The Highline Schools Foundation recently awarded $48,675 through 77 classroom grants at 35 different schools in Highline Public Schools. Photos can be found on the Foundation’s Facebook page. As the teachers final reports come in, we will be some adding pictures below and posting stories to our blog.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Academy for Citizenship and Empowerment
ACE Ukulele Orchestra
Caryn Kupferman – Academy for Citizenship and Empowerment
I teach at ACE high school, where many of our students live in poverty and are at-risk for dropping out. I continually seek ways to reach out to students and strengthen their connection to our school community. Although it’s widely known that studying music helps students academically, ACE offers no music classes. I want to do something to change this. I believe that all students should have access to music education; in the same way they have access to athletics. Our neighbor school on campus, Global Connections, offers Band as a credit course and a Jazz Band before school. ACE students deserve a music program, too! This grant request is to support the formation of the Ace Ukulele Orchestra. The ukulele is traditional instrument from the Pacific Islander culture. It is easy to learn, portable, and less expensive than the guitar. This after-school program will offer students the ability learn an instrument, hone their talents, collaborate with others, and develop school pride. It can be a respite from the stressful world our students live in, and a space that nurtures camaraderie and connections. The challenge that comes with learning how to play an instrument creates life-long habits of perseverance and commitment. A recent report from Boston College School of Psychology states: “Involvement in after-school arts was positively related to academic achievement only for those children who also reported access to a musical instrument. Access to a musical instrument predicted academic achievement independently of socioeconomic status.” ~ Laura N. Young*, Sara Cordes and Ellen Winner, Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA
Arts & Academics Academy
Collaborating with Institute for Systems Biology to incorporate hands-on STEM Learning and Equipment in High School Science Classrooms
Ina Shepard – Arts & Academics Academy
Teachers on the Evergreen Campus, AAA, TEC, and HS3 have taught and modified units that give students real-world experiences to better understand ecosystems. At AAA, students studied the optimum salinity of halobacteria using the organisms halobacteria, micropipettes, and photometers. At HS3 and TEC students studied how the world’s oceans are becoming more acidic. Students have learned that we can do labs in the classroom that are very similar to the real work of scientists at the Institute of Systems Biology. With these labs, students can work with expensive equipment, just like the scientists do. This responsibility of equipment excites students and engages them, because they take the work very seriously. The learning opportunity for students is interesting because their results help explain how and why ecosystems respond to many human caused disturbances. This connects closely to several of the required state and national learning standards and leads to higher level learning (i.e. critical thinking, problem-solving, and systems thinking). During their work with this curriculum, students create hypotheses and then test and analyze their data. Micropipettes, photometers, and other biotechnical equipment enable these experiences and also lead to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce skills. These opportunities are interesting to students because they are relevant, new, and exciting.
Beverly Park Elementary
Kindergarten Physical Education Equipment
Heidi Jacobson – Beverly Park Elementary
I am requesting the funding for Kindergarten jump ropes so that our kindergarteners will have a right size jump rope. At Beverly Park, we work really hard that our students have a hands on experience with many types of PE Equipment, we even have a ball for every student. However, when it comes to jump ropes they come in various sizes. We would like the funds to order enough kindergarten ropes for a class to have that hands on experience. There are so many skills we can do with jump rope. Not only is jump rope one of the top Cardio exercises, but kids can be creative and make shapes, letters and numbers, with their jump rope, balance on top of their jump rope, jump over and back with their jump rope and more. The ending challenge is for Kindergarten to eventually be able to jump with their jump rope and this is why they need a just right size.
Beverly Park Elementary
Jingle Bell Run
Linda Wheeler – Beverly Park Elementary
Our students are eagerly waiting for the two weeks in December when they can participate in our annual Jingle Bell Run. Many students beg to keep the program going throughout the school year. Students learn that exercise is important in their lives and fun. During the two weeks of the Jingle Bell Run our behavior referrals are reduced dramatically and the overall school attendance is up. The December attendance has the highest percent of students at school with the lowest percentage of referrals since we started the program. The students are eager to participate just for those shiny jingle bells. Healthy minds, healthy hearts!
Big Picture High School
Road-trip of College Dreams
David Levine – Big Picture High School
We would like to take our juniors on a “Roadtrip of College Dreams” in central and eastern Washington. We would like our students, mostly first generation college students, to experience life on a college campus, including shadowing college classes and spending the night in a residence hall. We need money to fund travel costs and for low cost accommodations at Eastern Washington University. Our hope is also to treat the students to a dinner and on campus breakfast with the remainder of our budget. We believe that this grant could provide an opportunity to several students to be exposed to college campuses and information to which they would not previously have had access to in such a direct, educational, and fun way!
Bow Lake Elementary
6th Graders Caught On Candid Camera
Brett MacDonald – Bow Lake Elementary
We’ve become such an assessment-driven educational workplace. In my opinion, the counter balance to all the assessments is making time for creative outlets of expression; band, the visual arts, science, dance and etc. If awarded the funding to purchase the cameras I promise to put them in the hands of students and give them the training and structure that will allow them to feel creative, appreciated and receive pleasure from.
Bow Lake Elementary
Growing a Community of Gardeners
Tracey Drum – Bow Lake Elementary
The Growing a Community of Gardeners project seeks to expand our small garden by doing just that – growing a larger community of gardeners! We would grow them from our four 5th and 6th grade classes, the primary Deaf and Hard of Hearing class and the 7th grade DHH class at nearby Chinook.
Central to our project is a tour of local community gardens, where students will visit five very different sites. We will tour the Kubota Gardens, a decades-old public park that is remarkably beautiful. We’ll walk through the newer SeaTac Botanical Gardens, now in its 13th year. We’ll admire a brand new ambitious project, the Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project, designed for year-round foraging. Lastly, we’ll spend time in two p-patches: the West Seattle Bee Garden, with their onsite pollinators, and Thistle, home to the only public cornfield in the city. By taking a tour of local community gardens, students will catch a glimpse of what’s possible. Students will meet the people who worked so hard to see their ideas become reality. They will hear their stories and get their advice. Our day of touring will provide inspiration as we look to our own garden, and see it differently with a wellspring of possibilities.
This project will engage students in learning because they will design our garden with their creative ideas. Through investigative learning and hands-on science, students will make informed decisions about what to grow, where to plant it, how to keep the plants healthy, when to harvest them, and best of all, how to enjoy them.
Cascade Middle School
Inside Out at Cascade
Claudia House – Cascade Middle School
From the Inside Out Website (www.insideoutproject.net/en/about): “On March 2, 2011, JR won the TED prize at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and called for the creation of a global participatory art project with the potential to change the world.” This project is called INSIDE OUT. Inspired by JR’s large‐format street “pastings”, INSIDE OUT gives everyone the opportunity to share their portrait and make a statement for what they stand for. It is a global platform for people to share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art.
Here at Cascade we have students come to us from a variety of backgrounds. We would like to use the idea that we all look different, feel different, and live differently but still have a commonality that binds us and makes us the same. If we can find that commonality we can be united. We are stronger together than alone. That would be our statement, our story for the project. We are both AVID teachers and would like to combine the artistic part of this project (the portraits) with writing an essay where students get the chance to tell each other about their unique backgrounds and how they are united here at Cascade. After writing the essays students would take portraits of each other. The digital images are sent to the INSIDE OUT studio, printed into 36” x 53” posters and shipped back to us. We then would display the posters on a wall of one of our buildings here at Cascade, visible for all. It would be an amazing message for our community here at Cascade to be part of a world wide project.
Cascade Middle School
Making reading accessible for struggling readers
Lisa Schiffner – Cascade Middle School
Students in the Intensive Academic Center (IAC) struggle with all areas of academics, reading, writing, and math. The majority of the students are K – 2nd grade level in those areas. Most of them also struggle socially. They don’t understand social cues from their peers. The past three years, Cascade, has used Scholastics for struggling readers. The school has targeted lower achieving readers for this program. There are two levels: Read 180 and System 44. System 44 is for the lower students and the program my students are using. Over the past two years, my students demonstrated great growth. They work extremely hard in this program. I am proud of them. System 44 uses a specific software program that is adapted at each student’s individual needs. Students are pre-assessed and placed according to their score. The reason I am requesting this grant is each computer needs a headphone with a microphone. The students listen to directions and have to respond both in typing and orally. Unfortunately, these headphones easily break and that is why I am trying to have them replaced.
6th Grade Student Compositions
Bianca Smith – Cedarhurst Elementary
This composition project allows for students 6th grade to build their musical knowledge and learning by creating their own songs, recording them, and having a CD as a finished product. The composition process is much like the writing process, where it includes drafting, revising, practicing, and publishing. I have the technology and knowledge to put student recordings onto CD, and I’ve successfully done this project in the past with the help of grants, but I have also used my own funds and some donations to provide CDs for students before that. This grant offers a great opportunity for me to do this project again. It is too expensive for me to do it on my own. I created a composition unit where students can work individually or in groups to write songs for their instruments of choice. After the songs are written and practiced, class sessions become “studio sessions,” where each group performs and records their songs for the class using my digital recorder. Students learn quickly how songs often need to be recorded multiple times to get the best performance quality. After recording, students design their own CD labels to go on their copy of the CD. During this stage in the project, the classes discuss connections between visual art and music, and students are thoughtful about their album artwork. We also discuss the copyright laws and the significance they play in this technological time, as well as how it affects the musicians and artists to which they listen. By the end of the project, students have all the recordings of their music, the music of their peers, and I would like to even include recordings from ensemble work and performances they do throughout the year. Especially for 6th graders, this will document memories of their experiences in their last year of general music.
Exploring Art with the Seattle Art Museum
Debbie Thoma – Cedarhurst Elementary
Cedarhurst students love to be creative. I see it all the time in the art they create that decorates our hallways and the entries they turn in for our PTA Reflections Arts Program. Research shows that students involved in the arts learn to think creatively, to communicate, to collaborate, to increase their cultural understanding and to increase their awareness of others perspectives. The arts allow students of all cultures and abilities to create and interact regardless of their languages or skills. I want to increase the art experiences of the 3rd grade students at Cedarhurst by bringing the Seattle Art Museum “Art Goes To School” program to them this year, and if possible, add the 6th grade students into this program as well. Having this opportunity in 3rd grade will help to prepare these students for more art experiences, as the move into 4th grade and are part of the Cedarhurst PTA funded Arts Corp program- which allows students to create with an artist in residence for 6 weeks, and in 5th grade where students learn to play music on the recorder and then go to the Seattle Symphony and play music along with the Symphony. With funding from Highline Schools Foundation, we can give students an arts enrichment experience that they would not otherwise be able to have this year. If your organization will get us started, I will look for future funding from community partners to continue this program in our school. I believe that all children need more opportunities to express themselves creatively through art.
Chinook Middle School
Let’s get guys to read!
Kimberly Meschter – Chinook Middle School
Nationally, by the time that boys enter middle school, they have fallen behind girls in reading. In the 2012-2013 school year, only 43% of our boys passed the Reading MSP (Measurement of Student Progress). Reading high-interest literature is one way that boys can do better on the MSP. Help me engage our male readers by purchasing these high-interest books for boys. These materials have been selected to apply to boys and have the plot-driven, action-packed, thought-provoking content that the guys at Chinook like. Your generous support will enable me to put exciting content on the shelf and into boys’ hands.
Chinook Middle School
Heart Rate Monitors for Health!
Reid Sundblad – Chinook Middle School
Physical education has always been a class where students are graded on participation, fitness skills and concepts, and “effort.” How, though, do I truly assess “effort?” How am I able to look at a student and determine if he/she is putting in maximum effort? Conversely, how can I look at a student and grade them down because he/she was not putting in the “effort?” How can I quantify that? The answer: Polar H7 Heart rate monitors. These heart rate monitors wirelessly transmit data to a teacher’s tablet, where the teacher is able to simultaneously track and monitor up to 40 heart rate monitors. On one screen, I would be able to see an entire class’ heart rate, and would be able to truly see a student’s “effort.” I would be able to physically see if a student was working out at 40% of their maximum heart rate, versus another student working out at 80% of their maximum heart rate. Not only would I be able to see the effort, but would now also have the data to back up my assessment. In addition to helping me assess the students, the Polar H7 Heart rate monitors would also allow the students to begin to learn what their individual bodies feel like while working out at a particular heart rate. For instance, I have had students in the past who thought that when they began to sweat, they were done working out. Some also thought that as soon as they were out of breath, they had to ease off the exercise in order to regain a slow breathing pattern. They had no concept of how much they needed to push in order to have their heart rates fall within their target heart rate zone. On the other hand, I have had students push themselves too hard and too far, surpassing the target heart rate zone, and end up vomiting, and in some cases, passing out. In either instance, students need to be able to monitor their heart rates so that they are able to receive the most benefits from working out in their target heart rate zone. I would be able to tell a student to increase their work load in order to raise their heart rate, or tell a student to ease up in order to lower their heart rate. My goal as a physical education teacher is to provide my students with the tools necessary to be able to continue to live a healthy life after they leave my classroom, and with the implementation of the Polar H7 Heart rate monitors, I would be that much closer to reaching my goal.
Chinook Middle School
Life Cycle of Plants
Rita Miller – Chinook Middle School
I work in a self contained classroom with 8 students . My students have severe to profound disabilities but this does not hold them back. We work hard to bring the general education curriculum into our classroom. We also go on community outing so we can learn in our community. In the past years my class has visited Furney’s Nursery. I would like my present students to have this opportunity. The nursery sets up a class for us and tells us how to repot our plants, how to take care of plants so they remain healthy and provide use with a wonderful community experience. The students then purchase a plant which they take care of for the rest of the year. This is a functional life skill and allows the students to develop routines in the classroom.
Chinook Middle School
Starting Chinook’s Science Olympiad Team!
Shawn Connolly – Chinook Middle School
Students at Chinook who are interested in science have few options for pushing their learning outside of the classroom. Due to curriculum constraints and class size, many of these students are not able to reach their full potential within the class. To provide a meaningful, fun, resource for these students, we are starting a Science Olympiad team at Chinook Middle School this year. Science Olympiad is a nation-wide organization that runs competitions in the spring. The competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events. There are three types of events: test-based study events such as Heredity, Anatomy, Meteorology, and Entomology, in which a pair of students answer written questions about each subject; lab-based events such as “Crime Busters” (forensics) and “Can’t Judge a Powder” (chemistry) in which a pair of students demonstrate various laboratory techniques to solve real-world problems; and building events such as Helicopters, Boomilever (weight-bearing structure), Robo-cross (robotics), sound of music (musical instruments) and rotor egg drop, in which students build a contraption in advance to perform a task or demonstration at the competition. 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.
Supporting STEM with Quadcopters
George Wheeler – CHOICE Academy
Quadcopters are innovative, remotely controlled rotor-wing aircraft that utilize 4 propellers and electric motors, a processing unit, wireless connectivity and gyro-stabilization to perform a variety of unique flight functions. Through hands-on, kinesthetic work, students will build, program and fly a mini quadcopter. Students will cooperate with their peers, learn good soldering techniques and develop essential STEM skills. Building quadcopters will allow students to explore the fundamentals of aerodynamics (roll, pitch, yaw, and acceleration), physics, engineering, wireless technology, computer applications, and electronics. This activity will provide students with the opportunity to develop transferable skills that will support many occupational pathways and will encourage excitement for STEM careers. In today’s global workface, students must have a firm understanding of the principles that drive computer technology, research and development. This project will help create that foundation by introducing these crucial STEM skills in a way that is interesting and engaging to students.
Community Based Services
Getting Ready for the Real World 2
Melissa Charette – Community Based Services
Last year we were able to open a work site for our 18-21 year old disabled students at CBS. Our students are making huge progress and gaining many viable work stills. This year, we want to expand this program to include Commercial Dishwasher training. Our students need to practice practical work skills which can transfer to a job. With this grant, we would be able to give them the experience they so desperately need to be successful and hopefully gain employment after graduation in commercial dishwashing.
To Prep or not to Prep that is the Question! Conquering the SAT and/or ACT Test!
Jennifer Fichamba – Evergreen Campus
Imagine learning that you need to take a test that would decide whether or not you were eligible to attend your dream college. Every year, I assist countless students to register for the SAT and/or ACT. Upon completion of the registration the main question they have, are there any prep classes available or any other sort of resources to help them do well on this major entrance test? Many of the prep classes offered are costly and are out of reach for students on the Evergreen Campus, which has a free and reduced lunch rate of 85%. The classes that are free not only are in high demand but have limited space. In the College and Career Center we do have prep books that students are able to borrow but not nearly enough to meet the demand. I believe this demand will be even greater as all juniors in our school district will be taking the SAT this spring. With this excel grant we will be able to purchase current edition SAT and ACT prep books. By granting our request you and your staff will have leveled the playing field for our students. Because of your generosity our students will be able to reach their full potential.
Let us read in our first language!
Joanne Glasgow – Evergreen Campus
Consider going to the library and discovering all the books are written in a language unfamiliar to you. That’s exactly how many of our ELL students feel when they cannot find a young adult book to pique their interest written in their first language. My library serves the three small schools on the Evergreen Campus, each with a very diverse population of students, many who have immigrated with their families, even more who come from impoverished situations. Many of our students speak more than one language, usually with English as their second or third language. As important as it is for our ELL students to learn how to communicate in English, their native languages are equally important and reading in their first language should be supported in some fashion. Unfortunately they currently have access to only a limited number of first-language materials. What Vietnamese books I use to own have fallen apart from age and use. With a budget limited to $2.50 per student for the 2013-14 school year I am unable to purchase many materials at all, let alone a few dozen Spanish, Vietnamese and Somali books. The list of titles, first language books, many written by popular young adult authors. This selection also serves to provide more titles from which students can choose for independent reading. Often we have students who are very literate in in their first language, but must read children’s books in English. Such students should not be required to sacrifice their literacy in one language to acquire literacy in another. By having a good selection of first language books, our library promotes literacy for all readers in a culturally appropriate way, not just those who speak English as their first language. And research shows that literacy in a student’s first language helps with language acquisition in another language.
As a teacher-librarian I support reading and information literacy regardless of the language. Having a good selection of books for teens in their first language helps make our library more inclusive of all student needs.
Global Connections High School
Kelly Egaas – Global Connections High School
The Wind Generator Project is a great example of the Global Connections science teachers’ work with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math; a holistic, real-world approach to designing a project). The Wind Generator Project incorporates theoretical background on process (how generators work), engineering design and testing, graphical representations of results, and culminates in a formal presentation of the project, including demonstrating a working model to a group of professionals. The Wind Power Generator Unit requires 9th grade science students to think like engineers to create a generator. Students demonstrate their understanding of electrical induction by working as a team to collaborate on research, design and testing of a generator that they construct. Working with wire, magnets and a variety of building materials, teams construct generators that they test with an air compressor that simulates wind and a multimeter to register the amount of electricity produced. Teams have to go through the process of testing and adjusting three times and justify their improvements at each trial. The culmination of the project is when Student Engineering Teams formally present their generators to panels of industry experts. Professional engineers come in and serve as a panel. Students present their generators, showing them working. They justify every adjustment that they made to their generator, speak about their research and original plan and evaluate how wind generators compare with other forms of renewable energy.
Global Connections High School
Improving English through Independent Grammar Study
Leslie Schicht – Global Connections High School
“Another boring lesson on how to use quotation marks. I already know! This is so frustrating!” – thoughts running through a 9th grade ELL student’s head. As you know, every learner is different. For students in the English Language Learner program, this is especially true. At Global, we have ELL students who are 15 and had never been enrolled in a school until they started at Global. We have students who were attending English Language schools in their home countries. We have students who were born in the US, but because they speak a second language at home exclusively, they are still in the ELL program. All of them know some English Language rules, all of them still have much to learn. The tricky part is none of these students need exactly the same lessons.
Our goal as an ELL department is to help students get better with language dilemmas specific to them as individuals. In one class, we might have a small group who need to learn the past tense of verbs, while another group may have mastered that but need to work on comma usage. As an ELL staff, we hope to individualize the way we teach English to ensure that students are learning precisely what they need to get better at. To do this, we need the resources of class sets of quality grammar books. Instead of delivering a blanket lesson to all, students will be grouped by learning needs. Each group will be taught how to access information grammar books that are designed for self-study and given the tools they need through these grammar books to collaborate and learn together about that specific rule of English. They’ll practice, help each other, and ultimately show that they have learned a skill, like properly using quotations, to the teacher in order to pass that outcome for the class. It is innovative because students will be driving their own learning and accessing materials relevant to them and their learning needs.
Linda Lambert – Global Connections High School
The Integrated Learning Center (ILC) at Global Connections High School strives to help students of all ability levels live as independently as possible and be prepared for future employment. This year our program has 23 students with a range of disabilities ranging from autism, deaf/blind, intellectual disabilities, and behavior issues. The students in our program are supported by 3 teachers and 10 para educators. An integral part of our program for building independence is to teach each student how to cook. We are fortunate in our program to have a large kitchen that has 2 different cooking stations. One of the stations has an electric oven and the other has a gas oven. This supports us in being able to teach students how to cook with both types of ovens. We have also created step by step pictorial support cookbooks so students who are unable to read can still cook independently. Every week each of the 3 classes take different students to the grocery store using public transportation so the students can practice price comparison, being safe in the community and how to purchase ingredients needed for cooking class. One of our classes teaches a group of students how to cook 4 different recipes during 1st semester and 2nd semester they run a mock restaurant. Students rotate between being cooks, the manager, a host, bus person, and waitperson. Building these employability experiences and skills empowers the students to know that getting a job is achievable. In order for our program to be successful for all of our students we are in need of adaptive cooking equipment and need to replace our pots and pans and cooking trays. Almost everything in our kitchen is left overs that the staff no longer uses in their own homes and they donated it to our kitchen. Very few of the items match and most have chips and cracks in them. Because our students are cognitively and or physically challenged it is important to have equipment that is adapted to their needs. Items useful to our program include non-stick pots and pans, non-skid bowls and cutting boards, special cutting knives and eating utensils, a can opener, and measuring cups and spoons. These items are especially critical for our program this year as we have 6 students who have limited use of one arm and need adaptive equipment to be independent. All of these items are sustainable parts of the program and would be used now and in the future by multiple students.
Gregory Heights Elementary
Literacy Listening Stations
Mary Saffold – Gregory Heights Elementary
We are updating our classroom libraries (three 6th Grade Classrooms) to include audio books to meet the common core standards listed below. We feel it is important for all students to have access to grade level text, regardless of their current reading level. The way to accomplish this goal is to have students listen to audio books. We carefully chose books that covered many genres and are high interest. We also picked books with strong characters and made sure to include Newbery winners as well. Target Common Core Standards: Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution. Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text. Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or liver version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
Gregory Heights Elementary
Live Music Meets the Library
Michael Bento – Gregory Heights Elementary
This grant request would fund a live music concert and benefit our school library. Our Gregory students and families would be invited to attend, with admission being one new or used children’s library book donated to our school library or Dollar Book Store program. This concert will be an unplugged, acoustic performance featuring our general music specialist, Kevin Shintaku and his bluegrass ensemble, Barleywine Review. One of the pillars of the HSD Strategic Plan is to forge “strong partnerships with families and community. A personal goal for me has been to professionally combine my two interests of music and library and this . This grant would be a great way to accomplish both!
Hazel Valley Elementary
Washington State History at Camp Waskowitz (4th Grade)
Jairo Garcia – Hazel Valley Elementary
This very exceptional program augments the Fourth Grade Curriculum for Washington State History. Students will participate in 4 different stations.
Homestead/Logging: Students are introduced to log cabin building using teamwork, to build a small cabin (think extreme Lincoln Logs). They go inside a real log cabin set up for the 1850’s. The tools, furs, kitchen ware are available to touch and try out. They can climb the ladder to view the sleeping loft. Toys, such as the “buzz saw” and corn dolls, can be tried out. They will meet some of the non-native settlers of the Snoqualmie Valley. The logging area, known as the North Bend Logging Company, has real tools including: cross cut saw, draw knife, Swede hooks and peaveys which students learn to use with proper safety, under careful supervision. Native American: This station is set in the 1600’s, before western intrusion, the students will meet people who have learned the Snoqualmie people’s method of spear fishing and cedar canoe carving. They will help carve the canoe and Camp Waskowitz version of spear fishing. The “longhouse” set up does a have a model longhouse. There will be some artifacts for students’ to examine, some music, and all get to taste smoked salmon around the fire. Mining (Gold and coal): Gold mining includes using a sluice box and of course gold panning, both right next to the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Somehow each student seems to find a piece of “gold” to take home. There will be a “coal mine” on site that students put on their hard hats, to go into. They load up a coal cart with coal and pull the rope through a pulley to roll the cart up to the unloading area. The mining operations are staffed with those “wild and crazy miners” who know mining, if not how to brush their teeth! Railroad: Here students get the chance to work for the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, for 17 cents an hour, building the railroad. Like other areas, students use the real tools: timber tongs, bar claw, rail lifters, and spike maul to move in the ties, rails and build the track. Students will experience the mechanical advantage of two multiple pulleys in lifting logs off a cart. Safety is first, so students are taught how to lift with their legs, and as a team. Personal Experience: I personally have attended Camp Waskowitz as a 6th Grade Student (one week), a high school counselor (one week) and last year as a 4th grade teacher (one day). Even though each time I went was from a different perspective the one thing that stays the same is that Camp Waskowitz is an EXPERIENCE that nobody forgets.
Hazel Valley Elementary
Laugh, Play, Explore
Joyce Boewe – Hazel Valley Elementary
Sports, arts, famous people and recreation – our readers always want more. Kids can’t get enough books on these topics. Fortunately the new Common Core Standards focus primarily on non-fiction reading at all grades. Yet this is the most outdated section we have. The few current popular titles are always checked out. Non-fiction material, usually hardcover, are more expensive. Due lack of funds, the average age of our collection in well over 15 years old. We need fresh, eye-appealing, new titles in areas that kids keep asking for. They want books about: sports, arts, military, famous people, unsolved mysteries, etc.
Examples of what I can offer include a biography of Pele from 1976, and presidents up to Reagan. With this grant I hope to remove the disappointed faces when they ask for their favorite subjects. Instead they will stop making wish lists and get books into their hands that excite them. Students keep asking because they believe this library is where they can satisfy their curiosity and pursue their personal interests. We need a facelift and expansion in the non-fiction shelves so that these young readers continue to feel this way about library visits. One of the four Pillars of the Strategic Plan, “Equitable access to rigorous, standards-based instruction: Personalized learning.” Selected titles dictated by our students’ interests-personalized. The reading level of this list is at and above the independent level of the intermediate students.
Hazel Valley Elementary
Karen Strelow – Hazel Valley Elementary
I would like to make pedometers available to my students as a regular part of their weekly PE classes. Activity matters, especially moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on a daily basis! The pedometers I have chosen are the next generation design. These actually measure MVPA time, well beyond simple movement time or step numbers. One of our Health and Fitness Standards is that students will value and seek lifestyle and lifetime activity habits. Wearing a pedometer in class will help students to learn what being active means, and how much energy is to be expended for MVPA levels. Students love pedometers and they give real and immediate feedback on their participation levels in class. The FITstep Pro pedometers are designed to give this information to students, they are durable, and very important, they can be used class after class. These next generation pedometers can have their data downloaded for student record keeping, with each student’s data separately filed even if the pedometer is used by several students in a day. What an authentic and objective way to measure participation in class while helping students learn to recognize the level of exercise needed to stay healthy. Pedometer data can then also be used for math work, compare and contrast discussions on exercise intensity, and many other possibilities. Pedometers enable students to take more ownership of their participation in class and would be valuable tools for our physical education program.
Health Sciences and Human Services High School
Carrie O’Brien – Health Sciences and Human Services High School
The Civic Leadership Conference is put on by Washington State TRiO programs annually. Washington TRiO programs exist to create equity in educational access to low-income students who are potentially the first generation in their families to attend college. The Civic Leadership Conference is an opportunity for students to go to Olympia, learn about the importance of their voice as a citizen and a community member, and to give them the chance to meet directly with legislators from the districts in which they live. Students spend time in the morning listening to speakers and attending workshops with topics that relate to ways that regular people can get involved in the legislative process, how to effectively tell one’s story in order to influence change and hearing about why it is important for traditionally underrepresented populations to do just that. In the afternoon students tour the capitol building and meet directly with legislators. This program is a great way for students to extend their learning about government and their role as future voters and concerned citizens. It is also a great opportunity for students to practice their leadership skills. The conference shows them how important it is for regular people to take leadership roles to inspire change and highlight important needs of their communities. A final and very important learning opportunity the conference provides is the opportunity to be in a professional setting and communicate with adult professionals who are not their teachers. Our students have limited access often to interact with business professionals where they must conduct themselves in a professional way appropriate to the situation. They will use a professional manner of speaking and will have to work before hand to agree upon the issues they wish to present and to learn to articulate those needs effectively. Our students are often very uncomfortable and intimidated in these situations and showing them that not only are they capable of doing it but that the legislators are genuinely interested to hear what they have to say is an amazing experience that is hard to achieve in the classroom.
We would like to take 20 students to the conference this year. Five students each from the Upward Bound classes at Global Connections High School, The Academy of Citizenship & Empowerment, Heath Sciences & Human Services High School and Technology, Engineering & Communications High School. The conference fee is somewhat high and so in the past we have only been able to take a very small group of students, but it is always such a positive day that we want to extend the opportunity to more students this year. This conference definitely piques students’ interest and gets them excited about what they can do and how they can get involved. It demonstrates for them the opportunities that exist for them in future, opportunities they never considered possible. It also helps to illustrate the importance of receiving a college education so one can open doors to futures they never thought possible. We would love to share this opportunity with as many students as possible this year and appreciate the Highline Schools Foundation for providing the opportunity for us to try.
Health Sciences and Human Services High School
Using a peer network to deepen social ties between students with and without severe disabilities
Luke McPhee – Health Sciences and Human Services High School
Working in a self-contained class for students with moderate to severe disabilities has truly been a tremendous gift for me. The students in my class are smart, funny, talented and kind. One great difficulty these students face is that of developing close relationships with their peers. Research continues to show many of the reasons that this is the case: limited inclusive learning opportunities, the presence of complex communication challenges, and the prominent involvement of adults in supporting these students (Carter, et. Al. 2013). This means that much of what I and everyone who works in my class knows about our students often remains hidden from the general population. Last year we set up a peer network to combat this problem and we have seen some truly amazing results both in our students with disabilities and, perhaps to an even greater extent, in the general education students who have been working with our students. A peer network basically looks to facilitate relationships among students with disabilities and typically performing peers by pairing students with similar interests, providing opportunities for students to get to know one another and converse, providing mutually enjoyable activities, and facilitating ways to extend the connections throughout the school day and even into after school times (Carter, et. Al., 2013). Peer networks have strong research support and direct connections to the educational goals of all students.
If awarded this grant we would like to use the funds to take a field trip as a peer network to Northwest Trek. We feel that taking a trip of this nature will help to deepen the social bonds that have already been growing between our classes and provide the opportunities for our students to leave much of the adult facilitation behind and to really have a chance to work together as peers and friends. Such a trip would be directly related to our students IEP goals (all of whom qualify for specialized education in the area of social behavior) and achieving the leadership goals of the Upward Bound students we partner with. We have chosen Northwest Trek because we think it will provide a unique and unfamiliar setting that students are not accustomed to and that will pique their curiosity and even the playing field somewhat between the two groups (no one group can claim to be more familiar with this environment than the other).
We hope that this trip will also be a way for our school and community to reward this amazing partnership and all the work that the students have done to make it the success it is today. We are also confident that the memories and bonds formed in during this time will last beyond the limits of the school setting and continue to erase the barrier that often seems to exist between these two sets of students.
Highline High School
Art Saves Lives: Music as Identity
Dindria Barrow – Highline High School
Teaching for more than 13 years teaches you something: every student has a voice. For my students with learning disabilities, it is often impacted in some way; because, they have learned that when they read, write, solve math problems or try to socialize in school they don’t seem to get it right. I believe my job is to help them find their true voice, unencumbered by outside voices that put their abilities in an “other” box. By finding their true voice, they realize that there is more to them than trying to overcome a disability. Art is the best medium for students to find this true voice; that is why I integrate it into my lessons.
During my career, I have met and worked with amazing professional artists who are willing to share their passion, lives and skills with teens, specifically so that they can be a part of changing a young person’s self-esteem, perspective and/or life. KORE IONZ and Gabriel Teodros are two such artists. KORE IONZ is a reggae group who have worked with teens in juvenile detention, helping them learn how to create and produce music while helping youth find themselves. Gabriel Teodros is a local rapper/musician who explores the beauty of culture, identity and overcoming obstacles that may not be in your control with youth, helping them analyze and interpret their life and identity. Both are extremely positive and effective with their messages. The students who attended this event still continue to talk about it! Students wanted to analyze the songs and interpret their messages. Students who have never spoken in front of a group, raised their hands to discuss ways to change the world with the band members. This art experience is more than motivational, it is engaging global, higher level thinking and bringing purpose to learning and school. My plan is to have KORE IONZ come for a 2-3 hour event in the PAC with all 100 students; and, Gabriel Teodros to come multiple times to work with students in smaller groups. The band will be an artistic kickoff event, inspiring students, while the single artist will facilitate creation of expressive identity projects.
Students of Color Seeing Themselves in Books
Kirsten Gunn – Highline High School
Being a teenage can be extremely difficult. You are trying to figure out your place in the world, but often feel misunderstood or alone. Finding a book that you can relate to, that speaks to your experiences or the feelings you are having can be a way to help ease that sense of isolation.
My students’ interest and ability in reading varies greatly. Some are voracious readers capable of reading any text set in front of them. Others, often due to struggle, don’t want to even look at a book and hate it when they are forced to choose a book for class. To promote literacy success for all students, it is essential they have a multitude of library materials to choose from especially a stockpile of titles that reflect their own ethnic and community backgrounds. This means characters who look like them, talk like them or are from their unique cultural backgrounds. Educators often talk about the importance of making school relevant to students’ lives. One of the ways to do this in literacy for students of color is by having characters who look like them, talk like them or have had similar experiences. The books that I’ve chosen represent many of the minority groups at my school. Even when stories don’t obviously indicate the race or ethnic heritage of a character, many book covers show white faces. The books I’ve selected not only tell the stories of minority characters, but they also show people of color on the covers. I want all of my students to believe there are books for them in the library and sometimes that means seeing this instantly when browsing displays. This project is extremely important because we have minimal district funding for library materials ($2.50 per student). Receiving this grant will make it possible for me to provide even more new books to students this year. Plus these particular books will continue to help students understand that the library respects and values their diverse backgrounds and experiences. This supports my efforts in building positive relationships with students which impacts other areas of their academic life.
Sing, Dance & Play
Jill Brown – Hilltop Elementary
Hilltop is a Dual Language school. Most of the classes I teach are dual language, Spanish-English classes. I would like to purchase the resource “Vamos a Cantar” in order to present authentic latino and Hispanic folk songs, games and dances in the Spanish language. The district adopted a new music curriculum called Game Plan. It uses the Rhythmically Moving CD series, but does not include the companion book, “Teaching Movement & Dance.” This book would allow me to learn the movements and dance not included in the general music curriculum. Our music classroom has a bare minimum of xylophone and related mallet instruments. We currently share up to 5 students per instrument. Purchasing two more instruments, an alto metallophone and an alto glockenspiel, would allow closer to 3 – 4 students per instrument, and would balance out the variety we currently have. The new Game Plan curriculum makes extensive use of these instruments.
Discover: Owl pellets
Terre Salzer – Hilltop Elementary
In conjunction with the 6th grade trip to Camp Waskowitz, I would like to have the three sixth grade classes learn about the Barn Owl, its’ habitat and the food chain, by dissecting an owl pellet (the regurgitated material that owls don’t digest). I am fortunate to have a salvage permit that allows me to collect birds. I have a stuffed Barn Owl that I will use to introduce the students to the owl, and discover the specific adaptations that they have. Dissecting the pellets takes the lesson one step further, allowing them to discover what the owl ate, by reconstructing the skeleton from fragments found in the pellet. From a previous grant, I have sustainable supplies, a DVD, and bone sorting charts that I will use again. I believe that we are better stewards of our environment when we are aware of the animals that we share space with. I am excited to share my love of native NW wildlife with students. This unit is engaging and the amount of knowledge they gain is tremendous.
Literacy for a Lifetime
Zoe Asprey – Hilltop Elementary
‘Why can’t I skip my 20 minutes of reading tonight?’ This is a question teachers and librarians hear from students every day. In this case the answer may be quite simple. Research from the University of Illinois (Nagy, Herman, and Anderson 1985; Nagy, Anderson, and Herman 1987) shows the difference in students who read 20 minutes each day in school, students who read 5 minutes, and students who read 1 minute. Student A – 1,800,000 words – 90th percentile; Student B – 282,000 words – 50th percentile; Student C – 8,000 words – 10th percentile. In a series of studies of adult second language acquirers, Beniko Mason (Mason and Krashen, 2004) concluded that developing vocabulary knowledge from listening to stories is much more efficient in terms of words acquired or learned per minute than vocabulary-building exercises. In addition, in studies comparing in-school self-selected reading (sustained silent reading) with traditional instruction, readers consistently show superior performance on tests of vocabulary (Krashen, 2004).’
As library budgets get cut throughout the Highline District, teachers and librarians struggle to find ways to put new and targeted books into the hands of our students. All students, and especially our English language learners benefit from having a wide and varied selection of books to choose from. As the research shows, reading is more effective at building vocabulary than the traditional vocabulary building activities. Reading uses words in context that help students understand the meaning, and increases students’ ability to make these new words part of their own vocabulary. Usborne Books program – Literacy for a Lifetime – could provide Hilltop students with books that capture their attention and expand their learning. Our librarian says the Usborne books she already has are wearing out because the students check them out continuously. They are not sitting on the shelves!
Madrona Elementary School
Kathryn Galeana – Madrona Elementary School
Based on new standards of student achievement in the United States, Common Core State Standards, the ability to write arguments, opinions, personal narratives, and informational pieces with strong structure is a must. Unfortunately, the students of Madrona are not known for their ability to write great pieces. Knowing this, a colleague, Christina Leggett, and myself have formed 6 different groups within our school from grades 1st through 6th, that meet for 30 minutes each day to push the level and quality of writing to a whole new level using fun, interactive activities and readings. To further the rigor and love of writing, we have started a Facebook Page called Kathryn and Christina’s Elite Eagles that students and families have joined, where we task students to complete writing projects based on Common Core State Standards for writing. Students will be looking at video clips that we film around the school, view pictures, and listen to recordings and submit their projects for a chance to win a prize and possible publication of their stories in our “magazine”.
For example, students were given a picture of a very unusual looking creature and were tasked with pretending to be world renowned scientist that discovered the creature. They were to write a magazine article, as the scientist, naming and telling what they discovered about the creature. We want to take these articles, and other projects students will complete throughout the year, and publish them in the form of a magazine. By doing all of this, students have already increased engagement in our writing projects and, of course, are becoming much better writers.
McMicken Heights Elementary
Jennifer Walsh – McMicken Heights Elementary
My students were engaged, excited and retaining information from an educational program on our computer called BrainPop. It is a standards driven program a student can navigate on his or her own; in a small group or as a whole class. The videos are fun and informative with vocabulary words and definitions, quizzes, comprehension questions, detailed visuals and easy to read captions. It addresses students’ needs on many levels, especially English Language Learners (ELL) and the topics match those covered in First Grade. “Ideal for kids in Kindergarten through grade 3, the BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week app spans topics across Science, Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Math, Health, Arts, and Technology. The gentle, humorous, and relatable characters Annie and Moby serve as guides through each topic, empowering kids to form their own ideas. BrainPOP Jr. is designed to cultivate critical thinking skills and encourage children to ask questions and make connections. The app is easily navigable by kids ages 5-9; it’s also fully accessible for the visually impaired and closed captioned for the hearing impaired.”
Helping Kids Find Their Voice
Erin Radheshwar – Midway Elementary
Proloquo2go is a symbol based communication application (app) that provides a voice to individuals who are unable to speak. People who use the application can touch images depicting words, and the ipad speaks the words for them. Having this app available for students in our ILC classrooms will allow them to express themselves, and therefore limit the stress, frustration and anxiety experienced by so many communication break-downs.
Need: Midway’s special education student population includes two Integrated Learning Centers (ILC) –or self-contained- classrooms. Students in the ILC classrooms experience a wide range of severe disabilities, including autism, down syndrome, and developmental disability. These students often do not have the ability to speak, or produce verbal language to communicate. This application would provide the ability to communicate to 20 students with limited verbal ability.
Learn to Love Reading Through Fiction and NonFiction Sight Word Books!
Michelle Frasene – Midway Elementary
Through your generous grant, I am hoping to receive a classroom library of sight-word books. A large amount of time is spent on reading in first grade. Throughout the day, my students are expected to read independently and read with a partner. At this point in time, they are responsible for picking a “Just Right Book.” This a book that is not to hard, not to easy, but “just right.” Many of the students in my classroom are beginning readers and are still building their excitement and stamina for reading. Why is the ability to read sight-words crucial for first graders? Sight-words are some of the most commonly used words in children’s books. Most sight -words are not nouns, so a picture does not easily represent them. Beginning readers must learn to recognize them by sight alone. Usually, sight-words are not phonetically regular, making them difficult to sound out. Some examples of sight-words include the following: and, after, small, bear, thing, wash, why, your, and there. Learning sight words helps children to read quickly and efficiently. By focusing on sight-words, I can increase the chances that my students will be able to read any given text, because these words are so common. Their recognition of sight -words will also improve their sentence writing.
Mount Rainier High School
Complete Conditioning Plans
Nichole Calkins – Mount Rainier High School
Every year we (the MRHS PE department) have over 360 students take Weight Training class at our school. Part of our curriculum has students design their own fitness plan according to a personal goal (this is a Washington state standard for Physical Education classes). Component 4.2: Develops and monitors a health and fitness plan. Many students are interested in designing workouts that help them to become better athletes. They want assistance in choosing exercises that are going to improve their athletic performance. We want to purchase 8 different sports conditioning books with accompanying DVDs that provide guidance to students on how to design workouts to condition for their chosen sport. These books will become part of our school’s library collection, which is extremely deficient in fitness planning books, and used in the Weight Training classes unit on fitness planning design.
Mount View Elementary
Worms eat our garbage!
Delila Leber – Mount View Elementary
At our school, we have a beautiful garden space that was set up by a teacher who retired 6 years ago. Included in our space are two worm bins. We have done small amounts of gardening on and off, but I am now ready to take on Garden Science as a year-round endeavor! We have already begun clearing the beds of weeds and will be adding leaves as mulch this week. Our MAD Grant request would allow us to establish two healthy worm bins and plant a variety of vegetables and herbs. In the Dual Language program, our students have 45-60 minutes per day of science instruction in Spanish. In Kindergarten and 1st grade, our students learn about worms and other backyard animals. Both the 1st Grade Spanish teacher and I teach 52-54 students each: we would adopt one of the worm bins with our classes and would plant vegetables & herbs in the garden. We would be able to use the nonperishable materials year after year, and if the worm bins are maintained well, the worms would survive for many years’ worth of classes.
Mount View Elementary
Bringing Writing to Life Through STEM Learning
James Ewing – Mount View Elementary
Writing + Math + Technology and Programming + Engineering = Fun Learning
With the district Strategic Plan including Writing and Technology/Stem Learning, I want to bring learning alive for my students. STEM education is all about bringing multiple disciplines together in a Project Based Learning Environment to bridge the learning experience. This is the perfect type of project that captures that imagination of students will building 21st Century skills, like problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. 5th Grade students will work with 1st and 2nd grade buddies to write character-hero based stories, build the actual character, bring it to life through robotics and then create a short video version of the story. Each group will be building a video library of original, collaborative stories that will be around to share forever.
Mount View Tigers want to Play Ball
Kim-Phuong Nguyen – Mount View Elementary
I coordinate an after school program at Mount View which serves 100 students. These kids were chosen because they needed extra support in reading, math and homework help. The program runs at the end of the school day from 3:40-5:00 Monday-Thursday.
I wanted to include some active activities for the kids so they can have a little fun and get some physical exercise in while they are here. I would love to be able to buy some jump ropes, basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, and some bouncing balls so the kids can play with them. I tried asking our PE teachers to lend us some sports equipment to use for after school but they refuse to let us borrow them because they don’t want to lose them and damage them. Our PE teachers have a small budget to buy sports equipment so they are very protective of their stuff because they need it to do their job.
Right now the kids just get to go outside and play on the playground for 15 minutes and some just stand around because there’s nothing else to do because we don’t have any equipment. Please donate to our after school program so we can help kids be active, have some fun so they are motivated to stay after school for addition help in academics.
Getting Started with Reading!
Trina Samson – Mount View Elementary
At Mount View our students are making gains in their reading, and one of the ways they are doing it is by reading books at their just right level. We have leveled the library with the books’ Fountas & Pinnel (F&P) levels so the students can find a book at their level easily. The hardest books to come by are the lowest levels. I am asking for money to buy 2 sets of leveled books A-H: One set in English, the other in Spanish. These will help our youngest students get a good start on their reading skills, and hopefully move them up quickly to the higher levels.
The books I have chosen are all non-fiction. Finding non-fiction at A-H levels is exciting, and our youngest students love non-ficiton. I feel these titles will motivate our students to read, and that is one big step in the right direction for them.
Right now, we have a small selection of books at these levels, and our after-school reading program is checking most of them out for their students to use. This leaves very little left in the library for other students to check out. The Spanish books will be extremely helpful, as we have no early readers leveled in Spanish. Also, we have a dual language program here at Mount View, and a lot of our English-speaking students are just learning to read Spanish, so these books will help them too.
New Start High School
Positive Behavior Interventions
Jackie Miller – New Start High School
Thank you for your consideration of funding or items for student incentives to help them be even more successful in school. New Start is an alternative High School in the Highline District that serves approximately 155 students who have “fallen through cracks” in the system at some point during their educational career. Our students include those who are credit deficient, usually because they became discouraged and had large gaps of time that they did not attend school, and those that have had serious behavior and discipline histories – at any given time about 30% of our total student population is on probation or court-involved. As a staff we are faced with having to manage behaviors that have caused our students so much trouble within the educational system in the past, and tasked with finding ways to re-direct, educate, and reward positive changes in negative behaviors such as non-compliance, defiance, skipping, vandalism, fighting, and drug/alcohol infractions. To that end, we are concentrating on the district-wide program called Positive Behavior Intervention Support, or PBIS, which is a detailed, targeted system of reinforcing successful behaviors. Unfortunately we do not have funding to purchase incentives for rewarding these behaviors and continually struggle to fill this gap.
Connections-The Whole Story
Jayna Otonicar – New Start High School
New Start High School is an alternative high school that provides a small learning community and personalized environment for students to recover or advance in credits towards graduation. Our student body is ethnically diverse and many of our students are coming from families heavily impacted by poverty and/or families impacted by substance abuse or other adverse experiences. Because of this, our students are at a high risk of substance use and abuse. In fact, a many of our students are already using tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and/or some psychotropic drugs. This has a great impact not only on their physical, social and emotional health, but also on their mental capacity and ability to be present and engaged in the classroom. Our students are choosing to come to New Start and want to graduate. New Start Staff would like to empower them to make healthier choices that will help them succeed in and out of the classroom.
Books for New Language Arts Program
Tamara Nedell – New Start High School
We are a small, but growing school. I am the first full time Language Arts teacher and the only one on campus, but I reach over 100 students every day and our program is expanding. It is for this reason, I write. Students are currently sharing books and I would greatly appreciate having a copy for each student.
The students that attend our school have been through a great deal of adversity. Many have been expelled from the comprehensive high schools within our district. Their home and economic life pose many sad challenges. New Start Alternative High School is often their last chance at obtaining a high school education. Even though we are ‘alternative’ in nature, we are in alignment with the district’s strategic plan and make graduation our highest priority.
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.
North Hill Elementary
Charts and Visuals for Grades 3 and 4, to correspond with our recently adopted music curriculum
Colleen Thomas-Reitsma – North Hill Elementary
The North Hill music program would like to purchase the charts and visuals for 3rd and 4th grade that correspond with our newly adopted Music Curriculum. Our new curriculum is very exciting, but without the charts and visuals there are aspects of the program that are time consuming to prepare and more difficult to present to our students. Our school is trying to buy one set per year, but this will require another 5 years to have all the materials necessary to fully implement our curriculum. It is my hope that the Excel grant will help us move more quickly towards our goal. The purchase of these two grade level charts and visuals sets will assist approximately 180 students at North Hill. We would LOVE to use these beautiful and smartly made materials! Thank you for your consideration.
Dani Flanagan – North Hill Elementary
I am so fortunate to serve all the kids at North Hill Elementary in my role as an elementary counselor. Each year I go into every classroom and present guidance lessons using the Second Step and Steps to Respect curriculum. These are great research based tools for educating kids about feelings, communication skills, friendship skills and bully prevention. However, I want more for our students! I love to bring in fun books, articles and links from the web to help the lessons come alive and engage our students. Today, I am reaching out to you in the hopes of you helping me to expand my library of books that help kids!
Of Cedar and Salmon
Terri Juberg – North Hill Elementary
For the past several years, North Hill’s third graders have enjoyed having Ronn Wilson from Of Cedar and Salmon come to North Hill. It has been the best cultural experience possible for our kids! Ronn is of the Kwaguilth people of the Northwest Coast. His message is based on “reverence, respect, and remembering”. He melds the people of the past, and the environment they lived in, to our current role in the world. His lessons have had a lasting effect on our student body. We feel strongly about having Of Cedar and Salmon return for the benefit of our current third graders. This we cannot do without your support. The program consists of two complete days of lessons, dancing in full costume, art, silk-screening, and story telling surrounded by carvings, pelts, painted screens, and a 16 foot long serpent drum. Long Claw (as Mr. Wilson prefers to be called) provides all of the materials the students need (except the tee-shirt for silk-screening). He ends the program with a magical evening potlatch. The families of our students were invited to a rare cultural event.
We are always amazed at the valuable and delicate artifacts the students are allowed to hold and admire. (There are 9 tables full of them!) The lessons of trust, respect (for each other, adults, and the environment), and listening are incredibly valuable and taught in fascinating and accessible ways!
Pacific Middle School
PE needs Time!
Philip Wallen – Pacific Middle School
I am trying to purchase an outdoor race timer, tripod, and power supply. The race timer will be used in a variety of ways in the health and fitness department. Fitness class is very data driven. What a better way for students to know their times when engaged in a running activity or timed activity than a large display clock? Have you ever been training and wish you had that little extra push to improve yourself? A visual timer from 200 feet away will help. I believe this will help improve training and fitness scores in our district.
Students at this school have a love of fitness and this will only enhance that. When a student enjoys an activity they are more likely to continue that activity. This is a major goal of the class. I want these kids to value their fitness. There is just something about turning on a timer that motivates beyond belief. Racing against the clock adds an intensity that feels like head to head competition. The timer is a great motivator, and the ruler by which we are measured. It is a must for accurately tracking progress.
Gaming in Ancient Egypt
Celeste Borowiak Timulak – Parkside Elementary
For social studies, each year I teach my sixth graders how to play the Ancient Egyptian game Senet. It is a game that takes strategy, luck and knowledge of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is a game that, without fail, students enjoy and teach others. During any downtime throughout the day or during recess, students ask if they can play. It was just recently I looked at my game boards and pieces and realized how tattered they all looked and remembered that some students asked to take a game set home during conferences last year. It was then that I got my idea.
I would like my students to create and design their own Senet board and game pieces. Using our classroom models, they would create a game board with all the pieces. To do this, I would need wood, paint, popsicle sticks, clear round glass cabochons, black permanent markers, and possibly funding for photo developing to make their cabochons unique. Students would then be able to use these games in the classroom and eventually take them home to share with their family. Just knowing how my students enjoy playing Senet, I know this art and social studies activity would be valuable to them.
Comic Book Lending Library – Support for Reluctant Readers
Dan Azer – Parkside Elementary
Every year, I buy about one hundred dollars of comic books for my classroom library. So, I have built up a little bit of a collection of “cool” books. Last year, students from other 3rd-6th grade classes started coming up to me, begging and pleading for me to allow them to check out. They heard that I have real Japanese Manga and lot of other comics and graphic novels. It is true, I have a lot of comics that the school library does not have.
So, I began allowing check outs; first to my former students, then to any student who came to my room. Now, thirty students in other classes check out from me regularly. They walk into my class silently, at any time, and check their books in and out independently on my clipboard list. I would like to purchase more comics, especially the ones requested by my regulars, and continue to check out books to reluctant readers school-wide.
Reading Materials for 6th Graders
Hannah Baisch – Parkside Elementary
I am writing this grant to request a subscription for Scope magazine subscription for each of my 6th grade students. Scope magazine is a monthly reader, that contains current events reading, plays to read, writing tasks, grammar exercises, and challenging reading tasks. This magazine would be very beneficial for my students because many of them are reluctant readers, and half of my students read below grade level, with one quarter of these readers being significantly below grade level. I would use these magazines to meet in small guided reading groups with all of my readers, so I can support my lower readers and challenge my higher readers. The graphics, and high interest topics in these magazines would help keep all of my readers interested. These magazines address common core standards which we are adopting this year.
Jeanette Yee – Parkside Elementary
This year, we want to continue this project for 2 Fourth Grade Classes. Teachers will collaborate to teach the Electric Circuits unit and have students build their own air propelled Car Boat. Students will combine the joy and excitement of mechanical toys with science content, “Electric Circuits” by constructing an air propelled motor boat for their culminating project. Students will use functional reading and apply science skills by building circuits and troubleshooting. Students will be engaged because they love to build science models and will have an opportunity to participate in a car boat time trials. It was a memorable learning experience for my students last year and I wanted to invite my grade level teacher to participate with us this year.
Creating more excitement for reading in 2nd grade!
Kimberlee Goodman – Parkside Elementary
I am asking for an excel grant to purchase reading activities for my 2nd grade classroom. In highline we are trying to get 19 out of 20 children to meet or exceed standards by 3rd grade in all core subject areas and of course this includes reading. This is a challenge and I openly am looking for new, innovative, fun, engaging, and rigorous reading activities for my students. I know students love to play games and I know they learn through precise and thought out activities. So, that is what I am trying to purchase for my 2nd grade students. These will be activities that won’t only help this year’s students, but many students in years to come. The activities that I have chosen are for struggling readers, at grade level, and can be adapted for children that need a challenge.
I am always looking for activities that will be used across all academic strengths within my classroom. As my students participate in these activities they will be learning phonic, spelling, reading, and many more aspects of 2nd grade reading common core. The activities are directly related to the teachings of the common core as well as the districts wonderful reading frameworks in which we follow to teach reading.
Puget Sound Skills Center
Salmon Trash Sculpture
Victoria Hall – Puget Sound Skills Center
A 20-foot salmon sculpture will be made by students from PSSC, Marine Tec, Welding and Vital Art students. A call for artists, grades 3-5, will help create the 2 dimensional design. Welding studnets would create the skeleton of the salmon. Marine Tec students would sort and clean trash from the beach at Seahurst Park and design the interior of the salmon. The project would engage and motivate three high school classes at PSSC to build the sculpture. The elementary students would learn about the dangers of plastic to our sea life. Finally, this project would reach out and touch the community with a visual reminder of how harmful trash is to the environment.
Mastering Math through Technology
Denise Lund – Seahurst Elementary
Highline Public Schools established an Algebra success goal, from which the 2013-2014 sixth grade class are the foundation. Screencasts provide a new way for students to grasp and master rigorous content. A screencast is a capture of the actions on a teacher’s computer screen, which is accompanied by audio. Sal Khan, of the Khan Academy, pioneered screencasts among educators. My sixth grade students at Seahurst Elementary work diligently in math, but many need supports to achieve mastery of prior grade level content, while others need enrichment materials to apply their understanding in new ways. Seahurst students would have access to math lessons that they can watch before class to set the stage for in-class work, or after a classroom lesson to understand concepts they found difficult. 60% of my students are in families who do not speak English at home. The ability to stop, start, and rewind a screencast gives students control over the pace in which they learn. This inherently accommodates for differences in how students process information. Regardless of if the need is exposure to content or language, students can pause or proceed in the screencast as needed. Supplemental screencasts would let me target instruction by providing lessons on remedial skills for those who need the scaffold.
A New Image of Me
Mimi Krsak – Seahurst Elementary
I know of no better way to help students be successful than to give 6th graders the experience of going to Camp Waskowitz. There, they are consistently actively engaged in learning, in ways that they can’t be in the classroom. The earth is theirs in a new way, as children from other continents experience the water, soil, and plants of their new home in Washington. Young adolescents gain self-confidence that helps them feel well prepared for the independence of middle school. Immigrant families need help to keep alive the dream and history of Outdoor School at Waskowitz.
We LOVE Elephant and Piggie
Nancy Holmes – Shorewood Elementary
Students at Shorewood Elementary School love Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems – and so does their Librarian. In fact, they love these books so much that our first complete set is in tatters. These books are beginning readers with much more sparkle and personality than previous beginning reader books. The children can’t wait to get their hands on them and they will work hard to read them or breeze through them, depending upon their reading skills. They WANT to read them, again and again. Older siblings check out the books in order to read and enjoy them with younger brothers and sisters.
The books have simple vocabulary with some challenging words sprinkled throughout, so the children become increasingly competent through repeated readings. The wonder of Mo Willems’ creations is that he is able to convey character emotion with very simple drawings and text variations. The children pick up these cues and adjust their reading and expression to match. They develop their expressiveness and fluency in reading with smiles on their faces.
Reading Mastery Grade 3
Paula Franzen – Shorewood Elementary
Our program is trying to obtain current, research-based curriculum which will provide rich learning opportunities for our struggling readers. Shorewood Elementary has been using Reading Mastery Signature Edition, Grades K-2 for many years as a data-driven intervention tool. We have seen much enthusiasm and progress in our students’ reading, both in RTI (Responsiveness to Intervention) and resource room small group instruction. Reading Mastery provides students with decoding, sight word, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary and written language instruction, practice and assessment. Students who have been using Reading Mastery have a difficult and unnecessary transition when they finish Grade 2/Level 2. Grade 3 is the final level for elementary students who are struggling. However, we only have a very outdated version of Grade 3, where the current date is 1982 on the timeline, Pluto is still a planet, etc. We have seen great success with this curriculum, and would love to expose our children to materials that are not out-of-date, incomplete and literally falling apart.
Southern Heights Elementary
Goldilocks Says It’s “Just Right”
Jennifer Ferry – Southern Heights Elementary
Learning to read in elementary school is the most important skill we take away from our schooling. Reading allows us to go to different worlds, experience new ideas, explore interesting topics, engage ourselves in history and imagine how we can change the future. As our kindergarteners enter school, it is our privilege to install the love of reading into each of them. To accomplish this, there is a strong need to have text in the library that is developmentally appropriate. Think of developmentally appropriate text like Goldilocks would; it’s not too hard, it’s not too easy, it’s just right. Currently in our library we have a small offering of books that are “just right” for our newest readers because they were not as widely published in the past. Today there are more and more high quality, high interest titles available to reach these beginning readers. In order for each of our 70 kindergarten students at Southern Heights to read at or above grade level by the end of their kindergarten year, there is an urgent need to invest in “just right” books at this beginning level. “Just right” books allow students to use the phonics skills and sight words they have been learning in kindergarten in order to read text that is patterned, predictable, and uses picture support to assist the reader in determining a new word.
Organization is Key!
Jennifer Matthews – Southern Heights Elementary
My students need these seat back pockets to keep all their materials in. Passing out folders and books each time we switch subjects is cutting into the students learning time. My teaching partner has these pockets and it is amazing to see how independent her students are and how quickly they are ready to start their next task. These pockets will give us more minutes each day for our learning. It will help teach our students how to be organized. Organization is a life long skill that is needed to be successful inside school and out
Learning to Read by Making Words
Kaia Tomokiyo – Southern Heights Elementary
I am writing this grant in hopes of purchasing word making activities for my kindergarten students at Southern Heights Elementary. As a teacher new to kindergarten this year, I have been spending much of my own time and money to purchase supplies and materials for my kindergartners. With this grant, I would like to purchase some essential phonics and word making activities for my students to use on a daily basis. Many of my kindergarteners are learning English as a second language and would greatly benefit from a variety of word making experiences. In addition to learning English for the first time, many of my students’ families do not have the time or the resources to help their children at home. I need to make the most out of every minute at school.
We have time for Reader’s Workshop every day. During this time, students engage in stations. Right now, I only have a few stations for them and I can already see that they are getting tired of the same activities. The activities I am requesting in this grant will last us the whole year. Students will use them every day in independent groups as well as small, focused groups with me. Please help me achieve our goal of having 95% of students at grade-level by third grade!
Sylvester Middle School
Literature for Spanish Speaking Students
Angela Francois – Sylvester Middle School
Native Speakers of Spanish Literacy Project: Students of all levels of Spanish take my Spanish class for Native Speakers of Spanish. We have zero materials for this class, and we really need books. I plan to teach literature circles, which function like a sort of classroom book club. There needs to be multiple level of reading materials for this group. I also plan to do some poetry and creative writing units, for which I need some poetry books, as well.
Collaboration is Motivation to Practice!
Claire Waistell – Sylvester Middle School
Do you work harder when you are collaborating with a team? Me too! Do you love to learn new things from new people? Me too! As a middle school band teacher I passionately support the district’s work to ensure students are always thinking ahead – high school, college and careers. Students need motivation to create their vision for their future – connecting with new people and learning to collaborate with their band in order to engage with a college class can be that motivation. 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. My project: A Surface 2 Tablet and a wireless projector would give us a new opportunity to Skype with a professor’s music education class. The portability and mobility of the Tablet will allow me get closer to students who ask questions, do close-ups of music we are playing and move from one group to the next so everyone has an opportunity to be the focus of feedback. We would prepare a whole-group piece and several small group musical pieces to share with the college 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. I believe this cycle will motivate students to support each other and implement grit in our rehearsals. The music education professor is excited to help co-create this collaboration and I believe my students will be excited to see, and talk with, “real college students.” This interactive model will give my students an opportunity to picture themselves in a college classroom.
Social Media Safety Family Night
Elaine Moy – Sylvester Middle School
Highline Public Schools has a Coordinated School Health (CSH) Council that works to improve district outcomes through health and wellness efforts. Our Council would like to address the increasing problem of cyberbullying and online aggression between students, which can often turn into face-to-face aggression and school discipline issues. We feel that by educating parents about online safety and guidelines, they can talk to their kids about how to use the internet as a tool and not a weapon. One of the key components to this is educating families and parents about what their students are doing online.
We are applying for an Excel Grant to pay for the cost for an expert presenter who can educate parents and guardians about cyberbullying, social media tools and safety issues, real-world consequences for online actions, and how to talk with children about cyberbullying and being safe on the internet. Our presenter will be Seattle Police Department Officer, Stefanie Thomas, who has extensive knowledge on the subject matter and has worked with several schools, including Madrona Elementary, which had a positive impact on students and staff.
If this project is funded, we would host a family night in late winter at Sylvester Middle School where we would also invite elementary school parents as part of early education and prevention. We would provide interpreters for families who speak other languages and handouts for parents with additional information. If the presentation receives positive interest and feedback from families, the Council would also consider doing a secondary presentation at one of the high schools. With the support of our multi-disciplinary CSH Council, which consists of; School Counselors, Nurses, Family Engagement Specialists, Social Workers, Security, Transportation, Community Partners, Nutrition Services, and more, we have the opportunity to reach a large number of families in our community. We see these prevention efforts as a crucial step in helping to empower parents and guardians in an area where they may feel deficient in understanding. Once adults have a better understanding of appropriate and inappropriate use of online tools, they can help guide the choices of their students.
Technology, Engineering & Communications High School
Amanda McNaughton – Technology, Engineering & Communications High School
I teach a Resource Room Math class for high school students qualified for Special Education services in Math. The course focuses on strong foundational skills to support Math learning. These students often spend one year learning Pre-Algebra before entering Algebra class. Due to the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood, some students have difficulty purchasing school supplies, especially calculators. Many students come to class without ever having used a scientific calculator. Students enjoy using technology, and they also see students in Algebra using scientific calculators. Utilizing them in Resource Room Math is motivating because students can see the application of them in future courses. I am requesting a class set (15) of solar powered scientific calculators. Scientific calculators are necessary tools for advanced Mathematics and Science classes. They also may seem daunting at first glance. To use one, familiarity with the functions and usage is necessary. I would like to use these calculators in my Resource Room classes so that students become comfortable with using them. I also plan on creating several lessons around the specialty functions (exponents, factorials, scientific notation, etcetera) so that students learn how to use the calculator for many situations they will encounter in high school and college.
Exploring Cultural Roots and Immigration
Sarah Grant – Technology, Engineering & Communications High School
Student Population Background: At T.E.C. High School, 76% of the 9th graders are 1st generation Americans or immigrants. 49% of the 9th grade students have immigrated, or their parents have emigrated, from Asian/Pacific Island countries. Many students’ parents were refugees and their cultural history is filled with memories of war, extreme poverty, or political turmoil. All of these students are bilingual and despite the many obstacles they face, they are dedicated to learning, being successful, and never giving up. In order to engage this large population of our students, the Humanities team at T.E.C. High School uses culturally responsive curriculum to help students engage in learning of other countries and experience literature for all around the world. This allows students from different cultures, religious backgrounds, and languages to have buy in for challenging texts and curriculum as well as be empowered by learning more about their specific heritage through out the year. Project Overview: Over the course of the year, the 9th graders will be studying immigration; how people emigrate, why people emigrate, and how that influences culture and identity. They have been reading first person narratives about immigrants who have wrestled with cultural identity and have written their own personal narratives about identity in relationship to culture. We would like to take the whole 9th grade class at T.E.C. to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in the international District in Seattle as part of our study on immigration. The Wing is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and our nation’s only museum devoted to the Asian Pacific American experience. In order to prepare for this enriching fieldtrip, we will be delving into a unit specifically focused on Asian counties and reasons for immigration in February. We will be using the curriculum suggested by the museum entitled, “Torn by War, Healing Through Hope, A Comprehensive Classroom Curriculum Addressing U.S. conflicts in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia through Art, Literature, Poetry, Oral History and Community Service” written by two teachers at Aviation High School in the Highline School District. The museum has curriculum boxes that we can rent that include all the readings needed for the unit. During this fieldtrip, volunteers from the museum will also give walking tours around the International District and explain the history of Asian migration to Seattle. Students will dig deep into challenging texts and social/political issues that lead to war as well as solutions to change our society for the better. Students will also see themselves as part of an essential immigrant group in Seattle and through building this identity, they will be empowered to continue overcoming obstacles for education and success.
The Community & History Around Us
Stefanie Skiljan – Technology, Engineering & Communications High School
The Spanish language is all around us, making up a strong part of the community threads that bind us together here in the Puget Sound region. In order to learn from the community outside the classroom, I will take my Spanish 3, Spanish-for-Spanish-Speakers, and AP Spanish Language & Culture students to visit two important hubs of the Latino community in Seattle- CASA Latina and El Centro de la Raza. Both of these organizations are rich examples of the vibrant history of Latino immigrants in the Puget Sound region. Additionally, they both provide real-life opportunities to use Spanish in a professional context that benefits the local community and our civic region in general. CASA Latina is a community organization near Seattle’s International District that runs a Day Workers’ Center along with numerous classes to learn English and vocational skills. What started as a small group of people teaching day workers about their rights via street theater in 1994, has grown into a community force that effectively advocates for rights and safety on the job. At CASA Latina students will connect with participants to learn about programs there, and to learn about how they could potentially volunteer or do a summer internship, thus using their classroom skills to build experiences toward college and careers. On our visits the students will experience spaces where people are using Spanish to work as advocates, teachers, care-givers, fundraisers, administrators, and community organizers. The folks that work at these organizations include Latinos AND people who learned Spanish as a foreign language. Seeing these forces in action will further engage students in their efforts to develop Spanish as a professional skill, while demonstrating to them the pride and strong history of Latino communities in our area.
Tyee Educational Complex
Read It Forward – En Espanol
Lisa Carlson – Tyee Educational Complex
As the teacher-librarian of the entire Tyee Campus, I strive to accommodate one specific course annually with books and resources to help the classroom teacher better serve his/her students. Global Connections HS on the Tyee Campus offers Hispanic students, who grew up with Spanish in the home but who have had little opportunity for formal instruction, a Spanish heritage language program. One of the projects the Heritage language teacher and I are trying to launch is modeled after the successful “Raising a Reader” program, in which students would be able to check-out several children’s books in Spanish, take them home and read to themselves, or optimally, with younger siblings. Students would exchange these books every week for new ones throughout the rest of the year. This would help reinforce classroom instruction, help students identify weak areas in their literacy, aid in reading fluency, and provide positive in-home reading experiences with younger children who might later become students in our district.
A second part of this plan is to have Heritage class students partner with a local child care facility where they would use these books to read to preschoolers once per week. This on-going activity will benefit both the teen’s and the child’s Spanish literacy development. The Excel Grant would make possible the purchasing of enough Spanish-language children’s books for each Heritage course student to take home 3-4 books per week.
Valley View Early Learning Center
Developmentally Appropriate Toys
Andrew Hobkirk-Frerichs – Valley View Early Learning Center
Developmentally Appropriate Toys for Developing Social and Adaptive Skills in Early Childhood Special Education
Dramatic Play and Pretend Play are particularly important play areas in an Early Childhood Special Education Setting because they are so universally accessible by all children (including those with Special Needs) because domestic play settings are reflective of family activities that all cultures participate in: cooking and eating. Children learn basic adaptive skills in kitchen settings by practicing the use of handles, buttons, and timers as well as the value of sorting objects by food groups. Pretend play is also an important play area because it expands beyond representational play into imaginative and symbolic play and problem solving skills. I propose to purchase a kitchen setting and pretend play setting for the use in an Early Childhood Special Education Setting to increase the opportunities for learning within the context of a play based instruction, which is age appropriate. The kitchen furniture is durable and accessible to large groups as separate pieces. The cookware and food items are safe because they are non-toxic and non-edible. The pretend play props and costumes are also made to withstand wear and tear unlike most store-bought costumes and clothing that is made for individual use. The dress clothes embrace civic responsibility and a diversity of individual professions. If rewarded this Grant the children in my class with special needs will be rewarded with an environment rich in familiar play themes appropriate for teaching sharing, collaborative play, imaginative and symbolic play, and adaptive skills (food prep).
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Starter Kit
Denise Permen – Valley View Early Learning Center
AAC is a term that is used to describe various methods of communication that can help people who are unable to use verbal speech to communicate. These include gesture, signing, pictures symbols, communication boards and books, as well as Voice Output Communication Aids. Quality AAC devices are costly. Although the district has a variety of devices that can be checked out to trial with students, the selection is limited. Often there are long waiting periods to be able to get the specific devices that the student needs. Elementary and Secondary schools in the Highline School District that have Intensive Learning Centers (ILCs) for students with special needs have AAC Starter Kits. These starter kits contain a variety of basic AAC devices that can be used to trial with students. Unfortunately, the funds have not been available to create an AAC Starter Kit for the Valley View Early Learning Center. I am asking for funds through this grant to obtain a variety of AAC devices in order to begin creating an AAC Starter Kit for Valley View to help students communicate and access their education in the classroom. Valley View Early Learning Center is a unique facility in the Highline School District that at any given time serves 80-100 special education preschool students who have communication needs on their Individual Education Plans. Many of these students have complex communication needs and require AAC to express their thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas in order to participate in their general education. Having the devices listed above in an AAC starter kit, will give the three Speech Language Pathologist serving students at Valley View the ability to quickly and efficiently trial devices with students to ensure they are able to communicate to the best of their ability in the classroom. Giving students with complex communication challenges access to AAC can enable them to have a quality of life that may otherwise not be known. Communication is such an integral part of our lives. We need to give these students with complex communication needs a voice of their own. An AAC Starter Kit at Valley View is the first step towards achieving that.
Learning Language with Matt and Molly
Susie Beal – Valley View Early Learning Center
As a Speech-Language Pathologist serving multiple grade levels (currently preK-8th) I am constantly searching for materials that are engaging to multiple ages. Over the past few years I have fell in love with one such language program: Autism & PDD Picture Stories and Language Activities (by Linguisystems). In this program two loveable characters, Matt and Molly, help teach communication and language skills through short stories and simple routines. These communication skills include the following: participation in group activities, sequencing, answering yes/no questions, answering wh- questions, and retelling stories. I have used this program with nonverbal preschoolers, elementary students with Autism, elementary students who are learning English, and many others. The skills they are learning through Matt and Molly are vital when it comes to helping these students meet the districts goal of 95% of children reaching benchmark by 3rd grade. Currently I am using the stories with my Integrated Kindergarten (IK) students at Des Moines to work on using complete sentences to describe pictures, answering questions, and sequencing. With my Intensive Academic Center (IAC) students (grades 4-6) at Des Moines I am using it to work on answering questions and basic story retelling skills. In my developmental preschool classroom at Valley View I am using it to work on basic communication skills (ex: answering questions, participating in group, describing pictures). While I have been lucky enough to be able to borrow stories from this program from my fellow Speech-Language Pathologists I do not yet own my own copy. This becomes difficult when I need to take the few stories I have borrowed to several different schools. I also do not own the props to go with each of the stories and either have to make them out of construction paper or borrow them from other teachers.
I would love to be able to set up a permanent play center at Valley View. The students there love dressing up like Matt and Molly and acting out the stories with simple props. Even the non-verbal students are able to participate. Unfortunately I often have to borrow props from other classrooms around the school and they sometimes need these items back before we are done. In the preschool I have found it is best if I can leave the props and stories in the classroom for a full 3 weeks for the children to be able to play and learn during their free choice time. If I had a full set of props I could also bring them to my IK students at Des Moines who I believe would also benefit from acting out the stories. Finally if I had the complete set of Matt and Molly stories I could set up a routine with my students in the IAC. I feel many of them could benefit from using Matt and Molly as a warm up for retelling longer stories. Without the complete set the end up retelling the same Matt and Molly stories over and over and become bored.
White Center Heights Elementary
Heritage Clubs at White Center Heights
Andrea Gardner – White Center Heights Elementary
White Center Heights Elementary School is seeking to build a stronger community in order to effectively support our families and students. One of the ways in which we can strengthen our community is to honor our diverse population while encouraging and supporting their heritage.
I am proposing Heritage Clubs for the families and students of White Center Heights. Somali, Hispanic, and Vietnamese Heritage Clubs will take place on Friday afternoons. Each individual Heritage Club will offer an opportunity for families to come to the school and share their language, culture, concerns, celebrations, etc. The Heritage Clubs are cultural/linguistic groups who meet regularly and engage in activities that promote literacy, community culture, and family connections. Each session involves reading and writing in the language of the group and then oral storytelling, cultural activities, and celebrations that they can share with the rest of the school. This is not a religious outlet for the members.
Our population is comprised of over 36% Asian/Pacific Islander, 20% Black/African American, 31% Hispanic, and 10% Caucasian. Nearly 50% of our student population is transitional/bilingual, which in turn means that, more than likely, their families speak a language other than English at home. In an attempt to build community, we would like to encourage these families to get together (build camaraderie), offer translation and bring the school and community events to each family in their most comfortable language. Additionally, it has come to our attention that many of these families are interested in having their students learn to read and write in their first language. We will find volunteers and community members to come in to work with the families and students during these Friday afternoon sessions to teach the students Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
African Music and Dance Extended Day Program
Andrea Gardner – White Center Heights Elementary
White Center Heights Elementary is focused on offering experiences and opportunities for the students that will supplement their academic success. During Extended Day Programs we have the ability to provide extracurricular activities that enhance student enthusiasm as well as build confidence and esteem. Providing these opportunities and experiences in the Extended Day Program is often the only opportunity students and families have to participate in extracurricular activities. The diversity and the socio-economic status of the majority of our students leaves us with an inequity that has been nationally and locally studied and recognized. A nation-wide study conducted by National Endowment for the Arts reported that African American and Latino youth were half as likely as their white peers to report having had a childhood that included arts education. I am proposing a partnership with Arts Corps that will bring diverse arts into the school. Specifically, I would like to bring an African Music and Dance Program into the school. This course we are proposing to offer is an introduction to Contemporary and Traditional African dance, drumming, song of Ngeuwel, Bambara, Djola, and Susu people of West Africa. Fundamentals of dance, drum, song, (call & response tradition), costuming, storytelling, and performance will be the focus of this course. Using various percussion instruments we will explore rhythms specific and central to the dance of Senegal, Guinea, and Mali West Africa. The youth will learn choreography of dance, specific rhythmic drum patterns, and chants that work together to produce a performance. Youth will gain an appreciation for the folklore, dance, rhythm, song and creativity involved in African Cultural traditions, and develop a clear understanding and familiarity of the Griots (storytellers) of Africa. The class is taught by Summaya Diopp who has studied and performed African Folkloric dance nationally and internationally.
Students will offer a performance for the school at the end of the series in order to demonstrate what they have learned. This will allow them the chance to shine and feel proud of what they have accomplished while building school spirit, camaraderie, and confidence. Additionally, Arts Corps invites all students to take part in an annual showcase at The Broadway Performance Hall where students can perform as well as experience performance from other students and schools. These elements will carry over into their academic school day and build the strength of the student body as well as individual enthusiasm.
Learning from the Writing Masters – Us!
Camille Churchill – White Center Heights Elementary
In conjunction with our school initiative to improve the writing skills of our students, we would like to create a celebration of writing where the students’ work is celebrated and displayed. The older students will display their opinion writing by having a live debate in front of the audience. 3rd and 4th graders will create displays of their informational writing. K-2nd grade will write narratives and create tapes of their stories read aloud. We will also publish books of student writing to be placed in the school libraries and community areas. The celebration will be advertised to the general public.
Hooked on Science!
Lisa Mora – White Center Heights Elementary
We are looking forward to expanding our student’s world to include a trip through the universe! We have been privileged to work with Boeing in an after-school science club. Unfortunately, this only serves 25 students in grades 4 and 5. We would love to take field trips to the Pacific Science Center, but the cost is prohibitive for bus transportation in our high-poverty (approx.. 85% free- and reduced- lunch) school. A few years ago, we were fortunate to receive some outside funding and the Science on Wheels program came to our school. The kids were overcome with excitement as they tried out the exhibits brought to their classrooms! To continue the learning, the classrooms involved with the presentations will continue to explore other worlds that they were introduced to from the Pacific Science Center Science on Wheels A Space Odyssey.