Feb. 14, 2020
In this issue:
Tahoma voters approve two school funding measures
THS cheer team advances to nationals
Board invites you to Tahoma Community Café
School Board votes to purchase replacement computers
Quality producers build rollercoasters
School Board news
District kudos
News briefs
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?
Tahoma voters approve two school funding measures
Tahoma School District voters this week approved the two proposed school funding measures on the Feb. 11 ballot.

The measures included a four-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy, and a four-year Technology Levy. As of Friday afternoon, the EP&O levy was passing with a 58.04 percent “yes” vote, and the Technology levy was passing with a 57.61 percent “yes” vote. Those results include 12,067 ballots, which represent 42.59 percent of registered voters in the district.

Interim Superintendent Mike Maryanski said he is grateful that both proposals were approved.

“I’m thankful that the system can now be focused on moving forward to support young people and adults in reaching the goals that have been set,” Maryanski said.

The existing EP&O levy, which is at a rate of $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value, will end in 2020, and the new levy at a rate of $2 per $1,000 will begin in 2021. During the 2019-2020 school year, the EP&O levy is paying for about 92 percent of athletics and activities, 78 percent of substitute teachers, 76 percent of classified administration (including non-administrators who work in the district office), 76 percent of technology staff, 74 percent of the nursing program, 71 percent of professional development, 65 percent of the highly capable program, 35 percent of paraeducators, 22 percent of counseling staff, 11 percent of Special Education and 10 percent for certificated teachers. 

In addition to continuing to fund programs and staff positions listed above, the 2020-2021 budget will use local levy dollars in additional proposals such as $1.8 million for mental health, $940,000 for staff increases, $370,000 for operations, $230,000 for Dyslexia testing, $300,000 for growth and achievement, $140,000 for graduation pathways, $30,000 for paraeducator certification and $10,000 for inclusion.

Tahoma has been without a Technology Levy since 2018, after voters turned down a proposed replacement technology levy. The newly approved measure will cost homeowners an estimated 47 cents the first year, 48 cents the second year, 44 cents the third year and 40 cents the final year. It will help pay for the implementation of the Tahoma Technology Plan, including 9,000 computers for students and staff, with a return to a five-year refresh cycle; increased student access at school; educational and office software licenses, technicians to support equipment purchasing, installation and maintenance; technology coaches; digital tools to support students who receive special education services; servers, storage, network switches, firewalls, routers, Wi-Fi, and other infrastructure.

King County Elections will certify the results on Feb. 21. Other King County school districts that had levy measures on the February ballot included Auburn, Bellevue, Enumclaw, Issaquah, Kent, Tukwila and Vashon Island. Each levy proposal passed.

THS cheer team advances to nationals
The Tahoma Bears cheer team pauses for a photo after competing at the state level last week in Battle Ground, Wash.
The Tahoma Bears cheer team won state titles in the Coed Game Day and 3A/4A Super Large categories during last week’s Washington Interscholastic Activities Association State Championships. This week, the team is in California for the national contest, where they will compete in six categories.

“Winning back-to-back state championships in the Game Day division was such a thrill and exciting to watch,” coach Chuck Chartray said. “We had a deduction that we thought might affect our placing, but the hard work and performance by the athletes gave them enough of a lead that the deduction didn't matter on their final placing. In the traditional division, we again had some deductions that we thought would affect us, but they put on an amazing performance and again snuck in the win.”

It has been a long season for the cheer team, starting in july with summer camps, proceeding through choreography and football, basketball and competitions, Chartray said, noting that the team added boys this fall, which was a great change that they hope to continue.

“We had a tough week of practices before state, trying to clean up our routines and earn every possible point,” he said. “These athletes only get three weeks off a year. They are getting tired and looking forward to their competition and having some rest and relaxation. They have been working out in the weight room three days a week and practicing 3 days a week with one or two games a week as well as competitions on Saturdays. They are truly giving everything their bodies can give to represent Tahoma.”

The Tahoma High School boys basketball team finished its season with seven wins and 13 losses, missing the playoffs by one game, coach Rick Tripp said. They were a young team playing in a competitive league.

One highlight of the season was senior night, Tripp said. “We played Kentlake, and the crowd was electric,” he added. “We won the game and capped a great night.”
The Bears also had a great season-ending game, he added. That night, the Bears beat Hazen High School 54-45.

In North Puget Sound League all-league selections, JC Humphrey was selected second team NPSL for the Cascade Division, and Quinn Faulk was selected third team NPSL.

Girls basketball
“The Lady Bears were NPSL Cascade division Co-Champions this year going 13-1 in league play and an overall regular season record of 17-4,” coach Peter Smith said. “(We) have had a great season thus far.” 
One of the season highlights so far was winning against Kentridge High School this year -- Kentridge’s first league loss in more than four years, Smith said.

The Lady Bears play in their second district tournament contest tomorrow, a loser-out game against Camas at 1:45 p.m. at Foss High School in Tacoma. The team opened the playoffs with a loss to Union High School, 57-51, on Thursday. 

“The athletes in the program have worked hard all season,” Smith said. “They have worked together and sacrificed their own personal success for the greater good of the team, and the program. As a coach, I could not be more proud of my athletes in what they have accomplished thus far, and the direction they are heading.”

Dance team
The Tahoma Dance Team is competing in pom and hip hop this year, and has had a strong season so far, said coach Simone Odegard.

“From their first competition, they qualified for districts and by their fourth competition of the season, they were making state qualifying scores,” Odegard said. “Along with that, at least one team member has been a drill-down winner at nearly every competition that we have attended.

 The team is fairly new this year, with six out of 10 first-year competition team members, which has posed a challenge. “They are picking up material and learning what it takes to be a competition team member,” she said. “They are doing a great job at taking direction, learning new skills, learning team style and blending with the returners. These girls are all extremely hard working and coaches from other schools have mentioned that they didn’t realize we had such a young team.”

The team’s last competition of the season will be Feb. 29 at Kentwood High School. The district competition will be on March 14 in Olympia; if the team qualifies to compete at state, they will travel to Yakima for a March 27 contest.

Swim and dive
The Bears swim and dive team placed second in the district, earning a 7-1 league record and 9-1 overall mark. They also set seven records this year, and have the possibility of four more individual records at state.

“The boys have accomplished some amazing feats this season,” coach Theresa Castaneda said. “They had to work super hard to be undefeated in league meets this year. They were within 20 points at several meets they swam (Mt Rainier, Kennedy, Hazen, and Kentridge), but were able to step up and win the meet because of not only our speed, but our depth. This year’s team is the first swim/dive team in school history to be league division champions and win league.” 

 At the league meet, the boys team had several first-place finishes, including the 100 backstroke and the 400 free relay. Last week during the West Central District meet at the Curtis Aquatic Center, the 200 free relay team took second place; the Bears also placed third and fourth in the 100 free; and the 400 free relay team took fourth. Their second place finish was the highest in THS boys swim/dive history.

Next, the team will compete in the state meet on Feb. 21 and 22 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way. The team has three relays and seven individual swims qualified. Representing Tahoma in the relay competitions will be Nate Ainsworth, Leon Hong, Parker Wichelmann, Devin Stanley, Colton Natwick, Lars Hammerstrom, Alessio Midrigan and Tyler Cruise. Individual swimmers include Ainsworth (50 freestyle & 100 freestyle); Wichelmann (200 free & 100 fly); Stanly (50 freestyle & 100 freestyle); and Hong (100 breaststroke).

“This has been a fun team to coach this year,” Castaneda said. “They make practice fun while working hard. There are so many personalities that come together to energize this group. I am excited to see what they end up doing at state.”

Boys wrestling
The Tahoma Bears wrestling team was undefeated in league matches this year, and 8-1 overall. The wrestlers are currently ranked second among the Washington state 4A high schools. The regional wrestling tournament starts tomorrow, and 14 of Tahoma’s wrestlers will compete. 

“Our boys won the sub-regional qualifying tourney over our cross town rivals from Kentwood,” coach Chris Feist said in an email.

First-place finishers included Nathan Curry, Yusief Lillie, Steele Starren, Parker Boynton, Michael Gasper, Levi Kovacs and Justin Ketzenburg.

The state qualifying tournament will be held tomorrow, Feb. 15, at THS.

Girls wrestling
In its inaugural season, the Tahoma Bears girls wrestling team placed seventh out of 21 teams last weekend at the sub-regional tournament at Kent Meridian High School. They qualified three girls to regionals, coach Tim Kitchen said. 

Hailey Sheridan placed second in the 135 weight class, Callie Gerona placed third at 170, and Ashley Medsker placed third at 190.  

The next stop for the girls wrestling team is the regional tournament, which begins tomorrow, Feb. 15, at Decatur High School.  

To read an article about the wrestling team from just before the season started, click here.
Board invites you to Tahoma Community Café
Tahoma School Board is inviting students, parents, staff and community members to discuss and contribute ideas about school district priorities at an Engage Tahoma event on March 18.

The event will be conducted as a café-style meeting that encourages conversation among table groups. Called Tahoma Community Café, the meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m.in the commons at Summit Trail Middle School.

The café is designed to generate ideas that will help the School Board as it shapes its five-year goals. Among the topics that will be discussed are: Learning environment, mental health, equity, career pathways, Future Ready skills, parent and community partnership, and measures for understanding how well prepared students are for college, careers, and life.

All are welcome, but participants are asked to RSVP here: bit.ly/TahomaCafe2020 or by contacting Carole Witruk in Tahoma Teaching and Learning, 425-413-3430, or by email: cwitruk@tahomasd.us
School Board votes to purchase replacement computers
The Tahoma School Board approved a request to purchase 1,900 Chromebook computers for student use this school year. The devices will replace Chromebooks that are six years old and are beyond their service life. 

The $570,000 purchase was contingent on passage of the four-year Technology Levy, which voters approved on Feb. 11. Purchase of the computers is from the district’s general fund, though it was not a budgeted expense. There are sufficient funds to pay for the computers. The district plans to spend from the general fund, which includes its fund-balance reserve, as well as from Technology Levy funds to replace aging computers and support classroom technology.

The school district’s Technology Advisory committee recommended purchase of the 1,900 Chromebooks now so that students will have them available for state testing this spring. Most of the devices will be used by students in middle school and high school language arts and social studies classes.

Board hears from equity committee

Shadow Lake Elementary Principal Mike Hanson and Tahoma High School Assistant Principal Tony Davis spoke about the creation of an Equity Planning Committee. Interim Superintendent Mike Maryanski asked Hanson and Davis to begin exploring climate and culture regarding equity issues such as race, gender, and economic status.

Hanson told the board that Tahoma has changed considerably in the past 10 years and there is a need to adjust how the district views and responds to equity issues. Hanson and Davis provided a chart to the board that shows percentage changes in student groups, according to race, ethnicity, language, and economic status. Since the 2014-2015 school year, there is much more diversity among students in all categories.

“One of the things that hasn’t matched that change is our awareness and understanding, and professional development around equity within our system for the changing demographics in our system,” he said.

Hanson and Davis recommended and received permission to form an ad hoc committee to further explore equity and bring recommended changes back to the School Board.

Davis said the goal is clear: “We want all students to feel safe, respected, and valued in every classroom, every day,” he said. “We need to be doing something. Our community and our schools don’t look like they did 26 years ago” when he began teaching at Tahoma High School.

In other business Feb. 11, the School Board: 

  • Approved a 45-day process to surplus a small piece of property on the west end of the Tahoma High School campus for potential lease by Verizon Wireless, which seeks to install a communications tower. The district has not agreed to permit installation of the tower and is continuing to evaluate its feasibility. Two community members spoke to the board and expressed opposition to the tower because of health concerns. District staff will consider those concerns as part of the evaluation it is conducting.

  • Offered thanks to Voice of Tahoma Education Committee volunteers for their efforts to inform the community about the Educational Programs and Operations Levy and the Technology Levy that were on the Feb. 11 election ballot.
Quality Producers build roller coasters in science
Editor’s note: Each month of the school year, Tahoma asks its teachers and students to place special emphasis on one of the nine Future Ready Skills. Tahoma Matters features examples of how those skills are being taught in classrooms. This month, we’re highlighting Quality Producer.
Students in Katrina Alegado's science class show their roller coaster, which they built during a unit about energy.

In Katrina Alegado’s classroom at Summit Trail Middle School recently, students dreamed up, designed and built their own roller coasters. Admittedly, these weren’t people-sized coasters, but rather created for a marble to run through -- however, they did include death-defying drops, loops and jumps. The eighth-graders completed the project as part of a recent science unit on energy.

The students’ work to design, engineer and test the structures exemplified the Quality Producer skill, Alegado said.

“They worked collaboratively to produce excellent roller coasters, while focusing on the effects of potential and kinetic energy,” she said. “They all took enormous pride in their work, used various improvements to refine their designs, and had a blast while learning physical science!”

The class has since moved on to an Educurious curriculum unit, as a continuation of energy concepts, taught in a different way. On Tuesday, they were learning about different types of forces, in preparation for another design project -- next time, they will tackle the creation of an airdrop system with a parachute to safely deliver supplies (simulated by a ball of clay).

Student Mason Y. said that the roller coaster project helped him learn that “Energy is in everything, and it never is created or destroyed -- it is always transferred into something else.”

For his group’s coaster, they focused on building it to run from the highest point possible to the lowest point possible. “The more slope it had, the more GPE -- Gravitational Potential Energy -- it could create,” Mason explained.

His teammate, Vale B., said he wanted the design to be successful, but also “in the most fun way possible. I’ve been on a corkscrew one, and that’s what I tried to base it on.”

On another team, classmates Sarah O. and Sriharika B. said they learned a lot about energy, and the best strategies for creating energy.

“At first we did one, and it worked, but we decided to do something crazier,” Sriharika said. 

Asked whether they would change their design if they were to recreate the process, Sarah said, “I think there’s always something to improve on, but ours worked well with the modifications.”

A third team including Brayden W. said their group talked about energy conversions, kinetic and potential energy and the heat the coaster would create. They built a loop into their design, as well as a jump, which Alegado said was a first among the roller coaster projects her students have created.

Band students excel at solo, ensemble contest
More than 50 Tahoma High School band students recently competed in the regional solo and ensemble competition hosted at Auburn Riverside High School including students from Kent, Auburn, Enumclaw, White River and Tahoma. Nearly every performing member earned a “superior” or “excellent” rating.

Winners will advance to the state competition at the end of April at Central Washington University.
Results included: flute solo, Skylar Churches, winner; oboe solo, Maya Cheam, winner; oboe solo, Madison Collins, first alternate; clarinet solo, Claire Cunningham, winner; clarinet solo, Nicole Stan, first alternate; alto/bass clarinet solo, Alejandro Albright-Reveles, winner; tenor/baritone sax solo, Naomi Putney, winner; tenor/baritone sax solo, Gabriel Weisenburger, first alternate; french horn solo, Alexa Meyer, first alternate; snare drum solo, Micah Hays, first alternate; timpani solo, Nicholas Boren, winner; small woodwind ensemble of Logan Trudel on soprano saxophone, Skylar Wood, on alto saxophone, Alejandro Albright-Reveles on tenor saxophone, Ryan Glisson, on baritone saxophone, second alternate; large brass ensemble including Elaina MacKenzie, Nathan Decker, John Young, Calista Mucke and Molly Sleeman on trumpet, Alexa Meyer on French horn, Kevin Meyer and Kyle Rios on trombone, Sam Garcia, and Gabriel Weisenburger on euphonium, and Luke Sonnen and Donovan Faucher on tuba, second alternate; small percussion ensemble of Jeff Fermstad, Kyler Shinnick, Jonathan Connors, Timothy Myers all on multiple percussion, first alternate; large percussion ensemble of Micah Hays, Cole McKittrick, Ammon Thompson, Keegan Snoozy, Joshua Scarry, all on tonal bass drum, first alternate; and piano solo by Cara Lisy, first alternate.

THS junior recognized in arts, writing competition
Tahoma High School junior Kaleb Magee was recently recognized by the region at large program of the Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition, among nearly 320,000 original works this year in 29 different categories of art and writing. The competition is presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. 

Magee’s sculpture titled “Guardian of the Globe” (pictured above) was awarded an honorable mention.

Since 1923 the Scholastic Awards have recognized some of America’s most celebrated artists when they were teenagers. Alumni of the award program include Andy Warhol, Tschabalala Self, Stephen King, Charles White, Joyce Carol Oates, and Kay Walkingstick, a news release said.

Volleyball team to be honored in Olympia
The Tahoma High School volleyball team will be recognized for their first-ever 4A state championship at the capitol in Olympia on Feb. 26. The proposed resolution from the State Legislature reads in part:

“Whereas, Tahoma High School has served the educational needs of southeast King County since 1927, providing high standards for both academic and extracurricular activities; and whereas, on Saturday November 23rd, the Tahoma High School volleyball team won the State Championship title; and whereas, The Tahoma Bears have made history by securing their first 4A volleyball State Championship title; and, whereas, The students of Tahoma High School’s volleyball team have shown tremendous dedication to their own success and development … now, therefore, be it resolved that on this day, the Washington State House of Representatives congratulates Maria Bahlenhorst, Maddie Burdulis, Brooke Cassidy, Rachel Davis, Zoe Faull, Kaia Garcia, Chey Jones, Kennedy Kibby, McKenna Peters, Julia Powley, Sara Russell, Katie Skevington, Delaney Speer, Alyssa Thelen, Sydney Thompson, and Lidia Zahajko on their outstanding and well-deserved State Championship victory.”

Board tours Tahoma schools
From left, Tahoma's School Board members Pete Miller, Val Paganelli, Malia Hollowell, Tami Henkel and Katrina Montgomery are welcomed at Glacier Park Elementary during the board's annual tour of all nine schools in the district.

Community invited to “Let’s Talk About It: Black and White Part 2”
The Middle Schools of Tahoma PTA will host a second community conversation event called “Let’s Talk About It: Black and White Part 2,” which is organized by Shavonne Brooks, a Tahoma parent who has shared that her children have faced racism within the schools they attend.

The first event was hosted in the fall. This second event will feature a panel of speakers, and is designed to help those who attend learn about African American history and culture. Conversation questions will include: 

  • What is colorism and how does it affect the community?
  • How can we grow together as a community and break the cycles?
  • Conversation topic: Stereotypes of African Americans.

Future Freshman Night planned for Feb. 26
Current Tahoma eighth-graders and their parents/guardians are invited to Future Freshman Night from 6:30-8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at Tahoma High School.
The event will include a welcome in the gym, a course fair, tips for being successful in high school, the chance to learn about registration, requirements for the class of 2024 graduation, and building tours.
Eighth-graders will receive their registration materials during the week of March 16 when THS Counselors visit the middle schools to review ninth-grade course requirements and distribute registration materials.
For those who can't make it on this date, we will offer a shortened version during the High School & Beyond Night on March 4.
“High School & Beyond Night” slated for March
Students and families are invited to attend “High School & Beyond Night” from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 at Tahoma High School. The event will include a pre-session about applying to the University of Washington; a career and college fair featuring apprenticeship programs, colleges, financial advisors, military representatives, employers and more; and breakout sessions about AP classes, apprenticeships, College in the High School courses, financial aid, Running Start, community and technical colleges, and more.
The event is open to all members of the community with children of any age.
For more the schedule and other information, click here.
Grad Night volunteers needed
The Tahoma High School PTA is in urgent need of Grad Night Volunteers.  
The Grad Night celebration is organized each year by the PTA, and offers an event that is “safe, sober and spectacularly fun.” Volunteers work each year to plan a “once-in-a-lifetime” celebration.
Needs include volunteers to help organize prizes, the senior gift, snacks and chaperones. Parents of seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen are all welcome; volunteers need to be THS PTA members and be cleared as a volunteer with the Tahoma School District. Graduation is Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
The price for Grad Night is $145 through April 30; from May 1 through the night of graduation, the cost is $165. Scholarships are available, via applications in the counseling office or at tahomahspta@gmail.com. To purchase tickets, click here for the Grad Night Agreement and methods of payment.
Please email tahomahspta@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering to help the committee.
Bus drivers wanted!
Are you looking for a flexible, rewarding and vital job in our community? We're hiring bus drivers!
If you are interested, please follow these steps:
  • Visit our website at https://tahomajobs.myschooldata.net/ and apply for any of the posted bus driver positions.
  • Your application will be reviewed, and you will likely be contacted for additional screening
  • After the additional screening, we will meet with you in person and discuss the details of the position.
If you have applied in the past but your application is outdated, please update and renew it online.
Untrained drivers will get paid as they train. The district reimburses for most out-of-pocket expenses, such as getting your endorsements and license. Licensed bus drivers may be eligible for a $1,500 stipend. If you would like to know more or have any questions, please contact Transportation Trainer & Dispatcher Tiffeny Moore at tmoore@tahomasd.us or 425-413-3225.
If you know someone who might be interested in this event and this opportunity, please feel free to share this information. We look forward to welcoming new bus drivers to #TeamTahoma!
For anyone interested in other positions with the Tahoma School District, our current openings are listed here: bit.ly/TSDjobOpenings

MONDAY, Feb. 17
NO SCHOOL, districtwide, Feb. 17-21 for Mid-winter break

TUESDAY, Feb. 25
School Board meeting, 6:30 p.m., Central Services Center

Future Freshman Night, 6:30-8:15 p.m., Tahoma High School (See news brief above)

"Let's Talk About It: Black and White" part 2, Noon-2:30 p.m., Summit Trail Middle School

High School & Beyond Night, 5:30-9 p.m., Tahoma High School (See news brief above).

School Board Cafe, 6-8 p.m., Summit Trail Middle School

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