Our Program

Director’s Welcome

The Evergreen State College Upward Bound TRIO program has been funded by the U.S Department of Education since 1977. The Evergreen State College’s Upward Bound—Tacoma program is currently funded to support Tacoma students from 2012 – 2017. In 2012, the program received notice of funding of approximately $446,000 per year for five years, totaling $2.23 million. These funds are utilized to aid and support 105 students at Lincoln, Foss, and Mt. Tahoma High Schools in the Tacoma Public Schools.

The program’s mission is to increase the overall college going and completion rates of low-income and first generation high school students in Pierce County. The program provides a number of wrap-around services throughout the year to effectively support students in high school while equipping them for college. During the school year we provide college preparation classes, tutoring, advising, progress monitoring, academic enrichment workshops during the school breaks, cultural activities, and college visits. During the summer we provide a six-week residential summer learning institute at The Evergreen State College. Students’ complete rigorous courses that are theme based utilizing integrated-curriculum to provide engaging and culturally relevant lessons. In order to assess college readiness our program administers a common assessment tool utilized by many two-year institutions to determine college placement, the Accuplacer. This assessment is used prior to academic instruction and after to gage growth and progress towards college level skills. In addition to the academic focus of the summer learning institute, our program offers evening workshops and activities to develop students’ social skills. Students live in the resident halls and engage in community development skills, focused on the social development that will provide them with a skill set for living on a college campus. Students that complete the summer learning institute are able to receive high school credit because the curriculum is aligned to state standards and developed to equip students for college rigor.

The program has been very successful in supporting students in recent years. For example, in 2012, our last cohort of seniors graduated at record rates from our target high schools. Ninety-five percent of our 80 graduating seniors transitioned to four-year colleges and universities throughout the state of Washington, and three of our students went onto elite schools including Stanford, Columbia, and Brown. This success was the result of committed staff, intentional and meaningful planning, and developing a community focused on creating a college going culture for our students. On behalf of the entire UB—Tacoma team, we are thoroughly excited to continue this work and serve some of Tacoma’s most talented students.

Felix Braffith
Interim Director

Objectives for the Upward Bound Program


The Upward Bound Program Objectives are required by the U.S Department of Education to measure performance.

  1. 65% of all UB participants, who at the time of entrance into the project had an expected high school graduation date during the school year, will have achieved at the proficient level during high school on state assessment in reading/language arts and math.
  2. 80% of 9th, 10th, and 11th grade participants served during each school year will continue to participate in the Upward Bound Project the next school year.
  3. 75% UB participants, who at the time of entrance into the project had an expected graduation date during the school year, will enroll in a program of post secondary education by the fall term immediately following the expected graduation from high school.
  4. 70% of all UB participants who enrolled in a program of post-secondary education during the fall term immediately following high school graduation will be enrolled for the fall term of the second academic year.