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Tacoma Public Schools winner of NSBA 2016 Urban School Board Excellence Award

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Award for Urban School Board Excellence was created in 2004 to recognize the leadership of urban school districts where effective school board governance has an impact on student achievement, and this year’s winner has more than demonstrated its leadership in reshaping the academic program and the success of its students.

Much has changed since 2007 when all five of Tacoma’s comprehensive high schools were labeled ‘dropout factories.’ In just the last five years the district’s graduation rate climbed 27.3 percentage points, and enrollment in post-secondary education programs and college completion rates are climbing.

Tacoma Public Schools adopted a renewed focus on programs that are directly tied to student achievement and raising student expectations. The district expanded its summer school and afterschool programs to increase student learning time, added on comprehensive wraparound services targeting student’s social and emotional well-being, and launched a number of small innovation schools with unique programs. Preschool programs were opened at 32 locations across the city in addition to several early learning centers. The district has also re-examined its disciplinary policy and launched a reengagement center for students who have dropped out or fallen far behind their high school peers.

“Leadership plays an important role in fostering change and instilling a culture of success,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director and CEO, National School Boards Association. “Tacoma’s innovative initiatives and programs created an engaging and supportive learning environment that resulted in a significant positive impact on student achievement throughout the district.  The work of the district’s leadership was truly a game changer and one that can provide great inspiration for producing tangible results in other urban districts."

Tacoma Public Schools, Tacoma, Washington, received the CUBE 2016 Award for Urban School Board Excellence today during a ceremony at the CUBE conference in Miami, Florida. For more information please read our press release.

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