier," Miranda read aloud from the students' packet. The groups were asked to move the ice cube through the trays, paying attention to what happened each time. Then, they sketched what they observed.

"What do you guys notice happening to your ice cube?" Miranda asked.

"Dirt is sticking to it," one student replied, prompting a brief discussion about how glaciers pick up rocks, sediment and materials along their path, before depositing them elsewhere.

Another prompt asked students to move their tiny glaciers in more than one direction. "Glaciers don't just move in one direction," Miranda said. "Try modeling glacial retreat and advance in one or both substrates."

They also talked about the vastness of glaciers.

"When we think about the glacier that used to cover this area, who remembers how thick it was?" she asked. The answer: five Space Needles, or 3,000 feet thick.

Above the lab station, a strand of dragonfly-shaped lights hangs from the ceiling. The walls feature pressed plant samples, pictures of plants and animals, and a quote from a Lord Byron poem. All around are small frog statues made of metal and wood, representing SHADOW's patron animal. Along one wall is a countertop covered in specimens and items such as feathers, pinecones, bark, a piece of bee hive, moss, pine and Douglas fir branches, a bird's nest, rocks, a skull and a real, stuffed heron. Two microscopes are also available for a close-up view of samples.

After finishing their small-group work, students moved around the lab, checking out the samples from the bog and forest, and looking through the microscopes.

If you'd like to check out the bog as a family, the boardwalk is open from dawn to dusk every day. SHADOW also hosts educational events throughout the year. For more information about the preserve, visit http://shadowhabitat.org// or their Facebook page.
A Rock Creek fourth-grade student looks at a sample under the microscope while her classmate checks out some moss during the laboratory portion of the field trip recently.
Next superintendent talks with staffs, community leadersSuptVisit
Tahoma's next superintendent, Tony Giurado, talks with Chamber President Erica Dial (red shirt), while chamber members Jim Flynn, Bill VanRuff and Sue VanRuff listen at right. Giurado spent last Monday and Tuesday touring the district, speaking with groups of staff and, as seen here, with community leaders from groups such as the chamber, City of Maple Valley, Historical Society, service clubs and PTA/PTO organizations. For the article about Giurado from the last issue of the newsletter, click here.
Giurado talks with teachers and staff members at Shadow Lake Elementary last week. While in town, he also met with department heads, attended the School Board work study session and made arrangements for his family's move from Colorado to Maple Valley.
"Tarzan" wins two Fifth Avenue Theatre awardsTarzanWins
The cast of _Tarzan_ on stage at the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards
Courtesy photo
The cast and crew of "Tarzan" was awarded "Outstanding Overall Musical Production" during the 5th Avenue Theatre awards last week, along with "Outstanding Stage Crew." For more about the awards, click here. 

More than 2,000 teens from throughout Washington state gathered last week at the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards. Among them were the cast, crew, staff and volunteers from Tahoma High School, who worked to put on Disney's "Tarzan" this spring. Tahoma was awarded "Outstanding Overall Musical" and "Outstanding Stage Crew."

"The kids worked so hard on this production - they truly put their blood, sweat, and tears into this show, and to see their hard work recognized last night was a really beautiful thing. It was wonderfully overwhelming to see so much joy on that stage last night," said Melissa Bean, director. "We had a new (but awesome!) challenge this year learning to operate and design for the new PAC, but the kids completely embraced it. We are so lucky to have such amazing kids in this district who are talented, creative, and willing to take risks. What an amazing celebration of musical theatre last night was!"

Musical director Ken Riggs said he was also excited to see the students receive recognition.

"They put on an amazing show, and this award was well-deserved. Tarzan definitely came off as one of the most polished, professional productions we've done, in part thanks to our new PAC," Riggs said. "This was also the strongest student orchestra we've had. I kept hearing from audience members that they thought it was recorded music. It was a very fun show to do, and a great way to learn the capabilities of our new space."

Cast members Katrina Paige, junior; Kate Walker, freshman; Jessica B., sixth grade; and Allie Orozco, junior, shared their reactions to the awards:

  • Paige: "I felt so proud of my cast. Tears started to run down my face because I felt so honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award for all of our hard work. It meant so much to me and my whole tribe to get recognized for doing something we love! ... I enjoyed all the dance numbers and the high energy we got to bring to the stage. It was so fun being able to transform ourselves into apes and become something so different from what we usually play. I got to fly and it was such an amazing feeling being up in the air throwing out toilet paper and grooving with the music!"
  • Walker: "The first word that comes to mind is unbelievable. I'm one of two freshmen that got into the production and never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I'd be able to perform on a Broadway stage. ... When they read our name for best production. We were all speechless: crying, jumping for joy, the happiest we have ever been. ... It's a memory that will always be in our hearts, and the cast will always be in my heart as well. There are no words to fully describe how phenomenal that experience was."
  • Jessica: "Winning the 5th Ave. award is the highest honor in high school musical theater, and to be honored for our Tahoma production of 'Tarzan' is a dream come true! ... I am humbled to perform under Melissa Bean, her amazing production team and my Tarzan tribe, all of whom have inspired me to be my very best!"
  • Orozco: "I felt shocked. I didn't think it was real. As reality set in, I was ecstatic! 'Tarzan' was a success because of all of the hundreds of hours of work each party put in to the production. Tahoma has a lot of energy, and a lot of talent!"
School Board honors staff who retired, resignedRetiresResigns
The Tahoma School Board recently held its annual reception to honor retiring employees and longtime employees who are leaving the district for other reasons. Board members read brief biographies of each employee and presented them with a plaque or certificate in recognition of their service to the school district. Retirees who attended included, front row, from left -- Dyann McVay, Sue Baldwin, Kim Bergeson, Jill Gabriel, and Cindy Nelson. Back row, from left-- Sharlene Bielefeld, Sue Belleville, Pam Stickle, Carmen Pynn, Ken Eide, Tom Hansen, and Cindi Bennison. Other employees who are retiring or resigning include Bill Weis, Amy Torrens-Harry, Yvonne Allard, Karen Brunette, Melissa Flatt, Margaret Fox, Lynn Holstein, John Olson, Jerry Papers, Donna Scanlon-Olson, Judy Tabit, and Melissa Younce.Thank you, each, for serving Tahoma students!

For brief biographies of those who were recognized, click here.
District KudosDistrictKudos
Nick and Kyle with Coach Hayden
Coach Russ Hayden, center, with Nick Dazell and Kyle Sherick.
Tahoma seniors Kyle Sherick and Nick Dazell played in the Washington Senior Baseball All State Games last weekend. Both represented themselves and Tahoma proudly.

Dazell was named the Washington All State Most Valuable Defensive Player of year award. He played first base and pitched three scoreless innings, not allowing a hit, while striking out five batters.

Coach Russ Hayden coached the All State Game, and was also inducted into the Washington State Coaches Association Hall of Fame. To read a prior article about Hayden's recognition, click here and scroll to the second "Kudos" item: http://bit.ly/TSDhallOfFame

Track and field player, coaches awarded
Tahoma High School senior Breanna Glover was recognized as female track athlete of the year for the North Puget Sound League Cascade Division. Coaches Jeff Brady and Keith Eager were awarded coach of the year for girls and boys teams, respectively.

Staff, volunteers receive awards
Parent-teacher groups at six schools recognized staff and volunteer achievements with awards.

Cedar River Elementary
"Otterific" Teacher of the year: Melissa Huizenga
"Otterific" Staff member of the year: Edwin Torres
Golden Otter Award: Kim Blessing
Silver Otter Award: Jennifer Otte
Bronze Otter Award: Amy Raulerson
Co-presidents' choice award: Doug Schlicter

Glacier Park Elementary
Teacher of the year: Cindi Bennison
Staff member of the year: Kate Hood
Volunteer of the year: Paleia Cartier

Lake Wilderness Elementary
Golden Acorn recipient: Lindsey Hoffman
Educator of the year: Rosemary Lathrop

Rock Creek Elementary
Teachers of the year: Kim Fitzpatrick and Chelsea Cameron
Staff members of the year: Joanie Kokoczk and Jim Saftich
Volunteers of the year: Erin Vu and Jami Gallegos

Maple View Middle School
Outstanding educator: Kathryn Strojan
Volunteers of the year: Diana Pezzino and Sue Boyd

Summit Trail Middle School
The STMS PTA will announce their recipients on the last day of school, and post them online.

Spotlight on Tahoma High SchoolSpotlightYoga
Students perform live music during yoga classes
Students perform live music during yoga
Bennett Campbell and Zach Ceccato perform live during yoga class at Tahoma High School recently.
The auxiliary gym at Tahoma High School one recent morning was filled with the sounds of live guitar music, performed by two seniors for students in Mitch Boyer's yoga classes. Bennett Campbell and Zach Ceccato covered songs by Zakk Wylde, the Grateful Dead, Mac DeMarco, Alice in Chains, Blind Melon and other groups.

"This unique experience allows students to continue their yoga practice in a fun and engaging environment. With the growth in popularity of yoga, studios all over the country are including live music in their class offerings as a way to encourage more people to attend," Boyer said.

More than 400 students took yoga at THS this year, the first year it was offered.

"Yoga allows students to focus on their physical fitness while emphasizing mental and emotional health. We focus on being present and taking advantage of every moment," Boyer said. "Throughout the course of the semester I noticed a major growth in students' abilities to be intrinsically motivated. "

One of the goals of the curriculum is to give students the foundational knowledge to continue their yoga practice with safe and correct form.

Last year two former Tahoma students performed for one of Boyer's team sports classes during a yoga fitness day, and the idea of this year's event came up when Campbell shared his passion for music with Boyer.

"He and Zach constructed a set list and began to practice," Boyer said. "Bennett and Zach did a fantastic job and I hope to do something similar every semester."

Students hold a yoga pose during class
Mitch Boyer leads students during yoga class with live music.
News BriefsNewsBriefs
Volunteers sought for technology model review
The district is looking for staff, student, parent, and community volunteers interested in serving on a technology model review committee. We recognize that technology is a driving force for change in how people communicate and acquire knowledge in a rapidly changing world. Today, technology is an essential tool that allows our students and staff opportunities to communicate, collaborate and create content as a community of learners to ensure that all students graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to live, learn and work in the 21st Century. The work of this team will inform revisions to the Tahoma Technology Plan and provide the basis for a potential technology levy.

We will convene the technology model review early in September. The work of this team will inform revisions to our Tahoma Technology Plan. The technology plan provides the lens for evaluating and determining technology equipment, software, and support levels required to meet the productivity and learning needs of staff and students. Any gap between state funding and local needs then forms the basis for a potential technology levy. We anticipate the model review following the general structure of the other model reviews we have completed over the last three years with a series of large group meetings and some smaller subcommittee work happening between large group meetings. The school board has asked for the team to complete their work by December 2018.

We invite parents, community members, students, and staff who would like to be involved to  indicate their interest using this link. We need balanced representation across our stakeholder groups and will do a random selection if we have more volunteers than needed. We have scheduled the following dates for the large group meetings:
  • Meeting #1: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018
  • Meeting #2: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018
  • Meeting #3: Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018
  • Meeting #4: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
Please contact the Teaching and Learning at 425-413-3430 if you have questions.

Website changes coming
The Tahoma School district is in the process of changing its website to be more up-to-date and mobile-friendly. Please be aware that the change will be happening at the end of June/beginning of July, so if you notice anomalies during that time on the web, it is likely due to the migration. If you have questions about anything that you can't find online, please call the district office at 425-413-3400.

The individual school building websites will be transitioning after the district page. If you can't find the information you are seeking on your child's school page, please call the office at their school; or,  if your child's school building is closed for break, call the district office.

Help reduce learning loss with Summer Learning Connections
We hope students won't take a total break from learning as they relax and recharge over the summer. There are many opportunities for learning during summer and we hope parents are taking advantage of these with their child.

To help with that, we are again providing our Summer Learning Connection newsletter, filled with ideas and resources to help students stay sharp even while they are on vacation. The Summer Learning Connections are posted to our website. Please note: The district website will be changing between the last week of June and first week of July. If this link no longer works, please go to the main page of the website and look for the new link, or, look for our email in your inbox.

We invite you to click in and check out some of the highlighted learning activities. Summer Learning Connections are customized by grade level and come out approximately weekly through the end of August. We notify parents when each new edition posts to the Tahoma website through parent e-mail. Our first edition for this summer will come out the last week of June.

Online payment system unavailable in July
The district's online payment system will not be available in July. Parents will not be able to add money to their child's food services account, or make payments for other services.

The system will be available again in August.

Cedar River wins friendly competition between buildings
The Maple Valley Bear Run each year offers the school buildings the chance to compete for most students who participate in the run/walk, for bragging rights and the chance to display the large stuffed bear. Cedar River Elementary won this year's contest, with 47 Otters participating in the event.

Dismissal times, summer EEP information 
Here are important times and dates for the end of the school year:
  • Last day of school dismissal for Tahoma High School: Wednesday, June 20, 10:40 a.m.
  • Last day of school dismissal for the middle schools: Wednesday, June 20, 11 a.m.
  • Last day of school dismissal for Glacier Park, Lake Wilderness, Shadow Lake: Noon, Wednesday, June 20.
  • Last day of school dismissal for Cedar River, Rock Creek, Tahoma Elementary: 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 20
  • EEP: After school care ends at 6:30 p.m. on June 20. There is no care available June 21 or 22. Summer program begins at Lake Wilderness at 6 a.m. on June 25. There is no care available on Aug. 20 or Sept. 3.

Incoming sixth-graders need proof of Tdap
Parents and guardians of incoming sixth-grade students received an email reminder about the requirement for the Tdap vaccine for students ages 11 and older. Beginning on July 1, 2017, children attending sixth grade are required to show proof of Tdap vaccination for entry into sixth grade, unless the student is younger than 11 years old on the first day of school or has previously received a Tdap vaccination. This is different from the Dtap vaccines that were administered prior to attending kindergarten.

If you can complete the form before the end of the school year, please submit it to the nurse at your child's current school. Or, if you complete the form after the end of the school year, please submit it before the first day of school to the middle school that your child will attend.

For the form, click here: http://bit.ly/TSDtdapImmunization

Tahoma is hiring!
The school district has immediate openings for bus drivers, support personnel and substitute positions. Free training is offered to bus-driving candidates and there will be opportunities to move quickly from substitute positions to regular bus routes. The school district will have open driving positions this summer, due to attrition caused by drivers who plan to retire or relocate.

For a complete listing of job openings and to complete an online application, please go to https://tahomajobs.hrmplus.net. If you have questions, please contact Tahoma Human Resources at 425-413-3406.

Tahoma students, staff participate in Maple Valley Days parade
Tahoma's Future Farmers of America students -- and animals -- braved the crazy spring weather during the parade.

Tahoma High School senior (now graduate) Breanna Glover was selected as the student of the year.

Superintendent Rob Morrow was honored as the Grand Marshal of the parade. The city also awarded him the Golden Maple Leaf and proclaimed June 9 as Rob Morrow Day. Pictured is Morrow with his wife, Laura, who teaches at Glacier Park Elementary.

Cindy Darcy, who is the district's purchasing and risk agent, and who also oversaw the transition to the new buildings and the renovation projects throughout the district, was selected as the employee of the year. 

Coming up in Bear CountryBearCountry

Last day of school, districtwide

TUESDAY, Sept. 4
First day of school for 2018-2019 school year

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: wcastlem@tahomasd.us
 Tahoma School District | 425-413-3400 | www.tahomasd.us