Dieringer District News

January 7, 2022

Educating every child for confidence today and contribution tomorrow.

The Dieringer School District will provide all students with appropriate high-quality programs in a safe, challenging and inclusive school environment. This mission will be undertaken with respect for and in partnership with families and the community.

Community Drop-In Vaccine Clinic

Dieringer School District is hosting a second dose drop in vaccine clinic at Lake Tapps Elementary School on Monday, January 10, from 4:00-7:00pm in the gym. This will be for anyone 5 years old and up including students, parents and community members. You can get your first dose, second dose or booster if eligible. Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are available. There is no appointment needed. Just drop in between 4:00-7:00pm in the gym. Entry will be from the exterior door under the covered area on the blacktop. Use the link or QR code below to register in advance.
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A Message from the Superintendent

With the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant we are re-committing ourselves to ensure we keep students and staff safe, and schools open.

To support the health and safety of students, staff and community in our schools, here are ways we’ve increased mitigation measures:

- Providing access to increased PPE

- Providing access to rapid antigen testing

- Emphasizing social distancing and masking

- Continuing Test to Stay for students who are close contacts of COVID positive individuals

Please help us maintain safe and healthy learning environments by keeping your child home if they are sick. If your child has symptoms or if you think they may have been exposed to COVID-19, we encourage them to get tested.

While there has been new CDC guidance with isolation timelines, we are waiting for information from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for changes to take place. We will continue to follow the state Department of Health guidelines until otherwise updated. Learn more about our COVID-19 prevention measures on our COVID Information Page.

We appreciate your support and know that it takes all of us working together to keep schools open and safe for everyone.

Thank you,

Michael Farmer


January Is School Board Appreciation Month

Each and every January we get to recognize our school board for their service and dedication to the students, staff, and community in the Dieringer School District. Thank you Megan Bearor, Chelsea Steiner, Scott Reisnouer, Greg Johnson, and Mike Skagen.

School board members are ordinary people who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to our public schools. January marks School Board Recognition Month and is the perfect time to thank our school board members for their untiring efforts.

Too often we forget about the personal sacrifices school board members routinely make. Too often we forget about the important role school board members play in assuring local control over our public schools, control that is in the hands of people we know - people who are our neighbors. Too often we forget that, in the tradition of a representative democracy, school board members are our connection to influencing how our public schools are governed. Too often we are quick to criticize school board members without really knowing all the details that went into any given decision. Too often the efforts of school board members go unrecognized and unrewarded.

This month we take a moment to recognize the value of their work to our students and our communities. This is a time to show our appreciation and to begin to better understand how school board members work together to provide leadership for our schools.

The school board works closely with parents, education professionals and community members to create the educational vision we want for our students. It then formulates goals, defines results and sets the course for an adequate and equitable educational program for all students. The school board is accountable to the public. It is responsible for assuring the public that the money allocated to the public schools is providing a good return on the investment. Thus, the board oversees regular assessment of the district’s students, staff, and programs. The school board also is a strong advocate for public schools and is responsible for communicating the needs of the school district to the public and the public’s expectations to the district.

In January, join with others from throughout our district and state to salute the board members who provide grassroots governance of public schools. Make a special effort to tell each school board member his or her hard work has been noticed and is very much appreciated.

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Recent Inclement Weather

This really has been a crazy stretch of weather from the snow and cold temperatures to the heavy rains and flooding we are now seeing. I do want to apologize for how things unfolded on Tuesday morning. I know we can’t control the weather and that neither I nor Mike Allen, our Transportation Manager, are meteorologists. Even so we were caught by surprise as things iced up and made travel around our area very difficult. Mike and I were both out driving around the district between 4:00 and 5:00 that morning. At that time, the main roads were clear, and the side roads were wet with slush and ice in a few places. Predicting the road conditions two to three hours from that point and looking at a forecast calling for warmer temperatures and rain, I made the decision that a two-hour delay would be best.

It wasn’t until around 9:00am that roads really got worse, and by that point our busses were already on the road. It was about 20 minutes after that I started to hear from our administrative team that even our parking lots and bus loops were icing over. Given the late change in conditions, I’m not sure that I would have changed my mind and decided to cancel school even had Mike and I been driving the roads between 7:00am and 8:00am. When our drivers went back out for our elementary runs we learned very quickly they were not going to be able to get to all our regular bus stops on some of the routes, while other buses were able to get all the stops. At that point we tried to get as many regular bus stops as we could. Again, this wasn't our finest hour and we did not make a wholesale decision to switch all bus routes to snow routes given the timing of everything. We do apologize. Students got to school safely and all our buses returned to the bus barn after the morning runs unscathed. We have already reviewed the events of Tuesday to see how we can do better in the future.

With that, I want to recognize our bus drivers who bore the brunt of the road conditions; they are amazing as always! In addition, I want to thank Ryan Bickler, our groundskeeper! Ryan spent the weekend preparing our parking lots and bus turnarounds for the return of our staff and students. We actually ran out of ice melt that morning, and after plowing and putting down as much ice melt as we had, Ryan went to Home Depot, purchased another pallet of de-icer, and was back at Dieringer Heights de-icing the bus loop. Thank you as well to our parents today for getting your students to school.

I really want kids in school but also want to ensure everyone is safe. Sometimes we get it right with the weather, and other times we have a day like we did on Tuesday. I understand the desire to know and prefer to make a decision the night before to give everyone some peace of mind. Even in light of that, we often wait until the morning since the timing of weather events can have a huge impact on whether or not we can start on time.

Here is a link to our December newsletter which included some information about how we evaluate the weather and road conditions and how I arrive at a decision. In addition, I do talk with the superintendents in our neighboring districts on days like these and use that information when making a decision as well. Lastly, we have looked at School Messenger and determined why all parents and guardians weren't receiving the robo calls and we have that fixed.

Remember to Vote

Election Day is February 8th and Dieringer has three propositions on the ballot. Proposition 1 is a replacement of our existing Educational Programs and Operations Levy. Proposition 2 is also a replacement levy for our current Technology Levy. Proposition 3 is a new Capital Levy to make much needed upgrades to all three schools, including turf fields, important HVAC replacements and upgrades, energy efficiency improvements, and more. While Proposition 3 is a new levy, it replaces an expiring bond that comes off the books at the end of 2022. Overall the tax rate for Dieringer citizens would stay the same in 2023 when collection on these three levies would begin. More information is available at https://www.dieringer.wednet.edu/our-district/vote.

A piece of the funding from Proposition 3 is slated for a new turf field at North Tapps Middle School. What would a turf field mean for Dieringer? The person to answer that question is Rob Thomas, he has been teaching and coaching in Dieringer for 16 years. He was hired to start the football program at the middle school, and he has subsequently coached five championship teams. He loves the sports programs the schools have to offer, and he's especially excited about the possibility of a turf field at the middle school. Washington's rainy weather wreaks havoc on the current grass field, which brings questionable conditions for his football, soccer, and track athletes, not to mention the PE classes. A turf field brings with it safety for our district's students. It's also less maintenance--no more watering, mowing, or painting the fields! A turf field benefits the Lake Tapps community as well. Local lacrosse, soccer, and football teams will be able to enjoy a safe place for their practices and games. Rob, like many other coaches and teachers in the schools and in the community, is looking forward to many more championship wins on a new state-of-the-art field!

We Want to Hear From You

The Dieringer School District Board of Directors is considering a return to in-person meetings and would like to hear from you. The convenience of remote meetings has drastically increased attendance at our board meetings and it is important that we maintain convenient access to meetings for the community. Please share your thoughts by completing this survey.

Community Levy Information Webinar

Wednesday, Jan. 19th, 6pm

This is an online event.

Join us Wednesday January 19th to learn about the three propositions the Dieringer School District has on the February 8th ballot. Superintendent Michael Farmer and Board President Megan Bearor will moderate this opportunity to learn about the renewal of our Educational Programs & Operations Levy, the renewal of our Technology Levy, and a new Capital Levy. Executive Director of Business Services Kim Knight will share a quick tutorial of school funding in Washington State and how passage of all three levies will not increase taxes. Use https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81637268049 to join the webinar.

January & February School Board Meetings

Meeting schedule, public comment, and minutes information can be found on the website.

  • Monday, January 31st : Regular Board Meeting
  • Friday February 4th : Special Board Meeting - Board Retreat
  • Monday, February 28th : Regular Board Meeting
School Board Meetings