The Highline Schools Foundation plays a critical role for Highline Public Schools—we provide our students with the resources they need to succeed in school. From classroom supplies to sports equipment, from field trips to scholarships, the Highline Schools Foundation raises funds to help our communities’ kids with what they need in school.
Poverty is a significant and growing problem for America – over 63% of our student population are on the free or reduced lunch program, meaning their family income falls below the poverty line. The Foundation supports these under-resourced students in a variety of ways.
Support for Homeless Students
As of November 2016, Highline had 697 students who qualified for McKinney-Vento services. Over the past few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of students and families that are homeless/in transition.
To help with the rising need, the Highline Schools Foundation provides support for these families’ basic needs like food and clothing, so they can come to school ready to learn.
Below is a success story of a McKinney-Vento (homeless) family that has transitioned from unstably housed to stable housing thanks to the district’s Rapid Rehousing Program: Student Family Stability Initiative (better known as SFSI).
A single mother of three with children attending Highline schools in SeaTac had been couch surfing for nearly six months, bouncing between relatives and friends. This was a great period of turmoil for the family as they did not know where they were going to be staying from one day to the next. The constant moving had taken its toll on the children.
Things finally changed for the family after being referred by the school counselor for the SFSI. Since the family already had a Section 8 voucher, the program was only able to assists with move in-cost. Determined not to let the voucher expire, this mother worked diligently to find a place for her family. Less than two months after being enrolled in the SFSI program, this mother found a place for her family to live and with some assistance from HSF Partner Neighborhood House. After receiving assistance with move in costs, the family has now been stably housed for the past four months.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, in effect since 1987, is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”
Please visit the Highline Public Schools for more information about this program, including how to access McKinney-Vento Services in our district. If you would like information about donating gift cards or vouchers, please contact the Highline Schools Foundation: [email protected].
One in five American children faces food insecurity. During the school week, most of these children depend on the federal free and reduced meal program their school offers. Sometimes, the meals at school are the only ones they get. When the school closes its doors on Friday afternoon, many of these children go home to empty cupboards.
That is why we started Project N.O.W. (Nutrition on Weekends) to ensure that our students have adequate healthy, easy-to-prepare meals on the weekends. The program launched in 2014 with one school and now serves five elementary schools plus a middle school and high school.
Project N.O.W. is a program that supports Highline Public School students who are food insecure. At the elementary and secondary level, a weekend’s supply of food is sent home with students each Friday in a backpack. The empty backpack is returned on Monday, and the process repeats itself each week. At the high school level, a food pantry is set up where students can access food to be eaten either at school or can be taken home at night.
Below is a story of one student who benefits from the new food pantry:
Brandon and his family parted ways when he was 17. He is currently renting a room in a house and has a hotpot in his room. The Highline High School Project N.O.W. pantry is a lifesaver for him because it allows him to select and take home in his backpack ready to eat, no-cook, and add-hot-water foods: Cup-o-Noodles, oatmeal; protein and energy bars, juice boxes.
Please contact your school counselor to see if this program is available at your school. If you would like information about donating to this program, please visit the Project N.O.W. webpage or contact the Highline Schools Foundation: [email protected].
Back to School Fairs provide families with a fun, safe and supportive environment to ensure their children receive the proper vision, nutrition, medical, dental and academic resources they need to be ready for school as well as backpacks and school supplies.
Thanks to our partnership with the Rotary Club of Des Moines/Normandy Park – Des Moines area students from low-income families start school prepared with supplies and can focus on their education. We also partner with White Center Promise to serve students in the north end of our district. SeaTac students are served through several community organizations who come together to put on a Back to School Resource Fair for students who attend school in SeaTac, Washington.
Some resource fairs are focused on the needs of students in just one school, others are district-wide, and others are city-based like the SeaTac Back to School Fair. Please visit the Highline Public Schools calendar in the summer to see which schools are served through a local back to school fair.
The Highline Schools Foundation coordinates the collection of schools supplies with backpacks for students within Highline Public Schools. We have a wonderful company that we work with that allows us to buy name brand items at wholesale prices. We distribute to students schools throughout the district that need help with school supplies. Some of these students may be homeless; others are students who live below the poverty line.
Because of our ability to access the wholesale prices, the easiest way to support providing students with supplies is to send funding to us and we will take care of the purchasing and distribution. The cost of the backpacks filled with supplies is $12.89 for elementary school backpacks and $12.30 for middle school backpacks. You may send a check to the Highline Schools Foundation at 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166 or go online to donate through this link. (Put school supplies in the notes area.)
Participation Fees: All middle and high school students in our district have to pay to play sports. Many students in our district that want to play sports, can’t afford the participation fee. Even as little as $50 is too much for some students and it is hard for them to make sports a priority when their family has basic expenses for basic needs like food, gas and clothing to worry about. The Highline Schools Foundation helps these students. since in 2014, we have helped all middle and high students who needed assistance.
Equipment: Through funding through an Excel Grant, Philip Wallen created a Shoe Library at Pacific Middle School with cleats in every size with multiple shoes in common sizes. Students are able to check them out for football, soccer, and softball and return them at the end of the season. The shoe library will make a huge difference for the kids who can’t afford cleats for sports.
“When the shoes arrived, and I was sorting them, many kids were asking what they were for. A lot of kids were talking about not having cleats during the softball season and how this would have really helped.” ~ Philip Wallen, Teacher Fitness/Leadership/Coach
Project PROMise is Highline School’s Foundation’s outreach program in which new and gently used formal dresses are collected from our community and given to local students in need so they can attend their prom in style.
Every year, the Highline Schools Foundation collects beautiful new and gently worn formal dresses and gowns, shoes and accessories from throughout our community. Highline Public School high school students in need will be invited to “go shopping” in the spring for the perfect dress and accessories for their prom. The dresses are offered to the students to keep, or they may return them to the Foundation to be used the following year.
How can you help? The Highline Schools Foundation is always looking for donations. If you have new or gently worn dresses, shoes, jewelry and accessories, call the Foundation at 206-631-3120. It takes many volunteers to make this event special for Highline students. If you would like to be added to the volunteer list, please email us at [email protected] or call (206) 631-3120. Our volunteers make this event happen! Event sponsorship provides individuals and businesses great exposure in our community, and provides Highline Schools Foundation with resources to be able to support Project PROMise and other important programs to help students in Highline Public Schools.
Your donations make a difference in the lives of individual students and your gifts help to provide outstanding academic and athletic programs, scholarships, tools for our teachers, a rich community environment and so much more.
Please visit our “Ways to Donate” page to find out how you can put your gift to work immediately by making a gift today!
Highline Schools Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable corporation and your
donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the law.
If you have any questions, please contact us at (206) 631-3120 or email us at [email protected]