On Wednesday, Dec. 14, the Highline Schools Foundation announced they awarded $100,865 through Excel Grants, along with $10,000 through the annual Impact Grant to teachers and staff in support of Highline Public Schools.
This year, Excel Grant awards ranged from $105 to $2,500. Grants will be used during the 2016-2017 school year for activities and experiences that expand the learning process and actively engage students. Funded projects this year include an interactive robot with a distinct personality to help engage students with the next level of programming; financial support for fourth grade students to learn Washington State History at Camp Waskowitz, junior high students to visit college campuses, and nursing assistant students to attend the HOSA conference and competition; the purchase of Chromebooks, LEGO WeDo kits, library books, classroom books, music stands and P.E. equipment; and much more.
“The Highline Schools Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. This program is a great opportunity to recognize educators throughout Highline who demonstrate creative and innovative learning experiences. Thanks to our generous donors and the successes of our annual fundraising events like Burien Brat Trot and Oktoberfest, we were able to increase the maximum grant award this year to $2,500.” said Michael Yellam, Highline Schools Foundation President. “Excel grants are our way of getting funds directly into the hands of teachers, who know first and foremost what our students need!” added Mike.
The Foundation’s Excel Grant program was created to support classroom innovation throughout Highline Public Schools and to provide teachers resources they need to help students be successful. 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 Highline Schools Foundation’s Facebook page.
The Foundation’s Impact Grant awards $10,000 to one school or program in the district for an opportunity to impact a large number of students. Thanks to Foundation partners, including major funding from Alaska Airlines, this grant provides a more significant impact than ever before.
Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Impact Grant recipient Chinook Middle School for the proposal “Bots Build Brains” submitted by Sydni Neves and Elizabeth Nelson!
Foundation 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.
A few this year’s Excel Grant recipients:
Big Picture Junior Year East Side College Hop-portunity
Big Picture High School’s 301s (11th graders) are going on an overnight college visit to Eastern Washington University, Washington State University and Central Washington University. Students will take campus tours, meet with admissions officers, sit-in on a college class and meet with current student leaders. It is a transformative experience, where our students will have the opportunity (many for the first time) to see college life firsthand and begin to imagine themselves as college students. ~ Steven Uydess
A Book a Day Makes the Firsties Say Yay!
First grade is one of the most critical years for reading growth in all of elementary school. When students bring home a book at their independent reading level every night, they get the extra practice they need to gain fluency and strengthen foundational reading skills. As a first grade team, we want to send home a daily book in the current language of instruction so that all students have opportunities to strengthen their reading in both English and Spanish. Having access to Spanish books they can read on their own will give our students ownership of their language learning. ~ Taylor Newton
Northwest Barn Owls
Four sixth grade classes will 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 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. ~ Terre Salzer
The ART of Community
6th Grade students will create works of art exploring identity on purchased 24” x 24” blank puzzle pieces which are then assembled and displayed at the school during Hilltop’s Art Night. Puzzle pieces will then be shipped to join thousands of other puzzle pieces in a Puzzle Art Installation & Collaborative Project installation in New York City by artist Tim Kelly. ~ Mellissa Frangias
I want to create a shoe/cleat library where we have many sizes of cleats for students to check out then return when the season is over. Many students do not have cleats for football, soccer, or fastpitch. I believe this hinders their ability and sometimes makes them not tryout for the sport. I believe we could get many more kids trying out and get maybe 5 seasons or more out of each shoe. ~ Philip Wallen
Building a Positive School Culture
The “Building a Positive School Culture” project is a school wide PBIS effort to help increase positive behavior school-wide. The funding will be used to provide incentives and supports for students making positive decisions throughout the school year. Students earn points for demonstrating desired behaviors and can purchase items at the school store using these points. Our goal is to build a positive, strong and long lasting school culture. ~ Loren Liwanag
“Come on Let’s Dance” with Ozobot 2.0 and Cozmo
Technology is the future of our students. Ozobot 2.0 and Cozmo, the interactive robot with a very distinct personality will engage our students with the next level of programming in a rich and meaningful way. Any engagement with robots and programming levels the playing field and provides opportunities for success for all students. ~ Sandy Gady
2nd Grade Television Studio
The 2nd Grade Television Studio at White Center Heights provides an opportunity for students to create fun, educational broadcasts to share with families and other students. The broadcasts will include student-created content that follows the curricula while offering a fun way for students to practice and demonstrate learning. Specific focus will be on creating stories that highlight communities and current school work. ~ Andrea Gardner
The Power of Access: It’s All in the Eyes
My grant submission, The Power of Access: It’s All in the Eyes, supports the purchase of the Inclusive EyeGaze Education package will allow our students who present with profound motor delays to access a computer in their classroom through the use of their eyes. This access will support their ability demonstrate learned knowledge in all academic areas including reading, writing, math, science, social studies, communication, and social opportunities with their peers and family. Another way we in Highline can support ALL students. ~ Anne Hickey
Beautiful Books Beckoning our Bilingual Students
White Center Heights library is requesting money to purchase beautiful books that will beckon our bilingual students to read more non-fiction in both English and Spanish. We want to support student in their learning, teachers in their teaching and parents as the first and essential models of what a good reader is. ~ Nancy Hallberg
We are requesting an iPad to use with our preschool students at White Center Heights with autism for the purpose of collecting data, accessing learning based Apps and assistive technology. This project will bring meaningful technology to Highline’s youngest learners! ~ Kristen Gainer
A complete list of this year’s winners is available on the Highline Schools Foundation website:
More photos can be found on the Foundation’s Facebook page:
About the Highline Schools Foundation
The Highline Schools Foundation was established in 1999 with the purpose of providing community resources to help Highline Public Schools succeed. We believe that by helping to enrich the classroom and school experience, we can engage students to reach a higher level of learning, and the entire community will benefit. The Foundation is governed by a dedicated group of volunteer Trustees and is the only 501(c)(3) organization supporting all Highline Public Schools. For more information visit www.highlineschoolsfoundation.org.