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, the Foundation for Tacoma Students introduced a timely initiative called Tacoma Completes. The initiative, co-directed by Degrees of Change, envisions a comprehensive, coordinated community-wide system of supports helping all Tacoma Public School college-goers to persist through college to graduation.

With support from StriveTogether, Degrees of Change has led the first phase of the work by facilitating an environmental scan to identify barriers to college completion. We anticipate this initial scan to be complete by the end of March.

In the following months, Degrees of Change will begin working closely with a number of local colleges and community partners to co-design, align and strengthen strategies to help eliminate these barriers. This strategic, targeted approach to support persistence and completion once students are in college will be coordinated with similarly-focused efforts around college access for our high school students.

In May, we will initiate a second environmental scan to identify barriers specific to postsecondary access. It will take on a similar timeline as Tacoma Completes, and we expect to begin strategy design with the Tacoma College Support Network and its partners as the scan dictates by next Fall.

For youth-serving partners, these scans present an important opportunity to more clearly address barriers within the overall postsecondary pathway. With the critical pillar of our Tacoma College Support Network and the leadership of Degrees of Change, Tacoma Completes will allow us to enhance and accelerate our work towards a Tacoma where every child succeeds in school, career and life.

Thank you for your continued support as this work evolves and we continue to strive for better outcomes for Tacoma kids.

Should you have any questions about Tacoma Completes, please contact Nalani Linder or Tim Herron with Degrees of Change. For more information on our work around college access, feel free to contact the Foundation’s Director of Systems Alignment, Elvin Bucu.

 

 

With Gratitude,

Tafona Ervin
Executive Director
Foundation for Tacoma Students