The Highline Schools Foundation announced that they have awarded over $122,000 in grants to teachers and staff in support of Highline Public Schools. The foundation’s grant program supports classroom innovation and equity. It provides teachers and staff funds that support student success in Highline Public Schools. Excel Grants provide up to $2,500 for a project that benefits a group, classroom or school. An Impact Grant provides up to $10,000 for a program that impacts a large group of students. This year the review committee funded 92 Excel grants and two Impact grants. “Being able to provide teachers and staff with grant funding is critical,” said Anne Baunach, Highline Schools Foundation Executive Director. “Grants put resources for student success directly into the hands of teachers and staff, who understand what our students need to be successful!” Grants were given out via the Foundation’s “Prize Patrol”—surprise visits by Foundation Trustees to staff meetings, classrooms and assemblies during which the grants were awarded to excited and deserving district teachers and staff.

Impact Grants

Highline Schools Foundation Trustees Scott and Patti Gifford and Executive Director Anne Baunach present Excel and Impact grants to teachers and staff at Sylvester Middle School.
“Aquaponics for Sustainability” (Sylvester Middle School) submitted by Joanna Rodriguez. Aquaponics is the perfect teaching tool for core STEM subjects like Math, Biology, Chemistry and Engineering. Students will study edible fish, edible plants and bacteria interacting in a living ecosystem. Students will perform water quality tests and measure growth rates of the edible fish and plants. By doing this type of research and data collection, students will develop and understand ideas that can really impact and benefit humanity. “Leveling the Playfield for All Students Through Musical Instruments.” (Hazel Valley Elementary) written by Marla Evans will add outdoor instruments to the school playground. Currently during recess, students with limited mobility are not able to play on equipment or safely navigate the field. Similarly, students with language barriers, such as our English Language Learners and students with verbal delays find it difficult to engage with other students. ‘Freenotes’ are universally designed musical instruments accessible to all ages and abilities and designed and built for sustainable and authentic outdoor play.  Because each instrument is tuned, groupings of instruments play harmoniously which encourages cooperative group play.

Highlights of this year’s Excel Grant recipients (92 grants were funded in total):

Joe Van (HPS Board President and Foundation Emeritus Trustee) and Foundation Trustee Marco Milanese visited Mount Rainier High School to deliver Excel Grants to support STEM Education, Literacy & Arts, and Struggling Learners.
Mount Rainier High School
  • Biotechnology in the Classroom will outfit the classroom with equipment that will allow students to practice and understand some fundamentals of biotechnology like micropipetting and gel electrophoresis. Grant recipient: Jolly Meloottu
  • Mount Rainier Pacific Islander Arts and Academic Development will fund educational and cultural leadership workshops and provide costumes, accessories, props and equipment for the Samoan Arts & Academic Competition. Students work all year to learn the dances, songs and transitions of the PI culture which helps them develop pride in their community as well as develop pride in themselves.  Grant recipient: Ginger Lotulelei
  • Reading for Meaning (Reading for Meaning and Success, Si Sé Puede) supports the needs of all students in the areas of reading, language development and academic growth at MRHS. Through support in RfM, each student can acquire the skills to become knowledgeable, inquisitive and empowered to meet the requirements for graduation and become contributing members of their community and global society. Grant recipient: Deana Shuck
Hazel Valley teachers received 3 Excel Grants and 1 Impact Grant totaling $14,400! Foundation Trustee Scott Lautman and Executive Director Anne Baunach visited Hazel Valley where they found many excited teachers!
Hazel Valley Elementary
  • Stepping into the Holocaust: The Diary of Anne Frank Live will bring 13-year-old Anne Frank’s sobering true story of eight people living in hiding in Nazi occupied Holland during World War II to life at a live performance at Seattle Children’s Theater.  Students will be energized to incorporate socially passionate details in their writing and reading understanding with this amazing play! Grant recipient: Jenny Haaland
  • The Butterfly Scientists of 2nd Grade! will help prepare students for college and career in the 21st century by offering them learning experiences that develop their inquisitiveness, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. Students will develop these essential skills through the observation of the butterfly life cycle in the classroom and the observation of butterflies in their natural habitat at the Pacific Science Center. Grant recipient: Sydney Ladinos
  • Washington State Living History Program at Camp Waskowitz funds a Living History Field Trip at Waskowitz Outdoor School where students will travel back in time to the pioneer period in the Snoqualmie River Valley. Students experience hands on activities at 4 stations (Homestead, Mining, Railroad and Logging) that will help them learn about Washington State History. Students rave about using real tools while mining for gold, building a railroad, making biscuits over a campfire or doing laundry on a washboard. Grant recipient: Jairo Garcia
The Foundation also funded 4th grade field trips to Camp Waskowitz for Des Moines, Hazel Valley, Madrona, and Seahurst Elementary students.
Foundation Trustee Scott Lautman at North Hill Elementary School
  North Hill Elementary School
  • Nancy Becker’s 12-week after-school program “TechBOYS!” will help 5th and 6th grade boys focus on their engineering and coding talents. Through this program, students will be able to see examples of what real scientists do and the process in which they do it. This complements the school’s TechBridge program for female students.
  • Kinders Are Social Readers! – Lucy O’Keefe’s kindergarten students love of reading will be nurtured through interactive read-aloud times that emphasize vocabulary and comprehension. Students will also read with partners on specialized reading mats that help students learn to sit together and share books, building their fluency and joy of reading!
  • Instruments for All! – Music Teacher Leah Stephens class will receive a new xylophone and two new glockenspiels. With these instruments, students will be able to explore a wider range of musical skills & individual creativity.
  • Thanks to a grant awarded to May Ovalles for her project “North Hill’s Year-Round Accessible Garden Beds,” North Hill will be able to create year-round accessible garden beds to help increase students’ awareness of the environment, where our food comes from and how to give back to the community.
A complete list of this year’s winners and grant details is available on Highline Schools Foundation’s website: About the Highline Schools Foundation The Highline Schools Foundation supports the work of Highline Public Schools which serves the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, Beverly Park, SeaTac, and White Center. They are the only non-profit organization which supports all schools in Highline Public Schools. The mission of the organization is to unite community support for innovative and equitable learning across Highline Public Schools. The Foundation is funded solely by private contributions and operates separately from Highline Public Schools. More information can be found on their website at:]]>

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.