Superintendent Josh Garcia welcomes students and families back

“Welcome back to another school year. For the first time in a long time, we're starting school in-person and full time. That's worth a celebration.

I want to pause because I also realize that we've been through a lot over the last 18 months. Many of us have lost loved ones or have had close friends and relatives severely impacted by COVID. Our hearts break for the loss and pain in our community and across the globe.

As we welcome students back, our school staff are prepared to look out for the social, emotional well-being of our students. We truly want to understand how our students are feeling, how they're coping, and what help we can provide them. Schools will be a place for our students to thrive, full of support and safety.

Our entire school community, especially our parents, have had to adjust to teaching and learning in new ways. I've got three teenagers. I know what a challenge learning from home has been.

But you know what? All those things we learned during the pandemic about remote learning and technology, they'll pay off, for this year, and as students grow into the future.

I want to thank our voters for approving our previous technology levy. All of our students will have their own laptop or device again this year.

We're going to build on those gains made with technology, we'll adapt and continue to make learning better for everyone.

Aside from the technology, we know the best thing we can do for our students is to recruit, train and retain world-class educators.

Before I go, I want to highlight a few new things this school year.

  • First, Tacoma Online continues this year as its own school. We know for some students, families and staff, a virtual learning environment is the best fit.
  • Secondly, I'm so excited. I'm in the brand-new Hunt Middle School. Welcome to Hunt Thunder. Hunt will welcome sixth and seventh-grade students this year, which will relieve some overcrowding at some of our other neighborhood schools and be a great option for our west-side families. Next year Hunt will serve grades six, seven and eight. I want to thank our voters who approved the construction bond package. That bond funded not only Hunt, but other schools undergoing construction and safety upgrades this year.
  • We will continue to look for ways to connect and gather feedback from you, our families. We're introducing a new tool called Thought Exchange, and we're going to continue to build out new and exciting features in our family app.

Finally, just like we've done from the beginning of this pandemic, Tacoma Public Schools will follow the orders, guidance and recommendations from our state and local health authorities. It's all about keeping our students, staff and community safe.

Those measures include wearing masks, social distancing–just like we did last year. And this year, we're working to comply with the Governor's order to have all staff vaccinated.

We're all in this work together–for our students and we know, together we are better.

Have a terrific year.”

Share what’s on your hearts and minds as we start a new school year

Media Contact

Dan Voelpel, Executive Director of Communications | 253-571-1015 |

About Tacoma Schools

Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...


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