Oran Viriyincy via Flickr

Tacoma Public Schools, the City of Tacoma, and Pierce Transit have collaborated to provide each of Tacoma Public School’s more than 7,900 high school students access to an ORCA card loaded with a Pierce Transit bus pass, good for unlimited local bus rides from now until the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

The move is in support of a larger initiative called the Tacoma Whole Child Partnership, a community-driven effort to provide TPS students with quality experiences during out-of-school time and reduce transportation barriers for them to access after-school programs, field trips and arts, culture, heritage, and science experiences.

In anticipation of the agreement, the Tacoma Whole Child Partnership launched after-school activity buses for some elementary schools last fall, and the plan calls for phasing in transportation for more elementary schools in future years. In the middle school arena, the school district has provided those students with after-school activity buses for the past several years.

“We are blessed to have a large number of community partners who own the after school space and provide extended learning opportunities to our students beyond the school day,” stated School Board President Scott Heinze. “What this agreement does is throw open the doors so that over time all students can benefit from the experiences offered by our Tacoma Whole Child Partnership organizations.”