Family and Community News | Nov. 20, 2022

Jobs 253 expands to year-round program to benefit students, community

With some washing, sorting and folding in the spring, a little seed of an idea sprouted. That seed started with Baaroc Rivers, a Stadium High School sophomore, who notices things and wants to help.

He observed that when people experiencing homelessness use the People’s Community Center free showers, they don’t always have clean clothes to change into afterwards.

Rivers took that seed and transformed it into a “take what you need” clothing drive, complete with donations he solicited, cleaning and organizing he led, and event marketing he directed. The clothing drive was such a hit that the team at the People’s Center continues to run it, taking donations twice a week and distributing them to low-income families and people experiencing homelessness.

Rivers did this work as part of the Jobs 253 program. Through Jobs 253, TPS trains students, helps with job placement, provides expanded engagement with financial literacy, and makes connections in the community. The City of Tacoma partners in funding the up to $1,000 stipend students receive when they fulfill their job requirements.


MacKenzie Scott announces donation to Tacoma Public Schools

Funds will support Whole Child efforts in the community

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently announced nearly $2 billion in donations, and among the list of 343 organizations is Tacoma Public Schools. Funds will be provided over 10 years and will be invested in expanding out-of-school supports for students. 

“We are humbled by Ms. Scott’s generous gift,” said Tacoma Public Schools Board President Elizabeth Bonbright. “Our staff members do an incredible job of supporting students during the school day, but that’s only one-third of their day. This gift allows us to invest in our community to more fully support children outside of school. We know that this investment will pay off for our students, staff and the community.” 

Detailed plans for the funds are still being developed, but Beyond the Bell programming and Jobs 253 will be the cornerstones of the investment. Community support of local levy funding combined with this donation will help to create sustainable programs that benefit all students. 


In-school PSAT for eighth-grade students in November and December

Tacoma Public Schools believes that all students who want to take college entrance exams should have that opportunity. To ensure ALL students have equitable access, the school district schedules in-school time for students to complete exams and pays for exam fees.

The PSAT is a preliminary exam for the SAT, a standardized college admission exam that measures a student's literacy, mathematics and writing skills. The PSAT exposes students to the types of questions they will encounter on higher-stakes exams in the years to come without directly affecting their college applications or scholarship opportunities.

In November and December, all TPS schools will administer PSAT exams for eighth graders. Students and parents should have received specific information from their school with details on their testing dates and times.

Learn more about the PSAT.


Read the newest edition of the "Spotlight," featuring TPS students, staff

Check your mail for our printed "Spotlight" newsletter filled with stories about what’s going on in Tacoma schools! From students gaining valuable work experience, to what parents and staff think about our new school buildings, to how teachers support each other in the classroom, “Spotlight” takes a deeper look at how we support students every day.

Visit our website to read our stories in your preferred language


"Newsweek" shares story of TPS success with its Whole Child approach to learning

In this week’s cover story of “Newsweek,” the Tacoma Public Schools team is recognized for its work in bringing social and emotional learning to students. That work connects directly to the TPS mission of ensuring every student is safe, healthy, challenged, engaged and supported.

“Now, communities across the nation are looking to Tacoma as a model of how to help their own teenagers, who, experts say, are experiencing alarming levels of loneliness and alienation,” according to “Newsweek.”

The article noted several measures of success related to the school district’s focus on social and emotional learning, which TPS balances to help students both with academics and mental health. For example, on the Healthy Youth Survey, which measures depression and anxiety among 10th graders, Tacoma’s scores actually improved between 2018 and 2021.

Read the full article here.


Schools closed for Thanksgiving break

Schools and district offices will close Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Friday, Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving break.


Three of our high schools—SOTA, SAMi and iDEA—operate on an alternative schedule and will have no school Nov. 21 - 25.


For more information, please visit the district’s online calendar at


Free online tutoring service for students

Students can use a free tutoring service that offers live tutoring, paper review, math question drop off, and SAT/ACT preparation. is for students in grades 3-12. Students can connect with tutors through chat or a voice call without an appointment. Live tutoring, 2 – 10 p.m. every day.

Students access by selecting a course in their Schoology account. (Tacoma Online students in grades 6-12 access the service through Clever.)

Get more information and watch a demonstration here.


Tacoma Public Schools | | 253-571-1000 |


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