Tacoma Specialists
news & updates
March 2021 Vol. 31
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Rethinking CAB Deployment

The current system of assigning specialists, "CAB Deployment", is in need of reform. As things stand, program and personnel decisions are being made by arbitrarily appointed administrators with little understanding of the day to day operations of specialist programs, and no interest in their success in providing students with meaningful instruction. Evidence of this is clear in many of our current positions. This is not a reflection on individuals, but a flaw in the system. Administrators having no connection with the parties involved are being tasked with plugging people into slots. Having many other pressing responsibilities, that's exactly what they do. No more, no less.

As many of us have learned, every building has its own culture and climate, strengths, and needs. Since those in charge of placing us are unfamiliar with most of the building needs as well as of what skills each of us brings, it would make more sense for us to be on the same footing with other classroom teachers when it comes to where we teach. Interviewing with a building staff, having the job stability to build relationships and strong effective programs over time, and being able to make our own career decisions should be the norm. We should be afforded the same protections against displacement and involuntary transfer as other certified gen. ed. educators.

It is important for the district to be able to move resources to where they are needed. It is also important for specialists to be treated equitably and with professional respect. Many districts are able to maintain a fair balance. TPS can too.

Please take the time to share your ideas for reforming the deployment process. Share with colleagues, union reps, and administration. We have had our rights bargained away, and being a minority, we cannot, with our votes alone, rectify the problem. Now is the time to speak up if we would like to see changes made in coming agreements. Working together we can come up with a solution that makes TPS a better place to learn and work.

  • Create Department Head positions to help promote a k-12 vision for programs.
  • Allow Department Heads to oversee placements and communicate opportunities within each department (PE, Music, Library).
  • Apply displacement and involuntary transfer language to specialists
  • Receive assignments before contracts
  • Publicize the staffing formula

Please engage Shannon Ergun, Christa Erolin, Lisa Nolan, Forrest Griek, and Kristin Bell in conversation about how this particular inequity can be lessened.

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.
Be Sure to Submit Your Trimester 2 Overload Pay Request
  • Submit for pay once each trimester
  • Link to form
  • It will be “Certificated Class Overage Stipend” on your paycheck.
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)
The View From Here of my Kindergarten class. Every week. For the whole time.--Maggie Ross

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.
Invite the School Board to make a Resolution!
Click the link below for more information

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!