May 31, 2019
In this issue:
Engage Tahoma: How can tech survive failed levy?
THS girls take third straight track title; boys take 2nd
Video documentary a hit for Tahoma senior
School Board reviews 18-19 budget adjustment
Vaping increase seen at all grade levels
District kudos
News briefs
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?

Engage Tahoma: How can tech survive failed levy?
Parents share ideas about classroom technology
Tahoma’s Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Dawn Wakeley, center right, facilitates a table discussion during the May 20 session of Engage Tahoma.
Parents, students and community members who attended the second session of Engage Tahoma: Classroom Technology on May 20 discussed technology and related issues in small groups. They told district staff and School Board members that they would like to see the district share specific stories, videos and examples about how teachers and staff currently use technology and how they would like to use it once the district has technology levy dollars to spend.

During the first of the two sessions, staff members shared about the current state of technology, the process of the Technology Model Review, and the vision for the future. A video of the first session is available here. As part of the model review, three core values emerged that will be used to evaluate each decision related to technology: access, equity and sustainability.

Those core values can also help students and staff use technology to achieve three essential outcomes: Empowered Learning, Future Ready Skills and a Future Ready Plan, said Kimberly Allison, coordinator for Instructional Technology and Future Ready Skills. 

Empowered learning is “not just the ‘what’ kids are going to learn -- it’s the ‘how’ they are going to learn it,” Allison said. When technology is used well, students are able to learn about a topic very authentically and also more deeply than they otherwise would.

Technology can not only help Tahoma students learn Future Ready Skills, but can also help them self-assess their abilities and track their work in each area. “We want a place where students can collect evidence and also where they can request feedback,” she explained.

The third essential outcome is each student’s Future Ready Plan, or the process throughout elementary, middle and high school that helps students build a vision for their valued, viable and successful future. “How do we help spark that interest, and how can technology help accomplish that?” Allison asked.

Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Dawn Wakeley gave a brief review of the district’s current technology reality. Because voters did not approve a technology levy in 2018, 24 new classrooms will be added next school year with no new computers. There will also be new curriculum, such as the new secondary math curriculum, which has strong digital components, but not all students will have access to the help the program offers when they are at home. Other challenges include the aging computers throughout the district, with no refresh scheduled, fewer technology staff and cuts to supplemental software programs.

Those who attended the meeting broke into four table groups to discuss two questions and give their feedback.

The first question, “What might we share with our community to paint a compelling picture of our need to invest in technology?” elicited responses including:

  • Parent Jenn Askew, who attended the meeting and also serves on the Technology Advisory Committee, said she thinks the district should share about “the current miserable state of our district in terms of technology. We’re just eking by.”
  • Parent Malia Hollowell said “The numbers and fact to a story -- it brings it home and helps us understand that it’s actually affecting our kids.”
  • Parent Laura Meyers: “What our neighboring districts are using and how their students are better off than ours.”
  • Teacher Allie Hayes: “How kids are feeling.”
  • Parent Kelley Billington shared an idea from another community, when she attended a farmer’s market where local students were sharing their projects, and suggested that the district consider a technology and/or curriculum showcase.
  • Parent Jamie Fairbanks said she has worked in districts with older technology and emphasized how frustrating it can be for students and staff members to wait on a lagging computer or program. “By providing greater technology, we are able to provide equity,” she added.
  • Parent Rebecca Murakami said she feels the technology levy provides the “bread and butter” for technology throughout the district.

In response to the second question, “What barriers are critical to address, as we plan forward, to realize our Future Ready Vision for technology?” attendees said:

  • Askew: “Parental buy-in." Also, an understanding of how and when technology is going to be used.”
  • Parent Kelli Miller: “Reaching our community with the ‘why.’”
  • Billington: Explaining to the community that the technology levy funds more than 1-1 computers (one computer for each student, which some surrounding districts already have).
  • Hayes: “From a teacher’s standpoint, our days are really, really full. To add one more thing might be what breaks the camel’s back.” So, adequate training and support for technology are vital.
  • Fairbanks: “Being really open about per-student spending,” she said, explaining that she would like to see a breakdown of what the proposed technology spending looks like for one student.

School Board President Didem Pierson thanked those who attended for partnering with the district.

“We have important work to do,” Pierson said. “I love that we kept the students at the center of the (discussion). It can’t end here, and it can’t wait until the next Engage Tahoma.”

The 26-member Tech Advisory Committee is putting the finishing touches on their proposed Tech plan, which will be brought to the School Board for their consideration.
This guiding diagram was created as part of the Technology Model Review. A student who participated had the idea to use "circuitry" (circuit-tree) to illustrate the connected core values and essential outcomes. The group decided the trunk of the tree would be represented by human hands to show that technology doesn't replace traditional teaching, but rather grows from it, when used properly.
THS girls win third straight state track title; boys take 2nd
Photo courtesy of THS track and field
For the third consecutive year, the Tahoma High School girls track and field team won the Washington State 4A Championship. Coming in only three points behind the first-place team, Tahoma’s boys finished second in state, which is the best in school history.

“It is so exciting to see Tahoma Track & Field reaching historic heights,” girls coach Jeff Brady said. “We have a very unique group that has set the bar very high for the next group of athletes coming in. The work that these individuals put in prior to the start of the season (summer, fall & winter) set themselves up for an exciting spring season.” 

The girls had six first-place finishes, including Bryana Rogers with a triple jump of 37 8 3/4; the 4x100 relay team of Aliya Wilson, Alisha Wilson, Alaina Brady, Adaji Osaro-Igwe with a time of 46.97; Alaina Brady, who won both the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.27 and the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.23; Osaro-Igwe won the 200-meters with a time of 24.60; and Aliya Wilson in the 100 meters with a time of 12.13. The girls had an additional seven athletes finish in the top five of individual events.

As a team, Tahoma’s girls had a total of 98.5 points; in second place, Lake Stevens scored 45.

“The girls team has a lethal combination of talent, hard work, and coaching that sets them apart from other teams in our state and propelled them to their third consecutive State title,” said Keith Eager, boys coach. “The boys team also worked hard all season and we were hoping to make podium as a team at State. Each of the athletes met or exceeded our expectations and were able to score 47 points for a second place team finish, the highest yet for Tahoma.”

The boys team had one first place finish: Gabriel Shouman won the javelin event with a throw of 199 feet, 2 inches; and an additional five top-five finishes. Overall, they scored 47 points, just three behind the first-place finishers from Walla Walla.

 “It has been really fun to watch the coaches and athletes over the past five years, change the culture of track and field at Tahoma,” Eager said. “It was a special season. I am very proud that on the boys side, points were scored by all of the event groups! All of the coaches on our staff played a role in our success.”

For all the results from the state championship, click here.

Fastpitch shines at state
The Tahoma Bears softball team finished their run in the top eight teams at the 4A Washington State Championship in Spokane. 

“The Tahoma Bears varsity girls fastpitch team left it all on the field in Spokane at the 4A WIAA State Tournament, placing in the top 8 out of 16," coach Rob McMartin said. “This group of athletes battled hard all season, taking first place in the NPSL Cascade Division, first place in NPSL League and third place in the West Central District tournaments."

After several weather delays, the Bears beat Central Valley 10-6 in their first state game; then won against Sumner 6-5 and finally lost a close game against Glacier Peak 4-3.

"This was a great season for the Bears program as all teams (varsity, JV and C teams) represented themselves, the community, the school and the district well," McMartin said. "I cannot express how proud I am of all the athletes in the program and urge the community to tune in next year for another exciting season!"

The North Puget Sound League Cascade Division awards for the team include: Rob McMartin, coach of the year; catcher Taylor Tomich and infielder Brenna Henry, honorable mention; catcher Emma Dazell, infielder Kirsten Chung, outfielder Emma Elliott, second team; pitcher Kyla Damerow, infielder Kaiea Higa, outfielder Saxon Piksa, first team; pitcher Mareena Ramirez MVP. Higa was also recognized as a Seattle Times Star Team softball player.

The team was 18-2 in regular season play.

Golf places 10th at state
As a team, the Tahoma boys golfers took 10th in the 4A Washington State Tournament in Spokane last week. As individuals, Colby Watkins and Luke Sherrell moved on to the final round, where they tied for eighth and 17th, respectively.

“Colby Watkins played a fantastic first round at 1 under par, and Luke Sherrell had a great day as well at 3 over par,” coach David Reynoldson said. “The other players were sophomores at their first state tournament and struggled to find a good rhythm on day one turning our team event into an individual event.  

“Colby and Luke played great both days with Colby finishing tied for 8th and Luke at tied for 17th. Our entire state team should be back next year, and with the experience gained this year, we have a great outlook for next year,” Reynoldson said. “We finished as a team in 10th place in the state which is great, but we left the tournament hungry, because we know we can play better. Hopefully that translates into a better finish next year.”

Baseball competes in elite eight at state
The Bears baseball team also competed in the 4A Washington State Championship, where they beat Monroe 3-0, then lost to Issaquah 7-5.

“The Bears season ended Saturday, but the coaching staff could not be prouder,” the coaches wrote on the team’s Twitter account. “This group of young men proved many wrong, by taking first in league and reaching the elite eight in the state tournament. Thank you, players, for always giving your best, you outdid yourselves.”

Senior Mason Fritsch was recently recognized as one of The Seattle Times’ “Star Times” athletes.
Video documentary a hit for Tahoma senior
Tahoma High School senior Caroline Lathrop won an award of excellence at the Northwest High School Film Festival, as well as a scholarship for studying film.

When Caroline Lathrop sits down at the computer to edit a film, everything else fades to black.

Early in her high school career, Lathrop had planned to focus on a science pathway, but then in pre-AP literature, she was assigned to work on a scene from “Romeo and Juliet.” That experience led her to register for video production as a sophomore, and her love of envisioning what a film could be and bringing it to life has grown steadily in the years since. 

At the 2019 Northwest High School Film Festival, the Tahoma High School senior's piece, “Tarzan Documentary” won an award for excellence. 

“I didn’t actually think it would win, because I missed early footage and I didn’t have a full story arc,” she said.

Then, they announced the winner of the 2019 Justin Amorratanasuchad Film Scholarship, which a family created in memory of their son. The scholarship is given to one film student from the Northwest annually, and offers her $31,000 payable over four years. When Lathrop’s name was called, she was so overwhelmed that she didn’t react immediately.

“I will say Caroline is pretty humble,” video production teacher Rick Haag said. “Everyone who has watched the film has been very impressed.” The film festival is quite competitive, and many of the films created and entered are on par with work done in the industry, he said.

For her documentary about the Tahoma High School production of "Tarzan," Lathrop conducted 15 to 20 interviews, added in B-roll and took her time during the editing process.

“I love documentaries, because there’s a story there to tell,” she said. “‘Tarzan’ was a culmination of other experiences like the yearbook videos,” noted Lathrop, referring to short videos she created for the yearbook so that when students scan the QR code, they get to watch a video on a topic related to that yearbook spread.

“I like putting all the pieces together,” Lathrop said. “There’s a formula to it -- but (I enjoy) being creative within that formula and finding creative elements to incorporate. There’s a script you have to follow to make sense, but … you get to decide the progression of events.”

Lathrop and other students in Haag’s video production classes start out learning basic skills, then eventually are let loose as self-directed learners. It’s a big leap for students to adjust from completing specific assignments to instead visioning and completing pieces wholly their own, Haag said.

“What story do you want to tell, and how to do you want to tell it? Is it a music video? Narrative? Documentary?” he asked. As students grow in his classes, they learn to set goals, accomplish the work, self-evaluate and then re-do any work that needs refining.

Lathrop said favorite project has been one that she worked on this year as a result of a collaboration between Haag’s advanced class and Allison Agnew’s screenwriting class. For that effort, she directed a film that Agnew’s students wrote called “Crashers.” She’s also currently working on a documentary about Tahoma Drama’s production of “Les Miserables,” and is excited that this time she captured footage from the beginning of the process all the way through. Lathrop served as stage manager for the production, another passion of hers.

“I thought I was going to lose her to the drama program,” Haag said. “To stage manage takes a lot of time, and not very many kids can manage all these types of work.”

After graduation, Lathrop hopes to attend one of two schools: the Pratt Institute, an art school in New York, or New York University, where she is on the wait list.

To watch Lathrop’s video, click below:
Vaping increase seen at all grade levels
The most recent state Healthy Youth Survey, released in March, indicates that Washington state teens are increasing their use of vaping products. In Tahoma, school administrators report seeing more vaping activity at school – even at the elementary school level.

Vaping is the inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other vaping device. According to information on the KidsHealth website, e-cigarettes “have cartridges filled with a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and chemicals. The liquid is heated into a vapor, which the person inhales.” The liquid comes in a wide variety of flavors and scents, including fruit, candy, and even bubble gum.

Vaping devices come in many shapes and sizes. Some look very similar to USB flash drives, pens and other common items. Robert Talbert, dean of students at Maple View Middle School, said teachers and administrators have confiscated more than 50 vaping devices from students this year, which amounts to three times the number of devices collected last school year. At Glacier Park Elementary School, five students received discipline recently for using or possessing a vaping device.

Glacier Park Principal Shelly Gaston said the presence of vaping products among elementary students is something new and unexpected.

“They don’t look like a nicotine product, they look like a memory stick,” she said. “They are inconspicuous.”

The 2019 state Legislature passed a law that raises the legal age for using tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. School officials hope the new law will raise awareness and reduce access to vaping products among Tahoma students.

The long-term health risks of vaping are still unknown, because it is relatively new when compared to tobacco use. Regardless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against e-cigarette use among young people, calling it “unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults.”

Jennifer Lyons, nursing coordinator for Tahoma, said parents and the school district can work together to help students understand why vaping is harmful and should be avoided.

“Education is key to prevention and developing healthy habits,” Lyons said. “Parents should look for opportunities to start a conversation, not lecture teens. Adolescent brains continue to develop until the age of 25 and nicotine can interfere with memory and attention processing. No parent wants a loss of memory or attention for his or her teen. The addictive nature of vaping messes with the one thing teens crave the most: independence. Drug addiction is like losing your freedom of choice.”

To learn more about e-cigarettes and vaping, here are some helpful online resources:
School Board reviews 18-19 budget adjustment
A change in the 2018-2019 general fund budget will be considered by the Tahoma School Board at its June 11 meeting, following a public hearing on the proposed change at the May 28 School Board meeting.

Though no one spoke or submitted comments at the public hearing, the School Board has reviewed the proposed budget change, formally called a budget extension. The change adds $2,877,572.96 in expenditures to pay for salary increases to teachers and support staff. The money comes from the school district’s fund balance reserves. The change increases the district’s budget from $112,241,744.11 to $115,119,317.07.

The budget extension was necessary because the negotiated labor agreement with Tahoma Education Association, which represents teachers, was not yet in place when the budget was adopted last August. In addition, wage increases for support staff were not yet established. Instead of estimating a budget amount for wage increases, the district chose to pursue a budget extension once the exact amounts were known. Following approval by the School Board, the Puget Sound Educational Service District and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction must also approve the budget extension.

In other business May 28, the School Board:
  • Approved 2019-2020 Associated Student Body budgets for Maple View Middle School, Summit Trail Middle School, and Tahoma High School.
  • Approved a revised constitution for Maple View Middle School ASB.
  • Approved two new student clubs at Summit Trail Middle School: Dungeons and Dragons Club; and Rainbow Club.
  • Approved School Board targets for 2019-2020.
  • Authorized the sale of a 1990 school bus.
CRES wins first Golden Can Award
Photo courtesy of MV Food Bank
Superintendent Tony Giurado, back left, and Maple Valley Food Bank Executive Director Dan Lancaster, second from left in back, with the principals and representatives of Cedar River Elementary, Lake Wilderness Elementary and Shadow Lake Elementary schools after the Golden Can Award winners were revealed.
Congratulations to Cedar River Elementary students, families and staff, for winning the first-ever Golden Can Award in the spring food drive for the Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services.
We would also like to thank all Tahoma students, staff and families who contributed during the drive -- altogether, we collected 14,013 pounds of food for our neighbors!

In third place, Shadow Lake Elementary collected 1,273 pounds of food. In second place, Lake Wilderness Elementary collected 2,429 pounds of food; and, in first place, Cedar River Elementary collected 1,820 pounds of food. The winning school was determined by calculating the approximate number of pounds collected per student.

We look forward to working together as Community Contributors in this drive and contest again next year.

Bears to compete in spring Special Olympics 
Photo courtesy of Tahoma Special Olympics
The 2019 Special Olympics Spring Games will take place this weekend at Pacific Lutheran University, King County Aquatic Center, and Joint Base Lewis-McCord. More than 2,200 athletes from across the state of Washington will come together to compete in swimming, track and field, powerlifting, soccer and cycling. Community members are invited to cheer the students on as they compete for the gold!
Competing in swimming will be: Joey Kagan, Charlette Sweeney and Tanner Grinzel.
Competing in track and field will be: 
  • High school and Transitions: Brody Cummins, Jordan Hurst, Jake Lopan, Serenity Straub, Coltin Picard
  • Middle school: Brianna B., Jordan P., Ethan R., Brian R., Liam W.
  • Elementary school: Teegan C., Caleb M., Cohen S., Owen S., Carter T., Sawyer W.

TES to host "Talk with Tony"
Tahoma Superintendent Tony Giurado makes opening remarks during the May 23 Talk with Tony meeting at Summit Trail Middle School. The next Talk with Tony is scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 6 at Tahoma Elementary School.
We invite parents and community members to stop by Tahoma Elementary School from 9-10 a.m. on Thursday, June 6 to chat with Superintendent Tony Giurado. The meeting will take place in the cafeteria. Visitors can check in at the main office.

The informal get-together is another way the superintendent is trying to connect with the community and have conversations to promote better understanding and communication.

This is the third "Talk with Tony" meeting and the final one for 2018-19. Giurado plans to hold similar meetings at other schools in the district next school year. We hope you can join us!

District hosts regional WSSDA meeting
School board members and superintendents from school districts in Issaquah, Enumclaw, Renton, Mercer Island, Tukwila and Tahoma gathered Wednesday evening for a regional meeting of the Washington State School Directors Association. Tahoma hosted the event in the Board Room at Central Services Center. Among the presenters was state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, who talked about school funding, rising graduation rates, pathways to success for students and other timely education topics. 
Bear Run happens June 9
Early registration for the Maple Valley Bear Run closes today. 

The run will be held at Lake Wilderness Park during Maple Valley Days at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 9.
This fun community event promotes health and fitness, and also raises money for the Tahoma Cross Country team.

Children ages 12 and younger may participate for only a $2.50 handling fee. Those ages 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult or participant who is 13 or older.
For teens and adults, the fee is $28 through May 31, and those who register by that date will also receive a T-shirt.

The Tahoma school with the most participants will have bragging rights and a big Bear Run stuffed bear to display through the next year (it's currently at Cedar River Elementary). Sign up, get moving and have fun!

For details or tickets, visit

  • Lake Wilderness Elementary PTSA Carnival, 6-8 p.m., LWES
  • Tahoma School Board work-study session for employee recognition and demographer report, 6 p.m., Central Services Center

  • CRES Celebration of Learning, 6:30 p.m., CRES
  • GPES PTSA Carnival, 5-8 p.m., GPES

Maple Valley Days, including parade featuring Tahoma band students, art show featuring Tahoma students' artwork, and more. Details here.

MONDAY, June 10
Tahoma School Board executive session for superintendent evaluation, 6 p.m., Tahoma High School

TUESDAY, June 11
Tahoma School Board meeting, 6:30 p.m., Central Services Center

Last day of school for seniors

Tahoma High School graduation, 7 p.m., White River Amphitheater

Last day of school for grades K-11

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
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