The Tahoma School District has partnered with a team of generative journalists from Axiom News in an effort to explore and discover the education narrative in and around Maple Valley, Washington, and tell its story clearly and consistently.
Axiom News, which works with organizations across North America to explore and develop their strengths and possibilities through high-frequency news stories that allow people to learn from and inspire one another, is seen by the district as a means of drawing out the range of stories from the vantage point of as many community members as possible.
“We’re eager to see if we can reach more people and begin some conversations in our community about the future of this school district,” says public information officer Kevin Patterson.
The narrative will focus on student success on par with any of Washington’s most affluent school districts, and the idea of infusing children with a passion for learning that will carry them forward as they make choices to guide their future.
These are the stories of a new approach to education that will meet the demands of the economic transitions underway in the global community, and the story that attracted Patterson to a “temporary” job with the district more than 15 years ago.
He’s been hooked ever since.
The district’s focus, he says, “truly, is on students. That’s it. There’s no hidden agenda here; it’s just finding ways to provide better education for these kids.”
This is a philosophy that hasn’t changed since he first stepped foot in Maple Valley.
The other story to be told, however, is about what has changed in the district.
It’s no secret: the schools are outdated, overcrowded, and without the financial support of the community the ability of educators to maintain their standard of excellence will be seriously compromised, even as new families settle in the area, attracted by the stellar reputation of the school district.
It’s a reputation Patterson worries some people in the community might take for granted, for the bond measure vote last spring that would have allowed the district to move forward with its necessary infrastructure upgrades failed to meet the 60 per cent majority required to pass.
At times, he wonders if the Tahoma School District might be a victim of its own success in its ability to provide excellence in education despite infrastructure challenges.
The conversation and narrative to be explored in partnership with Axiom News seeks to discover how the needs of the future can be met by building on the success of the past and present.
A version of this article was originally written for the Tahoma School District news service. This repost, for which we received permission, follows the style guidelines of the original post. To learn more about generative newsroom options for your organization or community, please contact peter(at)axiomnews.ca.