Family and Community News | May 21, 2023

Major the facility dog provides special breed of support

Sometimes, the right treatment for a moment of stress or anxiety is a few minutes with your arms around someone cute and furry who’s always happy to see you. Fortunately for students at Silas High School, a new "staff" member fits that description perfectly.

Major is a four-year-old black Labrador who works every day as a facility dog at Silas with school psychologist Kristin Schuster. He’s specially trained to help students in moments of emotional need. Students dealing with anxiety or other mental health issues can get teacher permission to visit Schuster’s office and spend a few minutes with Major.

He’s trained to give deep pressure therapy, allow students to lie on him, and approach and engage with students when asked. Students might then be willing to open up about their struggles, or a few minutes with Major might be enough to get them feeling comfortable again, Schuster says.

Watch how Major helps students feel safe, healthy and supported.


High schoolers can apply now for Jobs 253 and Summer Credential Program

Tacoma Public Schools partners with organizations to provide paid work experience through Jobs 253 and offers free training from industry experts through the Summer Credential Program

Summer Credential Program

The Summer Credential Program is a great way for students to explore career pathways while earning credit toward graduation and a pay stipend at completion. Students choose from nine free training programs led by industry experts. Many programs offer students the ability to earn an industry recognized credential that can lead to employment.

Jobs 253

Current TPS sophomores and juniors who have not participated in Jobs 253 in the past can find year-round work opportunities through community partners. The City of Tacoma partners in funding up to a $500 stipend (per experience) students receive when they fulfill the program requirements. Joint the waitlist.

Get more information.

JOBS 253

Safe Zone sites coming this summer for Tacoma teens

We're working to keep Tacoma teens safe over the summer by ensuring they have a place to go from 5 to 10 every night. Take a look at this KIRO story now, and we'll follow up with families on program details as soon as they're ready.

This is a community effort, and we continue to be grateful for the support of our partners including the City of Tacoma, Metro Parks Tacoma, YMCA-Pierce & Kitsap Counties, Greentrike, and Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

We continue to be #BetterTogether.


Reminder: No school May 26 & 29

May 26 was originally held as a possible snow-make-up day. We do not need that snow day. There is no school, Friday, May 26.

School and district offices are closed Monday, May 29, for Memorial Day.


Putting Tacoma to work: TPS surpassing goals to hire local and small businesses on construction projects

Tacoma Public Schools is using the funds provided by the community for school construction projects to reinvest in the very people that live and work here – and it’s paying off.  

TPS has more than doubled its goal of supporting businesses in Pierce County on major construction projects and met its goal on employing apprentices on those same projects, including the new Hunt Middle School, and Downing, Skyline and Fawcett elementary schools. Those schools were part of the 2020 bond measure to replace or renovate eight aging neighborhood schools.  

Read the full story here.


Free back-to-school immunizations available at June 1 event; meals and gift cards available

Get a head start on the next school year by checking school immunizations off your list. At a June event, people from 5-18 years old can get free back-to school immunizations.

  • When: Thursday, June 1, 3:30 to 6 p.m.
  • Where: Baker Middle School, 801 S. J St. (main entrance)
  • Prepare: Registration is required. Click here to register.

Families do not need to bring insurance, ID or proof of residence.

Meals from Pita Pit will be provided to people who attend the event. Gift cards for $20 – one per participating family, while supplies last – will also be shared.

This event is sponsored by the Health Commons Project, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Get more information at


Tacoma Flex registration open for 2023-24, offering online class options for high school students

Tacoma high schoolers can increase the flexibility in their schedule by taking some classes online through Tacoma Flex. The rest of their classes would be taken in person at their high school.


All online courses are taught by Tacoma teachers and housed in the district’s Edgenuity learning management platform.

Students can work with their school counselors to enroll in Tacoma Flex. Students should complete the Tacoma Flex course request form by Sept. 27, 2023.


Students and community celebrate Pacific Islander heritage

To honor Asian American Pacific Islander Month, the Tautua Pasifika Club from Mount Tahoma High School gathered with students, staff, and family members to embrace their rich cultural heritage at the Tautua Luau event recently.

Students from Mount Tahoma, Lincoln and Federal Way high schools performed traditional songs and dance from Tahiti, Tonga, Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa.

The event not only showcased the extraordinary talent of our Pacific Islander students but also represented the immense diversity within the Asian American Pacific Islander community. 

Watch the Tautua Luau video.


Students can join free virtual session to support mental health over the summer

Charlie Health, a mental health partner of Tacoma Public Schools, is hosting “Summer Strong: School’s Out, But Structure Stays,” a virtual session to help students maintain healthy routines while school is out. 

In the free webinar, students will learn tips for making the most out of summer, including effective time management, realistic goal setting, and other mental health practices. 

  • When: Tuesday, May 30 at 5 p.m.
  • Where: Anywhere you are – it’s a virtual event!
  • How: Register here

Group of 20 Korean teachers to spend three weeks in TPS classrooms

A group of new teachers will spend three weeks visiting classrooms at four Tacoma schools, with the goal of expanding their instructional skills. What makes this group and experience unique is that the 20 teachers are from Korea.  

In Korea, this group of educators teaches English at the secondary level, and visiting American schools is part of their training. For three weeks in May, they will rotate through several classes to observe and learn about the American education system and culture.  

Teachers at Foss High School, Stadium High School, Baker Middle School, and Giaudrone Middle School volunteered to host Korean teachers in their classrooms.  

Learn more.


Enroll now for school in fall 2023

We're glad you're thinking about Tacoma Public Schools! In-person or online, we work in partnership with parents and community to provide education that is rigorous, individualized, and innovative. Grades preschool to 12 are now enrolling for fall 2023.

Preschool enrollment:

Families will start by completing a short application that will help determine your child’s eligibility and which program best fits their needs.

Learn more and begin the enrollment process.


Check out summer programs through Metro Parks Tacoma

Looking for something for your child to do this summer? Check out the options from Metro Parks Tacoma.

From babysitter camps to martial arts, outdoor activities and art, there's something for everyone.



Tacoma Public Schools | | 253-571-1000 |


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