Choir Concert – War and Peace

March 21, 2018 Leave a comment


Choir Concert – The Human Connection

March 20, 2018 Leave a comment


Tahoma students sing well at Solo & Ensemble

March 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Saturday was Tahoma’s regional vocal Solo & Ensemble Contest (the region includes 10 high school – 4 Kent, 3 Auburn, White River, Enumclaw, and Tahoma).  Tahoma students did very well, winning 5 of the 8 possible categories.


Soprano (because there are so many entries here, this is a double category with 2 winners)

Allie Orozco – Winner
Sophia Heinz – Winner
Mina Klein – 1st Alternate


Jared Loveless – 2nd Alternate


Jonathan Zosel – Winner
Justin Freeman – 1st Alternate


Austin Freeman – Winner

Female Ensemble

Allie Orozco & Sophia Heinz – Winner
Sophia Heinz & Maddi Fickel – 1st Alternate

Male Ensemble

Jared Loveless, Jonathan Zosel, Austin & Justin Freeman – 1st Alternate


Winners and possibly some alternates will compete at the State Solo & Ensemble Contest at the end of April.  Please congratulate these students for their accomplishments if you see them.

DECA sends two to Internationals

March 16, 2018 Leave a comment


27 students qualified for DECA State this year. Kali and Lily took 3rd place in the Innovation Plan Event and qualified to move on to Internationals in Atlanta, Georgia.

March 14 Letter to Parents

March 12, 2018 Leave a comment

March 14th walk out

School board reviews possible budget reductions

March 9, 2018 Leave a comment

In preparation for the possibility that the April levy measure fails, School Board members are beginning the process of planning how to handle a forecasted deficit of $11.7 million for next school year.


After the three proposed levy measures failed in February, board members listened to community members and weighed their requests against the district’s need to be able to pay for current staff members and programs. Voters in the Tahoma School District will consider in the April 24 election whether to approve a two-year replacement operations levy of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, which would collect $10.7 million the first year and $11.8 million the second year. If the levy passes, the district’s budget will be close to balanced.


The district will end this year with about $14.8 million in reserve funds, but could drain those to $3.2 million to cover the deficit next year, which would be about 3.3 percent of the general fund. Finance Director Lori Cloud said she recommends that the board not allow the reserve fund to dip below $8 million, or about 8 percent.


Deciding where to cut in order to make up for the lost levy dollars is a huge task, Board President Mary Jane Glaser said, during a work-study session on Tuesday, March 6.


Board member Didem Pierson agreed: “Just asking the questions is hard.”


Although the failed technology levy and bus levy are still needed, the School Board prioritized the operations levy. They also decided to create two citizen oversight committees: one for general levy funds, and one specific to spending of technology levy dollars.


At the March 6 meeting, Cloud shared reports with the board that examine revenue, expenditures, the fund balance, and predicted deficits that will occur if the levy fails. The expenditures are each based on continuing programs and retaining current staff. To see the reports, follow the links at the bottom of this article.


The largest portion of any school district budget is in its staff salaries and benefits; in Tahoma, it’s about 88 percent. Much of the discussion last night focused on how Tahoma can continue to employ the best teachers and staff members possible for its students.


“This is where the business model does not work for schools: Do you want the principal to hire the best teacher they can find, or the cheapest teacher they can find, when they’re hiring your child’s teacher?” Superintendent Rob Morrow asked. “Why did we choose to do $1.50 (per $1,000)? We want to be able to pay and retain our quality staff here, and TRI (Time, Responsibility and Incentive) dollars are still going to be part of the salary package that we have. … McCleary is not covering the total cost of what it’s going to cost to do business in our school districts, just from the teacher pay standpoint.”


Classified salaries were also discussed. The district is in the third year of a five-year contract designed to bring classified salaries up to the average of surrounding districts. Before the contract began, Tahoma’s classified members’ pay was the 16th lowest out of 17 surrounding districts. Board members said that they are very worried at the prospect of needing to cut classified staff members such as paraeducators who help provide small group reading support, safety positions such as crossing guards and other roles that directly affect students.


These programs and staff positions are not fully funded by state and federal dollars and among options that the board members will consider cutting in order to balance the budget if the levy fails:


  • Special education is supplemented through local levy funds. Estimated unfunded cost: $5.3 million.
  • Summation of other staff costs, such as maintenance, paraeducators, librarians, support staff, office staff, technology staff not otherwise listed. We will provide more details on this category soon. Estimated unfunded cost: $1.92 million.
  • All sports and extracurricular activities. Estimated unfunded cost: $1.36 million.
  • In order to pay teachers competitively, Tahoma uses local levy dollars. Estimated unfunded cost: $3.85 million.
  • Other certificated staff members who fill positions such as psychologists, counselors and instructional coaches. Estimated unfunded cost: $1.47 million.
  • Tahoma’s custodians are not fully funded by the state. Estimated unfunded cost: $940,447.
  • As part of the model review process, a committee of parents, students, staff and administrators recommended that Tahoma High School implement an 8-period schedule at Tahoma High School. The change allows students to have a small amount of room for error while still earning enough credits to graduate. With the six-period schedule, students would be in a “pass-all” situation in order to take all the state requirements and earn 24 credits needed to graduate. The 8-period schedule also offers expanded elective options. The change required about 8 FTE additional positions. Estimated unfunded cost: $889,051.
  • The state does not fully fund substitute teachers. Estimated unfunded cost: $868,163.
  • Transportation costs including staff, maintenance, and more. Estimated unfunded cost: $506,876.
  • Tahoma’s nurses are not fully funded by the state. Estimated unfunded cost: $416,091
  • Math Assistance Program, which offers pull-out support for students struggling in math at the elementary level, serves 309 students from the six elementary schools. Teachers refer additional students to the program regularly. There are no funds from the state to pay for this program. Estimated unfunded cost: $424,370.
  • Tahoma’s safety and security is not fully funded. Estimated unfunded cost: $216,950.


Some services and programs, such as the Extended Enrichment Program (EEP), are considered revenue-neutral but are not supported by the state. Such programs have indirect costs such as lighting, heating, toilet paper, custodial service that are currently not paid by the program. There are EEP services at each of the six elementary sites, which provide before- and after-school care for students. Parents pay to enroll their children in the program.


Board members and staff will attempt to keep all discussions at the program level, wherever possible to minimize the impact to staff morale.


“I’ve been through this a couple of times, and I can remember distinctly that you don’t recover for a long time. The stress that this puts on the system is very, very challenging,” Morrow said. “One of the things I want to be hesitant of doing is saying: ‘We’re going to cut five counselors or 12 teachers (by name). … Those are real people with real lives and jobs.


The board has asked for additional details, and information about which elements and staff positions must be kept by law in programs such as Special Education, among others. They will work with staff to set parameters for the process, such as class sizes and maintaining equity of programs and services.


Board members will host three forums for community members to hear more in person and ask questions. Those will be at 6 p.m. on March 21, March 29 and April 2 at the district central office.


To see details from last night’s presentation, click here:

Tahoma Bear Metal goes undefeated in Clackamas event

March 8, 2018 Leave a comment


Tahoma’s Robotics team, aka Bear Metal, returned Saturday night from Oregon as winners of the PNW Clackamas Academy District event. Tahoma took first seed in a field of 37 teams with a perfect 12-0-0 record during the qualification rounds. As the captain of the #1 seeded alliance, Bear Metal selected Team 4513 the Circuit Breakers from Medical Lake, WA as their first alliance partner and Team 6465 Mystic Biscuit from Bend, OR as their second. Tahoma led their alliance to a perfect 6-0-0 record through the elimination rounds, giving Bear Metal an overall record of 18-0-0 for the competition. The team also won the Excellence in Engineering award for their unique and effective elevator gearbox and their ability to articulate its details to the judges. Our scouts, pit crew, programmers, media crew and drive team worked tirelessly throughout the competition to find solutions for numerous technical challenges they were confronted with. Please congratulate members of the robotics team for their hard work and success.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is a “sport of the mind” where teams from around the world are provided a new game challenge each January. These teams have just over six weeks to design, manufacture, assemble and program a robot to meet the challenge. These teams then compete with and against each other working to advance. The season culminates in a championship in Houston for teams that qualify. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was started over 25 years ago to encourage youth to explore areas in science and technology to see how exciting they can be. Here’s a link to an animation describing this year’s challenge.

For those who are interested, here are the videos of the final matches from Clackamas. Bear Metal is team #2046 (black robot with red bumpers)
Finals 1
Finals 2

Tahoma Robotics Team is having a community night this Thursday, March 8th in the THS commons at 7:00 pm. This free event, organized by the Bear Metal Booster Club, is an opportunity to show the community what our team does within the school district and community. This year’s robot, Ursa Origin, will be driving around and on display. You’re invited to stop by to see it in action and speak with the kids about why they are so passionate about the program.

RoboticsCommunity Night
Bear Metal’s next competition will be at Auburn High School, March 17th and 18th. It is free and open to the public. Here’s the schedule for the competition and a link to the livestream which will be active on the 17th. The match schedule will be available on the morning of the 17th and available here.
Tahoma Robotics would like to thank their sponsors, The Boeing Company, Flow Waterjet, Washington State OSPI, Tahoma School District, the O’Brien Family, Alaska Airlines and Pinnacle Physical Therapy for their generous support.

Tahoma Speech & Debate qualifies 7 for Nationals

March 7, 2018 Leave a comment

This past weekend Tahoma’s speech and debate team competed at the National Qualifying Tournament for the Western Washington district at Federal Way High School. This single tournament determines which teams in the Puget Sound region will qualify to compete at the National Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this June. It was an amazing competition with a lot of talented competitors from several schools. An unprecedented SEVEN Tahoma competitors qualified this year! This will be the largest group Tahoma has ever sent to Nationals.

Debate Nat Quals 2018 (2)

The qualifiers are….


Hansel Guzman-Soto; Lincoln Douglas Debate

Sierra Muehlbauer; Program Oral Interpretation

Aliyah Musaliar; Extemporaneous Speaking

Joey Ribera & Elizabeth Davis;  Duo Interpretation

Djanaya Esiong & Yzylle Esiong; Duo Interpretation

In addition, Seth Gaston qualified as alternate in Humorous Interpretation


 This is Elizabeth’s 2nd and Joey’s 3rd year in qualifying to Nationals!

Please congratulate them when you get the chance. This is another example of the amazing things our students accomplish through their hard work and effort.

Go Bears!