Tacoma Specialists
news & updates
September 2020 Vol. 17 View previous issues 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
A Real Life Example:
Specialists in our elementary schools have been deployed without a thought toward quality of instruction, equity of access, or equity of workload. The stress this creates for a teacher striving to be effective is crippling. In the school described below, specialists are being asked to create and deliver quality instruction for their "home" school, as well as for classes that they see once a week with no idea of what the students are doing while with one or even two other teachers. Keeping track of who knows what and where to go from there is not possible when there is no time allowed for collaboration. Meeting evaluation requirements is out of reach. Being part of the school community is unlikely. Students and teachers have been set up for failure.
A large portion of specialists are in similar situations, while others have been tasked with a single school, seemingly randomly. Workloads vary greatly.
Please complete the
Specialist Remote Working Conditions Survey so that we have a better idea of the working conditions of elementary specialists during remote learning. We will be sharing a summary of this information with TEA so that they can better advocate for us. Thanks to the 13 folks who have already contributed.
As of publication time, we have received no response to our letter to the TEA Executive Board, outlining our goals and work up to this point, and clarifying misperceptions on the part of TEA. We hope to hear from them soon so that we can move forward together to everyone's benefit.
One School's Schedule for Music
This school is .6FTE and is split between teachers A, B, and C

9 classes.   
Not one single student has the same teacher for both music lessons.
Music Teacher A shares classes with 2 other music teachers.  
Music Teacher A is the primary music teacher at another school.
Music Teacher B shares classes with 2 other music teachers.  
Music Teacher B is the primary music teacher at another school.
Music Teacher C  shares classes with 2 other music teachers.  
Music Teacher C is the primary music teacher at another school.
No teacher is the lead specialist for this building.
None of these teachers have time for planning co-teaching.
The students at this school have different music teachers each year.
Great Work!

Stafford PE Teacher, Matt Wood is going to be featured on the district Facebook page for the amazing work he's doing, keeping students engaged with video lessons. Elementary PE Teachers are part of a school's core, interacting with every student in the school for their entire elementary career. Along with Music and Library specialists, these are people who are in it for the long haul, helping students develop life-long skills, attitudes, and knowledge. Matt is currently full time at Stafford which allows him to build community and trust with his students and fellow staff members. Being in a stable working situation gives teachers and students both incentive and opportunity to strive for excellence. Look for Matt's story on Facebook soon!
If you'd like to Celebrate a Specialist, send us a picture, video, article, drawing, song, limerick... whatever at tacomaspecialists@gmail.com. Submissions will go out in the newsletter and be posted on tacomaspecialists.org on our new page. Infect someone with positivity, or blow your own horn!
If you would be willing to make a public comment to the school board, please let us know.
New Protocols for addressing the school board can be found here.
Newsletter information, articles, and more can now be found at

We've changed tools, but continue to advocate for working conditions which allow for the safety of staff and students, high quality instruction, equitable workloads for staff and equitable access to instruction for students.
Check in often as we build this resource. Newsletters will continue, but will be more streamlined and this will be the place where the information and resources we gather will reside.

Add your voice to the conversation on the blog page. Find job-specific information on the PE and Music pages. Check for the latest specialist-centric tech tips, or check out the state of the specialist community on the information pages.
Scroll over the headings on the menu bar to find drop-downs with more pages.

Vent. Encourage. Help colleagues. Find inspiration...
If you would like more information on how you can help advocate for our students and Music, PE and Library educators, please click to add yourself to our advocacy group.
A council representing PE, Music, and Library have been meeting to gather information, rally support and determine next steps for solving district-wide Safety, Quality and Equity issues for specialist programs, students, and staff.

Click below to join our mailing list and be kept in the loop as the situation evolves.
Your information will not be shared without your permission.
Please include your:
Name, Building (any you have connections with), and Role (Staff Position, Parent, Citizen, Student)