Supporting Students for Success



Jason Lee Middle School, a high-poverty school in Tacoma, Washington, serves 584 students from grades 6 through 8. The success of the school—which was removed from Washington’s low-performing school priority list last year—begins with a clear vision and mission, aligned to the district strategic plan, to help students realize their potential by providing rigorous academics, equitable opportunities, and programs that allow for student creativity in a diverse community where all are accepted, valued, and supported. For its tremendous dedication and many accomplishments, Jason Lee Middle School is the 2016 winner of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award!

When you walk into classes at Jason Lee, you see students highly engaged and interacting with the content, the teacher, and their peers. These connections lead to a healthy learning environment that supports all students at all levels. Through community and family partnerships, Jason Lee provides students with access to supportive adults—in school, after school, and in their future. It takes a village to raise a child, and Jason Lee continues to build its sustainable school and community to support the whole child.

This episode of the Whole Child Podcast was taped live at ASCD’s 71st Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Atlanta, Georgia.

Listen to the episode below or download here.


  • Christine Brandt, an educator serving the Tacoma School District for the past 17 years and the principal at Jason Lee Middle School. In partnership with the Jason Lee staff, she has built a whole child support system focused on creating a school environment that is physically and emotionally safe so students can actively engage in learning.
  • Krystal Keller, a 7th grade pre-algebra teacher at Jason Lee. She holds many leadership positions at the school, including AVID site coordinator, grade-level team leader, and math department chair. In 2016, she led the school’s AVID site team to National Demonstration School status, a crowning achievement that recognized both student and teacher efforts.
  • Sharice Madison, a counselor at Jason Lee. She coordinates Extended Learning Opportunity, a program that supports students staying after school until 4:30 p.m. with a math or language arts teacher to receive one-on-one help, and the five-week Jason Lee Hilltop Scholar Summer Academy, where she works with multiple community partners to offer students academic and fitness classes.
  • Ryan Prosser, a National Board–certified teacher for early adolescent English language arts, serves as the instructional coach at Jason Lee. He is also the school’s Whole Child Initiative committee chair and cotesting coordinator, working with staff and students to implement the Bobcat (school mascot) pillars of compassion, respect, responsibility, and safety, while also focusing on positive behavior interventions.
  • Danielle Shumate, a science teacher in her sixth year at Jason Lee, where she cochairs the science department. This year, she was nominated by her peers to serve as the president of the Site-Centered Decision-Making Committee, which works with other teachers to improve the climate and culture of the school. As the creator and facilitator of the Prime Time Mentor Program, she empowers student leaders to mentor incoming students through the difficult middle school transition.

2016 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award

Jason Lee Middle School is the seventh recipient of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Listen to previous award-winning schools as they share their stories and explain how they ensure that each child in their communities is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged:


The Whole Child Podcast: Changing the Conversation About Education seeks to inform and engage educators, parents, community members about what works in today’s schools. Guests include educational leaders, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and students from around the globe who share their insights about sound education policies and practices that ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.