Highline Schools Foundation for Excellence Programs
The Highline Schools Foundation is made up of a group of volunteer citizens who believe in and support the core purpose of Highline Public Schools: “To create a path to success for every student.” We are committed to gathering resources from our community and beyond, to support this cause. The Highline School District is one of the largest school districts in the state of Washington, serving Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, Boulevard Park, SeaTac and White Center. The demographics for the District are: 76% ethnic minorities; 68% receive free or reduce-price meals; 21% are English Language Learners, representing over 80 countries with more than 150 languages spoken.
Inspiring Innovative Teaching
The difference between a satisfactory and a great learning experience is difficult to measure, but providing teachers with extra help can result in creating the extraordinary. District teachers are provided opportunities to fund innovative learning experiences for students through the Foundation’s Impact Grant and Excel Grant programs; the goal is to distribute at least $100,000 through individual grants.
The Arts - Not Required, but Essential!
The Foundation supports the district's music program by partnering with Highline Music4Life™ to help strengthen the elementary instrumental music program and ensure strong music programs throughout Highline Public Schools.
State funding cuts have forced school districts to institute a “sports participation fee” in recent years meaning all middle and high school students in our district have to pay to play sports. Many students cannot afford the participation fee, so Highline Schools Foundation helps these students. In 2011, we were able to fund EVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT who needed help in this area and in 2012, high school students were added.
Building A Path to College and Career
The Foundation is developing a program to connect every middle school student in the district with a hands-on experience with colleges and career opportunities. Students will be attending classes on college and university campuses as well as getting involved in technical trainning expereinces availble through apprenticeship programs. We hope to raise $25,000 to fully fund this program. One of the Foundation's goals is to reduce financial obstacles that often prevent deserving students from reaching their potential. The more successful students are, the more likely they will be to contribute to our community as adults. The Foundation is working to raise $500,000 for university, community college, and technical school scholarships.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Impact Grant program, now in its second year, is a tool in which the Foundation awards $10,000 to one school or program in the district for an opportunity that aligns with the Highline Public Schools strategic plan in a way that impacts a large number of students. The 2014 Impact Grant winner was “Making an Impact: Building Bright Futures for Young Women in Computer Science.”
This grant provides funds to help increase the number of high school females in computer science classes, to spark their interest in technology related careers, and to help them graduate prepared for a future in the computer science field. This Impact Grant funds educational, recruitment, retention and support programs on all four high school campuses –all related to computer science and information technology. This grant includes funding for: An after school “apps” club; career exploration field trips; a district-wide event called “apps day”; a luncheon with women role models in the computer science field; and hand held devices or programmable robots on which students can learn and practice coding.
In 2014, the Highline Schools Foundation awarded $65,053 through 89 classroom grants. We reach a great number of schools with funding through our Excel Grant program. Excel grants are awarded each fall, and strive to award excel grants to a variety of programs, schools and grade level. We receive grants for everything from field trips to the State Capitol for high schoolers, to books that engage boys in reading, to science kits for 1st grade.
Our students and schools have critical needs that we can’t support without support from our community. 75% of our student population lives below the poverty line. 100% of our student population wants and deserves a quality education yet college and career readiness programs are underfunded by 50%. Studies show that there is a correlation between art education and sports participation and achievement, yet arts and sports related programs are still woefully underfunded.