April 8, 2014

By Staff

Tiger Mountain school rethink can work

The Issaquah School Board is planning some big changes for Tiger Mountain Community High School. Some of these changes are necessary, but the disruption of the community is not.

Tiger Mountain has about 100 students who would generally be considered “at risk.” The school tries to reach these students with nontraditional methods in an attempt to keep them engaged.

The attempt isn’t working as well as it should. The school’s graduation rate of 37 percent shows this. Whatever methods district officials are attempting are actually reaching only a fraction of the students.

The district has plans for changes. It’s constructing a new facility for the school, and looking at program changes as well. Both are needed. Tiger Mountain facilities are now little more than a collection of portables. The environment is not very conducive to education, and possibly a factor in some students’ decisions to drop out.

The district’s plan to explore new methods for educating these students is also a good idea. Finding new and better ways to keep them engaged and keep them in school is critical.

What is not critical is the current plan to split the school’s students up for the year as it determines its options. These are students who are already having problems connecting with the larger school community. Even though there will be individualized plans in place for students as they return to their home schools, stopping the program and scattering the children to the winds will only hurt the children it seeks to help.

The Tiger Mountain community is a close-knit group. Splitting them apart serves only to break whatever bonds they might have forged with teachers and other students.

Perhaps the district can re-arrange classroom space in one of the other schools and give Tiger Mountain a hallway or a few rooms close together (with one dedicated to the administration) to keep the community intact during this time of transition.

Looking at the best way to reach these students is necessary and valuable. Splitting them up while the study is happening is not. Improve Tiger Mountain, and find a way to keep the students together.


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2 Responses to “Editorial”

  1. Shari Davison-Plunk on April 15th, 2014 7:27 pm

    As far as TMCHS needing changes…maybe some newer portables…lunches/sandwich shop…working water fountains…no rats…more staff/more classes…you know, what the other high schools have. But saying what we have isn’t working? That’s the biggest crock ever! Where would these kids be if Tiger wasn’t there…no where. So, the 37% of seniors graduating…at least they had the opportunity to graduate. And since we can keep them through their 21st birthday year, where are you coming up with that number? Without us, those students would not have a diploma, would not have formed life-long bonds with both staff and peers or, for some, gone on to graduate from a four year college. The traditional high schools turned their backs on these kids, as did most of the district admin. I sick and tired of listening to the whiners about a school that gives everything it has towards the student…in early and staying late…whatever it takes. The 12 years I spent at Tiger were the best in my 40 years of education. The staff and the kids are wonderful.
    People have no business writing about or making decisions for a school they have never taught in or been involved with…and I’m not talking about having a thumb over.

  2. Anonymous on April 23rd, 2014 7:45 pm

    I completely agree with Shari. What’s funny in this entire article is it points out Tigers graduation percentage and how big of an issue it is. If these same students went to bigger schools such as Issaquah, Liberty and Skyline, it would hardly affect their graduation percentages. The only reason Tiger’s is affected more is because of the small student population. We should applaud those that graduate, not look at the glass half empty. I graduated from Tiger, just now completely my BA and start my Graduate program in Criminal Justice in the fall. If admin were to take the time to see the success rates of those who did graduate I believe their views would change.

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