Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Highline Public Schools is deeply engaged in work around equity, race and identity to better foster and support an environment in which our students, families, and staff grow, thrive, and succeed.  This work, and the language used to describe it, is rapidly evolving.  This policy will be reviewed at least annually to reflect current practices and language.


Highline Public Schools’ promise is to know every student by name, strength and need so that they graduate prepared for the future they choose.  To do this requires knowing our students and their families deeply, honoring their cultures and identities, ensuring materials and instruction are culturally relevant, and being willing to engage with students, families and the community.

Historic decisions and current inequitable practices advantage certain students while disadvantaging others.  Students of color; students with disabilities; English language learners; immigrants and refugees; LGBTQ+ students; and Native American and Alaska Native students have all been negatively impacted by the institution of education.

Highline seeks to be a leader in being an anti-racist organization focused on eliminating racism, racial and other identity inequities, and institutional bias.  This intentional focus, when implemented well and with fidelity, should result in increased achievement by our students, both in school and after graduation.

Highline students have experienced significant, measurable, system-wide inequities in achievement due to institutional racism and institutional biases, and a failure to address how race; language; disability; socioeconomic status; country of origin; gender; gender identity and sexual orientation; and the intersectionality of those characteristics impact educational outcomes.   

The School Board is committed to continuing to examine disaggregated academic achievement, discipline, and other data in order to identify continued disparities and to develop strategies to ensure that all students can succeed in an environment free of racism, discrimination and institutional bias.

Our strategic plan is our equity plan, and calls on us to disrupt institutional biases and end inequitable practices so all students have an equal chance at success.


  • Equity
    • We will disrupt institutional biases and end inequitable practices so all students have an equal chance at success.
  • Instruction
    •  We will reduce achievement and opportunity gaps[1] by using culturally responsive, inclusive, standards-based instruction.
  • Relationships
    • We will know our students by name, strength and need and have open, two-way communication with students, families, and community partners.
  • Support
    • We will increase student success by supporting their social-emotional and academic needs.


Adult mindsets about the abilities and strengths of our students can have positive or negative impacts on student achievement.  To ensure that the adults who work for Highline Public Schools have a success oriented mindset, we are dedicated to hiring and retaining staff who are committed to the following beliefs:

  • All students have the ability to meet our ambitious expectations for success in school and after graduation.
  •  Adult actions—or inactions—impact the way students see themselves and whether they perceive school as a positive or negative place.
  • Potentially unequal learning needs among students require equitable, not equal, distribution of resources.
  • It is our responsibility to identify inequitable or discriminatory practices, including implicit bias and microaggressions, and to speak out or act to end those practices.
  • It is imperative that our workforce—our teachers, administrators, and other staff—represent the diversity of our students and families.
  • Respecting and recognizing racial, cultural, and identity differences is necessary for students to receive a high quality education.
  • Schools and the district overall should actively engage their students, families, and community to correct inequities.

Equity Focus Areas

To become an anti-racist organization, eliminate discrimination and disproportionality, and achieve success for each student, the district’s equity work is focused in four main areas:

            Institutional Practices
            Adult Learning on Race and Identity
            Culturally Responsive Practices
            Instruction on Race and Identity

Accountability Measures

The Superintendent is directed to provide at least an annual report to the public and the School Board on the strategic plan goals, and to ensure that an equity lens is used in each report.  When relevant and appropriate, reports will include evaluating our strategies and their effectiveness through providing disaggregated data, information on how funding is differentiated based on student need, and how programs or services are being implemented to ensure equitable access by students.

All staff members are charged with recognizing and speaking out when we are not meeting our vision of being an equity-focused district.  Response to allegations of inequities may involve an assessment of district policies, programs, and strategies.

The Superintendent or designee is authorized to develop procedures for implementing this policy.

District Cross Reference:
Nondiscrimination (students) Policy 3210
Workplace Environment and Culture Policy 5000
Nondiscrimination and Equitable Employment Practices (staff) Policy 5010

WSSDA Cross References:

Legal Reference:

Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Board: September 2010
Revised by the Board: 12.15, 2.17, 3.18, 11.19
Classification: Discretionary

[1] This is an example of rapidly changing language—in 2017, when the strategic plan was approved, such deficit language was common.  When the strategic plan is next updated we will use updated language.