Every year the Graduate Tacoma movement convenes hundreds of people committed to the success of students. Our work is rooted in partnerships, working together, collaboration, and the understanding that transforming systems in favor of young people requires cooperation across all parts of a community.
Like so many of us, 2020 has challenged the way we operate and move the work forward. It has also shone a light on the extreme disparities among Tacoma families that make working in partnership as a movement more vital than ever. As schools shuttered, forcing thousands of students, parents, and teachers to navigate remote learning, Graduate Tacoma swiftly moved our convenings online. Youth mentors, college and career counselors, community leaders, child care professionals, business owners, youth program providers, and administrators representing Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) and all of the region’s colleges and trade schools continued to meet and strategize.
Investing in Connecting & Convening
Through the Tacoma College Support Network and partner Degrees of Change, we conducted outreach to graduating seniors to find out their plans for college, especially in light of remote learning, which received nearly 500 responses. The workgroup connected respondents directly to mentors and counselors to help them on their path after high school. We leveraged our network to forge a new relationship with TPS, local internet providers Rainier Connect and Comcast, and Microsoft that helped get nearly 800 laptops and tablets in the hands of students as well as connect more than 200 households to free internet. At a time when parents were receiving an onslaught of new information, we established an online directory, TacomaLearns.org, that compiled all the available resources in Tacoma, clarified where they were located, and allowed for families to search for support by category. In the immediate wake of school closures, we held a series of Friday Forums where we were able to call on prominent decision-makers like the mayor, TPS superintendent, and state elected officials to give Graduate Tacoma partners a realistic understanding of our “new normal.”
Our ability to work in partnership relies on the generosity of many. As we approach Giving Tuesday on December 1, we hope you’ll consider donating early to support the collaboration and connections that make Graduate Tacoma a movement.
Contact William Towey for further information at: email@example.com or 253-304-2423.