Equity Vs. Equality

It’s important to understand that equity is different from equality, in that equality means that all students get the same thing. But when schools strive to provide equity, it means that every child gets what they need. Or, as 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples once said, “Equality is everyone gets shoes. Equity is all the shoes fit.”

Creating lasting equity in health and education takes mobilization of multiple partners to change systems that serve kids and families. Our Community Schools Initiative tackles barriers students and families face to their health, well-being and success. Using the research based national Community Schools model, we transform schools and communities to ensure every child has an equitable opportunity to succeed in school and life. Using a whole child mindset, we mobilize partners and schools to transform systems of care for children. We know from research that health and education are intimately related. Ensuring students graduate from high school and are on track for post-secondary success is an important step in ensuring a lifetime of success, health and well-being.

TOGETHER! is currently partnering with the Tumwater & Olympia School Districts to implement this model in elementary, middle, and high schools.


Who We Are & What We Do:

Every child walks into their classroom each day with varying preparedness to learn. It’s possible that a student may be experiencing a turbulent home life, hungry, facing housing instability, lack of medical resources, technology disparity or any other barrier that might be keeping them from succeeding in school. Increasingly, schools recognize that in order to learn, students need individualized supports. 



















Find out what a Community Schools Manager can do!

Meet Our Team!

We maintain Community Resource Centers in every school we serve, where students can easily and discreetly access all of the basic needs that keep them healthy and happy during school and over the summer. Each Community Resource Center also serves as a point of entry into Community Schools wraparound services, where staff can get to know a student's individual needs and offer sustainable assistance. The Community Resource Center is the hub and the footprint of Community Schools in each building and all of the work we do spreads out from there, yet in a time of this global pandemic, we have moved all of our support services to be accessible remotely.

Check out our Summer Community Resource Guide 2022!

Learn more about After School in Washington State:

From a Time of Risk to a Time of Opportunity: A report by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids finds that afterschool programs play a vital role in turning the hours between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. into a time of opportunity for our young people, with the 70% drop in juvenile crime corresponding with the rise in availability of afterschool opportunities across the country. Learn what the peak time for juvenile crime is in Washington, as well as how when schools are closed but many parents are still on the job, afterschool programs are keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and giving working parents peace of mind. Download the fact sheet for Washington.

National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment: The National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) in the Office of Child Care offers state level fact sheets on school-age child care funded through the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Click to view the information for Washington.

Want to support the Tumwater and Olympia communities?

TOGETHER! works in partnership with Tumwater & Olympia School Districts, local churches, teachers, Rotary Clubs, Foundations, Non-Profit organizations and student leadership groups to help manage and maintain physical and mobile pantries full of items children and families need most. 

In order to continue our mission we would love support from our community in the form of donation of funds and products. To donate funds, visit our donate page, and to donate food or other key items, check our list below, or check out the Tumwater Community Schools Facebook page and the Olympia Community Schools Facebook page for updates on current top needs. 

“The Tumwater Community Schools partnership with TOGETHER! has become an essential part of our mutual effort to support students and families facing challenges in their lives which impact the ability to learn.  Our growing list of community partners wanting to support and expand this effort would not have been possible without the amazing leadership, networking, and support our TOGETHER! team provides. Thank you to the entire TOGETHER! organization for the important work you do in support of children and families!" - Partner John Bash

The Community Schools Initiative in Practice:

Our model’s integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. The approach is adapted to meet each school’s unique needs.

Many children face challenges both inside and outside the classroom. Through a school-based site manager, our initiative strategically aligns and leverages needed resources so that students can focus on learning.

Areas of Support
When it comes to making sure kids get the supports that they need to succeed in school and in life, we never give up. The Community Schools Initiative works to address the needs of the whole child by leveraging partners and resources. Some of the barriers that students face can include:

  • Experiencing family or personal crisis

  • In need of mental health services

  • Living in poverty

  • Coming to school hungry

  • In need of healthcare

  • Homeless or living in temporary housing

  • Language barriers

  • Time management


Initiative Resources:

Executive Summary 

Results Framework



Contact Us

Stephanie Lopez (she, her)

Service School: Tumwater High School

Rental Assistance: Bush Middle School


Diana Perez (she, her)

Service School: Peter G. Schmidt, & East Olympia

Rental Assistance: Little Rock & Black Lake


Our Community Schools Coordinator Diana Perez was named Laurie Dolan School Advocate of the Year! Nominated by Reeves Middle School's principle, Diana worked to support countless before and after school and club activities to build community including creating safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth, and more. Read the ThurstonTalk article about our Olympia Community Schools Program meeting critical unmet needs here!

Courtney Prothero (she, her)

Service Schools: Michael T. Simmons & Tumwater Hill 

Rental Assistance: Tumwater Middle School



If you are interested in supporting our Olympia Community Schools program, please contact:

Michael Dennis
Work Cell: (360) 819-0277

Olympia Community Schools Facebook

If you are interested in supporting our Tumwater Community Schools program, please contact:

Sierra Abrams
Work Cell: (360) 999-0092


Tumwater Community Schools Initiative Funders:
Tumwater School District
Community Investment Partnership
Tumwater Rotary

Tumwater Community Schools Facebook