Feb. 28, 2019
In this issue:
Planning for makeup days underway
School Board selects new member for vacancy
News from the School Board: Tech Model Review, more
Sign up now to discuss school funding
District kudos
News briefs
Tahoma coalition visits lawmakers
MVMS students attend leadership conference
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?

Planning for snow makeup days underway
The unusual snowstorm that swept through the Puget Sound region earlier this month will have a lasting impact on the Tahoma School District calendar. The storm wiped out seven full school days and caused two late-start days. District officials are examining ways to make up the lost time, but a final decision won’t come until the School Board meets on Monday, March 4, at the earliest.

The first round of snow led to school closures on Feb. 4 and 5. School started two hours late on Feb. 6 and 7. The second round of snow resulted in five more closures, Feb. 11-15. The snowstorm was so severe that Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency, which allows school districts to apply for waivers of up to five school days that were lost to closures resulting from the storm. Waiving school days is only one element that is under consideration, since school districts are required to provide at least 1,027 hours of instruction per year along with 180 school days. The district provides 1,030.5 hours of instruction, which is 3.5 hours above the state requirement. So, even if the district waives school days, the hours still must equal at least 1,027.

The Feb. 4 snow day will be made up on May 24, which is a makeup day built into the calendar. The other makeup day, on Jan. 28, was used to recover a day that was canceled due to a windstorm on Jan. 7. The remaining lost days and late starts add up to 40 hours (2,400 minutes) that must be recovered.

District officials are considering several options to restore the lost hours. Making up the lost time will require some combination of these options:
  • Adding days in June;
  • Canceling some or all remaining early release days;
  • Making the last day of school a full day instead of a half day;
  • Adding instructional time to each remaining school day to help meet the state requirement;
  • Using one or more Saturdays as school days for seniors;
  • Using part of Spring Break as school days.

Over the course of three meetings that have focused on how to make up instructional time, representatives from administration, teachers, classified staff, PTA/PTO, and members of the Human Resources and Payroll departments examined several scenarios. Because the school calendar is subject to contract bargaining, those ideas will be further explored during labor discussions on Friday between district administrators and bargaining units that represent teachers, classified staff, and principals. Those talks will result in a calendar proposal that will be presented to the School Board for adoption.

In addition to restoring instructional hours, discussion has included how to best accommodate Tahoma High School’s graduation schedule, state assessments, and families and staff who have vacation and travel plans in place for Spring Break and the days immediately following the current last day of school on June 19. Other consideration is being given to the impact on family schedules if the school day is extended as a way to recover instructional time.

Another question is when to begin implementing changes. In order to start recovering instructional time and to reduce the need to extend the end of school further into June, it may be necessary to implement changes as soon as mid-March. Changes will be announced to families and staff immediately after a decision is reached by the School Board, which could happen as soon as March 4 or 5.

School Board selects new member for vacancy
Katrina Montgomery will be appointed to the Tahoma School Board March 12 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of longtime director, Bill Clausmeyer. School Board members voted to select Montgomery during a special meeting Wednesday evening.

Montgomery was among three people, including David Porter and Kjellaug Rowe, who were chosen to interview with the School Board Monday evening. Other applicants were: Jason Rosenfeld, Lynnette Hynden, David Downing, Courtney Black, and Pooja Sund.

School Board President Didem Pierson said Montgomery was chosen from a field of highly qualified candidates. “It wasn’t an easy decision,” she said. “We had excellent candidates. We have some incredible community members willing to step up and be part of our School Board.” 

Montgomery and her husband, Tim, are parents of two Tahoma students, Alex and Nate. She is an active volunteer in the school district and has served as a PTA president and coordinator of the PTA/PTO Round Table, a networking organization for PTA/PTO presidents. Montgomery also is an active volunteer for the Voice of Tahoma Education Committee, the school district Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and has been involved in several ad hoc school district committees and groups. She also has worked for the district and currently is a school district support-staff substitute.

“I’m excited to be able to help in another facet and to get to learn more about Tahoma,” she said. 

Montgomery participated in the school district’s planning for the Future Ready initiative as a PTA president and said she is committed to continue advancing Tahoma’s academic programs.

“Our focus for the past several years has been on building the new high school, reorganizing elementary schools and adjusting to growth. Now we need to commit more to our curriculum and the education piece, making sure we’re doing all we can to benefit our kids.”

She said she is looking forward to representing the community and looking for ways for the district to “stay connected to our community, because it’s growing so much.” 

Outgoing Board Member Bill Clausmeyer honored at reception
The School Board on Tuesday honored Bill Clausmeyer for his service to the school district. Clausmeyer, who has served on the School Board since 1997, is resigning in order to spend more time with his wife, Pam, who has Multiple Sclerosis and is in a care center. A reception was held for Clausmeyer prior to the board meeting, which was attended by some of the people he has served with in previous years, including Barbara Kennedy, Joe Vreeburg, and Tim Adam. Former Superintendent Mike Maryanski and former Assistant Superintendent Bruce Zahradnik also attended.

Tahoma High School student Gabriel Kilwein, a member of the school’s We the People team, presents a pocket guide to the U.S. Constitution to Board Member Bill Clausmeyer as a memento of his service and interest in the We the People program. Kilwein is also a student representative to the School Board.
Past and present board members and administrators attended Tuesday’s reception to honor Board Member Bill Clausmeyer, who is resigning for personal reasons after nearly 22 years of service. Among those honoring Clausmeyer are, from left, Bruce Zahradnik, Mike Maryanski, Tami Henkel, Joe Vreeburg, Mary Jane Glaser, Didem Pierson, Clausmeyer, Tim Adam, Valerie Paganelli, and Tony Giurado.
School Board News: Tech Model Review, more
Technology will continue to be an integral part of student learning in the Tahoma School District, but it will need to become more accessible to meet the district’s Future Ready vision, said members of the Technology Model Review committee in a report to the Tahoma School Board Tuesday night.

The committee was established by the School Board to assess classroom technology, following failure of the 2018 technology levy. Kimberly Allison, Instructional Technology and Future Ready Skills Coordinator, said the model review committee concluded that there needs to be a “paradigm shift” that raises expectations and firmly establishes technology usage as an essential element in every classroom, rather than something that is encouraged but not required.

A vision statement from the group, which is part of a graphic chart the group created, states:
“In the Tahoma School District, technology is leveraged and prioritized as a strategic investment to support empowered and engaging learning and teaching, and help ensure all students gain the Future Ready Skills necessary in order to leave our system with a valued, viable, and personalized plan for lifelong success.”

With the vision established, the next step is to turn those ideas into an operations plan. A second committee, the Tahoma Technology Advisory Committee, will begin working on a draft technology plan for the district that specifies how technology will be applied to the district’s learning curriculum. That plan also will become the basis for estimating how much money will be needed for classroom technology and will form the blueprint for the next technology levy in 2020.

Dawn Wakeley, executive director of Teaching and Learning, told the School Board that the committee will present a technology plan to the school board in late May or early June.
In other business Feb. 26, the School Board:

  • Learned about a new high school math curriculum, called enVision math, that is recommended for adoption. The curriculum, which features online resources as well as textbooks, covers Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. The School Board will vote on final adoption of the curriculum at one of its March business meetings.
  • Reviewed a consultant’s report on safe-walking routes in the school district. The consultant, Jo Porter, is a former transportation director for Issaquah School District and also serves as a transportation consultant. Her conclusion, after reviewing safe-walking routes at the four schools in the district where walking is an option, is that Tahoma “was thorough in their process and implementation for creating safe-walking routes to schools. They followed Washington State rules, regulations and guidelines. … The current suggested safe-walking routes mirror walking routes in other school districts who follow OSPI (Superintendent of Public Instruction) regulations.” The full report can be viewed on the Tahoma Transportation web page.
  • Approved and signed a joint proclamation with the Maple Valley City Council that celebrates the community’s shared values of “compassion, inclusion, respect, and dignity,” and expresses commitment to “building an environment, and a community, in which everyone is valued and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.” The proclamation also denounces “verbal and physical acts to threaten or intimidate people” and “the politics of division, isolation, and hate.” The School Board and City Council will further discuss the proclamation during a joint meeting on Monday, March 4, at 6 p.m. in the Board Room at Central Services Center.
  • Viewed a presentation by Tahoma High School’s We the People team, which will compete in the national We the People competition, held near Washington, D.C., in April. Four students, representing one area of the Constitution, presented information and arguments to the School Board and then answered questions. The team is led by high school government teacher Gretchen Wulfing.
Sign up now to discuss school funding
Property taxes pay for public schools, but how much money is directed to Tahoma School District and how is it being used? The community is invited to learn more about school finance on March 20 and April 4 in the debut of a community outreach program called Engage Tahoma.

The format for Engage Tahoma is to focus on one topic in two 90-minute evening meetings. The first meeting will provide background information about the topic. The second meeting is focused on conversation among attendees and district staff and School Board directors about the topic. Participants are asked to commit to attending both meetings of either session by signing up here.

If you have trouble with the link, please email TSDmessages@tahomasd.us

The second Engage Tahoma topic, on April 30 and May 20, will focus on classroom technology. All Engage Tahoma meetings begin at 6 p.m. in the Board Room at Central Services Center, 25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Road SE, Maple Valley.

Tahoma teacher job fair rescheduled
Hiring season for certificated staff positions is right around the corner. Do you know a teacher or other certificated staff member who would like to work in the Tahoma School District next year?

The district is hosting a Tahoma Teacher Job Fair from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19 in the learning commons at Tahoma High School. Administrators will be in attendance to meet candidates and chat with them about our school district. We are looking for K-12 classroom teachers, counselors, special education, BIS, OT/PT, and school psychologists.

For more information call 425-432-3456 or to view current openings, click here: http://bit.ly/TSDjobOpenings 

Tickets on sale for “Evening of Illusions” to benefit TSF
Las Vegas illusionists Garry and Janine Carson will perform in the auditorium at Tahoma Elementary School at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 31 to raise funds for the Tahoma Schools Foundation.

“Evening of Illusions,” offers “comedy, magic and grand illusions” in a family friendly performance, according to information from Carson Entertainment. The Carsons will perform here as part of a national tour to raise funds for charities and foundations.

Advance tickets can be purchased for a reduced price online at Brown Paper Tickets: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4069370

The Tahoma Schools Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that raises and distributes funds to benefit Tahoma School District students and programs.

Families invited to birth-21 Transition Night
Children with special needs and their families are invited to a special event for ages birth-21 with information about planning for life after high school, financial literacy, challenges that families face and more. The event will be from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5 in the SAIL classrooms (G104) and surrounding hallway at Tahoma High School. (Please note, this is the same time and day as the “High School and Beyond Night,” so some families may want to attend both events. See related brief below).

Representatives from state agencies such as ARC, DDA, DVR, Open Doors; information about financial and estate issues for families of children with special needs; district personnel for each grade group regarding Transitions; and more. 

To RSVP or for any questions, contact Tahoma Schools Transition Specialist Rawna Hamann at 425-413-3253 or rhamann@tahomasd.us.

Families of MS & THS students: High School & Beyond Night
Middle and high school families are invited to attend the annual "High School & Beyond Night" event from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at Tahoma High School.

The event will include a principal’s welcome, career and college fair, and a variety of 30-minute seminars.

To read about the topics of the seminars and for more information about the fair, click here:

Future Freshman Night is March 13
Current eighth-graders and their parents and guardians are invited to Future Freshman Night from 6:30-8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13 at Tahoma High School. The event will include a principal’s welcome, tips for being successful in high school, information about the registration process and the class of 2023 graduation requirements, a course fair and building tours. 

The evening will begin in the gym at the west end of the building, so enter off of 216th/Bear Boulevard.

SBIRT information night for middle school parents March 6
Middle school parents: For those of you who are interested in learning more about Tahoma's SBIRT program, we are hosting an information night next week about the new mental health and wellness program provided by a grant through King County's Best Starts for Kids.

The "Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral To" services program -- called SBIRT for short -- provides a mental health and wellness coordinator at each middle school to help prepare students with the tools they need to be successful.

To read an article about the program, click here: http://bit.ly/TSDmentalWellnessSBIRT

The mental health and wellness coordinators, Megan Foreman and Gwendolyn Huete, and other district staff members will be at the parent information night to answer questions about the program.

Community invited to “Empty Bowls” fundraiser
This Friday is the Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services' second "Empty Bowls" fundraiser, from 5-8 p.m. at the Cedar Lodge (adjacent to the food bank).

Modeled after the nationwide movement of the same name, this fundraiser features tables full of empty bowls, meant to remind those who attend of those in our community who regularly go without enough to eat.

For $20 per adult (kids eat free), those who attend will get to pick a beautiful handmade bowl to take home, and will also get a dinner of hot soup provided by local restaurants.

In the photos above, students at Tahoma High School created bowls for the event, as did many community members.

Raffle tickets and wine may be purchased at an additional cost. Tickets for the event are available for purchase at the door with cash or credit, or on the food bank website under the “shop” tab.

For more information, visit the food bank's Facebook page.
Wrestling takes eighth at Mat Classic
The Tahoma High School Wrestling team sent nine athletes to compete in the 4A state championship in Tacoma recently, and finished eighth in the state.

Individual results included: 
  • 120 pounds, freshman Braydon Hanson, 8th place
  • 126 pounds, senior Austin Michalski, 5th place 
  • 138 pounds, sophomore Steele Starren, 5th place
  • 182 pounds, junior Michael Gasper, 5th place
  • 195 pounds, senior Gage Dress-Moran, 4th place
  • 220 pounds, sophomore Levi Kovacs, 4th place

Since 1990, the Bears have finished in the top 10 at state in 26 of 29 years. Since Coach Chris Feist began coaching at Tahoma in 2002, the Bears have finished in the top 10 at state every season except one. 

For additional details and photos, click here.

Swim, dive team takes 11th at state
The Bears boys swim and dive team took 11th place at the 4A state competition recently, and had one individual state champion in Nate Ainsworth, who placed first in the 50 free with a time of 20.97.

Other results included:
  • 400 free relay team of Colton Natwick, Devin Stanley, Mike Shinas and Nate Ainsworth, 14th place with a time of 3:20.55 (new school record).
  • 200 free relay team of Natwick, Stanley, Shinas and Ainsworth, 8th place with a time of 1:30.01 (new school record).
  • Ainsworth took 5th in the 100 fly with a time of 51.75.
  • Zach Klobutcher finished 13th overall in diving.

Gymnastics team sends 5 to state
The Tahoma High School gymnastics team qualified five athletes to compete at the state competition, including Emma Rochleau as an all around, Elsie Rochleau on bars and floor, Hadley Johnson on bars and beam and Hailey Klemo on bars. 

Emma Rochleau, a senior, finished in fifth place in the state on vault. 

In the North Puget Sound League’s recently released league standings, Rochleau was named to first team in vault, second team on floor, and second team for all-around.
THS students help arboretum with cleanup
Tahoma High School Plant Science students recently helped out at the Lake Wilderness Arboretum, where they cleaned up debris from storm damage and filled more than one large Dumpster. 

The arboretum will have additional volunteer work parties for community members who are interested in helping, this Saturday and next Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
Tahoma coalition visits lawmakers
Tahoma School Board Director Mary Jane Glaser, left, talks about school finance issues with 5th District Rep. Lisa Callan, during the Tahoma Coalition’s visit to the state Legislature on Feb. 26.
Fifth District Rep. Bill Ramos, left, and Superintendent Tony Giurado share a light moment during the Feb. 26 visit to the state Legislature by the Tahoma Coalition.
A group representing Tahoma School District staff, administration, parents, School Board members and representatives of the Tahoma Education Association and Public School Employees visited with legislators at the state capital on Tuesday to share information about school funding and program needs.

The Tahoma Coalition met with legislators and staff of the 5th and 47th legislative districts, which represent the school district and its nearby neighbors. The coalition, led by Superintendent Tony Giurado, shared information about projected budget impacts from the new state education funding formula, implemented as a response to the McCleary lawsuit decision that calls for ample funding of basic education.

Though state funding has increased, the Legislature’s fix also reduced local levy authority for school districts, which has been used to fill funding gaps. Now, Tahoma and many other districts are looking at budget shortfalls in the next three years. In a letter delivered to each legislator, the coalition wrote:

“McCleary was intended to provide ample funding for all students in our state. Despite the progress seen in McCleary, funding challenges remain. We do not want to return to a system that relies on local levies for a significant portion of school revenue. Tahoma does not have a large enough tax base to provide local funding that is comparable to surrounding school districts. Instead, we are asking legislators to fill the gaps in state funding through a combination of:
  • Enhanced Local Effort Assistance (LEA) distributions;
  • Appropriate funding of special education (higher multiplier, not the tiered model);
  • Full funding of school health, safety, and security programs, benefits (SEBB) and staffing;
  • Full funding of transportation (including vehicles and equipment);
  • Continued efforts to provide competitive compensation for all school staff;
  • Full funding to accompany new standards for para-educators.”

The legislative session is scheduled to end on April 28, when the budget for the next two years will be adopted. To follow the progress of legislation, go to the state Legislature’s web page: http://leg.wa.gov/
MVMS students attend leadership conference
A group of nearly 50 leadership students from Maple View Middle School recently attended the Servus conference at the ShoWare Center in Kent. The one-day annual event is built around the CharacterStrong curriculum that Tahoma secondary schools use.

Leadership adviser Kathryn Strojan said she feels experiences that expose students to real people who lead by action are important.

“Servus is an amazing opportunity for students because it is local, low cost, and brings together students from many different schools,” Strojan said. “The quality of speakers is excellent and with their broad array of experiences, there is always someone with whom each student can identify.”
The conference helps students learn about servant leadership, character development and practical ways to put those skills into action at their school and in their community. Schools from throughout Washington and a few from Oregon have attended.

Eighth-grader Riah H. said she thinks Servus is a great event for Tahoma students and staff to attend because the speakers are very motivational. “They give you really good messages to think about. They also give you new things to think about,” Riah said.
Tanveer G., who is also in eighth grade, said “Legacies are made by actions and doing things. Nobody goes down in history for having an idea or talking about something. They go down in history for doing something.”

Asked what he learned at the conference that he can apply at Tahoma, Tanveer said, “Small acts lead to big changes. At lunch or in class talking to people who aren’t usually talked to and becoming their buddy can lead to big changes in people’s lives.”

Simple acts are important, Riah said. “Getting a compliment on my shoes or clothes or someone getting a computer out for me are small things that add up,” she added.

Fellow students Audrey S. and Makenna P. emphasized that being vulnerable helps make connections with others that can lead to relationships; and, that anyone can be a positive influence.

“Small talk leads to big talk,” Audrey added. “Making conversation can lead to friendships and make people feel more welcome.”

To read more about CharacterStrong, click here.

FRIDAY, March 1
Empty Bowls Fundraiser benefiting Maple Valley Food Bank, 5-8 p.m., $20, Cedar Lodge

TUESDAY, March 5
High School & Beyond Night, 6-9 p.m. (see brief above), THS

Birth-21 Transition Night, 6-9 p.m. (see brief above), THS

SBIRT Parent Information Night, for middle school parents, 6:30 p.m., Central Services Center

TUESDAY, March 12
Tahoma School Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Central Services Center

Future Freshman Night, 6:30-8:15 p.m., (see brief above), THS

Engage Tahoma Finance session 1, 6 p.m., (see brief above) Central Services Center

FRIDAY, March 22
Opening day for "Cinderella," presented by students from both middle schools, 7 p.m., Maple View Middle School.

What's for lunch?
The Tahoma School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination:
Title IX Officer
Director of Human Resources
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038
ADA Coordinator
Director of Human Resources
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038
Section 504 Coordinator
Director of Special Services
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038
Tahoma Matters staff Wendy Castleman: wcastlem@tahomasd.us
Tahoma School District | 425-413-3400 | Visit our website
25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Rd. S.E., Maple Valley, WA 98038