Dear Tillicum Community Members,
BSD Superintendent Dr. Aramaki has assured us that the BSD has no current plans for school consolidation, with the earliest discussion on the matter set for 2025—giving us time to fortify our financial standing as we move past the pandemic and into an era of economic recovery and stabilized inflation.
Dr. Aramaki himself said that our community’s passion, especially the input from our students, was a game-changer at the Dec 14th board meeting. We will find another solution, together.

Behind the scenes, our dedicated PTA board members engaged in thoughtful dialogue with Dr. Aramaki and various school board members. Their mission? To champion the cause of Tillicum and showcase the myriad reasons our school is invaluable.
A huge, massive thank you to everyone who put their heart and soul into this. We didn't just save our beloved Tillicum – we made a difference for all the middle schools in the district!
Big thanks to Dusty, our awesome Principal, for standing with us every step. You rock!
And to our amazing students, wow! Nearly 300 postcards and 50 heartfelt letters to the board! Our students and parents were the dominant voice at the key board meetings. You all turned up and spoke out in such numbers, it was impossible to ignore. Hats off to the teachers who gave space and time for this letter-writing magic to happen.
Big cheers to Sean Patch and Tricia Miller, our Wednesday Student Advocacy meeting heroes. You guys were crucial to our success. Thank you to all the students that were part of the Student Advocacy group.
And to our Save Tillicum advocacy leaders and active members - Sean Patch, Natalie Danielson, Drew Danielson, Shen Ge, Olga Lopez, Chengzi Wang, Andrew Parkins, Stephanie Parkins, Sarah Moon, Diane Liu, Fanpei Kung, Wenyan Niu, Lidan Huang, Andrew Bernat, Penny Olson, Kaili Baker, Carmel Sasaki, and everyone I might have missed - I am sending you the biggest virtual high five and gratitude. Thank you!
Thank you, former Eastgate PTA board members and parents Megan Russell, Nik Rebhuhn, and Carol Pitzel Cruz. Your experience and learnings were very valuable. Thank you Eastgate!
Also, a shout out to the parents from Odle (Ru Sheng & Suhani. Agarwal), Tyee (Peggy Wang), Wilburton parents from P.A.C. (Ryan Roberts & Tim Chiang-lin), and PLE parents (Stuart Reynolds). Thank you for the data and joint efforts. 

We’ve shown that Tillicum isn't just a school and not just a building; it’s a thriving community. But our mission isn't fully complete. We still need to tackle the budget shortfall – win back kids from private and push WA state to fully fund education.
As the holidays roll in, let's celebrate this win with our families and cherish the community spirit that got us here. Happy holidays!
Paul Tsai
Tillicum PTA President        

Letter From The Tillicum PTA President- Chinese Translation
Letter From The Tillicum PTA President- Spanish Translation
Letter From The Tillicum PTA President- Japanese Translation



View the presentation of this announcement during the December 14 School Board Meeting.

View the financial update at the December 14 School Board Meeting.

Save Tillicum! We urge you to join us in our mission!

Why save Tillicum Middle School? 

  • Tillicum delivers results to our diverse community and our most vulnerable.   Tillicum ranks No 1 in many areas. Adjusting for Advanced Learning, Tillicum tops the BSD Middle Schools in state standards achievement.  
  • Protect the two excellent and proven choice Spanish and Chinese programs. Save our diverse community.
  • Saving Tillicum is good for the environment and community.  91% of students live within a 15 minute drive. 75% within 25 minute bike ride. We are a true neighborhood school.
  • Tillicum has unique Career and Technical Education classrooms - Robotics labs, computer labs, shop/maker's space
  • Not fair for the same community to shoulder the burden of consolidation twice.  Tillicum feeders, Eastgate and Spiritridge Elementary, took all burden last time.

At Tillicum is a place where students can delve into robotics, master programming, learn new languages, and interact with students from a diverse array of cultures and backgrounds.


Tillicum is irreplaceable. Bellevue cannot afford to lose such a precious and unique community. Let's rally together and SAVE TILLICUM.


-----Read below for more detailed information-----

  • Step 1: We have formed six PTA lead advocacy groups to work diligently for our school. Please consider joining one of our groups by contacting the below lead in the group of your choice
  • Step 2: Drive PTA enrollment, to ensure our community is notified in a timely manner of advocacy efforts. If you are not a Tillicum PTA member, please consider Joining and Helping to Support our Efforts.
  • Step 3: We are printing 500+ yard signs. Please consider Ordering a Yard Sign.
  • Step 4: We are creating a slideshow/video of our students and their support for Tillicum. Please email a photo of your student holding a "Keep Tillicum Open" sign that they have created by Friday, November 17th: savetillicum@gmail.com
  • Step 5: Urging families, and in particular students, to attend all upcoming BSD board meetings, to hold Tillicum signs, and to Register to Speak and share both personal and collective support for our school. BSD Board Meetings
  • Step 6: To facilitate a letter writing campaign to the BSD board. Please consider writing to the BSD Board:board@bsd405.org

We have built a strong TILLICUM COMMUNITY

  • Tillicum holds many of our most vulnerable students and disruption disproportionately impacts these students. 
    • 16 Tillicum students are enrolled in the Cascade program and 65 kids in the Resonance program, with the support of 6 special education teachers and 18 para-educators.
    • Tillicum is one of two middle schools in BSD with these programs, in which students participate in a specialized class at the beginning and end of the day and end of the day, and are unified the remainder of the day with the students in general Middle School classes.A change in location can seriously impact this sensitive student population.
    •  Tillicum teachers and staff have much needed experience  with these programs and students and how best to meet any related requirements and needs.
    • Tillicum is experienced and has proven success with hosting multiple programs under one roof.
    • Students in these programs are unified and not segregated. 
    • 90% of Students at Tillicum are in a language program.
    • Both language programs have teacher, staff and family communities that have worked hard over decades to work in harmony with each other. 
    • Both language program communities have already worked through previous disruptions with the threat of disbanding the ISA program (International Spanish Academy), both feeder elementary schools moving to a new campus in the 2022 school year,  and now school consolidation.
    • With Tillicum’s proven track record, and experience hosting a number of choice and special programs, we believe that they are well equipped to adapt to accept other choice programs and students.
    • Cascade (Centered Behavior Program) and Resonance Program
      • Tillicum is one of the most diverse (ethnic and socio-economic) middle schools in the district, in part because of multiple programs.
      • Tillicum hosts two choice language programs
      • Tillicum students and families have already been impacted by the disruption of school consolidation and moves.
  • The consolidation of Eastgate Elementary and the move of Puesta del Sol disrupted the education, schedules, consistency and emotions of our students, families and staff for several months. Many students, staff, family and community members are still processing these changes. One Eastgate parent remarked that teachers were distracted during the latter part of the year, and his daughter’s test scores fell as a result. This is one example of many where teachers, staff, and students spent time packing/unpacking, organizing, worrying and impacted our students’ overall education.   

INVEST in our thriving diverse community.

  • Tillicum’s central location, not in close proximity to any other middle school,  with a new building, makes it the ideal place to conviniently serve a high number of the students in our BSD community. 
    • Tillicum's location gives the possibly for more kids to attend a closer school. This fits with the BSD goal of reducing environmental impact by shortening bus and car commutes, and encouraging walking and biking, as well as making the schools more equitable for families who have transportation concerns.
    • Over 90% of Tillicum’s student body lives south of I-90, or within the current Tillicum school zone. Moving these students to a more distant school doesn’t make sense, is bad for the environment, and places even more strain on our school bus system. Bus drivers are already in short supply. 
    • Tillicum's current study body on average live only a 2.6 mile commute to Tillicum (for students living in Bellevue).  
  • Tillicum's unique building design is not replicated at any other buildings.
    • There are four CTE Classrooms, which are among the most popular classes in the school, including a computer lab, a shop, a robotics classroom and a maker’s space.These CTE classes are not easily expandable because of hardware requirements.
  • Multi-Language Learning
    • Research has shown that Spanish and Mandarin program students in BSD tend to score lower on STAR in 3rd and 4th grade in literacy. By 7th and 8th grade, after spending time at Tillicum, these students have been shown to be outperforming peers. Breaking apart this system could disrupt the growth and development of these students at a critical time. 

We have a thriving Music Community!

  • Over 55% of the current Tillicum student body are currently enrolled in band, orchestra, and choir classes.  From a district perspective, this is a very high percentage of participation. 
  • We have a very robust music program here at TMS with many sections of music throughout the day.  Band has 6 separate band classes, orchestra has 4, and there are 3 choir classes plus a drama class in the choir room each day. 
  • When the new TMS was designed we insisted on three separate music classrooms to accommodate our needs for such a large program. 
  • Tyee and Odle only have two music classrooms.  Our stage is even being used as a classroom (dance) for instance. 

It is vitally important that the remaining school (after consolidation) has THREE separate music classrooms, especially considering that even more students would now be enrolled at that school


We are a true neighborhood school!

  • Median student commute to Tillicum is 2.6 miles.  
  • Average student commute to Tillicum is 3.1 miles.
  • 80% of the students live within 4 miles commute to Tillicum. 
  • 91% live within a 15 minute drive. 
  • 27% live within a 30 minute walk.


Closing Tillicum increases the commute for students served by Tillicum significantly. It is bad for the enviornment and bad in light of the bus driver shortages. 


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