Vote yes on Tahoma’s three levies|Letters to the Editor

Vote yes on Tahoma’s three levies

Dear Maple Valley Community,

As our levies approach, I am writing to you today from several vantage points; a Maple Valley lifer (born and raised), a local community service leader, a local small business owner, a homeowner, a former educator and most importantly, a mother.

I have watched our Tahoma School District evolve into the esteemed place of education that it is today. It has been phenomenal to see the draw and impact that our education system has created for our city. As an active member of our community, I am constantly witnessing the opportunities that Tahoma has created for us. As a mother, I can simply appreciate all the district has to offer and revel in the results I see daily in my children’s education. As a former educator, I can imagine the careful planning, the exhausting late night hours and even the tears that it takes to reach this level of district success. There are many benefits the levies provide and I am in full support of each of them. However, there are three issues that get me the most vocal. I am fired up about security, individualized student help and additional program offerings.

Security; As a mother, I am concerned. Let me provide a statistic. Our country has experienced 11 school shootings this calendar year. That’s 11 shootings in 26 days. This mind-blowing statistic speaks to my desperate plea to fund security in our district. We are living in an unprecedented time and our security must keep up with societal demands. It’s a must.

Individualized Student Help; As a former educator, I am frustrated. Let me paint a picture why. If you are a business owner, imagine 30 new employees all trying to learn their individual position within your company. If you are an animal trainer, imagine teaching a trick to 30 different animals. If you are a doctor, imagine treating 30 different conditions with one prescription. If you are a general contractor, tell all of your subs to just build a 3,000 square foot house. Catch my drift? One educator cannot reach the individual learning styles and needs of 30 individual students. We must have additional support staff for our students and educators if we want the most well-crafted education offered to the children of our community. It’s a must.

Additional Programs and Curriculum; As a past student, I am hopeful. In 1994 I was a freshman at Tahoma High school (yikes, I am getting old). That year, I was given the opportunity to try out a new program called Integrated.

The Integrated program was just that, integrated curriculum. This program doesn’t sound too novel these days, but it was back then. That opportunity was provided by our cutting edge school district. The program was so successful that it continued and resulted in what we now know today as the Outdoor Academy offered at our high school. If it wasn’t for additional program offerings outside of basic education, a kid like me would have been without a well- rounded college application worthy of acceptance to competitive universities. I remain hopeful that we can continue to offer our kids these types of rich academic experiences. It’s a must.

So what am I going to do? Well first, my husband and I are going to vote yes three times on the Tahoma School District levies. Then, we are going to cross our fingers that the kids of our community will get to continue on with the exceptional educational experience we have all grown to love and benefit from here in Maple Valley.

Please VOTE.

-Haley Pendergraft

President Maple Valley Centennial Lions Club