Word on the Street

The latest news in and around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Category: Education


UW Tacoma starts new internship program for students

A new program at the University of Washington Tacoma will pair students with local agencies and businesses for year-long paid internships that emphasize community-based learning.

The City of Tacoma and United Way of Pierce County will be the first agencies to participate in the Institution-to-Institution internship program. Each will take on two UWT students who will spend a year lending their skills to the institutions while learning to apply their education to the world around them.

“Major institutions in the community have an important role to play in the education, professional development and continuing support of UW Tacoma students,” UWT

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Sumner Schools to get new superintendent

Sumner School Board members voted unanimously Wednesday evening to hire Sara E. Johnson as the next superintendent for the 8,400-student district.

Pending successful contract negotiations, Johnson would begin her new job July 1. She is currently assistant superintendent in the Lincoln County School District in Newport, Ore.

Johnson would replace Craig Spencer, who has been interim superintendent since 2011.
Spencer was named to the district’s top job temporarily following a divisive break between the school board and former Superintendent Gil Mendoza in 2011. Spencer would return to his previous job as assistant superintendent for administrative services.

Sumner Board

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Mount Tahoma students raising funds for state competition

A group of five Mount Tahoma High School students are raising funds to attend a state competition that will test their skills in areas related to careers in the medical field.

The competition is scheduled for April, and students have been raising funds all year, according to their teacher, Madeline Merriman. They hope to compete in areas including a Health Knowledge Bowl, as well as in medical math and medical terminology.

Merriman said students need to raise funds to cover their registration fees of $100 each. They are asking for sponsors who can help cover the fees. They are also

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Tacoma will see 14 new and renovated schools by 2021

Tacoma Public Schools is set to launch a construction boom, thanks to passage earlier this month of a $500 million bond measure.

On Monday, the Tacoma School Board opted for a construction schedule that envisions the completion of 14 new and renovated schools over the next eight years.

Washington-Hoyt Elementary School will be the first, beginning this summer. Students will be housed at the empty Hunt Middle School campus during the 2013-14 school year and the renovated Washington, which includes a new addition and room for students now in the separate Hoyt building, is scheduled to open in September 2014.

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Tacoma schools want your suggestions on innovation

Tacoma Public Schools has launched an online application site seeking your ideas for innovation that can improve academic achievement.

The state designated Tacoma as Washington’s first district-wide innovative school zone.

In October, the School Board adopted the state’s first school district innovation policy aimed at encouraging and supporting innovative learning options for students. This application will make it possible for any community or staff member to suggest changes aimed at promoting innovation.

Not all innovations may be appropriate for Tacoma Public Schools, and the policy sets up a process to ensure that ideas are critically reviewed.

“We’re smart enough to

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Washington students making progress in Advanced Placement tests

More Washington students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams, according to a national report released today by the College Board.

AP exams, which are offered in 34 subjects, are given each May and are scored on a scale of one to five. Many high schools offer AP classes in one or more of the subjects tested. The courses are widely considered to be a “gold standard” for high school students seeking academic rigor, and colleges can award credits to high school graduates based on how well they score on AP tests.

Because a central source of demographic data

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UPS presentation focuses on education, race and criminal justice


Learn more about the U.S. prison system and why hundreds of thousands of children are growing up in homes without fathers at an upcoming talk and artistic presentation by two scholars in residence at University of Puget Sound.

Thelma Jackson, education consultant to five Washington governors, and Paul Rucker, artist and musician, will give presentations and invite audience participation at the “Education, Race, and Criminal Justice” event at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25 in Schneebeck Concert Hall on the university campus.

Entrance is free; tickets are not required.

This is the first in a series of three public

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Education reform on the agenda at Tacoma gathering

A discussion of education reform by business, government and education leaders starts at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Tacoma at the Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway Plaza.

The event, titled “Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity,” is sponsored by The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Chamber Foundation (NCF), and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. A showing of the film “Won’t Back Down,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis as women working to transform their children’s failing inner city school, opens at 3:30 p.m.

Panel members include Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn,

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