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

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

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Photo-Essay: How is In-person School Going?

Teachers & Families Share Their Perspectives

“Excited. Nervous. Happy. Thankful.” These four words are on repeat when we ask teachers, students and families how they feel about in-person school and how it is going.

Families expressed gratitude to teachers, school staff and district leaders for making it possible and safe to return to classrooms in person this spring. Read what three teachers, three families and several students told us.

Preschool student holds up her handwritten name, wearing a mask.

"Maqdis is doing good and is so excited to be in the school for the first time ever. She says, 'Mommy, I have friends, and the teachers help me and teach me a lot. Why isn't it more days? I can't wait!' As a mother, I feel like it is safe because the school and teachers shared with me what they do, like cleaning the toys, sanitizing and keeping distance between people. They are doing their best to make it as safe as possible."  

Marian Abdulrahman, mother of Maqdis, a preschool student in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) classroom at the Mount Rainier site.


Teacher greets preschool student outside on first day of in-person school in March 2021.

"Being back to school feels AMAZING! Seeing the kid's faces light up every day has been the best. They have done such a great job at following all of the safety precautions we have in place. This was exactly what we all needed!"

Janae McClure, ECEAP preschool teacher, Mount Rainier site


Teacher holds backpack as students are working at desks, wearing masks.

"Hybrid is going great!  The kinders were very resilient and independent when we were online; however, it is refreshing to actually be able to work on the essential foundation skills like how to write letters and read actual books.  It is heartwarming to see them becoming readers with real books and the spark in their eyes when they realize they just read something on their own."

Alexandria Skagen, kindergarten teacher, Madrona Elementary School


Des Moines Elementary student and dad pose for selfie outside the school, with masks on.

"We are super happy Jane is back in school.  She just checked out after Christmas as a remote learner. This past week or so has been amazing for her to be excited about school again. You all are appreciated whether working on communications, cleaning, educating or whatever.  Thanks for keeping her and everyone else safe. You have lots of fans out here!"

J.T. Perry, father of Jane, a third-grade student at Des Moines Elementary School


McMicken Teacher holds Charlotte's Web book in classroom.
Two photos of teacher: left: excited about first day greeting; right: holding Horrible Harry book.

(L) "This is when the announcement came to go to our arrival stations to greet students. I was so happy to see them... but they’re bigger than they look on the screen!"

(R) "One of my second graders from last year is now in my third-grade hybrid class. I popped some of her favorite series books (Horrible Harry) in her book bin, and the absolute joy on her face that I had remembered made my day!"

Nancy Shi, third-grade teacher, McMicken Heights Elementary School


5th grade students lined up 6 feet apart after getting off the bus.

"I feel excited and nervous because today is the first day of school, and it's a little different this year than other years. I want to come back for a lot of reasons. One of my dreams has always been to be a teacher, so I like to be at school."

Abigail Olivares Ramirez, fifth-grade student at Southern Heights Elementary School


Line up of 5th grade students, 6 feet apart outside Mount View Elementary School.

“Excited. Nervous. Happy.”

Answer repeated by a line of fifth-grade students waiting to enter Mount View Elementary School for the first day of hybrid learning.


Teacher giving thumbs up to a Zoom class on student's computer.
Evergreen High School students in classroom wearing masks.

“Andrew is thrilled to see some of his classmates in person again. He is loving it.”

Mother of Andrew Nguyen (l). Andrew is in 10th grade at Evergreen High School.