Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) is the third largest district in Washington State serving more than 28,000 children in kindergarten through grade 12. The district has 35 elementary schools, nine middle schools, five comprehensive high schools and 14 alternative learning sites. TPS has more than 3,500 employees and is one of the largest employers in Tacoma.
The district has been a "lighthouse" district for many years and often leads the way for the state's 296 districts in piloting new programs and implementing innovative ideas. The Hilltop Artists in Residence glassblowing program is known nationwide. The Tacoma Public Schools also has two Montessori schools for K-8. We are always working to keep students in school and help them succeed. Examples include the Tacoma Business Academy, Tacoma Virtual Learning online school, Lincoln Center, School of the Arts (SOTA) and the Science and Math Institute (SAMI)—programs that will provide significant enrichment and support, including extended school days for initial groups.
- SOTA is a successful small high school that was developed collaboratively with community arts organizations.
- Lincoln Center, housed at Lincoln High School is one of three academies at the school, instituting key curriculum features in Lincoln’s other two small learning communities through work with the College Preparedness Program.
- The district’s newest public high school for students beginning their ninth grade year is the Science and Math Institute (SAMI). SAMI creates an inclusive high school learning community that provides integrated, inquiry-based experiences utilizing our natural and community resources, combining science, mathematics and the arts.
- TPS also has an extensive special education department and programs for highly capable students.
The district has a strong history of passing educational programs and operations levies and construction bond that have allowed the district to continue its 30-year plan to renovate, remodel or replace all of its schools. Voters approved two ballot issues in February. Proposition 1, a Maintenance and Operations levy and Proposition 2, a Capital levy to build three schools, as well as multiple capital projects. TPS is also acquiring state-of-the art technology such as SMART boards and voice-enhancing microphones for teachers.