For the fifth consecutive year, TAF Academy has been recognized as a School of Distinction Award for its commitment to improving student outcomes. Thirty-six schools in 11 districts in addition to TAF Academy earned this honor for being among the top 5% for their continuous and substantive and sustained improvement in English language arts and math over a five-year period.
In addition to this award, the Technology Access Foundation (TAF), which co-founded TAF Academy in 2008 alongside Federal Way Public Schools, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. TAF began its journey in 1996 as the brainchild of Trish Millines Dziko and Jill Hull Dziko as a means to equip students of color for success in college and life through the power of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Opened in 2008, TAF Academy is the first and only partnership between a public school district and a non-profit in Washington state.
TAF Academy is an award winning program that has won numerous national and state awards for excellence and innovation, including the Innovative School Designation from Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014; an Intel Award as a School of Innovation for middle school math in 2012; an Early Innovator Award from Washington STEM in 2011; and a Partnering for Excellence Award from Ashoka Changemakers and Carnegie Corporation for Teacher-Scientist Partnership Program, also in 2011. In 2015, the school’s sixth-grade science team received a commendation for Excellence in Scientific and Engineering Achievement at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.
Its innovative approach to education has paid off for students. TAF Academy’s first graduating class of students who started in 6th grade (Class of 2015) boasted student-scholars participated in cancer research internships at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, co-authored scientific papers for peer-reviewed journals, developed wearable technology, and competed in the National Debate and Speech tournament.
In fall of 2017, TAF Academy will have more room to display their numerous accolades and more opportunities to reach student-scholars when it relocates to the campus of Saghalie Middle School to form TAF@Saghalie. This merger will build upon staff expertise and TAF Academy resources as well as the current STEM focus at Saghalie. Project-based learning in STEM is geared toward improving the academic achievement and increasing access to high-quality college and career learning opportunities for more student-scholars in Federal Way.
The decision aims to increase student achievement and post-secondary preparedness using an award winning model. “We are excited for the TAF@Saghalie merger, committing to our districtwide effort to create a K-12 STEM Region, enhancing our STEM demonstration sites and our scholars’ preparedness for college and career,” said Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell on the merger.
“The very hard working staff at TAF Academy and TAF are ready and excited about giving more students the opportunity to succeed so they can position themselves to create the world they envision, personally, communally, nationally and globally,” said Trish Millines Dziko, TAF’s Executive Directo