Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Visiting the Highline Education Association

(Left to right): Debby Strayer/Mt. Rainer,  Linda Wheeler/Beverly Park, Patrick Lamb/Global Connections, Sandy Hunt/Beverly Park, Sern Watt/Marvista, Stacie Hawkins/HEA President, Julie Kastien/Sylvester; Not pictured: Sue McCabe/Mt. Rainier, Shawna Moore/Sylvester, and Ryan Reilly/Madrona

Yesterday afternoon I visited the offices of the Highline Education Association. The HEA represents our certificated staff - teachers, counselors, nurses, substitutes, etc. They have more than one thousand members and are valued partners.

HEA President Stacie Hawkins invited me on this particular day to meet with the HEA Executive Board. First of all, they eat well - soup and salad from Panera - yum! And it would have been rude of me not to join them, of course. On a more substantive note, we got to do some relationship building and there was some informal sharing of what was on everybody's mind. President Hawkins and I have discussed venues for collaboration and we look forward to finding both formal and informal opportunities to connect.

As Stacie's suggestion, one thing I did was solicit ideas for possible Highline Foundation for Excellence projects. I explained that the Foundation is looking for additional opportunitites to supplement the basic district offerings and told them to think about it and send me suggestions. But wow, they came up with a full page of ideas on the spot! The brainstorm included expanding foreign language offerings at middle school, bringing in theater performances (like a staging of MacBeth recently at Global Connections H.S. on the Tyee campus), supporting afterschool opportunities, purchasing standing desks and exercise ball seats for active kids, library books, musical instruments, art docents or artists in residence, Waskowitz scholarships, and even ballroom dancing!

We will certainly have our disagreements at times, but district leadership and HEA leadership have a lot common interests to make Highline the very best district possible. I look forward to working together with President Hawkins and the HEA on behalf of our staff and our students.   

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