In December 2014, The Highline Schools Foundation awarded $65,053 through 89 classroom grants! Because of events like the Burien Brat Trot and Oktoberfest, and the generosity of our community, the Foundation was able to fund 85% of the grant requests this year and every school within Highline Public Schools received at least one grant!
Academy for Citizenship and Empowerment
Civic Leadership ….. Read more: Facebook
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 listen to speakers and attend workshops on topics that relate to ways that regular people can get involved in the legislative process. They learn how to effectively tell one’s story in order to influence change and about why it is important for traditionally underrepresented populations to do just that. The conference becomes a venue for students to practice their role as concerned citizens and to be in a professional setting while communicating with professionals. A few students who participated last year moved past being intimidated by policy makers and gained confidence when they realized that the legislators were genuinely interested to hear what they had to say.
We would like to return to the Civic Leadership Conference with 20 students this year. Five students each from Global Connections High School, The Academy of Citizenship & Empowerment, Heath Sciences & Human Services High School and Technology, Engineering & Communications High School. With the positive feedback from last year, our students are now anticipating the event, growing aware they must work beforehand to agree upon the issues they wish to present and to learn to articulate those needs effectively. This conference definitely piques students’ interest and gets them excited about what they can do and how the importance of receiving a college education opens 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.
Arts & Academics Academy
District Choral Festival … Read More: Facebook
This grant is for an exciting cooperative idea between 3 high schools and 3 middle schools around building the choral programs in those schools and perhaps causing others to begin. We would like to host a Choral Celebration at the Highline PAC for all 6 programs. The concert would involve several performances from each program and two or three mass choir numbers.
The arts are at a tenuous point in the education of our students. They are the first programs to be cut in today’s educational environment of test, test, test. This is contrary to what research tells us is best for students. Students in musical ensembles usually test 10% better than their peers in standardized testing. Students in musical ensembles feel a greater sense of belonging, a sense of being cared for and known. It is our privilege to be the first of many annual district Choral Celebrations.
Beverly Park Elementary
Blended Listening and Learning
At Beverly Park, we are piloting several computer programs which require headphones. Since many of our headphones are broken, it makes it difficult to implement the programs with fidelity. Some programs, like Lexia or Imagine Learning, rely on students listening and following oral directions. These programs benefit our lowest achieving students as well as our ELL students. For these programs to have maximum impact, we need long lasting, working headphones.
Jingle Bell Run
Can you imagine being able to have an alternative to recess, run laps and earn a jingle bell for each lap you take! Our students are eagerly waiting for the three weeks in December when they can participate in our annual Jingle Bell Run. The students are very eager to earn the bells and can’t wait to get the bells at the end of the three weeks. Many students beg to keep the program going throughout the school year. Students learn that exercise is important in their lives and have fun. During the 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
College 101 … Read More: Facebook
Our goal is to introduce the newest cohort of 101 (freshmen) students at Big Picture High School to the world of college and post high school learning communities. As advisors on our second four-year loop at Big Picture, we strongly believe that the best way to ensure the success of our graduates in 2018 is to begin the process of post-high school exploration now, during their freshmen year. Many of our students come from families where no one has attended college, and they struggle to see themselves as potential members of that community. College 101 is part of our four-year strategy to create positive mindsets around lifetime learning, and to help students envision themselves as members of college communities.
To achieve that this year, we plan to organize an extended college visit in the Puget Sound region. We plan to visit either the Evergreen State College, where many of our graduates have attended, or Bellingham, to see Western Washington University. The visits will include student-led tours, discussions with admissions officers, an opportunity to eat in the schools’ dining halls, a visit to student residences, meeting with leaders of prominent student organizations and clubs, as well as Big Picture graduates who currently attend these schools. Students will reflect on their experiences as part of our Post-high school curriculum.
A student is creating a professional recording studio at Big Picture. In his own words: Currently, there are other students building a wooden booth for the studio. I have gathered and setup every essential piece of recording equipment needed to kick start the project such as microphone equipment, speakers, a recording program, and a music production program. The only essential (and most important) thing the studio is missing is a dedicated computer with the compatibility to run such programs. Last year, while borrowing a computer, I successfully recorded several musicians at my school and the process was amazing.
My vision is for this computer (and the studio) to be used for any student willing to learn Music Production or Music Recording with the essentials that are already coming with the studio. I believe this will cause a positive impact in our schools music community and will have students coming to school to learn more about what they are interested in. Having the studio complete would immediately lead to great project work, as I am very excited for this great opportunity. In addition, many other students could benefit from having new technology to learn and explore as well as a chance to express themselves through writing and recording music. Having this resource could improve our school wide meetings by adding music and DJs. It would attract others from diverse communities to our school, with the ability to record all types of music here at Big Picture.
Bow Lake Elementary
All Kids Are Readers!
One of our district’s goals is that 19 of 20 students meet or exceed standard in literacy by grade three. Our school has made significant progress towards this goal by implementing research-based strategies to help meet each student’s individual reading goals. Because of this, 80% of our returning first graders are meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations. However, this leaves a few students, at the first grade level alone, who would benefit from additional supports in reading. For these struggling readers across all grade levels, having a variety of tools and resources is extremely valuable.
Based on the extensive research surrounding it, the Horizons Learning to Read curriculum is a tool that can help struggling readers catch up. From my own previous experiences using Horizons as a teaching tool, it is a program that engages learners and can encourage them to not just participate, but enjoy reading. I am requesting the Horizons Learning to Read curriculum because I hope to encourage a group of students who once struggled as readers begin to consider it a strength.
Chromebooks to Create Tech-Savvy, Tech-Literate Students
I teach a 3/4 split class at Bow Lake Elementary. Our school has 88% free and reduced lunch population, and not much access to technology. I would like to be able use technology for Word Work, Reading, Math, Writing, and even Science and Social Studies in my classroom. Specifically, I have been creating videos that teach the beginning of the Math in Focus lessons so that I am able to teach 3rd and 4th grade math at the same time, but to different standards. Some of the students can access the videos using technology at home, but many of them have to wait until they get to school to use a computer. I have 4 very old desktop computers in my room, and 24 students who need to use them.
I would like to use Excel Grant funds to purchase at least 5 Chromebooks so that more of my class has access to the technology they need to become truly tech-savvy and tech-literate, and specifically to succeed in math. They would be able to integrate with the Google apps accounts that Technology Services has already set up, and use Google docs to have access to all their files and work.
Endless Exploring in 3D: The Impossible is Possible … Read More: Facebook
The Endless Exploring in 3D project unleashes exploration and inquiry in the minds of 5th and 6th grade students at Bow Lake Elementary. During the age of 3D imaging, we don’t have to travel to Washington DC and visit the Smithsonian Museum of American Natural History to examine ancient fossils, or become a paleontologist to handle fragile bones of 650 million year old dinosaurs. We can print replicas in our own classroom with a 3D printer. (Miniature versions, of course!)
Hundreds of CAD files (3-dimensional blueprints of objects) exist online. And each day these files are growing as more museums realize the potential for 3D printing in classrooms. Many are developing libraries of their collections to promote inquiry and exploration for students to meet Next Generation Science Standards. What better way to ignite enthusiasm for learning about science and social studies than by printing replicas of artifacts housed in museum display cases far away from the classroom? To study history we can print canopic jars, Roman coins, figurines, statues, and tools. To study geology and plate tectonics we can print topographic maps of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, and the ocean floor. To learn about adaptations we can print insects, saber tooth tiger skulls, and hummingbirds. Students can examine and reexamine objects as more questions develop when they test their theories.
In addition to exploring artifacts housed in faraway museums, students will design and create their own three dimensional objects. When we study physics through the 5th grade Motion and Design unit, students can redesign the wheels to make the vehicles travel faster. Students will also help to solve problems.
Just today, when we wheeled in the school’s laptop cart, I saw that the latch that normally holds the doors of the cart together had broken off. The duct tape spread across the two doors dangled uselessly. Students could design a new latch using Google Sketchup, a free software that allows you to create 3D designs that could then be printed on a 3D printer.
The possibilities are endless for engaging students in learning with a 3D printer. What’s most exciting about having a 3D printer in our school is that it would empower students to become problem solvers. Students would have the tools to design and create tangible solutions to real problems and they would begin to see themselves differently – they would see themselves as engineers.
My musicians love to play the xylophones! In a perfect situation, each student would have their own instrument; however in my classroom, two to three students share an instrument. My students are great about waiting their turn and mentoring their partners, but they would much rather put their skills to work and play with the group.
Playing the xylophone is a fun and engaging way for students to learn and practice musical concepts (steady beat, rhythms, dynamics, reading music) and work as an ensemble producing real music. Many of our xylophones, which are shared with another music specialist, are approximately 25 years old; they get a lot of use and are still producing a great tone. The Studio 49 Series xylophones I am requesting are quality instruments and should hold up for many years. My students would be thrilled to have two more quality instruments added to our collection. This gift would benefit over 700 students.
Cascade Middle School
Improving School Attendance … Read More: Facebook
Cascade Middle School has been working to implement and execute systems to improve attendance at school in the 2014-2015 school year. We reward students for great attendance in the following ways: Monthly perfect attendance incentives; Quarterly perfect attendance incentives; Annual perfect attendance incentives; Rewarding improving attendance over time.
Our aim is to keep the incentives fresh and desirable for kids so that they want to work hard to earn them. This September, we had 143 students who came to school every day of the month! That’s almost 25% of our entire student body! Because of a very limited budget in the month of September, our monthly perfect attendance reward was a certificate and a set of ‘passes’ including 10% off at the school store, popcorn Friday, and $1 a ticket to the school dance – things that were of little or no cost to the school. For future incentives, we would like to have small rewards like school pride necklaces, rubber bracelets, stuffed mascot animals, small school supplies, and a special raffle for only the students who earn the entry with perfect attendance.
Our year is off to a great start with an average daily attendance of 95.985%! We are telling students that our goal is to hit as many 97% days as possible, which will we reward with spirit days! Small prizes tend to make the world go round in middle school. Even the smallest recognition, something that we can hand them with a smile and congratulate them on their hard work, will go a long way.
Screens Connected by Technology
The number of technology and engineering companies setting up shop in and around Seattle has been increasing dramatically (RoadMap Project). At Cascade Middle School, we believe using technology in our classrooms will benefit students in becoming more techsavvy and techliterate. Currently, we use laptops and projectors in our classrooms to display images onto the projector or whiteboard. Airserver has provided an opportunity to release teachers from the cords. The technology Airserver has created allows teachers to display the content on their iPad onto the projector screen wirelessly from anywhere in the classroom. It will also allow students to show their own research or evidence of learning on the projector screen wirelessly from anywhere in the class.
The Wall Street Journal printed, “Faculty and students also utilize Airserver which enables the display and sharing of Ipad content in class.” Imagine a classroom where the teacher could take a picture of a student’s work at the student’s desk, call the class to attention and describe what the student was doing successfully while showing it on the projector screen. Quick, accurate, real time instruction created from student voice. Imagine another scenario where a teacher might flip through some slides for a lecture, but be standing by a few students who need some extra help taking notes or redirections on focusing their attention properly. These scenarios can happen at Cascade Middle School. Students are going to be receiving one to one devices, and Airserver technology would fit hand in hand with it.
Using Technology for Improved Student Engagement
This year Cascade Middle School has been chosen as the school in the Highline School District to pilot Blended Learning, and each student will have a Chromebook to use in every classroom. Blended Learning uses online learning tools to improve student engagement. It gives students the opportunity to view instruction and videos and use other online applications, and it is a method that is “blended” with individual and small group instruction. As part of the transformation, the Science department at Cascade has been searching for online resources to help support the Blended Learning model, but more importantly to improve student engagement and participation.
We would like to pilot Pear Deck for our school. Pear Deck is found on the Google Drive, so it fits perfectly with the use of the Chromebooks, which use Google apps for Education. Pear Deck will be easy to set up. Pear Deck allows teacher to build and plan presentations and launch live interactive sessions on the projector. Every single learner joins the live session on his/her device and participates. It’s fun for the students, and it allows quick formative assessments for the teachers to adjust their lessons to accommodate the learning needs of the students.
Wii Just Want to Have Fun! … read more: Facebook
I teach Adaptive Physical Education for Highline School District. Adaptive Physical Education is a program for those students who are physically and mentally disabled and are unable to participate in a regular physical education class. At Cascade Middle School the Adaptive Physical Education class does not have access to the gym. On rainy and cold days we hold class in the old choir room. A space that is shared with other programs and is hardly adequate for physical activity and kids who just want the opportunity to play and have fun. For Physical Education equipment we have 4 balls and beanbags. That is it!!! The Wii gaming system with four controllers will allow all students, regardless of disability, to participate in fun and interactive physical activities at the same time. After all, who doesn’t love to bowl, play a game of baseball, or go skiing?
The projector will be used in place of a TV. The projector will increase the opportunity for all students to visually seethe games and participate without the need to crowd around a small TV. Plus the projector is easily transported, along with the game system, to accommodate any type of space that the adaptive physical education program is placed in. The projector can also be hooked up to a laptop for instructional activities, presentations, or the use of fitness DVD’s.
In addition to teaching at Cascade Middle School, I also teach at Sylvester Middle School and Highline High School. So, I do plan on using the gaming system and projector at all my schools to benefit all of the wonderful students in the Adaptive Physical Education Program.
eBooks for the 21st Century Library
Cedarhurst Library serves 735 students and about 50 staff members each week. Purchasing multi-user eBooks that 30 students can read it at the same time is a very cost effective way to get kids reading. I believe that eBooks will engage students in learning in many ways including: Multiple students can simultaneously read the same book for teacher-led book groups; A whole class can simultaneously read the same book for novel studies; Students who do not have books at home will be able to have access to eBooks using a computer, smartphone, or other handheld device (Kindle, Nook, iPad); Increasing the availability of popular titles like those from Stone Arch Publications will allow more students to read the books they are really excited about. It’s important to foster the love of reading in my students and this is one way I can help do that.
Food Chain in Action
In September, sixth graders at Cedarhurst started their school year by spending one week at Waskowitz Outdoor School immersed in the environment experiencing the Pacific Northwest Ecosystem. And they loved it! We studied topics such as animal adaptation, water ecology, and the forest ecosystem by observing, recording and analyzing hands-on science activities.
The district provides teachers with an Environmental Science kit which includes one owl pellet! What is an owl pellet, you might ask? An owl pellet is the undigested parts of a bird’s food that some bird species occasionally regurgitate. It will contain tiny bones of animals that the owl has eaten. With only one owl pellet, examining and taking them apart isn’t an option, (a lesson I’ve done in the past with my entire class). I would like to purchase an owl pellet for each student which allows them to see the Food Chain in Action. The lesson shows how animals consume other animals, and also how birds must adapt in order to digest the bones. Students are expected to make observations, sort the bones, make scientific drawings and draw conclusions. Even the most squeamish student is fascinated with this activity. Going to Waskowitz so early in the year has the advantage of allowing me to continuously integrate and build on the science we already did.
In the Know!
With the adoption of the Common Core Standards, our district and school have put a greater emphasis on non-fiction reading. We know from research that students are more successful in all content areas when they possess the ability to read a wide range of text types. One tool we are hoping to buy for our 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th grade classes is Scholastic News. This magazine covers current events, science, social studies, math and other content areas through engaging color photographs, diagrams, maps, articles and more. Used in shared and close reading teaching experiences, students gain skills in navigating nonfiction text, reading comprehension and critical thinking through content that is Common Core aligned. These magazines also engage students is current events and social issues that allow them to grapple with big ideas and themes in order to develop discussion and debate skills and also as citizens and independent thinkers.
Each student receives their own color copy of the magazine. This enables teachers to not only work with them at school but provides a school/home connection. Teachers can send the magazines home with homework assignments and also encourage students and families to read the magazines together and discuss current events and important content topics. There is also a well-developed online component and iPad app that each student has access to at school and in the home. Our kindergarten and 1st grade classes received these from the district this year and are loving them. The magazines are a regular part of their read aloud and shared reading teaching experiences. Students are engaged in the topics and enjoy learning through the magazines.
Chinook Middle School
Bring Digital Books to Chinook! ….. Read more: Facebook
Imagine being told you need to read 25 minutes a night in order to make adequate language gains when you do sports after school (1 hour), take the bus (45 minutes), eat dinner (30 minutes), run errands with your parents (2 hours), and still need to complete math, science, social studies, or foreign language homework (60 minutes). When is there time? Or, what if you forgot your book at school and want to read from home?
With audiobooks, you can listen to your book while on the bus. With eBooks, you can access the content from any computer. Last school year, I was the recipient of a grant to acquire digital audiobooks, and was able to purchase about 75 audiobooks which are available through mackinvia.com and are accessible on any device that has internet access and has an app for offline reading for iOS and droid devices. I have shown our students how to use these digital audiobooks, and not only are they currently all checked out, but I have multiple hold requests on each title. Some titles have 10 or more requests. All of my 75 audiobooks are checked out.
For my project, I am requesting funds to increase the Chinook Library digital holdings. These materials would be used by all students at Chinook—630 in the 2014-2015 school year—for this year and in following years. There is a strong need for more digital holdings in our school library.
“To Be or Not To Be” That is The CHOICE (Academy) ….. Read more: Facebook
CHOICE is a small alternative education school that embraces students with a variety of interests and diverse backgrounds. Many coming from home schooling, theater is a great way to bridge these students to each other and the various interests in art and drama with the greatest English playwright Shakespeare who gives fine material to address a multiplicity of ELA CCSS as well as philosophical, historical, sociological, and character sketches that lend a diversity of perspectives with which to enhance the study of history. The Complete Works provides needed flexibility to pick and choose any of Shakespeare’s plays, study his sonnets, and fit an essential author into every school year.
The choice of Shakespeare is decided by the integration of Social Studies (World Studies) and Language Arts classes to put on a play: to perform, to create costumes and sets, to study challenging language, to study the extrinsic factors and purposes of drama in 16th-17th c. England, to put these plays in a global perspective. Our students at CHOICE shine when they are able to act and interact, to speak and soliloquize, to see and be seen (in scenes) with their peers. This grant would allow CHOICE to be able to first and foremost put on a play creating an interdisciplinary project between Social Studies and Language Arts. Furthermore, the ability to continue drawing from the wealth of Shakespeare, whether studying and performing the tragedies—Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth—the histories—Henry V, Julius Caesar—the comedies—Midsummer Night’s Dream, et al.—is a brilliant investment in the continued use of this book and the adaptability to the ever-changing student demographics.
Community Based Services
Dress for Success ….. Read More: Facebook
You never get a second chance to make a first impression! Most interviewers size someone up in the first 10 minutes. Help us help our students make a great first impression! Community Based Services (CBS) is a program for special education students between the ages of 18 – 21. The focus of this program is to help young adults and their families prepare for a future of opportunities after completing their education with the Highline School District. All students at CBS participate in an internship position in the community, as part of their school day. They learn specific job skills, transportation options and time management skills. Students are also taught how to be prepared for employment by dressing professionally.
At this time students wear very casual ‘school’ clothing when participating in their internships. The CBS program would like to provide each student an opportunity to experience the benefit and importance of dressing appropriately for the world of work.
Des Moines Elementary
ELL Technology Resources
Our aim is to provide our students with a program called “Imagine Learning”. Imagine Learning is an English language development computer program designed for young ELL Students and offers instruction in literacy, social, academic vocabulary development, listening and speaking that are aligned with core content. This program benefits at least 30 students aged 6 -12 who are currently receiving English Language Support.
For the past three years of conducting the program, we have seen improvement in our students’ performance. They have become more engaged and self-sufficient as they step to the next level of improving their language skills. Contributing to the success of the program is the continuous support of our small group instruction that is provided by the English Language Tutor. Currently as the ELL Tutor I only have access to one computer, which limits the learning of the children as they have to take turns using the computer. Since my groups are rather small, at the most 6 children, the amount of computer/tablets requested would be 6. With the positive results of the program, we seek to address the needs of all our ELL students at Des Moines Elementary School.
Imagine going to the library to find a book to check out but there aren’t any new stuff to spark an interest. This is often the case with many of the boys in the intermediate grades at my school. Guys want to read stuff that speaks to their need for thrilling adventures that leave them spellbound and at the edge of their seats. Books that they can’t wait to read what happens next.
Often, as students get older, unless there are books that continue to excite them, they soon see reading as a “have-to” activity instead of a “want-to”. I believe my job as the teacher/librarian is to instill a love for reading among ALL students. I love the look of pure joy on a student’s face when they exclaim “YAY! I have been waiting forever to read this!”… Students who are so motivated and engaged in reading a book that truly interest them that they find it quite difficult to put down.
Des Moines Elementary is one of the smallest elementary schools in Highline with only about 410 students. This equates to a smaller budget in comparison to other surrounding elementary schools. For the last few years, Highline has designated a school library budget of $2.50/per student. With 410 students at Des Moines, that equates to just over $1000 for new library books. That might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t when the average cost of hardbacks range from $18-25 each, not counting sales tax.
Though paperback books are cheaper, they simply do not survive much longer than 2-3 checkouts before they start falling apart. Repairing them is futile as there is really no good way of “fixing” paperback books. I find that using paperbacks in a school library setting is not a wise purchase over the long run. I much prefer library-reinforced books. Though they cost 3-4 times more than paperbacks, they will survive multiple checkouts, often for many years. As a new staff member to this school, I have made it my mission to continually seek out other resources to help build Des Moines’ library collection with new, up-to-date titles, instead of merely replacing the older, worn-out ones.
At Highline Public Schools, we want ALL students to be lifelong readers. Reading is more than just reading books. It encompasses reading newspapers, webpages, future college and job applications just to name a few. However, unless a student is truly inspired to love reading from a young age, they may miss out on many literacy adventures that are available in the pages of a really good book.
Imagine Learning English Technology Club
Reading at grade level is a daily challenge. Currently the Federal Government spends 2 billion dollars trying to address this each year. However, by 8th grade, 1 in 4 students do not read a grade level. Students need a better option than illiteracy, they need a solution.
Imagine Learning English is one of many solutions that our school district provides to better serve our English Language Learners. This program provides direct instruction in reading skills and comprehension, ongoing assessment and differentiated instruction based on individual needs. Currently our school district provides Imagine Learning English for students that perform at a Level 1 on the WELPA (Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment).
Here at Des Moines Elementary the kindergarten grade level team is determined to focus on Mastery by Grade 3. One of our school districts strategic goals is to assure that at least 19 out of 20 students entering kindergarten in 2013 will meet or exceed standards in all core subjects by the end of Grade 3.
Although the students benefiting from this grant are not those kindergarten students that entered in 2013, our team is dedicated to making certain that from here on out, this bold strategic goal applies to all current and future incoming kindergarten students.
We would like to provide our Level 2 English Language Learners the opportunity to participate in an ILE (Imagine Learning English) Technology club. They would have access to their own individualized ILE account and would meet twice a week to be given a second dose of direct reading instruction in reading skills and comprehension. The ILE Technology club would use the iPads that were already donated to our kindergarten classrooms here at Des Moines by our Superintendent and Technology Lead at the beginning of this school year.
Kinderfabulous iBook Library ….. Read more: Facebook
We would like to opportunity to purchase iBooks for our students to use daily on our classroom iPads. Our vision is to have a new book available for students to use each week. This is what our week would look like during literacy stations in each classroom. Instructional Focus: Character, setting, events, problem/solution, sight words, and reading with fluency for purpose and understanding. Students will listen and read Fiction and Non-Fiction books independently. Kindergarteners will produce a book report in which they will practice drawing what happens at the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Students will practice writing the title of a book and sight words they can read.
Kindergarteners will also have a task of sequencing four screen shots of a story to retell in order. Students will identify sight words in a book and show tally marks for how many times they see/hear that specific word. Students will also be able to create the story again using their own words and characters to make the story their own version.
Lastly, our Kinderfabulous K Kids will read out loud while recording themselves. This piece would allow us to keep audio documentation on their oral fluency and also the ability to connect with families by sending the recording via email monthly. For us this is aligned with our team goal of reaching out to our families more often throughout the school year. We would be thrilled to offer our students the opportunity to explore interactive iBooks through our iPads.
We Want to Learn About Careers! ….. Read More: Facebook
What do YOU want to be when you grow up? That’s a question that is often asked to elementary students, especially the younger ones. But, it is difficult to answer when you don’t know anything about the many different opportunities that are available in the career world. My students participated in the King County Road Map Project’s Discover U initiative during the month of October. Many opportunities were available for students during their regularly scheduled class library periods to explore a wide variety of jobs and careers through websites such as Virginia Career View and Kids.gov for information as well as short, video-clips showing that person on-the-job. Along with that, they were also able to go on virtual college tours through CampusTours.com.
As a result, the students became highly motivated in learning about people who make up their neighborhood community and how they might see themselves as workers and professionals in the future. With that, they were eager to check out library books about a career of interest. Being new to this school, I quickly realized that there were no career-related books in the school library collection. Yikes! The students and I were equally disappointed that there were no resources for them to read and explore.
Therefore, career-related books would be such a meaningful, much-needed and valuable asset to Des Moines School Library. The titles submitted with this proposal have been selected for their high-interest and appropriate reading levels. Likewise, they are library-reinforced, hardbacks which would retain its sturdiness for a long time, after many students have taken turns checking them out from the library.
It has been a long-standing goal and strong belief of Highline Public Schools that EVERY student will graduate prepared for college, career and citizenship. Students need resources to learn about a wide-variety of future career goals. I believe that these books would be a great start for the wonderful students of Des Moines Elementary.
Let’s Get Digital @ the Library … Read More: Facebook
Read more: Blog
Consider going to the library and discovering all the books are written in a language unfamiliar to you and at a reading level much higher than you can read. And everything that IS at your reading level looks like something a little kid would read. That’s exactly how many of our ELL students feel when they cannot find a book to pique their interest written at their level that won’t embarrass them in front of their peers.
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, In order to improve in reading they need to have access to materials at their level that don’t look like it’s designed for a 2nd grader to read. And it is so important for these students to be reading at an appropriate reading level. Research tells us that students need to read material at their level in order to improve reading skills. Research also tells us that when a student reads in their 1st language, it helps promote acquisition and reading skills in the new language. But what if the materials is in digital form that could be downloaded to a phone of other device. Then only the reader would know what the cover looks like!
The list of titles include both English and Spanish language eBooks that can be used by multiple users with simultaneous access. This option usually costs a bit more, but opens up the use to more people at one time. This selection also serves to provide more titles from which students can choose for independent reading. I am still developing this list with the help of the ELL teachers on campus so these are just a sampling of what is available and not a final list.
As a teacher-librarian I support reading and information literacy regardless of the reading level of individual students. Having a good selection of books for teens that they are not embarrassed to read is critical.
Global Connections High School
Africa United Club Meets NW African American Museum ….. Read more: Facebook
In the past few years, the Africa United Club at Global Connections High School has raised money for clean water initiatives in Uganda and a literacy project in Ghana. Last year alone, the club raised and donated over $650 to charitable causes through sweatshirt sales, a competitive water relay, and the making and selling of delicious Somali-style sambusas. The cycle of fundraising will begin soon, but first, I would like to help give the club members a fun and memorable experience!
A visit to the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle would definitely be such an experience. It would help students learn more about the history of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest, from early settlers through present-day immigrants. Students would also have the opportunity to enjoy the Onyx Fine Art Collective Exhibit, featuring contemporary art by African-American artists. Culturally-specific activities like a visit to NAAM can provide students with a forum to really consider a group of people, from the group’s history and contemporary issues.
A visit to the museum would be followed by a group meal at a nearby Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant. Learning to use injera instead of a fork will definitely be a bonding experience! Aside from the educational component, the aspect of relationship-building among students is a key goal of this field trip. The club is a heterogeneous group of students, spanning grade levels, countries of origin, and language ability, and I believe that this field trip could be instrumental in having the group coalesce and bring energy to their philanthropic work!
I am requesting 50 copies of The Oedipus Cycle: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone by Sophocles. My students are doing a 10-week unit on, “What is good art?” In this unit, students will read three plays (Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf) to develop their own criteria (called a Poetics) for what makes good art, eventually using these criteria to argue which play is of the highest quality. They will use their Poetics as a foundational framework all year in evaluating what they read. This unit will not only involve healthy debate and critical analysis, but will require students to justify their opinions with reasoning and evidence, a necessary skill for college and career. This work will help students “own” their opinions and develop a philosophy of art.
Oedipus Rex and Antigone are foundational texts in world literature. They have appeared on the AP Literature Test almost every year. They are clearly based on Aristotelian Poetics—the Greek criteria for good art—which allow for clear analysis. These texts also serve as frameworks for tragic plays that followed, such as Hamlet and Death of a Salesman.
We have traditionally taught 20th-century plays here. However, students have expressed interest to learn more about Ancient times. This interest is partly fueled by video games and films. It is an exciting development, and one I would like to tap into. Starting with Sophocles provides the opportunity to teach a survey of plays over time, which will help students get a historical framework of the evolution of plays and literature.
This book contains three canonized plays by the great Greek playwright, Sophocles. This gives future AP Literature teachers at our school flexibility in deciding what Sophocles play to teach. Furthermore, this edition provides strong supplementary information about historical context, allusions, and impact of the plays at the time. These supports help students of all levels access the plays’ meaning. This edition is also well-bound and should last for many years, allowing many students to read the great Sophocles.
Sophocles’s plays provide an opportunity for students to travel to a different world and era. Yet, through the universal tales of fate vs. free will, they will also see the common feelings and challenges each of us humans goes through, no matter time and space. These plays will be unlike anything they have read before, and yet similar. I look forward to presenting them with that paradox.
Gregory Heights Elementary
Chapter Books for Beginning Readers …. Read More: Facebook
Michael Bento .
As our younger students improve their reading skills, they naturally look beyond picture books and want to begin reading chapter books. Beginning level chapter books are typically shorter in length, with simpler text, larger font, illustrations and a simple chapter format. These books help bridge the gap between picture books and the more advanced chapter books popular with intermediate and older students.
I have compiled a list of beginning chapter books recommended by HSD teachers and librarians, popular and loved by their students. Copies of these books would be purchased from Permabound, who guarantee their books. These 73 titles would ensure a larger selection of quality, entry level chapter books to help our emerging Gregory readers for years to come.
We are writing to request funding in an effort to build a classroom set of ukuleles for our Music program. Learning an instrument is a life-long skill and passion. Our hope is that all students learn to love music throughout their lives. As educators, we want not only to teach our students the basics of music, but also to provide them with a gift that will last a lifetime. We want our students to be able to play and sing campfire songs, sing lullabies for their children, and have a creative outlet to express themselves when words are not enough. We have found that many students who struggle in their general education classrooms find success in Music class. Through learning to play the ukulele, students develop discipline, hard work, teamwork, fine motor skills, creative expression, and a sense of accomplishment and belonging.
Students will learn the necessary skills to play basic chords on the ukulele, and to accompany themselves while singing. They will learn how to play and sing different styles of music, and to become independent musicians who can figure out a song on their own. Students will also learn to write their own music and share it with others.
We would like to offer an instrumental option to students who do not sign up for 5th or 6th grade Band, and the ukulele is the perfect choice, as it is universal, timeless, and small enough for younger students. With 670 students at our school, we can reach a lot of children through music, and plan to use the ukuleles with 5th and 6th graders as well as other grade levels. We envision that our own set of working ukuleles would enable us to inspire musical creativity and build musical techniques so that our students will become passionate and skilled practitioners. We have seen the power of a musical instrument to light up a child’s eyes, and look forward to sharing that spark with students at Gregory Heights for many years to come.
Updated STEM learning for our intermediate students ….. Read More: Facebook
The FIRST Lego League (FLL) Club at Gregory Heights is an after school club for 4th-6th grade, or 9-12 year olds, which meets twice a week to learn and work together to find answers to challenging real world questions and problems, create innovative solutions, have fun, and to get excited about the applications of science, technology, engineering and applied mathematics.
In early fall, FIRST releases a challenge which is based on real world scientific and engineering problems. This year’s challenge is the mission to find a better or more innovative way to allow access to deep learning for all, regardless of the obstacles some individuals must overcome.
Students research different learning styles (how everyone has a preferred and often different way of learning) to develop a solution that adds value to society by improving something that already exists, using something that exists in a new and different way, or inventing something completely new and innovative to help humans learn.
As well as this real life research problem, students on the teams also design, build, and program an autonomous robot to solve challenges representing real life learning obstacles and problems. The thematic field is made of Legos by the students, and the team members learn how to use “coopertition”, a major component of the Gracious Professionalism that encourages being competitive and successful in the STEM application, as well as a much deeper foundation that guides the students to “help one another and other competing teams as the foundation of successful and lifelong teamwork. What we discover and learn is more important than what we win. The children are guided to display professionalism that is gracious and always cooperative in everything they do within their FIRST Robotics season of challenge and teamwork.” These lessons have lifelong and worldwide potential for a culture of long-lasting change in our world and our students’ future.
Hazel Valley Elementary
Mark Albert Lewis
Hazel Valley Elementary School is pleased to present this Grant proposal for your review. We look forward to partnering with you to provide an important social and fitness program for our students that struggle with unhealthy habits and poor exercise routines. The club is called Fit Club and it is for students between the ages of eight to twelfth years of age. Hazel Valley has over fifty at risk students that are overweight or practice unhealthy habits. The objective of the Fit Club program is to help all students belong to a club and learn how to participate on a team. The students will receive one extra hour a week of exercise that will enhance their fitness levels.
During the last year, we have been piloting the Fit Club program with a group of students. These students have been making corrections with school behavior, poor eating habits and improving their fitness habits. Two days a week the students can enter the Gym between 8:00 am to 8:30 am and play organized games, work on skills and enjoy comradery. The only way a student can enter the gym is if they have their Fit Club bracelet on or know the secret hand shake! Every club member has earned a yellow and black bracelet. This bracelet is theirs to keep as long and they do not receive any minor or major tickets and keep their core subject grades up. Teachers have seen dramatic improvements in their student’s behaviors because the students are aware that they can be removed from Fit Club. We have seen measurable success and we are now seeking to expand with a Fit Kids program for the younger ages on Wednesdays mornings.
Living History Field Trip at Waskowitz ….. Read More: Facebook
Some thank you’s from the students: Living History Field Trip at Waskowitz
This very exceptional program that augments the Fourth Grade Curriculum for Washington State History and Social Studies (NEW addition this year). The 4th Grade team is asking for help to offset the price per student to attend Washington State History at Camp Waskowitz. grant will be able to lower the cost for each student to attend the once in a lifetime experience.
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!
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.
Time for Kids Subscription for Non-Fiction Studies & Science … Read more: Facebook (coming soon)
Snakes! Droughts! Elections! Our 4th grade students simply salivate for current events and non-fiction texts. We dedicate six out of nine months to the study and analysis of non-fiction, information texts (a large part of 4th grade state standards). “Time for Kids” magazines provide current, high-interest, grade-appropriate mentor texts that incorporate science, social studies, and civics. Included in the subscription are interactive sites that provide read-aloud texts for our English Language Learners and access to support with relevant academic vocabulary. Teacher supplementary materials for reinforcement of comprehension concepts are also included on the teacher portal.
Our students would greatly benefit from access to these standard-based rich texts. I had a few that were donated last year, and I had to do a daily drawing to decide who would be the lucky winner to read them that day. Please help me put high-quality non-fiction into the hands off all my students. Free digital educations bring TFK to life: included with subscriptions, digital editions are optimized for interactive whiteboards and are packed with extra features such as audio read-alouds, cover story video, interactive maps, graphs and quizzes, pop-up vocabulary.
Write and Draw with an Author ….. Read More: Facebook
Our students love books and hanging out in the library. But they don’t always connect the book with a real live person who writes the story. This grant allows children’s author, Dana Sullivan to visit our school several times, share his picture books and guide our budding young author/illustrators to make their own books. Five kindergarten classes will hear Mr. Sullivan read his picture book, Kay Kay’s Alphabet Safari. This special event, with African music and performance by Mr. Sullivan, will show students how an idea becomes a published book. Then, over the next month, kindergarteners will create their own illustrated alphabet books and display them in the library picture book section. Kindergarteners have just finished learning their letters and sounds. Their alphabet books let them apply the new skills in a tangible form.
On another visit Mr. Sullivan will meet with all fifth grade students to demonstrate his illustration techniques for making his comic book characters. Then each fifth grader will create their own drawing of a character from mythology or possibly a one-page graphic novel. During library lessons we will read Greek and Roman myths so they can chose a favorite character to illustrate. Art is not included in the general curriculum; this is a rare opportunity for students to learn a popular style of art. The finished characters will be displayed for all to admire.
The fund also allows us to add multiple copies of Dana Sullivan’s books into our library for repeat reading and enjoyment. Once they have a connection to the real live person who created the books undoubtedly there will be a rush to read and reread these stories.
Health Sciences and Human Services High School
The digital divide between the haves and have-nots is real. Which is why I was so delighted to get a classroom set of Chromebooks this year. As a 9th grade social studies teacher, I was fortunate enough to receive a cart from the district in its attempt to improve passing rates across the board. The concept was that the technology would help facilitate learning at a higher level and allow students to experience more success. 9th grade social studies is the class the most students fail in high school (and this is a phenomena in most districts I’ve found.).
The Chromebooks have been a wonderful addition to my teaching repertoire. I love that I can have students stay organized as they log into Chrome, since it carries over their bookmarks and search history. They are using Google Docs to share their work with each other and provide feedback. Because the Chromebooks are always ready to go, students can complete graphic organizers in real time together in Google Docs. I can then look to see who made what contributions. They allow my classroom to develop their literacy and collaborative skills at a rate or in ways that analog wouldn’t allow and I can make sure that they learn how to use the computers in a way that benefits them in all endeavors. They are becoming technologically literate.
The only catch is that the cart has 30 computers. And I have 32 students in my classes. It’s important to maintain a sense of equity in my classroom, so my current strategy is to hope at least two students are absent (this is not a very good strategy) or sneak down to another teacher and borrow a couple of aging netbooks from her computer cart (this is a better strategy, but not a good once given the limited battery life of the netbooks and the fact that she needs them as well). There needs to be a better way.
I’m hopeful that I can procure two more Chromebooks so that I can get a solid 1:1 ratio and no longer have to scramble to ensure that everyone has a computer, or go through the thought process of who to pair up…those students who are meeting standard and are on track for an A, or those students who are on the other side of the spectrum.
The Science of Memory ….. Read More: Facebook
Have you ever experienced attending a field trip that gives you the excitement of discovering things that a regular classroom can’t provide? This is exactly the feeling we would like to provide our students by taking them to the Pacific Science Center to give them a better understanding of the science material they have been learning over summer and so far this year. We would take 10 students each from the Upward Bound classes at Global Connections High School, The Academy of Citizenship & Empowerment, Health Sciences & Human Services High School, and Technology, Engineering, & Communications High School.
We, as an Upward Bound staff, strive to get students interested in science as much as possible by making it relevant and real. With challenging science curriculum we inspire them to see how science affects their daily lives. Our current unit that our students have been engaged in is Stress, Exercise, and Memory. This unit has sparked the students’ interest about science, especially the brain.
Until March, the Pacific Science Center will be hosting an exhibit on memory called, Memory: Past meets Present. Thanks to the generosity of the Highline Schools Foundation, our students may have the opportunity to compare what they have learned about the science behind memory to the research that has been done by top scientists in the nation.
Highline High School
“What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for others” – George Eliot. This is a quote that I have hanging in my classroom and a message that I am trying to implement by applying for this grant. I am an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher at Highline High School. In alignment with the District’s Strategic Plan to insure that all students are prepared for college, career and citizenship, the purpose of AVID is to prepare students for both college acceptance and college success. The program focuses on students who will be the first in their family to attend college; the majority of these students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
College acceptance requires success in advanced math classes and success on the math portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). I have 51 AVID juniors who are taking Algebra II or Pre-Calculus this year. The AVID class provides tutorials twice a week, so that students can get help with academic points of confusion. My students are tenacious about learning the needed math concepts, but their progress is hampered by the fact that many cannot afford their own graphing calculators. The math classes do have the calculators for in-class use, but my students don’t have the calculators at home or for tutorials in my class. It is very difficult for me to watch how hard these students struggle without the necessary tools. I am requesting 8 of these calculators so that I will have them for tutorial use during class and for the ability to allow students to check them out for home use. I want college to be a reality, not just a dream, for these wonderful kids.
Focused Fitness ….. Read More: Facebook
Yoga is being offered as a PE credit for the first time at HHS. A traditional PE class focuses on team sports and competitive athleticism. Not every learner/student seeks competitive fitness. This course relates to HHS’s career pathway by helping identify learners by their Name, Strength and Need. There are many students in PE courses whose strength is not competitive sports and whose need is an alternative form of fitness. Making healthy lifestyle choices is an integral component of a successful education.
Yoga allows students of all ability levels to succeed independently. Yoga is a lifetime fitness activity and provides students the opportunity to maintain their ‘healthy fitness zone’ in an alternative format. allows students to explore their bodies, mind, and emotional health independently while improving their flexibility, muscular endurance, and muscular strength. All state and national requirements of a traditional PE class are met.
I am asking for Yoga mats for the gym and an iPad mini for instructional purposes. This equipment helps make the practice more structured, more realistic, and more comfortable. Students can design their own workouts with Yoga mats. Integrating technology into the classroom and everyday practices will help students leave HHS with tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Currently, students download fitness apps on their personal cell phone and I track their fitness goals throughout the duration of the semester. Having an iPad mini (with a projector) will allow the entire class to set fitness goals, use up-to-date apps, and have access to limitless Yoga poses without using a printer.
Link Crew … Read More: Facebook (coming soon)
On behalf of the Highline High School Link Crew I am requesting an Excel Grant to support the implementation of our year-long 9th grade transition program. This year the HHS Link Crew, a group of 65 Juniors and Seniors, are planning to host 4 Academic Support events to assist our 9th graders achieve academic success. The purpose of these events is to engage our 9th graders in their learning by building a connection with caring peer leaders. By encouraging 9th graders to set goals and prepare for final exams and projects, we hope to positively impact the number of students who earn enough credits to move to 10th grade. In addition, a smaller group of Link Crew leaders (20) will be attending a Student Link Conference to be trained by mentors from the Boomerang Project, the parent organization for Link Crew. These students will serve as leaders in the development of our year-long program.
After 1st and 3rd quarter report cards are mailed home we will hold an Ice Cream Social. 9th grade students will be invited to bring their report cards to the social, have a guided conversation with a Link Leader about successes and areas of improvement and then join their peers for ice cream and team building activities. Prior to the end of each semester we will host a Cocoa and Cram event. 9th graders will have the chance to work with Link Leaders to prepare for upcoming final exams and projects and get targeted academic help.
Link Crew is a club that has operated in the past solely on income generated from student dues. With the implementation of a year-long program our Leaders cannot afford to put these events on themselves. This grant will allow these Leaders to make a positive impact on their peers.
Mt. Rainier Field Study ….. Read More: Facebook
Until last year we had a 0% pass rate for our English Language Learners (ELL) taking the end of course (EOC) biology exam. We are making strides in offering supports and experiences for them to help them be successful not only on that test, but in critical thinking skills and ability to make claims with evidence. Last year we had multiple ELL students pass and almost all our intermediate EL students passed biology class and some are even taking AP biology this year. Historically there has been a huge gap of the background knowledge and the experiences ELL and mainstream students have. Many of our ELLs are coming from backgrounds that they were not able to take science class or complete labs.
Currently we have two blended ELL biology classes (intermediate and advanced ELLs with mainstream students) in the science department. We are wanting to take the classes to Mt. Rainier Institute for an overnight field study experience. Students would learn about a field study and complete an actual lab on the local environment. They would learn about the effect of climate change on Washington, and how it relates to their life. They will practice writing a formal lab report, just in time to cement ideas and structures before taking the EOC in June. They would stay for 2 nights and 3 days, partially over a weekend to save money on subs.
This is not just about passing a test, but offering opportunities to a unique population at our school that have not had these opportunities in the past. Most of our students have not left Burien since coming here. Most of our students have not been to the mountain we can see from our school. We are seeking funding from other sources, including grant from Target, affordable installments from our students, and a grant from the Mount Rainier Institute to make this trip possible for our ELL students in biology.
I am requesting funding to purchase 5 Tubano drums for use in two general music classrooms (630 students). African drum repertoire offers experience for all levels of learners. Drumming is music in its most elemental form; it allows students to feel and hear the strong beat, the most important part when playing in an ensemble.
African drumming is such that it challenges more advanced learners with complicated rhythms and accents. Drumming allows students to expand their skills starting with simple beat playing, advancing to more challenging material. In this unit of study, students will work toward composing their own music. Students in 5th and 6th grade will compose a 2-part, 8 beat rhythm. In composition, it is often easier for 5th/6th grade students to begin with rhythm before introducing tones (melody). Though primarily for use with upper grade levels, students in K-4 will also play, starting with playing the syllables of their names in Kindergarten.
From a social studies perspective, the origins of African music gives students insight into how music in America evolved, e.g. Jazz, gospel etc. Discussion and research would encompass essential questions such as: Why did cultures in Africa use the drum? (communication/materials); what role does music play in African culture (and other cultures)?; How did African immigrants/slaves influence American music?
My 12 years teaching music has shown me the drum is the most sought after instrument for all grade levels. Drumming allows students tactile experience while solidifying essential skills necessary for successful ensemble work. In addition to the 5th and 6th grade African Rhythms project, we would use the tubano drums during regular rhythm reading/playing activities at all grade levels.
Hilltop Huskies Flash Forward
This grant proposal asks for funds to purchase flash drives for all two hundred and fifty intermediate students at Hilltop Elementary School. The idea for this grant proposal began last year while my students were writing stories for the Student Treasures Writing Project. With limited class time to devote to this project, many students were asking if they could write more at home. Some students were using flash drives to save work and continue writing at home, but many students didn’t have flash drives. I scrambled to find extra drives for students who wanted them, and I thought “how great would it be if every student had their own flash drive?” These drives could be used for various assignments and subjects and would be administered by classroom teachers.
In September we literally started our journalism club with an iPad, an idea and a room full of kids. We really didn’t know where this club was headed, and what we would actually be producing. All we knew was that we wanted to provide our students with an engaging opportunity to increase their writing, speaking and technology skills. Hilltop is a high poverty school, serving about 85% free and reduced lunch. We are also a Dual-Language school, and serve many ELL Students. Many of these students would not have this opportunity otherwise.
Since then, we have recruited about 26 fifth grade students working as writers, reporters, camera crew, and producers. We have filmed 4 sessions of our weekly announcement videos, and the level of enthusiasm and buzz that this has created around Hilltop has been beyond what we were expecting. Everyday kids are asking when the next video will be, and if they can join the club. We have also just published our first newsletter which included a teacher highlight column, math questions of the month, a feature article about our new pre-school classroom, and even a monthly comic strip. The participants in this club are very proud and excited about the work they are producing.
Also, Part of our membership requires that our students are maintaining good grades, and are staying out of trouble. This has helped tremendously with some of our club members who were struggling with behavioral issues. One girl who was constantly in trouble last year, hasn’t had any issues since joining. She’s actually become our best reporter and biggest personality on the broadcast. Our members our very motivated, and they even show up 45 minutes early to school to be part of this club.
Northwest Wildlife: Owl Pellets
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.
You Can Be a Writer! … Read More: Facebook
I am requesting funds for an author to visit my school for a full day. The author is Mike Knudson, who grew up in this area. He has written a series of books based on events that occurred in his life. The characters, Raymond and Graham are in 4th grade and are best friends. I have read these stories to 4th graders for the past several years. The students love the humor and relate to the situations in which the boys find themselves.
I was fortunate to have Mr. Knudson visit several years ago, and I must say that it was the best author visit I’ve ever had. He provided workshops, 2 classes at a time for more personal interaction, for our intermediate students. As he walked the students through the writing process, from brainstorming to final editing, they were extremely engaged! He included his art along the way, which added an additional dimension to the presentation. Mr. Knudsen also speaks Spanish, and Hilltop is a Spanish/English dual language school. So in addition to the dimension his art would add to the presentation; being able to speak with some of our Spanish-speaking students in their native language, would add a memorable personal connection.
It was so meaningful for them to understand that a simple event, like the author’s fourth grade year in school, could be turned into a story, and a series of wildly popular books. It was especially powerful for the students to realize that “he is a regular guy” who had an idea and followed through with the steps needed to make his dream a reality. His presentation would align extremely well with the new writing curriculum, from Teachers College at Columbia, adopted by the Highline district. We have 10 intermediate classes, so he would give 5 workshops, 2 classes each session, during his day long visit.
Madrona Elementary School
Hoping for the Hope Chest ….. Read More: Facebook
The Madrona Elementary Fourth Grade Team is writing to request 85 copies of the book The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach, to use in our realistic fiction unit that will focus on helping students to use close reading strategies to access historical fiction. We will be reading this novel in conjunction with various primary and secondary source documents about the Suffrage Movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States. By focusing on voting rights, we will not only increase our students’ reading abilities but also empower them with a message of equality and the importance of being an active citizen. Our unit will be connected to various Fourth Grade Common Core Standards for reading literature and also to the Highline Strategic Plan’s focus on college and career readiness for all students, as readiness for college and career is rooted in being a critical reader and thinker.
Madrona Elementary has over ninety percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch and our teachers here work very hard to provide rich curriculum to all of them. Our school does not have the budget to provide class sets of novels, although reading novels is an experience that will help to elevate the rigor and creativity of our reading instruction. Our Fourth Grade Team works in close collaboration planning our units for reading and we would love to have the opportunity to all read the same novel simultaneously with our students, and be able to engage in grade-wide discussion of the book’s themes. We hope to continue using this class set for years to come, providing a learning opportunity for our future students as well.
Positive Student Support Center
Here at Madrona we realize that undesirable student behaviors heavily impact the overall success of students attending Madrona. Our supports would take a proactive approach to discipline where expected and more socially acceptable behaviors are directly taught and regularly practiced during the recess time. Room 116 will support positive alternate recess options to students who have a difficult time interacting with peers in the playground environment. Our goal is to introduce recess alternatives which would support team building activities. Classroom teachers and playground support staff will select 3 – 5 students per grade level on a rotating basis who would benefit from positive recess strategies. Our hope will be to have students transition to their outdoor recess after a designated time to be determined by support center.
Board games have proven to be one of the best ways to turn around non-compliant or oppositional behaviors. As children play they learn to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, recognize personal boundaries, practice self- control, communicate effectively and develop problem solving skills. After all, staying within the boundaries (not intruding on others’ space, for example) is crucial to leading a successful social and academic life.
Problem-solving skills are the most effective way to increase good behavior. Children need to be able to ask for help, accept consequences, apologize and choose next steps. Simple card and board games assist with this behavior and skill sequencing. Students can select from a variety of activities (Card Games, Candy Land, Connect Four, Trouble, Mancala, Checkers, Chess, Cribbage and Legos for example.) Teaching through games and role-playing can help children develop skills as they practice ways to work through challenges at recess and in the classroom.
Research confirms that children not only need recess, but opportunities to move throughout the day. Recess activities help develop social as well as physical skills. It has been proven that games teach lessons about getting along with others. For example, games may encourage kids to – Consider the concept of rules, Practice following rules and Reason about moral problems. When kids play with older role models they can learn something else, too: How to win – and lose – with grace and good manners. Then there are the possible intellectual benefits. Many board games encourage players to: Detect patterns, Plan ahead, Predict the outcome of alternative moves, Learn from experience.
Madrona feels it is important for our kids to have structured free time even on a bad day. While in the long run we need to teach values, ethics, academic skills, and the importance of playing by the rules, we hope that our support center will help our students with goal setting strategies, improved self-confidence and the ambition to enjoy playing with others.
Relaxed Minds, Engaged Brains
Madrona Elementary serves a unique population in SeaTac. In our school of 650 students, 94% of the student body lives below the poverty line and qualifies for Free and Reduced Lunch. Our student population faces the reality of helping their parents make sure their families put food on the table, being responsible for younger siblings and cousins. These stressors from their home lives carry over into their school days and some students are so preoccupied by the issues they have to deal with at home, they can’t fully concentrate on their school work. One of the first things you learn about in a teacher preparation program is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This hierarchy states that if a student’s basic needs of safety are not meet, than their ability to fully concentrate on school and raising their academic levels is going to be exponentially harder for them.
The districts strategic goal states that 19 out of 20 third graders will meet or exceed standards in all core subjects by the end of third grade, is a lofty one for the forty percent of my third grade class whom came into third grade this September at least one grade level below where they should have been. With this deficit I have had to become a more creative teacher, getting my lesson plans aligned to hit multiple second and third grade standards in an effort to close the achievement gap for this large group of students. With the extra work and mental demand put on to these students daily, I have observed a state of exhaustion from many of my students. This has caused the students to mentally check out and not want to participate in the rest of this lesson. I whole heartily believe that my students can grow more than one grade level while in my class this year. I also know that the added rigor and pressure of school is taking a mental toll on them. My students need to learn how to manage stress and be aware of their feelings to identify them to work through those emotions and continue learning.
I am asking for a grant to partner with Street Yoga. Street Yoga is a non-profit organization that builds capacity in youth to overcome trauma and to create meaningful, healthy lives through yoga and mindfulness. Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular in clinical mental health practices as it helps increase self-awareness and emotional regulation. Yoga is an engaging mindfulness practice, teaching breathing, stretching and poses to increase present moment awareness of body and mind. This is useful for school-age children as teaching mindfulness can help improve attention and decrease externalizing emotions e.g. anger and aggression towards others. These mindfulness skills will be useful in the classroom, as teachers can use these skills to help their students regulate their own emotions, focus and excel in the classroom and it can help can improve teacher’s classroom management. Yoga is a mindfulness practice that has been found to increase social confidence, communication and contribution in class for school age children and can have a preventative role in improving children’s mental health.
Yoga in the classroom would occur over eight, one hour sessions spread throughout the year. A certified yoga teacher would come in to teach the students breathing activities as well as stretches that the students could do on their own to help regulate their stress levels for that day and the rest of their lives.
Marvista Elementary School
Camp Long 4H Challenge Course ….. Read More: Facebook
As a 6th grade teacher I watch as my students struggle with their identity and finding a place within the collective on a daily basis, often prioritizing these concerns above their learning. These students all long to fit in and have a strong sense of belonging. I strive to build a community in my classroom where all students feel respected and safe to make mistakes, but the nature of this age group makes it a challenge and sometimes I do not have all of the tools at my disposal in my classroom to create the trusting, lasting relationships amongst my students that will promote cooperative learning and success. My wish is to take them to Camp Long’s 4H Challenge Course to participate on both high and low elements to help them work on their goal setting, team building, communication, and problem solving.
I am confident that this experience will change the way my students view each other and their goals around education. I am also optimistic that in the future we can potentially build a much larger program that gets more of our students onto the course.
McMicken Heights Elementary
Camp Waskowitz Literacy Connection ….. Read More: Facebook
McMicken Height’s fourth grade team is asking for support in funding a field trip to Camp Waskowitz. This field trip would give students an opportunity to learn about Washington State History in a hands-on way, which is so powerful for our students!
Last year, our fourth graders studied Northwest Native Americans and Westward Expansion in social studies and literacy. They were proud experts by the end of the year. One of the highlights in our unit was when they had the opportunity to see a few Native American artifacts. A quote from one student was “Wow, this is what a longhouse looks like. I never knew!” Their interest and curiosity, made me want to provide this year’s fourth graders with a similar opportunity. A field trip to Camp Waskowitz would give them this engaging hands-on experience. It would allow them to see and use artifacts to build a log cabin, learn about cedar canoe carving, pan for gold, and experience building the railroad. This field trip would be an experience they would never forget and would build on what they are reading, discussing, and writing about in class. Please consider funding our project.
McMicken Heights Structured Play
At McMicken Heights Elementary 45% of our behavioral referrals stem from unstructured play during recess time. Behaviors include fighting, disrespect and defiance. This data has forced us to look at the lack of structures currently in place for recess times. We believe that the large amount of referrals during recess time is due students not knowing how to coordinate play on their own and recess monitors not having the resources to implement activities and play. Currently our paraeducators are used solely for student monitoring; because of our data we believe that our adult recess monitors need additional training and support on how to structure play for all students during recess time. Theory of Action: If we train our paraprofessional staff on how to implement structured play during recess, then students will engage in productive, supportive and fun play and behavioral referrals will decrease.
At McMicken Heights Elementary we are working to reinvent recess. We would like to partner with the Playworks Organization to transform our school climate. This partnership would include training on structured play activities during recess, coaching and support for the paraprofessional staff as the program gets up and running and continual assessment of effectiveness of the structured play program.
BrainPop Jr. is Common Core aligned and highly engaging for students. BrainPop Jr. has relatable, age appropriate, academic videos which cover many topics across different contents. There is a closed caption option which can allow students to read along with what is being said or the volume can be turned off and students encouraged to read. The vocabulary words allow students to learn words in context of the video or frontloaded prior to watching the video.
At the end, there are options for hard or easy quizzes which allow for differentiation and can be taken online or printed off. There are lesson plans for teachers and other suggested activities related to the topics. It is a great way to be a part of a blended classroom. Seventy-five First Graders would be disappointed if they weren’t able to learn from one of their favorite sources
Story Path Social Studies Curriculum for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities ….. Read More: Facebook
I teach a 4-6 grade self-contained classroom for students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities at McMicken Heights Elementary. I currently have nine students: two 4th graders, two 5th graders and five 6th graders. I have eight boys and one girl. Most of my students are performing below their grade level, and while I teach students in the 4-6 grades, I have students functioning at various levels, ranging from Kindergarten all the way through 6th grade.
Many of the core academic subjects like reading, math and writing are especially difficult for my students and often trigger challenging behavior because of the level of difficulty for them. For this reason I’ve strategically chosen to incorporate Social Studies instruction into our day, two times a week. However, I need help purchasing a specific curriculum I have found to be especially effective for students with EBD that is currently unavailable in Highline.
During my student teaching – working with the same population of students – I was introduced and I saw the positive effects that Story Path curriculum had on these students. The Story Path curriculum is divided by grade level, and is divided into various topics. Some of the topics of study include: The Great Barrier Reef, the people of Kenya, Life in Ancient Egypt, and The Rainforest. Each topic is a separate unit of study, usually lasting 4-6 weeks. Within each topic, students learn background on the subject and then create a frieze or mural in the classroom. Students then create things to go in the mural as they learn about them, and the then take on various roles and participate in meetings to help solve problems that arise as the unit goes on.
For example, in The Great Barrier Reef unit, students create the reef on the mural as well as animals that live in the reef. Students then study a particular animal that lives in the reef and share their findings with the group. The mural remains up in the classroom until the end of the unit, with vocabulary words and other learned information being placed on or near the mural as students learn them. Students take on the role of a Marine Biologist and help make decisions regarding the future of the Great Barrier Reef. As Marine Biologists, the students have meetings and make team decisions and work together. As students progress through each unit, a particular problem arises, requiring the students to work together to solve it. Each of the units is structured in a similar manner.
Some of the things I really love about this curriculum are the hands-on activities, the high interest levels of the topics or units of study, and the group and team aspect involved. While some academics can be extremely challenging for my students, Story Path allows learning to be interactive and engaging for them and allows them to access the information alongside their peers. Students who are functioning at a lower grade level work alongside students who are on grade level to solve problems and work through situations described in the unit.
Classroom Physical Activity Breaks
Klint Van Cleemput
Physical activity improves one’s physical body (e.g., bones, muscles, and heart), attention and concentration, energy, mental health (e.g., prevents anxiety and depression), and cognitive skills (e.g., perform better in standardized tests). How can our school give our students more opportunities for physical activity? How can we support our students in getting 60 or more minutes per day of moderate or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity? The key is Focused Fitness’s Classroom Activity Breaks.
With this resource, each grade level in our school will receive one copy of “Fast Fitness”, a booklet containing 99 research-proven physical activities to do in the classroom. These activities can last from 30 seconds to a minute for creating smoother classroom transition, reenergizing tired and inattentive students, and integrating movement into daily lessons. Each school will also receive two DVDs titled, “From Moving to Learning” and “Boost Your Brain Moves” for longer physical activities up to six minutes in length. These can be used for rainy day recess, between long tests or learning blocks, and sitting down for a long period of time.
The physical activity breaks will also benefit our teachers and staff members in getting their 30 or more minutes per day of moderate or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Teachers and staff will lead or follow along with the physical activity breaks and become a healthy fit model for our students. Our goal in physical education is to build a comprehensive school physical activity program. The in-school physical activity is one of the five foundational pieces to this program. Please consider this request to help increase physical activity for everyone in our school.
Helping Kids Find Their Voice – Building a Solid Foundation
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 many students in our ILC classrooms allows them to express themselves. This limits the stress, frustration and anxiety, as well as severe problem behaviors (such as hitting, biting and kicking) that can result from so many communication break-downs.
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 improve the ability to communicate for 5 additional students with limited verbal ability.
The ABC’s of Reading ….. Read More: Facebook
In our process of leveling the Midway Library collection, marking each book with its Fountas and Pinnell reading level, we’re noticing we have very few books for our earliest readers. Our Library goal this year is to have a “just right” book checked out to each of our 630 Midway Students at all times. We would like to expand our collection of A, B, and C level books to meet our Students’ needs, as they begin their journey to a well-read life and reach toward their goals of grade level success and career readiness.
Mount Rainier High School
Chromebook Current ….. Read More: Facebook
It seems obvious that being tech savvy is a requirement in today’s world. But students need access to the technology, or we are doing them a disservice. Not every student has a computer at home, let alone internet access. Many teachers now require online assignments, discussions via blogs or chat rooms. Even free and reduced lunch forms are online and sports clearance forms are online too. Many job applications are only available online. Teachers are beginning to have websites online, post class notes, quizzes, calendars, and other important information on the web. Students need to be able to access this information. If they cannot do it at home, they ought to be able to do it from school.
For a classroom with twelve students and three staff, having two student computers that are in semi-working order is not equitable for students. Special education students are often the kids who are forgotten, especially ones with behavior disorders. Because they present different challenges, often they are housed but not provided with materials such as curriculum. The vast majority of curriculum I have obtained have come from grants. Our budget doesn’t account for things like technology, even though I believe it to be one of the most important aspects of a quality education. If we cannot send our students into the world prepared, we are doing them an injustice. I feel terrible that in my classroom we have two working computers and one that constantly freezes up when students are in the middle of a Think Through Math lesson or typing up an essay. It’s beyond frustrating for me, and imagine how the student feels.
Four laptops would change everything for my classroom. It would allow more access to the internet for students, access to their teacher’s websites and online assignments/discussions, working Think Through Math without freezing, apply for jobs, work on resumes, and so much more.
For underclassmen to interact with upperclassmen while learning and participating in a physical activity. At Mt. Rainier, all students participate in an advisory class three days a week that focuses on personal growth, social development, academic development, and college/career preparation. Students in my junior advisory believe that students sit too much during the day and would like to make the social aspect of advisory an opportunity for students to be physically active.
My students suggested the idea of hosting physical activity socials where students in advisory could come into the gym and participate in an activity while getting to know other students. I agree that this idea is a perfect opportunity for students to develop socially while benefitting from physical activity. My junior advisory class would like to turn this physical activity social into a time where they interact with underclassmen in a fun way. I have selected 5 different recreational activities that take very little time to teach, can be done while having a conversation, and that students would be able to participate in on their own outside of the school day. (In the hope to generate interest in doing physical activities with others outside of the school day) – Bowling, Boochie Ball, Lasso Go, Horseshoes and Lawn Darts.
Each advisory has approximately 20-22 students, so this plan accounts for a total of 44 students. Advisory is 30 minutes long. The first 5 minutes of advisory will be for me to introduce my advisory and to assign students to the particular groups. The next 5 minutes will be for the students in my advisory to specifically introduce themselves and meet the students in their group. Following that, the next 5 minutes will be for the students in my advisory to explain the rules of the recreational game and determine the teams. The last 15 minutes of the class will be for students to participate in the activity. Once students begin to do the physical activity, my 11th grade students will focus on the social interactions. The 11th grade students will focus on discussing the following questions: What is going well with your school year; What has surprised you about high school; What questions do you have for me as an 11th grade student?; What concerns you most about this school year; What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Mount View Elementary
Books Are Fun, So Let’s Read
As the Extended Day Outcomes Teacher at Mt. View Elementary I have been working with 100 plus students in the after-school program. This program represents grade levels from K-6 and draws from multiple classrooms. One of our goals is to connect the school program to the after school program as an extension of the day. A focal point has been including programs in the STEM field after school.
In working in this capacity, I have found that there are few books for the students to read during our after-school homework club. Students read from 20-30 minutes each day depending on their grade level. We are in need of books that are in Spanish that will appeal to students who like fiction as well as non-fiction.
I propose purchasing site licenses of the program Reading A-Z and Science A-Z in Spanish for our Dual Language classrooms, Grades 1-5. These books could be used during the school day in the dual language classrooms and brought to the homework club after school for silent reading and entries into the reading logs. They are multi-level and when I’ve used them in the past my students found them to be quite interesting.
The science books include investigation packs which students can read and use, career files to read and learn more about people in STEM fields, discussion cards, science diagrams (another essential element of reading), science news related to STEM fields and more.
Marble Adventures ….. Read More: Facebook
This year, I am excited to get to teach the Balls and Ramps science unit with my two Dual Language Kindergarten classrooms. The unit builds students’ engineering and design skills and strengthens their physics concepts. I have a very old marble run toy in my room (at least 20 years old!) and it is one of my students’ favorite activities for bilingual centers. Unfortunately, we are down to just a handful of pieces because many have worn out and broken. If I could introduce an enhanced marble run, they would have the opportunity to experiment throughout the year with the concepts that relate to our unit. In addition, I would like to build magnetic marble run components that students could use to experiment with on our white board.
I got the idea from a website which outlines using craft sticks, hot glue, magnets, PVC piping/joints and clear vinyl tubing. Using these tools to enhance our science kit will extend the learning throughout the year which provides the opportunity for multiple approaches and deeper understanding of the concepts.
New Start High School
Laptops for Credit Retrieval
The money from this grant would go to the purchase of six refurbished laptops for the use of our special education students in a credit retrieval program here at New Start High School. Our school has a severe lack of functioning computers and more are needed to give students the resources to research and type up the contracts they are completing in order make up for lost credits and be able to graduate.
New Start High School is in many ways a credit retrieval program. Many of our students are between 18 and 21 years old, having at some point missed opportunities, for a variety of reasons, to gain credits in the traditional manner. One way of making up those credits is to complete contracts, which require the student to research, within an academic field such as social studies or physical education, a topic such as ebola or exercising. They then create a report, a Powerpoint, a poster, or some final product which shows what they learned from that research. This process not only benefits them in the information they find, but also teaches them how to do research, how to create a report, and also more basic skills such as typing, grammar, and word choice.
This program has increased the success that these students have in the projects they are assigned in their traditional classes, and it has been integral to the successful graduation of many of our students. With full-time access to more computers it can be integral to the graduation of many more. With even a modest increase in computer access we will be able to give a much larger number of students the opportunity throughout the day to work on these skills, retrieve their credits, and be walking across the stage in June. We will source these computers from Digital Inclusion, a computer refurbishing company specializing in providing extremely low cost, highly functional, up-to-date refurbished computers to low-income schools and students, making the absolute most out of the grant money as possible.
New Start Sails is a yearlong adventure in oceanography for our highly at-risk and challenged students of New Start High School in the Highline School District. New Start staff and critical partners lead our students through seven months of science instruction, hand-on curriculum, technical training and personal development to provide a rigorous and robust learning experience for each New Start student in science. In culmination, up to thirty New Start students truly set sail for multiple days on Puget Sound to further extend and enhance their learning, and inspire a following crew for the next year’s New Start sailor-students, young biologists and proud youth in our community.
With the commitment of time from school teachers and sailing crew, and the funding of generous organizations, New Start Sails has become a tradition for the last three years. Our many students who have looked forward to sailing with the Adventuress for years now, deserve an opportunity to do so. We are asking for your support through funding passage for our students and school.
New Start Sails is an on-going program that has managed to be funded year to year since 2010 from generous donors such as the Youth Maritime Association, Sound Experience and The Center for Wooden Boats. Up to thirty students are directly impacted each year by setting sail in Puget Sound on a tall mast schooner for three days. Thus far, over one hundred students have directly and successfully extended their learning and opportunities as a result of this unique partnership between the S.S. Adventuress and the New Start Science Department. The partnership was established by an earlier Highline Schools Honoree and Golden Apple Award Winner, Mrs. Beverly Mowrer. Beverly’s work is now carried on by current New Start Science Teacher, Mrs. Kelsie Maney who committed to our school in 2012. Kelsie sailed with thirty New Start students in 2013 to carry on the tradition of New Start Sails.
New Start Sails is much more than a three-day sailing voyage. It is a yearlong oceanography experience for all New Start Science students beginning in September. Not all students go to sea in the spring, but each is impacted by seven months of authentic project-based, hands-on, academic preparation and training that occurs throughout the year, in and out of class every day.
The culminating voyage aboard the S.S. Adventuress is perhaps one of the most powerful motivators and inspiring events to keep our kids connected to their school at New Start each year. These are the students who are most risk of disengaging and dropping out. New Start High School and the consistency of ongoing programs like New Start Sails are directly having positive impact on the school experience of our children, and our learning community of nearly 200 students and families each year. This is evidenced by increasing numbers of re-engaged youth and those staying in school to graduate, and even go on to college.
The money from this grant would go towards funding a reading intervention course at New Start High School. Our school has a set of only one book by a contemporary author that speaks to our highly at-risk students’ backgrounds, and in order to continue our reading intervention course it is necessary that we have access to at least six sets of such books.
At New Start we have a large number of students that have very low reading capabilities. For some it is a matter of language barriers, and for others it is the result of a life that has not encouraged or given time for comprehensive reading. When these students are placed in a standard curriculum, attempting to read Anthem by Ayn Rand, or The Scarlet Letter they are only more frustrated, and fall farther away from gaining the abilities needed to profit from, and enjoy, reading. Currently we have assembled a small group of students for a reading intervention class, called reading essentials. In this class students, who were discouraged by the reading level and quick pace of the standard curriculum, are reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. They are beginning to develop a sincere appreciation of this book, and it shows.
These students, in only a few weeks, have shown drastic improvement in fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. By giving them a smaller group, books closer to their reading level, and most importantly literature that they can actually relate to, these students have begun to develop, not only the abilities, the appreciation of reading that is so essential to academic success, as well as an intellectually satisfying life.
The problem is that we have only the set of these books that fit those criteria. For this class to continue we need more books that offer a meaningful literary experience without being overwhelming, and that speak to the experiences of so many of our students. Books we are looking to purchase include Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, After Tupac and D Foster, Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, Fat Kid Rules The World, and Blasphemy. We look at these books as valuable in themselves, but also as a doorway to a lifetime of literacy and literary appreciation.
New Start is a small alternative school, which serves as a re-engagement intervention for Highline Public Schools. Our typical student is disengaged from their schooling experience, and often expresses a strong dislike for standard academic activities. They have often missed long stretches of school in their educational careers, resulting in academic and social gaps that we are in the business of trying to overcome. Our school attendance is low, which has measurable impact on our students’ success both in and out of the classroom. For these reasons, we make it our mission to re-engage students in their schooling. Part of this re-engagement strategy is to begin to offer a variety of interesting elective courses, which place more emphasis on the skills needed in the emerging knowledge economy: collaborative problem solving, project management, technological fluency.
This is why I’ve begun a programming and engineering class this year. I truly believe that the ability to write and understand computer code is a skill that will serve every worker in the coming economy, even those who do not engage in the activity regularly. This type of thinking is important to develop, and is indeed the main aim of the typical high school mathematics course. My students, however, have little experience manipulating technology, so writing code will not come easily. I’m looking for ways to engage them with technological thinking and developing transferrable skills while increasing their enthusiasm for the learning itself. This is where robotics comes in.
The Lego Mindstorms NXT Robitics Kit is a collection of parts and pieces that students can use to create working robotics. From the product description on Lego’s website: This set enables students to build and program real-life robotic solutions. Contains 431 elements including the programmable NXT Brick; three interactive servo motors; ultrasonic, sound, light, and two touch sensors; a rechargeable DC battery; a DC charger; connecting cables; and full-color building instructions.
The modular nature of the kit means that students can quickly design and build robots to solve various problems. There are myriad curricula available to assist in teacher planning using these materials, or I can develop my own lessons. The NXT system also uses a programming language that is based on icons, rather than lines of code. This intuitive interface will give my students access to the type of thinking in which computer coders engage, without getting bogged down in the complex syntax of the languages. These are the reasons I would LOVE to build a course using the Mindstorms NXT robotics kits.
North Hill Elementary
A Real Author Is Coming to School! ….. Read More: Facebook
I teach Reading to three classes of 5th graders. This is my team’s first year departmentalizing and my enthusiasm for Reading is off the charts! I eat, sleep, think, and breathe Reading—a fairly accurate metaphor for this year!
I am applying for this Excel Grant to bring a real, live author to my students. The one I have chosen is Jim Whiting, whose forte is nonfiction. He lives in the Puget Sound region, and has about 170 published titles. It would be safe to say he is probably the state’s most prolific young peoples’ author. With the transition to Common Core in Reading, nonfiction has assumed greater importance. Many students, and some teachers, regard nonfiction as the equivalent of taking cod liver oil—something you take because it’s good for you, but not something enjoyable on its own. However, Mr. Whiting has a lively presentation demonstrating that true stories can be just as fascinating as their fiction counterparts.
Jim’s presentation will also cover the Writing process, which my Literacy teaching partner is all in favor of! He emphasizes the importance of revision and of locating good research sources for the best possible reports. He also edits fiction for young people, so he can provide prompts for kids who like to write stories. Fortunate for us, his visit will have a two-fold purpose for our 5th grade team. Please help me bring Jim Whiting to North Hill.
Of Cedar and Salmon … Read More: Facebook (coming soon)
On May 27th and 28th 2015, North Hill’s third graders and their families will be immersed in the cultures and traditions of Northwest Coastal Native Peoples. We are so excited to continue our own tradition of welcoming Ronn Wilson and his Of Cedar and Salmon program back to our school.
Ronn has provided the best cultural experiences possible for our kids! He 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
Improve Students Health
The health curriculum is always changing. Modern medicine and fitness trends change rapidly. I would like to update the health curriculum with some new health videos. Too many teens are either ignorant about the dangers of drugs or are in denial about the hazards they pose. These videos and print curriculum addresses the new craze of vaping drugs (nicotine, alcohol, liquid marijuana and others), alcohol, marijuana, and addiction. Through interviews with teen users and medical professionals, these programs clearly demonstrates the serious health risks of vaping, including drug overdose, instant high or drunk, alcohol poisoning, and impaired thinking and decision making. A lot of middle school students are visual learners and I would like for them to have access to current information through these videos.
Comic Book Lending Library, Year 2: Providing Support and Motivation for Reluctant Readers
Year 1 of my lending library project was a huge success! Thank you for the support! I had 1,400 checkouts during the year. I am continuing the project this year. If my grant request is selected, I would like to add more comics and high interest books to my lending library and replace the ones that were lost. I estimate that 20 books were lost during the year.
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.
- Many reluctant readers will read comics, while resisting other types of text
- Comics help struggling readers and English language learners, because the images aid comprehension
- Anything that gets kids excited and reading is worth supporting.
Students only get to go to the school library once a week. If they forget to return a book, they are not allowed to check out at all until they return it, pay for the book ,or the parent comes into the school and talks to the librarian. This creates a situation where some reluctant and struggling readers do not get to check out books at school for long periods of time. I continue to check out to these students, even suffering some lost books out of my own collection, because I strongly believe all students should have constant access to books they are excited about.
With the grant money, I would be able to double the size of my comic lending library and use it to keep our reluctant readers excited about new books for quite some time to come.
Reading Materials for 5th Graders
I am writing this grant to request a Storyworks magazine subscription for our two general education 5th grade classrooms and one 4/5 challenge classroom here at Parkside Elementary. Storyworks magazine is a monthly reader geared toward 3-6th graders. It contains current events, plays to read, writing tasks, grammar exercises, and challenging reading tasks. With its engaging graphics and high interest topics, these magazine would be great to support the 59% of students who read below grade level in our general education classrooms, as well as our small ELL population. We would use these magazines to meet in small groups to support lower readers and to challenge our higher readers. Storyworks would be an excellent supplement to our reading program for it provides lessons and activities to support the skills addressed by the Common Core State Standards.
Where Did All of Those Ideas Come From?
“What legacies have been left by ancient civilizations?” Students need to ask informed questions, research the answers (and to consider other questions as they arise) then present their findings. This grant will allow to access materials and experiences that will first provide the background information for them to understand the topics, then explore and present.
The sixth grade social studies curriculum is largely about early civilizations. I propose that, given my student’s propensity toward reading only fiction that the unit of study begins with a class exploration of a historical fiction book. Together we will ask questions of the text, some will result in further research. We will begin looking at these areas of study and understanding what they mean: Language; Agriculture and Food; Law; Technology; Art and Architecture; Medicine; Government; Religion. After an introduction and explanation of the topic that includes class work and discussion, students will explore the areas working in groups.
By the end of the unit of study, each group will become experts in their region of the world by asking questions, seeking answers in text, in the internet, visiting museums, and of talking with experts. Intrinsic in this work are the discussions in their groups and between groups learning about different cultures and regions. This is critical to the success of the studies because when they can understand the unique qualities and essential similarities between their cultures, students realize that there are many ways for societies to exist. They can compare and contrast governmental structures, for instance, learning what important elements might include. Each group will create a book and an electronic presentation about their ancient region and cultures. To bring the learning full circle, this book will include both factual information and historical fiction. This includes applying the information they have gained with their interest in fiction.
Puget Sound Skills Center
WE DAY!! … Read More: Facebook
I have included in my curriculum this year a more emotional, interactive component to my teaching style, thus including everyone’s “raw” talent to be successful. All my classes this year will have a common goal to incorporate a Global project and Community project. The reward will be each student will earn a ticket to “WE Day”, an inspirational experience for teenagers in Seattle on April 23rd at Key Arena. This is an exciting event and the students are already motivated to plan, prepare and fund raise to make a difference in our community and have a global impact as a result of their involvement. The theme this year is WE THE CHILDREN.
Raisbeck Aviation High School
Airplane Cargo Challenge …. Read more: Facebook
For years I have had students design and build model planes with different requirements. For example, in my engineering class I have them build a plane that will glide the furthest distance, or in geometry, find the best wing design (for longest flight time) while fixing the area of the wing. Students have found success and enjoyed the projects, however, there have always been problems when it comes to testing – there are many variables to overcome, with equitably powering the aircraft proving to be the most difficult. I have tried many things to allow for powered flight (rubber bands, batteries, motors, etc.), but it was always difficult because of equity – did some students planes have better batteries? Was I able to keep the amount of wire/glue/etc. equal so students’ planes were as fair as possible? Essentially, was I able to keep variables not being assessed the same for all? Unfortunately, it was an ongoing battle that I never felt was ‘good enough.’
In my search for a better solution, a colleague introduced me to the ‘Electric Airplane Cargo Challenge’. I attended a class on how to teach the project last summer, and I am excited at the possibilities it provides. The idea is very simple – remember Tetherball from your childhood? There was a pole in the ground, with a rope from the top that attached to a volleyball. The heart of the challenge is an apparatus that does the same thing with a plane. The pole is called a Kelvin PowerPole, the rope is actually a wire that supplies power to the plane’s motor. Instead of a volleyball at the end of the rope, there is a student-designed plane. At the controller’s desk, exists a variable power supply that students use to dial the correct amount of power their planes need in order for them to fly in a circle around the PowerPole.
This system solves what I have found to be the most challenging variable – supplying consistent power to each plane. Students will now be able to compare their designs, and better analyze their differences in design and flight characteristics.
It’s Who You Know
This project is focused on supporting student attendance at state and national Journalism Education Association conferences in the 2014-2015 school year. These conferences and conventions are the premiere training, mentoring and networking events for student publishing and journalism, and are attended by thousands of students and practicing professionals from around the country, featuring expert workshops, technology trainings, panel discussions, and competitions in various writing styles, photojournalism, graphic and web design, and more. I want my student journalists to experience this kind of event, not only to inspire their work here at school, but beyond high school and into their futures in college and career. This project proposes to bring students to the Washington Journalism Education Association State Conference in Puyallup, March 28, 2015.
Technology Accessibility Support
I am requesting funds for a one year subscription for one student to the website “Helpkidzlearn.com.” I have a student who has Cerebral Palsy and is placed in a general education kindergarten classroom. She is in a wheelchair, significantly impaired in fine and gross motor skills thus has difficulty accessing the technology items at school. She requires extensive accommodations to access the general education programming. The HelpKidzLearn website has apps that are modified for usage by students with motor skill impairments. Additionally, the apps have academic utility and are highly engaging. My student will benefit from this subscription by learning key academic skills and becoming more proficient with mouse and computer navigation.
The second part of this grant request is a subscription from the same website for a service that will allow me to create activities and lessons that are individualized for the student’s needs and download them onto an iPad. This will benefit my student because she needs to have much of the general education content adapted so that she can use technology to demonstrate her knowledge. Because of her disability, she will always need technology to convey written information and communicate verbally. Intervening in these lifelong skills early is critical for her to be able to achieve her potential.
Computer Edmark Reading Program
The Edmark Reading Program is a systemized, whole word reading program specifically designed for children with severe disabilities to learn functional reading skills. The Edmark Reading Program is unique in its systematic, precision sequencing of reading skills. Importantly, the Edmark Reading Program is highly motivating and rewarding for students with significant disabilities. The Edmark Reading Program comprises a suite of learning activities to ensure success to students of all ages who have not yet mastered beginning reading. The program also offers supplemental materials to further enhance each students learning process.
Students with autism and other significant disabilities show their best skills and progress on the computer, where they get instant feedback and rewards, the ability to work with some independence, and at their own pace. In addition to functional reading skills, our students have IEP goals of working independently and the Edmark Reading Program will also help them gain independent working skills. Another important advantage is that the classroom teachers can monitor and assist other students with their individualized learning goals while monitoring the student working on the computer. The Edmark Reading Program offers our students a powerful reading resource. There is no other comparable reading product available on the market for our children with severe learning needs.
Presently, the students use a paper version of Edmark, well worn, with many ripped pages. The students require constant individual adult interaction to interact with the program and make progress, including maintaining appropriate care of the paper version. There is one Edmark book in each class, and students must wait their turn to engage in their daily reading lesson.
As ILC teachers experienced with the specialized needs of our students and their strong desire to learn to read, we believe that a grant for the Edmark Reading Program will enrich our students’ lives and potential as they actively engage in a powerful and proven reading system.
Literary Legos for Library Makerspace ….. Read More: Facebook
Many elementary school libraries in the 21st Century are taking on the role of “makerspace.” This is an exciting new way to define the library and its place in education. Not only should a school library be a place for reading, learning, and exploration, but also as a place to design, build, and create. This is the idea behind makerspace.
Here is more information on makerspaces: “The Philosophy of Educational Makerspaces Part 1 of Making an Educational Makerspace” – an article reprinted from the June 2014 issue of Teacher Librarian: The Journal for School Library Professionals
Shorewood Elementary School has an active Lego Club, sponsored by the PTA. This group creates enthusiasm for Legos, construction, and creativity among the entire school. When trying to create a makerspace in the library, it was clear we should start with Legos, as there is already an established following here. We had the idea to combine our students’ love of Legos with their love of reading. There are many literary theme Lego sets, such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
We wanted to acquire some of these sets for the library to begin building our makerspace. Here students can take their love of certain series to the next level: immersion into the world of the book where the student can create and manipulate the characters and setting. It also may work the other way around, where students will be drawn to read a certain series after being introduced to the characters and setting through the Legos.
Southern Heights Elementary
Bringing Oral Storytelling and Drama to the Classroom
As a sixth grade teacher at Southern Heights Elementary, I would like to take my students, as well as students in a 4/5 grade and 5/6 grade class to Seattle Children’s Theater to see a live dramatic production based on a Central African oral tale, Mwindo. (YouTube: Mwindo at Seattle Children’s Theatre )Most of our students report never having seen a production at the Seattle Children’s Theater, and this would be a wonderful opportunity for them to witness a dramatic performance at one of the premier children’s theater venues in the United States. The value of seeing a professional-level drama is beneficial not only on a personal level, but would also be integrated with our study of literature and cultures.
Seeing a fully-staged production of a play would only enhance students’ engagement with this important but often neglected form of literature. In addition, the subject matter of the play is especially relevant for pre-adolescents and adolescents, a coming-of-age story, which also delves into timeless themes involving family, power, and courage. In all three classrooms, we would focus discussion and study of themes such as these, compare them to other fictional works we have studied with similar themes, as well as focus on some of the characteristics of the presentation of oral and written works.
Using Technology to its Full Potential
Using Technology to its Full Potential would be able to stop, and in little to no time be able to project something on the screen if kids are having difficulty with a concept. I would be able to connect my iPad directly to the projector in the computer lab to help show kids how to do something as a class. The speaker will allow me to play many of our songs through the iPad and speaker instead of having to change Cd’s all the time. Technology will be a major part of these kids lives as they grow older. I think these resources are a perfect way of showing how they can work to better their education.
If this grant request gets funded it will allow me to use so many more resources that I wouldn’t be able to get. The Apple TV, adapters and the speaker will allow the students to clearly see and hear things through our iPad and help show in many different teaching moments how to do things. Technology is so exciting to kids even at this young age. The engagement level will increase immensely and I will have so many resources at my fingertips in an instant.
Sylvester Middle School
Sylvester Middle School currently has 666 students enrolled in the 7th and 8th grades. Of those, 166 students qualify for English Language Learner services. This means that 25% of Sylvester students are either currently enrolled in ELL classes or passed the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA) within the past two years. Clearly, there is a need for ELL support at Sylvester. As a result of that need, during the 2014-2015 school year, 2 colleagues and I, (both language arts/social studies teachers), attended and began to implement GLAD strategies in our social studies classrooms (Medieval History and US History, respectively).
According to their site (projectglad.com), Project GLAD is a model of professional development in the area of language acquisition and literacy. The strategies and model promote English language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills. Project GLAD was developed and field tested for nine years in the Fountain Valley School District and is based on years of experience with integrated approaches for teaching language. Tied to the Common Core State Standards and State Standards, the model trains teachers to provide access to core curriculum using local district guidelines and curriculum.
The input strategies for GLAD, which is the primary focus of this grant, are designed to engage students while giving them the background knowledge necessary to understand more complex tasks. These activities combine oral instruction with visual cues for students. High-level academic vocabulary is at the center of the input strategy; students are able to hear the vocabulary in context, see it, connect it to a visual and practice it with other students, lowering the concern for being wrong. The charts from the strategies are then placed around the room for constant reminders to students during the unit.
Other charts for GLAD strategies require sentence strips, pocket charts and individual white boards. Each of these strategies are designed to be interactive with students, displayed and used as reinforcements of vocabulary or unit-specific information. These strategies engage students one-on-one and in large and small groups.
Whereas they were designed with English Language Learners in mind, the GLAD strategies are engaging and beneficial to all students. The consistent and varied use of high-level academic vocabulary, the individual accountability within hetero- and homogeneous groups and the omnipresence of the charts allow students of all levels to engage and connect with the material.
High Interest Low Level Books
It is our goal at Sylvester to help every student make a minimum of 1.5 year’s growth in reading over the course of the school year. One critical part of making this happen is getting a book into each student’s hands that they’re interested in and that is at their reading level. While we have many high interest books for our students reading at a 5th grade level and above, the book selection for our lower readers is limited and often not engaging for middle school students.
With your support, we hope to order sets of Stone Arch books, which are written at 2nd through 4th grade reading levels, but have high interest titles, topics, and characters that middle school students can connect with and relate to. We ordered a limited number of these books at the end of last year and have already seen results from our struggling readers who, for the first time, can access a book that they actually want to read and can be proud of. If we are able to get more sets, we can put these books on the shelves of every Language Arts classroom at Sylvester, and teachers can use them for the guided reading groups that are imperative for helping such struggling readers make growth.
TEC High School
Burns Academy: Promoting College & Career Readiness with Khan Academy Style Videos
Since its founding in 2006, Khan Academy has been an incredibly valuable resource for many students. Khan Academy videos are simply produced, succinct, and cover subjects ranging from Algebra to Calculus, from Chemistry to Biology, from Art History to Economics. Their videos are used by about 10 million students a month, and those who work in the Evergreen Campus College and Career Center often recommend the Khan Academy to students. However as a math teacher myself, I know that often Khan Academy is not sufficient to teach the skills we are now expecting from students, especially the deeper understanding of mathematics content.
I would like to begin making Khan Academy style videos for my students to use to support their primary learning in the classroom. I would work with students to find subjects that were especially difficult, and create and share a video covering the content with the depth and ease that would support, engage, and appeal to our students. This would not only support current students, but could translate into helping former students as well, as they would be able to access videos, and create requests for content.
In my World Language classroom, daily discourse is a must. We cover daily the four essential domains of language learning- Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. In order to engage in quick conversations in Spanish, my students in Spanish 1, 2, and 3 are presented daily with a series of questions to ask their partner. These prompts appear on the power point screen, in the form of pictures that prompt them to ask the time, about personal preferences, for directions, etc. The questions I use always integrate prior knowledge from past units, along with new language. It helps the students to see one question at a time, so as to pace themselves and not become overwhelmed with a long list.
In order to create this opportunity, I need to run through a series of power point slides. Currently I have to stand next to the computer in order to run through the slides, because the questions will take 30 seconds- 1 minute to get through. Because I have to stand next to the computer, I am missing out on an opportunity to formatively assess students’ conversational Spanish. If I had a clicker, I could walk about the room and listen-in on conversations, taking notes on what to review and doing on-the-spot corrections for struggling students, while also progressing through the prompts. I am requesting funds for purchasing a power point clicker, in order to best assess, reflect on, and meet the needs of my students’ developing skills in the Spanish language.
Valley View Early Learning Center
Preschool Early Literacy Grant
Imagine a classroom full of impulsive preschoolers during free choice period. There are several different areas to choose from including dramatic play, blocks, & books. Each area is secretly embedded with learning opportunities to engage the children. The dramatic play area has a miniature kitchen that replicates the home setting and the block area has an assortment of exciting and engaging building materials. Both of these areas are designed to encourage play and help develop social skills.
The book area, however, is poorly furnished with uncomfortable chairs and cramped. It is a struggle to share a book with a friend because there is no place to sit together. Besides, the books are adult sized and it is difficult to turn the pages because the children are new to school and have rarely been regularly encouraged to read. Their parents are very low income and must work two jobs to provide for basic needs. While they enjoy spending time with their children they are often too tired or busy to take the time to read or look at books with their children who are disadvantaged.
Most people don’t appreciate how important early literacy is to developing children. If children don’t develop an adequate vocabulary early in life they will likely lack the social skills and academic knowledge necessary to perform at grade level standards.
Research has shown that children in welfare families and working class families are susceptible to achievement gaps related to vocabulary development early in life. By 36 months of age most children in low-income families have less than half the words than same age peers from higher income professional families (Hart & Risley, 2003). Children in professional families hear more words per hour resulting much larger accumulative vocabularies resulting in better school performance and life outcomes. This is why there is a significant emphasis on early childhood literacy development in federally funded Head Start Programs and state funded programs such as ECEAP. Unfortunately, this focus does not necessarily make-up for a general lack of funding in low-income districts like Highline where teachers are left without good resources.
Awarding this grant would allow me to adequately supply my classroom setting with furniture and books at the appropriate age level for my preschool students. I have requested a small couch for my reading area to encourage children to read. Reading becomes fun and interactive when children sit together and look at books. The themed book sets bolster early literacy and align with the Strategic Plan in support of preparing kindergarten students to meet or exceed standards by grade 3. I am also requesting a Spanish/English set of books that supports bilingual students. The books in this set are specifically made with extra durable materials for use in classroom settings where they will be well used by children for many years to come. Lastly, the felt board puppets make an excellent addition to a class reading area because they help children visualize and sequence familiar stories interactively. These stories can help children learn to appreciate narratives and build vocabulary with exposure to new words and concepts related to colors, shapes, and quantities. Consider the value of supporting a child’s success at an early stage of development.
Spanish Book Lending Books ….. Read More: Facebook
I teach a blended class of special education and ECEAP preschoolers at Valley View Early Learning Center. The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) serves low income preschoolers from the Highline School District with a focus on kindergarten readiness. The special education preschool program serves children with developmental delays in the Highline School District, working with them to help them learn skills needed to be successful in preschool and elementary. In my classroom, there is a mix of students from both programs.
My team teacher, who also teaches a blended class, and I have a classroom book lending library for students to check out a book each week for their families to read to them. We are in a school that houses only preschoolers, so there isn’t a school library for them to check out books from. The books have been donated to our class for the purpose of sending home for families to read with their children. They read the book for one week, bring it back and can choose another book to take home the following week.
One-third of our students (16 out of 50) are from Spanish speaking and reading families. Our supply of Spanish books for these children has been depleted over the years. Presently, our Spanish speaking children are checking out English books each week. We want these families to be able to read to their child in their native language and to promote reading in their homes.
I am requesting this grant to buy 84 Spanish or bilingual story books and non-fiction books for preschoolers. Bilingual books are especially nice for families who are working on learning English. These will be purchased from Scholastic Books, which has a variety of both Spanish and bilingual preschool books at a reasonable price. This will allow us to have a selection of Spanish books for each child to choose from each week.
White Center Heights Elementary
Heritage Club ….. Read More: Facebook
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 morning. 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 morning sessions to teach the students Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Another element of the Heritage Clubs is to help these families better support their children in their academic success. We want to encourage all of the students to go to college and it is our obligation to give them the tools they need to do so. One of the best tools we can offer the students is parent support and education. By teaching the parents how to best support their students, we are giving the students one more chance at succeeding in school and beyond.
We are proposing an initial 8 week session. Each week we will offer a one hour workshop, a speaker, or general forum for community members for each Heritage Club. We will seek volunteers from each group to share foods and traditions during each session. This initial 8 week session is intended to get the group started after which, our hope and intention is to encourage the participation of each of the Heritage Club’s members to continue each week independently.
This grant will enable us to buy books, purchase materials for projects, promote the Heritage Clubs, Most importantly, the grant will allow us to offer instruction for the students in their original/home language while supporting their culture and building their sense of pride, value, and self-esteem.
Literacy Intervention Resource Center
Home of 620 students grades pre-k through 6, White Center Heights Elementary is the proud home of hardworking students, teachers, administration, and volunteers. The students are struggling in reading; last year approximately 50% of the students in grades K-3 were reading at grade level. We have seen impressive gains in test scores through the use of intensive literacy interventions and blended technology (academic computer games) during the school day. Our goal is to combine the already successful literacy intervention books with active learning opportunities and group games to give our neediest students the additional help they need to reach grade level. This application is a proposal create a Literacy Intervention Resource Center that will provide a multitude of games, activities, manipulatives, and teacher resources.
White Center Heights Elementary is a recipient of the Washington Reading Corps (WRC), a division of Americorps; there are three members placed at the school full time this year. They are recent graduates of college and are motivated to make a positive impact with the students reading abilities. During the school day, the members have become adept at leading small group lessons (Leveled Literacy Intervention and Guided Reading) with groups of 6 students, across all grade levels. The WRC members are working with students after school but struggle to keep the students engaged in activities that both challenge and motivate them to learn. Attached is a list of resources (games, activities, manipulatives, teaching books, incentives) that the WRC members can use now to make an impact and excel student learning.
The current collection of books and technology at the school is impressive and has proven successful with many of our students. Yet, only 50% of the students are reading at the appropriate level. The afterschool reading program directly targets students who are reading just below grade level and who will likely benefit from the extra 3 hours per week of instruction. The goal of this program is to utilize the resources that have proven successful while incorporating additional activities, games, and manipulatives. Working together to play a game or individually with unique resources will ignite the excitement of learning and promote new learning.
The intention is to create a Literacy Intervention Resource Center that will be used for years and years. We will continue to gather resources and eventually make the resource center available to all teachers, staff, and volunteers. The supplies will be kept in a cabinet in the Community Room and available to the after school team for the rest of this year. As the Literacy Intervention Resource Center grows through donations, grants, and purchases we will make it more widely available to the entire staff
Math Team Aims High!
Our math team this year (its 21st year!) is composed of 24 5th and 6th graders who meet weekly after school to learn advanced math. These dedicated students work in teams of 4 to solve math problems in algebra, number sense, geometry, probability and statistics. They also do extra homework to improve their skills.
One of the rewards of all this work October – May is the opportunity to compete against other math teams. We haven’t been able to attend as many competitions because our students, at 90% free and reduced lunch, don’t have the funds to pay for their own competitions. We are selling otter pops to raise money to provide team sweatshirts for the students.
Sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t. But the true value of this program has been the long term benefits: These students believe in themselves as mathematicians and, as the years pass, have returned to report that math is their favorite subject, they are passing their classes, and are taking advanced math courses.
White Center Heights Drama Club ….. Read More: Blog
White Center Heights (WCH) Elementary provides unique, diverse, and meaningful activities for students after school each day. Through enrichment activities, we serve nearly 250 students every week during the afterschool hours. Last year we were lucky and grateful to be the recipient of an Excel Grant which funded our African Music and Dance program through a partnership with Arts Corps. The students loved this so much that we have continued to offer it since then and it is a thriving program full of enthusiastic students.
Our current WCH Drama Club needs support. This application is a request for funding to supplement our current theatrical production of Disney’s Aristocats. 40 students and 8 teachers meet every Monday and Wednesday until early March to ensure the success of this program. We have the support of the staff, students, and families to make this program sensational but we simply cannot do it without a budget.
Recently, WCH was one of five Western Washington schools accepted as a participant in a pilot program offered by the Seattle Theater Group (STG) and Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS). This program provides the materials and support to produce a theatrical production of Disney’s Aristocats. The program launched in late September and will the final shows will be in early March. To date, it has been an exciting endeavor that has united students from grades 3 through 6 in the goal of creating a dynamic musical theater show. The pilot program provides scripts, cd’s, director/choreography/music instruction, licensing, and most importantly two teaching artists from STG to work with the group once a week during rehearsal. The production is led by 8 dedicated teachers who volunteer and who are feverishly learning from the teaching artists each week. The program is intended to teach teachers how to run Disney Musicals in Schools programs so that schools are able to continue independently in the future.
With an Excel Grant from the Highline Schools Foundation, we will be able to purchase materials for scenery, props, makeup, and costumes. This show is intended to run on a small budget, unfortunately we have zero budget and this is creating a big challenge. Funding from the Highline Schools Foundation will cover: fabric, craft supplies to create accessories: ears & tails for cats, colored bandanas, headbands, hats, fabric paint, police badge, cowboy hats, etc. We will purchase items for costumes at thrift stores and whenever possible, we will recruit families to participate in helping with costume design and creation but for our families, it is necessary to provide the supplies to do so.
Our theater is well equipped but has not been used for a major musical production in years. It would be beneficial to the production to purchase lighting gels and other minor additions to the theater equipment. We need to create scenery and props; we are aiming to maximize our impact with a minimal budget so we are going to put a lot of work into creating everything using foam core or plywood and paint. Our school’s art teacher will collaborate with the students and families to craft these works of art in a way that is both affordable and high quality at a cost within our budget.
The Aristocats is a production that utilizes very few props but the props that are required are integral to the story. Many of the items can be procured at local thrift stores or purchased from local suppliers. Items that cannot be purchased will be created using art supplies and theater magic (lighting, 2-dimensional representations, etc.).
Marketing and promotional materials are the final bit to make sure that our production is viewed by as many people as possible. We would like to have flyers, posters, and programs printed at G&H Printing (a very affordable printing company in Seattle). We will distribute the posters and flyers at local cafes, restaurants, and businesses. The flyers will be distributed to students, families, and community members to promote attendance at our final evening show on Thursday March 5th. We will also be performing this production for all teachers and students (over 700 people) on either February 27th or Friday March 6th, during the school day. Professional marketing materials will encourage community participation while adding value to the hard work of the students and teachers.