Boze Elementary School


​​Partnership brings science, technology, engineering, art and math focus

Classes at Boze Elementary School look different this year. 
In September, the school started a partnership with the Technology Access Foundation (TAF), a local nonprofit dedicated to helping students access a science, technology, engineering and math education preparing them for college-level study and professional roles in those fields. 
Through that partnership Boze transitions to a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) school and becomes the districts 15th innovative school​, a designation for schools that fuse a unique learning approach into the total school environment. 
“We want to innovate,” said Boze Principal Arron Wilkins. “It’s crucial that what our students get in their education is world class.”  
The five-year partnership results from TAF’s mission to bring high-quality STEM education to underserved, low-income communities and Tacoma Public Schools’ commitment to expanding its innovative school options to all areas of the city.

Robots, videos and more

As a STEAM school, Boze teachers now shape their classes around project-based learning, which gives students more freedom to work in teams on projects that interest them—and incorporate STEAM applications.
Boze students previewed some of the new STEAM activities at the annual back-to-school barbeque in September. Inside the gym, small robots on wheels sat on tables lined with colorful hexagonal tiles. Students took turns giving programming commands to the robots to guide them around the hexagons. 
Parents and students gathered around poster boards showing each grade level’s focus projects for the year. Projects involve guest speakers, conducting research and creating products such as videos. 
​Boze first-grade students Julian Gonzalez, Savannah Halverson and Jonathan 
Lakjohn take turns giving programming commands to robots.
For example, fourth grade students will study past natural disasters to learn how they affected local populations and how towns prepared. Engineers will evaluate structures built by students, and kids will create videos explaining how the Boze community can prepare for a disaster. 
Parent Jessica Santana listened to instructional coaches (teachers of teachers) talk about the projects her second- and fourth-grade children will complete this year. She appreciated their request for community members to get involved by volunteering or referring experts to serve as guest speakers. 
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I love the fact that this is a community-based program and they are encouraging the community to come into the classroom. I’m excited for our kids to learn about science, which I consider an area where our nation is hurting.” 


Professionals such as scientists, engineers and innovators in STEM hold some of the country’s most crucial jobs – yet a relatively small number of students plan to pursue those careers. 
In Washington, studies show increasing demand for STEM jobs, but not enough workers qualify for the high-skilled, high-paying positions. The state has at least 25,000 unfilled STEM and health care jobs due to a lack of skilled workers. Analysts predict the number will rise, according to the office of the governor. Nationally, President Obama set a priority of increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these key fields. 

​STEAM education at Boze promotes
project-based learning.
Boze purposefully added art to its STEM emphasis, at the request of teachers, to ensure another way to appeal to students’ interests.
“We want to make sure there’s balance in the arts and that all students and teachers’ passions can come through,” Wilkins said.  
What is TAF?
Technology Access Foundation runs an award-winning STEM school in Federal Way and helps other schools use their model to establish similar programs. 
The organization focuses on providing a STEM education to students of color and those from low-income backgrounds, demographics often underrepresented in STEM fields.  
TAF will provide two full-time instructional coaches who will work with and provide support to Boze teachers as they make the transition. Boze staff attended a four-day TAF training this summer to learn more about integrating project-based learning into their classrooms. 
“We’re delivering a form of academics where the kids are engaged and doing a lot of contributing. It makes the learning authentic and relevant,” said Chris Alejano, TAF director of education. “We’re excited to partner with the Boze staff that’s already working hard at this.” 

How to participate

To volunteer with STEAM project-based learning at Boze, contact the main office at 253-571-4688.

Get to know Boze     

Innovation Model: Boze teachers shape their classes around project-based learning, which gives students more freedom to work in teams on projects that interest them—and incorporate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) applications. 

Students best served: STEAM benefits every child enrolled at Boze. Every class completes projects which students present to the community.

Grades: Preschool through fifth grade. 

Students: 381

Teacher training: Boze teachers partner with the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) for training and TAF provides two instructional coaches (teachers of teachers) to help implement project-based STEAM learning.

School report card

School Web site

Related links:

Technology Access Foundation

School Insider: Boze STEAM

Designated Innovative School - Washington State