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    The information below represents the key concepts from the TAF presentation given on October 19 at Washington Middle School. View the PDF of the presentation.

    Learn more on the TAFWebsite

    STEMbyTAF Presentation at Washington Middle School "Preparing Students to Create a World They Envision: The willingness to deeply connect with students and disrupt the current formulaic and inequitable school model."

    The Opportunity

    Partner with Seattle Public Schools

    • Create a culture of high expectations and support to meet them
    • Implement a pedagogy designed towards student voice, choice and leadership
    • Curate content that is culturally and communally relevant
    • Enlist community to support learning and provide resources

    To Improve Opportunities for Underserved WMS Students

    • Create an academic environment that eliminates race-based disparity in academic achievement
    • Promote the highest level of student learning and teacher development

    Produce Students Who Are:

    • Socially conscious and self-aware
    • Armed with the 21st century skills needed to succeed
    • Positioned to create the world they envision, personally, communally, nationally and globally

    The Model

    The Four Pedagogical Pillars of TAF

    STEM Integration

    Cultivating opportunities for students and teachers to engage with STEM professionals and activities, both on and off campus.

    Interdisciplinary PBL

    Project-based learning allows students to respond to a “real-world” question purposefully and integrating multiple subject areas to learn key academic content in a more holistic way.

    Educational Technology

    Developing the capacity for students to use various software and technologies to be successful and competitive.

    College & Career Readiness

    Awareness that college is a viable option; eligibility for college admissions; and college-level preparedness without remediation.

    Equity as a Baseline for Change

    TAF creates safe environments of learning, inclusive of all people and cultures to build communities of high expectations where students are empowered to use their voice, take risks, and grow as learners and active citizens.

    Grounded in STEM Literacy

    STEM literacy is the ability to understand and apply concepts and content from science, technology, engineering, mathematics, humanities and arts to identify and solve challenges or problems that cannot be resolved by any one disciplinary approach.

    This enables students to apply 21st century skills such as collaboration, knowledge construction, self-regulation, problem solving, innovation, information technology and communication to improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions of their local and global community.

    Project Based Learning (PBL)

    Students receive direct instruction and PBL.

    Core subject teachers collaborate to create interdisciplinary projects based on state and district mandated curriculum, student interest and state standards. Teachers adjust elements of project to ensure rigor for all students.

    Students have 3-4 projects per year

    • One centered on Humanities
    • One centered on Science
    • One centered on Math or elective
    • STEM Expo

    Teachers use some of the elements of PBL during direct instruction as well.

    Design Elements of PBL

    • Challenging problem or question
    • Sustained inquiry
    • Authenticity
    • Student voice and choice
    • Reflection
    • Critique and revision
    • Public product

    6th Grade Project: STEM Expo 2019

    Challenging Problem or Question

    How can we improve and create natural spaces in urban environments so that they benefit people and the organisms that live in them?

    Design a way to improve Saghalie Park that positively impacts biodiversity in our community.

    Sustained Inquiry

    • Science: Conservation issues in WA, solution to apply to Saghalie park, collect data, provide evidence, design and model.
    • Math: Ratios and scaling.
    • Humanities: Research articles, identify a valid source, cite resources, write persuasive essay to propose solution.


    Took students outside to park, used app (Seek by iNaturalist) to identify species in the community, measuring areas to replace to increase biodiversity, based model design by specific areas they wanted to improve biodiversity

    Student Voice and Choice

    Choose their conservation issue, choose their solution, grouped based on interests, and design their model


    Students reflect on their learning and the challenges of the project.

    Critique and Revision

    Students give and receive critical feedback on their work using a critical friends model

    Public Product

    Students share their project with their families and the public.

    Students designed a full-scale model of their solution.

    Give full presentation.


    Class Setup

    • Students in “Houses” containing 80-90 students o Houses are randomly chosen groups of students that take all core courses together. Teachers in a House collaborate to define projects, support students and evaluate data.
    • Houses have three core subject teachers: science, math and humanities
    • Loop 6th and 7th grade to support student readiness for 8th grade
    • Provide at least one high school certified math teacher to support advanced learners
    • Humanities teachers must be certified in both ELA and Social Studies

    Proposed Courses

    Math: (All grades) The minimum threshold is for all 8th graders to take algebra, and there will need to be an effort to ensure incoming students are on track to meet it. All students will be supported in achieving at their highest potential. High school credit available.

    Humanities: (All grades) Teacher must be certified in ELA and Social Studies

    Science: (All grades)

    World Language (6th-8th): 6th & 7th grade samples options. 8th graders may take for high school credit

    Health (All grades): 8th graders may get high school credit

    Physical Education: (All grades)

    Engineering: (Available to 7th & 8th grade only), Elective

    Computer Science: (Available to 7th and 8th grade only), Elective

    Art and Design: (All grades), Elective

    Music: (All grades), Elective

    Robotics: (6th grade entry to engineering and computer science), Elective

    Current WMS Elective: (grades determined by class), Elective

    TAF Staff on Campus

    Director: Manages the TAF staff on campus, is a partner with the principal in the planning and rollout of the academic program and supports the principal in selecting staff. Interfaces with Principal.

    Instructional Coach: Provides teachers instructional support in the STEMbyTAF Model and helps them reach the practitioner level in project-based teaching. Brings STEM professionals to the campus to support learning. Interfaces with Assistant Principal, WMS Instructional Coach, Teachers.

    Program Manager – College and Career Readiness: Provides college and career readiness services for all students, including college and career fair, college visits, college preparation coaching for parents and students, and career exploration. Interfaces with WMS Counselor, Teachers

    Program Coordinator, Student Support and Enrichment: Manages all out of school time extended learning opportunities and the Student Ambassador program. Interfaces with Assistant Principal

    Student Support Specialists: Works side by side with classroom math teachers to provide additional support to students. There is one Student Support Specialist per math teacher. Interfaces with Math Teachers, Instructional Coaches.

    Tech Support Specialist: Keeps all technology (classroom and student laptops) operating. This position will not be on campus if the district already has effective tech support allocation. Interfaces with District IT, Teachers, Students.

    Student Opportunities

    • Summer Jump Start for incoming 6th graders
    • More time to learn
    • Ability to demonstrate multiple ways of meeting standards
    • Field trips relevant to projects
    • College and Career Fair, college visits
    • STEM Expo
    • Out of school time extended learning
    • Robotics Team
    • Engineering Lab
    • Learn from industry professionals
    • Get introduced to new technologies

    WMS Staffing

    • Principal Hunt will remain the principal
    • No teacher changes unless they choose to leave
    • Teachers will get extensive training in STEMbyTAF Model
    • All other staff remain the same unless they’ve chosen to leave

    STEMbyTAF Math Instruction for Blended Classroom

    Guiding Question How will the STEMbyTAF model ensure that math instruction accommodates and challenges all students in a blended classroom?

    Background Currently students at WMS are divided into two cohorts—highly capable and general education. Students in the highly capable cohort (HCC) are one to two grade levels ahead in math. Math enrollment is ability based and students who score at a level 4 above 2650 on the math portion of the SBA become eligible to sit for the math enrollment test. The enrollment exam itself has been the end of year test for the level that may be skipped (eg: someone previously enrolled in Math6 with the requisite score would take the Math 7 end of year exam to determine if enrollment in Math 8 is appropriate). Students’ enrollments have been determined by the skills displayed on their enrollment test. If a student is not eligible to sit for the math enrollment test, they are enrolled in the next course in the series.

    The courses currently offered are:

    • Math6
    • Math7
    • Math8
    • Algebra I
    • Geometry
    • Algebra II

    The highest level a 6th grade student can enter is Algebra 1. There have been a few exceptions over the last 10 years where students have come in at higher math levels.

    The STEMbyTAF Implementation

    TAF provides a student support specialist for each math teacher. Together they plan, analyze student performance and strategize approaches for each lesson. STEMbyTAF uses the same curriculum as provided by the school district and will often bring in additional curricular content to provide varied learning opportunities.

    STEMbyTAF trained teachers understand that differentiation in the class is always necessary since there can be a broad span of math skills in one class at a time. Accelerated students are taught a year above their level so that they remain engaged. For example, if they are a 6th grader, they’d be taught 7th grade concepts. Typically, they learn the lesson with their peers so that they maintain the foundational skills and concepts previously mastered. This practice exists because they are so much further ahead and sometimes losing those skills over time if they aren’t practiced. The teacher extends students’ knowledge by adding an extra layer to the content; this could be having them teach the class the whole lesson (something all students do in all classes many times a year in their STEMbyTAF career to help deepen their content knowledge, learn to prepare content, improve time/project management skills and have a greater appreciation for teachers), answer deeper level questions/problems, or push them further on projects and activities from other students. The student support specialist plays a critical role throughout this whole process.

    Students who are much further ahead, for instance at Algebra 1, will first be assessed for their conceptual knowledge knowing that sometimes, they can be placed in a higher math just based off procedural knowledge which doesn’t mean they fully understand math. It is TAF’s understanding that the district has the capacity to offer alternate course credit within one classroom based on the level of the student. For example, if a 6th grade student is eligible for Algebra 1, they will be in the same math class as the students studying Math6. However, based on access to course content they would get credit for Algebra 1. Adjustments to the curriculum and curricula content will be made accordingly. The teacher would deliver their core lessons and support will be provided by the student support specialist who is trained to help the higher-level students and has the knowledge to answer questions.