STEMbyTAF Model in Action
Rigorous and Relevant Experiences, Rooted in STEM and Project-Based Learning.
History of Our School – TAF Academy
In 2008, TAF opened TAF Academy, a 6th-12th grade STEM-focused public neighborhood school that prepares students for college and careers through a project-based curriculum.
Over the course of nine years, TAF Academy experienced great success and recognition – both locally and nationally. As the first school in Washington State to be co-managed by a nonprofit and school district (Federal Way Public Schools), students thrived in a rigorous and relevant learning environment rooted in project-based learning practices for today’s college and career bound student.
In just nine years of operation, TAF Academy garnered attention on both district and national levels, having won numerous state and national awards for excellence and innovation.
Reaching More Students – TAF@Saghalie
This success led to expansion. With the support of FWPS, in 2017 TAF Academy merged with Saghalie Middle School created TAF@Saghalie. We are now able to impact an additional 400 students with our STEMbyTAF academic model!
One of our primary goals is to enlist students as active participants in their own education, ensuring each student has the knowledge and experience to use STEM as a tool for positive social change; starting in their own community.
When TAF@Saghalie students graduate, they receive a diploma that meets all Washington State and district requirements, and are academically and culturally ready for our nation’s top colleges and universities.
TAF@Saghalie opened in 2017 in partnership with the Federal Way Public School District. It is located in at 33914 19th Ave SW, Federal Way, WA 98023.
Read: TAF Academy Original Vision [PDF]
TAF@Saghalie serves a diverse student population in a historically low-performing area, and encourages participation by female and ethnic minority students who typically have been underrepresented in STEM fields. We hold high expectations for our 700 students and personalize support for them to be college-ready by graduation.
During their time at TAF@Saghalie, students have access to numerous opportunities to expand their learning and experiences through the engineering and design labs, innovation challenges, various competitions, and interactions with STEM organizations and professionals.
- White: 23%
- Hispanic: 34%
- Black: 15%
- Asian: 10%
- Other (Pacific Islander, Native, Mixed): 18%
Male vs. Female Student Ratio
- Male Students: 55%
- Female Students: 45%
Awards and Recognition
Since TAF Academy opened in 2008, the school has received numerous awards for excellence and innovation on both state and national levels.
Innovative School Designation | 2014
Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
School of Distinction | 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Center of Educational Effectiveness
Intel School of Distinction | 2011
Early Innovator Award | 2011
Partnering for Excellence Award | 2011
Ashoka Changemakers and Carnegie Corporation for Teacher-Scientist Partnership (TSP) Program
There are no barriers to entry (entry tests) to enroll in TAF@Saghalie.
TAF@Saghalie is a neighborhood. Our middle school program serves students from Green Gables Elementary, Brigadoon Elementary, and Olympic View Elementary.
Enrollment for high school is open to all 9th-12th-grade students and available through FWPS Choice Enrollment Program. Both residents and non-residents of the district can elect a “school of choice” by completing the Federal Way Public Schools Choice Enrollment Application (form 5116.4).
For more information about school enrollment, including boundary maps and school choice, visit the district website.
Finding a New Angle for Success.
TAF Academy – The Model for Our Future
Back in 2008, when TAF Academy opened, there was a lot of speculation of whether a school of its kind could survive and thrive. Now, nine years later, TAF Academy is seeing the fruits of its labor. Alumni from our first graduating class in 2012 have completed college and are entering their careers, we’ve grown our corporate and community partnerships to support student STEM immersion, and our STEMbyTAF model of learning is being recognized as an ideal within the project-learning space.
We opened TAF Academy because we were frustrated that our then after-school program students didn’t have the access to a high quality public education. We felt that our efforts were being thwarted because students were not able to practice leadership and tech skills full-time. When Federal Way Public School District agreed to our partner management of TAF Academy, we knew we would finally have the type of influence in students and education that could really make a difference.
Our commitment to our demographic hasn’t changed, but we knew we needed to think bigger and penetrate the system on a larger scale to have a lasting effect. The exposure that are students are privvy to, allow for opportunities that are preparing them for successful careers in STEM or otherwise. Our focus on college and career readiness, technology education, leadership and confidence coupled with our dedicated foundation and school staff make for a strong launching pad for our students.