Aerial view of the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and we’re getting closer and closer to finishing construction on our 18th elementary school, Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.

In April, our construction team installed roofing on the school’s administrative area. They also installed windows and casework in the A-Wing and worked on framing, plumbing and electrical in the G-Wing, among a host of other projects. The crew will soon finish installing acoustical ceiling panels throughout the school.

Click here to watch a brief drone video showing the latest work on the school.

Another big development for Katherine G. Johnson Elementary…


Roy Elementary teacher Matt Brooke and Principal Stephanie Weinheimer accepted their fate like superheros.

When Roy Elementary School P.E. teacher Matthew Brooke asked his students to take part in the Kids Heart Challenge, he didn’t know what to expect.

Brooke has been teaching for six years, but this is his first year at Roy, and he wasn’t sure how motivated students would be to raise money for the American Heart Association.

Before starting the challenge, Brooke added an interesting incentive: He said any student who raised at least $150 could pour a bucket of slime on his head. …


NMSI helps innovate math and science education

The National Math and Science Initiative, or NMSI, is a non-profit organization with the goal of advancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education to ensure all students have the knowledge and skills to thrive in the global economy of the 21st century.

In 2019, our district partnered with Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a program aimed at giving students the most rigorous and innovative math and science education possible.

NMSI, a college readiness program that is being offered at all three of Bethel’s comprehensive high schools, has components for both teachers and students. The original $727,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense has been supplemented this year with an additional $100,000.

Before the pandemic, some of the grant paid for a number of our middle and high school teachers to travel to Texas to learn how to improve student achievement through programs…


Bond Projects Update: March 2021

We’re excited to announce that Naches Trail Elementary students will have a brand new school in the fall of 2023.

After crunching the numbers and going over all of their options, the district’s planning and construction teams have come to the conclusion that it will be safer, more cost effective, and more practical to build a brand new Naches Trail.

The project, which is part of the voter-approved 2019 School Construction Bond, was originally slated to be a complete remodel and expansion, but a cost analysis determined it would be more expensive to modernize the current Naches Trail than it…


Teachers create a safe space for students during middle school advisory

What is one thing you would most like to change about the world?

That’s a big question for anyone to answer. Now imagine you’re one of a group of “half-asleep, hungry, hormonal, sassy middle school students at eight in the morning.” Liberty Middle school Advisory teacher Makayla Henry described her class that way, but said none of those obstacles stopped her amazing group of kids from diving right into a very in-depth conversation.

“They were sharing with each other the need for more musical education, the acceptance of any person — and belief in every person’s humanity, the need to…


Angela Martin works with a student at Centennial Elementary School.

The shift to distance learning was challenging for everyone, but it was especially difficult for special needs students, who often rely on hands-on instruction.

When the pandemic closed our schools, our Special Education teachers rolled up their sleeves and got to work finding ways to help their students, even when they couldn’t be in the same room with them.

Angela Martin has been teaching for more than 20 years, and she has spent the last year and a half working with Special Education students at Centennial Elementary.

Martin said many families went into “survival mode” last year when COVID-19 forced…


Clockwise from top left: Josie Boyles, Angelo Alfonso, William Pickernell, Elizabeth Perry.

Succeeding in Bethel’s Cambridge Assessment International Education Program is no easy feat. The unique program, which is part of the prestigious University of Cambridge in England, is one of the most demanding and rigorous college preparatory programs in the world.

Those who successfully navigate Cambridge will earn an Advanced International Certificate of Education Diploma. Those rare individuals who go above and beyond the program’s already lofty academic standards can earn honors from Cambridge University itself.

This year four members of Bethel’s Cambridge Program — three current students and one graduate — were recognized with Cambridge honors. Josie Boyles earned an…


Bond Projects Update: February 2021

This summer, updates to a Pierce County Stormwater Manual are scheduled to be adopted that will delay the opening date for new Bethel High School.

The original timeline for opening the new school was September 2023. Changes to the Pierce County Stormwater regulations will delay opening until 2024 or 2025.

The updates to the Pierce County Stormwater Manual’s regulations reflect the evolution of “best available science” and have resulted in development standards that are different than when the District purchased the property in 2009.

The changes to the Stormwater Manual include new more stringent threshold methodologies to determine if the…


Meet Bethel bus driver Aurelia Cuilan

Aurelia Cuilan is one of the incredible family of Bethel bus drivers.

Aurelia Cuilan was driving her own kid to school when she first noticed a sign that said ‘Bus Drivers Needed.’ She drove for Tacoma for a year before moving to Bethel, and she’s never looked back. Although she said Tacoma was a good place to learn.

“I always tell people … if you can drive Hilltop and anywhere in Tacoma, you can drive a bus anywhere.”

“I enjoy the feeling of driving a big old bus,” she said. “Before I started driving a school bus, I always leaned towards smaller cars. Once I went through Bethel’s training my mindset shifted…


As we enter 2021, we can now officially say that Katherine G. Johnson Elementary is scheduled to open to students THIS YEAR!

Our amazing construction crews have been busy at the site for months, and their hard work is paying off. This month crews are putting roofing on the school’s A wing, adding insulation, electrical wiring and plumbing in the B wing, and pouring concrete and framing the G wing.

It’s been an exciting journey since we broke ground on the school last June on Waller Road between Military and 176th. In July the school was officially named in honor…

Bethel Schools

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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