Times are a-changin’ for Truman High School

Students from Truman High School showed up to Tuesday's Federal Way School Board meeting in force, eager to hear plans regarding their beloved school.

Although only one student spoke out against the proposed changes, about a dozen more waited in the audience for the board's decision.

Kacie Bingham, a ninth-grader at Truman, spoke to the board.

"We students should have a say," she said. "I am not the only one who feels this way. I wish to keep my teachers and I wish to let you know how important they are to me."

Truman, which is Federal Way's alternative high school, is up for review by the state. Truman currently has a waiver from the Federal Way School Board and the Washington State Board of Education. The waiver allows students to graduate by meeting certain standards, including Washington Grade Level Expectations and in student portfolios. Internships are a main component of the portfolio-based curriculum.

The school requested changes, including adding the Internet Academy to the school, adding evening classes and turning the school into a career academy through Career and Technical Education programs there.

"We're just enhancing those critical elements," executive director Josh Garcia said. "There is really a desire to strengthen the internships and mentorships and support them with curriculum."

Students and parents have expressed concern about how quickly the change was happening and why the change was happening at all.

One concern included what would happen to the teachers at the school. New principal Ron Mayberry, who has been principal of the Internet Academy, would have the power to hire a whole new staff with the change in the school's direction. Any staff members wishing to retain their positions would have to reapply for the school.

The board passed a resolution Tuesday night, giving the school the go-ahead to reapply for the new direction and the waiver by the state.

The waiver, if approved by the state, would last four years.

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