Tahoma Matters header
June 1, 2017
In this issue
Bear Crew students tour HS, discuss culture
Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Tony Davis shows the student entrance and parking to a group of Bear Crew leaders
Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Tony Davis shows the student entrance and parking to a group of Bear Crew leaders during a tour of the new high school on Tuesday.

For the past two years, most of the sounds echoing through the new Tahoma High School have been those of drills, saws and other construction equipment. That changed this week, when the halls and stairwells rang with the sounds of students, checking out their new stomping grounds.

About 130 members of the Bear Crew met at the high school Tuesday to take a tour and discuss how to create a positive culture for the students and staff. The Bear Crew includes students from Dave Peters' leadership classes, as well as from a variety of student groups and interests. Students apply to be a part of Bear Crew, and are nominated by faculty. The group will help lead tours for their fellow students and the public during the dedication on Aug. 8 and open house on Aug. 12, as well as other events.

While this was the first large group of students to see the building, a small number of theater students did get to check out the performing arts center earlier this year.

"It was an honor to be one of the first students ... to visit the new Tahoma High School," Carson Weisberg shared on Instagram. "Great to make history!"

Asked what his favorite space was, Weisberg replied: "I would say the whole thing. Every inch of the building was unique in its own way. The Performing Arts Center is like a second home to me because I can't wait to be performing on that stage in November. The building in general is college-like, and it is just gorgeous."

On Tuesday, the Bear Crew students gathered in the commons, then broke into groups of 20-30 to tour the facility with the assistant principals. The crowd led by Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Tony Davis checked out the library, the counseling center, the student entrance, the main gym and the auxiliary gym, where a climbing wall was installed last week. They continued through the sports medicine classroom, locker rooms, then on to the classroom wing, where they walked the halls and looked at common areas.

"It's really cool. It's pretty, and big," sophomore Anna Marvin said. "I like it all!"

The group was particularly taken with the view of the sports fields from the third-floor windows, pausing to take photos.

Sophomores Gabriel Kilwein and Kenan Kontaratos said the building is so large and open that it reminds them of Costco.

Dawn Rogers, who will also be a junior next year, said that when she first walked in she was worried she would get completely lost in the fall.

"Now I think I'll be OK -- if I have a map," Rogers said, noting that her favorite space was the library.

Many of the students seemed to enjoy the themed floors: The first floor has a forest theme, the second floor theme is lakes and rivers and the third floor theme is mountains.

"That student section with the trees -- I like that section," sophomore Alyssa Olds said. "When we went by, I was like, 'That's me in Power Hour!'"

The high school will have a single lunch period for all students next year. While some students will eat in the main open area (commons) near the cafeteria, others will choose to sit in the grouped seating areas on the three floors of the main classroom wing, and some students will take advantage of the open campus policy. Dubbed "Power Hour," the lunch hour also provides a chance for students to participate in certain clubs, to get help in any subject areas they desire, and more.

Incoming senior Aunaya White said she is excited to participate in yearbook and Bear Crew at the beautiful new school.

"It's classy," White said. "And, it's very organized."

Students, staff discuss culture for new school
After checking out their new digs, the students joined the faculty in the performing arts center to listen to Richard Parkhouse, author of "Building the World's Greatest High School," talk about how to create a school culture that makes each student feel significant.

Before the speech, Activities Director Dave Peters explained that a culture committee met and came up with three words they would like to focus the high school's structure, day-to-day activities and relationships around: Community, Commitment, and Character.

"We're getting our only chance to start off on our right foot, the right way," Peters said.

Parkhouse talked with the students and staff about creating "significant moments" in a way that makes every student feel important and included.

"I believe you (leaders) change lives and impact futures. I believe you help others explore their greatness," he said. "I believe you create a culture of significance where everyone matters."

Students and staff broke into small table groups and talked about the "3 Cs," (community, commitment and character) and how those values can be incorporated into the new Tahoma High School's traditions, rituals, culture, beliefs and celebrations. When the new year starts in September, the first two days of the school year will feature guest speakers and activities designed to emphasize relationship building and the creation of a culture focused on the 3 Cs.

Assistant Principal Marty Barber said that he felt fortunate to watch the building rise from the first shovelful of dirt to the (very nearly) finished product, but noted that Tuesday was a very special milestone.

"Today is the first day it went from a building -- to a school -- because you guys are here," Barber said.

Student Activities Director Dave Peters jokes with students on Tuesday.
Activities Director Dave Peters jokes with students as they wait to join staff members in the performing arts center at the new high school on Tuesday.
When voters gave overwhelming approval to authorize Tahoma School District to sell $195 million in construction bonds, work quickly began to create a financial plan that would deliver facilities, additions and improvements that the community taxed itself to provide.
Now, with only a few months remaining before the major pieces are completed, the school district has built everything that was promised to the community and more, with construction of the new Tahoma High School and Lake Wilderness Elementary School coming in on time and under budget.

"This community put a lot of trust in the school district," Lori Cloud, assistant superintendent, said. "Since the bond passed, we have devoted significant time and energy to maximize revenues, control costs and deliver quality products on time. I believe we have accomplished that."

The district raised a total of $243,923,652 for construction and facilities improvements. The bulk of the money came from the $195 million bond sale. The next biggest chunk is from the state, which provided $34,691,977 in construction matching funds (which was higher than originally expected) and another $4 million that was provided by the state legislature to help purchase property for the new high school. In addition, there was money generated by new home construction in Maple Valley and the unincorporated areas of the school district, which added $8,138,127 in impact fees. Another $2 million was raised from interest on the construction funds.

The district hired a consulting team, OAC Services Inc., to help manage construction projects. OAC quickly paid for itself by working with construction officials in the office of the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, who determined that Tahoma should receive a higher amount of construction matching money than had originally been promised. Those funds, combined with savings from the site preparation phase of the new high school project, made it possible for the district to build a new Lake Wilderness Elementary School instead of remodeling the old school.

"From day one, the district held each team member accountable to deliver the projects better and faster by challenging us to think outside the box of how traditional public works project are typically delivered," Kasey Wyatt, senior associate for construction management at OAC Services, said. "There was continual dialogue on how each project could better support the other, resulting in broader success program wide. ... The return on investment of taxpayer dollars to the community has been incredible."

The district also followed its usual practice and asked for community members who would serve as an oversight board for the construction projects.

"I firmly believe the district staff and project coordinators have gone above and beyond in fulfilling their obligation to the citizens of the Maple Valley community," said Rock Jenkins, a member of the oversight committee. "They demonstrated significant due diligence on the front end of the construction and remodeling both in solidifying the construction process and in the selection of contractors."

Jenkins said the committee was kept informed throughout the construction process.  "During construction, our bond oversight group of community members was given regular and thorough briefings both in person and via email," he said. "Additionally, our input and ideas were solicited at every turn, and the district staff was responsive in their review and follow up to our feedback. I was especially impressed with the district's management of the contractors to ensure the projects were completed on or ahead of schedule as well as on or under budget."

Another member of the oversight committee, Valerie Paganelli, said committee members took their roles seriously as representatives of the community. She said their questions were answered to their satisfaction.

"As a strong, fiscally minded member of the bond oversight committee, I found the project status and financial information provided on a regular basis to be consistent, complete, clear and responsive to the committee's requests," she said.

Committee members said they approve of how the school district is handling taxpayer dollars for construction and remodeling.

"The time and effort that has been spent on ensuring the bond dollars have been stretched as far as possible has benefited the entire district at every level," committee member Jennifer Karol said. "The new high school and elementary school are amazing facilities, which will enable our students to remain leaders in our community and in our businesses going forward."

Committee member Kris Azizeh said he is eager to see the positive impact on the community from the changes that are occurring.

"We live in one of the greatest places in the country, and thanks in part to this bond and the people who helped carry it out, the Tahoma School District will continue to be recognized as one of the very best in the nation," he said. "I look forward to seeing my children learn, play, and grow in the beautiful new high school this bond helped construct."

GirlsTrackStateChampsTahoma girls win state track & field championship 
Tahoma High School girls track and field team
Courtesy photo
Tahoma High School's girls track and field team poses for a photo after winning first place in Washington state at the 4A championship meet.

It was a banner year for the Tahoma High School girls track and field athletes, who came home with their first 4A state championship fueled by record-setting performances.

"This was a complete team effort," coach Jeff Brady said. "Points were earned from so many different athletes."

Among those were senior Ginny Mehl, who took first place in shot put with a heave of 44' 4"; Aliya Wilson, who won first in the 100 meter with a time of 11.55 (as well as setting a new state meet record in the preliminaries); and the state champion 4x100 relay team of Aliya Wilson, Alisha Wilson, Tierra Wilson and Olivia Ribera with a time of 46.62.

Last year the girls team took second, and that experience helped shape what happened in the off season and in competition this year, Brady said.

"They really did trust the process that was planned out at the end of last year after placing second. That did not sit well with them and really fueled them this season," he said.

Many of the athletes had personal bests or made new school records, and Brady noted that watching their hard work pay off in a state title is what will stick with him after this year.

Six seniors who talked with us earlier this season emphasized that the coaching staff -- the time they spend, the way they interact with the team members, and the knowledge they bring -- is what helps them succeed.

Tahoma Girls Track & Field State Results 

Aliya Wilson (10)
100m State Champion 11.55 State Meet Record; Ran 11.47w in prelims (w is wind-aided)
200m 3rd Place 24.38 PR School Record

Olivia Ribera (12)
100m 3rd Place 11.82 PR
200m 5th Place 25.04 

Breanna Glover (11)
1600m 8th Place 5:04.72 
3200m 9th Place 11:55.30 

Alaina Brady (9)
100m Hurdles 9th Place 14.86 PR
Long Jump 10th Place 17-06.00

Ginny Mehl (12)
Shot Put State Champion 44-04.00
Discus 2nd Place 131-10
Javelin 2nd Place 136-03

Jandrea Grobbelaar (12)
Discus 13th Place 108-05

Tenley Mjelde (12)
Pole Vault 6th Place 11-00.00 PR School Record

Alisha Wilson (10)
Long Jump 2nd Place 18-10.50
Triple Jump 3rd Place 38-09.75

Bryana Rogers (10)
Long Jump 6th Place 17-10.25 PR

4x200 Relay 2nd Place 1:38.51 School Record
Aliya Wilson
Alisha Wilson
Tierra Wilson
Olivia Ribera
Abby Jean Blackwell

4x100 Relay State Champions 46.62 
Aliya Wilson
Alisha Wilson
Tierra Wilson
Olivia Ribera
All-Time Washington State Record of 46.07 (run in prelims)

Tahoma Boys Track & Field State Results

Colin Marvin (12)
400m 9th Place 51.86 

Dawson Besst (11)
1600 Meters 9th Place 4:19.34 PR
3200 Meters 9th Place 9:40.38 

Gabriel Shouman (9)
Javelin 9th Place 174-02 PR

Damian Mercado (11)
High Jump 4th Place 6-03.00
Triple Jump 8th Place 44-02.00

Zachary Klobutcher (10)
Pole Vault 9th Place 13-06.00

Ivan Montero (12)
Pole Vault 14th Place 12-06.00

Bobby Say (11)
Long Jump 11th Place 20-08.00
Triple Jump 3rd Place 45-11.00

LakeWildernessBelovedLake Wilderness Elementary: Old, crowded, beloved
File photo
Teachers and staff members at Lake Wilderness Elementary love the tradition of waving to students heading home on buses at the end of each school year.

On the last day of school at Lake Wilderness Elementary, staff members typically gather outside to say goodbye to buses full of students. They blow bubbles and wave enthusiastically to the children who spent the year with them.

This year, the goodbye may be bittersweet, as some staff will move to other locations and the old school buildings will be torn down immediately after the year ends.

"My memories of Lake Wilderness are of how students brought it alive with their student work, laughter and energy," said Shelly Huylar, who taught first and second grade at Lake Wilderness and is now the elementary literacy specialist for the district. "I loved that the library was the center of our building, in both A and B, where children gathered to hear stories and fall in love with reading."

All who are familiar with Lake Wilderness know that in addition to two libraries, the school has two offices and two gyms, which has helped staff accommodate the high enrollment for many years -- but also created headaches as well.

June Gill, who worked in the main office for decades, said it took about three years to come up with a smooth system that allowed all the students to rotate through the lunchroom

"I am not sad about that old building," Gill said. "That school has been there so long, and it leaks like a sieve. The school itself was too divided."

But she does miss the students and her former coworkers, she said.

"It was always fun. I loved that job. The people were always good to work with and we had a lot of parents that helped, too. We were all there for the kids," Gill recalled.

Working in an aging building had its share of challenges, as Rosemary Lathrop remembers.

"We got pretty good at solving problems," Lathrop said. "Leaky roof? No problem. Sink doesn't work? No problem. Heater is stuck on 70? No problem."

Lathrop, Gill and other staff members shared memories of luncheons for parents and staff, sales and bazaars, the annual staff skits, student fundraisers (and counting thousands of pennies), Friday singalongs and Halloween costume parades.

Jeannine Koon, who has taught second and fourth grade at the school since 1986 (minus a few years at Cedar River in the middle) said that most of her recollections also center around people, but shared these building-related ones:
  • The year of the big windstorm, which caused major roof issues; classes were held in the gym, library, stage and every other available space.
  • Many times that rodents had to be dealt with by custodial staff.
  • Giving reading tests in a closet because it was the only available space.
  • Construction-related challenges, including having more than 1,000 students in a very small space, students with hands crusted in mud and teachers who taught all year with recess right outside their classroom.
  • Beautiful murals painted by a parent in the old library that currently houses the RAP program and also on the hallway wall outside the office.
  • Tons of bulletin board space in the outside hallways that always display marvelous examples of student work and learning.
"The emotion I feel the most is excitement -- I have always felt that the kids, teachers, parents, community of Lake Wilderness was the best! Now we will have a building to match," Koon said. "I will be sad when the old school is demolished. I have spent a good portion of my adult life within the walls of Lake Wilderness. It is a fabulous community to work and growth with! I look forward to continuing the journey in the new Lake Wilderness."

Parent Mikki Roessler, who attended Lake Wilderness herself and now has a first-grade son at the school, said her favorite memories are of playing on the giant tires on the old playground, attending classes with her many favorite teachers and taking the president's fitness test in P.E. in the two gymnasiums. Now, her son has his own beloved teachers and is making his own Wildcat memories.

"He walks the same hallways that I used to, and it felt sentimental that he was basically walking in my footsteps," Roessler added.

As Principal Audrey Meyers, Ph.D., said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new school: "It is not the bricks and mortar that make Lake Wilderness a special place, but rather the people that make Lake Wilderness so special."
File photo
Students pause to sign the Memory Wall at Lake Wilderness Elementary during the Celebration of Learning.

StudentsBuyMemorialBenchTJH s tudents pay for bench to honor military service
Tahoma Junior High teachers Todd Baker, left, and Cary Collins pause for a photo in front of the new bench.
Tahoma Junior High School and Tahoma National Cemetery are linked by more than a name. For the past 14 years, students and staff have devoted themselves to ensuring that small American flags are placed at each gravesite for Memorial Day and that headstones are scrubbed clean for Veterans Day. Now, as the junior high passes into history, there is a permanent artifact at the cemetery to mark the students' service.

A granite bench that bears a commemorative inscription is in place near the flagpole in Bronson Memorial Circle. It is set on the west side of the circle and is a gift from the students of Tahoma Junior High to the cemetery. The bench acknowledges Operation Veterans Remembrance, which is the name given to the school's annual service project at the cemetery. The school is being converted to become Summit Trail Middle School, and there will no longer be a Tahoma Junior High.

The inscription on the front of the bench, beneath the words "Serving those who served" and "Operation Veterans Remembrance," flanked by two American flags, reads:
"To recognize and honor the service and sacrifices of our nation's military veterans and their family members at rest at Tahoma National Cemetery, more than 8,000 freshmen attending Tahoma Junior High School in Ravensdale, Washington from 2003-2017 engaged in a community outreach-service learning project known as Operation Veterans Remembrance. These students cleaned headstones and placed nearly half a million American flags on individual gravesites. May this bench be a source of reflection and comfort for the families and friends of our fallen service men and women. Dedicated the 29th of May, 2017 by the Associated Student Body of Tahoma Junior High School." Inscribed on the lower front of the bench is the phrase, "Freedom is not free."

On the back of the bench are the words, "Freedom is not free" and "Operation Veterans Remembrance," engraved above the color emblems of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Principal Rhonda Ham said there were several ideas discussed last fall to create some kind of permanent memory of Tahoma Junior High. Linking it to the cemetery project was the overwhelming favorite.

"We wanted to leave something from the junior high to the community," Ham said. "We felt the Operation Veterans Remembrance was so representative of the junior high and the caring that went into it that we wanted to commemorate it at the cemetery." Students voted to approve using $5,765 from ASB funds for the bench project.

Teachers Cary Collins and Todd Baker, who helped create and guide Operation Veterans Remembrance from the start, said they are pleased with the bench, but even happier that the program will continue when it shifts to Tahoma High School next year. Both will remain involved with the program, which has grown beyond their expectations.

"I don't think that anyone, back in 2002 when we started talking about the project, would have predicted the long-range impact," Baker said. "It has taught students to respect our veterans and to respect the Tahoma National Cemetery. The project has become a tradition that students and the community are proud of."

Collins said the bench is a fitting tribute.

"The idea was to leave a legacy of the project from Tahoma Junior High," he said. "It is a wonderful tribute to our service members from our ASB."

Ham designed the bench's appearance, working from plans for an identical bench on the opposite side of Bronson Memorial Circle that is called Bugler's Bench, which is dedicated to military buglers. She assisted Collins and Baker with the inscription and added the flags and service emblems to the design. After checking with the cemetery to ensure the bench design would meet its standards, plans were sent to Quiring Monuments in Seattle, which created the granite bench from the same material used for headstones and monuments at the cemetery.

"What we wanted was to have it represent the meaning behind the project," Ham said.

"It turned out magnificently," Baker said.
Close-up image of bench highlighting _Operation Veterans Remembrance_
The new bench is located on the west side of Bronson Memorial Circle near the main flagpole at Tahoma National Cemetery.
A national conversation is emerging about how schools should respond when students come to school without a lunch or lunch money. In Tahoma, the supervisor of nutrition services is asking parents to work with the district to ensure every student receives a good meal.

Mary Nowak talks to parents every day about school meals. As supervisor for student nutrition, Nowak provides assistance to families as they fill out applications for free or reduced meals; she guides parents to the district's online payment system, where they can deposit money for school breakfast or lunch, and explains how to look up their child's food account balance and other useful information on the Skyward student data system. And though she is happy to work with families, she is also worried that many parents are having difficulty but aren't asking for help.

Nowak said parents and the school district are partners in seeing that all children are getting the food they need to perform well in school. However, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring students have lunch or breakfast at school rests with parents. For example, she said it would be very helpful if more parents kept track of their child's cafeteria balances by using the student data system instead of calling Nutrition Services.

"A huge help would be for parents to stay on top of student account balances," she said. "Please check Skyward."

The school district alerts parents by email if meal accounts have a negative balance. There is some wiggle room, as elementary students are allowed to accrue a negative balance of $8.25 and students in grades 6-12 can owe up to $3.25. Usually, parents respond quickly and deposit funds in the online account. Unfortunately, there are parents who seldom or never respond. With only two weeks remaining in the school year, Nowak said there is more than $13,000 in negative cafeteria balances, spread across 2,867 student accounts. Most are small amounts but about 240 accounts are well above the $8.25 limit.

The school district is limited by law in how it can help students who don't have money for lunch. The district cannot gift funds to students or their families by allowing unpaid food charges to accrue without limit.

If the negative balance is higher than what is allowed, students receive an alternate meal: a cheese sandwich and milk. And though students do not go hungry, the alternate meal is not an ideal solution.

Thanks to the generosity of people in the Tahoma community, a special fund has been established to provide emergency meals to students who have recurring negative cafeteria fund balances. Known simply as the "Sunshine Kitchen Account," it is administered by Nutrition Services and is sustained by donations. Students are chosen based on need, such as when it appears that a student's account is frequently overdrawn.

"Our deepest thanks go to those who have contributed to the Sunshine fund," Nowak said. "We are trying our best to be good stewards of the money."

In addition to private citizens who have contributed to the fund, Nowak said it is also possible for families to donate any unused balance in their school food accounts to the fund. Money in school food accounts always belongs to the families who put it there and excess funds are either returned to families or carried over to the next school year when school ends in June.

Nowak and the people who work every school day to ensure students receive nutritious meals want nothing more than to end each day knowing that the students they serve are well fed. Help is available to families with limited incomes; school counselors and nutrition services are always willing to assist by identifying resources and maintaining confidentiality.

To learn more, please check the Nutrition Services web page:
DistrictKudosDistrict kudos
Tahoma HS seniors, parents gather for awards night
Seniors were celebrated at the annual awards night Wednesday at Tahoma High School.

A chance for scholarships and awards of many types to be distributed, the evening brought together seniors, families, educators and community members to celebrate the many achievements of the class of 2017.

The the full list of awards will be on the district website by Friday.
THS, TJHS students nominated for theater awards
Congratulations to students and staff from two Tahoma plays who were recognized last week with nominations in the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards. The organization evaluated 122 productions from more than 100 schools in the state.

Nominations for "Ghost The Musical" include: Outstanding Overall Production; Outstanding Direction; Outstanding Musical Direction; Outstanding Orchestra (Carter Stoeger, Dylan Woods, Jeremy Riggs, Grant Davis, Jandrea Grobbelaar, Nicole Stan, Eden Ulrigg, Ken Riggs); Outstanding Lead Actor (Sam Bennett as Sam); Outstanding Lead Actress (Morgan Roberts as Molly); Outstanding Lobby Display, honorable mention; Lighting Design, honorable mention; Choreography, honorable mention

Nominations for "Shrek! The Musical" include: Outstanding Lead Actress, honorable mention (Crina Snyder as Fiona); Outstanding Actress in a feature ensemble role, honorable mention (Lexie Love as Dragon); Student Achievement Award, stage manager Alyssa Burkhead.

The awards will be given out at Benaroya Hall on June 12. To read more about the awards, click here.
THS boys golf team finishes 11th in state
Members of the THS boys golf team pose for a picture at the state tournament.
Members of the THS boys golf team pose for a picture at the state tournament. From left, Parker Kneadler, Justin Pederson, Colt Sherrell and Colby Watkins.
Junior Colt Sherrell finished with a flourish at the Class AAAA state golf championship May 23 and 24 at Liberty Lake Golf Course near Spokane. Sherrell recorded a 74 on the first day and had the third-best finishing round with a 71 on May 24 to claim fifth place overall and lead the Bears to an 11th-place finish.

"Colt played outstanding on the second day," said Tahoma coach Dave Reynoldson. "(There were) really tough, windy conditions."

Fellow junior Parker Kneadler shot 77 on both days of the tournament to finish 34th overall. Senior Justin Pederson and freshman Colby Watkins qualified for state but did not make the cut for the final round.

Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma won the boys' championship.
Softball team competes in state tourney
Members of the THS fast pitch softball team huddle together during the state tournament in Spokane
Courtesy photo
Members of the THS fast pitch team huddle together during the state tournament in Spokane.
The Tahoma fast pitch softball team traveled to Eastern Washington last weekend to try their mettle against teams from across the state.

"State didn't go as well as expected, but the team fought hard all day Friday playing in the heat and three long games," coach Christina Millan said. "We had four amazing seniors who led the way and they will be missed, but we return the majority of the team for the next season. I'm looking looking forward to the girls putting in the work in the offseason and be ready to go next year."

This year's state championships were held at the Dwight-Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane. Tahoma played against Monroe and lost 9-2; then took on Moses Lake and won 13-7; their third game was against Walla Walla, and they lost 15-3.

Woodinville won the championship.
SLES team takes second in Rubik's Cube contest
On May 20, a team of eight fourth- and fifth-grade boys from Shadow Lake Elementary competed in this year's Washington state Rubik's Cube competition. The challenge consisted of each team solving a total of 25 cubes in the fastest time. Using the Future Ready skills of critical thinking and working as collaborative teammates, the boys completed the task in less than five minutes to earn them second place honors in the elementary division, reported coach Sue Chase, who teaches fourth grade Discovery class at Shadow Lake.

The team included Brian C., Christian L., Hyrum K., Jake M., Joey R., Lucas L., Max Y., Shaymas C. Five of the boys also competed in the solo competition, which is an individual timed event for speed. Four of the boys were able to solve the cube in less than one minute.

Courtesy photo
Teacher and team coach Sue Chase, right, poses with the Shadow Lake team that placed second in the elementary division at the recent Rubik's Cube competition.

Community members invited to middle school drama performances
This weekend, the Tahoma Drama -- The Middle Years group will present two shows, "MacBeth: A Kid's Cautionary Tale Concerning Greed, Power and Mayhem" as well as their annual Music Revue.

The performances will be at 7 p.m. June 2 and 3 at Tahoma Middle School. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors; $7 for general admission; children 5 and younger are free.

New law allows students to bring sunscreen to school
As the weather improves, district officials are happy to share that Washington recently passed a law that allows students to bring sunscreen to school and to put it on themselves. This is a chance for parents and students to partner with the district to protect students' health.

Here are some important rules to be aware of before sending sunscreen to school:
1. Students will apply the sunscreen to themselves. Staff will not be able to help.
2. Write the student's name on the sunscreen container with a permanent marker.
3. Only rub-on sunscreen will be allowed, because many students do not have the coordination to effectively apply spray sunscreens only on themselves. Spray sunscreens in school settings are likely to result in other students getting sunscreen in their eyes, mouths and noses; inhaling them is risky for students who have asthma and other respiratory conditions.

District asks parents to check student cafeteria accounts
The end of the school year is approaching and district officials are asking parents to ensure their child's cafeteria account has sufficient funds.

Starting on Monday, June 5, students must have sufficient funds in their cafeteria account or must bring cash or a check to pay for meals. Charging of meals is not allowed. Parents may pay online at https://wa-tahoma.intouchreceipting.com/. Parents may view their child's cafeteria account balance at https://www2.nwrdc.wa-k12.net/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wtahomas71/fwemnu01.w

If there are funds remaining in the account at the end of the school year, they will be carried over into the new school year. Students who are graduating or moving out of the district can claim surplus funds or donate them to a special account that is designated to assist students who cannot pay for meals. Please contact Nutrition Services for details.

Parents can also visit the Nutrition Services web page for information or call Nutrition Services at 425-413-3450. For information about the district's new Sunshine Fund, which was created to help students in need, please see the article above.

Tree planted in honor of staff member
A Norwegian Spruce was planted at Tahoma Middle School last week in honor of former staff member Weste Erickson.

"This tree represents a living memory of a staff member who was always there to help any student," said TMS Principal Sean Cassidy, who helped plant the tree along with a group of students and Jerry Gaston, who will be principal of Tahoma Elementary School next year. "It will grow and live just inside the bus entrance to the school that future Cubs will pass every day. It will also be a landmark for former TMS staff and students to remember their time at this school," Cassidy added.

Erickson was a building technology specialist at TMS who died in January. His mother, Karen Nangle, is a former Tahoma bus driver and past president of the Public School Employees Tahoma chapter. The tree was donated by the PTA.

Tahoma Middle School Principal Sean Cassidy, left, and next year's Tahoma Elementary Principal Jerry Gaston, right, pose with students who will attend Tahoma Elementary and the tree planted last week in memory of former staff member Weste Erickson.

New elementary websites added
Temporary websites are now live for the two new elementary schools. Additional information, photos and functionality will be added this summer.

For now, find basic information here, for Cedar River Elementary, and here, for Tahoma Elementary.

Additional questions may be directed to the staff members listed on each page, or to the Tahoma Communications Office at 425-413-3409.

Cedar River mascot unveiled
Cedar River Elementary_s new otter mascot
Families who attended the open house at Cedar River Elementary found out that the new  school's mascot will be the Otters. Chosen by the staff members, the otter will fit nicely with the "Cedar River" name and theme, as well as the new courtyard with decorative cement that depicts a river, bridge and animal tracks along the riverbanks.

The new school will have colors of teal and black, which were voted on by next year's incoming students in an online survey.

(Tahoma Elementary previously shared its new mascot, the Cub, and school colors of blue and yellow).

CRES PTO offers founding membership
Officers of the Cedar River Elementary Parent Teacher Organization are offering a "founding membership" for a limited time through June 30. A regular membership will be offered later this year, but the organizers wanted to offer something to families interested in paying a bit more to commemorate the new beginning at the school.

The influx of donations will help the group cover back-to-school expenses and other events that will take place at the start of the school year. Also, if the group reaches its fundraising goal, they will not need an immediate fundraiser, officers noted.

The founding membership is $100 and includes two yearbooks, two popcorn cards, a CRES PTO car magnet and the addition of the family's name to a plaque that will be hung at the school. Families that do not have two students at the school may donate the additional yearbook and popcorn card; those who have more than two students may add an additional child for $10.

Applications are available on the group's Facebook page or by emailing CRES.presidents@gmail.com 

Next year's Rock Creek parents invited to PTO meeting
The Rock Creek Elementary Parent Teacher Organization will have its last meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6 at Rock Creek. President Nikki Arnold emphasized her hope that parents of next year's RCES students will attend, as the agenda includes a vote on the treasurer and selection of fundraisers for next year. 

To connect or for more information, visit the group's Facebook page at Rock Creek Elementary PTO "The F.O.R.C.E." or email president@rcespto.org

Results for AP exams will be released July 8
Advanced Placement exam scores for 2017 will be released at 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 8, for Tahoma students.

To view scores, create an account at AP Central by visiting apscore.collegeboard.org Remember that you will need your AP number for 2017. If you have questions, please contact Charisse Braun, AP Coordinator, at cbraun@tahomasd.us

Bear Run will be June 11
The Maple Valley Bear Run/Walk 5K will be held at Lake Wilderness Park on Sunday, June 11 during Maple Valley Days. This annual event promotes health and fitness, and also raises money for the Tahoma Cross Country team.

Thanks to sponsor Tab Wizard, kids 12 and younger can participate for free, although there is a $3 handling fee. Children 8 and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult or participant who is 13 or older.

Visit www.maplevalleybearrun.com to sign up.

Whichever Tahoma elementary school has the most participants will earn bragging rights and a large "Bear Run" stuffed bear to display throughout the next school year. (It's currently at Rock Creek)  Or, for more information, click here for the group's Facebook event.

Safe-walking route maps now online
Safe-walking route maps for Tahoma High School, Glacier Park Elementary School, Lake Wilderness Elementary School and Rock Creek Elementary School are posted on the Tahoma website, under the "Our District" drop-down menu.

The routes were reviewed by a committee of school district, community and City of Maple Valley representatives as well as the Tahoma School Board. The district's other schools are located in rural areas and do not have safe-walking routes, which means students must arrive by school bus or private transportation.

The two walking-route maps that will draw the most attention are for the new Tahoma High School and Rock Creek Elementary. Students who live within 1.5 miles of the new high school will not be bused, unless there is no safe-walking route.

Students at Rock Creek who live within a mile of the school and east of State Route 169 will walk when the City of Maple Valley completes street improvements along 238th Avenue SE and installation of a paved walking path to the Woodridge neighborhood. Most of that work is expected to be completed this summer. Families will be notified by the school district when the new walking routes take effect.
Construction at a glance
Staff members tour new Lake Wilderness Elementary
Courtesy photo
Teachers pose for a picture during their tour of the new Lake Wilderness Elementary School on Tuesday. From left: Angie Binder, Melissa Tughan, Heather Dean, Callie Nordell, Laura Bowden, Alyse Henkel, Patti Carrell, Kimberlyn Dunham, Kristin Conklin.
Fourth grade teachers pause for a photo in the new Lake Wilderness Elementary
Courtesy photo
From left, staff members Christel Winkey, Teri Johnson, Laura Hutchinson and Jan Clemsen pose in one of the new building's hallways.
Cedar River Middle School awards night, 6:30 p.m., THS
Tahoma Junior High School band concert, 7 p.m., TJHS

FRIDAY , June 2
Tahoma Drama - The Middle Years presents "MacBeth" & Musical Revue, 7 p.m., June 2 and 3, TMS theater
Tahoma High School spring fling, 2:15-5, THS

Rock Creek Elementary PTO final meeting, 7 p.m., RCES

Tahoma Junior High choir concert, 7 p.m., TJHS

Tahoma High School graduation ceremony, 7 p.m., White River Amphitheatre

FRIDAY , June 9
Lake Wilderness Elementary barbecue, lunchtime, LWES

SUNDAY , June 11
Bear Run to benefit Tahoma running programs, Lake Wilderness Park

MONDAY, June 12
Rock Creek Elementary field days, June 12 and 13, RCES 
Shadow Lake Elementary field days, June 12, 13, 14, SLES

Rock Creek Elementary barbecue, lunchtime, RCES

FRIDAY , June 16
Last day of school, half-day dismissal

Name | Company | Phone | Email | Website
Green beans_ raspberries_ sandwich and fries

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  | http://www.tahomasd.us