Two Highline campuses may restructure their small schools next year.
Highline Superintendent Susan Enfield has proposed restructuring the small schools on the Evergreen and Tyee campuses into two, larger high schools.
The proposed changes would reopen the former Evergreen and Tyee high schools, which were each reorganized into smaller schools a decade ago, next fall, Enfield said at a School Board work session Tuesday. School Board members stressed that no decisions have been finalized.
The Evergreen Campus in White Center has three small schools: Arts and Academics Academy (AAA), Health Services and Human Services High School (HS3) and Technology, Engineering and Communications High School (TEC). The Tyee Campus in SeaTac has two schools: Academy of Citizenship and Empowerment (ACE) and Global Connections High School. The schools are autonomous, but each campus has one library, athletic program and college and career center.
The original Evergreen and Tyee high schools were reorganized with the goal of fostering closer relationships between students and staff members. However, the schools aren’t able to provide a broad array of courses and electives, and having the schools combine would give students a better selection of courses, Enfield said.
Most Read Local Stories
- After dancer strips at Seattle conference on homelessness, agency director suspended
- Extra! Extra! Pike Place Market newsstand to close after 40 years VIEW
- Contractor ordered to pay Washington state $57M over tunnel-boring machine Bertha's big stall
- Where do most die-hard Seattle Seahawks fans live? Not in the city, market data shows. | FYI Guy
- Heavy snow hitting mountain passes. Here's what to know before you go. WATCH
Board Member Tyrone Curry said he had never been a fan of the small-school model, because a student might not be able to take every class he or she wanted, even though another school offers it.
The new model “is perfect for our kids. It gives them choices,” Curry said. “This is a good situation.”
The district composed planning teams last year to look at the schools’ past successes and future. Those teams conducted student surveys and held several community meetings about potential changes, as well.
Several students and staff members at Tuesday’s meeting, however, said they were against the idea. Small schools allow the teachers to better help their students, many of whom are low income and have dealt with a significant amount of trauma and transition in their life, Global Connections teacher Andrea Newman said.
“Yes, there may be more classes, but at what cost?” she said.
Mohamed Abdal, 16, a junior at HS3, said he and his classmates like their schools, where they feel like they belong. He and other students stressed that the district hadn’t done enough to try to speak with them. The announcement about the possibility of a different model came as a shock, he said. And when he heard about it, he almost broke down crying, he added.
Under the proposed changes, each larger school could still have learning communities or academies, Enfield said.
“It’s not an either/or proposition,” she said.
Families are invited to information sessions in October at each campus to learn more about the details of the proposed changes and to ask questions. District staff members also plan to go to each school, as well as to community centers and apartment complexes, and speak with students and families there.
Board members said they understood that students and staff members feel connections to their schools, and that the transition may be difficult.
“I recognize that this is a significant change that people will react to with real emotion,” Enfield said.