News briefs for Oct. 4

News briefs for Oct. 4
Posted on 10/04/2021
State testing delayed
Families may be aware that the district has continued to experience brief, but persistent interruptions in our internet connectivity. While we continue to work to resolve the issues with our vendors, we are working with staff to help mitigate the impact on learning. In addition, to ensure the best testing experience possible for our students and staff, we are opting to delay the kick off of our Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) next week. At this point, we are planning for most of our schools to be delayed by approximately one week. Updated testing schedules will be provided next week. If you have questions about the administration of the SBA, please review our frequently asked questions document here.

District receives results of communication audit
An independent audit of all district- and building-level communication at Tahoma School District was conducted by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). The district recently received the full audit report, which includes a total of eight recommendations, along with suggested action steps, best practices and examples from across the country. The results of the audit were prepared by an NSPRA auditor who reviewed websites, newsletters, social media, videos and other forms of communication, and also conducted a series of focus groups to hear from students, families, staff and community members to hear direct feedback as well.

The report has been shared with the School Board and the focus group participants, and is available for our community to read here.

District officials decided last spring that the time was right to conduct a full communication audit because Tahoma has been in a time of transition -- at the time of the audit, the School Board was working to craft a new five-year plan; Superintendent Mike Hanson was nearing the completion of his first year of leadership; the communications office was preparing to transition to new leadership; and the district was continuing to adjust to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next step for Tahoma’s Communications Department team is to develop a long-term strategic communications plan, using the recommendations from the audit as a framework for that plan. Auditors from NSPRA state that this “is a long-term effort” and that most successful districts focus on just a few of the recommendations each year. While the team cannot tackle all eight full recommendations at the same time, the department will give attention to most of the recommended areas during each year of its long-term plan.

Robotics, We the People to host annual fundraiser
Tahoma Robotics and the We the People team will host their annual mattress sale fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the commons at Tahoma High School. The showroom will offer 30 floor models on display for customers to try, including name brand beds from Simmons Beautyrest, Wellsville, Therapedic, Englander, and more. All models come in all sizes, are made to order, and come with factory warranties. Pillows, adjustable power bases, sheets, frames, and mattress protectors will also be available. Delivery and haul away are available. All forms of payment accepted and financing is available. Prices are less than standard retail prices, and each purchase supports Tahoma Robotics and We the People.

Tahma is hiring: Flexible positions available
If you're interested in joining our Team Tahoma family, we are hiring for a number of excellent opportunities.

We have job openings in multiple buildings and departments, including most schools throughout the district. We’d love to have friendly faces in our school who are already deeply invested in our district, and who are passionate about our students!

If you’d make a great addition to our Tahoma team, please consider checking out our job board and dropping in an application here

If you’re passionate about being the first happy face that greets our students when they get on the bus each day, consider joining our outstanding transportation team as a bus driver (starting at $29.29 - 30.86/hour). The district is currently offering a $3,000 bonus for new permanent drivers who already have all the required school bus driving credentials. New drivers needing paid training will start and be paid as substituted drivers, and will be reimbursed for their CDL licensing expenses after working with us for 30 days.

If you have questions, email us at jobs@TahomaSD.US. Or, for more information regarding Tahoma School District employment, visit

Now open: Tahoma’s free COVID-19 test site
The Tahoma COVID-19 testing site for students, staff and families is now open, in a new location. The free TSD testing site is now located at the Legacy Site across the street from the Central Services Center and Rock Creek Elementary (at the location of the Maple Valley Farmers Market). We are offering PCR tests by appointment only (no walk-ins) from 9-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. Register for an appointment here. The address of the test site is 25719 Maple Valley Black Diamond Rd. S.E., Maple Valley, WA 98038.

When registering for an appointment, please use the email address that is in your student’s Skyward file. If you need to update your email address, please contact the registrar at your child’s building.

The site was temporarily closed while we switched testing partners. This change will help us get students, families and staff helpful information in a timely manner. For more information about length of quarantines, along with our COVID-19 protocols and procedures, click here.

Families invited to free viewing of “LIKE” documentary
You’re invited to join us for a free viewing of “LIKE,” a documentary by IndieFlix about the impact of social media on our lives. After the movie, we’ll host a panel discussion with two students, an administrator and a mental health therapist.

The event will be from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21. Funding is by Overlake and the Tahoma Schools Foundation, and the event is hosted by Tahoma Wellness, Tahoma Behavioral Health Collective and the City of Maple Valley.
This film and discussion are appropriate for high school students; and for middle school students if their parent/guardian wants to watch with them and use it as a jumping-off point for discussions with their student. For more information or to watch a trailer, click here:

Or, to register for the free event, visit:

Board approves LWES robotics club, more
The Tahoma School Board held its first in-person meeting in 18 months on Sept. 28. A virtual version of the meeting was also available, but the volume was difficult for virtual attendees to hear. Staff members are working to improve the audio.

Board members gave reports, including:
*Wellness team’s collaboration with NAMI to present “End the Silence”
*Appreciation for district nurses
*Appreciation for our Nutrition Services that show caring making sure everyone gets a meal.
*Appreciation for custodians, acknowledging National Custodian Recognition Day

In other business, the board:
*Approved the formation of a robotics club at Lake Wilderness Elementary.
*Heard an update on a proposal to create a Transition Kindergarten program.
*Listened to the annual Athletic Report.

The next regular Board Meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Central Services Center.  The board will also have its annual retreat, which is open to the public, on Oct. 8 and 9 at New Community Church. More information is available here.

TSD Safety Committee holds quarterly meeting
The Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee met on Sept. 29. Topics discussed included:
*Lessons learned during recent campus drills
*All buildings will hold lockdown drills by the end of October
*Yearly earthquake drill
*Real fire alarms
*Sandy Hook Promise Reporting System: “Say Something” anonymous reporting system
*Intruder/emergency label on computers

Also, Special Services staff discussed standardizing evacuation plans to meet the needs of all mobility impaired persons evacuating from upper-level floors in all buildings. They also discussed addressing accessibility to all buildings.

The safety committee includes representatives from all district buildings and departments as well as local first responders. The committee will meet again in December.
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