Vibrant Schools Tacoma (VST) is a community-based coalition to “Eliminate the educational disparities for students of color and those impacted by poverty who are served by Tacoma Public Schools”.
Founded in 2011, VST recognized the need to provide an avenue for marginalized and disenfranchised communities’ voices to be heard. VST is committed to ensuring that communities of color and poverty have input in the development and implementation of policies and procedures as Tacoma School District delivers educational services. Through a collaborative and inclusive process, VST provides advocacy services and activities to ensure that marginalized and disenfranchised communities’ voices are heard.
In the beginning of the advocacy work, the organization realized that the school district was lacking in clearly reporting data and giving the “true picture” of student graduation and academic proficiency accomplishments. Data was rarely disaggregated which prevented reporting accurate data. VST was consistent in requesting full disaggregation and after years of being persistent that data be reported by ethnicity, gender, poverty levels andspecial education the district finally began reporting the “true picture” of student success and failure.
For about ten years, Vibrant Schools Tacoma has functioned with limited monetary and in-kind contributions and a faithful volunteer base. Despite these limitations VST has established itself as a highly recognized community voice focused organization. For the last two years, VST has been and remains positioned to be called in to assist the district with community input on such changes in Discipline and English Language Learners Policies and served on its Budget Advisory Team. Also, VST is currently the community voice in the undoing institutional racism focused curriculum and pedagogy transformation of the University of Puget Sound’s Masters-in-Teaching program.
Most recently VST’s accomplishments have been recognized by local funders and the organization has been able to start to build to further capacity and sustainability. The increased revenues have afforded for the first time the opportunity to establish the first Vibrant Schools Tacoma office and VST is excited to sign on with SURGE. The office arrangements and facility amenities provided by SURGE will be instrumental in VST’s growth. The friendly and inviting atmosphere from manager Alice to the variety of office related resources (locked private office, mailbox, conference rooms, large communal/common areas, 24/7 access, etc.) will prove advantageous to VST becoming “BIGGER AND BETTER’.
As Vibrant Schools Tacoma starts a new chapter, more accessibility and awareness will be forthcoming via the organization’s updated Website and Facebook Page that will soon be launched. In the meantime, below is how to contact VST:
Kimi Irene Ginn, Director