The Highline Schools Foundation held its Academy Awards Thursday night, March 22 and the winners are…..Darcy Smith, Alan Spicciati, Barb Rogers, Astha Tada and David Sabey.

The foundation presents its Gold Star awards annually. This year, foundation trustees decided to announce the winners at a fun Gold Star Bash held at Burien’s newest entertainment venue, the Production Shop.

The Gold Star winners will be formally recognized at the Gold Star Awards Breakfast held Friday, April 20 at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Conference Center, 7:30-9 a.m.

The breakfast is free to attend but a minimum donation of $125 is suggested at the event.

Register at www.highlineschoolsfoundation or call 206-248-5196 to receive an invitation.

Gold Star winners named at fun Burien bash
Photo credit: 
Photo by Kurt Howard

An aerial view of the nights event. CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR MORE

School board adopts more stringent energy conservation policy

Highline School District press release:
Highline's facilities department expects to save at least $40,000 on energy costs this school year by employing a new energy conservation plan. The school board endorsed the plan last week and updated its energy conservation policy to include more energy-saving measures.

The new energy standards cover lighting, heat and air conditioning, electrical appliances and electronics, water use and irrigation systems, trash, and recycling. The standards include small things staff can do, such as turning off lights and reporting dripping faucets, as well as broader system changes like maintaining moderate temperatures in buildings and reducing lawn watering.

"The district is committed to environmental stewardship and continuous improvement in the efficiency, maintenance, and operations of all our systems," says Andrea Johnson, Executive Director of Facilities Services. "We expect all staff, students, and community users to conserve resources."


Highline Community College's alumni and operations contribute $248.4 million to King County's economy every year, according to an economic impact study commissioned by the college.

Completed by an outside consultant, the report shows that Highline, whose main campus is in Des Moines, supports King County's economy through college operations, additional revenues from skilled alumni, and spending by international students while living in the region.

"The economic impact study offers a compelling argument that investing in Highline Community College and in higher education is a wise business decision," said President Dr. Jack Bermingham. "I hope that others take note of our significant contributions to the local community and economy."

Earlier this month, college administrators announced they would cut 22 jobs and some academic classes in response to a $1.86 million reduction in funding.

The skills obtained by the college's former students have the greatest impact on King County's economy, contributing $210.5 million annually from alumni's higher earnings and increased output for local businesses.


The budget director for Highline Public Schools has issued a "call to arms" to community members asking them to contact state legislators protesting proposed steep cuts in school funding.

"Legislators don't want to hear from administrators or teachers," business services executive director Susan Smith Leland declared at the April 13 school board meeting. "They want to hear from families and community members. They want to hear from the grassroots.

"We need your help."

She promised, "We will let the community know how they can communicate with the Legislature."

Leland was reacting to separate education budget proposals from Gov. Chris Gregoire, House members and Senate members.

She was particularly upset by the state Senate budget unveiled April 12 that included a 3 percent cut in teacher pay and a plan to take funding from school districts when students skip school.

Leland noted the 3 percent reduction proposal "blew us out of the water." The proposal is unprecedented in her 26 years working in school districts, according to Leland.


Sili Savusa was selected by her fellow board members on Jan. 5 to serve as president of the Highline School Board for 2011.
Angelica Alvarez was chosen as vice president.
Savusa, who replaced Bernie Dorsey as president, was vice president of the board in 2010. She was initially elected to the board in November 2007.
Alvarez was first elected to the board in November 2009.


Sili Savusa was selected by her fellow board members on Jan. 5 to serve as president of the Highline School Board for 2011.
Angelica Alvarez was chosen as vice president.
Savusa, who replaced Bernie Dorsey as president, was vice president of the board in 2010. She was initially elected to the board in November 2007.
Alvarez was first elected to the board in November 2009.


Highline Community College is bringing controversial 1960s activist Bill Ayers to its Des Moines campus as part of the college’s 19th annual commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Ayers will be speak Thursday, Jan. 20 at 11 a.m. in the Highline Student Union Building (Building 8) in the Mt. Constance and Mt. Olympus rooms. His topic is “Education for Democracy: School Reform and the Legacy of Martin Luther King.” His talk will be followed by a question and answer session at noon.
Ayers is a retired professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He formerly held the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar.
But it was his activism in the 1960s and 1970s that made him an issue in the 2008 Presidential campaign.
Some charged that candidate Barack Obama had been too close to Ayers, a fellow Chicago resident.
In 1969, Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground, a self-identified radical group opposed to U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The group was tied to the bombing of public buildings during the 1960s and 1970s.
Ayers is married to Bernardine Dohrn, another former Weather group leader.


Nine works by students of the Ballard High School Video Production Program have been named semi-finalists for the 15th Annual Derek Freese High School Film & Video Festival. 

This prestigious festival draws competition from high school filmmakers throughout the nation and is judged by professors from Temple University's renowned film school, acclaimed filmmakers, and members of the Derek Freese Foundation.

“I’m really proud of them especially because the school is particularly known for its documentaries and six of our films are documentaries,” said teacher Matt Lawrence.

“Nine out of the 31 films selected as semi-finalists are from Ballard. I’m like ‘Wow!’ that’s really flattering.”

The jury is currently selecting finalists and will make an announcement next week.  

“If we look at the record, students from our program have taken prizes in the past so it’s certainly possible that we’ll win something,” Lawrence said.

Ballard High video students have been finalists in this festival every year since they began entering in 2004.  

Nine Ballard High films named semi-finalists at national film festival
Photo credit: 
Matt Lawrence

Nine student films named semi-finalists.

Two local students and current Small Faces Child Development Center staff were announced Sept. 27 as the winners of the first-ever Lynn B. Wirta Scholarships by the Wirta Scholarship Committee. Jane Pendras-Verdon and Kelsey Gray will receive scholarships in the amount of $500 each.

Pendras-Verdon, the winner of the Alumni Scholarship, attended Small Faces as a child and is currently enrolled at North Seattle Community College. She is also an assistant teacher in the Mountain Room at Small Faces.

“Jane is a natural," according to a Small Faces press release. "Her demeanor in the classroom coupled with her ability to focus on task is an example for everyone who works at Small Faces. She is such an asset to Small Faces, as well as the greater Seattle early childhood community.”

Gray, also a student at North Seattle Community College, received the Staff Scholarship. She is an associate teacher in Big Kids and Kangaroo Room at Small Faces.

Local students win first-ever Lynn B. Wirta Scholarships
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Lynn B. Wirta

Jane Pendras-Verdon and Kelsey Gray, North Seattle Community College students and staff members at Crown Hill's Small Faces Child Development Center, won the first-ever Lynn B. Wirta Scholarships Sept. 27.

News conference set for Sept. 15 in White Center at Educare Early Learning Center

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer and Normandy Park Police Chief Rick Kieffer will hold a news conference at the Educare Early Learning Center 625 SW 100th St. in White Center on Wednesday September 15, 2010 at 10 a.m. to release a report showing that investing more in voluntary, high-quality early learning programs not only reduces crime over the long run but also saves millions of dollars in the state’s education budget in the short term.

The report shows that investments in early learning programs can reduce the need for special education placements and other K-12 education expenses as children advance to later grades.

The law enforcement leaders will call on Sen. Patty Murray to press for a shift from a K-through-12 education model to a preschool-through-12 approach, as Congress rewrites portions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, called the No Child Left Behind Act in its last renewal.

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