Nov. 2, 2018
In this issue:
R.E.A.D.Y. offers mental health "CPR"
Elementary students learn engineering principles
School Board eyes 2020 election date for tech levy
Spotlight on Rock Creek
District kudos
News briefs
Sports briefs
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?

R.E.A.D.Y. offers mental health "CPR"
Dr. Stephen Anderson speaks on Oct. 26 during the R.E.A.D.Y. mental health "CPR" talk, which was co-hosted by the district and the city.
About 100 community members turned out last Friday evening at the Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center to learn more about how to recognize and assist people who are experiencing mental health issues.

After introductions by Maple Valley Deputy Mayor Dana Parnello and Tahoma School District Superintendent Tony Giurado, the audience heard a presentation from Dr. Stephen Anderson, an emergency medicine physician for MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and Chair of the Board of Directors of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Anderson helped develop a training program called R.E.A.D.Y., an acronym for Real Emergency Aid Depends on You. The program was created in cooperation with the City of Auburn and is designed to be the “CPR of mental health,” Anderson said.

The presentation, which also included information from police and fire district representatives, is the result of efforts by the City of Maple Valley and Tahoma School District to provide more resources and raise awareness about mental health issues, including suicide, in the community. In addition to last Friday’s presentation, Tahoma is co-sponsoring a suicide awareness meeting at Enumclaw High School from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, featuring guest speaker Deborah Binion of the Jordan Binion Project. The free meeting is open to all.

Anderson’s presentation included data on mental health disorders in the United States, which affect more than half of all adults at some time in their lives. For teens, one in five have or will have a serious mental illness and suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24.
He identified six traits that could indicate a mental health challenge for teens if they:
  • Stop showing interest
  • Allow grades to slip
  • Avoid discussing future events
  • Withdraw from friends
  • Avoid eating meals, especially socially
  • May be overeating or not eating at all

Major warning signs of mental health issues include:
  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Loss of self-control
  • Severe mood swings
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • Drastic changes in behavior, personality, or sleeping habits
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason
  • Not eating
  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating
  • Intense worries or fears
  • Trying to harm or kill oneself

To help people who exhibit apparent mental health issues, especially those who appear ready to harm themselves, Anderson said help is available from a variety of sources. If the situation is dire and a person is indicating plans to hurt himself or others, Anderson said is critical to first ensure that the person trying to help remains safe and then to summon professional help while standing by to support the person in need. After that, he offered advice on how the R.E.A.D.Y. program works to empower people to respond to individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

To view a video presentation about the R.E.A.D.Y. program, visit the City of Auburn web page or click here.

The following organizations can provide advice and counseling for people in distress:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

  • King County Crisis Connections: 1-866-427-4747 (24-hour); 2-1-1 or 1-800-621-4636; Teen Link, 206-461-4922 or 866-833-6546 (6-10 p.m.)

  • Crisis Text Line: Text “START” to 741741

  • Nexus Youth and Families: 425-358-9451

  • Kent Youth and Family Services: 253-859-0300

Elementary students learn engineering principles
Students in Sandee Heighton's class at Shadow Lake Elementary test their design of a prosthetic fin for a toy fish, which they created as part of a unit on bioengineering.

Students in Tahoma elementary classrooms have the chance to try out the thought process of engineers, tackling challenges during science lessons that inspire them to learn more and helping them make real-world connections.

The challenge of the day in Rachel Turian’s class at Cedar River Elementary recently was to build a model bridge working in groups. But first, the class worked together to test the materials provided for strength, water resistance and other characteristics, making notes in their science journals as they proceeded. Taking turns, Turian and her students placed foil, construction papers, wax paper, clay, cloth, pipe cleaners and cardboard across the top of two cardboard tubes standing in as bridge support columns. They carefully placed blocks on top of the test materials, and recorded anything they observed in their journals.

To one side of the whiteboard, a stand holds a diagram of the engineering process: Define the problem, develop solutions, optimize. If a failure point is reached, develop further solutions and optimize/make it better once again.

As one student placed a length of cardboard across the support columns, Turian asks, “Do you have a prediction?” A few classmates shared what they thought would happen, then the test proceeded. The cardboard and the clay were the only two materials that held a significant number of blocks.

After testing the strength of the materials, the class moved on to observe whether each material changed when exposed to water, to simulate a weather change. 

Bioengineering and prosthetics
In Sandee Heighton’s fourth-grade class at Shadow Lake Elementary, students recently used the design process to come up with prosthetic fins to help toy fish with simulated injuries. Heighton, who also teaches science to Camerin Dye’s class, shared a book called “Winter’s Tale: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again,” as well as some video clips with her students. The students in both classes watched how some wind-up toys “swam" when they had a tail/fins, then were presented with a toy without a tail and were challenged to design and create one out of quilter’s plastic.

The project spawned lots of discussion and great questions, and kept the students interested and engaged, Heighton said. “I loved it when they would find out their tail didn’t work, and they wouldn’t be disappointed -- they would just go back and work on their idea more."

“They loved it. Their big thing was, they didn’t know much about prosthetics,” she said. “Two or three kids came up to me and said they want to be a biomedical engineer. That, to me, is success. … It’s Future Ready, getting kids thinking about jobs and skills. Science isn’t just information; it’s a lot of creation and improving the world.”

On one bulletin board is a series of posters from throughout the project, about the design process, new vocabulary words, information about types of models, and also details about bottlenose dolphins like Winter.

“Sometimes, we read about things or see them in a movie and it seems like it’s a long way from an elementary classroom,” Shadow Lake Principal Mike Hanson said. “This is one example where we can bridge that gap and bring this experience directly to our kids in the classroom.”

In a fun coincidence, Heighton and one of her students who is in Shadow Lake’s 3-D printing zero hour class discussed the chance for him to design and print a prosthetic tail to meet the challenge. 

“Our super-generous PTA has been supporting a lot of our efforts toward providing additional STEM opportunities for our kids,” Hanson said, noting that the parent-teacher group bought kits for two robotics classes and supplies for Lego engineering as well as a 3D printer.

“For me, part of the ‘why’ is the more opportunities where we can connect what we’re learning with the real world, the bigger impact we have on our kids and the more motivated they are,” he said. “This is aligned with where we’re at technology-wise in society and what the technology is capable of; it’s exciting for us and for them.”

Liz White, who teaches Project Lead the Way Launch classes and helps coordinate STEM, said that experiences like these help students understand that humans design solutions daily, from small to large scale.

"Some are tweaks to existing designs and some are revolutionary, but they improve human life and our planet," White said. "These are relevant, engaging, needed, collaborative and hands-on learning experiences that transfer to our STEM coding and robotics projects when we design and construct games on our robots and, of course, these experiences will transfer to the real world!"

Student voices
Four students shared their thoughts about the project:

Eben N.: “I liked when we got to test our designs to see how good they worked. The biggest challenge was trying to get it to work (right).”

River K.: “The challenging part was making the tail the right shape and size. We looked at the tail on the toy that worked and looked back at our tail and tried to copy that.”

Regan N.: “I liked when we got to design our own tail because I had never really done that before. It was fun because you got to choose the shape and length.”

Maya H.: “I liked being able to design a prosthetic of any style. The challenging part was getting it to swim right and not swim on its side. We made the fin bigger. Something new I learned was I didn’t know you could create prosthetic tails for (animals).”
A student in Rachel Turian's second-grade class at Cedar River Elementary tests how many blocks a flattened piece of clay can hold, while the rest of the class watches via the document camera. The classmates took turns testing materials for strength, water resistance and other characteristics, while recording their properties in science journals before tackling a bridge-building challenge in science.

School Board eyes 2020 election date for technology levy
The Tahoma School Board decided to wait until 2020 to place a technology levy before voters, opting to allow time for a full review of classroom technology needs before asking the community for funding.

In a 4-0 vote (one board member was absent), the School Board decided to wait at least until the February 2020 election to propose a technology support levy. The timing also would allow the School Board to run the technology levy at the same time it asks voters to renew the district’s Educational Programs and Operations levy (EP&O).

The School Board decision came after it reviewed information from staff and the public that was provided at the Oct. 9 meeting, including a recommendation to wait until 2020 from the Voice of Tahoma Education Committee (VOTE), the independent volunteer organization that markets levy and bond measures on behalf of the school district.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, VOTE co-president, Angela Stewart, asked the School Board to set an election date so that the VOTE committee can begin to prepare for a campaign. She also asked the Board to clarify erroneous information that was circulating on social media regarding the need for local school levy money. Board President Mary Jane Glaser asked Assistant Superintendent Lori Cloud to clarify. Cloud said the EP&O levy approved by voters last April is essential to fund school district operations. Cloud said that local levy support is still necessary, despite changes to state funding as a result of the McCleary lawsuit that increased state support of schools while reducing funding from local levies.

Though voters approved a two-year EP&O levy last April, a technology levy renewal was defeated in the February election. The School Board has approved using reserve funds to maintain a reduced level of classroom technology and support until a full review of educational technology is completed and funding needs are identified. A committee of parents, community members, staff, students and technology professionals is reviewing classroom technology and will report to the School Board next spring.

In other activity during October, the School Board:

  • Received an update on the $280,000 SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral) grant from King County. The grant is paying for two mental health and wellness coordinators, who are assigned to Maple View and Summit Trail middle schools. 
  • Approved going ahead with security improvements at Shadow Lake Elementary School. In addition to security upgrades throughout the school, there will be changes made to the main office, library and kindergarten classrooms to modernize the rooms. Parking and traffic circulation changes also will be made. Work will begin in the spring.
  • Accepted final completion of the Lake Wilderness Elementary School construction project.
  • Approved the annual Perkins Grant, a $27,764 federal funding source for Career and Technical Education. Grant funds will be used for computer upgrades in the business and marketing lab at Tahoma High School.
  • Heard a report about Career and Technical Education programs at Tahoma High School from Martin Barber, associate principal and CTE director. Barber shared with the Board a student-produced video about the new mill in the robotics program.
  • Received a follow-up report on attendance and school discipline.
  •  Approved requests to recycle or surplus non-functioning or outdated furniture and equipment.

Further information about each of those topics can be found on BoardDocs, the website link from the main Tahoma web page that provides access to School Board agendas, background materials, minutes, and policies.

The School Board also met in a work-study session Oct. 30 to participate in a presentation by John Welch, superintendent of the Puget Sound Educational Service District, regarding school board roles and responsibilities.

Earlier in October, the Board met with the Maple Valley City Council in a joint work-study session to discuss common concerns.

Spotlight on Rock Creek: Anti-bullying Eagle soars
Photo courtesy of Candace Tucker
Volunteers with the Rock Creek Elementary PTO recently put together a huge display of an "anti-bullying Eagle," featuring individual feathers made by the more than 700 students at the school. The students described what they would do in a bullying situation, either in response or in order to prevent bullying.

Dean of Students John Schuster had the idea for the project, and art docents Candace Tucker and Rachael Howell brought the 18-foot art project to life. Schuster said he is thrilled with how the project turned out. Parents and other staff members expressed their delight in the Eagle as well, so much so that Principal Chris Thomas told volunteers he intends to keep it up all year.

THS marching band & field show place at recent competition
Courtesy photo
Members of the Tahoma High School Field Show ensemble.
The Tahoma High School Field Show ensemble won third place in the open class division two weeks ago at the Tumwater Field Show Competition. The group took fourth place overall out of 17 competing bands. Each of the two performances (preliminary and finals) included nine judges evaluating different aspects of the show including music, visual, marching, percussion, drum majors and overall effect. 

“The band, percussion and color guard members represented our Tahoma community with great pride,” director Matthew Cole said. “We had almost 170 students, 52 parent volunteers involved, four buses with great drivers, three equipment trucks and two support vehicles. We also had support and assistance from Paul Rempfer and Fanny King who both helped with props, TSD transportation, and both school and district administration.”

This year the field show’s theme is “A Narnia Adventure!” Music was arranged specifically for the band by a composer who is also creating music for the “Marvel: Agents of Shield” television series.The show’s drill was designed by a visual technician for the Columbians Drum and Bugle Corps.

The band also performed at the Homecoming halftime and the Puget Sound Festival of Bands in Everett on Oct. 27; the last performance will be at the Auburn Veterans’ Day Field Show Competition on Veterans’ Day weekend.
Bear Metal hosts “Girls Generation” competition
Courtesy photo
Members of the Bear Metal Girls Generation team gather with their alliance partners.

Last Saturday the Bear Metal robotics team hosted its annual Girls Generation Competition at Tahoma High School. The event began in 2012 with the goal of giving girls in the Pacific Northwest a chance to get involved in their robotics teams, as well as promoting women in STEM careers. 

This year, teams traveled from throughout the state to compete. The event also included a booth from the University of Washington’s robotics team, mill demonstrations in the THS shop, a VR station, and a business meeting hosted by team 1778, “Chill Out.” 

Tahoma’s drive team was very excited going into the event, because they had put a large amount of time into practicing and ensuring that the robot was ready to perform, team members said. 

Bear Metal ended qualifications ranked 4 with a record of 6-1, and picked team 2976, Spartabots, and team 2412, Robototes, to join their alliance. Because Girl’s Gen is a short event, Bear Metal had a 4 alliance playoff bracket. The third-seeded alliance, captained by team 1318, the Issaquah Robotics Society, along with team 1983, Skunkworks Robotics, and team 1778, Chill Out, gave Tahoma’s alliance a run for their money in finals, but in the end, they were able to win the event. 

Middle school students present “Tales of Sherwood Forest”
Robin Hood and other favorite characters from Sherwood Forest will take the stage at Maple View Middle School this weekend, as students from both middle schools present "Tales of Sherwood Forest: a Robin Hood Reunion." The play is written and directed by Cheri Ayres-Graves.

The cast will perform three times: 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets will be sold at the door; $10 for general admission; $7 for students and seniors. Cash or check only.

Food bank announces annual children’s gift program
Each year, Maple Valley Food Bank & Emergency Services organizes a Children’s Gift Program to allow community members in need to select gifts for their children before the holiday season. Tahoma schools have traditionally participated in the gift drive that helps supply this program.
Each building will be collecting new, unwrapped gifts for children ages 12 and younger, along with $25 gift cards for children ages 13-18. Beginning dates for the gift drive may vary by building. If your family would like to make a donation, please send gifts and gift cards to school by Dec. 6.
If you’re wondering what age/stage toy, clothing or coat to purchase, consider letting your student choose a gift for a child in his or her own age range.
The Maple Valley Food Bank serves residents from Black Diamond, Covington, Maple Valley and those who live within the borders of the Tahoma School District. For more information about the food bank, visit or call 425-432-8633.

New dedicated turn signal installed near THS
The city of Maple Valley recently added a dedicated turn signal for vehicles turning left out of Tahoma High School, from Tahoma Way onto northbound Maple Valley Highway. 

“This change improves traffic flow and increases safety for students and drivers,” Assistant Superintendent Lori Cloud said. “We’re pleased that we have a turn signal, and we have the city of Maple Valley to thank for it.”

The new signal needed the approval of the Washington State Department of Transportation, which city staff requested and received.

Maple Valley City Engineer William Bullock said that upgrading the intersection signal to include a protected left turn (green arrow) to improve traffic flow for out-bound school buses during the morning commute was a need that became increasingly self-evident over the past year. 

"The partnership between the Tahoma School District, the City of Maple Valley and Washington State Department of Transportation is a great example of regional municipal and state governments working toward solutions that benefit the public," Bullock said.

Parent-teacher conferences approach
Beginning next week, parent-teacher conferences will take place at Tahoma High School, with the other schools following after. Here are the details:
  • Tahoma High School: Conferences will be from 5-8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5 and from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Parents will be given a map with teacher locations when they arrive for conferences. Please check Skyward before arriving to prioritize which teachers you would like to speak with first. Teachers are being asked to limit conferences to five minutes per parent. More information is being emailed to all THS families.
  • Summit Trail Middle School: Parents are invited to student-led conferences from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 and 15. It is not necessary to sign up.
  • Maple View Middle School: Conferences will be in the evening on Nov. 14 and 15. Meetings are student-led; please bring your student. Conferences are based on appointment times. If you have not yet signed up, please contact your student’s Stretch teacher to schedule a time.
  • Elementary buildings: Parents are being sent information about how to schedule conferences. Meetings with teachers will be Nov. 14-21.

Conference-day release times are as follows:
  • Tahoma High School will release at 11:10 a.m. Nov. 19-21.
  • Middle schools will release at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 19-21.
  • Cedar River, Rock Creek and Tahoma elementary schools will release at 1:10 p.m. Nov. 14-21.
  • Glacier Park, Lake Wilderness and Shadow Lake elementary schools will release at 12:40 p.m. Nov. 14-21.

Finalized contract posted to website
The district and the Tahoma Education Association have finalized language in the three-year contract that was approved at the end of August. The final contract is posted to our website.

Members of the association approved the contract with a 98 percent yes vote. The School Board voted unanimously to approve the contract.

For an article we wrote about the agreement, click here.

Community choir seeks members as rehearsals begin
Maple Valley’s Community Choir begins rehearsals on Nov. 7. The choir is open to all singers, and while it is not audition-only, the ability to read music is important. Dues are $20. The first performance is scheduled for Dec. 14. Rehearsals are held in the choir room at Tahoma High School from 7-8:30 p.m.

Contact choir director, Ken Riggs, for details by emailing him at
Sports briefs
Cross Country to run at state
Courtesy photo
Some members of the boys cross country team after the Westside Classic meet.

The boys cross country team is advancing to the state championship in Pasco this weekend, after placing second at the Westside Classic meet. The boys were undefeated in the North Puget Sound League Cascade Division. Runners selected as First Team NPSL Cascade Division are Ethan Martin, Brian Martinez, Chandler Nill, Matthew Bruneel, Alex Kiefer and Cameron Stuard. Martin was also selected as athlete of the year.

The girls team missed a trip to state by one point, but will send three athletes on to run at state. They were also 7-0 in the North Puget Sound League Cascade Division. First Team NPSL Cascade Division runners are Faith Martinez, Natalie Jensen and Lulu Brady. Second Team NPSL are Vicky Sims and Moira Woods. Martinez was also selected as the athlete of the year.
Courtesy photo
Some members of the girls cross country team at the Westside Classic.

The THS Bears played their last regular season game on Oct. 26 against Kentlake, falling 30-18. The team’s season record stands at 3-6.

The girls golf team finished their regular season play with a 4-6 record. Abby Goodel was named to First Team All Conference; Anjeliese Hampton was named Second Team All Conference; and Kendall Lyons received an honorable mention.

The boys golf team finished their regular season play with a record of 8-1. They were the NPSL champions. First Team All Conference athletes included Luke Sherrell and Colby Watkins, with Marvin Tommervik receiving an honorable mention.

The Bears girls soccer team is 14-2-1. They prevailed in a 1-0 winner-to-state game against Hazen High School last night, after winning the NPSL Championship last weekend. State games will be played Nov. 5-17 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

“We have had a successful season so far, scoring 38 goals and recording nine shutouts,” Coach Alyssa Hurt said. “It has been a fun year as a team and program,” she added.

“The Bears are excited and looking forward to the challenge and opportunity to play,” said Hurt said, who was voted as Cascade Division coach of the year.

Swim and dive
The THS girls swim and dive team finished their regular season with a record of 7-0-1 and placed second in the district meet last weekend -- a best all-time finish for Tahoma. The state tournament is Nov. 9 and 10 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, where 10 Tahoma athletes will compete.

The Bears broke numerous school records, including Hanna Weissman, Hailey Sears, Sydney Sears, Iliana Hammerstrom in the 200 medley relay; Erin Kim in the 200 free; Weissman in the 50 free; Kim in the 100 fly; Weissman, Hailey Sears, Amelia Blakely, Kim in the 200 free relay; Weissman in the 100 backstroke; Hailey Sears in the 100 breaststroke.

Kim, Weissman, and Blakely were named to the Cascade Division First Team. Emiri Nishizawa and Hailey Sears were named to Cascade Division Second Team.

Coach Dave Wright was voted Coach of the Year for the Cascade Division.

The Bears boys tennis team finished the season with a record of 5-11.

Tahoma’s volleyball team racked up 14 wins and only two losses during the regular season.
They will play at noon on Saturday at Kentlake High School in the next district game.

FRIDAY, Nov. 2

"Tales from Sherwood Forest," presented by both middle schools, 7 p.m., Maple View Middle School.

Jazz Night fundraiser for Maple Valley Creative Arts Council, 7-9 p.m., Lake Wilderness Lodge

"Tales from Sherwood Forest," presented by both middle schools, 2 and 7 p.m., Maple View Middle School.

MONDAY, Nov. 5
Tahoma High School parent-teacher conferences, 5-8 p.m.

School Board work study session about meeting minutes; budget and financial detail for surplus recycle resolution action items; 6 p.m., district office

Tahoma High School parent-teacher conferences, 4-7 p.m.

MONDAY, Nov. 12
NO SCHOOL, districtwide, in observance of Veterans Day.

TUESDAY, Nov. 13
Summit Trail Middle School parent teacher conferences, no appointments needed, 4:30-7:30 p.m.

"Suicide: A Community Conversation," sponsored by Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation, Enumclaw School District and Tahoma School District, 6-8 p.m., Enumclaw High School, 226 Semanski St. S., Enumclaw

Maple View Middle School parent-teacher conferences, appointment-based.

Early release begins for elementary schools, and runs Nov. 14-21. See brief above for details.

Maple View Middle School parent-teacher conferences, appointment-based.
Summit Trail Middle School parent teacher conferences, no appointments needed, 4:30-7:30 p.m.

MONDAY, Nov. 19
Early release begins for middle schools and for THS. See news brief above for details.

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