We need your help. Now. More than ever.
On Wednesday, May 10th, 2017, the entire Greater Seattle region will come together to support nonprofits and causes they deeply believe in through Seattle Foundation’s annual day of philanthropy, GiveBIG.
We need your help. Now, more than ever, to make an impact in your community and the state of public education in Washington State by advocating for robust project-based STEM education and equity across classrooms so that all students, regardless of their background, will graduate with the 21st century, technological and social skills required to be strong contributors and influencers of society.
“Every student deserves access to high-quality public education that enforces 21st-century learning skills, technology literacy, and STEM competency.”
There’s a problem.
Right now, there’s a serious problem in public education in regards to preparing students for the future before them. Students, and particularly minority and low-income students, are at a disadvantage when it comes to being introduced to STEM and high-quality education. Of the unfilled jobs in Washington state, 80% are STEM-related. Employers are unable to find qualified employees because we just aren’t producing STEM competent candidates fast enough.
The talent exists. It just needs to be cultivated.
How we’re solving it.
Technology Access Foundation (TAF), founded in 1996, aims to address the inequities within public education for minority and low-income students through quality education rooted in STEM and best project-based learning practices. Over the last 20 years, TAF has been a leader in STEM education.
Our work spans to cover all areas in which we can influence education reform. We’re working from the ground up, through classroom instruction to partnerships with public school districts, universities, and corporations to transform education to a student-centered, experiential academic model where students learn the critical 21st-century skills necessary to create the world they envision – personally, communally, nationally, and globally.
“Project-based learning, STEM education, and immersive industry experiences should be introduced early, and should be the model to prepare today’s students to solve problems on a local, state, and global scale.”
When TAF Academy opened in 2008, there was a lot of speculation around whether a school of its kind could survive and thrive. TAF Academy, a 6th-12th-grade STEM-focused public neighborhood school, prepares students for college and careers through project-based curriculum. It is the first school in Washington state co-managed by a district (Federal Way Public Schools), and nonprofit (TAF).
Now, nine years later, TAF Academy is seeing the fruits of its labor. Alumni from our first graduating class have completed college and are entering their careers, we’ve grown corporate and community partnerships to support STEM immersion, and our STEMbyTAF model of learning is being recognized as an ideal within the project-learning space and overall education community.
The primary goal of enlisting students as active participants in their own education and ensuring each student has the knowledge and experience to use STEM as a tool for positive social change is already happening. Last year, a student began working on a prosthetic thumb using a 3D printer for his family member. This past February, students presented a cheaper and more effective way to power schools, and this past March, TAF Academy students built a tiny shelter for the homeless.
This coming fall 2017, TAF Academy will expand our reach – growing from 300 to 800 students as we become TAF@Saghalie. With your help, we are excited to offer more robust programs to our students like digital music and excursions, in addition to our existing engineering, design, robotics, and textile programs we will need to scale.
STEMbyTAF School Transformation
TAF’s STEMbyTAF School Transformation involves scaling our best practices in leadership, teaching, and learning used at TAF Academy to partner with existing public school districts in order to create academic environments that eliminate the race-based disparity in academic achievement and promote the highest level of student learning and teacher development.
STEMbyTAF transformation schools receive full-time instructional coached, ongoing professional development opportunities and priority to our STEMbyTAF Teacher Institute, program support for instructional technology, access to STEM professionals and much more.
TAF’s Martinez Fellowship provides support to teachers of color through graduate level scholarships, early career coaching, and ongoing professional development in an effort to close the opportunity gap by recruiting and retaining teachers of color in Washington state.
Since inheriting the fellowship from The Martinez Foundation in 2015, TAF continues to work towards diversifying the teacher population and improving ethically correct educational curriculum within school districts. The addition of the program furthers TAF’s goal of creating an educational environment where students of color are validated to grow and prosper, as well as provides new educators with STEMbyTAF teaching tools to effectively implement project-based learning within their classrooms.
Currently, we have close to 120 active Martinez Fellows working in 24 schools districts and positively influencing more than 8,500 students from the most diverse and high-needs schools in Washington.
STEMbyTAF Teacher Institute
TAF provides professional development and training for teachers and schools that want to integrate STEM into their instruction. Our Teacher Institute exposes teachers to practices that have won TAF Academy national awards for excellence and innovation.
Facilitated by STEM educators and industry experts, our methodology provides a research-based model for the integration of content standards, project-based learning (PBL) and design thinking in the classroom.