Academic Enrichment Programs
Federal Way Public Schools offers four comprehensive high schools — Decatur, Federal Way, Thomas Jefferson and Todd Beamer high schools — 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 Choice Program is available to allow students to register to participate in programs that aren’t available at their neighborhood high schools. Call 253-945-2013 or go to http://www.fwps.org/info/choice/
The following is an overview of programs available district-wide. For more information, contact the school or individual listed, or go to their webpage.
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 the AP exams, which are administered by the College Board. A variety of AP classes are available in each school; please check the course catalog for each high school for specifics.
AFJROTC classes are offered as electives at Federal Way and Todd Beamer high schools. The program goals include instilling responsibility, character, and self-discipline, 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, McChord Air Force Base 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. The program includes co-curricular activities that 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.
A new math instructional program has been introduced at the middle school level district-wide. Algebraic Thinking is a research-based, three-year comprehensive program. It targets 22 essential concepts students need to master in order to be successful in Algebra and higher-level math courses. Students who have not met standard in math in fifth grade will especially benefit from Algebraic Thinking. Extensive staff training has been provided with the intention of ensuring that all students will be successful in algebra in the 8th grade and ready to take higher math courses during their high school years.
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. They are also are offered as Career and Technical Education electives at Todd Beamer, Federal Way and Decatur High Schools.
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. 100 ninth grade students are admitted each year. About 40 percent of the student body commutes from surrounding districts, some as far away as Monroe and Issaquah. Many aspire to become scientists, engineers, astronauts, pilots, aviation technicians, and CEOs in aviation/aerospace fields. Many are drawn by the school’s focus on math, science and technology. Some are simply drawn by our unique and rigorous approach to teaching and learning.
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.
Federal Way High School offers the only west-coast site of the Cambridge Program, which offers students the opportunity to earn the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE). This is similar to the International Baccalaureate certificate. Curriculum for the four-year program and subsequent assessments were developed by the University of Cambridge in England. Cambridge courses emphasize higher order thinking skills, oral skills, writing skills, problem solving, teamwork and investigative skills. Cambridge students are expected to have high academic expectations, be self-motivated, and have good study habits.
The Cambridge Checkpoint Preparatory Academy is an advanced academic program for academically talented middle school students, sponsored by Cambridge University in England. In Federal Way, it’s offered to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at Lakota and Sacajawea Middle Schools. Checkpoint offers a rigorous and relevant curriculum, and develops skills for success that lead directly into Cambridge Preparatory Academy at Federal Way High School and an Advanced International Certificate of Education through Cambridge University.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, once known as vocational education, are offered at Todd Beamer, Decatur, Federal Way and Thomas Jefferson high schools. Read more.
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.
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 to better prepare students.
The focus of the program at both the middle and high school level is in the Language Arts and English disciplines. The goal is that 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.
FWPA is an academics-only college preparatory program for students in grade 6-10. Students who have attended middle school at other sites may apply to attend FWPA in ninth and 10th grades.
In 2006, Totem Middle School was awarded a $150,000 grant to establish a GEAR UP Scholars Project to guide students and parents in creating and following a college plan. GEARUP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, and is designed to provide support to students from 7th grade through high school graduation. They receive ongoing academic planning, counseling, and assessment as well as tutoring and mentoring. Students also participate in job shadows and college field trips.
The 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 fi elds of knowledge, followed by a series of oral and written examinations. In Federal Way, the IB Program is available at only Thomas Jefferson High School.
The Internet Academy has offered online learning opportunities to students in Washington for the past eleven years, the longest of all online public school programs in the state. Washington State certified teachers 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. Internet Academy staff have developed curriculum specific to Washington State learning standards, unlike curriculum supplied by large national organizations to other online learning programs in the state. Online summer science and reading camps are another unique aspect of this program.
Woodmont Elementary School began transitioning to a Kindergarten through 8th Grade School in fall, 2007. with the addition of sixth graders to the school. As these students move up to seventh and then eighth grade, those grades will be added to the school. Please call the Woodmont office at 945-4500 for more information and for information about openings.
Nautilus began the transition to a K-8 school in 2008. It will follow a start-up schedule similar to Woodmont, with one additional grade being added each year for three years. Call the Nautilus office at 253-945-3400 for more information.
The Math and Science Academy at Saghalie Middle School is a wonderful learning environment for all kids. For students who want to pursue Engineering studies, participating in the Math and Science Academy, followed by the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering program at Decatur High School, will give them an inside track. The curriculum is based on a nationally-recognized program called Gateway to Technology (GTT). The program creates opportunities to learn by doing, in addition to observing, reading or hearing, through a variety of manipulative teaching tools.
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 a solid modeling 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)
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 in the chosen program and half of each day at their home high school. Transportation is provided between the two schools. PSSC features nineteen career and technical education (formerly called vocational, now CTE) programs 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.
RaiderLinks is a rigorous, interdisciplinary program that prepares students for their preferred career paths. Aligned with the WASL and FWPS literacy goals, Raiderlinks is committed to academic excellence, advanced communications skills, and world-class technical skills. The program provides incoming freshmen and sophomores an innovative curriculum that integrates technology into their English, social studies, and science classes. Students are encouraged to use their technical and creative skills in math, world language, and other electives as well. Universal Web access and rigorous scholarship are fundamental to the program's success.
Washington State’s Running Start program allows public secondary school students the opportunity to attend community college and earn high school and college/university credit for their work. Eleventh and twelfth grade students participate in Running Start at no cost to them except books, transportation, and certain fees, such as campus parking. FWPS students routinely attend Highline and Green River Community Colleges as part of Running Start.
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 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.
Vocational Careers (See Career and Technical Education)
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 the 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.
ELO (Extended Learning Opportunities)
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.