What’s New

What’s New2019-04-24T15:49:35-07:00

What’s new

Statewide school levy ‘fix’ has put Tacoma in a fix

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 for an […]

By |April 24th, 2019|

Planning for a Career with Next Move

Christian Isaac of YMCA Pierce & Kitsap Counties, www.ymcapkc.org.


Christian Isaac is a youth program director at the YMCA. It’s a career path he didn’t know he wanted until enrolling in one of the first cohorts of the Next Move internship program.

The Washington State Legislature is considering raising the enrichment levy lid, which will help plug a $30M budget shortfall for Tacoma Public Schools. The Next Move internship program is one of many enrichment programs that those levy-dollars have previously funded. Through Christian Isaac and students behind […]

By |February 28th, 2019|

Partner Spotlight: Kim Keith of Hilltop Artists

Photo by Shaima Shamdeen

Kim Keith is the Executive Director of Hilltop Artists, a role she has held since May 2017. She is also on the leadership team for the Out of School and Summer Learning Network (OSSLN), which she joined her first week as ED. Since becoming a partner she has served on the review committee for Summer Access Funds, helped plan and implement the Summer Learning Tour, and routinely provides guidance and support for the content and facilitation of the monthly OSSLN meetings.

In this […]

By |February 27th, 2019|

Centering Youth in Local Government

Stella Keating at a recent session with Tacoma’s new Mayor’s Youth Commission. Photo by Adrena Collins

While attending Tacoma’s first Mayoral Candidate Forum on LGBTQ+ issues in 2017, then-candidate Victoria Woodards met a sixth grader with a clear vision for her community.

“Youth are not included in the decisions and policies that impact our daily lives,” says Stella Keating, the now eighth grader who became the impetus for the Mayor’s Youth Commission, formerly the Mayor’s Youth Taskforce.

“Most adults don’t see kids and teenagers as leaders. I want that […]

By |February 27th, 2019|

Rodney Raccoon: Your New Favorite Children’s Book

Rodney Raccoon: Special Delivery follows Rodney and friends as they explore the wonders of the Dome-A-Roma Science Museum. They must find clues hidden through the woods, under the sea, and in the Arctic dome that will lead them to their final destination. The book is currently available for purchase on the WayOut Kids website, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Graduate Tacoma Partner and member of the Early Learning & Reading Network, WayOut Kids has reached over fifteen million children since […]

By |February 27th, 2019|

UPDATE: Tacoma Completes

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 […]

By |February 27th, 2019|

Bridging Schools and Community

Mount Tahoma High School

As we prepare for another graduation season, the Tacoma College Support Network (TCSN) is finding new ways to amplify their work. This time, with clear input from high school staff.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Network members are visiting with Tacoma high school counselors, principals and faculty to better understand what’s been working for kids and where TCSN can offer support that’s synced up with schools.

“Often, when people ask for input, they don’t necessarily listen to listen. They listen to […]

By |February 27th, 2019|

Building Connections 2019

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.


By |February 7th, 2019|

Bills are Dropping!

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 Learning

  • Career Connected Learning […]
By |January 25th, 2019|

Tacoma Schools Take Victory Lap for Graduation Rate, Sets Sights on Olympia

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 rate from Tacoma public schools has topped 89.3 percent – the […]

By |January 17th, 2019|