Tacoma Specialists
news & updates
January 2021 Vol. 23 View previous issues 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
How will you handle Hybrid?
In partnership with the Specialists, the Principal will identify opportunities for synchronous lessons which, when feasible, should be provided at least once a week to support student learning and maintain relationships with students. This may not be possible for all classes or schools due to scheduling variations...
from the office of Academic Achvmt & Innovatn

The TPS mottos include "Every Child, Every Day", "The Whole Child", "All means All", but decisions demonstrate an unwillingness to support educators in reaching this goal. Fully-Funded Education apparently does not include core subjects like Physical Education, Art and Music. Administration seems to be comfortable with the "impossibility" of delivering instruction to all students. Quality instruction is a long way down the wish list.

There are many problems during these times that are no one's fault and no one can fix. This is not one of those examples. This is still all about deployment. The inequity of educational access could have been avoided, yet administrators seem content to push this created problem on for someone else to solve. Specialists are asked to give up professional development time to brainstorm solutions. Principals are scrambling to cover duty-free lunches and sort out schedules with "flexible" guidance from administration. On the ground, this reads as "every one for themselves!".

This week buildings are planning for the return of students to the classroom. A swirl of contingency plans and what ifs are driving the process. Those of us assigned to more than one school are hearing very different interpretations of Department of Health guidance as well as TPS guidance on the many facets of bringing students to school before vaccinations can be administered.

Due to our very stretched staffing levels and the tangle of multiple school assignments, many issues are arising around specialist schedules, instructional delivery logistics, and workload.
In an effort to be resources for each other, please click the "What's Happening" button below to share how your building is approaching hybrid schedules and procedures and to see the latest guidance on schedules and safety for specialist classes from TPS. Maybe you have an answer someone else can use.

Tacoma Specialists will be working to advocate for reasonable solutions, but please share your questions and concerns with both the union and the district so that they can gauge the impact of their decisions. Situations and solutions are varied. Let us know the plan at your building.

Regardless of our job safety (we are home until everyone is back face-to-face), if you think it is too soon to return, please express that as well.

Click the "What's Happening" button for information and to add your voice to the discussion.
"Singing, dancing, recorder playing will not be possible when students are in person."
"Hybrid schedules mean The Whole Child is actually only 2/5ths,
The Whole Educator
is 8/5ths."
with questions and concerns about vaccinations and returning to the classroom
An Open Letter

Specialists have been concerned about hybrid and remote instruction since the beginning of the planning stages in the summer.  The biggest obstacle to both situations is the deployment of specialist staff...

Can we make it work?  Yes, of course we can.  Will it be what's best for students? Probably not.  Will it be what's best for classroom teachers? Probably not.  Will it be what's best for families? Probably not.  Will it be what's best for our specialists teachers?  Definitely not...

Sherman Music Specialist Penny Cramer gives a comprehensive description of the elementary specialists' circumstances.
Tech Tips for Specialists

Share resources so that we don't have to do it all on our own!

If you'd like to Celebrate a Specialist, send us a picture, video, article, drawing, song, limerick... whatever at

Submissions will go out in the newsletter and be posted on tacomaspecialists.org on our new page. Infect someone with positivity, or blow your own horn!