See below for additional information from city liaisons below. Topics in bold.

Tacoma Public Schools

Hybrid Learning will continue to phase in more students in February

Approximately 1,600 kindergarten students began in-person instruction at school two days per week Jan. 19.

Approximately 1,200 preschool students began in-person instruction at school two days per week Jan. 25.

Here’s our updated timeline for adding additional grade levels:

  • Beginning Monday, Feb. 8, first graders will return to school two days per week—Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday—in groups of up to 15 students.
  • Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, kindergarten students will shift to four school days per week—but only if the COVID-19 case count in Pierce County drops below 350 cases per 100,000 residents for 14 days. Otherwise, they will continue to come to school two days per week.
  • Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, second graders would return to school two days per week—Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday—in groups of up to 15 students.

Background

On Dec. 16, Gov. Jay Inslee, the state Department of Health and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction issued new guidance for all school districts across the state. Based on health data, the state loosened restrictions to allow more students to return to school—if specific safety protocols are followed.

Over the last several months, we have prepared by establishing consistent safety protocols and accumulating the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

Since October, we’ve followed health and safety protocols to provide in-person learning for about 750 students at all grade levels who require special education services. We know when our students, staff and families follow safety protocols, we can limit transmission of COVID-19 in schools.

We’re working on plans to bring first and second grade students to in-person learning four days a week and will share dates for that transition soon.  

Students in grades 3-12 would begin to come back in a hybrid model no sooner than March 1. The District is developing a staggered start-date approach for these grade levels to ensure students are able to transition in a safe and healthy manner.  More details will be announced in the next few weeks.  

In preparation for bringing middle school and high school students back for hybrid learning, principals collaborated to create new daily schedules that will launch with the beginning of second semester Feb. 8—even though students will still be in full remote learning. The new schedules will remain in place when the shift to hybrid learning starts and allow for a smooth transition.

Stay up to date on COVID-19 metrics in Pierce County

You can track the four metrics for school reopening monitored by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at: https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/diseases/covid-19-information-for-schools

High School Athletics start Feb. 1

Traditional fall sports start officially Monday, Feb. 1 for a seven-week season that will run through March 20, according to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). Fall sports include cross country, football, golf, girls swim and dive and volleyball.

Traditional spring sports will run March 15 to May 1. In TPS high schools, those sports are baseball, fastpitch, boys soccer, girls tennis, and track and field.

Traditional winter sports will run April 26 to June 12. In TPS high schools, those sports are basketball, bowling, cheerleading, boys swim and dive, wrestling and boys tennis.
Move to Phase 2 athletics: What are the health and safety requirements
Guidelines for these athletic activities are established under Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery. Under the new guidelines, Pierce County joins King and Snohomish counties to form the Puget Sound Region, which are now in Phase 2 of the recovery plan.

Phase 2 restrictions for high school sports include:

  • Facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.
  • Outdoor training, practices and competitions allowed for low, moderate, and high-risk sports.
  • Maximum of 200 people allowed at competitions, including spectators.
  • Indoor team training, practices, and competitions allowed for low and moderate-risk sports.

School Board considers renaming Wilson High School for local trailblazer Dolores Silas

Superintendent Carla Santorno endorsed a community committee’s recommendation to rename Woodrow Wilson High School after local educator and trailblazer Dolores Silas.

Santorno presented her recommendation to the Tacoma School Board of Directors at their Jan. 28 meeting. The School Board expects to vote on the proposal at a future meeting—possibly as soon as Feb. 11.

Dolores Silas, 94, who still lives in Tacoma, started as a teacher in Tacoma Public Schools. She taught at DeLong Elementary School, then later became DeLong’s principal—the first Black woman to serve as an administrator in Tacoma Public Schools. Later, Silas became the first Black woman to serve on the Tacoma City Council, in 1991.

In 2020, Tacoma Public Schools received requests from community members to rename the high school due to former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s history as a Klu Klux Klan sympathizer and his participation in racist ideologies and practices.

Santorno deemed the request worthy of consideration and, following policy established by the School Board, sent it to Wilson High School Principal Bernadette Ray. Ray formed a committee, which conducted a survey and reviewed options. In the committee’s final report back to the superintendent, they offered three options:

  1. Name it after Dolores Silas.
  2. Name it after Ruby Bridges, a U.S. civil rights activist who was the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white Louisiana elementary school in 1960.
  3. Keep the Wilson name but remove all associations with Woodrow Wilson.

As part of Santorno’s recommendation, the name change would take effect July 1. The school would retain its Ram mascot and its red, white and blue school colors.

February school schedule

  • Feb. 12: No school for unused snow make-up day
  • Feb. 15: No school for Presidents Day Holiday

League of Women Voters


President’s MessageFebruary Unit MeetingsPublic Forum:  The History We Were Not TaughtStay Informed with our Observer ReportsJoin the Observer CorpsPort of Tacoma Strategic PlanMeaningful Movies of Tacoma First Film of 2021Forum: “Immigration 2021: What Happens Now?”Pierce Transit Announces a new Online, Regional Trip Planning Tool


President’s MessageCynthia StewartFebruary is Black History Month.  Several of our featured items this month are associated with recognizing and appreciating black history and realizing how it affects the way we live and communicate today.  We have institutionalized racism in our policies and behavior.
The League of Women Voters is striving to become an anti-racist organization. That means we are fighting against racism in its many forms.  Mary Fertakis will explain at the February 17 forum how much of our state’s history contributed to today’s structural racism.  She will discuss racism toward Asians, Hispanics and others, as well as Blacks.  The end of her presentation will include a discussion in small groups about where we should go from here to address the rampant discrimination of our past.  We will use feedback from those sessions to plan future events.

Let’s also consider the effects of racism in our state policies.  Our tax structure is upside down, meaning that people at the lowest income levels, who are disproportionately people of color, pay a much greater share of their incomes in state and local taxes than people at the highest income levels.  You can take action to reverse this inequity by letting your legislators know you want them to balance the tax code.

And the people experiencing homelessness in Pierce County are disproportionately black. Let your Pierce County Councilmember know that you want homelessness addressed.  

Also this month at our Unit Meetings, we will be discussing sustainability plans, how important they are, and what we can expect in the future.  Don’t miss that program!

And finally, February is the birthday of the League of Women Voters.  We turn 101 on Valentines Day.  Let’s celebrate that achievement as we work toward a better future. February Unit Meetings
The February unit meeting program will be on Sustainability Planning.  Speakers will describe what it is, why we do it, and the status of efforts in Pierce County.  

The League of Women Voters of the US position on climate change is:

The League believes that climate change is a serious threat facing our nation and planet. The League believes that an international approach to combating climate change — including through energy conservation, air pollution controls, building resilience, and promotion of renewable resources — is necessary to protect public health and defend the overall integrity of the global ecosystem. The League supports climate goals and policies that are consistent with the best available climate science and that will ensure a stable climate system for future generations. Individuals, communities, and governments must continue to address this issue, while considering the ramifications of their decisions, at all levels — local, state, regional, national, and global.  

See the LWVUS climate change tool kit here.

Our speakers will discuss how local sustainability plans help address climate change.  This program will include presentations by Chuck Jensen, League member; and Elly Claus-McGahan, Climate Pierce County.  For more information about Climate Pierce County, see http://climatepiercecounty.com/.

The schedule is as follows.  Registration is required, though you can register at the last minute if necessary.Wednesday, February 3, 7:00 pm, https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtdemvrTMoEt2iwd2hTKnO8HoEkc8qUuC5 Thursday, February 11, 1:00 pmhttps://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwrdu6grToqHtdSs7Bx5ytOCH1bQRrA7en-  Saturday, February 13, 10:00 amhttps://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrf-isqDIsGdWDnyTRBtG3zjtGn3XOzn_h  Public Forum:  The History We Were Not TaughtFebruary 17, 2021, 7:00 pm
Register at https://bit.ly/2M0WCqvFor more information, see http://tacomapiercelwv.org/Going_On_Now.html#s01
 Stay Informed with our Observer Reports
Our Observer Corps volunteers attend meetings of elected officials and appointed Boards and Commissions and reports on what they are doing.  Find out what is going on in local governments within the county by reading our Observer reports.  These reports have been published since the last Voter.  These and prior reports are found here.

There is a lot going on in each of our municipalities and in Pierce County.  Our Observer Corps is more important than ever, since we have so little local journalism.  In some jurisdictions, the League Observers have been called the “conscience” of the Council.  If you would like to contribute to the community by serving as an Observer, only a brief training is required.  Please contact Cynthia Stewart, stewdahl@comcast.net.

Here are our recent observer’s notes, with thanks to Lydia Zepeda and Rosemary Powers:Port Commissioners Meeting, Port of Tacoma, January 21, 2021, http://tacomapiercelwv.org/files/port_of_tacoma_commission_1-21-21.pdfCity of Tacoma Special Council Meeting, January 25, 2021 2021,http://tacomapiercelwv.org/files/tacoma_city_council_january_25_2021.pdf Note:  We also post these on Facebook when we get them, so you can read them sooner there.Join the Observer Corps
Do you want to find out what is going on in your local city or county government? Do you want to let others know? Do you want to use your writing skills? If so, join the LWVTPC Observer Corps! We need volunteers to attend local government meetings and report on their activities. This is how we ensure an informed community. This is how we hold our elected officials accountable.

Being an Observer involves attending at least one public meeting a month and writing up a meeting summary. Plan on a minimum of two hours a month.

As an Observer you choose what meetings and issues to follow. While you cannot participate in the government meetings, you can inform others what issues are being discussed, what laws and policies are being implemented, and how your local government is spending taxpayer money. It is a great way to learn about local government to prepare yourself and others to be better advocates to promote League positions.

If you are interested, please contact Lydia Zepeda at zepelow@gmail.com   We can set up a time to chat about your interests and set up training. Port of Tacoma Strategic Plan
Anyone interested in following the development of the Port’s 2021 – 2026 strategic plan can find online information and opportunities for engagement here. The Plan is expected to be issued as a draft on February 18.

The public is invited to complete an online survey here.Meaningful Movies of Tacoma
First Film of 2021in celebration of Black History MonthNo Time to Waste celebrates legendary 98-year-old park ranger Betty Reid Soskin’s inspiring life, work and urgent mission to restore critical missing chapters of America’s story. The film follows her journey as an African American woman presenting her personal story from a kitchen stool in a national park theater to media interviews and international audiences who hang on every word she utters.

The documentary captures her fascinating life — from the experiences of a young Black woman in a WWII segregated union hall, through her multi-faceted career as a singer, activist, mother, legislative representative and park planner to her present public role.At the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Betty illuminates the invisible histories of African Americans and other people of color. Her efforts have changed the way the National Park Service conveys this history to audiences across the U.S., challenging us all to move together toward a more perfect union.
 
Please register for this film here  by February 3. Registered attendees will receive a link to view the film.
TWO ways you can virtually watch the film:
•    Anytime on Feb 4, 5 or 6.  Then return on Feb 5 at 7:30 for the panel discussion.
•    Or… Watch with us on Feb 5 at 6:30pm and stay for the panel discussion at 7:30pm.
Forum: “Immigration 2021: What Happens Now?”February 25, 2021, 6:30-8:30 pmSponsored by the League of Women Voters of Thurston County  
LWVTC is hosting a forum about what we can expect on immigration issues with the change of U.S. Administrations. Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance and LWV-Mason County will be jointly sponsoring this forum with LWVTC. 
 
Speakers will include experts on immigration who will address:An overview of immigration organizations and the focus of each one​.US Federal level immigration issues and what policies the new Administration in D.C. has already affected, can affect and which may continue. WA State Legislation and immigration issues and legislative accomplishments and challenges. Regional and local immigration organizations’ current efforts and what is being planned for the future. This is a Zoom meeting and not a webinar.  Participants will be able to choose to attend a breakout room with the speaker of their choice for more in-depth discussion and further Q&A. Each breakout room additionally will have a facilitator who has experience with immigration issues. 
 
A sampling of our Speakers and Facilitators: Bob Zeigler (Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance); Steffani Powell (​Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance, practices US immigration law in Olympia); Cariño Barragán Talancón (Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network); Kathy Baros Friedt (​The Hispanic Roundtable and Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance). 
Register here.Pierce Transit Announces a new Online, Regional Trip Planning ToolPierce Transit has announced a new online, regional trip planning tool to help transit riders plan trips throughout Pierce County and around Puget Sound. The new Trip Planner, available at PierceTransit.org, includes many new features, such as:Ability to see your bus in real-time on a mapOption to locate your “to” and “from” locations by pointing to a spot on a map rather than entering an exact addressAbility to view and print bus schedules from your desktop browserMore accurate lookup tool with new preloaded destinations, including landmarks, companies and many other locationsIntegrated trip planning that taps a variety of transit modes (local bus, light rail, commuter rail, express bus, ferry and more) integrated together to plan a seamless tripNew step-by-step tutorialIn addition to the new Trip Planner, Pierce Transit has recently introduced several other new technology tools that are helping customers plan their transit trips and get bus arrival information. Those include:An official partnership with Transit app, which offers step-by-step trip planning, information about bus load levels, real-time bus tracking and many other featuresThe ability to text or call 253.533.7084 from a bus stop, enter the stop number and receive a reply about when the next bus will arriveReal-time bus arrival monitors at transit centers, including Tacoma Dome StationPiercePaySM mobile ticketing through a partnership with the Hopthru appRoute text alerts available for signup at PierceTransit.org/StayConnected
President’s Message Cynthia Stewart
February is Black History Month.  Several of our featured items this month are associated with recognizing and appreciating black history and realizing how it affects the way we live and communicate today.  We have institutionalized racism in our policies and behavior.
The League of Women Voters is striving to become an anti-racist organization. That means we are fighting against racism in its many forms.  Mary Fertakis will explain at the February 17 forum how much of our state’s history contributed to today’s structural racism.  She will discuss racism toward Asians, Hispanics and others, as well as Blacks.  The end of her presentation will include a discussion in small groups about where we should go from here to address the rampant discrimination of our past.  We will use feedback from those sessions to plan future events.

Let’s also consider the effects of racism in our state policies.  Our tax structure is upside down, meaning that people at the lowest income levels, who are disproportionately people of color, pay a much greater share of their incomes in state and local taxes than people at the highest income levels.  You can take action to reverse this inequity by letting your legislators know you want them to balance the tax code.

And the people experiencing homelessness in Pierce County are disproportionately black. Let your Pierce County Councilmember know that you want homelessness addressed.  

Also this month at our Unit Meetings, we will be discussing sustainability plans, how important they are, and what we can expect in the future.  Don’t miss that program!

And finally, February is the birthday of the League of Women Voters.  We turn 101 on Valentines Day.  Let’s celebrate that achievement as we work toward a better future. 
February Unit Meetings
The February unit meeting program will be on Sustainability Planning.  Speakers will describe what it is, why we do it, and the status of efforts in Pierce County.  

The League of Women Voters of the US position on climate change is:

The League believes that climate change is a serious threat facing our nation and planet. The League believes that an international approach to combating climate change — including through energy conservation, air pollution controls, building resilience, and promotion of renewable resources — is necessary to protect public health and defend the overall integrity of the global ecosystem. The League supports climate goals and policies that are consistent with the best available climate science and that will ensure a stable climate system for future generations. Individuals, communities, and governments must continue to address this issue, while considering the ramifications of their decisions, at all levels — local, state, regional, national, and global.  

See the LWVUS climate change tool kit here.

Our speakers will discuss how local sustainability plans help address climate change.  This program will include presentations by Chuck Jensen, League member; and Elly Claus-McGahan, Climate Pierce County.  For more information about Climate Pierce County, see http://climatepiercecounty.com/.

The schedule is as follows.  Registration is required, though you can register at the last minute if necessary.Wednesday, February 3, 7:00 pm, https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtdemvrTMoEt2iwd2hTKnO8HoEkc8qUuC5 Thursday, February 11, 1:00 pmhttps://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwrdu6grToqHtdSs7Bx5ytOCH1bQRrA7en-  Saturday, February 13, 10:00 amhttps://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrf-isqDIsGdWDnyTRBtG3zjtGn3XOzn_h 

For more information from LOWV, click here.

Author: senco253

South End Neighborhood Council in Tacoma, WA

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