What's new at the Center for Strong Schools

November 2016

Four Tacoma Public Schools placed in the top five percent of Washington schools for showing continuous improvements in academic achievement in 2016. Get the whole story in the board recognition report.

The Whole Child Initiative turns the tables on school discipline - Mood meters, music and motivational techniques used in the classroom to increase learning and decrease suspensions at Tacoma's First Creek Middle School.

Tacoma's Franklin Elementary School has embarked on an innovative pilot program to improve academic outcomes and reduce discipline referrals. Positive Behavior and Supports (PBS) is a positive, proactive approach to dealing with behavior.

October 2016

Congratulations, Tacoma Public Schools! Supt. Carla Santorno and the Tacoma Public School Board announce record high 85 percent graduation rate for the class of 2016.

September 2016

Tacoma continues to transform! Four Tacoma schools earned the 2016 ‘School of Distinction’ award. Wilson High School is the only school in the state to win this award for an unprecedented sixth year in a row.

Check this out! School climate and discipline data show the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative is transforming schools and the lives of youth. Learn more in this edition of School Insider.

Curious to know how well the The Tacoma Whole Child Initiative is working? Check out the video below. Mount Tahoma high school has reduced student suspension rates more than 60 percent over the last school year! Tacoma Schools are much more safer, equitable, welcoming, healthy, inclusive, and positive. Tacoma is transforming!

August 2016

An editorial in The News Tribune today describes our partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. The manuscript detailing a study we conducted is in press in a peer reviewed journal.

Tacoma students were asked to talk about what TWCI is and means from their perspective. These students share how they have benefited from changes happening inside their school. Kids are great!! You'll love this new video!

July 2016

Check out this article from the Spring/Summer 2016 Washington Principal publication that explores the behind the scenes work that is necessary to create a sustainable system to support the success of all students. Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington is the setting for the documentary "Paper Tigers", a story that compels viewers into action in their own schools and communities. But what does it take to install, implement and sustain this work?

Tacoma School Board President and Former Mayor of the City of Tacoma, Karen Vialle was interviewed on the City of Tacoma's cable channel. Listen to Karen speak about the changes the school district made (including the Whole Child Initiative) that have resulted in an increase of graduation rates from 54% in 2011 to 82.7% in 2015. Karen is one of our whole child champions and we are grateful for her leadership!

Read about Tacoma's comprehensive cradle to career system to support every student, every day in the August 2016 issue of AASA's School Administrator magazine.

June 2016

The Tacoma Whole Child Initiative is inspiring other schools and communities! Read about the Scottsbluff (Nebraska) Public Schools efforts to create partnerships with community organizations with the "goal that every Scottsbluff business and home to pledge to demonstrate safe, respectful and responsible behavior. And to hold themselves and others accountable, thus creating a community culture around these values."

Listen to the Whole Child Podcast! This episode of the Whole Child Podcast was taped live at ASCD's 71st Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Atlanta, Georgia. This podcast features Tacoma educators Christine Brandt, Krystal Keller, Sharice Madison, Ryan Prosser, Danielle Shumate from Jason Lee Middle School, a high-poverty school in Tacoma, Washington, serves 584 students from grades 6 through 8.

May 2016

The Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment (PAVE) Summer Newsletter features an article submitted by Kelcey Schmitz, Director of Implementation and Innovation at the Center for Strong Schools.

Dr. Greg Benner, Executive Director of the Center for Strong Schools, will give the keynote address at the 2016 Annual TECBD Conference, October 20 -22, in Tempe, Arizona.

New Tacoma Whole Child Initiative Video: Learn how Truman Middle School principal Justina Johnson and her team are working with students, staff and parents to redefine student discipline.

April 2016

Three community members discuss the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative in personal terms. Find out how TWCI is making a difference for teachers, parents and students.

The Association for Curriculum and Supervision Development recognized Jason Lee Middle School for their effective implementation of the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative.

March 2016

South Sound Magazine wrote a feature on the recent rise of graduation rates within Tacoma Public Schools, noting Tacoma Whole Child Initiative's impact.

Tweets and Photos from the 13th International Association for Positive Behavior Supports in San Francisco, CA

Tacoma Public Schools wrote an article featuring Tacoma Whole Child Initiative inspired strategies for increasing positive behavior on school buses in the Tacoma Public School District.

The News Tribune wrote a feature on student discipline in Tacoma Public Schools, mentioning Tacoma Whole Child Initiative's work in decreasing disciplinary refferals.

The News Tribune wrote a feature on CSS's Rayann Silva.

The Center for Strong Schools and the Tacoma Public School District sponsored the "First Annual TWCI Showcase" at Mt. Tacoma High School.

The University of Washington Tacoma wrote a feature on CSS's Rayann Silva.

Student suspensions and discipline referrals are decreasing for all ethnic groups in Tacoma Public Schools. Dr. Jennifer Kubista gives a safety committee report at the 2/25/16 school board meeting.

February 2016

Tacoma Weekly article: Success brings accolades in retooled school district

Student suspensions and discipline referrals are decreasing for all ethnic groups in Tacoma Public Schools. Dr. Jennifer Kubista gives a safety committee report at the 2/25/16 school board meeting.

January 2016

Tacoma Public Schools did a spotlight about the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative (TWCI) on the School Insider program. Listen to Director of Student Life, Dr. Jennifer Kubista, and Center for Strong Schools Executive Director, Dr. Greg Benner, describe what schools implementing TWCI look like.

Whole Child, Whole Solution: A School’s Perspective is the first of a series on the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative.

Read a blog entry from Safe Streets – Mapping Change in Tacoma

The News Tribune: Tacoma schools, Boys & Girls Clubs partnership aims to stave off “summer slide”

Editorial from the News Tribune, January 18, 2016: Partnership shows success against ‘summer slide’

Other News

Safe Supportive Learning Article:

TPS Video Highlighting PBIS in school:

City Line Interview:

IrisEd Blog:

UW Tacoma Article:

The Ledger Article:

Tacoma Weekly Article



UW webpage article about TWCI:

TPS Superintendent Carla Santorno highlighted the TWCI in her kick off presentation (Whole Child Initiative discussed about half way through):

UW Columns Magazine article (wide readership among alumni):

District Administration Article

TPS Video “State of Tacoma Schools”: