Public Schools

Press release:

Highline Community College was selected by the Community College Futures Assembly as a 2013 finalist for the 19th annual Bellwether Awards.

The competition was held Jan. 26-29 in Buena Vista, Florida. Established in 1995, the Bellwether honor is given to colleges that implement exceptional and innovative programs in their institutions.

Ten finalists were selected in three categories: Instructional Programs and Services; Planning, Governance and Finance; and Workforce Development.

Highline competed in the Planning, Governance and Finance division. Each year, between 100 and 500 applications are submitted from community colleges around the world for a chance to become a Bellwether finalist.

“It is a huge honor that Highline Community College was selected as one of 10 finalists for this Bellwether award and to receive this external validation for the college’s innovative initiative around alumni relations,” said Highline President, Dr. Jack Bermingham.

Seven schools earn highest honor: Gold Award of Distinction

Press release:

Fourteen additional Highline elementary schools have earned certification as HealthierUS Schools (HUSSC) bringing to 18 the number of Highline schools certified.

The program, initiated in 2004, recognizes schools that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.

Seven schools earned the Gold Award of Distinction, four earned the Silver Award, and three earned the Bronze Award.

“These awards reflect a true collaborative effort by nutrition services staff at our schools, school principals, and staff at central office,” said Chris Neal, director of Nutrition Services. “The level of achievement and number of schools recognized means that many people across the district are working on behalf of the welfare of Highline students. It is just awesome to be recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in this way, and I want to thank every person in Highline who contributed to this achievement.”


Press release:

WHO: KeyBank is proudly partnering with Highline Community College and United Way of King County to present its eighth annual Super Refund Saturday, a free tax preparation day for local residents who are filing a federal income tax return. Tax filers do not have to be KeyBank customers to participate. Media are welcome to attend.
WHAT: Super Refund Saturday is a one-day event during which community volunteers and banking professionals provide free income tax preparation assistance to low- and moderate-income wage earners and help them identify their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Maximum refunds resulting from the EITC can range anywhere from $475 to $5,800 for qualifying families, depending on income and family size.
WHEN: February 9, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Highline Community College Outreach Center (Bldg. 99)
23835 Pacific Highway South, Des Moines, WA 98198


Some 150 students and staff at Highline High School in Burien were tested for Tuberculosis (TB) after a student was diagnosed two weeks ago with an active case of the disease.

Public Health--Seattle and King County staffers supervised testing at the high school on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Those contacted by letter last week were given the option of being tested at the school or at the office of their health care provider.

By Friday, Feb. 8, test results for 79 people had been reported. One person tested positive for a Latent TB infection, according to Kathryn Ross, Public Health spokeswoman. She said no one tested positive for an active case of TB.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “Persons with latent TB infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. They are infected with M. tuberculosis, but do not have TB disease. The only sign of TB infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or TB blood test. Persons with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread TB infection to others.”


Press release:

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has approved a grant for SeaTac elementary schools to receive funding of up to $2,000 for its existing school zone safety programs.

The grant, applied for by the SeaTac Police Department, will give Bow Lake, Hilltop, Madrona and McMicken Heights Elementary schools upwards of $500 towards new safety equipment for their safety programs.

Equipment will include items such as flashing arm lights, raincoats, crossing guard hats, gloves, windbreakers, crossing guard paddles and illuminated vests.

Madrona Elementary School was the first to receive their new equipment on Jan. 25. Bow Lake, Hilltop and McMicken Heights will be receiving theirs within the coming weeks.

Global Connections Jazz and Wind Ensembles rated Superior, with Distinction

Press release:

Global Connections High School Wind and Jazz Ensembles received the highest possible rating, Superior with Distinction, for their performances at the Presidential Inauguration Music Festival.

During their trip, January 18 – 21, the students also witnessed the Oath of Office and the Presidential Address, toured famous monuments, visited Smithsonian museums, and had the chance to interact with music groups from across the country. A special highlight was the tour of the U.S. capitol, arranged by US Congressman Adam Smith.

“The trip to Washington, D.C., was an amazing and inspirational experience for our students,” said Rick Harwood, Principal, Global Connections High School. “Our students were fully engaged in every aspect of the trip, as they experienced one exciting event after another.

“The chance to be part of one of the most important events in the world made a lasting impression on our students and expanded the possibilities they see for themselves as contributing members of their communities, local and global.”

Day, night security officers armed, campus officers not armed

Recommendations that could include disarming Highline Public Schools security officers are on hold until April.

Superintendent Susan Enfield said Jan. 9 that recommendations would be made within a week and a half. But after meeting with local police chiefs and a King County Sheriff’s captain, Enfield decided to hire former Des Moines Police Chief Roger Baker as a consultant to review a whole series of issues around school security.

Enfield said at the Jan. 23 board meeting that after the police chiefs’ meeting, she felt it would be irresponsible not to do a much more thorough review. She estimated new proposals could come by April 1.

A district steering committee studied Highline’s security plan and presented a report at a Dec. 12 board work session.

The session occurred two days before the shootings at a Connecticut elementary school. After the shootings, the possibility that Highline security officers was highlighted in several media reports Board members heard several pleas at their next board meeting not to disarm the officers.


Over the next five months, eight Aviation High School juniors will participate in the Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) program, which is designed to prepare students for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The students, Ted Anthony Ayson, Rocco Buty, Brian Huynh, Mike Huynh, Abigail Jarve, Miguel Laigo, Mahekdeep Singh, and Lillian Stewart, will complete online academic coursework in order to qualify for one of 160 Summer Residency session slots.

To qualify, students must satisfactorily complete ten online lessons, consisting of research essays, space-related math problems, and detailed graphics that illustrate their ideas.

Students who qualify for the Summer Residency will be hosted in June or July for six-days at The Museum of Flight. During the residency they will be guided by professional engineers, scientists, university students, and educators as they collaborate with other students to design a human mission to Mars. They will also take tours of engineering facilities and laboratories, complete team engineering challenges, and meet leaders in STEM fields.

Highline faculty member named Microsoft MVP

Press release:

Highline Community College faculty member Michael Girvin, has been named as a 2013 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP).

The Microsoft MVP award is presented annually to recognize outstanding technology community leaders from around the world that share their respective expertise with Microsoft.

“Michael Girvin is a great example of the kind of talent, energy and new ideas that our faculty bring to their work,” said Jeff Wagnitz, Highline’s vice president for academic affairs. “The Microsoft MVP award recognizes his exceptional leadership and vision in creatively applying technology to the teaching and learning process. He’s extraordinarily effective both in teaching about technology and in using technology to teach.”

Girvin is nationally and internationally recognized for his over 1,200 Microsoft Excel how-to videos on YouTube. These video tutorials receive more than 15,000 views daily.

He is also the author of Slaying Excel Dragons, a book designed to give readers a comprehensive understanding of Excel and how to use it.


Lottery winner Tyrone Curry Sr. could have been a winner again.

But this time he blocked himself.

Curry was the deciding vote Jan. 9 in electing Bernie Dorsey as the Highline School Board’s new president.

Along with Michael Spear and Dorsey, Curry voted for Dorsey. Outgoing president Angelica Alvarez and board member Susan Goding voted against.

Before the vote on Dorsey, Curry was nominated for president but he voted against himself along with Dorsey and Spear. Alvarez and Goding voted for Curry.

This is Dorsey’s second go-around as president. He was first elected to the board in Nov. 2007. His board term expires in Dec. 2015.

Michael D. Spear was elected vice president over Alvarez. Curry, Dorsey and Spear voted for Spear. Spear was also first elected in Nov. 2007 and his term will also expire in Dec. 2015.

Curry is the newest member of the school board, having first been elected in Nov. 2011. In 2006, he won $3.4 million in the state Quinto lottery. He continued to work three jobs, including as a janitor and track coach at the Evergreen High campus in White Center.

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