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    Proposed Partnership with TAF and Seattle Public Schools
    Posted on 08/02/2019

    Proposed Partnership with TAF and Seattle Public Schools

    Seattle Public School has the exciting, potential opportunity to partner with Technology Access Foundation (TAF) to implement the STEMbyTAF educational model to contribute to our strategic plan priority to “support students of color who are furthest from educational justice.” In their 20+ year history, TAF has impacted over 19,000 students resulting in a 95% on-time high school graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate.

    In May 2019, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Technology Access Foundation (TAF) entered into an agreement to explore the possibility of having TAF at Washington Middle School. No decisions have been made, except to be in discussion with each other.

    The following FAQs are designed to provide some helpful information to common questions. Look for links to relevant web sources for additional information.

    More information related to the organization's mission and vision can be found on the TAF website.

    Have questions? We have a link to a brief questionnaire to help us to collect additional questions that families and students may have about STEMbyTAF. Please use the STEMbyTAF inquiry form and questionnaire.

    Community Engagement Timeline

    Elementary families of color and ELL families at John Muir, Thurgood Marshall and Bailey Gatzert  

    • June 12, 2019, 6-7:30 p.m. 2100 Building
    • August 3 2019, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Bailey Gatzert Elementary
    • August 17, 2019: To Be Rescheduled
      Please note, the August 17 STEM by TAF event at Bailey Gatzert for 4th grade families will be rescheduled. The new date will be posted here when confirmed.

    All elementary families at John Muir, Thurgood Marshall, Bailey Gatzert and other interest elementary families.

    • June 25, 2019, 7 - 8 a.m. Washington Middle School
    • September 28, 2019: To Be Rescheduled


    Enrollment FAQ

    What if Washington Middle School (WMS) is/isn’t my neighborhood school?

    WMS is a neighborhood school; it is not a choice school.

    Seattle Public Schools students are initially assigned to a designated attendance area elementary, middle, or high school based on each student's home address. Elementary schools that are part of the WMS attendance area are Bailey Gatzert, John Muir and Thurgood Marshall. To view the attendance area schools for your address, use the address lookup tool.

    Students may apply for assignment to a different school (or program) through the School Choice process. It is not guaranteed that students will be assigned to the school (or program) of their choice; students are only guaranteed assignment to their attendance area school. Additional information about option schools, including individual GeoZone maps, is available on the option schools directory webpage.

    When would this program start?

    As of August 2019, no decisions have been made except to be in discussion with each other. If any changes were to occur, the earliest programmatic adjustment would be for school year 2020-21.

    Can you commit that a decision about TAF at Washington will be made well before the deadline for school choice for the school year 2020-21?

    Yes, the decision will be made in advance of the open enrollment in early February 2020. Read more about Seattle Public Schools enrollment.


    Programmatic and Curricular (during the school day) FAQ

    Is the TAF program academically inclusive?

    The STEMbyTAF School Model is academically inclusive.

    Is TAF an after-school program? How is it organized?

    TAF no longer operates after-school programs separately from the schools we partner with. STEMbyTAF is a full school model implemented during the school day.

    How are TAF classes structured?

    Like other school models, students take math, science, humanities (English language arts and social studies), world language and electives. Ideally the classes are four 90-minute periods per day, however depending on the school community, it could expand to five 70-minute periods per day.

    How will the partnership impact the current Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) pathways?

    The impact of the partnership between TAF and SPS on the current HCC pathways has not yet been determined. There are numerous cascading factors that will determine the impact this partnership will have on the current HCC pathway such as: current board policy updates for advanced learning, updates to the SPS Student Assignment Plan, etc.

    How will math and science pathways look (HCC and non-HCC) for students that enroll in the STEMbyTAF program?

    The STEMbyTAF model has been operating for eleven years under the framework that students are not tracked nor segregated. In other words, students of varying abilities and experiences are integrated in the classrooms. TAF will work with the school staff to ensure all students’ academic needs are met.

    How will the partnership impact the high school pathways?

    There are no planned changes to the high school pathways at this point.

    Will you be able to support my child who has autism or an IEP or special needs?

    Yes. In our experience, students with special needs do well when we build a strong school community and having consistent communication and collaboration with families.

    What would homework look like for my kids?

    Homework varies. The STEMbyTAF model tries to get the most out of the 6.5-hour school day, which means students work really hard. Teachers may give small assignments to be done at home, but our philosophy is we want kids to enjoy their other activities. If students fall behind in their project work, they may be required to get it done at home.

    Will world languages be included in the model?

    Yes. The STEMbyTAF model has had French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish as world languages. TAF will work with the school staff to determine what will be taught at Washington.

    Will the current WMS music program stay?


    How will WMS’ current Project Based Learning (PBL) integrate with the STEMbyTAF curriculum?

    STEMbyTAF uses its own brand of interdisciplinary PBL. The WMS staff would receive professional development in the STEMbyTAF model where they will have an opportunity to determine where the two PBL models can integrate.

    If this is about inclusive learning for the whole child, how will this program impact English language arts (ELA), social studies, and humanities learning?

    The STEMbyTAF model teaches integrated humanities through an interdisciplinary PBL model.


    Programmatic and Extra-Curricular (before and after the school day) FAQ

    Is TAF an after-school program? How is it organized?

    TAF no longer operates after school programs separately from the schools we partner with. The STEMbyTAF is a full school model that is implemented during the school day. Washington Middle School offers a robust after school program operated in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

    Will WMS sports stay, and will you be able to help get/pay for coaches?

    Yes, the sports programs will stay. TAF has not had the opportunity to discuss the coaching situation with the staff, so it would be hard to determine what support we can lend until we do.


    Staffing FAQ

    Did Principal Katrina Hunt bring TAF to WMS?

    No. Principal Hunt is a former assistant principal from Garfield High School. She was chosen as principal of WMS for her instructional leadership skill, strong commitment to racial equity and strong community ties.

    Does the TAF program require new teachers? What will happen to the current staff?

    Recognizing that teachers do best when their teaching style and experience fits the school academic pedagogy and culture; TAF has created a profile of the STEMbyTAF teacher. We will work with the school to fill open positions with teachers who as closely as possible meet that profile. The Principal is responsible for evaluating the current staff and ensuring they are in the best position to do their best work.

    Will you provide equity training?

    Yes. Racial equity training will be a core part of the ongoing professional development and aligned with the SPS Racial Equity professional development framework.

    Will SPS or TAF require tacit and/or explicit approval from the Seattle Education Association (SEA) in order to hire new represented staff?

    We will be in communication with SEA throughout this process and will comply with the collective bargaining agreement.


    Other Questions

    What if I don’t have internet access at home? Will my kid be able to catch on to this model?

    We very rarely send students with home assignments that require use of technology.

    Read more about the City of Seattle’s low cost internet access for Seattle residents.

    More about the district’s philosophy related to technology can be found on the digital learning webpage.

    Why was WMS selected for a possible partnership?

    We currently lose our historically underrepresented families in the Central District to schools and charter schools. We would like to have these families return to SPS. The STEMbyTAF model is focused on delivering high quality education for all students.

    Does a WMS and TAF model signal the beginning of a new magnet school direction that was prevalent in the District decades ago?

    TAF was founded on ensuring traditionally underserved students received the best education and resources possible for success. When entering into this discussion, we all agreed that WMS is a neighborhood school and will continue to be a neighborhood school. All students in the reference area are welcome with no barriers to entry.