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The Model for Public School Partnerships

TAF@Saghalie is the only school in Washington State that is co-managed by a nonprofit and a school district. Together TAF and Federal Way Public Schools educators are setting the pace for how to create healthy and safe learning environments that center student voice and cultivate students into socially conscious and self-aware critical thinkers, problem solvers, ideators, creators, and leaders.

TAF@Saghalie (formerly TAF Academy started in 2008) is a neighborhood 6th-12 grade school where traditionally underrepresented students are given the opportunities and access to explore STEM careers, embrace their cultural identities, and achieve academic success. Students are given tools to be active participants in their own education. 

Through our successful STEMbyTAF model, students receive rigorous and relevant learning experiences that encourage student-led learning, college and career readiness, STEM literacy, leadership skills and confidence to launch students into their futures. 

Students have access to numerous opportunities to expand their learning and experiences. They receive an education that rivals private schools — having access to  engineering and design labs, Makerspaces, innovation challenges, various competitions, and interactions with STEM organizations and professionals.

Each student leaves our schools with the knowledge and experience to use STEM as a tool for positive social change starting in their own community. They are prepared to lead and create the world they envision — personally, locally, communally, and globally.

Proven results.

We focus on encouraging students who typically have been underrepresented in STEM fields on the basis that every student deserves access to a high-quality public school education, regardless of race, neighborhood or income. Our high expectations for our students and personalized support creates college and career-ready, socially-aware citizens of society.
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School of Distinction winner for math, reading and on-time graduation

Learning beyond the classroom.

We offer rigorous and relevant learning experiences rooted in STEM and Project-Based Learning for the future innovators, leaders, and creators of the world.

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6th-Grade Summer Prep

In order to prepare incoming 6th-grade students for our TAF Academies, we offer a preparatory summer program to give students a chance to get familiar with our STEMbyTAF model, meet other students, and build new skills that will help them during the school year and beyond.

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Every year, students participate in several months of STEM exploration, using scientific investigation and design-thinking to develop solutions to community challenges. This school-wide event, called STEM Expo, culminates in students presenting their projects to industry professionals and the larger community.

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Career Experiences

Students need to learn how to be successful in professional environments regardless of what career path they choose. TAF works with corporate partners and industry professionals to provide students with paid high school internships, mock interviews, innovation challenges, workshops, and more.

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TSP Program

A program built in collaboration with Amazon, the Teacher Scientist Partnership (TSP) program brings in industry professionals to support teachers and supplement student curriculum with industry experience in Web/Game Development, UX/UI, Machine Learning, and Programming.

The Evolution

Our journey in public schools began in 2004 when we recognized that many of  the high school students in our after school programs were not successfully enrolling in computer science and engineering majors in college. We discovered they were being tracked in the lower math track, despite the fact they had been working as paid summer interns in local companies as programmers, network engineers, web developers and digital media producers.

Knowing our after-school programs could not close the disparity we collaborated with innovative educators from around the state and researched various school models to create what is known today as the STEMbyTAF Model. We pitch the idea of piloting the STEMbyTAF Model by opening a school in partnership with a school district. Federal Way Public Schools, under the leadership of Superintendent Tom Murphy jumped at the opportunity and in 2008 after two years of planning, TAF Academy opened as a neighborhood 6th-12th grade public school!

After much success and eight graduating classes, TAF Academy had an unsustainable waitlist. Thanks to some quick thinking, TAF Academy merged with Saghalie Middle School in the 2017/2018 school year to create TAF@Saghalie, educating over 600 students each year.


Invest today in one student, and the infinite futures they will create.

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