Oct. 18, 2018
In this issue:
Community Contributors shine throughout Tahoma
Committee begins technology review
Schools Foundation works to support students
Tahoma reduces energy use by 17 percent
District kudos
News briefs
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?

Community Contributors shine throughout Tahoma schools
Classmates in Cailan McCutchan's class work together to write a note to the Vine Maple Place family members who will eat the meal they packed.

In photo below, fifth-grade students use recipe cards to make sure they pack the correct ingredients for the meals in a bag.

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 will feature examples of how those skills are being taught in classrooms. This month’s featured skill is Community Contributor.

Cailan McCutchan’s fifth-grade students spent part of last week focused not on what was happening inside the classroom, but rather on those outside their four walls. As part of this month’s emphasis on the Community Contributor skill, the class put together “meals in a bag” for families living at Vine Maple Place.

“Think about that kindness ripple. You do something kind for someone, and maybe they pass it on,” the Shadow Lake teacher said. “You have the opportunity to help other people every day. Today, it’s just going to be a small thing. … Let’s make someone else’s night a little easier!”

Vine Maple Place is a nonprofit organization that helps single, homeless parents and their children. In addition to providing housing, the organization also helps prevent eviction and provides trainings to help clients develop life skills and find living wage jobs. The meals in a bag are shelf-stable items that can be easily combined into a hearty meal (such as chicken pot pie) following the provided recipe. McCutchan signed up for her class to help through the Maple Valley Lions Club, which organized the collection of 90 bagged meals for Vine Maple Place last week.

After McCutchan described the activity, she also played a video featuring a man who does many nice things for others, expecting nothing in return.

“Why is this man doing what he’s doing?” she asked. 

“To feel emotions like happiness,” one student suggested.

“For satisfaction,” another added.

“Yes -- maybe he gets satisfaction from helping someone else,” McCutchan agreed. They also talked about what being a Community Contributor could look like around their school, including being kind to other students throughout the day, older students helping kindergartners safely board the correct buses, helping animals and performing community service projects to help the environment.

The class broke into groups to work on the 10 bagged meals, following the recipe cards to make sure they included all the needed food items. But when the recipes were complete, the class didn’t stop there. McCutchan let them pick out a new card game that the receiving family could play together, or a pack of stickers that she had purchased to include in the bag, and also encouraged them to write a note to the family that would receive each meal.

The notes included messages such as “We hope you enjoy your dinner,” “Have a nice weekend!” and “We had fun putting together this meal for you!”

Secondary schools

At Maple View Middle School this year, teacher Gary Conner has started an effort encouraging some of his students to earn credit while helping others. 

“They go into our SAIL class and work as peer mentors, working with students who are highly impacted and don’t always get the opportunity to work closely with, and grow in relationship with, their typically performing peers,” said Pam McKinney, dean of students. 

Some of the students worked on math together, while others read a book aloud or worked on a matching activity.

“It’s a newly germinating program and idea, but I talked with one of the students who went in today, and his response was very positive!” McKinney added.

At Tahoma High School, Community Contributor projects abound. After the recent death of a student, someone placed notes of encouragement on sticky notes in bathrooms throughout THS. Leadership students did a similar project, placing positive notes on cars in the student parking lot.

One recent sunny day, two mobile blood collection centers from Bloodworks Northwest were parked outside the high school for one of three annual blood drives organized by leadership students. Students ages 16 and older are allowed to donate with parent permission. More than 60 students donated, yielding 42 pints of blood, which will help about 126 patients, according to Bloodworks Northwest.

And, a new club called “Projects of Positivity” has been meeting each Tuesday and Thursday during Power Hour A in the upper level of the performing arts center. Student leader Lexi Godsil said she hopes to make the community a little bit brighter. 

At one recent meeting, the students and adviser Paul Remfer talked about how they could continue to share the message of “You are loved” and “We’re glad you’re here” with the school. They asked the freshmen in attendance how they felt at the beginning of the year, and discussed the idea of surveying students, to find out what efforts make them feel most valued.

To read more about the Community Contributor Future Ready Skill, click here: http://bit.ly/TSDcommunityContributor

Committee begins technology model review
Members of the Technology Model Review Committee work in their table groups on ideas to present to the whole group.

A review of Tahoma School District’s use of educational technology is underway, following the first meeting of the Technology Model Review Committee on Oct. 4 at Tahoma High School.

The volunteer committee is made up of teachers, technical support staff, School Board members, students, parents and other community members. Its task is to review how Tahoma uses educational technology, identify foundational beliefs and aspirations for technology use, conduct research and finally make recommendations to the School Board about the direction the district should pursue for classroom technology.

Dawn Wakeley, director of Teaching and Learning, told committee members that it is essential to put students at the “center of our process” and to focus on how technology can help students achieve academic progress. “Technology is a tool for us, connected to the outcomes we want,” she said.

The School Board, last spring, called for creation of the committee after voters rejected a four-year technology levy renewal. With expiration of the old technology levy happening this year, the school district has reduced spending for classroom technology and suspended the proposed technology plan that was the basis for the levy request. The committee’s work will be reviewed by the School Board before decisions are made about future technology funding in the district.

Three more meetings of the full model review committee are planned, on Nov. 1, Nov. 29, and Jan. 10. There also will be subcommittee meetings to work on specific issues, the results of which will be brought back to the full committee. A recommendation will be brought to the School Board on Feb. 12.

Once the committee has completed its work and it has been reviewed by the School Board, a new district technology plan can be crafted. The plan, created by the existing Technology Advisory Committee, also must be approved by the School Board and would form the basis for future technology levy requests.

Committee members were provided with background documents focused on classroom technology, including student technology standards published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). They also read articles dealing with how technology is being applied in classrooms and what skills will be in demand as students move into jobs and careers, including digital literacy.

The next committee meeting will focus on research, gaps in the district’s current reality and its aspirations for classroom technology, and the start of constructing a model technology plan.

Tahoma Schools Foundation works to support students
Video courtesy of Benicio Bryant

Tahoma student Benicio Bryant performs on stage with Brandi Carlile during the Tahoma Schools Foundation benefit concert last June.

Before last June’s Brandi Carlile concert to benefit the Tahoma Schools Foundation, many local residents may not have heard of the foundation. And even though the group’s name recognition has increased, some parents and community members may still be wondering exactly what the nonprofit does.

One of the top priorities of the group is to fund Kindergarten Camp, which is held just before school begins each fall. The idea behind the camp is to increase kindergarten readiness. Kindergarten Camp brings in children from across the district to learn from Tahoma kindergarten teachers before school begins each fall. This year’s camp was the third one that the foundation has helped fund; they donated $15,000.

“Kindergarten Camp is an extra boost for those students who need it either academically or socially. This extra four days allows these children to gain confidence, experience expectations, and set them on the right path on the first day of kindergarten and beyond,” said Krissy Riggs, who teaches kindergarten at Rock Creek and during Kindergarten Camp. “For those students who might have otherwise begun kindergarten unsure, a bit behind and nervous, instead this extra small-class time, scaffolded to support their needs, gives them a lift that lasts throughout kindergarten. Without this extra time, students who are struggling take much more time to catch up, and feel less confident as learners.”

The foundation was founded more than a quarter century ago, but was reorganized about four years ago with a review of the mission and vision, new board members and added objectives such as increasing kindergarten readiness. The Maple Valley Chamber of Commerce helped create the foundation in order to meet some unfunded needs of the school district. In 2009, the group was formally separated from the chamber and became its own independent group.

Foundation board members emphasize that there is a difference between programs the PTA/PTO groups already provide for the schools and what the TSF works to accomplish. The two groups have partnered on some events, such as the popular Harlem Wizards basketball game they have hosted the past few years. The annual game brings in a touring team of comedic basketball players to challenge a team of teachers and staff members from across the district dubbed the “Tahoma Teaching Jedi.” 

“When the buzzer rang, and the night came to an end, I told myself ‘I can’t wait to be a part of Tahoma team Jedi again!’” said Haley Moser, a physical education teacher from Tahoma Elementary who played on the team last spring. “What a fun, entertaining and memorable event; not only a great fundraiser but a way for the whole community to congregate under one roof.”

The foundation partners with the PTA/PTO groups for souvenir sales, concessions and last year’s pre-game carnival. In return, the groups receive a share of the profits. This year’s game is scheduled for May 3 at the high school.

In addition to the Wizards game and Brandi Carlile concert, a major source of revenue for the foundation is monthly donations from district teachers and staff members, who contribute via automatic paycheck deductions.

“We’d like to inspire community members to do the same,” said Dan Nielsen, president of the foundation. “The teachers are kind of funding it themselves. If we could get 100 other people who aren’t teachers to give $10 per month, that would be great!”

The foundation’s target to sustain programs is $200,000 per year, but the board will reevaluate as additional requests are submitted.

“We’re eager to fund more programs,” Nielsen added.
In the late spring, Bear Metal Robotics came to the foundation with an ask because they had the opportunity to receive $10,000 if they could raise $10,000 toward a new mill. The foundation made up the difference so that the team could get the matching money.

In recent years the foundation has also helped bring the film “Screenagers” to the district, helped purchase school supplies for students in need, supported the We the People team and paid for AP Scholar tests for students in need. Foundation board members are interested in helping to support programs that benefit students, either academically or socially.

The foundation is seeking volunteers to serve on its business outreach committee, communications committee and events committee. Aside from insurance and other small costs such as their website, 100 percent of donations go directly to benefit Tahoma students. Surrounding districts such as Issaquah, Enumclaw and Renton have active, well-established foundations, which the board of TSF are looking to for advice, best practices and ideas, Nielsen said.

For more information about the foundation or to make a donation, visit the foundation's Facebook page or the schools foundation website.

Tahoma reduces energy consumption by 17 percent
Since the fall of 2014, Tahoma has reduced its energy use 17 percent with the help of its consultant firm, McKinstry. That equates to about 930 metric tons of carbon. The district has been partnering with the company for nine years, employing energy-saving techniques that have added up to about $1.5 million, McKinstry officials said.

The efforts started in 2009; between the start date and 2013, the district racked up a 27 percent energy savings. In that year, the “baseline” of energy consumption was reset. Similarly, McKinstry and the district decided to do another reset last year because of the transition and changes districtwide. Last year’s energy usage will be the new standard to measure against, but because the buildings are already operating at very high efficiency, experts don’t expect to see much additional measurable change from this point out.

“We actually continued to save energy as we built that new baseline,” said Lauren Frugé, operations manager for Energy Management with McKinstry. “The schools did really well. … As we start tracking energy performance this year, we do not expect to see a lot of savings because we’ve already captured that.”

On the list of things that Tahoma is doing correctly and well:
  • Buildings are efficiently heated during the winter
  • Lights are only on when in use, whenever possible. Lights needed for safety are the exception.
  • Facilities staff are careful to make certain that systems are turned off during hours buildings are closed.
  • There has been adoption of clear energy guidelines across the district that define appropriate schedules and set points for temperatures. 
  • Green teams have been helpful in having students and staff take a pledge to raise awareness and doing student energy audits. They also help identify things that teachers can do, such as when to turn off lights. “Green teams are really instrumental in sharing the message, doing those student energy audits and keeping up the enthusiasm,” Frugé said.

Dawn Wakeley, executive director of Teaching & Learning and a member of the district Sustainability Committee, agreed that the Green Team contributions have been key. District and building leaders would like to have additional students join the Green Team at their respective buildings. It’s a challenging task to try to affect the ingrained behaviors of others, Wakeley noted.

“It’s not always the most glamorous club that’s out there, but we are so appreciative to the students and staff for their enthusiasm and passion in helping do good work for our environment,” she said.

Tahoma High School celebrates Homecoming Coronation
Tahoma High School students traveled via time machine to The Met Gala (the gym) for Monday's Homecoming Coronation Assembly. They walked the red carpet to enter through a haze of fog and the flashing lights of the "paparazzi," played by fellow students with cameras. Spotlights waved energetically and Frank Sinatra crooned through the speakers to help set the scene.

Entertainment during the assembly included performances by the THS jazz choir, singer Nina Scroggins and dancer Tyler Robinett. The Homecoming court was announced.

The football game will be tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 19, and the dance on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The Tahoma Bears football team will take on Enumclaw High School at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Maxwell Stadium, which is at the current Maple View Middle School. There will be fireworks during the halftime show (approximately 8:30 p.m.) and also after touchdowns.

The dance will be at the school from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20. Parking will only be on the east side of the building (Les Schwab side).
Homecoming court royalty: Queen Katrina Paige and King Zach Robinson; senior Duchess Meghan Anderson and Duke Reilly Peters; senior Princess Megan Bartlett and Prince Mason Fritsch; junior Princess Lucia Flores-Wiseman (not pictured) and junior Prince Nicholas Olson; sophomore Princess Sabreena Kemp and sophomore Prince Kanon Kurtz; freshman Princess Jillian Sipila and freshman Prince Gavin Blue; and Jester Gabriel Shouman.

Junior Nina Scroggins sings "It Must Be Love" before the announcement of the Homecoming Court Monday.

THS junior Tyler Robinett performs to "Billie Jean" during the 2018 Homecoming Coronation assembly.

THS teacher selected for award

Tracy Krause, who teaches physical education and health at Tahoma High School and who also is the district Health and Fitness Content Specialist in the Teaching and Learning Department, was recently selected as the 2018 Bob Melson Honor Award recipient by SHAPE Washington.

The acronym SHAPE stands for the Society of Health and Physical Educators.

"Tracy is a prime example of what a true leader and role model is in our profession. This award is well deserved," wrote Mary Trettevik of SHAPE.

Superintendent hosts listening sessions
Superintendent Tony Giurado talks during a listening session designed to gather feedback from parents and community members last week. Giurado hosted two parent/community member listening sessions, as well as similar events at each building and departments such as transportation. In addition he met with PTA/PTO board members and union members. Giurado asked each group to prioritize feedback for the School Board in three main categories: What is working well, what needs improvement, and what isn’t working well. He said he plans to compile all the feedback and present it to the board at the Nov. 6 meeting.

City, district will co-host mental first aid seminar
The greater Maple Valley community is invited to attend a special presentation designed to equip people with basic knowledge about mental and behavioral health issues that can be used to assist people in crisis.

The program is called R.E.A.D.Y., an acronym for Real Emergency Aid Depends on You. The one-hour presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 26 in the Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center. It is open to all community members and is sponsored by the City of Maple Valley and the Tahoma School District.

The R.E.A.D.Y. program was developed by the City of Auburn, in collaboration with health care professionals and counselors. It is designed as the “CPR of mental illness,” said Pat Bailey, Community Health Consultant for the City of Auburn. 

“When people nationally stepped up to be trained in CPR, a major trend took hold in this country and heart attack victims were saved,” Bailey explained. “We must do the same with mental illness and suicide and inform and educate all people, so that people with a mental illness or a significant life stressor are not ashamed or afraid to seek help and the stigmas attached to mental and behavioral issues are eliminated.”

The October 26 program will be presented by 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. The program provides basic tools to assist someone having a mental health crisis until professional help arrives. The presentation will include information specific to the Maple Valley area, including mental health statistics. Dr. Anderson will discuss common mental health issues but also will address teen suicide by talking about major warning signs of teen mental health issues and providing five ways a teen might be asking for help with a mental health challenge. For more information and resources, click here.

Any questions about the event may be directed to the City of Maple Valley at 425-413-8800 or Tahoma School District at 425-413-3400.

Tahoma is hiring
The Tahoma School district is hiring food service workers, custodians and bus drivers to fill immediate openings. If you know anyone who would be a great fit for any of these positions, please share this information.

To view listings or apply, click here.

For specific information about:

Lifting Literacy event Oct. 27
Tahoma families with elementary age children are invited to Lifting Literacy from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 27 at the Maple Valley Library. Children are invited to wear costumes and trick or treat around the library.

Librarian Sharon Chastain will share Halloween stories at 10:30 a.m. The event will include games, snacks, prizes and free books. To participate in the book swap, bring in up to five good-condition elementary level books to trade in for some new-to-you titles. At any time during the event, parents may talk to a reading specialist about their child's particular needs.

Sponsored by the Maple Valley Library Guild and Maple Valley Rotary, additional Lifting Literacy events this year are scheduled for Jan. 26 and April 27.

THS clubs to host 13th annual Halloween Carnival
Community members and families with young children are invited to the 13th annual Halloween Carnival hosted by Tahoma Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

The event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the commons at THS. A costume contest will begin at 6 p.m. Children through age 12 are welcome, and families are asked to bring canned food items or a cash donation to help support the Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services.

Activities will include calf roping, ice fishing, face painting, a bean bag toss, golf and a cupcake walk.

Games and candy will be provided by FBLA, the Future Farmers of America, the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and the Future Health Care Professionals club.

Arts Council will host “Jazz Night” fundraiser
The Kareem Kandi World Orchestra will perform at “Jazz Night in the Valley,” a fundraiser for the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council on Friday, Nov. 2. The event will be rom 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lake Wilderness Lodge, and will include art, jazz music and refreshments.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Student tickets are $10. To purchase, visit www.maplevalleyarts.com or search on Brown Paper Tickets.
Opt in (or out) for Tahoma text messaging
Do you want to receive Tahoma School District texts with information about events, school closures, safety alerts & more? This school year, the district began using a new tool by SchoolMessenger called “Communicate.”

The product allows staff members to send email and phone messages to families and staff members; it can also send text messages to parents, but it will be used only as an “opt-in” system. During the month of October, the district is running an opt-in campaign asking parents whether they would like to receive these text notifications.

Ready to get started? To opt in, send a text message of "Y" or "Yes" to 67587. You can opt out of these messages at any time by simply replying to any message with "Stop." If you do not want to receive text messages from the school district, you do not need to take any action.

Notifications may be sent districtwide, such as in an emergency or in case of delays or closures due to inclement weather; or, they may be sent to only parents/guardians of an affected building. In some cases, we may send only a phone, email or text message, and in other emergent situations, we will send messages using all three.

Click here to read a flyer with more information in English and Spanish.

For parents of middle school and high school students using “Remind” text notifications from specific teachers or staff, this system is unrelated and won’t affect those notifications.

If you have any questions about this service or product, please email us at TSDMessages@tahomasd.us or call the Communications Office at 425-413-3409.

FRIDAY, Oct. 19
Tahoma High School varsity football vs. Enumclaw; Homecoming game, 7 p.m., Maxwell Stadium, THS

Tahoma High School Homecoming Dance, 8-11 p.m., THS

TUESDAY, Oct. 23
School Board meeting, 6:30 p.m., Central Services Center
Tahoma High School choir concert (1 of 2), 7 p.m., THS performing arts center

Tahoma High School choir concert (2 of 2), 7 p.m., THS performing arts center

FRIDAY, Oct. 26
R.E.A.D.Y. "Real Emergency Aid Depends on You" mental health talk, 6:30 p.m., THS performing arts center

Lifting Literacy event for elementary families, 10 a.m.-noon, Maple Valley Library

FRIDAY, Nov. 2
Jazz Night fundraiser for Maple Valley Creative Arts Council, 7-9 p.m., Lake Wilderness Lodge

"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

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