TAF (Technology Access Foundation) Programs
TAF’s primary goal is to improve public education and demonstrate the impact that creative partnerships, innovative practices informed by research, and community mobilization can have on access to STEM fields for all students. To do this we offer three strategically aligned programs:
TAF Academy ( 6-12th grade school) - An award winning public school managed in partnership between a public school district and TAF, whereby TAF designates a STEM school model and provides teachers ongoing professional and leadership development, and the district provides facilities and other support services in line with typical school operating responsibilities.
STEMbyTAF Teaching Institute (Professional Development) - An intensive professional development model that provides hands-on training for pre-service and in-service classroom teachers. Each participant learns and experiences the best-practices in STEM education and project-based learning that have made TAF Academy a national award-winning STEM school.
STEMbyTAF Coaching and Support (School Transformation) - For schools converting to a school-wide STEM model. TAF works with schools and districts to develop a strategic conversion plan that includes ongoing support in implementing interdisciplinary project-based learning instruction, STEM integration, educational technology, college and career readiness, and equitable practices that serve all students.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our flagship program, TAF Academy, is a fully accredited 6th-12th grade public school, co-managed through a partnership between TAF and Federal Way Public Schools. As a neighborhood school with normal admissions in a historically low-performing area, in our first four years of operation we increased math achievement 42% and were subsequently recognized by Intel™ with the 2012 Schools of Innovation Award for our work in middle school math. In addition, our work bringing STEM professionals and teachers together in order to analyze data and integrate STEM recently won the “2012 Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in STEM Education” award from Ashoka Changemakers. For two years in a row (2012 and 2013), the Center for Educational Effectiveness has awarded TAF Academy a “School of Distinction” Award, noting it to be one of the 5% highest improving schools in the state of Washington for increased reading and math achievement.
This year (2014), TAF Academy was designated a School of Innovation by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. TAF Academy was one of four schools in the entire state to receive this distinction.