Oct. 4, 2018
In this issue:
Staff spotlight: Para forges connections with students
District adopts new reading curriculum for grades 3-5
TSD flu shot clinic announced
How to opt in (or out) for Tahoma text messages
School Board News
District kudos
News briefs
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?

Staff spotlight: MVMS paraeducator forges connections with students one smile at a time
When students walk through the 500s hall at Maple View Middle School, they are often met with Rebecca Bergstrom’s vibrant, contagious smile, and an energetic greeting. “Hello!” “Hola!” “Bonjour!” Or, a “Good morning -- how was your test?” Bergstrom and Behavior Intervention Specialist Melinda Gray talk briefly with students from all classes as they pass through the hall, along with the occasional high five or pat on the shoulder. 

Bergstrom is a paraeducator who works with Gray in the behavior intervention specialist special education classroom, where class sizes range from two students to seven. She also offers support in a chemistry class that has both general education and special education students. In any setting, her energetic, lively and compassionate manner helps her connect with students.

“Rebecca has a positive attitude that permeates her day,” Gray said “She truly enjoys kids and can help them when they are struggling. Her intuitive nature encourages students and they know she is a safe, trusted adult who is in their corner.”

Gray and Bergstrom help students work on social and emotional learning, and equip them with coping mechanisms to use throughout their school day and in life outside school. They discuss and learn about topics such as stress, bullying, and expected/unexpected behaviors. They also help students with homework from other classes, and they’re available throughout the day to assist their students who may need a break or “reset” after a frustrating situation in another class.

On one recent morning, the entry question asked students to share about the last situation that made them lose control emotionally. Emotional check-ins are a frequent part of the BIS classroom -- both at the beginning of class and throughout. Bergstrom and Gray ask the students to identify where they are on a five-point scale, where a “1” is “Doing great, feeling good about myself and about what is going on around me” and a “5” is “I can’t stand this. I am ready to explode.” They also share with the students about how they are each feeling and why.

Answering the entry question, one teen described a situation where another student once said mean things to him.

“I didn’t want to do the same thing (back),” the teen continued. 

“I like that about you,” Bergstrom replied. “Did you walk away?”

“Yes,” he said. 

She asked the student to talk a bit more about how he felt and any coping strategies he used.

“It’s really cool to learn from each student,” says Bergstrom, who spent the past couple of years working one on one with high needs behavior students. “I have fun all day. I do just love connecting with kids, even the really tough ones.”

“Probably the best thing I can give to these kiddos is my energy,” she added. “I really love the feeling that they know that I care about them. … Even if it’s only one person that you can help have a better day, it’s worth it.”

Before working for Tahoma, she served in the Navy, earned her cosmetology license and worked for Starbucks (which she still enjoys doing on the weekends and during summer).

“This is finally home,” Bergstrom says. “I’ve slowed down.”

Although she says she has slowed down, her next goal is earning her associate’s degree and her teaching degree so that she can teach in either science or behavior classes.

Last year, Maple View Middle School administrators found themselves without a boys baseball coach, and the program was at risk of being cut for the season. Bergstrom has a background in fastpitch and felt that this was another chance to connect with students. So, she made a quick decision and went home the day of tryouts to get her glove. Bergstrom and teacher Nathan Oliver coached together. Although some of the boys on the team seemed dubious at first, they quickly learned to respect her abilities and attitude. Bergstrom’s team was undefeated, 6-0.

“She won them over with her enthusiasm, passion, and her knowledge and skill,” Dean of Students Pam McKinney said. “Rebecca is such an asset to our school team and overall climate. She regularly goes above and beyond and looks for ways to make both staff and students feel connected and positive about being here at MVMS. … She’s funny, authentic, and a ‘go-to’ for many people in our building.”

One of Bergstrom and Gray’s students has taken to joining them to greet others in the hall. Although Bergstrom asked him to do it as an assignment initially, he has become infinitely more comfortable with what was once a task and now thoroughly enjoys it. The idea behind the assignment was to ask the student to step out of his comfort zone. It worked.

“Hola!” the student calls out to his peers with enthusiasm. “Bonjour!”
Above: Paraeducator Rebecca Bergstrom greets a Maple View student between classes.

Photo at top: Bergstrom laughs with a student during passing time.

District adopts new reading curriculum for grades 3-5
Next school year, all third, fourth and fifth-grade students in the district will use a new reading curriculum called “Schoolwide Reading Fundamentals,” which the School Board approved at their July 24 meeting. A few teachers at each elementary building are implementing the curriculum this year as early adopters, to help pave the way for a smooth transition for all teachers and students next year.

“We’re very excited,” said Shelley Huylar, who is the K-5 literacy specialist for the district.”We think this curriculum will be wonderful for fostering a love for reading and preparing our students for the best future possible as readers and thinkers.”

A committee researched what other districts were using, evaluated potential new curriculum choices, narrowed the list and finally recommended that the board select Schoolwide. Tahoma Elementary Principal Jerry Gaston and Huylar co-chaired the committee; it also included one teacher per building in grades 3-5 (18 teachers total), three reading specialists and an instructional coach. 

Gaston said the research the group completed was extensive, and was designed to determine what could be done to best meet the needs of students in their literacy growth and achievement, as well as maintain the district's long-standing reputation for being leaders in early literacy.

"There are two things, in the end, that really feel good," Gaston said. "One of them is that we have an adopted curriculum that will help to build on our successes and create even greater consistency across all campuses in the experiences each student will have. Another is that it became the choice based on the thoughtful and diligent work of a team of teachers. It was such a spectacularly collaborative effort filled with deep questioning, and careful evaluating of each possibility -- the best adoption work I have ever been involved with to date."

The other two curriculum choices that were evaluated but not selected were Mondo Bookshop and Lucy Calkins Reading Units of Study. Lucy Calkins came in as a close second choice; Mondo was the most expensive of those that were in the running. Each program was evaluated in areas including content and organization, text format, Tahoma reading area criteria, teacher’s guide and more.

Schoolwide has two components that many of the committee members were excited about: equal emphasis on nonfiction and fiction; and, an assessment component that is provided within each lesson. The new curriculum is organized around a genre, rather than a theme, and allows students to self-select books from a much broader range of choices.

The estimated cost approved was $3,500 per teacher; the total for 85 teachers with tax and shipping was estimated at $357,000. The new program is replacing materials that are more than 15 years old. That curriculum, "Reader's Workshop," was created by then-director of Teaching and Learning Nancy Skerritt and former Glacier Park principal Emilie Hard, who is now Issaquah School District's assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning.

As part of the curriculum, Schoolwide also offers comprehensive online resources called Fundamentals Unlimited, including strategies for differentiation (teaching to students of varying skill level within the same class or group), and follow-up activities.

“Personally, I’m excited for the digital resources,” third-grade TES teacher Tenaya Williams said during the board’s first reading of the proposed curriculum approval on June 26. “There is quite a bit of great video for professional support.” 

Lisa Long, who teaches fifth grade at Lake Wilderness Elementary, told the board that Schoolwide aligns well with Tahoma’s belief in deep learning. “The Future Ready Skills weave into this very well.”

The new program is based on eight core lessons, each of which are followed up by modules that reinforce those skills and strategies.

Cedar River Elementary third-grade teacher Amy Thompson emphasized that Schoolwide is focused on teaching the reader, not just reading.

"I love that in every lesson is says that 'it is essential that your students have time to read books of their choice on a daily basis.' Students have dedicated time to read each day and practice the skills and strategies taught. This gives me, the teacher, time to meet with students and small groups," Thompson said. "A focus of this launch unit is that reading is thinking and we record this great thinking so that we can share our ideas with others. Everyone loves to talk about a great book! Our discussions are creating deep connections and reflections rich with evidence from the text." 

Tahoma flu shot clinic announced
Tahoma families are invited to the annual flu shot clinic, hosted by the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association. This year's clinic will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the gym at Glacier Park Elementary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that every person older than six months of age be vaccinated against the flu. The clinic is open to all Tahoma School District faculty, staff, students and their families (any children ages 4 and older). Students who are younger than 18 will need a patient consent form signed by a parent or guardian.

All participants will be asked to provide their health insurance information card to receive an immunization. The visiting nurse association will electronically bill the insurance plan for each flu shot; they bill nearly every insurance plan but are not able to accept Cigna. Students 18 years old and younger who do not have current health insurance coverage will be offered a flu shot at no cost. Adults without insurance coverage may pay the $40 immunization fee with cash or check.

The SVNA provides the standard Quadrivalent (four strains) vaccine. The nurses carry a small amount of Thimerosal-free (preservative free) vaccine, which is offered to pregnant women as required by state regulation. Nurses my accommodate requests by non-pregnant attendees if there are enough doses available. This clinic will not offer the high dose vaccine for those who are older than 65, the flu mist vaccine or pneumonia vaccine.

We will be posting additional information and forms to the district website for those who would like to print them and fill out their information before arriving at the clinic.

How to opt in (or out) for TSD text messages
Do you want to receive Tahoma School District texts with information about events, school closures, safety alerts & more? This school year, the district began using a new tool by SchoolMessenger called “Communicate.”

The product allows staff members to send email and phone messages to families and staff members; it can also send text messages to parents, but it will be used only as an “opt-in” system. During the month of October, the district is running an opt-in campaign asking parents whether they would like to receive these text notifications.

Ready to get started? To opt in, send a text message of "Y" or "Yes" to 67587. You can opt out of these messages at any time by simply replying to any message with "Stop."

If you do not want to receive text messages from the school district, you do not need to take any action.

Notifications may be sent districtwide, such as in an emergency or in case of delays or closures due to inclement weather; or, they may be sent to only parents/guardians of an affected building. In some cases, we may send only a phone, email or text message, and in other emergent situations, we will send messages using all three.

Click here to read a flyer with more information in English and Spanish.

For parents of middle school and high school students using “Remind” text notifications from specific teachers or staff, this system is unrelated and won’t affect those notifications.

If you have any questions about this service or product, please email us at TSDMessages@tahomasd.us or call the Communications Office at 425-413-3409.

The Tahoma School Board met for a two-day work study session last month, to receive updates from district administrators about finance, operations, maintenance, transportation, food service, technology, capital projects, housing/boundaries, human resources, special services, teaching and learning and more. The board re-examined its board goals and targets, and scheduled work study sessions for the year.

Board members also discussed the possibility of creating a new, ongoing series of sessions for the purpose of engagement, open dialogue and two-way communication with parents, community members, staff and students. Superintendent Tony Giurado shared his experience with a similar format in another district. The idea, as discussed, would involve a series of sessions about relevant topics, such as communication, safety, and the district budget. Topics and sessions would be scheduled in advance so that parents and community members would have time to plan to attend. The board asked Giurado to build a framework and plan for how the sessions would work, and bring more information back to them.

Other topics the board discussed during the sessions included the transition from former superintendent Rob Morrow to new Superintendent Giurado; the Transportation Vehicle Fund (which we will share more about in an upcoming district newsletter); the Technology Model Review Committee; the Regional Learning Center; and, an update on STEM, music and art at the elementary level.

City, school district invite community to R.E.A.D.Y. mental health talk
The greater Maple Valley community is invited to attend a special presentation designed to equip people with basic knowledge about mental and behavioral health issues that can be used to assist people in crisis.

The program is called R.E.A.D.Y., an acronym for Real Emergency Aid Depends on You. The one-hour presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 26 in the Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center. It is open to all community members and is sponsored by the City of Maple Valley and the Tahoma School District.

The R.E.A.D.Y. program was developed by the City of Auburn, in collaboration with health care professionals and counselors. It is designed as the “CPR of mental illness,” said Pat Bailey, Community Health Consultant for the City of Auburn. 

“When people nationally stepped up to be trained in CPR, a major trend took hold in this country and heart attack victims were saved,” Bailey explained. “We must do the same with mental illness and suicide and inform and educate all people, so that people with a mental illness or a significant life stressor are not ashamed or afraid to seek help and the stigmas attached to mental and behavioral issues are eliminated.”

The October 26 program will be presented by Dr. Stephen Anderson, an emergency medicine physician for MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and Chair of the Board of Directors of the American College of Emergency Physicians. The program provides basic tools to assist someone having a mental health crisis until professional help arrives. The presentation will include information specific to the Maple Valley area, including mental health statistics. Dr. Anderson will discuss common mental health issues but also will address teen suicide by talking about major warning signs of teen mental health issues and providing five ways a teen might be asking for help with a mental health challenge.

For further details, contact the City of Maple Valley at 425-413-8800 or Tahoma School District at 425-413-3400.

Tahoma High School AP Scholars honored
The Tahoma School Board on Tuesday recognized the Tahoma High School AP Scholars for 2018. The award is given by the College Board to students who have taken at least three AP exams and have earned a passing (or higher) average score.

The recognition was presented to 91 students, all of whom earned the award in their sophomore or junior year, and several of whom won an award for the second year in a row.

Charisse Braun, Tahoma’s AP Coordinator, said she thinks the number of AP Scholars will only continue to grow.

“Eighty percent of our AP Scholars this year took AP Human Geography, and we saw a 30 percent increase in enrollment in that course last year," Braun said. "Most of those students have gone on to take another AP humanities course in 2018-19. It’s been really exciting to see more students take on this challenge and succeed.”
The AP Scholar Award for 2018 was granted to 38 Tahoma High School students who received scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams. Those students (not in order pictured) are: Ethan Bailey, Elizaveta Bell, Bret Berry, Dane Bowman-Weston, Alyssa Burkhead, Emily DeBolt, Rylan Ellis, Djanaya Esiong, Andrew Fleming, Abagail Goodell, Benjamin Hansen, Mathew Harr, Artur Hrabar, Megan Johnson, Faith Jordan, Lily Kindgren, Rachel Kovacs, Madeleine Magana, Jessica Meyer, Katie Moulton, Sierra Muehlbauer, Laura Myers, Quintin Nguyen, Kaitlyn Opland, Emma Parnello, Madison Quinn, Joseph Ribera, Supreet Sandhu, Zackary Schorn, Garrett Stern, Ian Strand, Karen Sullivan, Rohit Tripathy, Amy Velasco, Janae Wade, Jack Wagner, Connor Webb, Anika Wilson.

The AP Scholar with Honor award was granted to 22 THS students, each of whom received an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. Those students are (not in order pictured): Leah Billings, Shaun Brazelton, Elizabeth Burt, Kaylon Clements, Matthew Culp, Catherine Dennis, Elizabeth Diaz, Austin Freeman, Sophia Heinz, Makenna Kilgallon, Erin Kim, Cameran Larsen, Loranne Lecato, Anna Lewis, Emma Nickel, Madeline Nielsen, Emiri Nishizawa, Andrew Oliver, Christina Ring, Mallika Sansgiri, Eli Smith, Joel Verkruyse.
The AP Scholar with Distinction award was granted to 25 THS students, each of whom received an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. Those students are (not in order pictured): Shane Beres, Avery Black, Jeremiah Briere, Jacob Burianek, Aidan Callen, Victoria Chung, Emily Clark, Melinda Day, Justin Freeman, Lydia Howell, Isaac Jensen, Natalie Nordell, Kallen Paterson, Nolan Peters, Skyler Preedy, Jacen Rees, Eric Rogers, Nathan Schill, Kacie Soiseth, Marynne Strobel, Madeline Teddy, Joshua Unruh, Adam Wengreen, Cameron Werner, Jonathan Zosel.
The National AP Scholar award was granted to six THS students, each of whom earned an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. Those students are (not in order pictured): Hitesh Boinpally, Mahek Buddhdeo, William Chadek, Gabriel Kilwein, Estelle Neathery, Laena Tieng.

Clarification: Best Starts for Kids grant positions
In the Sept. 22 issue of Tahoma Matters, we stated that the Best Starts for Kids grant funded two new positions and misidentified the title of those positions. The correct title for those new positions is mental health and wellness coordinators.

Highly capable meeting next week
Families of highly capable students are invited to attend an Oct. 8 meeting for a new nonprofit support group called PATH, an acronym for Parent Advocates for Tahoma’s Highly capable. The group was formed to create a “voice and support network” within Tahoma School District to help support highly capable students.

“Most people have the idea that gifted kids have it easy in school, but we find that’s not the case,” said Michelle Smart, PATH founder and president. “They struggle to find their place both socially and academically.”

PATH focuses on educating parents about different aspects of giftedness, organizing events to help gifted students connect with one another, and facilitating dialogue with the school district. The Oct. 8 meeting is a free workshop, titled “What does gifted really mean?” It will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Maple Valley Fire Station at the intersection of SR 169 and 231st Avenue SE. The event has activities for kids of all ages.

The group also invites families to visit their website at http://www.TahomaPATH.org and join their Facebook group PATH: Parent Advocates for Tahoma’s Highly-capable. Questions can be sent to Michelle Smart at michelle@tahomapath.org.

Residents invited to candidate forum
The Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce is hosting a 5th District Legislative Candidate Forum at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11 in the performing arts center at Tahoma High School.

The event is open to the public. Candidates Lisa Callan, Paul Graves, Chad Magendanz and Bill Ramos will discuss topics that concern the Maple Valley area and the Tahoma School District. Candidate questions are being developed by members of the chamber's legislative committee with input from community partners. To submit a question, visit the chamber's Facebook page or email them.

Mattress fundraiser this weekend for two THS clubs
Tahoma High School's We the People team and Bear Metal Robotics are once again joining forces for a major fundraiser selling mattresses, frames, sheets, pillows and related products from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 at THS.

There will be 30 styles of mattresses on display, in all sizes from twin to California king. All mattresses come with a full manufacturer's warranty. Prices are considerably below retail. Delivery is available; old mattresses can be hauled away for a fee.

Financing is available; cash, credit cards, checks are accepted.

For more information: bit.ly/Beds4Tahoma4

THS shares Homecoming details
Homecoming is approaching, with the big game on Friday, Oct. 19, and the dance on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The Tahoma Bears football team will take on Enumclaw High School at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Maxwell Stadium, which is at the current Maple View Middle School. There will be fireworks during the halftime show (approximately 8:30 p.m.) and also after touchdowns.

The dance will be at the school from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20. Parking will only be on the east side of the building (Les Schwab side).

To prevent a flood of ticket purchases at the last minute, THS has adopted a staggered payment plan. There will be no sales at the door. The final day of ticket sales will be Thursday, Oct. 18. All fines must be cleared before buying tickets!

Dates and prices:
• Oct 1-5: Early Bird Special, $30 per person
• Oct 8-12: Regular Price $35 per person
• Oct 15-16: $40 per person
• Oct 17-18: $45 per person

Guests must be cleared using the guest permission form which must be completed before buying the ticket. The last day to turn in completed guest forms is Oct 17.

The THS PTA is once again running its Cinderella Project, which loans out dresses and shoes free of charge to students. The project team is collecting gently used, clean formal wear to add to their inventory. Donations may be dropped off in the THS main office during school hours. The project will be open for selecting formal wear Oct. 10, 11, 16 and 17 in the PAC dressing room during Power Hour. For more about this project, click here.

For the link to the dance guest form and information about pictures before and during the dance, click here.

Parents, community invited to superintendent listening sessions
Superintendent Tony Giurado is hosting a series of listening sessions with Tahoma staff, and also wants to hear from parents and community members. 

Giurado is asking those who attend to share about what is working, what needs improvement or tweaks, and what is not working. The sessions call for attendees to work in small groups, brainstorm and prioritize top points to share.

“My goal is to identify patterns and trends, as well as some priorities to present to the School Board,” he said.

There will be a daytime and an evening session for parents and community members. The daytime meeting will be from 9:30-11 a.m. on Oct. 11 at the district office. The evening meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Lake Wilderness Lodge.

THS senior families invited to FAFSA event
Families of current Tahoma High School seniors are invited to a FAFSA/WASFA help night called "College Goal Washington," which will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 in the performing arts center at THS. The acronym FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid; WASFA stands for Washington Application for State Financial Aid.

Green River College's director of Student Financial Aid, Teresa Buchmann, will present from 6:30-7; then, Buchmann and other financial aid counselors will be available to answer individual questions. Families will be able to use computers during the event so that they can access their own FAFSA or WASFA.

Before families can begin filling out the FAFSA, both students and parents/guardians need to obtain a FSA ID. In order to facilitate the process, you may need to bring documents with you such as Social Security Card or Alien Registration Card; driver's license, student and parent/guardian incomen information such as W2 or pay stub, bank statements, tax returns, other financial information such as child support statements, family business or farm information.

For questions, contact Future Ready Specialist Lara Lindersmith via email or at 425-413-3468.

Backpack Buddies to hold Bunco fundraiser
Community members are invited to a fundraiser for Backpack Buddies of Maple Valley, a nonprofit group that provides food for Tahoma students who might otherwise go hungry over the weekend. The Bunco Night will be from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. 

Tickets are $25, and include dinner and dessert, raffles and beverages (tickets for raffles or beverages are $2 each).

All district schools participate in earthquake drill
Rock Creek students gather by class on the field to be accounted for during an earthquake drill Wednesday. Each school in the district practiced "Drop, cover and hold," along with a simulated search and rescue and a test of the emergency two-way radio system.
Tahoma High School students in Darren Collins' advanced robotics class practice "Drop, cover and hold" during Wednesday's drill while listening to Principal Terry Duty's instructions over the intercom.

We the People & Bear Metal mattress fundraiser, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tahoma High School

MONDAY, Oct. 8
Special School Board meeting: Joint meeting with the City of Maple Valley, 6:30 p.m., district office

School Board meeting, 6:30 p.m., district office

Parent/Community invited to Superintendent Listening Session, 9:30 a.m., district office

Fifth District Legislative Candidate Forum, hosted by MVBD Chamber of Commerce, 6:15 p.m., Tahoma High School PAC

FRIDAY, Oct. 12
Backpack Buddies of Maple Valley Bunco fundraiser, 6-9 p.m., Shepherd of the Valley Church. Information and tickets: https://www.facebook.com/events/698234897191197/

Parent/Community invited to Superintendent Listening Session, 6:30 p.m., Lake Wilderness Lodge

FRIDAY, Oct. 26
R.E.A.D.Y. Real Emergency Aid Depends on You mental health talk, 6:30 p.m., THS performing arts center

"Suicide: A Community Conversation," sponsored by Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation, Enumclaw School District and Tahoma School District, 6-8 p.m., Enumclaw High School, 226 Semanski St. S., Enumclaw

What's for lunch?
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 | Visit our website
25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Rd. S.E., Maple Valley, WA 98038