Impact Grant

The Foundation’s Impact Grant awards $10,000 to one school or program in the district for an opportunity that aligns with the Highline Public Schools strategic plan in a way that impacts a large number of students.

This grant allows the Foundation to make a more significant impact than ever before. Our popular Excel Grants support specific classroom needs — but the Impact Grant offers resources on a larger scale — something we hope to do more of in the future. Grant requests are accepted each fall and we announce the program on our website, Facebook and Twitter.


2017 – “Equity and Computer Science for All” at North Hill Elementary

Equity and Computer Science for All-May Ovalles

“Equity and Computer Science for All” – May Ovalles at North Hill Elementary School Pictured (left to right), Scott Logan, Chief Operations Officer; May Ovalles, Assistant Principal; Chau Le, Math; Lisa Juvinall, Science; Trishia Sewell, Literacy; Travis Exstrom, HSF President-Elect; Anne Baunach, HSF Executive Director; Kimberly Gilmore, Principal

North Hill ElementaryOn Wednesday, November 29, North Hill teachers were awarded the 2017 $10,000 Impact Grant. The Impact Grant will expand computer science programming. The money will purchase a set of Chromebooks for fifth- and- sixth-grade students. Sixth-grade students will use the new technology for a Computer Science Fundamentals unit. Fifth-grade students will use them to incorporate coding and computer science into their math or science classes.

“Students are interested in doing more with computer programming. The strong computational thinking, problem-solving, group work and critical internet safety basics incorporated into these game-driven lessons and activities work to engage students while they learn coding and computer science fundamentals,” Assistant Principal May Ovalles wrote in the grant application.

Who will be involved: 3-6th grade teachers; Lisa Juvinall – Science, Chau Le – Math, Tricia Sewell – Literacy & 5th grade teachers; Nancy Becker – Science, Terri Ainardi – Math, Sherry Edwards – Literacy.  Plan and teach Coding/Computer Science lessons from across content areas. May Ovalles – Assistant Principal (trained in Computer Science Principles & Elementary Computer Science Foundations).

Overall Project Description:

Our 5th & 6th graders, who make up a quarter of the student population, have participated in computer science exploration with’s Hour of Code in the past few years.  This year our goal is to go beyond the Hour of Code. This means that not only will our students participate during Computer Science Week in December 2017, we want to immerse all our 6th graders in a Computer Science Fundamentals unit.  After that, we want to include our 5th grade team to incorporate a few coding & computer science lessons into their math or science classes.  Eventually, we are hoping to tryout 2-3 computer science lessons and activities at each grade level.

Students are interested in doing more with computer programming. The game driven lessons along with the strong computational thinking, problem solving, group work and critical internet safety basics incorporated into these games and activities work to engage students while they learn coding and computer science fundamentals.

What makes this project innovative or essential.

Washington State adopted K-12 Computer Science Learning Standards to provide baseline technology literacy and access to Computer Science for all students. Highline has a goal of graduating Tech Literate and Tech Savvy students by 2026.  At North Hill we believe in order for us to meet these goals we need to start in elementary school.

Our Science teacher, Ms. Juvinall, is our lead for Hour of Code, and continues to increase the number of computer science lessons in her classes. She wants to do more. Students want to do more. But currently it is difficult to get consistent access to a class set of devices. This grant could give our students that consistent and predictable access to devices that is necessary in order to plan for a Computer Science unit of study, not just a week of activities. We feel that it is essential that Ms. Juvinall has a dedicated classroom set of devices in order to intentionally plan for a unit of Computer Science for all 6th graders. Our focus will be on 3 of the 7 core practices for computing: Fostering an Inclusive & Diverse Computing Culture, Collaboration, and Recognizing & Defining Computational Problems.

How will the students benefit from this project?

Our students are eager to have more Computer Science. And research shows that students start to disengage from their learning in 4th or 5th grade. We want to leverage their interest in coding and computer science to increase their engagement in their core classes. In other words, our students will build their foundational skills, not just Computer Science skills.  For example, the generalizable concept of Computational Thinking can be applied to Literacy, Mathematics, and Science. Research shows that students who have exposure to Computer Science in K-12, have a greater chance of majoring in this field.  We hope the core practice of Fostering an Inclusive and Diverse Computing Culture will help us encourage our girls and our under-represented student population for the long run: to enroll in Design & Engineering in Middle School, Computer Science Principles in High School, and eventually major in Computer Science in College.

2016 – “Bots Build Brains” at Chinook Middle School

Impact Grant Presentation at Chinook Middle School

Wednesday morning at Chinook Middle School (pictured left right) Chinook Principal Karin Jones, Foundation Trustee Patti Gifford, Elizabeth Nelson, CTE Teacher, Foundation Trustee Aileen Cronin, Carlos Zendejas, Alaska Airlines Captain. (not pictured) Sydni Neves, Instructional Coach.Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Impact Grant recipient Chinook Middle School for the proposal “Bots Build Brains” submitted by Sydni Neves and Elizabeth Nelson!

Chinook Middle SchoolFoundation Trustee and Alaska Airlines employee Aileen Cronin presented the check to Elizabeth this morning along with Alaska Airlines Captain Carlos Zendejas and Foundation Trustee Patti Gifford. “Syndi & Elizabeth submitted a grant application that literally spoke to us. They proudly described their kids accomplishments, despite the fact the kids were using broken robot parts, as remarkable. Their BOTS BUILD BRAINS effort is and will change the lives and futures for their students. The Foundation, in partnership with Alaska Airlines, is proud to help make their dreams a reality.” said Aileen after the presentation.

Thanks to funding through the Impact Grant, students at Chinook Middle School will learn programming through robotics, a skill that is highly sought after in the business world. In addition to offering robotics units through their design & engineering classes, they have partnered with students from the Skunk Works Robotics Team at Raisbeck Aviation High School to create an after school club and build a team ready to compete in robotics competitions through FLL (First Lego League) next fall.

“We have a great opportunity to engage some brains and grow critical thinkers by capturing our students’ interest in and excitement about robotics. With Bots Build Brains, we will be able to provide opportunities for students to work together to ask, imagine, plan, create and improve as they complete challenges with their robots. We will introduce students to programming through robotics.” said Sydni Neves.

Bots Build Brains Final Report

2015 – “Design and Engineering” at Pacific Middle School

2015 Impact Grant Winner - Design and Engineering

(L to R) Foundation Executive Director Ashley Fosberg, Foundation Trustees Scott Lautman and Aileen Cronin, Highline Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, Sandy Gady, Design and Engineering Teacher at Pacific Middle School (Impact Grant Winner), and Brad Tilden, President CEO of Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group

Pacific Middle SchoolThe 2015 Impact Grant winner, announced at the Highline Schools’ State of our Schools event on November 2, is “Design and Engineering” submitted by Sandy Gady, Design and Engineering Teacher at Pacific Middle School.

Pacific Middle School will receive $10,000 to implement Sandy’s vision: “Maker Faires” are a growing phenomenon that launched in the Bay area in 2006. Maker Faires are “The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth.” Initially designed to be forward-looking showcases for makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies, the Faire is not just for technical fields, rather it features “innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.”

Design & Engineering Final Report

2014 – Making an Impact: Building Bright Futures for Young Women in Computer Science”

Making an Impact-Building Bright Futures for Young Women in Computer Science

(L to R) Highline Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield with Foundation President Kristen Kerns, Royce Badley (Impact Grant Winner), and Foundation Trustees Aileen Cronin and Erin Ambrozic

The 2014 Impact Grant winner was “Making an Impact: Building Bright Futures for Young Women in Computer Science”. It was written by Royce Badley, Assistant Director of Career & College Pathways, and Julie Burr, Career Access Manager, for Highline Public Schools.

This grant provided funds to help increase the number of high school females in computer science classes, to spark their interest in technology related careers, and to help them graduate prepared for a future in the computer science field.

This Impact Grant funded educational, recruitment, retention and support programs on all four high school campuses – all related to computer science and information technology. This grant included funding for: An after school “apps” club; career exploration field trips; a district-wide event called “apps day”; a luncheon with women role models in the computer science field; and hand held devices or programmable robots on which students can learn and practice coding.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer Highline’s female students the opportunity to learn about and be supported in pursuing careers in the high tech industry.  We live in an amazing place surrounded by a thriving high tech industry which offers high-wage, high-demand jobs.  Unfortunately, young women are not preparing for these careers.  These funds will help our program will change that –by enabling our female students to envision a future in this industry–and in turn find meaning and purpose in their current classes,” said Impact Grant winner Royce Badley.


Impact-Grant - Global Connections HS

Pictured left to right: Scott Gifford, Highline Schools Foundation President; Dr. Susan Enfield, Highline Public Schools Superintendent; Rick Harwood, Global Connections High School Principal; Ashley Fosberg, Highline Schools Foundation Executive Director

Global Connections High School’s new “Positive Behavior Student Advisory Council” program was the winner of Highline Schools Foundation’s first annual Impact Grant in 2013.

The $10,000 Impact Grant funded the creation, training, and implementation of a student leader group at Global Connections, called the Positive Behavior Student Advisory Council, which will adopt a peer-to-peer program that supports and intervenes with students who with behavior issues that are keeping them from learning.

Read about the 2013 Impact Grant winner on our blog