Academic Enrichment Programs
Federal Way Public Schools offers four comprehensive high schools — Decatur, Federal Way, Thomas Jefferson and Todd Beamer — and several alternative programs for students: Federal Way Public Academy (6th-10th grades), Internet Academy (Kindergarten-12th grade), Technology Access Foundation Academy (6th-12th grades) and Truman High School (9th-12th grades).
Every school offers enrichment programs designed to meet the interests and needs of a diverse group of students. Many of these specialized programs are available only at specific schools. In addition, the district’s students have the opportunity to participate in several programs off-campus.
The following is an overview of programs available district-wide. For more information, contact the school or individual listed, or go to their webpage.
Advanced Placement (AP) Classes
Offered at Decatur and Todd Beamer high schools, AP courses are rigorous, college-level classes. Students can earn credit or advanced standing at most of the nation’s colleges and universities by taking and passing AP exams, which are administered by the College Board. A variety of AP Classes are available in each school; please check the course catalog at each high school for specifics.
Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFJROTC)
AFJROTC classes are offered as electives at Federal Way and Todd Beamer high schools. Program goals include instilling responsibility, character, and self-discipline in students, while providing instruction in air and space fundamentals. The curriculum covers the development of flight, applied flight sciences, military aerospace policies, and space exploration. Students take field trips to the Museum of Flight, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other aerospace-related companies and installations in the area.
The program is structured so that students experience leadership roles in the program, such as Commander, Deputy Commander, and a full range of other positions reflecting the Air Force structure. Activities support the overall curriculum, such as a rocketry program and a remote control model airplane program. Scholarships are available for outstanding students who wish to participate in ROTC in college.
American Sign Language (ASL)
ASL is a gesture-based language used primarily by deaf residents of the United States and parts of Canada. Students may choose to receive world language credit for ASL and Sign Language Interpretation classes. Classes are also are offered as Career and Technical Education electives at Todd Beamer, Federal Way and Decatur High Schools.
Aviation High School (AHS)
AHS is the only college preparatory aviation-themed high school in the Northwest. Although Highline Public Schools offers the program, students throughout the Puget Sound region may apply. One-hundred ninth-grade students are admitted each year. About 40 percent of the student body commutes from surrounding districts, some from as far away as Monroe and Issaquah. Many aspire to become scientists, engineers, astronauts, pilots, aviation technicians, and CEOs in aviation/aerospace fields. Students are drawn by the school’s focus on math, science and technology and by this unique and rigorous approach to teaching and learning.
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
A twenty-five-year old program with many sites in the U.S. and abroad, AVID is offered as an elective in Federal Way Public Schools. Its focus is to prepare students for college by using a rigorous curriculum centered on writing, inquiry, collaboration and reading. The class has tutorials two days a week in which students come with questions they’ve prepared about work they are doing in their classrooms, in order to discuss that work on a deeper level. Students also go on field trips to colleges, hear from speakers about different careers, and work on goal setting and organizational skills. AVID is offered at all of the district’s high schools: Decatur, Federal Way, Thomas Jefferson, Truman and Todd Beamer High Schools.
Cambridge Preparatory Academy
Federal Way High School offers this international, pre-university curriculum and examination system. Cambridge Preparatory Academy emphasizes the value of a broad and balanced study for academically able students. It aims to encourage the skills of independent search and investigation, the use of initiative and creativity, and the application of knowledge and skills.
Cambridge CheckPoint Preparatory Academy
In Federal Way, this academy is offered to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at Lakota and Sacajawea Middle Schools. Checkpoint offers a rigorous and relevant curriculum, and helps students develop skills for success. Upon completion they can enter Cambridge Preparatory Academy at Federal Way High School and an Advanced International Certificate of Education through Cambridge University.
Students in Federal Way Public Schools have the unique opportunity to train for a career in a professional-technical field while earning a high school diploma at the same time. Federal Way Public Schools has teamed up with Highline Community College to offer the Career Start Program. Career Start tailors the traditional Running Start Program to students interested in careers that generally don’t require four-year college degrees. Students in their junior and senior year of high school can take college-level classes at Highline that qualify for both high school graduation and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.
College Board – Spring Board Program
SpringBoard is a unique AP preparatory program designed around the rigorous College Board Standards for College Success. It’s currently offered at Decatur High School and five Federal Way middle schools: Saghalie, Totem, Illahee, Kilo and Sequoyah. SpringBoard identifies the reading and writing skills and competencies students need in order to be prepared for college. It also helps teachers provide a systematic, seamless and rigorous curriculum throughout middle and high school.
The focus of the program at both the middle and high school level is in the Language Arts and English disciplines. Once students have completed the SpringBoard program in grade 10, they will be better prepared to complete the Advanced Placement (AP) courses/program in the 11th and 12th grade with the possibility of earning college credits.
Family Academy at Wildwood Elementary School
The Family Academy at Wildwood is for elementary and middle school students and families living within the boundaries of Federal Way Public Schools. Classes run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday beginning in October and include: Basic to advanced English, English for moms with young infants and toddlers, preschool readiness and help with homework for students in 1st to 8th grades. Other classes are occasionally offered throughout the year including nutrition and finance. This program is free to those living within Federal Way Public Schools boundaries. For more information, please call 253-945-4419.
Federal Way Public Academy
Founded in 1999, FWPA is a college preparatory public school for students in grades six through ten. Students choose to attend the Academy and admission is by a lottery system. Students who have attended middle school at other sites may apply to attend FWPA in ninth and 10th grades.
International Baccalaureate - Diploma Program
This international, academically rigorous program is designed to meet or exceed the entrance requirements of the most selective colleges and universities throughout the world. Many colleges and universities offer advanced standing or course credits to students with strong IB exam results. The IB program involves in-depth study in a broad range of subjects representing six fields of knowledge, followed by a series of oral and written examinations. In Federal Way, the IB Diploma Program is only available at Thomas Jefferson High School. Students may pursue the full IB Diploma or take individual IB classes to earn IB Certificates.
International Baccalaureate (IB) the Middle Years
Thomas Jefferson, Totem Middle School and Kilo Middle School are authorized providers of the IB Middle Years Program. These schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education—that we believe is important for all our students.
The IB Middle Years Program, for students aged 11 to 16, provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers.
The program consists of eight subject groups integrated through global contexts that provide a framework for learning within and across the subjects. Students are required to study their mother tongue, a second language, humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education and design technology. In the final year of the program, students also engage in a personal project, which allows them to demonstrate the understandings and skills they have developed throughout the program.
Todd Beamer High School is a candidate school* for the IB Middle Years Program and is pursuing authorization as an IB World School.
*Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its three academic programs: the Primary Years Program (PYP), the Middle Years Program (MYP) or the Diploma Program (and in addition the IB Career-related Certificate). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programs, visit http://www.ibo.org.
The Internet Academy has offered online learning opportunities to students in Washington since 1999, the longest of all online public school programs in the state. Teachers certified in Washington State provide instruction to students in grades K-12. The program allows for innovative uses of technology, customized learning environments and access to skilled instructors. Students often make use of this resource to take a desired class that they cannot otherwise get because of scheduling conflicts in their home high school.
A substantial number of home-schooled children also supplement their educations through the Internet Academy. The staff at the Internet Academy have developed curriculum specific to Washington State learning standards, unlike curriculum supplied by large national organizations to other online learning programs in the state.
Kindergarten – 8th Grade Program at Woodmont and Nautilus Elementary Schools
Woodmont Elementary School began the transition to a Kindergarten through 8th Grade School in fall, 2007. Please call the Woodmont office at 253-945-4500 for more information and for information about openings.
Nautilus began the transition to a K-8 School in 2008. Call the Nautilus office at 253-945-3400 for more information.
Pre-Engineering/Project Lead the Way
Project Lead the Way (Pre-Engineering) is a four-year sequence of courses that introduces students to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering prior to entering college. The foundation course, Introduction to Engineering Design, teaches problem-solving skills using a design-development process. Models of product solutions are created, analyzed and communicated using computer design software. Project Lead the Way will be offered at Decatur High School beginning in the fall of 2008.
Puget Sound Skills Center (formerly the Occupational Skills Center or OSC)
Puget Sound Skills Center (PSSC) serves students from five public school districts including Federal Way. Tenth, 11th and 12th grade students spend half of each day at the PSSC campus in their chosen program and the other half of the day at their home high school. Transportation is provided between the two schools. Nineteen career and technical education programs are available including: Auto Body, Automotive, Aviation Careers, Computer Network Systems, Construction Technology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, DigiPen Video Game Animation/Programming, Engineering Design Technology, Electronics Engineering, Fashion Design and Marketing, Fire Services, Leadership in Business and Management, Marine Technology, Medical Careers, Multimedia and Information Technology, Translation/Interpretation and Veterinary Careers. College credit can be earned in many PSSC programs.
Washington State’s Running Start program allows public secondary school students the opportunity to attend community college and earn high school and college/university credits for their work. Eleventh and 12th grade students participate in Running Start at no cost to them except for books, transportation, and certain fees, such as campus parking. FWPS students routinely attend Highline and Green River Community College as part of Running Start.
STEM at Saghalie Middle School
Saghalie uses a project-based approach to learning 21st century skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). This makes a wonderful learning environment for all students, especially for those who want to pursue engineering studies. Students draw on one-to-one technology, meaning they each have their own tablet, which they use to study STEM subjects.
This program makes them good candidates for the Project Lead the Way engineering program at Decatur High School. The curriculum is based on a nationally-recognized program called Gateway to Technology. It creates opportunities to learn by doing, in addition to observing, reading or hearing, through a variety of manipulative teaching tools.
The TAF Academy is an academics program focused on encouraging girls and minority students to study science and math. The TAF Academy is based on a sixth through 12th grade public school model that prepares students for college and life using project-based learning rooted in science, technology, engineering and math. It offers students an individualized roadmap for personal goals and aspirations. The academy is a unique joint venture between the Technology Access Foundation and Federal Way Public Schools.
Truman Campus offers an opportunity for students to explore career opportunities of interest to them in a highly individualized environment while learning skills and behaviors for success in college and the work world. Students of all abilities, talents and interests who want to learn in a hands-on, experience-based setting should consider attending Truman. The school ensures that all students have opportunities to learn more about and prepare for college.
But the Opportunities Don’t End There
In addition to the array of core classes, many enrichment programs and courses are offered at all of Federal Way’s comprehensive high schools and on a more limited basis in its alternative programs. Those include:
For students with a specific area of interest, high school clubs can enhance their exploration of a subject and greatly enrich the school experience. Clubs include Art, Math, Science, Chess, Drama, Poetry, Cycling, ethnic clubs, ‘gaming’, Key Club, National Honor Society and CTE-related clubs such as DECA, FCCLA, SkillsUSA, TSA, Horticulture Club and FBLA.
In general, all comprehensive high schools also offer band/orchestra, choral/music, debate, one or more foreign languages, technology labs, and school newspapers.
Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO)
The district provides additional tutoring and small group learning opportunities for students called Extended Learning Opportunities. These classes are usually offered before and after school.