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

Office Hours:

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

Literacy & Language Arts

Our Beliefs

We believe the most effective way to empower our students to become critical readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators is to provide a differentiated pathway to independence and ownership of their learning through a balanced literacy approach. This includes an intentional focus on the development of language skills for students learning English, and individualized support for students with special needs.

Learning Standards

Rigorous grade-level expectations are articulated in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. These expectations guide instruction in both language arts and the content areas. Students meet the increasing complexity of the outcomes detailed in the CCSS by engaging in close reading, clear writing, language development, and critical thinking, across each year, and progressing from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Students reading
A student works with a teacher during language arts class.
Students work together during language arts class.
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Students work together during language arts class.
Students reading
A student works with a teacher during language arts class.
Students reading
Students reading.


  • Balance of literature and informational text
  • Grade-level text complexity
  • Close reading; text-based evidence
  • Analysis and critique of text
  • Foundational skills


  • Balance of argument, information, and narrative writing
  • Writing routinely and for a range of purposes
  • Use of a writing process
  • Conduct research and cite evidence


  • Embedded in content areas throughout the day
  • Use conventions of spoken and written English
  • Understanding how language functions in different contexts
  • Acquire and use academic vocabulary
  • Build a rich, extensive vocabulary

Speaking & Listening

  • Across content areas throughout the day
  • Presentation of knowledge and ideas
  • Collaborating with others
  • Evaluating and responding


Phone: 206-631-3041

Kathy Emerick
Director of PreK & Elementary Success

Janet Blanford
Director of Secondary Success & College Readiness

Lynda Benthin
Administrative Support

Erika Calhoun
PreK-Elementary Instructional  Specialist, Literacy

Daniel Ervin
PreK-Elementary Instructional  Specialist, Literacy

Michael Kamin
Secondary Literacy Specialist

Meredith Ekeroma
Secondary Literacy Specialist

Marisa Gaalema
Early Learning Specialist