We envision a future where all students can participate in high quality educational experiences that develop their unique passions so they become life long learners, thinkers, creators, and activists.

Our approach to transforming education stems from our four pillars – community, balance, thinking, and empathy. Our pillars create our schools’ culture, and bring focus and purpose to all our programs.

Community

"Calculus class is located inside an aquarium, and Spanish, in the Rose Garden. Occasionally, I end up with an opossum in my Animal Life Drawing class. (Thankfully, it takes place at the zoo)." Read More

Empathy

“[SOTA practices] full-inclusion Special Education [...] It’s individuals caring for individuals. There was recognition that Aaron is a valuable person. ” Read More

Thinking

"SOTA did many things for my life, but the greatest gift they gave me was encouraging me to think out of the box. [...] You may not know how, but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn along the way." Read More

Balance

“You have to show students the competing interests [...] and be explicit about the tensions. Most scenarios are both/and, not either/or. [...] two things can be simultaneously true and you have to deal with that complexity.” Read More


In Our Element Blog

In the News

Feel like an overachiever? Here are 12 teens who put you to shame

We ask high schools from around the South Sound to send us the names of students who are standouts in everything from academics to sports, leadership to community service. Many excel in multiple categories. Others have overcome personal and family problems on the way to graduation.

Tacoma students to study humpback whale carcasses

Kajsa Bloyd, a high school junior, immediately said yes when her teacher asked if she'd like to be involved in an ambitious project - chopping up, burying, digging up, and then studying the carcass of a dead humpback whale. "I'm really pumped," said Bloyd, who said she wants to be a marine mammal veterinarian.