Want to vote on the Highline Public Schools measures? Today’s your last chance to register

February 2nd, 2015 Tracy Posted in Election, Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

The deadline for voting on the Highline Public Schools proposals is one week from tomorrow – Tuesday, February 10th. If you’re not already registered to vote in this state, today is your last chance for this election – until 4:30 pm, you can register in person at King County Elections offices – KCE HQ at 919 SW Grady Way in Renton, or the county Voter Registration Annex at 500 4th Ave., Room 440, in downtown Seattle. From KCE:

To be eligible to register to vote, you must be:

* 18 years old by election day, Feb. 10
* A United States citizen
* A legal resident of the state of Washington
* Not under the authority of the Department of Corrections


If you live in the Highline school district and haven’t yet received a ballot, or if you have questions, call King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683). Ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 10 or returned to a drop-box or Accessible Voting Center by 8 p.m. on Feb. 10.

No White Center drop van this time, but there are dropboxes in Burien and downtown Seattle if you don’t want to mail your ballot in.

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Next Highline Public Schools bond measure: Superintendent’s open letter

December 19th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Education, Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

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.

Susan Enfield

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After unsuccessful bond vote, Highline Public Schools wants your thoughts on what to do next

December 8th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, White Center news 1 Comment »

The bond vote failed. So now what? Highline Public Schools wants to hear from you. Its announcement includes a few options – see the links within (note the deadline TOMORROW AFTERNOON to sign up for the “telephone town hall”):

Highline Public Schools is asking all families, staff, and community members to participate in an online survey and a live Telephone Town Hall meeting about the recent bond proposal, which garnered 59.3 percent of the vote but failed to reach the supermajority needed to pass.

Highline is gathering community input as district leaders determine when to run another bond measure and what, if any, changes should be made to the bond package.
Highline faces critical challenges after last month’s bond measure fell just short of the 60 percent approval required for passage. The need to replace aging schools and to address overcrowding and growing enrollment is still urgent.

“In our state, school construction and repairs are funded by local bonds, so the only way to solve these two challenges is to pass a bond measure,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “We need to hear from the community and come to a solution that is in the best interest of all of our students.”

All are invited to register for a live Telephone Town Hall meeting that will be held on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. Superintendent Enfield and School Board member Bernie Dorsey will ask for input and answer questions participants have about the urgent need to replace aging schools and build new schools to address overcrowding and growing enrollment.

Participants can register online. The deadline to register for the event is 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9.

Community members are also invited to take a brief online survey. The online survey is easy to access and is a convenient way to share input and ideas. Families and community members who have provided the district with their email addresses will receive email invitations to participate.

The survey is also accessible for all via the YourVoice section of Highline’s website. The survey is confidential and secure. Survey results will not be tied to individual participants. Once the survey has closed on January 1, Highline will share results with the community.

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Highline Public Schools bond update: ‘Trending upward’ but not enough

November 8th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

King County Elections announced another round of results this evening, but it didn’t change the fact that the Highline Public Schools bond hasn’t hit the 60 percent approval needed, and isn’t at this point expected to. Here’s where it stands after the Saturday night results release:

On Friday, the district sent this news release:

It appears that the Highline capital improvement bond — now at 58.03 percent approval — will not reach the 60 percent needed for passage. Though yes votes have been trending upward, it is unlikely the ballots yet to be counted will push the final count above the 60 percent threshold.

School Board President Michael Spear acknowledged that a majority of voters did vote to approve the measure. “We are grateful for the support of the many, many citizens in our community who expressed their support for our schools by voting yes,” said Spear.

With failure of the bond, the district has limited options for meeting the challenges of overcrowding and aging, deteriorating schools.

This fall enrollment is up 400 students over last year, causing crowding in elementary schools. Enrollment is expected to grow by over 2,000 in the next eight to ten years.

Bond failure also means replacement and major repairs to the district’s aging and outdated schools will have to wait.

“We will do our best to serve our students, knowing there are physical and financial limitations to what we can do to improve the learning environment in our oldest buildings,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “We will work with our community to determine a plan for moving forward.”

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Special visitors at Cascade Middle School: Seahawks players, for the United Way ‘Hometown Huddle’!

October 21st, 2014 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

We didn’t get a chance to stop by Cascade Middle School this afternoon during this big event because of a breaking story in West Seattle, but we’re glad to share photos posted on Twitter by the Seahawks (above) and Highline Public Schools (below):

Here’s what this was all about, from the advance advisory sent to media:

Seahawks players will pay a visit to Cascade Middle School, making classroom visits, helping students get active with NFL Play 60 activity stations, and providing a lesson on eating healthy while serving a nutritious snack. United Way volunteers from Costco and architectural design firm the DLR Group will be remodeling and renovating the school’s shared youth center earlier in the day as part of United Way’s Hometown Huddle program

The NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle is a league-wide day of service focused on helping kids lead healthy and successful lives.

HPS promises more photos to come on its Facebook page.

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Mount View Elementary among Highline schools to get Techbridge

October 6th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Education, Highline School District, Schools, White Center news Comments Off

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.

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Back-to-school week 2014: Roxbury speed-cam reminder

September 2nd, 2014 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, Schools, White Center news Comments Off

School-zone lights are flashing again near Holy Family on Roxbury this morning, and starting today, they are not just a reminder of the 20-mph speed limit in school zones – they are also a reminder of new speed-enforcement cameras. In both the Holy Family zone around 20th (where school starts today) and the Roxhill Elementary zone around 30th (where school starts tomorrow), automated enforcement cameras were installed last spring and are starting operation today. Seattle authorities have said that the first month, tickets will be warnings, but then in early October, they’ll come with triple-digit fines.

P.S. The BIG back-to-school day is tomorrow – that’s when Highline Public Schools get going.

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Contract extension for Highline Schools superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield

July 10th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photo from 2012)
Announced today by Highline Public Schools:

The Highline School Board unanimously approved a contract extension for Superintendent Susan Enfield at its regular meeting on Wednesday. Dr. Enfield’s contract now runs through 2017, coinciding with the term of the district’s strategic plan.

“We are making good progress toward the bold goals in our strategic plan, and we have the right leader to get our students to those targets,” said School Board President Michael Spear. “We are confident in the capabilities of our students, the good work of our teachers, and the outstanding leadership of Dr. Enfield.”

Dr. Enfield led the development of the strategic plan, which outlines ambitious goals for student achievement by 2017:

19 out of 20 students will meet or exceed standard in all core subjects by the end of Grade 3.
19 out of 20 students will pass algebra by the end of Grade 9.
19 out of 20 students will graduate prepared to choose their future.

“I am grateful for the board’s support and confidence in me,” said Dr. Enfield. “I am so honored to serve the students and families of Highline, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside all of our staff to ensure that each and every student is known by name, strength and need—and that we continue to make progress toward our 2017 goals. Together, I know we will achieve great things for our students, each one of whom deserves the very best.”

Dr. Enfield began as Highline Superintendent in July 2012. Before coming to Highline, she served as Chief Academic Officer and Interim Superintendent at Seattle Public Schools. Previously, she held leadership positions in Evergreen School District (Vancouver, Washington), Portland Public Schools, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Dr. Enfield is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and earned master’s degrees in education from Stanford University and Harvard University. She holds a doctoral degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University with a concentration in the Urban Superintendents Program.

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You’ll vote on a Highline Public Schools bond measure this November

June 5th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Education, Election, Highline School District, White Center news 3 Comments »

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
$385.1 Million
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.

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Spring Break week for Highline Public Schools

April 7th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

You’ll see more kids out and about all week, since it’s Spring Break for Highline Public Schools. School’s back in session April 14th.

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Highline Public Schools sets White Center meeting on possible ballot measure

January 9th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Highline School District Comments Off

7 pm next Thursday (January 16) at the Evergreen campus cafeteria (830 SW 116th), it’s your chance to tell Highline Public Schools what you think should be done to deal with its growing crisis – old schools, overflowing. Here’s today’s announcement:

Facing serious challenges with school facilities, leaders from Highline Public Schools are asking citizens to weigh in on potential solutions.

“Last year the community came together to set bold goals for students,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “In order to meet those goals, we must provide a learning environment that allows students to experience excellent instruction and today’s learning technology.”

Highline’s student population is growing for the first time in over a decade, and the district is projected to see an additional 2,100 students over the next 8 to 10 years. Elementary schools are currently full, and there is no room for growth. In addition, there are a number of aging buildings that must be replaced or undergo major renovations. A few facts:

· Elementary schools have no room to reduce class sizes, even though the state is offering additional funding for smaller classes in grades K-3 starting next fall. If the district is unable to create more classroom space, it will have to turn away up to $2.2 million in state funding.

· All but one of the middle and high schools are over 50 years old and in need of replacement or major repairs. As the buildings age, repairs and maintenance are becoming more and more expensive, draining money away from the classroom. Aging infrastructure prevents the installation of educational technology.

District leaders are working to come up with a responsible solution to both issues. Highline Public Schools is seeking community input on how to accommodate enrollment growth and address conditions in aging school buildings. There are a number of opportunities for the public to get more information, take a closer look at potential solutions and provide feedback, including:

An online survey covering key issues and potential solutions, available mid-January on the district’s website. This tool is easy to access and is a convenient way to learn more about the issues ahead and share input and ideas. The survey will be posted at www.highlineschools.org/yourvoice.

Citizens are invited to three community meetings being held to gather input from community members. These meetings are an opportunity for citizens to hear details about the challenges ahead, give input on the proposed solutions and join with district leaders in shaping a meaningful and lasting solution.

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White Center Weather Watch: Friday snow updates

December 20th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, Metro, Weather, White Center news Comments Off

5:13 AM: It’s snowing, as predicted, and expected to continue into the late morning. We’ll publish major updates here, including roads, transit, and schools, as we get them.

5:53 AM: Trouble on Olson Place already, per the scanner – a bus partly blocking at 3rd.

6:07 AM: Highline Public Schools has just tweeted that it’s CLOSED for the day.

7:10 AM: Metro buses are all on snow routes.

7:27 AM: Remember that King County is plowing fewer roads – although the snow is not so heavy that this is likely to be a major problem, this time. Also – an added school closure in White Center: West Seattle Montessori is closed.

3:13 PM: Metro is back to regular routes.

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Highline Public Schools seeking to authorize charter schools

October 2nd, 2013 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

As announced in a news release, Highline Public Schools is one of the latest districts statewide seeking to authorize charter schools:

The State Board of Education (SBE) received notices of intent from Tacoma, West Valley (in Yakima) and Highline school districts that they plan to submit applications to become charter school authorizers in 2014.

Charter authorizer notices of intent were due October 1, 2013, and charter authorizer applications are due December 31, 2013. The SBE will rigorously evaluate the applications and approve or deny them by April 1, 2014.

A charter school authorizer is an entity with the powers and duties to review, approve or reject charter school applications; enter into, renew or revoke charter contracts with nonprofit corporations seeking to operate charter schools; and oversee the charter schools the entity has authorized. Eligible authorizers are:

· School district boards of directors that have been approved as authorizers by the SBE, for charter schools located within the school district’s own boundaries;

· The Washington Charter School Commission, for charter schools located anywhere in the state.

Last month the SBE approved Spokane Public Schools as the first school district authorizer. Spokane is now soliciting applications from nonprofits to operate charter schools within their district.

More information about charter schools can be found on our website at: www.sbe.wa.gov/charters.php.

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Highline Schools’ district-wide food drive continues this week

April 21st, 2013 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, How to Help, White Center Food Bank, White Center news Comments Off

If you have a child in Highline Public Schools and can donate money and/or food to local food banks – the district-wide food drive’s second and final week starts tomorrow (Monday, April 22nd). As is pointed out in the official announcement, beneficiaries include White Center Food Bank – and one dollar donated to a food bank can have the spending power of up to four! Plus, donations before the end of April count for more at food banks such as WC that are participating in the Feinstein Challenge.

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Highline Public Schools consulting law enforcers for security plan

January 11th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, safety, White Center news Comments Off

You might recall the recent controversy over Highline Public Schools‘ security plan – the district said regional-media reports were inaccurate. But the district is consulting law enforcers to talk about security – here’s a news release sent out today:

Superintendent Susan Enfield and members of her leadership team met (Thursday) with the top law enforcement officials of the five municipalities in Highline to discuss recommendations for strengthening school safety.

At the meeting, Burien Chief Scott Kimerer, Des Moines Chief George Delgado, Normandy Park Chief Chris Gaddis, SeaTac Chief James Graddon, and King County Sheriff’s Captain Patrick Butschli all agreed to assist Highline with recommendations.

“We are grateful for the partnership and expertise of our local police officials as we develop security standards that will provide the safest possible environment for our students and staff,” said Dr. Enfield. “We look forward to working with our police chiefs throughout the process of evaluating and updating our security program.”

Since last spring, the district has been in the process of evaluating its current school security program and studying state-of-the-art practices and standards. District staff is currently drafting recommendations for updating the security program. Draft recommendations are expected to go to the school board in the coming weeks. Parents, students, staff, and the public will have opportunities to provide feedback on the recommendations before the school board takes action.

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White Center Heights Elementary to offer dual-language program next year

September 6th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Education, Highline School District, Schools, White Center news 1 Comment »

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.

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Highline Public Schools’ 1st day: More scenes from the superintendent’s tour

August 30th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Photos by Nick Adams for White Center Now)
White Center Heights Elementary kindergartener Roeesah Thanh not only started school today – she met new Highline Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield. WCH was the first of three schools Dr. Enfield visited this morning; for White Center Now, photojournalist Nick Adams joined the tour. Dr. Enfield rode the bus to get to the first stop:

Lots of smiles as students including Ana Marie waited:

WCH 4th grade teacher Megan Foster‘s class got a visit:

And Dr. Enfield talked with parents in a community room at the school:

Amid the back-to-school clamor, there were quiet scenes too:

Mount View Elementary in White Center is where Edwin Campbell read to 1st grader Angelita Espinoza while waiting to finalize enrollment. Mount View students are wearing uniforms today; at least one teacher also showed up for school in something distinctive:

That’s fifth-grade teacher Jamie Ewing, one of 16 educators in the nation honored by Microsoft’€™s Partners in Learning U.S. Forum earlier this year.

Accompanying Dr. Enfield on this morning’s tour was the district’s communications director, Catherine Carbone Rogers:

You can keep track of district news this year via the HPS website.

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First day of school for Highline – and new superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield

August 30th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Education, Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

(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.

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Three more days of summer vacation for Highline Public Schools

August 26th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Education, Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

Before this week is out, thousands of Highline Public Schools students will be back in class. Thursday is the first day of school. Last day: June 13, 2013.

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Dr. Susan Enfield says she’s taking the Highline Public Schools superintendent job

February 28th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, White Center news Comments Off

Just last night, Highline Public Schools announced that it had offered its superintendent job to Dr. Susan Enfield, who’s been interim superintendent for Seattle Public Schools. This morning, Enfield announced she’s accepted. Details from our partners at the Seattle Times; we’ll add Highline’s formal announcement when it arrives.

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