Advanced Programs

​​Enrolling students for the future

​​​​​Tacoma Public Schools sees the potential in every student and believes all students can be successful. That’s why the district is automatically enrolling qualified high school students into advanced programs or courses during the school year.
To help reach the district’s academic excellence strategic goal in which all students will perform at or above grade level, and to comply with a state senate bill, the school board adopted the Academic Acceleration and Rigor Policy in June 2013.



Academic Equity & Access


Only the second district in the state to implement auto enrollment into advanced programs ― also referred to as Academic Acceleration ― this will be a big step to further foster a college-going culture and prepare every student for life after high school.
TPS is committed to building equity in all schools. By increasing our cultural awareness of the students we serve, our teachers can effectively implement equity-based and culturally-responsive instructional strategies that help all students succeed.

Benefits for students enrolled in advanced programs

  • More likely to graduate high school and attend college
  • Better prepared for college course work
  • Potential to earn college credit
  • Opportunity to advance further and faster
  • Competitive advantage in college admission and scholarship processes
  •  More likely to graduate from college
  Source: The College Board

rosa-fuentes.jpg "As a parent, knowing that my children and those of others have the benefit of academic acceleration at their school gives me some peace of mind. It lets me know that the school system is truly working toward the students' academic success. Academic acceleration presents opportunities to all those students to prove how much they can achieve and excel."

Rosa Fuentes

Stand for Children Washington, Tacoma Chapter

TPS high school advanced programs


The following programs offer the opportunity to earn college credit:

Advanced Placement®:  The College Board’s AP program enables academically-prepared students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Available at FossLincoln, Mount TahomaOaklandSAMI, SOTA, Stadium and Wilson high schools.

International Baccalaureate®: IB is a non-profit educational foundation with four programs to help students develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Available at Foss High School.

Running Start: Running Start provides qualified 11th and 12th grade students an option to attend certain higher education institutions while earning high school and college/university credit. Available for students at Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Oakland, SAMI, SOTA, Stadium and Wilson high schools.

College in the High School: CIHS provides college-level academic courses in high schools for qualified high school students. Students enrolled in CIHS are officially enrolled in a dual-credit high school/college or university course. Students must meet college-specific course requirements in order to earn both high school and college credit. Available at Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Oakland, SAMI, SOTA, Stadium and Wilson high schools.


rosa-fuentes.jpg"Academic Acceleration is another way that Tacoma Public Schools are ensuring equity of access to advanced programs for all of our students. By giving rigorous course work to every student, every day, we are establishing a culture of academic excellence for all."

Karen Vialle

Tacoma Public Schools Board

Qualifying for advanced programs

TPS will use results from state assessments in reading, writing, math and science to determine which students qualify for advanced programs. Student performance on the College Board’s ReadiStep and PSAT exams, as well as grades, are additional sources of information that may be considered. Students who don’t meet standard on the designated assessment will still have the opportunity to choose advanced programs. There are no prerequisites.

Preparing students early for advanced programs

TPS recognizes the benefit of preparing students for college even before high school. Beginning in the sixth grade at select middle schools, the district’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program helps students in the academic middle prepare for and succeed in college through instruction that teaches how to study, read for content, take notes and manage time. Contact schools directly for a list of extended learning and tutoring opportunities. You can find additional support from the district's Curriculum & Instruction Department

Opting out of advanced programs

While TPS strongly encourages parents and students to give advanced programs and classes a try, parents may opt out on behalf of their child by submitting the Academic Acceleration Opt-Out Form, which is available at all TPS high schools and online.

rosa-fuentes.jpg"Advanced programs give our students the opportunity to create the future that they deserve." 
Lyle Quasim
Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective