Dec. 6, 2019
In this issue:

Levy dollars focus: RAP boosts student reading skills
Volleyball team makes history, wins 4A state title
New board members excited to serve Tahoma students, staff
Board adjusts levy measures to reflect assessed value change
District kudos
Community lauds retiring board directors Glaser, Pierson
How do 3 million AP Calculus test questions get graded?
College, career readiness bring teachers, parents together
News briefs
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?

Levy dollars focus: RAP boosts student readers
Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of stories called “Levy Dollars Focus,” about programs supported by local levy dollars. Prior pieces: Behavioral Intervention Specialists ; Extracurriculars are vital to students .
Lake Wilderness Elementary paraeducator Jody Bedell works with a group of second-grade RAP students earlier this week on their learning target: comparing and contrasting two characters in a story.

Sometimes, when students “graduate” out of the Reading Assistance Program, they are disappointed. Not because they aren’t proud of their progress and growth as readers, but because they have enjoyed their small group time and activities so much. It’s the ultimate compliment.

“The kids love coming,” said Natalie Stumpges, the reading specialist for Rock Creek and Glacier Park elementaries who oversees RAP. “Once they get here, it’s a safe place where they can make mistakes. They set goals and we help them reach those goals.”

Parent Andrea Bell has had two daughters attend RAP, and, in both cases, was grateful they had additional support.

“When (my younger daughter) was struggling, I wanted her to qualify,” Bell said. “It just gave me peace of mind that someone is paying attention to her and they’re not going to let her fall behind.”

The atmosphere that the RAP staff members create is inclusive and appealing, she added, noting that when her younger daughter exited the program, she was sad to miss out on the time she had spent with her fellow “rappers,” as she dubbed them.

“It’s almost like a cool club that they get to go to,” Bell said. “I just love RAP. … I’m such a big proponent of it.”

Students qualify for -- or are referred to RAP -- by their teachers, if there is concern that they are not reading at grade level. Additionally, reading specialists at each building review reading assessments to make sure students who need support are identified. In grades 3-5, students are also referred if they could benefit from a boost in being able to explain their thoughts in written responses.

“I think sometimes people think RAP is a track to special education, and it’s not,” Stumpges said. “It’s an intervention. We’re here to support them.”

Students work on reading skills with paraeducators in small groups each day for 30 minutes (with the exception of fifth-graders, who attend RAP for 30 minutes a day, four days per week). They also take books home to work on reading skills with their families. The skills covered in RAP are many of the same ones that students work on in class as well, and include reading strategies such as “Chunky Monkey (break the word into chunks you already know) or “Pointy Penguin” (point to each word as you read), decoding words, comprehension, making inferences and predictions and learning to summarize.

The number of students in each RAP group can vary a bit, Stumpges said. “We always look at the greatest need. If we have a child who needs on-to-one, then I will move heaven and earth to try to make that happen.” In general at Rock Creek, RAP groups are two to three students for kindergarten and first grade; three to four students in second grade; and no more than five students in third through fifth grade. Scheduling students is the most difficult part, she said, because they try not to have students miss core content if possible.

The amount of time that students spend in the program also varies, depending on what is best for the individual. Some students attend for part of a year and then exit, while others attend throughout elementary school.

Shelly Huylar, K-5 Literacy Specialist for the district, said that in the past, the goal was to only get students to grade level standard. Several years ago, they began aiming for a year and a half of growth in order to close the gap with the students' peers, Huylar said.

"We have seen that growth in our data in the last two years in a significant number of our students," she said.

In the RAP room at Lake Wilderness Elementary this week, groups of second-graders greeted each other as they sat down to work together. “Hi, Brody!” one student said, cheerfully. “Hi, Myles,” the other student replied. As they waited for the third student in their group to arrive from her homeroom, the two read books individually. Once Nala S. arrived, completing their group, paraeducator Jody Bedell explained their learning target for the day: “I can compare and contrast two characters in a story.” The group discussed what the words “compare” and “contrast” mean, and then began to read “The City Mouse and the Country Mouse.”

Bedell asked the three students questions to help them compare and contrast the two mice and their environments, pausing between pages. Next, she asked the students to read a page on their own and to write down any words they weren’t sure of, so that the group could discuss those terms afterward.

At an adjacent table, paraeducator Dorothy Timmons worked with two second-graders, reading and discussing a nonfiction text about fire trucks. Ella P. and Eli P. noticed “text-to-self” connections, or parts of the book that relate to a personal experience in their own lives. They also talked about key words from a word bank that they created before reading the book. As the students turned to drawing a picture about the fire truck text, Timmons talked with them about what they would work on during their next lesson, including words with common vowel combinations such as “ai.”

In all RAP classrooms, staff members work diligently at recognizing and praising student improvement, because it helps them grow in their confidence as readers.

“One of the most powerful aspects of RAP is the sense of success students experience as readers and as learners,” said Karen Roberts, the reading specialist for Cedar River and Shadow Lake elementaries. Instructors in RAP “work to build on the child’s strengths, while teaching, encouraging, and celebrating their reading progress. In the midst of these positive learning experiences, students gain confidence; they learn that with hard work, practice, and support they can become better and better readers.”

Lake Wilderness and Tahoma Reading Specialist Deanna Sund said that in addition to reading intervention and support of skills taught in the classroom, RAP also provides social-emotional support for students.

“They get to connect with their RAP teacher and have a small group where they form relationships,” Sund said. “It’s kind of fun, because a lot of them start out kind of resistant. After they’ve come, and they get to know their teacher and their group, it becomes a really fun interaction. A lot of them don’t want to exit RAP.”

Sund emphasized that open communication and collaboration with families is not only important, but vital to students’ success. “We’re here to support the students and the families. We welcome it. We have to work together, and collaboration with the families is so important.”

Parent Michelle Briggs said her daughter enjoyed going to RAP at school. The program improved her confidence in reading, and helped her love to spend time reading. Her daughter has since graduated out of the program, but she still uses the strategies at home.

“She will sit down with her little brother and she will pull out her reading strategies and pick one like ‘Eagle eye’ (look at the pictures). Then she will ask ‘What are they doing?’ I love that the teachers/reading specialists have taught her these skills,” Briggs said.

The ultimate goal of RAP is to help students get to reading level and exit the program, Stumpges said. “One hundred percent, our intention is to help and support them to grow. We want them to feel successful and be successful. We love them.”

RAP at a glance
  • Cedar River: 70 students served by three paraeducators*
  • Glacier Park: 70 students served by four paraeducators*
  • Lake Wilderness: 142 students served by six paraeducators*
  • Rock Creek: 63 students served by four paraeducators*
  • Shadow Lake: 73 students served by three paraeducators*
  • Tahoma Elementary: 106 students served by four paraeducators*

*Some RAP paras are full-time, while others are part-time. Ex: Shadow Lake has three full-time RAP paras, while Glacier Park has two part-time and two full-time RAP paras.
Rock Creek Elementary RAP paraeducator Jamie Montgomery, at left, works with a group of students this week, while additional small groups of students read and learn together at other tables.
Volleyball team makes history, wins 4A state title
Photo courtesy of THS volleyball and WIAA
The Bears pause for a photo with their first-place trophy after capturing the top spot in the 4A Washington State Championship meet late last month.
When the Bears earned their final point in the 4A Washington State Championship in Yakima and secured the first-place finish, players and coaches alike felt like they were dreaming, they said. Not only did Tahoma High School’s volleyball team win the 4A state tournament, they made history as the first athletes from the school to achieve that goal, said co-coaches Maria Bahlenhorst and Sara Sussell.

“We have never been a part of a state championship before. … The girls have worked so hard for this moment,” Bahlenhorst said. “It was uncharted territory and nerve wracking to think of how much pressure these girls were (under) and how they would react. We just tried to keep ourselves and the girls calm, having fun and playing our game.”

The Bears beat Lake Stevens 21-25, 25-21, 25-22, and 28-26 in the Yakima Valley SunDome. On their path to first, they also had wins against Issaquah, Puyallup and Graham-Kapowsin. Before the state competition, the team was 7-0 in league play, 23-1 overall, and won third place in districts.

Senior captain Kaia Garcia, a defensive specialist, said the win was the perfect end to her school volleyball career, which started in fifth grade. The team bonded in a special way, and had a great chemistry, she said. “That ultimately got us the state championship -- not just the talent.”

Garcia added that the way the Tahoma community supported them was incredible. “We had an awesome fan section this year, and they came all the way to Yakima for us. They’re rowdy!” she said. “I’m glad that we got to win and they got to experience that.”

Junior captain and outside hitter Rachel Davis said the win was bittersweet for her because she had been thinking about winning the state championship since August, but recognizing that the seniors would be leaving the team. Asked why she chooses to play volleyball among other sports, Davis said. “It’s such a fast-paced game -- the strategy of it, and the different aspects of each position. You can bounce back on every single point. It’s such a team sport, and you never really work as an individual.”

Senior Chey Jones, who was recognized as the Cascade Division MVP, said she is proud to have been a Tahoma volleyball player, and that winning state felt like a “dream come true” moment for her as well.

“All the emotions hit because it was my last time playing with a lovely, caring group of girls who I’m proud to call my teammates,” said Jones, who has signed to play volleyball for Boise State next year. “I love the amazing community that volleyball has. There are so many connections with people you wouldn’t even expect to make connections with.”

The team is graduating eight seniors who will leave big shoes to fill, but the team will have six returning varsity members and also has a JV and freshman team that had undefeated seasons, Russell said. 

“It was so exciting; especially watching our girls’ reaction to the win. We truly believed the whole season that we could win state, but the realization that we actually had reached our goal was overwhelming,” she said. “I still find myself realizing that it wasn’t a dream!”

In case you missed it in the Seattle Times, click here for their article about the first-place finish.
New board members excited to serve Tahoma students, staff
The new School Board listens to a staff member after the swearing in of two of the new board members. From left, new School Board Director Malia Hollowell, Board President Tami Henkel, new School Board Director Pete Miller and Board Director Val Paganelli. Katrina Montgomery, who was also elected in November, was absent and sworn in on Dec. 3.

Tahoma voters chose Malia Hollowell, Pete Miller, and Katrina Montgomery to serve on the School Board in the Nov. 5 election. On Nov. 26, Interim Superintendent Mike Maryanski swore in Hollowell and Miller as board directors. Montgomery could not attend the meeting but was sworn in at the Dec. 3 work-study session.

Hollowell represents District 3, and Miller represents District 4. They replaced former School Board members Mary Jane Glaser and Didem Pierson, respectively. (See related article, below). Montgomery represents District 2 and was appointed to the board last spring to complete the unexpired term of Bill Clausmeyer, who resigned so that he can spend more time with his wife, who is dealing with chronic health concerns. To read more about Montgomery, click here.

The board’s newest members said they are eager to get started.

“I’m looking forward to working together as a team with our interim superintendent to achieve exciting goals for our district, like hiring a new superintendent and setting our five-year goals,” Hollowell said. “I’m excited to collaborate with the amazing staff, who are boots on the ground with our kids every day, and support them and help them.”

Hollowell was a classroom teacher for eight years and earned her National Board Certification. She also was a Fulbright-Hays scholar through the U.S. Department of Education, and traveled to West Africa to learn about their educational programs and share about American educational programs. Hollowell earned a master’s degree from Stanford University in International Comparative Education, then, when she was on maternity leave with her second son, started an educational blog that she later turned into a company. In that business, she talks with teachers around the country.

“I’m excited to apply those lessons that I’ve learned, so that our kids can benefit from those ideas.”

Hollowell also volunteered as Shadow Lake Elementary PTA president for two years, helped with fundraisers and as an art docent. In addition, she supports Backpack Buddies and has been active with the Voice of Tahoma Education Committee. When she's not working or volunteering, she enjoys traveling with her family; she has been to every continent except Antarctica and hopes to make it there one day, too.

She and her husband have three children in Tahoma schools.

Both Hollowell and Miller recently attended the annual Washington State School Directors Association conference in Bellevue, where a big focus was on equity and how to help all students achieve success. “They all come to us with different backgrounds and different needs,” Hollowell said. “As a school district, we need to meet them where they are and go from there.”

Miller said the three-day conference included a first-day, “boot camp”-style learning session designed to get new School Board members acquainted with their duties and requirements. 

“The next two days were ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’-style. You could choose the breakout sessions that you wanted to attend,” he explained, noting that he attended one about a partnership that the Issaquah School District has with Swedish Medical Center to bring mental health professionals into their buildings. “The three days were just what I was looking for and a great introduction to what I can look forward to over my term.”

Miller said he has been waiting to get to work, and that he looks forward to making a difference “for the district, the families and, most importantly, the students.”

His background includes a career as a Certified Public Accountant with Clark Nuber for the past 19 years; service on the Kidsquest Children’s Museum Board for 10 years; and service on the boards of four professional organizations. He also has worked as a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Miller and his wife have two children in Tahoma schools, and his personal interests include listening to music of many genres and playing in a CPA band called the “Accounting Crows.”

Miller said he thinks the biggest immediate challenges that the board will face are selecting a new superintendent and the two proposed levy measures on the February ballot.

“There’s no mistaking that we’re two new board members. We need to create a common vision and get in a rhythm as a board,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the work that is done by the board and the district translates to making a difference for the kids and the classrooms.”

Board adjusts levy measures to reflect assessed value change
A change in assessed valuation growth prompted Tahoma School Board to adjust the two levy measures that will be on the Feb. 11 election ballot.

At a special meeting Friday morning, the School Board unanimously approved adjustments to each levy. The proposed changes were discussed in depth at the board’s Dec. 3 work-study meeting. Superintendent Mike Maryanski and Director of Finance and Operations Lori Cloud told the board that its choices were to keep the original EP&O collection amount, which would increase the tax rate for property owners, or keep the rate at $2 per $1,000 by rolling back or reducing the amount to be collected. 

The board chose to reduce the four-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy by about $1 million each year. The estimated levy rate for property owners of $2 per $1,000 of assessed valuation will remain the same. The levy is projected to collect $16.4 million the first year and increase to just under $21.3 million the final year.

The smaller, four-year Technology Levy will collect the same amount each year as in the original resolution, but the estimated cost per $1,000 of assessed valuation will rise by 2-3 cents in the revised measure. If approved, the levy will collect a total of $16.8 million over four years, with the rate per $1,000 of assessed value estimated at 47 cents the first year, 48 cents the next year, 44 cents the third year, and 40 cents the final year. The previous rate ranged from a high of 45 cents to 38 cents per $1,000.

The reason for the changes is linked to the formula for calculating levy rates. The school district sets a dollar amount that would be collected from each levy, based on funding needs, and that number is divided by the total assessed property value for the entire school district area to establish the tax rate paid by property owners. The district’s estimate relies on actual property values set by the King County Assessor and on projected property values. A few weeks after the School Board approved the two levy measures on Oct. 22, the assessor’s office issued the latest actual assessed value for the school district area, which was lower than the projected estimate the district used to set the rate. 

Though the district will collect less money than originally planned from the EP&O levy, the gap can be filled by adjusting budgets and receiving additional state Local Effort Assistance money, which helps districts such as Tahoma that have lower than average assessed valuation.

Each levy is designed to pay for staffing, programs, supplies and equipment that are not funded or are only partly funded by state education dollars. Eight other King County school districts will have levy measures on the Feb. 11 ballot.

To read the original article about the levies from October, click here. The district will continue to share additional information and details between now and February.

At other recent meetings, the board:

  • Approved the Perkins Grant for $29,398.
  • Heard a report on the district's Reunification Plan, which is designed to safely reunite guardians and students in the case of an emergency.
  • Heard a report about the grade 6-8 science curriculum from science teaching staff and Educurious representatives.
  • Selected Tami Henkel to serve as president of the board, and Katrina Montgomery to serve as vice president of the board.
Tahoma field show ensemble finishes successful season

The Tahoma High School recently concluded their fall competitive season.
“Over the course of our competitions, we had tremendous success this year,” director Matthew Cole said. 

Results included:
  • Tumwater Field Show Festival of Bands: Best Percussion; second place in the open (large) band division; overall placement, fifth out of 12 bands. 
  • Sunset Festival of Bands: Best Drum Major; Best Music; second place in the division; overall placement, second place out of 10 bands.
  • Auburn Veterans Day Field Show Competition: second place for percussion; fourth place in the division, including bands from Washington and Oregon; overall, seventh out of 23 competing bands.

“Our show this year entitled, ‘Persephone,” incorporated in a variety of transcribed classical music,” Cole said. “Between our band, drum line, front ensemble percussionists, color guard, drum majors and logistics support team, we had more than 165 students involved with this season’s show. We had a wonderful 45+ parents involved with prop design/building, uniform logistics, equipment loading/transportation, food prep/serving, chaperones and donations/contributions.

If you would like to see the final performance of the 2019 Tahoma Field Show Ensemble’s performance of “Persephone,” click here.

Community lauds retiring board directors Glaser, Pierson
From left, retiring Board Director Mary Jane Glaser, incoming Board President Tami Henkel, retiring Board Director and President Didem Pierson and Board Director Val Paganelli during the Nov. 26 meeting.
The board room at the Central Services Center was full Nov. 26, as students, staff and community members gathered to share their appreciation for retiring School Board President Didem Pierson and Director Mary Jane Glaser, both of whom decided not to run for reelection.

“Thank you guys, so much,” Student Board representative Zachary Anderson said. “Since I’ve joined, you guys have been really supportive.”

Glaser served for more than 21 years. She was appointed to the board in July of 1998, then elected in November of 1999. She noted that she has spent one-third of her life as a school director and is grateful for the relationships she has made. “It’s a gift that you have all given me,” she said.

Pierson served for 16 years, after being elected to the board in November of 2003. She expressed her thanks for the evening’s accolades but also gave credit to other board members and district staff. “Mary Jane and I didn’t do these things alone,” she said. She thanked her husband, children and parents, along with Interim Superintendent Mike Maryanski, whom she described as her mentor. “Love you all,” she said.

In attendance to thank the directors for their service on the board were many elected officials, a former Maple Valley mayor and council member, current Mayor Sean P. Kelly and the City Council. Taking turns, the City Councilors read aloud from two proclamations, one each in honor of Glaser and Pierson.

“In November 2003, (Pierson) was elected to the first of four consecutive terms to the Tahoma School Board, eventually serving her community for a total of 16 years with passion and heart to students and adults. And when she was preparing for heart surgery as a young mother, she made her husband, Tom, promise that if anything were to happen to her, their children would remain in the Tahoma School District where she knew they would be taken care of.” 

The council declared the week of Nov. 25 as both “Didem Pierson Week” and “Mary Jane Glaser Week.”

The proclamation about Glaser said, “Her 21-plus years on the School Board have been busy and memorable and as she retires, we will miss her, but we count on seeing her as a volunteer always bringing new and exciting ideas to the citizens of Maple Valley.”

Others who spoke thanking Pierson and Glaser included the district department directors, Tahoma Education Association President David Aaby, Public School Employees of Washington Tahoma Chapter President Ruthie Mackie and Lake Wilderness Elementary administrative assistant Barbara Roessler.

Aaby said that the 531 members of the TEA are thankful for Glaser and Pierson’s collaboration and spirit of unity, and said that the school district is often held up as an example in other parts of Washington. “‘The Tahoma Way’ is known throughout the state. … Our district is a better place because of both of you.”

New School Board members Pete Miller and Malia Hollowell, who were elected by voters in November and were sworn in later in the evening, also spoke.

“We have heard ‘You have big shoes to fill,’ and we couldn’t agree more,” Hollowell said. “Thank you for putting kids at the center of your decisions.” 

Interim Superintendent Mike Maryanski also spoke, and said that he has heard from some community members in recent months that they think the board is dysfunctional. “Those conversations bother me, because they’re not dysfunctional,” Maryanski said. “They made every critical decision the board needed to make in order to move the school district forward. They’ve done it in a timely manner. I want to commend them for doing that. … They’re part of a School Board that has made the right decisions for young people in some very difficult times.”

He noted that although the district has been in a time of transition, the Board did not allow that process to trickle down and affect students.

“I was in this same chair the first time you sat in those chairs,” Maryanski said to Glaser and Pierson. When Glaser joined the board, some in the community said that she only cared about the arts. When Pierson joined the board, some in the community said that she only cared about her own children.

“They were proved wrong quickly,” Maryanski said. “They care about every young person in our school system. … It has been my privilege to work with them.”

He noted that he doesn’t often get choked up. “I thank you, deeply.” 

The audience stood, applauding for Glaser and Pierson.
The audience in the boardroom at the Central Services Center gives Glaser and Pierson a standing ovation to thank them for their service on the board.

How do 3 million AP calculus test questions get graded?
THS teacher selected to be among 28 lead test readers
Courtesy photo
Tahoma High School teacher Dave Wright (back row, fifth from left) with other Advanced Placement calculus test readers.
What happens after 500,000 students take an Advanced Placement Calculus test? About 1,100 graders from across the United States -- and some from other countries -- gather in Kansas City in June to assess the 3 million questions the students have answered. The truly tricky part is to ensure that the tests are graded accurately, consistently and efficiently. 

We got a glimpse into this intricate process when we talked with Tahoma High School teacher Dave Wright, who has been a grader (reader) for 12 years and recently was selected as one of 28 “Question Team Members” from among the 1,100 graders.

Principal Terry Duty said the accomplishment is a big one. "Dave Wright was recognized as the Siemens Washington State Science and Math teacher for Washington State for good reason. His students far, far exceed the Washington State average scores in AP Calculus and AP BC Calculus. His national level of involvement with the AP College Board in standards setting in calculus position him well as a teacher in Tahoma to teach content at a deeper level of understanding ... We are lucky to have a teacher nationally known like Mr. Wright working with our Tahoma Students every day," Duty said. "You will always find his classroom full of engaged math students."

In general, the organization of the graders goes like this: There is one person in charge of the test, called the Chief Reader. That person has two helpers, called Assistant Chief Readers. There are three Exam leaders. Each question has a Question Leader, and all of the Question Leaders have two helpers called Question Team Members, the role Wright was just invited to fill. The QTMs also serve as Table Leaders, who work in pairs to oversee 18 to 20 readers. Wright has worked as a reader for seven years and a Table Leader for four years.

It’s an intricate system, but that’s how accuracy and uniformity are ensured. Table Leaders get to the conference center two days early, in order to be fully briefed on each question, looking at how to grade it and situational examples. In turn, they brief their teams. When it’s time to start assessing the tests, each reader gets a folder of 25 exams, which they grade using a rubric. As questions about individual student answers arise, they talk with their table partner, and, if necessary, the Table Leader for their group. Occasionally, a situation is elevated to the next level, and the Question Leader joins the discussion.

“In the end, every test needs to be graded the same,” Wright explained. Table Leaders do “backreading,” or grading a folder that has already been graded by a first level reader.

In his new role, he’ll have the opportunity to help the Question Leader prepare.

“I’m basically going to spend two full days on one question. It’s pretty cool,” Wright said. He was pleasantly surprised when he received the invitation several weeks ago. “I’m excited, and looking forward to the chance to learn the next steps of this process,” he added. “It’s almost like there’s something happening behind the curtain and you’re not allowed to go behind the curtain until you reach that level. Now I get to see those next steps. For me, it’s always about what I can learn about how to teach calculus that will help my kids.”

The reason he has enjoyed the experience so much through the years is that it has helped him form a cadre of other calculus teacher friends, and they stay in touch during the school year. Other subjects such as geometry tend to have multiple teachers at any one high school, and those teachers are able to work in teams. But in calculus, it’s much more common to have only one teacher, such as in Wright’s case. 

Other AP test subjects are graded by groups of readers in other locations. Two other THS teachers help in similar capacities in their fields: Mitzi Mackey for chemistry, and Jennifer McCoy for advanced art.

College, career readiness bring teachers, parents together
Eighth-grade parents, guardians invited to learn more Dec. 16, Jan. 8
Tahoma High School Spanish teacher Alex Hipolito was among high school and middle school teachers who gathered on Nov. 15 to talk in detail about class offerings at THS.
High school and middle school teachers came together in a special meeting in the Commons area of Tahoma High School on Nov. 15 to talk about how they can better inform middle school students as they prepare for high school and beyond.

The meeting gave teachers an overview of high school courses and an opportunity to meet in subject-area groups, such as language arts or science, to talk in depth. By working with their high school colleagues, middle school teachers become very familiar with high school course offerings and expectations as they guide middle school students.

Teachers also rely on establishing partnerships with parents as part of the process to guide and assist students on their Future Ready journey. Parents and guardians of eighth-grade students are invited to learn more about college and career readiness at upcoming meetings on Dec. 16 and Jan. 8, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Board Room at Central Services Center. The meetings will feature a demonstration of the online career planning tool that students use to help them establish what their future interests might be.

In the last issue of Tahoma Matters, there were two omissions in the sports update brief about the THS volleyball team. We did not include co-coach Maria Bahlenhorst, who was recognized as coach of the year with Sara Russell or Chey Jones, who was recognized as MVP for the Cascade division of the North Puget Sound League.

Parent, guardian volunteers sought for parent engagement policy revisions
Tahoma is looking for parents and guardians interested in reviewing and providing input into policy revisions of the Parent Engagement Policy.

The work will take place on Thursday, January 16, from 6-7 p.m. in the Board Room at Central Services. If you are interested, please email your name and contact information to Carole Witruk at

District seeks writers for pro, con statements for voter's pamphlet
Pro and con statements regarding the Feb. 11 levy election for Tahoma School District must be submitted to King County Elections no later than 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 17. The school district has the responsibility to appoint pro and con committees that will write statements for the voter's pamphlet, according to King County Elections.

Tahoma is proposing two levy measures: a four-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy; and a four-year Technology Levy.

Persons interested in being part of the pro or con committee are asked to contact Kevin Patterson, Tahoma director of communication, by calling 425-413-3409 or by email at The deadline for volunteering to serve on the committees is 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 12.

The King County Elections Jurisdiction Manual states: "The jurisdiction is responsible for appointing pro and con committees (by Friday, Dec. 13) to prepare statements in favor of and in opposition to the ballot measure. Pro and con committees consist of members of the public who commit to write a statement either in favor of or in opposition to a ballot measure. Each committee is limited to three members, but the committee can have an unlimited number of persons assist them to prepare the statements. Each committee must designate a spokesperson with whom King County Elections will communicate all matters related to the local voters' pamphlet."

Nominations open for Future Ready Exemplary Performance Awards
Nominations are now being accepted for the Tahoma School Board's Exemplary Performance Award in Future Ready Skills for juniors and seniors. This award seeks to recognize students who have grown and developed their ability in a Future Ready Skill over time, as well as showcase their current achievement, and the importance of the skill in their life. The award is available to nominated juniors and seniors who submit and demonstrate evidence of achievement or accomplishment in a particular skill. Students who receive an award will have documented their authentic application of and their exceptional ability in the skill while in high school.

Nominate current juniors and/or seniors for the Tahoma School Board’s Future Ready Exemplary Performance Award by Jan. 15. Teachers, coaches, staff and community members are invited to nominate students.

If you know a current junior or senior who demonstrates exemplary performance in one of the Future Ready Skills, nominate them today! Nominated students will be notified immediately and encouraged to apply. Applications will be evaluated, and students will be notified in the spring.

Students who receive this award will be honored during their Senior Awards night at Tahoma High School, recognized at graduation through special honor cords, and receive a digital badge which they may post on social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, allowing them to share their achievement with family, friends, employers, and others, as well as build a positive digital reputation.

Student applications are due March 6.

Fundraiser for InvestED at Jersey Mike’s
Tahoma High School will be hosting an InvestED fundraiser on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the Maple Valley Jersey Mike’s location. The restaurant will donate 20 percent of proceeds to Tahoma High School’s InvestEd fund which helps support students in need by paying for items such as shoes, glasses, warm coats, and more.
InvestED provides funding to 635 secondary schools throughout Washington. In 2018-2019, the program helped 23,664 students by paying for shoes, college application fees, ASB cards, glasses, warm coats, athletic equipment and more. Funding comes from Seahawks license plates, donations and a group of core sponsors.

FRIDAY, Dec. 6
Cedar River PTO Winter Sock Hop, free, 6-7:30 p.m., CRES
Shadow Lake Elementary PTA Family Movie Night, free, 6:30 p.m., SLES

Lake Wilderness Elementary PTA Holiday Breakfast, $4 per entry or $12 per family, 8-10:30 a.m., LWES

TUESDAY, Dec. 10
Tahoma School Board work study session about secondary site plans, superintendent search, 6 p.m., Central Services Center

Rock Creek Elementary PTO meeting, 7-8 p.m., RCES library
Summit Trail Middle School Winter Band Concert, 7 p.m., STMS

Maple View Middle School 6th grade WEB social, 2:30-4 p.m. (no activity bus), MVMS
Tahoma High School Band concert, 7 p.m., THS PAC

FRIDAY, Dec. 13
Tahoma Elementary PTO Movie Night, 6:30 p.m., TES auditorium
Tahoma High School/Community Choir concert, 7 p.m., THS PAC

MONDAY, Dec. 16
College, career readiness for parents/guardians of 8th-grade students, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Central Services Center.
THS orchestra concert, 7 p.m., THS PAC

TUESDAY, Dec. 17
Tahoma School Board meeting, 6:30 p.m., Central Services Center
THS Choir concert, 7 p.m., THS PAC

MONDAY, Dec. 23
NO SCHOOL, districtwide for Winter Break, Dec. 23-Jan. 3.

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:
Tahoma School District | 425-413-3400 | Visit our website
25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Rd. S.E., Maple Valley, WA 98038