TAF@Saghalie Ribbon Cutting

  • On May 30, 2018, the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce partnered with Federal Way Public Schools and Technology Access Foundation (TAF) to host a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the first year of TAF@Saghalie. Recently established in 2017, TAF@Saghalie combines the former TAF Academy and Saghalie Middle School into a new, innovative, and progressive STEM-focused neighborhood public school, serving grades 6–12, co-managed by Federal Way Public Schools and Technology Access Foundation (TAF).  

    Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) is committed to giving all scholars experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM), as indicated in FWPS Strategic Plan Goal 5. TAF@Saghalie aims to increase scholar achievement and post-secondary preparedness using the award-winning STEMbyTAF model. By moving TAF Academy to the Saghalie Middle School campus, more scholars are provided access to these experiences.

    TAF’s collaboration with the FWPS dates back to 2008, when the organizations teamed up to launch TAF Academy, an innovative school offering STEM programming to students in grades 6-12. TAF Academy has been recognized as a School of Distinction for six consecutive years for its commitment to improving student outcomes. The School of Distinction recognition is awarded to the top five percent of schools that demonstrate sustained improvement in English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and graduation rates over a span of five years.

    “This school is the only school of distinction we’ve had in the district for the last 5 years. They have graduation rates that are exceeding 90 percent. Almost 100 percent college-going scholars”, said Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell. “And it is a school that looks like our larger community – diverse, dynamic, with scholars going places, and teachers and staff fully behind them.”

    Community members, including City of Federal Way officials, Deputy Mayor Susan Honda, State Representatives Kristin Reeves and Mike Pellicciotti, Senator Mark Miloscia, FWPS board members Claire Wilson, Geoffrey McAnalloy, and Carole Gregory, Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce ambassadors, and local business owners were in attendance. Schools can’t do it alone, and Dr. Campbell thanked Reeves, Pellicciotti and Miloscia for their support to help secure capital budget monies in the amount of $2.8 million that allowed conversion of existing classrooms and spaces to support STEM and project based learning environments.

    This was a great opportunity for the community to learn more about STEM opportunities in FWPS and the opportunities provided at TAF@Saghalie. Students were the focus of the celebration, and in the Engineering Lab, scholars showcased some of their work based on TAF@Saghalie’s project-based learning approach.

    Also in attendance at today’s event was Darcy Nothnagle, Head of External Affairs, Northwest at Google, who announced a $100,000 grant. With this donation, an additional 1,300 scholars will have access to the project-based learning utilized in the STEMbyTAF model.  

    TAF Founder Trish Millines-Dziko shared her excitement for the Google.org grant and the difference it will make to expand the STEMbyTAF model to elementary schools feeding into TAF@Saghalie. “We will impact the professional pipeline in a way we have never done before. From kindergarten to twelfth grade, kids will be ready to not only work for other people, but to start their own business, and stay in their own community.”

    Learn more about STEM opportunities in FWPS here: https://www.fwps.org/STEM.