An edited version of this article was published in The News Tribune on April 20, 2019 Why has the Legislature’s solution to provide more uniform and equitable state education funding left 253 of the state’s 295 school districts facing devastating budget cuts this school year? A court case in 2012, known as the McCleary decision, found the state to be derelict in its paramount duty to fund basic education. After five years of effort, the Legislature’s ultimate fix to the issues raised by McCleary was to cap local levy dollars in exchange [...]
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Colleagues and Friends, This past January we celebrated another milestone year of upward momentum for high school graduation rates. Meanwhile, however, college completion remains stagnant. Increased commitment and focus in this area is critical to seeing Tacoma kids through to postsecondary success. That’s why it gives me great excitement to share the growing partnership between Graduate Tacoma and Degrees of Change, a leader in the area of college persistence. Some of you may remember, in the same month that Tacoma Public Schools announced graduation rates for the Class of 2018, [...]
A free Kindergarten readiness workshop where we will learn new and creative tools, including the Paint to Learn model, to incorporate MATH concepts in everyday activities: at home, in the classroom, and on the go! Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided to all attendees. Structured child-friendly activities will be available for children ages 4 and up. Children must be toilet independent. REGISTER HERE
Bills for four of our five advocacy priorities have dropped and action campaigns are gearing up. Here are the latest updates: PRIORITY ONE: Equalize the School Levy Cap Levy Equalization Bill SB5316 by Senator Wellman was introduced and read into the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education. PRIORITY TWO: Fully Fund the Washington College Promise Scholarship Formerly the Higher Education State Need Grant, the WA College Promise Scholarship SB5393/HB1340 was introduced and read into the Senate Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development. PRIORITY THREE: Resource Career Connected [...]
Tacoma Public School District officials, teachers and community partners held a short-and-sweet celebration last week to mark the release of its graduation figures. Now the district will focus on lawmakers in Olympia to shore up state funding for schools. So far the district has been forced to lay off staff and foresees more cuts with a projected shortfall of $38 million next year. The crowd was all smiles at a ceremony at the Eastside Community Center last week when school officials and community backers marked the fact that the graduation [...]
The Washington State Legislature has kicked off the 2019 Session, and there is a lot of momentum to be excited about! Four of our five Advocacy Priorities have been included in Governor Inslee’s Budget this year. We also received local news coverage that shared our concerns for the school levy cap. We are thrilled to begin a strong campaign on behalf of all Tacoma students. What to expect from us: Weekly email updates about policy movement, upcoming hearings, events and votes. Text action alerts as issues take bill forms and [...]
As Tacoma Public Schools leaders celebrate record-high graduation rates, the district’s budget deficit looms. Tacoma Public Schools reached an 89.3 percent graduation rate in 2018, more than 3 percent higher than the 86.1 percent earned in 2017. It’s the highest it’s been since the state began tracking it in 2003. “Our graduation rate has gone up for the eighth straight year,” Karen Vialle, president of the Tacoma Public Schools board of directors, said at a celebratory event on Jan. 10. More students of color, low-income, English Language Learners (ELL) and [...]
The Foundation for Tacoma Students is thrilled to announce our new Director of Cross-Sector Partnership and Alignment, Elvin Bucu! Longtime community partner, Elvin brings nearly two decades of experience in youth development and has dedicated his career to supporting families and young people. Currently the Director of Operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, Elvin has helped foster partnerships among organizations such as Tacoma Public Schools, UW Tacoma, Metro Parks Tacoma, YMCA and more. As a leadership team member for the Out-of-School and Summer Learning Network at [...]
Esteemed Colleagues and Friends, First, I hope 2019 has started strong for all of you. As you launch into the new year, I'd like to introduce you to a project the Graduate Tacoma movement seeks to embark upon in the coming months. Tacoma Completes envisions a comprehensive, coordinated, community-wide system of supports helping all Tacoma Public School college-goers to access and persist through college to graduation. This project will work in the next few months to gather and build the necessary foundation to best understand what it might take to realize such a community-wide system. Ultimately, [...]
All of us here at the Foundation for Tacoma Students are thankful to have had some downtime before jumping into what promises to be our busiest year yet. Kicking off 2019 is the opening of the Washington State Legislative Session! This is an exciting time for the Foundation and the Graduate Tacoma movement as we grow into becoming an even stronger advocate for every child in our community. Throughout the 2019 Legislative Session, we will advocate for policies that Allow our community to continue making deep investments in our students' [...]