Opening last September, the Tacoma Business Academy is a new school pushing the boundaries of innovation to help kids graduate from high school and avoid becoming another dropout statistic. The Academy is a unique program for students who have stopped attending high school and are working, but want to complete high school and improve their employability. Made possible through a partnership between Tacoma Public Schools, Bates Technical College and Communities In Schools of Tacoma, the Academy is an opportunity for those who would have not graduated to get a second chance at earning a high school diploma.
“Anytime you can bring just one student back and try to engage him and really go at that student in a different fashion” is a measure of success according to Tyler Stanek, a Communities In Schools of Tacoma board member. Tacoma’s graduation rate is 68%, meaning 1 out of 3 students will dropout. Because of this disturbing trend, the School Board has set goals of decreasing the dropout rate by 10% a year and reducing the number of students who don’t graduate by the same amount. One way that they hope to achieve this is through the Tacoma Business Academy.
At the Academy, each student is an active member of a small learning community while working toward meeting personal educational goals. Students work while going to school to finish their high school credits taking an assortment of business, marketing and information technology classes. Students are enrolled through Tacoma Public Schools, and have access to other resources such as online learning and Bates’ programs. The school’s philosophy is teaching youths the importance of work and helping them to eventually learn and earn their way out of low paying jobs.
Communities in Schools of Tacoma provides a full-time coordinator who helps students find job shadows and recruits volunteers, tutors and graduation coaches.
“Our goal is to create a supportive environment for students’ personal growth by providing positive role models to help guide them through their course work as they earn credit towards their high school diploma.” Teresa Maxwell, Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Tacoma.
The Academy is a second chance for students, who would have otherwise been lost in the system. It promotes hard work both at school and on the job, instilling in kids the confidence they need to believe that through hard work, determination, and sometimes help from organizations like Communities In Schools, that they can be successful in school and in life.
Learn More: To learn more about this exciting new venture go to Communities In Schools of Tacoma.
Volunteer: To find out how to get involved and make a difference, contact Communities in Schools of Tacoma Executive Director, Teresa Maxwell at 253.571.1114 or visit Communities In Schools of Tacoma.
Enroll: To enroll in the Tacoma Business Academy or for more information, call the TPS Career and Technical Education department at 253.571.1126.