Word on the Street

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

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Category: Schools


James Sales Elementary in Franklin Pierce district honored by Ellen DeGeneres

James Sales Elementary School in the Franklin Pierce School District is being recognized today by TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as an “amazing school.”

The recognition reportedly comes with a $100,000 grant from the show and Target Corp.

The show airs today at 4 p.m. on KING-TV (Channel 5). Here’s what DeGeneres has posted on her website:


Tacoma Waldorf open house Friday

The Tacoma Waldorf School will host a Parent-Child open house from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 16.

Parents, grandparents and caregivers, along with children ages 2 to 3, can spend the morning and learn more about the Waldorf philosophy of education.

The school’s early childhood education is designed to provide families with support and companionship in the early years of parenting. A new class session begins in January and another starts in April.

For more information or to RSVP, call the school at 253-383-8711, email enrollment@tacomawaldorf.org or visit www.tacomawaldorf.org.


Tacoma School Board names Santorno to two posts

From education reporter Debbie Cafazzo:

A divided Tacoma School Board decided tonight to forge ahead with a plan to name Deputy Superintendent Carla Santorno to two successive temporary posts.

The board voted 4-1 tonight to name Santorno first as superintendent elect (interim) beginning in January then as interim superintendent from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.


No agreement yet between Tacoma School District and teachers

UPDATE (6:18 p.m.) – The teachers union is preparing to begin voting now.

There’s no tentative agreement yet between the Tacoma Education Association (TEA) and the Tacoma School District, union officials told teachers who gathered this afternoon at Mount Tahoma High School.

“Hopefully, we’ll start school tomorrow,” said teacher Michael Merrill, as he was entering the meeting.

Merrill, a 26-year-teacher who teaches at Lincoln High School, said seniority is the main issue for him.

The school district today announced that it had made changes in its proposals, including a proposal to keep class sizes unchanged. That issue has been a

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First Creek wins award

Tacoma’s First Creek Middle School has won an award from Learning by Design magazine. A panel of architects and educational facility planners selected the school, which opened in 2010, to be featured in the spring 2011 edition of the publication.
Judges commented favorably on how the school and its architects, NAC/Architecture, provide a strong sense of community. It cited the attention paid to the school’s commons area, a two-story space that is used for food service, performance arts and circulation.


Bethel committee recommends grade change

Bethel School District is a step closer to changing the way its schools are organized.

A committee of community members and staff voted Wednesday night to recommend switching the Spanaway-based district’s grade configuration to a different model.

Most of the 23 members on hand favored moving away from the junior high structure to one in which elementary school ends at fifth grade, grades six to eight are housed together in middle school, and ninth-graders are included in high school.

The ultimate decision about whether to make a change belongs to the school board. Officials said the earliest a change could

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Tacoma teacher honored with posthumous award

A Tacoma literacy advocate and former nun who passed away in March has received a posthumous teaching award at Saint Martin’s University.

Mary Sheila Powers, 61, was honored May 7 at the university’s graduation ceremony. Powers died March 15 due to complications from breast cancer.

Her husband, Dan Worthen, and her family accepted the award in her stead.
At the time of Powers’ death, she was teaching at three different schools: Tacoma Community College, Seattle University, and Saint Martin’s University. At Saint Martin’s, she taught Religious Studies courses and other electives for almost 18 years.

“She was fiery and

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Kapow! Kapowsin kids aim for playground

Kapowsin Elementary School’s fifth graders have accomplished an amazing feat.

They’ve raised $4,416.43 in under three months.

That leaves them only $195,583.57 to go.

The fifth graders, and their families, are determined to replace the playground that Pierce County Parks and Recreation demolished at Frontier Park in Graham. The playground was old, and the kids agree that it was unsafe. But once it was gone, budget cutting at the state and local levels zapped the money to replace it.

That would be $200,000.

The Kapowsin fifth graders have lobbied their elected representatives, presented their case to local merchants, and held

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