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Saturday school for Tacoma high school seniors

Post by Debbie Cafazzo / The News Tribune on March 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm with 13 Comments »
March 22, 2012 6:03 pm

This release is out today  from Tacoma Public Schools. Call the TNT is you want to comment for a news story: 253-597-8635


March 22, 2012

Contact: Dan Voelpel, director, Public Information Office, 253-571-1015, dvoelpe@tacoma.k12.wa.us

Seniors must attend school on Saturday to make up 175 instructional days to graduate

In an unusual move, Tacoma Public Schools has implemented Senior Saturdays to fulfill the state-mandated 175-instructional-day requirement for seniors to graduate.

The district had limited options. Due to inclement weather and the late start to the school year, this year’s school calendar offered no flexibility to recover the lost instructional days, which is why the district opted for the Senior Saturday school alternative.

The number of additional days required per high school varies due to the staggered graduation schedule.

Mount Tahoma and Wilson seniors will be required to make up three Senior Saturdays. Foss, Lincoln and Stadium seniors will have to make up one Saturday.

Each school has designed its own Saturday program. Seniors will gather in classrooms, libraries and other instructional spaces in their schools working with certified teachers on college preparation, culminating projects and exams. Senior Saturdays run for three hours so lunches will not be offered on these days.

Attendance is required for all graduating seniors. Graduating seniors who are part of the self-contained program do not need to attend Saturday school. Students who need transportation to Senior Saturday should stop by the main office at their school and request a bus pass. A daily Pierce Transit bus pass will be provided to any senior who asks.

Senior Saturday schedules are as follows:

Wilson and Mount Tahoma schools

  • Saturday, April 14, 7:30–10:30 a.m.—Post high preparation and applications
  • Saturday, April 21, 7:30–10:30 a.m.—Culminating projects in preparation for student-led conferences
  • Saturday, May 19, 7:30–10:30 a.m.—Make-up work and preparation for final exams


  • Saturday, June 2, 8:30–11:30 a.m.—Finals study day


  • Saturday, June 2, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.—Finals study day


  • Saturday, April 21, 7:30–10:30 a.m.—Culminating Project; High School and Beyond Plan

For more information, please contact your school’s main office or visit your school’s Web site at www.tacomaschools.org.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. Pecksbadboy says:

    Wonder who is paying the teachers, I seem to recall they are still paid for late start days?

  2. tacomajoe says:

    The students must sacrifice for the teachers. That’s what Rosa Parks would do, right TEA?

  3. I wonder how many of the students who were out in support of the strike last fall are happy and have no issue going to school on these days? I love public school…glad my kids aren’t part of that mess.

  4. bswigart says:

    What became of the required 180 instructional day school years?

  5. PiecesOfYou says:

    This is ridiculous! 1) We live in Washington State we have absolutely no control over the weather, yet the kids are made to pay for it. 2) The teachers are the ones who decided to strike and yet the kids are having to pay for that as well!!! My children will be homeschooled, for their remaining school years.

  6. alindasue says:

    bswigart, The 175 day school year only applies to Seniors who traditionally graduate a week or so before the end of the school year.

    My biggest concern is that April 14th is the day of the Daffodil Parade. How are they going to work that with the students who are participating in that?

    PiecesOfYou, Having done the home school route for several years, I would advise you to choose that route carefully – especially when it comes to high school age children. If you are serious about pursuing that route, you will still have to go through an actual school of some type for your child to obtain a high school diploma as opposed to just a GED.

    Options would include:

    – Online schools like Insight School of Washington or Tacoma Virtual Learning
    – Earning High School credit through a community college program at schools like TCC or Pierce College.
    – Enrolling in Job Corps and finishing high school there.

    All of the above options require your student to be committed to their education and a self-starter. They are great options for students who want or need to take an alternative path to education – but they also all involve a great more work and hassle than just sacrificing a few Saturdays to attending school during the Senior year.

    As my daughter who also read your comment said, “Be careful.” I’m not trying to discourage you from the home school choice. I’m just telling you to make sure you are ready for the level of commitment needed by both your child and yourself before you make the choice to do so.

  7. useyourcommonsense says:

    Does anyone find it interesting how the district is following the “letter of the law” rather than the “spirit of the law” in requiring them to attend saturday school for only 3 hours each day. 3 hours qualifies it as a full day of school. Its almost like the process that the legislature is following in balancing the budget (delay payments, change accounting methods etc). I would call it cheating and it is a poor example to condone.

    I feel sorry that the seniors have to make up days created by the strike last fall. Everyone knows that we often have snow days and they have been built into the school year planning. A strike added to it makes it even harder. The obvious purpose of a 175 day school year is to set a quantitative standard. Qualitative is another issue.

    Perhaps we should do away with a quantitative standard (175 days) and focus on what and how much they learn each year. Going to school for
    3 hours on saturday is a waste of time and effort. More smoke and mirrors.

  8. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Seniors and their parents can thank the teachers for the illegal strike they participated in so they would could continue to demand that assignments and transfers are determined by seniority and not by merit.

    The good news is your senior will soon no longer be exposed to public education from the Tacoma School District and the union protected teachers.

  9. Bummer Man! Can we bring our boards and smokes ?

  10. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Three hours a day for three Saturdays sounds like a quality education to me.

  11. PiecesOfYou: You are going to home school your kids because of 9 hours of lost Saturdays? I feel sorry for your kids and their futures.

    My Child is a Wilson Senior and has been in Tacoma Public Schools sense kindergarten. She has a 3.95 g.p.a., has a ton of AP Classes, 2100 SAT score and earned large academic scholarships to several private Universities of her choice.

    Get over it…it is three Saturdays. There will be harder obstacles in your kid’s life.

  12. Wouldn’t it cause less of a flap if the graduation date were moved to accomodate seniors finishing with the rest of the students? It seems like a no-brainer to me.

  13. sweetie13 says:

    regular teachers won’t be there. Most jobs for schools that are not classifed require a certificate in teaching. That measn probably guidiance counselors, librians and probably even principles.

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