Highline Public Schools â€“ a pioneer of outdoor education in the 1940s and â€˜50s â€“ announced Thursday (May 15) that it is making another pioneering move: covering the cost of sixth-grade camp for all students. Starting next year, Highline families will send their sixth-graders to Camp Waskowitz free of charge. Currently, the fee is $110. â€œThis comes down to equity. Camp Waskowitz is an important part of the sixth grade experience, and it should not be a financial burden on our families,â€ said Superintendent Susan Enfield. About three-quarters of Highline students qualify for free or reduced price meals. Since 1947, sixth-grade students in Highline have attended Camp Waskowitz in North Bend for a week of hands-on science learning. Teachers lead lessons on river and forest ecology, wildlife, and other environmental topics. During their four days and three nights at camp, sixth-grade students learn independence and develop stronger relationships with their peers. Students make new friends and leave camp with a more positive outlook on school, said Waskowitz Program Director Roberta McFarland. The experience has an impact that lasts long after the students head home from camp. â€œEvery year, around a dozen or so people stop by Waskowitz and tell me how their camp experience was their favorite part about sixth grade. Many of these people are in their 60s and 70s, some in their 40s,â€ said McFarland. â€œThat speaks to the long-term impact of this type of quality education experience.â€ Highline was one of the first school districts in the nation to offer camp as part of its regular curriculum. In 1957, the district purchased the camp, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in 1935. The next session of Highline sixth grade camp is the week of June 3-6.]]>
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