A new IDEA High School offers real world design opportunities, and 125 freshmen focused on industrial design, art, and engineering will be entering the small school in September.

Soft SkillsIDEA (Industrial Design, Engineering, and Art) is the third small themed high school to open in Tacoma.  It joins SOTA, the School of the Arts, and SAMI, the Science and Math Institute.

IDEA principal Zach Varnell taught audio recording and songwriting for ten years at SOTA. He left three years ago to become head of curriculum for an online education company.  He was persuaded to return by Jon Ketler, the founder of SOTA, SAMI and IDEA.

A new class will be added each year to IDEA, with a final goal of 550 students.  Students from Tacoma apply and qualified applicants are chosen by lottery.  Students report for an overnight camp which builds community before the first day of school.

“Our curriculum is designed around project-based education,” Varnell said.

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