Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Proposed Partnership with TAF and Seattle Public Schools Information Meeting on October 19
    Posted on 10/14/2019

    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.

    Please join us on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m, at Washington Middle School to learn more about the proposed partnership with TAF.

    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
    • October 19, 2019, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Washington Middle School

     

    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.

    Will STEMbyTAF be an option middle school or feeder middle school?

    Washington Middle School is currently a pathway feeder school for the following elementary schools: John Muir, Bailey Gatzert, and Thurgood Marshall. The intent is to keep it as an attendance area/neighborhood school.

    Programmatic and Curricular (during the school day) FAQ

    If we look at a similar cross section of students at other middle schools in the district, how do they compare with students at WMS?

    Here is demographic data for middle school students across the district in comparison to Washington Middle School.

    Middle School Demographics of Race/Ethnicity as of October 7, 2019

    School Asian Black Hispanic Multi-Race Native
    American
    Pacific
    Islander
    White Total
    Students
    Jane Addams 125
    (13%)
    80
    (8%)
    144
    (14%)
    146
    (15%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (0%)
    497
    (50%)
    998
    Denny
    International
    125
    (15%)
    165
    (20%)
    257
    (31%)
    84
    (10%)
    11
    (1%)
    13
    (2%)
    185
    (22%)
    840
    Eagle Staff 67
    (8%)
    68
    (8%)
    123
    (15%)
    84
    (10%)
    *
    (1%)
    *
    (0%)
    462
    (57%)
    811
    Eckstein 88
    (8%)
    62
    (6%)
    79
    (7%)
    147
    (14%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (0%)
    706
    (65%)
    1,088
    Hamilton
    International
    73
    (7%)
    27
    (3%)
    91
    (9%)
    171
    (16%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (0%)
    681
    (65%)
    1,049
    Aki Kurose 214
    (33%)
    200
    (30%)
    119
    (18%)
    63
    (10%)
    *
    (0%)
    15
    (2%)
    43
    (7%)
    657
    Madison 49
    (5%)
    49
    (5%)
    92
    (9%)
    134
    (14%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (0%)
    659
    (67%)
    988
    McClure 36
    (7%)
    31
    (6%)
    62
    (12%)
    78
    (15%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (0%)
    326
    (61%)
    535
    Meany 45
    (9%)
    157
    (30%)
    55
    (11%)
    78
    (15%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (0%)
    178
    (34%)
    517
    Mercer
    International
    450
    (40%)
    232
    (21%)
    170
    (15%)
    105
    (9%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (0%)
    159
    (14%)
    1,119
    Washington 101
    (17%)
    136
    (22%)
    61
    (10%)
    85
    (14%)
    *
    (0%)
    *
    (1%)
    219
    (36%)
    607
    Whitman 21
    (3%)
    23
    (4%)
    71
    (11%)
    79
    (12%)
    *
    (1%)
    *
    (0%)
    435
    (68%)
    636
    Total 1,394
    (14%)
    1,230
    (12%)
    1,324
    (13%)
    1,254
    (13%)
    44
    (0%)
    49
    (0%)
    4,550
    (46%)
    9,845

    What is the project-based learning approach/model? How does this work with the STEMbyTAF model?

    TAF uses the Buck Institute model for the project-based learning (PBL). For more information on the TAF-PBL model please visit the Buck Institute for Education PBL Works. TAF uses PBL as the core and have enhanced the approach to be interdisciplinary. The PBL model contains elements of educational technology, college and career readiness, and includes external community involvement in the design and implementation. All the projects are designed for, with or by students based on their interests and the learning standards required by the state and district.

    are required to collaborate across disciplines to create projects. During implementation they use their common planning time to make adjustments based on student outcomes.

    How are Cleveland High Students doing with the PBL model?

    Cleveland STEM High School is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/math achievement and Graduation Rate. They were recognized as a Washington State 2018 School of Distinction and have received that recognition six (6) times since 2013. Additionally, their graduation rate has grown from 65% to 96% from 2012 to 2018. They have leveraged their PBL model and a focus on equitable outcomes for all students to establish a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement for students and staff.

    Will TAF at WMS offer Geometry and Algebra 2, so that interested kids can meet Garfield High School's prerequisites for taking Calculus BC and AP Physics?

    The STEMbyTAF model is committed to high-quality, rigorous, culturally responsive, and relevant academic programming. The STEMbyTAF PBL model is cross-disciplinary and mathematics instruction is no exception. There are multiple options that can be implemented depending upon where on the mathematics pathway each student is excelling. Assuming that not every student is excelling at the same level, the program development team is working on a variety of master schedule variations to accommodate both project-based learning and direct instruction.

    In the STEMbyTAF model the math portion of projects is elevated to meet the course level of the students. Mathematics teachers would be certificated and endorsed to teach advanced high school mathematics and they will strategically utilize TAF’s Student Support Services staff (each math class has one dedicated person) to differentiate instruction. More information will be provided once the school team knows more about the enrolled students and their academic levels at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

    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?

    Yes.

    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

    Will the music program remain a strong pathway feeder to Garfield High School?

    The STEMbyTAF model does not plan to remove the WMS music program or any other electives and extracurricular activities.

    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 STEMbyTAF be hiring new teachers and will there be support for the teachers to prepare them for the new model?

    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. As with all the STEMbyTAF schools, TAF offers extensive professional development.

    Here is what we proposed to the WMS staff:

    What: Mandatory 4-day STEMbyTAF Teacher Institute to prepare for the upcoming school year.
    Who: WMS staff and administration
    When: Annually in August

    What: Negotiated cofacilitation of PLCs
    Who: WMS staff
    When: During school year

    What: Negotiated grade-level PD
    Who: WMS staff
    When: Periodic during school year

    What: Optional PD
    Who: WMS staff
    When: Monthly

    What: Mandatory equity training
    Who: WMS staff and administration
    When: Annually

    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

    Could you explain how and why WMS was chosen as the site for the STEMbyTAF concept?

    There are a number of factors that made Washington Middle School a great choice for the STEMbyTAF model. Every student deserves access to a high-quality public education, regardless of race, neighborhood or income. That’s why TAF (Technology Access Foundation) has worked to improve access to STEM and technology fields for students of color and underrepresented communities for the past 20 years.

    The STEMbyTAF model at WMS is an opportunity to provide a high-quality, rigorous, academic program for students in the Central District. It is our hope that this new program will encourage families who choose other educational options to return to their neighborhood school and SPS.

    What is TAF’s role in choosing a principal for WMS?

    TAF will work in collaboration with SPS district leadership to select a principal for WMS. If the current principal leaves, TAF will work with the District to select the principal who is best suited to champion the STEMbyTAF Model and support the staff in implementation. What is the timeline for final decision making about the STEMbyTAF model at WMS? The timeline and final decision about the STEMbyTAF model at WMS have not been made at this time; however, this information will be made available prior to open enrollment.

    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.