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New school year right around the corner

Northwest Guardian staff

Published: 03:09PM August 23rd, 2012
New school year right around the corner

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine/Northwest Guardian 2010

Classes start soon for Pierce and Thurston county public school districts. Children of on-base residents will attend Clover Park School District.

It’s that time of year again ... time to stock up on new school supplies, make new friends, and in many cases, venture to a new school.

While there are many resources out there to help with getting a jump-start on the school year, the school district your child attends depends on your home address. On-base residents will attend Clover Park School District schools. The district encompasses 26 square miles and incorporates Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Lakewood communities.

Residents who live off-base but wish to send their child to school on JBLM may apply for a waiver to attend on-base schools through Child, Youth and School Services, School Liaison Office.

Children must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31 to be eligible for kindergarten. Those 6 years old on or before Aug. 31 may attend first-grade. Immunizations and proof of age, such as a birth certificate, are required for registration.

Most school district websites have a school locater through the bus route/ transportation links.

Whether you reside on or off-base, the School Liaison Office on JBLM Lewis Main is available to assist parents with any questions or concerns they might have. The primary functions of the SLO are to:

• Represent, inform and assist the command.

• Assist families with school issues by providing information, making referrals, educating families, and offering personal support.

• Interface, educate, and coordinate with local school districts.

• Forge Partnerships in Education to create linkages between the military and schools.

• Support family transitions upon arrival to and departure from JBLM.

The SLO is located in Room 400, Waller Hall, on Liggett Avenue. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To reach a representative, stop by during normal business hours, call 967-7195, or send an e-mail to:

In addition to CPSD, there are more than 11 other major districts that serve JBLM families. For more detailed information about your school, be sure to visit the school website. From bus schedules and routes to school, menus and pricing, everything you need to know about your child’s school is just a few clicks away.

Public school districts by county

Pierce county

• Bethel School District — Spanaway and Graham

Main office: 516 East 176th St., Spanaway, 683-6000

First day of school: Sept. 5


• Clover Park School district — Tillicum, Lakewood and JBLM

Main office: 10903 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood, 583-5000

First day of school: Sept. 5


• Franklin Pierce School District — Tacoma

Main office: 315 129th St. South, Tacoma, 298-3000

First day of school: Aug. 28


• Peninsula School District — Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula area

Main office: 14015 62nd Ave. NW, Gig Harbor, 530-1000

First day of school: Sept. 4


• Puyallup School District — Puyallup

Main office: 302 2nd St. SE, Puyallup, 841-1301

First day of school: Sept. 5


• Steilacoom Historical School District — Steilacoom and DuPont

Main office: 510 Chambers St., Steilacoom, 983-2200

First day of school: Aug. 30


• Tacoma School District — Tacoma

Main office: 601 South 8th St., Tacoma, 571-1000

First day of school: Sept. 5


• University Place School District — University Place

Main office: 3717 Grandview Dr. West, University Place, 566-5600

First day of school: Sept. 4


Thurston county

• North Thurston School District — Lacey

Main office: 305 College St. NE, Lacey, (360) 412-4400

First day of school: Sept. 5


• Olympia School District — Olympia

Main office: 1113 Legion Way SE, Olympia, (360) 596-6100

First day of school: Sept. 5


• Tumwater School District — Tumwater

Main office: 621 Linwood Ave., Tumwater, (360) 709-7000

First day of school: Sept. 5


• Yelm School District — Yelm and McKenna

Main office: 107 First Street North, Yelm, (360) 458-1900

First day of school: Sept. 4


Back-to-school transportation tips

The U.S. Army Installation Management Command wants to help make sure your children arrive to and from school safe. Be sure to discuss the following safety tips with your children and review them frequently:

School Bus

• If your child’s school bus has lap or shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. If your child’s school bus does not have lap or shoulder belts, encourage the school to buy or lease buses with lap or shoulder belts.

• Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.

• Do not move around on the bus.

• Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing.

• Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.


• All passengers should wear a seat belt or an age and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.

• Your child should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning booster seat.

• Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4’ 9” in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age).

• All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.


• Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.

• Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.

• Use appropriate hand signals.

• Respect traffic lights and stop signs.

• Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility.

• Know the “rules of the road.”


• Make sure your child’s walk to a school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at intersections.

• Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.

• Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

The list of dangers to children might be longer than some parents realize and a little intimidating. However, by being aware of school travel risks, you can take precautions to keep your child safe.