Burien, WA – December 16, 2013 – The Highline Schools Foundation recently awarded $48,675 through 77 classroom grants at 35 different schools in the Highline School District. “The grant applications were more thoughtful and innovative than ever,” said Ashley Fosberg, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Applicants put a great deal of effort into making sure their ideas aligned with the Highline Public Schools Strategic Plan—were impressed and inspired! We’re so thrilled to be able to help classrooms and programs with more grant dollars than ever before. We owe a lot of gratitude to our community for supporting our events, and to the Foundation board for their excellent leadership,” Fosberg added.
Some of the grants were given out via the Foundation’s “Prize Patrol”—surprise visits by Foundation Trustees to staff meetings, classrooms and assemblies during which the checks are presented to excited and deserving district staff.
The Foundation’s Excel Grant program was created to support classroom innovation in our district, and to provide teachers resources they need to help our students be successful! An Excel Grant is an award of up to $1,000 for a specific project. The Foundation applauds each teacher’s dedication to providing the best possible education for our students. The Grant Review Committee (comprised of Foundation Trustees) had the challenging task of selecting the most worthwhile and innovative projects, while also spreading the grant awards district-wide.
Some of this year’s grants recipients:
Starting Chinook’s Science Olympiad Team! “We have the motivated students and several interested teachers and community mentors, including a mentoring partnership with Aviation High School. What we are missing, however, are materials to get our program off the ground. Many of the other teams in the competition have had years of time and PTA money to build large collections of books for studying, chemicals for testing and tools and materials for building that we do not have. We are left with an Internet connection and a few old textbooks from our classes. We feel that with the funds provided by the Excel Grant, we can give our students the materials they deserve to push their thinking and turn their dreams of being an engineer, doctor, scientist, or whatever it may be into more of a reality. – Shawn Connolly, Chinook Middle School
Books for New Language Arts Program I have found that New Start students are very engaged by a particular series called Next Text which is published by McDougal Littel. These books are retellings of classic works of literature created for the reluctant reader. Books such as The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Odyssey which are much too difficult in their regular form are easily read and thoroughly enjoyed by all the students due to the universal themes and human experience that the characters in these stories endure. Students who were once intimidated by Shakespeare are able to read and perform scenes from “Romeo and Juliet.” The students are engaged and are excited about this literature. They even talk about it outside the classroom because these works cross all social, economic and cultural boundaries. In short, the students can relate.” – Tamara Nedell, New Start High School
Collaboration is Motivation to Practice! My middle school has developed a new focus on developing grit – the ability to persevere and be resilient. I have a new ‘Wall of Fame’ on my class website where I can celebrate students who demonstrate grit in class each week. I’d love to add an additional motivator for practice – contact with college students who will give us feedback on our instrumental skills. A Surface 2 Tablet and a wireless projector would give us a new opportunity to Skype with a professor’s music education class. This new audience will give us immediate, specific feedback. In the next joint class, the college students will begin by modeling instrumental skills to support my students in developing their playing. Step 3 will be for us to practice these skills and collaborate as a band to prepare for our next performance for the college students. `- Claire Waistell – Sylvester Middle School
The Highline Schools Foundation for Excellence was established in 1999 with the purpose of providing community resources to help Highline Public Schools succeed. We believe that by helping to enrich the classroom and school experience, we can engage students to reach a higher level of learning, and the entire community will benefit. The Foundation is governed by a dedicated group of volunteer Trustees and is the only 501(c)(3) organization supporting all Highline Public Schools.