Henry Foss High School

Henry Foss High School
Henry Foss High School
Established 1973
Type Public secondary
Principal Thu Ament
Faculty 140
Students 1,760 (2006)
Grades 9-12
Location 2112 South Tyler St.,
Tacoma, Washington,, USA

Green, Gold, White

Mascot Falcons
Yearbook Calypso
Newspaper Foss Focus
Website Henry Foss High School

Henry Foss High School is a high school in Tacoma, Washington. It opened in 1973. It is a part of the Tacoma Public School District. The school is named after Henry Foss, a civic leader and tugboat tycoon in Tacoma.



In 1982, Foss became the first school in Washington State to introduce the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program[1].

In the fall of 1987, the school population nearly doubled, with the change of the Tacoma School District going to a 4-year high school program as opposed to the three as was in the past. Foss had experienced major growing pains, adding many trailer buildings throughout the campus, in order to accommodate the additional population.

At the start of the year, each student is assigned a "Team", based on that students strengths, "Team-A", was primarily those students who were in accelerated college prep programs such as the I.B. Program. The average student was assigned to "Team-B". "Team-C" was mainly for those students, that had difficulty learning. "Team-9" was the newest addition to the Team format, to accommodate incoming Freshman class.

In the spring of 2001, the school was selected by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as an Achiever High School in Washington State. The school received a $9 million grant to restructure college preparation efforts, and an additional $100 million in scholarships. [2]

Among the efforts funded by these grants were a restructuring of the school into smaller "academies". This created some dissension among faculty and students. In April 2004, a group of Foss sophomores threatened to boycott the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) tests if the school board did not promise to retain pre-IB honors courses in English and history. The principal and school board did promise to offer these honor classes in the academies, and the boycott was called off. However, against her promise, Principal Sharon Shauss removed the pre-IB classes and replaced them with Honors courses.


In March 2006, the faculty voted by a 60-40 margin not to apply for a renewal to the grant program; those opposed argued that the Gates Foundation grant "destroyed good programs" in the school, including the IB Program and the "team teaching" structure. [4] Shortly after, Tacoma Schools Superintendent Jim Shoemake directed the school's principal to override this decision and apply for a grant extension. [5].

Before the recession began, Nike Company offer the school district 6.3 million dollar to buy Foss's land, along with the agreement of building a new Foss High School with a stadium at a different location. Tacoma School Board rejected the offer. If Nike bought the land, they would build condos around.

Mission statement

"The mission of Henry Foss High School is to develop dynamic learning opportunities through a caring and safe environment."

Swift Classroom Sites

All teachers at Foss High School now have the ability to post assignments, projects, grades, and other important necessities online. These websites use the SWIFT program. [6]


  • Student Population - 1,240
2008 Senior Class - 260
Males - 50%
Females - 50%
African-Americans - 31.1%
Caucasians - 36.3%
Native Americans - 2.2%
Hispanic - 8.6%
Asian - 21.4%
  • Faculty - 110
  • Administrators - 4
  • School Conference - West Central, District 3, Narrows League, Bridge Division
  • School Mascot - Falcons
  • School Colors - Green/Gold

Notable alumni

  • Brent Goulet, professional soccer player
  • Jeff Taylor, author of 50 Hikes In and Around Tuscany
  • Jason Tanz, author of Other People's Property; A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America
  • Lia Bardeen, Contestant on Top Chef Season 3
  • George Williams, 2x olympic team alternate in greco roman wrestling
  • Jesse Jones, KING 5 Reporter
  • Todd Milles, Sports Writer, Tacoma News Tribune
  • Robyn Lattaker-Johnson, BET Vice President of Program Development
  • Eduardo M. Penalver, Rhodes Scholar and Professor of Law, Cornell University
  • Thu Ament, Former Principal of Henry Foss High School
  • Peter Gortner, Director NATO Information Operations, NATO School
  • Jo Koy, Stand-up Comic, often a panelist on E!'s late night show Chelsea Lately.

Alumni Outreach

Henry Foss High School has an unofficial alumni newsletter titled "Wingspan: Falcons Take Flight" established in 2003.


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