Public Schools

Security plan set to be unveiled in April

Highline schools superintendent Susan Enfield reported March 13 that the district will present its recommendations on school security changes next month to the community for public comment.

She said the district would hold public meetings on the plan.

Enfield has met with former Des Moines police chief Roger Baker, who is reviewing a whole series of issues around school security. The superintendent said the breadth of Baker’s study impresses her. Enfield has also met with the police chiefs within the Highline district.

A district steering committee studied Highline’s security department and presented a report at a Dec. 12 board study session. That was two days before a gunman killed 20 students at a Connecticut elementary school. The timing fueled public alarm over possible changes.

At the March 13 board meeting, Enfield said the district wants to develop a security model that other districts will adopt.


I am very concerned about the huge dropout rate in America’s urban school districts. Based upon the research that I have done, the high school dropout rate can be traced directly to America’s urban school district’s abandoning the traditional junior high system of 7-8-9th grades and transforming to the middles school system of 6-7-8th grades.

Most ninth graders are unprepared academically, mentally and physically for the rigors of high school and as a result drop out of school.

Tacoma School District is an example of the middle school failure.
In the 2006-2007 school year there were 3059 9th graders attending Tacoma schools, four years later, 2009-2010 there were 1587 12th graders attending Tacoma schools. Over a four year period, 1, 472 students dropped out of Tacoma schools.

In the 2007-2008 school year there were 3040 9th graders attending Tacoma schools, four years later, 2010-2011 there were 1710 12th graders attending Tacoma schools. Over a four year period, 1,330 students dropped out of Tacoma schools.

Winners revealed at Gold Star Bash, Thursday, March 21

Press release:

The Gold Star Award WINNERS will be announced live Thursday, March 21 at the second annual Gold Star Awards BASH. Created in 2012, this red-carpet style event (21 and over) features a night of music, drinks, appetizers, dancing, and a LIVE announcement of the Gold Star Award winners. 

This year’s list of impressive and well-deserving nominees includes highly qualified staff, volunteers, and administrators.

Please come help us celebrate the outstanding Teachers, Volunteers, Alumni, Staff and Administrators of Highline Public Schools at our district’s version of the Academy Awards!

Event Details: Gold Star Awards BASH
Thursday, March 21, 2013
6:30 - 8:30 pm
The Production Shop, 14624 – 9th Avenue SW, Burien

Tickets are $15 and include appetizers, drinks, music, and celebration at this fun event unveiling the winners of the 2013 Gold Star Awards! (21 and over only)


Outstanding Administrator Nominees
Mark Demick, Principal, Chinook Middle School
Diana Garcia, Principal, Cascade Middle School
Deborah Holcomb, Principal, Southern Heights Elementary School


Press release:

Highline Public Schools has received two years of funding to update the physical education (PE) program for students, as part of the King County Community Transformation Grant, (CTG). The $36,000 grant will fund high quality PE programs and allow Highline teachers to collaborate as they plan PE learning in grades K-12.

“There are learning standards for PE, just as there are for math, literacy, science, and other subject areas,” said Rick Maloney, Teacher Advancement Coordinator. “The PE curriculum will set out what we want students to know and be able to do at each grade level. It will also provide guidance to teachers on the types of games and activities, such as, basketball, softball, and running, that will help students reach the standards.”

“We are so pleased to receive funding to do this work,” said Christin Lindner, K-12 PE and Health Facilitator. “We will be able to ensure that PE activities build from grade to grade, and also that our programs are consistent from school to school. I am excited to work with my colleagues on this project, and I’m certain that all of our students will benefit.”


Press release:

Students at Technology, Engineering, and Communications High School (TEC) got the attention of national policy advisors when they gave feedback on an important document about research into climate change.

Comments prepared by Dr. Michael Town’s class at TEC featured prominently in feedback on the policy document. Dr. Town was approached to review the document due to his work as a researcher in polar climate change prior to entering the teaching profession.

The students reviewed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary for Policy Makers, which brings together current research, and is used by decision-makers at local, regional, national, and international levels in business and government as they consider changes to policies related to climate change.

The students concluded that the report, as initially drafted, would not be understood by readers who are not experts in climate science. They cited the extensive use of technical scientific jargon, lack of clear explanation of climate science concepts, and graphs that were difficult to understand.


Press release:

New high tech tools and software will support student achievement for the nearly 3,000 students with special needs who attend Highline Public Schools, thanks to a grant from Lowes.

“We are so grateful, and excited, to receive the grant from Lowes Charitable and Educational Foundation,” said Anne Hickey, speech language pathologist at White Center Heights Elementary. “Students with special needs often have challenges in the areas of reading, writing, and communication. Now we have access to a broad range of technology options that will help students overcome those obstacles.”

The equipment and software, purchased with a $64,581 grant includes iPads, mini laptops, laptops, speech generating devices, and more than 15 related software applications. The applications include a text magnifier with speech for visually impaired students, voice recognition software, and a communication application that assists students who speak in a manner that is difficult to understand.

A team of professionals from across the district worked together to prepare and submit the grant to Lowes.


Press release:

Experienced educational leader Jessica de Barros has been selected as the Project Director for the Road Map Consortium District Race to the Top grant. de Barros will start March 25 and report directly to the recently established Executive Committee.

As project director, de Barros and the Executive Committee will be responsible for the implementation of the four-year, $40 million federal grant for the Road Map region of Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Seattle and Tukwila school districts.

De Barros returns to Pacific Northwest region after spending the last two years serving as the Director of Impact for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. In her role with the partnership, she designed and implemented a system to achieve aggressive goals across a turnaround network of 22 schools and 40 home office employees.

From 2008 -2011, de Barros served Seattle Public Schools as the Manager of Academic Planning & School Improvement as well as a project director.


Press release:

Highline High School Avid students are helping to raise awareness about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Somalia and the Congo. After hearing a presentation about the crisis, they pledged to get involved in the One Million Bone Challenge.

AVID students will make 2,500 bones out of newspaper and masking tape. The bones, representing the commonality of all people and the strength of the human spirit, will be sent to Washington, D.C., where they will be part of a display on the National Mall in June.
AVID is a program to prepare students to be successful in college.
Highline High School AVID students participating in the project are: Jakeline Franco, Alex Rodriquez-Marquez, Citlaly Ramirez, David Villegas, Michael Devos, Veronica Gonzales, Mia Alvarez, Ivonne Aguiniga, and Jerry Lo. They have been assisted by Stephanie and Pauline from One-Million-Bones.


Press release:

For the fifteenth consecutive year, Highline’s Transportation Department has received outstanding marks on the school bus safety inspection conducted by the Washington State Patrol.

Every year the Washington State Patrol conducts an annual and a surprise inspection to ensure the proper working order, maintenance, and safety of Highline school buses.

All buses and vehicles are examined during the annual inspection and 25 percent of the fleet is inspected during the surprise visit. The inspection covers all aspects of student transportation safety, including 300 separate points on each vehicle.

“Student safety while riding the school bus is our number one priority,” said Scott Logan, Interim Director of Transportation and Security. “Highline transports nearly 10,000 students every day using more than 100 school buses and a dozen other vehicles."

“This outstanding track record demonstrates the high level of commitment to student safety of all of our mechanics, drivers, departmental staff, and administrators,” said Logan.


Press release:
Bow Lake, Madrona, Mount View, and White Center Heights Elementary Schools and Chinook Middle School are now offering the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) After-School Meal Program.
The USDA program was expanded as part of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, and is available to schools where 50 percent or more of the student body qualifies for free- or reduced-price meals and where there is a planned after-school program. There is no charge to participating students.

“Seventy percent of Highline students qualify for free- or reduced-price meals, so many of our families are not able to provide their children with a nutritionally-balanced meal at home,” said Chris Neal, director of Nutrition Services.

“This program helps students receive the balanced nutrition that is so important to their health, minds, and bodies," said Neal. "My hope is to expand the program to other schools in the near future."

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