March 27 update for families

March 27 update for families
Posted on 03/27/2020
Dear Tahoma families,
Teachers are preparing for the startup of online student learning activities next week, as schools across Washington pivot from classroom instruction to comply with state guidelines put into place a few days ago.

The change is prompted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which stated, “In late February and early March, we set a high bar for districts who wanted to continue distance learning if their school buildings were to close. The situation in our state has drastically evolved since that time. Subsequent to our initial guidance, Governor Inslee has shut down all schools in the state for a minimum of six weeks and the U.S. Department of Education has provided much needed guidance. We have an obligation to our students to provide them with opportunities to continue their learning during this pandemic. … Although schools are closed and are not providing traditional in-person instruction, education must continue.”

Tahoma’s approach to remote learning began with the Learning Connections web page, which offered optional, self-directed learning resources and activities. The next phases of remote learning will be more structured and will require students to complete assignments. Monday and Tuesday, students will begin to see assignments posted online, but the amount will be limited so that both students and teachers can adjust to the new learning arrangement. Teachers will be available to answer questions and establish contact with students.

Spring break will be observed during the week of April 6. Students will see a more robust learning schedule when classes resume on April 13.

As our Teaching & Learning staff, along with teachers and administrators, work to establish this new system, we want to emphasize that our partnership with families has never been more vital than it will be in the weeks to come. We will strive to provide meaningful learning for Tahoma students, even though it will look different than the in-class instruction that we all know and love. The system will need adjustment as we progress, so that we can strike a balance between what works best during these challenging times for our students, teachers, staff and families. Thank you to the parents who have shared about the challenges of working long days outside their homes -- and those who are working from home, needing to concentrate on work during the day. We will do our best to be mindful of these factors while also educating students remotely.

Our staff members have checked out about 1,500 computers to students across the district in the past week. Students still in need of a school district Chromebook are asked to add their names to a waiting list and we will do our best to provide them with a computer.

Here are a few more news items:

*Food bank hours change: Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services will distribute food on Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The food bank is closed on Thursdays until further notice. For further information, email info@maplevalleyfoodbank.org or call 425-432-8633.

*Childcare expands availability: Community members who are employed in the food-supply industry or who work for pharmacies are now eligible to participate in Tahoma School District’s childcare program. The program is intended to serve children of healthcare workers and first responders, in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s request to school districts to provide childcare services during school closures. The program is being expanded to include people working in grocery stores and other parts of the food distribution industry, along with pharmacy workers.

To learn more about the program or to register, please email the childcare coordinator, Radie Haytack: Rhaytack@tahomasd.us

*Help us help other students, families: We have heard from a few people that our communication about the start of distance learning may not be reaching every student. If you are aware of students or families that may not be getting electronic communication from us, please have them call the Tahoma Message Line and provide us with a phone number so that we can contact them. The Message Line is 425-413-3477.

*Families with students in kindergarten through second grade: Please look for an email early next week from the “Tahoma Updates” address with information about how to create an optional account in Starfall. We will send individual emails with personalized access codes to each of you. Starfall is a program that most of your children are familiar with because they have used it in the classroom.

Thank you,
Tahoma Communications Office
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