Highline Schools Foundation awarded over $80,000 in Grants this Fall

The Highline Schools Foundation awarded $80,472 through 112 classroom grants this Fall.

Because of events like the Burien Brat Trot and Oktoberfest, and the generosity of our community, the Foundation was able to fund more grant requests this year than ever before!

“We are so proud to be able to award more Excel Grant funds than ever to teachers and programs in Highline this year, over $80,000!” said Ashely Fosberg, Highline Schools Foundation Executive Director. “Excel grants are foundational to what we do, and one of our most important programs. This is our way of getting funds directly into the hands of teachers, who know first and foremost what our students need!”

The Foundation’s Excel Grant program was created to support classroom innovation in our district, and to provide teachers resources they need to help our students be successful and is an award of up to $1,000 for a specific project. Some of the Excel Grants were given out via the Foundation’s “Prize Patrol”—surprise visits by Foundation Trustees to staff meetings, classrooms and assemblies during which the checks were presented to excited and deserving district staff. Photos can be found on the Foundation’s Facebook page.

The $10,000 Impact Grant, made possible by funding from Alaska Airlines, was presented to Pacific Middle School for a project proposal submitted by Sandy Gady titled “Design and Engineering.” This grant will be used to create the first Maker Faire within Highline Public Schools. The goal is twofold. One to introduce girls from Pacific Middle School and the feeder schools to hands-on, building experiences. A second goal of this grant is to create a replicable format that can be implemented at all other middle and feeder schools in the district and could ultimately be shared with other districts. This is the first attempt at introducing the “Maker Movement” to Highline Schools on a large scale. While this initial grant is to involve girls in the first Maker Faire, Sandy would like to expand this to include all students at Pacific Middle School, the feeder schools and across the district.

Thanks to major support from Comcast, $15,000 was granted to teachers in the form of Technology Grants in 2015. The Hilltop Huskies Journalism Club received the top grant – $5,000 for, “Live From Hilltop!” submitted by Nicole Grambo. This grant will expand the Hilltop Huskies Journalism Club that was established last school year. The Journalism Club began as the brainchild of three intermediate teachers as a way to provide an outlet for students to contribute to their school community in a positive way and subsequently be recognized for their leadership qualities. Starting with only the club idea, basic school technology and a $500 Excel Grant from the Highline Schools Foundation last year, a successful journalism club was born at Hilltop.  The next steps include: increase the number of news videos and reports they produce a week; create a new opportunity for 6th grade students to serve as leaders in the team, directing and teaching 5th grade students; build opportunities for students to learn and manage the entire process of production, investigation, filming, editing and publishing the news piece.  A major goal of Highline Schools District is to prepare students for college, career and citizenship. What better way to become an informed citizen than to understand how news is created and presented.

CHOICE Academy and Mount Rainier High School each received $2,500 grants this year for technology. Students at MRHS will work with a local design and prototyping business to prepare metal parts and then assemble those parts at the school to build a light duty computer controlled router for use by the MRHS FRC robotics team. Students at CHOICE will be introduced to the world of 3-Diminsional (3D printing), technology increasingly commonplace in health care, aerospace engineering, the automotive industry, the military and myriad other industries. The Foundation continues to make a more significant impact than ever before in the schools, supporting the district’s plan to graduate students fully prepared for college, career and citizenship.

The Foundation applauds each teacher’s dedication to providing the best possible education for our students. The Grant Review had the challenging task of selecting the most worthwhile and innovative projects, while also spreading the grant awards district-wide.

Some of this year’s Excel Grant recipients:

Gregory Heights 2015 Excel Grants

Gregory Heights Elementary
Highline Schools Foundation president Erin Ambrozic and President-Elect Michael Yellam visited Gregory Heights Elementary to distributed Excel Grant checks: Elizabeth, Hanna, 4th Grade General Education Teacher; Michael, Bento, Librarian; Shawn, Will, 3rd Grade Teacher; Melanie, Shaw, Music/Band Specialist; Brenda, Martin, 2nd Grade Teacher; Cindi, Gilbert, Para Pro/Alternative Learning Center; Suzanne, Donato, Speech-Language Pathologist – all revived funding for their projects this year!

Southern Heights - Integrating Literary Forms

Lana Baroudi, Southern Heights Elementary with Foundation Trustee Scott Lautman
Lana Baroudi will be taking her Sixth Grade students at Southern Heights to view an original production, Brooklyn Bridge, at the Seattle Children’s Theater thanks to an Excel Grant. Her students will be exploring story elements such as plot, character, and theme as well as author’s point of view in literature during reading, and will be asked to compare and contrast these elements in both literary forms after the viewing. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a one- hour workshop before they see the play, during which they will participate in interactive drama activities to explore the themes and characters in Brooklyn Bridge.

ACE - Engineering Discovery Days

Savannah Benally, Learning Specialist at Academy of Citizenship & Empowerment with Foundation Executive Director Ashley Fosberg
Thanks to an Excel Grant received by Savannah Benally, Learning Specialist at Academy of Citizenship & Empowerment, students from four Highline District high schools (Global Connections, the Academy of Citizenship & Empowerment, Technology, Engineering & Communications High School, and Heath Sciences and Human Services High School) will attend the University of Washington’s Engineering Discovery Days in late April. At the event, students can participate in hands-on engineering activities, discover a wide variety of engineering careers, and learn about the University of Washington.

White Center Heights - White Center Pride-Our Place in the World

White Center Heights – White Center Pride-Our Place in the World
Students at White Center Heights will create a GIANT 64 square foot portable community game board on canvas with student written sets of geographic/cultural questions about their place in the world. With the guidance of a professional mural artist, the librarian and the art teacher, 91 fourth graders will research culture and geography of place using books and computers during library, and interviewing family and community members about their stories of how they came to live in White Center.

A complete list of this year’s winners will be posted to the Highline Schools Foundation website soon: http://www.highlineschoolsfoundation.org and more photos can be found on the Foundation’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HighlineSchoolsFoundation

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