Tacoma Specialists
news & updates
March 2021 Vol. 29
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School Board Meetings Go Hybrid

Beginning this Thursday, March 11, TPS School Board Meetings will go to a hybrid format. 30 reservable seats in the Auditorium at CAB will be complemented with Live Stream access. You may address the board in person or electronically. For directions and guidelines, visit the School Board website.
Golden Apple Award-Winner Matt Wood will be honored at this week's meeting.
Invite the School Board to make a Resolution!
Click the link below for more information
Safety First
Look for an email with the latest Covid Safety Protocols. Mary Waterbly will be clarifying precautions that must be taken by all staff to ensure the safety of everyone from the risks of contracting or spreading Covid, as well as from the legal liabilities arising from failing to follow Health Dept. and TPS policy.
The View From Here
Photo Contest

Send us a screenshot, photo, or video of what a Teams class looks like from your point of view.
Who can you see? Hear? How many windows can you juggle?

Caption your photo if you like.

Top entries will be published each week. Each submission will be entered into a drawing for fabulous* prizes!
Protect student privacy as necessary.

(*fabulousness determined by editorial staff)
Plan for Hunt Middle School Music Offerings Brings Systemic Inequalities to Light

Peter Briggs writes to ask administrators to consider the big picture, inviting TPS educators to co-sign. Here is an excerpt of his letter. Click "Read More" below to see the entire letter.

"TPS affords building principals a large amount of discretion for allocating FTE. This enables buildings to be individualized, innovative and to meet the specific needs of their community. However, skill-based subjects that sequence learning K-12 require a connection and continuity between schools. For example, it does not serve students well to have a middle school offering multiple years of French feeding a high school that does not offer French. Likewise, at Lincoln, our administration sees choir as a core part of our Arts offerings and sincerely struggles to maintain our choral program when Stewart and Giaudrone do not offer choir. What is the wisdom in offering musical theater or dance at a middle school (as I understand Hunt MS will do), when there is no support for these programs at a nearby high school?"

"With equity as a core value of our district, how do we justify the decision to have such variance in core subjects between schools? Our current inequity provides unfair advantage to our students that live in a neighborhood with schools offering sequential programming across middle and high schools. These students have greater opportunities and more access to the Arts. Students without these programs are limited in their ability to develop proficiency over multiple years, less likely to pursue arts education post-secondary and unprepared to audition for collegiate programs or scholarships."
Healthier students are better learners
If you are being asked to work outside of your contract, please contact Shannon Ergun at TEA.
with questions and concerns about vaccinations and returning to the classroom
Please be in contact with the secondary specialists which your programs feed.

While they are currently dealing with their own set of problems, the lack of a clear district-wide vision of Music and PE programs means that their programs will be cut off at the roots.

Invite them to partner with you to create a k-12 pathway for students to access comprehensive quality instruction.
Please engage Christa Erolin and Kristin Bell in conversation about our role in a comprehensive education, as well as what is needed for us to be effective educators.

A long letter is not necessary. When questions about current situations or future deployment occur to you, just shoot out an email with your question -- the idea being that we can raise awareness that there are both wide-spread and more specific situations that need to be addressed in order to serve every student every day with quality instruction.

Please encourage principals, district administrators, union representatives, parents, and community members in an effort to ensure students have these opportunities going forward.

Visit tacomaspecialists.org for advocacy materials, who to address, and example letters to help organize your thoughts and promote a productive dialog.
Tech Tips for Specialists

Classroom teachers can let you speak through the big screen speakers in Teams by clicking on the 3 dots at the top of the page and adjusting the device settings to correspond with the speaker associated with their presentation board.


Do you have two screens?
Do you need another screen?
Working from two screens can improve your lessons, minimizing the window shuffle and improving your interface with students. Check out this organization which can help you get what you need for teaching.

If you'd like to Celebrate a Specialist, send us a picture, video, article, drawing, song, limerick... whatever at

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!