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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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CFO Kate Davis Shadows a Chinook Student

This year cabinet members are stepping into the shoes of students. Over the course of the year, each cabinet member will spend three school days shadowing a different student each day. The goal is to connect more deeply with the experience our students have at school and get a clearer picture of the daily life of our staff.

Here is a reflection by Chief Financial Officer Kate Davis on her visit to Chinook MIddle School.


We never stop learning. No matter how old we get, no matter what position we are in, we can learn something from every situation and every person. I was fortunate to spend a few hours following 8th-grade student Nahili Mohammade through her morning at Chinook Middle School. Nahili reminded me of the importance of challenging ourselves. Growth and change are uncomfortable, but we get smarter, wiser, and more prepared for the next phase in life.

The culture at Chinook Middle School is impressive. Every student is welcome at this school. It was evident from the beginning of the day starting with hugs from Mrs. Smith as each student entered the classroom. But the feeling of warmth and belonging didn’t stop there. She was conscious that a timer often creates anxiety and opted to allow students to track their own time.

Mrs. Johanson created a space for students to share what’s happening in their lives with a “weather check” at the start of class. Students carry the culture as well. Smiles and laughter fill the hallways. And students give each other low high fives when they say something really profound. The positive self-talk was everywhere.

One “ah-ha” moment was rethinking career connected learning. For me career connected learning brings up ideas of aerospace engineering or healthcare courses. But in language arts class I saw a demonstration and students learning how to have engaging discussion. My career revolves around group discussions, small and large. Seeing these seven principles in writing was a good reminder of what makes a good meeting. (Courtesy of Mrs. Smith’s language arts class)

  1. I am critical of ideas, not people.
  2. I strive to confirm that I value others, even if I challenge their ideas.
  3. I converse, disagree, and challenge in order to learn, not to win.
  4. I listen respectfully to all ideas, even if I disagree.
  5. I work to understand all sides and perspectives of an issue.
  6. I change my mind when evidence and reason convince me.
  7. I opt-in in order to contribute to our learning community.

I have so much to learn from our teachers. Thank you for allowing me to watch and absorb in your classrooms.

Kate Davis, Chief Financial Officer