What Does it Mean to Be College-Ready?

How We Define STEM Literacy

STEM literacy is the ability to understand and apply concepts and content from science, technology, engineering, mathematics, humanities, and arts to identify and solve challenges or problems that cannot be resolved by any one disciplinary approach.

STEM literacy enables students to apply 21st-century skills such as collaboration, knowledge construction, self-regulation, problem-solving, innovation, information technology, and communication to improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions of their local and global community.

Our Curriculum

TAF Academy’s curriculum is focused on the core disciplines of science, math, language arts, and social studies, and aims to aid students’ mastery of concepts deriving from science, technology, engineering, and math. This includes STEM concepts like scientific processes, collaboration, and analytical thinking.

Classes at TAF Academy are 90 minutes long–Four periods a day with an additional extended learning period for students who participate in academic enrichment courses.

Read more: How We Teach STEM

Our Academic Philosophy

Equity – Having the conviction that every student is capable of learning and being successful is a core value that all teachers and staff must have professionally and personally.

Project-Based Learning (PBL) – Students use classroom projects and selected technology to research questions and issues that are relevant to their lives. These projects require higher-order thinking, deep understanding of content, and communication skills.

STEM Integration – In this model, academic content from all areas—science, mathematics, social sciences, and the fine, performing and language arts—is integrated into projects and instruction. We teach students the processes utilized in those fields and establishing a culture of inquiry and problem-solving.  This is done through the careful design of projects as well as cultivating opportunities for students to engage with STEM professionals and activities, both on and off-campus.

Education Technology – We develop the capacity for students to use various software and technologies is essential to realize success in today’s colleges and universities, as well as the 21st-century workplace.

College Readiness – Students are considered “college-ready” when they are aware going to college is a viable option; eligible for college based on coursework completed; and ready to take college-level classes.

Academic Information for Student Success

Bell Schedule


Advisory 8:00 am – 8:45 am 45
Period 1 8:50 am – 10:05 am 75
Period 2A 10:10 am – 11:15 am 65
Lunch 11:17 am – 11:47 am 30
Period 2B 11:50 am – 12:00 pm 10
Period 3 12:05 pm – 1:25 pm 70
Period 4 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm 75
Dismissal 2:45 pm


Period 1 8:00 am – 9:30 am 90
Period 2 9:35 am – 11:00 am 85
Period 3A 11:05 am – 11:15 am 10
Lunch 11:17 am – 11:47 am 30
Period 3B 11:50 am – 1:10 pm 80
Period 4 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm 90
Dismissal 2:45 pm


Period 1 8:00 am – 9:05 am 65
Period 2 9:10 am – 10:15 am 65
Period 3A 10:20 am – 11:15 am 55
Lunch 11:17 am – 11:47 am 30
Period 3B 11:50 am – 12:00 pm 10
Period 4 12:05 pm -1:15 pm 70
Dismissal 1:15 pm

Course Catalog + Core Courses

TAF Academy offers a wide range of core classes to provide students with a well-rounded education. Courses include:

  • Academic Electives
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Extended Science Research (Seniors Only)
  • Independent Student Projects
  • Mathematics
  •  Social Science
  • Visual and Fine Arts
  • World Languages (Chinese and Japanese)

In addition to our core classes, Seniors complete a final project that demonstrates their ability to plan, design, and implement rigorous, independent research and business communications. This is a student’s final expression of who he or she is and what kind of learner and member of society he or she would like to become.

Learn more about our humanities credit loop and high school course sequence.


Life Science Pre-Algebra Humanities 6 Digital Art
Physical Science Algebra 1 Humanities 7 Design & Engineering
Algebra 2 Humanities 8 Chinese

*Students begin Algebra in 8th grade.


Biology Algebra World History 1 Digital Art
Chemistry Geometry World History 2 Design & Engineering
Physics Pre-Calculus US Studies 1 Chinese
Calculus US Studies 2 Japanese

Exhibitions + STEM Expo

Students participate in four exhibitions per year. These are public events in which students display what they’ve learned in completing their class projects. Families and community members attend exhibitions, help assess student work, and serve as an “authentic audience” that gives constructive feedback. Seniors complete a senior project that demonstrates their ability to plan, design, and implement rigorous, independent research and business communications.

Exhibitions are held from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm in the Totem Cafeteria unless otherwise noted.


Winter Exhibition November 3, 2016 TAF Academy
Annual STEM Expo February 4, 2017 Saghalie Middle School
Spring Exhibition April 29-30, 2017 TAF Academy
Final Exhibition June 7, 2017 TAF Academy


STEM Expo is the annual winter exhibition that all students participate in. Over 150 projects are presented, to judges and the public, explaining student’s research and results of the work they conducted.  Each student receives a certificate for their work and qualified students are selected to move on to regional and state science fairs. Last year, 8 projects were qualified to move onto Imagine Tomorrow competition that takes place at Washington State University.

Retake Policy

Multiple Opportunities in a Standards-Based System

At TAF Academy, we offer multiple opportunities for students to master priority standards. Assessments of a given standard are offered various times during a semester. Students are encouraged to revise their work according to the demands of the standard(s). If a particular student has not demonstrated proficiency, even though he/she is given a number of chances through assignments, tests, and projects offered, a retake of an assessment may be given within a time frame determined by the teacher.

World Language

Federal Way Public Schools students who have learned to speak, read and write a world language outside the school setting can now earn credit by taking a test to show their level of competency, thanks to a grant provided by the Gates Foundation to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Any student in grades 8-12, who has obtained language skills outside the classroom can earn high school credit in any language by taking an assessment.

Students who are taking a class cannot receive additional credits by taking the competency-based test. The grade earned in the class takes precedence over the competency-based testing score.

Before registering for testing, students are asked to use these assessment tools to determine test-readiness before registering. Students should be able to meet at least novice-mid level.

Free for FWPS ELL students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.  $130 for all others. Signup Here!

Read more about World Language Credit requirements.


In an effort to expose our students to the latest technology and ensure they become proficient in common STEM industry tools, making professional software and equipment available to our students is critical to preparing them for STEM futures.

Our students will become familiar users of the following:

  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • CAD Programs
  • Laser Cutters
  • 3D Printers
  • WordPress
  • Moodlet
  • DSLR Cameras
  • SMART Boards
  • Lego Mindstorm Robots
  • Tablets and Laptops
KNOW Curriculum

Here is a flyer on an info night the district is doing about the KNOW (sex ed).  This meeting is for parents only and at that time information will be given out for Student Opt out.

HIV. AIDS Preview- English

HIV. AIDS Preview- Spanish

Career Experience

TAF Academy students are afforded the opportunity to intern and spend time with one or more employees at a business, non-profit organization, or government agency to observe and gain hands-on experience in how business and industry work and allowing students to see firsthand the relevance of academics in relation to what it takes to be successful in the workplace.

Read about our partnership with Fred Hutch.


 ABSENCES: If you know, your student is going to be absent due to illness, appointments, or any other acceptable reason under the attendance policy please call, send in a note, or email the attendance office. The note must include the student name, reason for the absence, and parent signature.

TARDINESS: School starts at 8:00 am students must be in class by that time. Students arriving after 8:00 am must report to the office with a parent’s note. The parent may also call the attendance line to report the tardy or come to the office with the student and sign him or her in. The student will then obtain a tardy slip. Students who are tardy without a note will be unexcused. Keep in mind that 3 unexcused tardies constitutes 1 unexcused absence.

EARLY DISMISSAL: If your student needs to leave early please send in a note or sign them out in the office. If your student calls or texts you asking to be released due to illness please re-direct them to the office. The nurse will determine if the student is too sick to be at school and will call the parent if the student needs to go home ill. Excused and unexcused absences policy:

For more information, please view the district’s policy for excused and unexcused absences.

To report your student’s tardiness or absence, contact the TAF Academy front-office, preferably two days in advance at 253-945-5187.


  • Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with schoolwork, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th-grade test scores.
  • Missing 10 percent, or about 18 days, of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success.
  • Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
  • Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.