Highline School Board endorses movement to increase Graduation Rates

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school board endorses graduate highline

Sounders FC's Darwin Jones joins Graduate! Highline

At its meeting Wednesday (June 1), the Highline Public Schools Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting a community-driven movement  – ‘Graduate! Highline’ – aimed at increasing Highline Public Schools’ graduation rates.

‘Graduate! Highline’ was initiated by a group of community and civic leaders, district alumni and passionate supporters of Highline students. The vision is to build a grassroots movement fueled by participation from every corner of the community: individual citizens, local businesses, community-based organizations, faith communities, and corporate business partners.  The idea was inspired by the success of the Graduate Tacoma initiative, which helped drive Tacoma Public Schools’ graduation rates from 55 percent to beyond 80 percent.


  • As a community, Highline Public Schools has set ambitious goals for students, all in service of one overarching goal: At least 19 out 20 students in the Class of 2017 will graduate prepared to choose their future.
  • Highline’s 2015 graduation rate is 70.3 percent. This represents a significant increase from the 2014 graduation rate of 62.9 percent; however, to reach the 2017 goal of 95 percent graduation, urgent progress is necessary.
  • The Graduate! Highline Leadership Team believes Highline’s students are capable of achieving this goal and recognizes that our schools cannot do it alone. Graduate! Highline calls on the entire community to play a part in supporting the success of our community’s students.

“Our goal is to ignite a communitywide effort around our students. We want to rally community, civic, faith, business and philanthropic leaders to support our community’s young people in large and small ways. When kids are fully supported, they will succeed,” said JD Hill, Executive Director of the Matt Griffin YMCA and spokesperson for the Graduate! Highline Leadership Team. “Think of the impact we can have when people come together in one collective effort supporting our students!”

The leadership of Highline Public Schools pledge to facilitate partnerships with the community.

“We are deeply committed to our graduation goal, and we recognize it will take the entire community to make it happen,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “It is inspiring to see the community come together and show our students that we believe in them.”

The Seattle Sounders FC recently joined the movement, and according to Roger Levesque, Director of Community Outreach:

“At the Sounders FC we’re always up for a challenge, which is why we’re really excited to support the Graduate! Highline initiative and the ambitious goal of a 95% district-wide high school graduation rate. Let Graduate! Highline be the community’s rallying cry to encourage each student to explore new opportunities and to enable the next generation of Highline students to reach their full potential.”

The Graduate! Highline Team urges community members to visit www.graduatehighline.org to join the movement and learn how to get involved. Questions and ideas can be directed to [email protected].

Graduate! Highline Leadership Team:

  • Ray Conner, The Boeing Company
  • Bernie Dorsey, Board Member, Highline Public Schools
  • Geri Fain, Highline Public Schools administrator (retired)
  • J.D. Hill, Matt Griffin YMCA
  • Shaunta Hyde, Alaska Airlines
  • Scott Lautman, Alaska Airlines, Highline Schools Foundation
  • Caroline Maillard, The Boeing Company
  • Maya Mendoza-Exstrom, Sounders FC, Highline Schools Foundation
  • Chris Craig, City of Burien
  • David Sabey, Sabeycorp
  • Danielle Tilden
  • Chuck Tuman, Yes! for Highline
  • Pat Thompson, YES! Foundation
  • Jeff Wagnitz, Highline College

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One Response to “Highline School Board endorses movement to increase Graduation Rates”
  1. Brooks says:

    This is great news to have such a broad base of committed community members and organizations supporting Highline schools. We need it. I hope though this group will listen to high school students – many of whom were not born in the US and do not have college educated parents – who are setting their sites higher than just graduation. While chaperoning field trips I have heard many students express concern that our high schools are not preparing them for college or other careers. So “Graduate Highline” yes, but let’s not lose focus on the need also to “Educate Highline.”

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