Equitable Education: It Takes All of Us

 

 

“I believe school is the most important thing in the world. All humans should have everything they need. Everyone deserves to go to school and [have] essentials. Together we can achieve that goal.” That’s what Mustafa, one of our 5th-grade students from Brigadoon Elementary said last fall when he and his classmates worked on their human rights projects. His statement is something we believe at TAF, too.

Thankfully, with your support, we’ve been able to make Mustafa’s statement a reality for TAF students and teachers by providing safe and equitable spaces in education. Although this past year has certainly thrown many curveballs, TAF has steadily continued to grow responsibly, ensuring we maintain equitable learning opportunities and environments — even virtually.

While this pandemic has revealed disparaging differences in accessing education for communities of color, TAF wholeheartedly believes that educational equity is achievable with project-based STEM education as the great equalizer. We are fortunate to provide this gift to students within a framework of racial equity and could not do it without the support of our donors and partners.

Computer graphic

This past summer, while the nation shut-down due to the ongoing pandemic, we transformed our many summer programs into online experiences and opened the first virtual Jr. Huskies STEM summer camp for incoming 6th-grade students at Washington Middle School, our newest co-managed academy in partnership with Seattle Public Schools. There, a young girl named Isabella learned to code her first website with the help of volunteer software engineers. After presenting her work during the final exhibition to peers and staff, Isabella shared how proud she was to have overcome the challenges of learning something new. “I didn’t know anything about any of this stuff and it was hard to get things to work, but my biggest success was figuring out how to code,” she said. “I’m really proud of that.”

In just 4 weeks, Isabella gained new skills in an area she hadn’t considered and realized the power she holds in her educational journey. At the same time, her Washington Middle School teachers, along with educators from our six other partner schools, attended our five-day virtual Teacher Institute to learn the STEMbyTAF model, an educational framework rooted in equity and project-based learning. This 360-approach to education is crucial and opens the doors to future possibilities for students and teachers alike.

We have the power to help Isabella see the many opportunities before her. It doesn’t matter if she decides to become a software engineer or a politician. What matters is that we, as a community, take our time to invest in her and empower her with all the critical tools, resources, and support she deserves to achieve her personal best. Building an equitable public education system takes all of us. We can do this for Isabella, Mustafa, and the rest of Washington State’s students and teachers, but it requires a collective effort.  

Next year, TAF plans to add another three schools to our STEMbyTAF Network and expand our work with students, teachers, and leaders of color in Eastern Washington. By growing moderately and steadily, we can ensure the integrity of our programs remains authentically intact. Read more about our goals.

Your partnership and support of TAF will help us to effectively play a critical role in the education of 24,000 public school students. Will you help us expand horizons for students like Isabella and Mustafa? Just $30 a month covers a full year of STEMbyTAF education for one student. 

 

With gratitude,

Trish Millines Dziko
Co-founder and Executive Director, TAF

Will you help us expand horizons for students like Isabella and Mustafa?

Join the TAF Catalysts monthly giving club or make a one-time tax-deductible donation.

OUR MISSION

We build collaborative relationships with public education to create access to transformative systems of learning for students and teachers to eliminate race-based disparities in an increasingly diverse society.

OUR 2021 GOALS

We are frequently asked why we don’t have schools across the country, or why we only add three schools to our programs per year. The answer is simple. Our secret sauce to change lies in our commitment to providing students with quality public education, and you can’t just duplicate success without proper planning. That’s why we take our time — growing steadily and responsibly — to ensure teachers and staff receive the proper training to implement our model because our mission isn’t about the name of TAF, it’s about the true impact on students and their futures. With that said, we are continually seeking new partnerships and ways to scale our programs with invested partners. Our goal is to have TAF programs throughout WA state. We can do this, with your help. It takes all of us to build an equitable public education system.

Onward! Expanding, east of the mountains

In our effort to promote independence and sustainability, we are actively courting new school districts and university partnerships in Eastern Washington in 2021.

Slow and steady wins the race

All good things take time. Next year, TAF plans to add 3 more public schools to our School Transformation Program, as we do every year — ensuring we can maintain the integrity of our STEMbyTAF model and adequately train staff and teachers.

More Fellows will lead to more leaders

This year, we’ll add 40 more teachers of color to the Martinez Fellowship, and now that we’ve established Network for EdWork to encompass our teachers and leaders of color, fellows can receive support to transition from early-career teaching to district administration!

Can you help us?

Help us provide students and teachers with equitable educational environments where they will thrive.

Collectively, our programs serve over 24,000 students in WA state!

OUR EQUITY COMMITMENT

We serve a diverse community of students and teachers. Our commitment toward racial and socioeconomic equity is evident through the people we serve.
77% of TAF students qualify for free or reduced lunch
81% of TAF students identify as a person of color
220 teachers of color are enrolled in TAF’s Martinez Fellowship Program, effectively impacting roughly 22,000 students across WA state!person of color

“My favorite part of summer jumpstart was getting to make up fun code!”

Sage R.
TAF@Saghalie , 6th Grade

“I want my students to know that they can be anything and have a voice, no matter what they do, who they are, or where they come from. I hope that with being a part of the fellowship to gain the autonomy for myself to know that I have a right to be in spaces — that I can become stronger in who I am for my students.”

Netera Pratt-Gutier
Martinez Fellowship, Cohort 12

Together, we can ensure thousands of students can learn in environments that value their identities and empower them to be successful through STEM and equity.

Just $30 a month will give students a chance to learn without racial or socioeconomic limits. Your gift today will help eliminate barriers to high-quality public education.

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