Received from organizers of a campaign to turn the Evergreen campus back into Evergreen High School:
A coalition called ONE EVERGREEN made up of concerned parents, teachers, and alumni has started a petition to undo what they perceive as a flawed educational model at the former Evergreen High School because they feel it leaves the north end of the Highline School District dramatically underserved.
Please sign their petition if you support reuniting Evergreen Campus into one high school again.
In 2008, Evergreen High School was one of several conventional high schools in the Highline School District rendered into three autonomous schools sharing the same campus (“small schools”) under the hope that a reduction in the principal-to-student ratio would improve graduation rates. The sales pitch at the time said teachers would get to know all the students better, which would boost test scores.
Reality has not met expectations. Instead, redundant principals, a limited range of classes, a fractured sense of community, high teacher turnover, and only 35 classes for students to choose from have left families feeling cheated. It is easy to see why when contrasted with the school spirit, sports, band, and 105 classes available to students at conventional high schools in the same district.
The ONE EVERGREEN Coalition asks that you educate yourself on the inequities of small schools and sign the petition to reunite the Evergreen Campus.
For more information, including quotes by students, demographics, charts showing Evergreen teachers’ years of experience over time, and course catalog comparisons from Highline high schools, please visit evergreensuccess.org
Here’s a one-sheet the group is circulating.
It’s the first day of the 2015-2016 school year for most local students, as noted here last month, so just a reminder to be careful out there! In addition to Highline Public Schools, in the White Center area, Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School is back in session too. West Seattle Montessori (in WC) will be starting next Wednesday (September 9th).
(Photo courtesy Highline Public Schools)
Big congratulations in order for a local teacher – here’s the announcement from Highline Public Schools:
Mount View Elementary teacher Jamie Ewing earned first place in The Henry Ford’s Innovative Nation Teacher Innovator Awards. Ewing is one of ten first place winners in the country.
The award recognizes educators who are using the classroom to inspire innovation, creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking among their students.
“I would like to congratulate this nationwide group of educator innovators who are truly changing the way students are learning in the classroom,” said Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford. “I look forward to welcoming them here this summer and watching as this program continues to grow.”
Winners were selected by a team of judges based on their original and creative approaches to teaching, their resourcefulness, and the positive impact they make on a daily basis in the classroom. Student engagement, learning goals, and evidence achieving those goals were also taken into consideration.
“Jamie is a collaborative teacher who consistently shares his expertise, commitment, and innovative thinking with our learning community,” said Mount View Principal Lisa Escobar. “He engages students by empowering them to solve meaningful problems using critical thinking and technology.”
First place winners will receive a week long “Innovation Immersion Experience” at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, taking place July 25 – July 31, 2015. The experience includes behind-the-scenes tours with curators and archivists, a teaching innovation workshop, and a special recognition ceremony.
Ewing is a National Board Certified Teacher. Microsoft inducted Ewing into its Expert Educator Program in 2013, and he was named a 2015 Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE Expert). He has also been named a 2013 Innovative Teacher of the Year recognized by the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Education and 2014 Teacher of the Year recognized by the Museum of History and Industry.
(Highline educators demonstrating this morning at 16th/107th)
Today’s the day that Highline Public Schools are closed as the Highline Education Association has its one-day walkout to protest the state of education funding. Picketing is happening in various locations now (including 16th/107th), and then around noon, walks/marches are planned – locations are in this post on the HEA’s Facebook page – the Evergreen campus is one of the starting points. Today’s school day is scheduled to be made up on May 26th.
All over the region, teachers are staging one-day walkouts to protest the state of education funding, among other things. Today, Highline Public Schools announced that its teachers plan to walk out one week from tomorrow – Thursday, May 21st – so it’s closing schools that day:
All schools in Highline Public Schools will be closed on May 21 due to a teacher walkout.
The Highline Education Association (HEA) — the teachers’ union — has voted to participate in a one-day walkout on May 21. Highline does not have enough substitute teachers to cover all classes that day, so school is cancelled on May 21.
Highline will make up the school day on May 26, the district’s scheduled snow make-up day.
HEA wrote in communication with its members, “The target of HEA’s May 21 Day of Action Walkout is the WA State Legislature, not the Highline School District.”
Did you know that White Center Heights Elementary has the state’s first Vietnamese-language-immersion program? Find out about it in this story published by the Seattle Globalist (which, like WCN, is a Seattle Times news partner).
Received from Highline Public Schools, on behalf of Superintendent Susan Enfield:
As the Superintendent of Highline Public Schools and a resident of the Highline community, I feel compelled to write this open letter. I am grateful to those of you who supported our bond measure last month, which fell just short of the 60% supermajority needed for passage. For those of you who opposed the bond, I also appreciate that you took the time and effort to engage in the democratic process and express your views.
On December 17, the School Board approved placing another bond proposal on the February 10, 2015 ballot. We are taking this step because in order to best educate our children, we must replace aging buildings and relieve the crowding in our schools. The proposal includes some savings gained from, among other things, eliminating the need for middle school interim sites, thus ensuring that our middle school students will not have two transitions during their middle school years.
As we move forward we will engage in a community-wide conversation about this bond proposal, including multiple opportunities at schools and in the community to hear your concerns and answer your questions. During the last election there were significant inaccuracies and misstatements shared by those in opposition to the bond, and I welcome the opportunity to correct those errors.
I extend an invitation to all community members to engage in a conversation with me, Highline Public Schools Board members, and staff about how we will provide safe, up-to-date schools for our students and staff. We will be inviting those who opposed the bond in November to participate in these meetings so that we can have an open, public dialogue on these issues. Our first meeting will be in early January and we will post all the information on our website at Highlineschools.org.
I especially want to invite those who opposed the bond to participate in these public conversations so that we may hear and respond to your concerns. I strongly believe that we as adults must model for our children and young people what it means to be informed, engaged citizens and how to participate in the democratic process responsibly and respectfully.
Together we will build a better, stronger, Highline Public Schools—and deliver on our promise of knowing every student by name, strength and need.
Announced today by Highline Public Schools:
Highline Public Schools is the first school district in Washington to offer an acclaimed program that gives girls an opportunity to explore technology-related fields. Techbridge, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring girls in science, technology and engineering, has selected Highline Public Schools as the first site of its national expansion.
Beginning in October, Techbridge will engage up to 200 girls in grades 5 through 8 in science, technology and engineering learning through hands-on activities, role models and career exploration. The program will be offered at five elementary schools (Beverly Park, Hazel Valley, Madrona, McMicken Heights, and Mount View) and two middle schools (Chinook and Sylvester.)
“We welcome the opportunity to partner with Techbridge to inspire our girls to become tomorrow’s scientists and engineers,” said Highline Superintendent Susan Enfield. “Techbridge is one more way we are supporting our goal for 19 out of 20 of today’s first graders to graduate tech-savvy and tech-literate.”
National expansion was made possible by a five-year $2.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to bring Techbridge’s award-winning after-school program to three cities across the U.S.
“I am thrilled to be part of an organization that truly inspires and empowers girls through science, technology and engineering,” said Elizabeth Pauley Hodges, Techbridge Greater Seattle Executive Director. “We are very excited to partner with Highline Public Schools and give girls at our partner sites the opportunity to benefit from the high quality programming Techbridge provides.”
For the past 14 years, Techbridge after-school programs have served more than 5,000 girls in grades 5-12 focusing on underrepresented communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It’s official – the Highline Public Schools board has voted to put a bond measure on the November ballot. Full details in this announcement from the district:
A school construction bond to repair or replace deteriorating schools and ease overcrowding will go before voters on November 4, 2014. The School Board passed a resolution at its June 4 meeting to place the bond measure on the ballot.
If approved, the bond would:
-Rebuild Highline High School,
-Replace Des Moines Elementary School at the Zenith site (16th Place S. & S. 240th St., Des Moines),
-Build a new middle school at the Manhattan site (440 S. 186th St., Burien),
-Build a new middle school at the Glacier site (2450 S. 142nd Street, SeaTac),
-Make critical renovations at Tyee and Evergreen campuses,
-Provide technology improvements throughout the district,
-Make capital improvements to support arts education throughout the district, and
-Address additional critical needs throughout the district.
The bond is necessary to meet two significant challenges facing Highline schools:
1. Growing Enrollment: Projections show more than 2,000 additional students will enter Highline schools over the next 8 to 10 years. The bond would add classrooms, provide space to lower class sizes in grades K through 3, and meet the growing number of students in Highline schools. Without additional classrooms, class sizes will get larger instead of smaller, and the district would likely have to forfeit up to $2.2 million a year in extra state funding targeted for lowering class size.
2. Deteriorating Buildings: The measure would increase student safety by replacing two buildings that are nearly 100 years old and were not built to current earthquake and fire code. Critical improvements would be made in other aging buildings, especially the Tyee and Evergreen high school campuses.
“As our buildings age, repairs and maintenance are becoming more and more expensive, draining money away from the classroom,” said Chief of Staff and Finance Duggan Harman. “In addition, these older buildings do not have the electrical capacity to support the educational technology our students need to be prepared for the workplace of tomorrow.”
Planning for the bond included community input, a professional analysis of building conditions, updates to enrollment projections, and multiple Board work sessions.
School construction and capital improvements are funded through voter-approved bonds. A bond measure must be approved by a 60 percent margin.
Here is how the cost to homeowners breaks down for the $385 million bond:
Total Bond Measure Cost
Rate per thousand of Assessed Value
Average Home Value
Projected Cost Per Year
Projected Cost Per Month
For more details about the proposed bond, visit the Building for Tomorrow Today section on the district website.
Though voters in our state approved the creation of charter schools more than a year ago, none have opened yet – would-be operators are going through a vetting process. Public forums are part of that, and one is happening tomorrow (Thursday) night in White Center. Three charter schools proposed for the South Seattle/Highline area will be pitched in a forum at the Tech Access Foundation‘s Bethaday Community Learning Space – Rainier Prep (middle school) at 5 pm, Summit Public School: Sierra (high school) at 6 pm, and First Place Charter School at 7 pm. The forums are explained in this Seattle Times (WCN partner) story. The state Charter School Commission is hosting the forums – here’s the full schedule, including another forum Friday night in Tukwila – and is expected to decide by month’s end whether to approve any or all of the applications.
(Top two photos by WCN co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Big excitement at Cascade Middle School on Friday afternoon – a visit from the governor. Not only did principal Diana Garcia and her students enthusiastically welcome Governor Jay Inslee, who has White Center roots, but so did leaders from throughout Highline Public Schools, including Superintendent Susan Enfield. The governor joined State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn at Cascade to talk about the new science standards. But before they spoke, he spent some time with students, asking if they like science and wondering what new ideas they’re working on. Student Ming Tong volunteered one:
He told the governor that we should be working on low-polluting or even non-polluting aircraft fuel. Gov. Inslee said there’s some work under way at Washington State University, but was so impressed by Ming’s suggestion, he gave him a pin (an apple he says he hands out daily to someone with a good idea).
To see more of today’s visit – check out this clip put together by the district:
Thanks to both Gill and Christine for suggesting we republish this story – KING 5 coverage of White Center’s Holy Family Parish School watching, and learning during, this week’s installation of Pope Francis.
Highline Public Schools is among the regional districts that joined forces to seek – and win – a big federal grant. Here’s what our partners at The Seattle Times are reporting about it; here’s the reaction of HPS Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, per district e-mail to media:
As many of you know, Highline joined with several South King County school districts to apply for a federal Race to the Top grant. I am thrilled to announce that our proposal has been granted full funding of $40 million. We are one of just two applications across the country to receive the full $40 million.
I want to thank Alan Spicciati and other members of the Highline team who contributed to developing our application. This was a regional team effort, and I am so proud to be part of the coalition that put together this successful application. Most importantly, this grant will give us the opportunity to make a significant difference for the children of Highline and the South King County Region. … Exciting times are ahead!
Mount View Elementary in White Center needs your help – and it’s really easy.
Shoshanna Cohen, the ELL Interventionist at Mount View, explains that the school “has an incredibly high Hispanic population and very limited books in Spanish for them to read,” so: “We entered a contest through Santillana where the grand prize is $5000 grant for Spanish books for the school. The entire contest is based on votes and you can vote every day.”
Go to this webpage and click the lower-right link that says VOTAR/VOTE.
You’ll go to a page with the entries – look for the student in the Cat in the Hat-striped hat, and that’s for Mount View. You can watch their video – same one embedded above here – or just click “vote for this video.” It’s fast and easy – NO registration, NO signing up for anything.
Cohen adds, “I love my school and my students are amazing -there is so much research showing that by promoting the student’s first language, their growth in their second language (English) is astronomical.”
The competition runs through next weekend – so no time to waste, vote for Mount View today!
The Technology Access Foundation‘s Bethaday Community Learning Space in White Center’s Lakewood Park is ready for its closeup – and tonight is your chance to take a look inside! The community grand-opening reception is 5-8 pm. Project details are here; it’s been 14 months since the groundbreaking celebration. Find the center at 605 SW 108th.
From Highline Public Schools:
More Highline Kindergarteners will learn a second language at school starting next fall. Highline will open new dual language programs at White Center Heights and Madrona elementary schools. Each school will have two dual-language Kindergarten classes starting in fall 2013.
Madrona will offer Spanish immersion. At White Center Heights, there will be one Vietnamese immersion and one Spanish immersion class. Half of the students in each program are native English speakers and half are native speakers of the other language. Students spend 50 percent of every day learning in English and the other 50% learning in the second language.
Each year, the schools will add a grade level as students progress through each grade and new Kindergarteners enter the program every fall.
Hilltop and Mount View elementary schools were the first two schools in the district to offer Spanish dual language programs. The first cohort at Hilltop will enter 7th grade in 2015. Highline plans to expand dual language to middle school at that time.
Demand for dual language classrooms in growing in Highline. “We anticipate expanding to other elementary schools in the next three to five years,” said Bernard Koontz, Director of Language and Cultural Arts.
Big smile from Holy Family Parish School principal Frank Cantwell – it’s the first day of school and the first day of a new program that will continue growing over the years. Holy Family is debuting its dual-language program. The principal explains, “We have hired seven bilingual teachers from Mexico, South America and Spain. Our Pre-School, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten students will be learning half their subjects in Spanish and half in English. Each year, we will include the next grade up. For now, all the students in Grades 1 through 8 will be taught in English, but learning Spanish in the more traditional approach.” One of the new teachers is Flori Muñoz from Argentina:
Here’s her kindergarten classroom from another angle:
Assistant principal Anca Wilson was conducting parent orientation:
Also happening this week at Holy Family – the annual Street Fair is coming up Saturday and Sunday (September 8-9). Principal Cantwell says, “We will be having Mexican, Filipino and Vietnamese foods, as well as hot dogs and hamburgers. We will have pony rides again this year, and we have built a water slide that I am sure will be a big hit with the kids. We will also be having a variety of ethnic music and dancing. We expect it to be bigger and better than ever.”
(Photo by Nick Adams for White Center Now)
Be careful out there! It’s the first day of school for Highline Public Schools. In our photo, that’s new Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield at a bus stop this morning, headed for White Center Heights Elementary; she’s also scheduled to visit Mount View Elementary and Shorewood Elementary. More later.