Greetings Meeker Families,
THANK YOU for your part in a fabulous first FULL week of school. It has been a pleasure getting to know your student and observing all students making friends, and demonstrating caring, respectful, responsible, and safe learning behaviors.
We hope your student comes home every day with stories about their school day. As you listen to these stories, we hope you hear evidence of teaching and learning.
As a staff, we have been focusing on listening to students and supporting them to listen to others. Listening is a form of communication that gives us the possibility of understanding the diverse experiences of those around us. Listening is critical to building supportive relationships and to feeling connected to a community. Please consider sharing your experiences with listening through this form.
Finally, please review this information to help you and your student prepare for the week of September 18.
In partnership on behalf of Meeker Middle School Faculty & Staff,
Cherlyn Pijanowski, Principal and Taralynn Grau, Assistant Principal
Picture makeup day
If your student did NOT get their picture taken at Wolverine Days, this is their opportunity! We have 217 students who have not had their school picture taken. A Lifetouch photographer will be taking school photos on Monday, September 18th. The office will call students down to the library to ensure they get their picture taken.
Why purchase Associated Student Body (ASB) membership?
An ASB membership has many perks! Membership gives students access to fun after school events like sports games, dances, and PTSA events at a reduced cost or for free. For instance, Meeker will have a PTSA Skate Night at El Centro Skate Rink in Federal Way on October 17. Only students with ASB membership can attend and get in free. Students who participate in Athletics, or after school clubs are also required to have an ASB membership.
Memberships are $15, and parents/guardians can purchase them using MySchoolBucks through ParentVUE or see Meeker’s Office Coordinator, Mrs. Kinney in the Main Office. Students/families who have completed the Household Information Survey and qualify for additional funding will receive their ASB membership free of charge.
Use ParentVUE to report an absence
There are lots of things you can do and view in the ParentVUE app. This is how to report an absence:
- On your ParentVUE, screen you will see your student listed. To the right of their name is a blue "Report Absence" button.
- Click on the button to enter the absence date and reason.
- Once you click “save,” the information is sent to our attendance team.
ParentVUE cannot be used to report tardies.
Find other ways to use ParentVUE here: ParentVUE Help - Tacoma Public Schools (tacomaschools.org)
Household Information Survey
We are asking all families to complete the Household Information Survey before Oct. 1. It provides a count of TPS households and is used to distribute funding to schools. It can be completed using your computer or phone, or at our front office. You can translate the survey in your preferred language. Find the survey at: https://www.myschoolapps.com/Home/PickDistrict.
Printable survey: https://www.tacomaschools.org/departments/enrollment/annual-forms.
Data received from the survey helps identify families who may be eligible for fee waivers or reductions. Call the office or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
School lockdowns as a safety measure
Schools practice and use modified lockdowns and full lockdowns as safety measures. In a modified lockdown, the threat is external and not directed at the school. Generally, communications are not sent during a modified lockdown.
In a full lockdown, there is a threat to the building. Our priority is always to ensure the physical safety of students. Communication will be sent, but timing may vary depending on the situation.
Healthy Youth Survey
This fall, students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 across Washington state will take the Healthy Youth Survey. Our students will take the survey the week of October 2nd. The survey results help track health behaviors over time and are used to identify important areas of need. It is anonymous, voluntary, and takes about 45 minutes. Students can skip questions or stop taking the survey at any time. If you do not want your student to participate in the survey, please email Meeker@tacoma.k12.wa.us to excuse your student.
Schedule changes and classroom movements
Experience tells us that every year enrollment will fluctuate during the first two weeks of school as we see the results of students moving into and out of the area. When enrollment numbers stabilize, we make final classroom adjustments. Families with students in classrooms impacted by enrollment changes will be notified by our school Sept. 13-27.
We are always working to support students and staff while ensuring we operate within our budget. This short animation helps to explain.
Updates from Meeker PTSA
We are back in action for the school year and can't wait to partner with our Meeker community to support our students and staff with fun, engaging events and activities. Want to stay in the know? Join PTA to show your support and receive information about PTA programs and volunteer opportunities. It's easy to join by visiting the store on our website: https://www.meekermiddlepta.com/shop
Looking to volunteer? We have two great opportunities for you and would love to have you involved. Please remember to make sure your up to date volunteer paperwork is one file with the office to volunteer for PTA events.
- Wolverine Warehouse: PTSA is staffing the Wolverine Warehouse (located in the Meeker Commons and open during the lunch periods on two Thursdays per month) to allow students to cash in their hard earned Meeker Money for small prizes and incentives. Students are very excited to "shop" for rewards and we need PTSA volunteers to help hand out the prizes and organize inventory. Sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E49ACAD2CA7F8CE9-44269226-20232024#/
- NE Tacoma Healthy Kids Coalition: This PTSA program has monthly volunteer opportunities to pack weekend meal bags for local students. It's a quick 1.5 hour commitment open to families and students with adult supervision. More information and sign up here to volunteer: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080545AAAE2DA1FF2-nethealthy17#/
Save the Date for Skate Night! Meeker PTSA and ASB are teaming up to bring you Meeker Night at El Centro Skate Rink in Federal Way. The event will be October 17th. More details coming soon!
We kicked off the school year by pampering staff with a Staff Lounge Refresh! We have a new fridge, furniture, coffee and tea essentials, appliances, and decor! The Lounge Refresh was made possible by a strong partnership with our Meeker Admin team and donations from staff appreciation in the spring of 2023. We still need a few remaining items to help us with finishing touches. Visit our Amazon Wish List to purchase items and show our staff some love: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/176PY228GTMTZ?ref_=wl_share
Mark your calendar for Meeker’s Back to School Family Night
Thursday evening September 28. This is when families meet their student’s teachers, find out what your student will learn this year, meet other Meeker families, and contribute your voice to Meeker’s hopes and dreams for the 2023-24 school year.
Student and family leadership opportunities at Meeker
Family members of 6th graders who are interested in joining Meeker’s Executive Board, getting to help make decisions on behalf of and serve your grade level and our whole school, please talk with your students! Family members of awesome 8th grade leaders, we have 2 more spots open if your student would like to run too! Apply here on Forms, which requires a video be recorded on Flip by Saturday, September 16th at midnight! Exec Board meets twice a month in Mrs. Kuravackal’s room 108 after school on some Tuesdays and some Thursdays.
Worth repeating from last week’s Meeker Memo…
Important meeting for families interested in MCOW program
Hello Meeker Families. Is your student interested in the MCOW (Meeker Citizens of the World) Student Exchange Program? Would you like to know more about MCOW? WE INVITE YOU TO ATTEND OUR MEETING ON MON, SEPT 18 AT 6PM IN THE MEEKER LIBRARY!
Since 1989 the MCOW Student Exchange Program has been taking students from Meeker Middle School on incredible journeys to New Zealand each year in the spring. Because of the continuing impact of COVID related restrictions, we won't be able to travel to NZ in 2024. While this news is very sad, we are thrilled to announce we have planned an alternate trip for Meeker students who want to be MCOW Ambassadors in the coming year. In place of venturing to NZ in February 2024, we will be heading in the opposite direction on a trip to Washington, DC in April 2024. The MCOW group will spend 8 days visiting some of our nation’s most iconic cultural and historical sights, along with visiting a few venues designed solely for fun and amusement. We are super excited about this opportunity! While we cannot go to NZ in 2024, we are confident the WDC trip will be filled with many wonderful moments, inspiring discoveries, meaningful opportunities for growth, and countless chances to connect with others – all MCOW traditions. Our April 2024 trip will be similar to the trip that MCOW made to Washington, DC in April 2023, which was a great success.
ALL students at Meeker (all 3 grades) are eligible to apply. Students who are selected as MCOW Ambassadors will work together for 6 months to get ready for departure in April. It will be packed with fun!
To get started, we will hold an Informational Meeting on Sept 18 for interested students and families on MON, SEPT 18 AT 6PM IN THE MEEKER LIBRARY to get all the details about our WDC trip in April 2024. Contact us via email at email@example.com if you have questions or cannot attend our meeting. We hope to see you there!
AVID Tutors Still Needed!
Our 7th and 8th grade AVID classes need tutors. If you would like to be a paid AVID tutor, please apply on the district website: https://www.schooljobs.com/careers/tacomapublicschools/jobs/4096463/avid-tutor
If you would like to volunteer to be an AVID tutor, please complete the following Forms: https://forms.office.com/r/JtMRQVsH4d. Tutor schedule during 1st semester, 4th period (8th grade) from 11:25-12:23, lunch break 35 minutes, 5th period (7th grade): 12:58-1:50.
Virtual book club for middle school
All the Middle Schools will be participating in a virtual book club starting Oct.5th. We will be reading THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE and meet the author, Dan GEMEINHART. The first 10 people to sign up in the library will get a free book. There will also be a culminating rewards ceremony and each participant will be given 5 passes to go to the LeMay car museum. We will meet every Thursday for two months at 4:30 on TEAMS. There will be an optional drop in at the library to participate as a group and watch the district TEAM meeting together. If you can commit to one Thursday a month, please consider joining. This is going to be fun, fun, fun. Sign up in the library.
Transportation information: Ride 360
Tacoma Public Schools will use a new student ridership program this fall. Student bus route and stop information is available on our new free transportation tool--Ride 360 app. Ride 360 allows families to access their secure data for bus stop location, route, and pickup time from their phone. Download the app from via android or Apple App Store.
Once downloaded, search for Tacoma Public Schools and register for an account. After you confirm your email, log in again and add/link your students. You will need to know your child’s student ID.
If you have transportation questions, please contact the transportation office at 253-571-1855. Please be patient, the wait times may be longer than normal.
September’s equity focus: listening
Remember a time when you felt unheard, or when someone was speaking and you did not hear them. How did this make you feel? What are ways you can demonstrate you are truly hearing someone? These are questions Tacoma Public Schools staff are grappling with in our work to become more inclusive as a district.
Listening is a conscious action and a critical form of communication before a decision is made. Listening does not guarantee agreement, but it does offer the possibility of understanding the experiences of those around us. When we acknowledge that everyone has a right to be heard and approach each interaction with compassionate listening, then we can hear what we cannot see or what we did not know.
The following quote grounds our district-wide focus on equity:
“Deep listening, compassionate listening is not listening with the purpose of analyzing or even uncovering what has happened in the past. You listen first of all in order to give the other person relief, a change to speak out, to feel that someone finally understands them. Deep listening is the kind of listening that helps us to keep compassion alive while the other speaks.” --Thich Nhat Hanh