Tami Henkel video message May 14, 2020

Script of video:
Hello. My name is Tami Henkel and I am your Tahoma School Board president. I hope this message finds you well as we continue to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the anxiety and concern that many of us deal with daily during this unusual time, I think it’s important to see what our students, teachers, and support staff are accomplishing.

The example I will use today is how our school district has made a successful pivot from classroom teaching to remote learning. It is remarkable that over the span of four weeks, teachers successfully transitioned from classroom instruction to emergency remote learning. Students, of course, also adapted to these changes, with a big assist from their families.

We want to return to classroom teaching as soon as we can because it provides the rich learning environment and social interaction that students need. But it seems certain that technology will play a more prominent role than it did prior to COVID-19.

We thank you for supporting our technology needs by approving last February’s four-year Technology Levy. Though we won’t start receiving those levy dollars until 2021, we have moved forward with technology purchases by using our fund balance reserve to obtain necessary equipment, software, and online learning programs during this emergency. We have also successfully speeded up our training schedule for teachers so that they were ready for remote learning. This worked so well that we won’t need some of the training that was scheduled for next school year -- which will save time and money.

Since the February levy election, the School Board has approved spending $1.4 million on technology purchases, including replacement of 1900 student Chromebook computers and teacher laptops and accessories.

Tuesday evening, the School Board approved an updated technology spending plan for next school year. It looks a little different than what we were considering prior to COVID-19. Fortunately, the adjustments we are making are within budget and will serve our students well.

Helping students become Future Ready remains our goal, even during a pandemic. Thank you for your support as we move toward the completion of this school year and begin planning for new challenges in the coming year.
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