Student Handbook

Click below for content from our student handbook. We hope this help answer many of your questions. Anything not answered, please call the school office at 206-631-7630.

Academic Standards

Continued enrollment at Highline CHOICE Academy requires that the undersigned student and parent/guardian understands and agrees to the following and supports through their on-going actions and behaviors:

  • Continued demonstration of effort toward academic success or maintaining a grade of “C” or better in all academic and elective classes at Mid-Quarter Progress Grades, Quarterly Progress Grades, and Final Semester Grades.
  • Regular and punctual attendance to all classes Monday through Friday including Advisory and well documented consistent activities for off-site electives.
  • Consistent adherence to positive behavior (PBIS) and safety policies set forth by Highline CHOICE Academy Staff and Highline Public Schools Board of Directors.
  • Demonstrated independence and enthusiasm for learning, taking full responsibility to complete assignments, access resources and academic supports, and communicate honestly with teachers.
  • Daily and ongoing behavior by parents/guardians and students that reflect our Highline CHOICE Academy universal values of: Respect, Responsibility, Excellence, and Initiative.

Drop Classes Procedure:

Students who drop classes more than three weeks after the beginning of the semester will receive an ‘F’ for the class unless special circumstances dictate otherwise and approved by the building administrator.  If a student drops a class, the parents/guardians must find an accredited academic solution.

Academic Programs

Advisory: Highline CHOICE Academy assigns students to an advisory group. These students meet with their advisor each day for twenty minutes to work on graduation plans, life skills, future planning, student portfolios, and elective presentations. Students will receive a .25 elective credit each semester.

Elective class completed off-campus: fall under the Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) Independent Contract Requirements. These requirements are an integral part of our parent/guardian partnership program and are overseen by the Advisory teacher. Grades for these elective courses are contingent on weekly logs completed by both student and mentor, then authenticated by a parent/guardian. Participants in this program commit to legal authentication of weekly logs, a monthly progress check, signature, and a minimum of one day per semester for formal presentation of the student’s achievements.

Puget Sound Skills Center (PSSC): Eleventh (11th) and Twelfth (12th) graders may participate in vocational, technical, and occupational job training programs at the Puget Sound Skills Center (PSSC) while attending Highline CHOICE Academy. PSSC is within walking distance from Highline CHOICE Academy.

Running Start: Running Start is an exciting opportunity for eleventh (11th) and twelfth (12th) grade students to earn college credit while enrolled in high school. Once the student is enrolled into a local community college, they are then fully integrated into the college system and are expected to perform at the college level. A high level of independence, maturity, and academic rigor is expected. Tuition for Running Start is free, but students are expected to pay for books and class fees. Please contact the Student Counselor for more information and paperwork.

Career Start: Career Start is a partnership with several local school districts and Highline College. It is the professional technical form of Running Start. It is designed to allow students to graduate from high school at or near the same time that they receive an Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) from Highline College. Students are able to choose whether they receive their diploma from CHOICE Academy or from Highline College. If they choose CHOICE Academy, they are able to select from 14 Career Start programs. If they choose to earn their High School Diploma from Highline College, they can choose from 25 programs.

Attendance

Highline CHOICE Academy complies with all district procedures regarding attendance, Compulsory School Attendance laws, and the legal requirements of the “BECCA Bill”, including notification of parents/guardians of all unexcused absences. Too many unexcused and excused absences will affect a student’s learning and classroom participation, and possibly lead to other difficulties that pertain to the before mentioned policies and laws.

Parents/guardians are to notify the school each day the student is absent. CHOICE Academy accepts written notes (within 24 hours of a student’s return to classes), emails from a parent/guardian account, and phone calls to the office, (206) 631-7630, to excuse a student’s absence. To be considered for an excused absence your correspondence must include:

  • Student’s first and last name;
  • Date of absence(s);
  • Reason for the absence(s);
  • Parent/guardian first and last name (as it may be different from the student).

All absences will be unexcused until the above correspondence has been received by office staff.

Please let us know if a bilingual family member or friend will act as an interpreter during the school day.

The reasons below are the only valid reasons for a student’s absence from school based on OSPI policy and Highline Public Schools policy:  

  • Participation in a district or school approved activity or instructional program;
  • Illness, health condition, or medical appointment for the student or a person for whom the student is legally responsible;
  • Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family;
  • Religious or cultural purpose including observance of religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction;
  • Court, judicial proceeding, or serving on a jury;
  • Post-secondary, technical school, or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview;
  • State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055;
  • Absence directly related to the student’s homeless status; member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010;
  • Absences related to deployment activities of a parent/guardian who is active duty military;
  • Absence resulting from a disciplinary/corrective action (e.g. suspension or expulsion);
  • Principal and parent/guardian/emancipated youth mutually agreed upon activity.

Family vacations must be pre-approved by Principal or designee at least two (2) weeks prior to the first day of vacation. Without prior approval the vacation will be marked as unexcused absences.

The Principal or designee has the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria to be deemed an excused absence. An absence may not be considered excused if it causes a serious adverse effect on the student's educational progress. To view the entire Highline Public Schools policy regarding Excused and Unexcused Absences, please visit www.highlineschools.org and search Policy No. 3122.

Families in Crisis: Please let the administrator and/or counselor know if your family is experiencing a crisis.  They, along with Highline Public Schools Social Workers and Homeless Family Advocates are here to help.

Graduation Exercises

CHOICE Academy graduation day is determined by Highline Public Schools.  There will be two seniors who speak at graduation.  One speaker will be the Valedictorian, who is the student with the highest GPA as indicated on the student’s high school transcript as of the end of winter quarter for Running Start students and at the end of first semester of the senior year for all other students.  There are also two junior escorts, or “Grey Gowns”, to be at the ceremony.  They, too, are the students with the highest GPA as indicated on the student’s high school transcript as of the end of first semester of their junior year.

Behavior

Highline CHOICE Academy families and students are held to a high standard of personal behavior and are expected to support the school’s mission of academic excellence and social responsibility.

In order to promote an environment that is focused on all students learning, it is important that all students follow the behaviors described below.  If these basic rules of behavior are not followed, the quality of teaching and learning for everyone declines and student safety may be jeopardized. 

By enrolling your student in Highline CHOICE Academy, Parents and/or Guardians agree to the following:

  • My student will attend classes on a regular basis 5 days a week.
  • I will volunteer in an area of expertise pre-arranged during opening conferences to support the overall Highline CHOICE Academy program.   This will be coordinated through our PSO Volunteer Coordinator.
  • I will make every effort to attend PSO meetings.  PSO meetings are very important and crucial to the parent/guardian - school relationship.  Those who are unable to attend are expected to read the minutes in order to gain the information needed to help their student succeed.  
  • If applicable, I will serve as facilitator with the Advisory teacher in planning and executing an elective class, helping my student develop measurable goals and oversee participation in their off-site elective class.
  • If applicable, I will sign monthly off-site elective forms.  My student will receive an incomplete grade if I fail to sign the forms acknowledging student participation in the elective course.
  • I will help to ensure that volunteer parents/guardians, students, teachers and staff will be treated with respect at all times.
  • I will take ownership of student’s behavior including language, politeness, and respectfulness.

By enrolling in Highline CHOICE Academy, Student agrees to the following:

  • I will attend classes on time, on a regular basis, and will not leave classes until dismissed.
  • I will follow the rules in each of my classes and those outlined in this handbook.
  • I will treat staff, students, and property with respect and will comply with Highline Public Schools policies.
  • I will put away anything that could distract my attention from class.
  • I will be honest with adults and report misconduct that I see on campus or in class.
  • I will work on my assignments and focus on learning while in class, which includes:
    • Paying attention to the learning activity
    • Working on assignments as directed
    • Talking only when it is appropriate
    • Being fully cooperative with adults, especially when student safety is an issue
  • I will use appropriate language at all times
  • I will be proud of my school and my learning
  • I agree to adhere to a dress code of neatness and modesty that will not be considered disruptive to the learning environment as determined by the classroom teacher.

Discipline and Consequences

Standard district discipline and consequences are described in the Highline Public Schools Responsibilities and Rights Handbook. This can be found at www.highlineschools.org.

Failure to adhere to the expectations set forth in this handbook as well as those policies of the Highline Public Schools will result in a conference with Highline CHOICE Academy staff and possible referral to the administration.

A few in-house strategies that are used at Highline CHOICE Academy:

Send-Home: Send-Home is an Administrative level disciplinary consequence where a student is sent home and charged an unexcused absence for the day. Parents will be notified and the student is not to return to school until a discussion by phone or in-person has occurred between a parent/guardian and Administration.

In-School Suspension: If a student commits a serious infraction of CHOICE Academy or Highline Public Schools rules, but not serious enough to be suspended out-of-school, the Administration can direct the student to be suspended-in-school.  The student will be at school during normal hours, but will do his or her lessons separately from all other students.  Students who receive more than three detentions in a quarter will be considered for In-School Suspension.

Out-of-School Suspension:Suspension is a high-level disciplinary consequence which may be utilized with consideration of a student’s previous disciplinary history and the time remaining in the semester. If enforced/sanctioned, parent/guardian will be notified by phone and a formal letter.

Emergency Expulsion: When a student has created an immediate volatile disciplinary or safety risk situation the student may be Emergency Expelled from the CHOICE Academy Campus.  The student is not to return until an appropriate consequence has been determined by CHOICE Academy Administration. Parent/Guardian will be notified by phone and formal letter.

Guest Teachers

Throughout the school year we expect a good relationship between students and Highline CHOICE Academy teachers. In the event of a teacher’s absence, it is necessary to have a Guest Teacher, or “Substitute” in the classroom. Students are expected to be respectful and follow the directions of the Guest Teacher.

Health & Immunizations

All injuries or illnesses should be reported to a teacher. Emergencies that arise will be managed by school personnel. In case of an emergency, it is very important that school records reflect the correct and current phone numbers and addresses of parents or guardians, as well as emergency contacts. Health Services can be arranged for students with additional needs.  Contact the school’s office staff for more information.

The school does not have the authority to administer medication prescribed by a doctor or over-the-counter medications without authorization from a doctor and parent/guardian. If the student needs to take over-the-counter medication, they may carry it with a written note with parent/guardian signature. If a student needs to take doctor prescribed medication at school, a current district medication authorization form is required.  This form will be completed by the student’s doctor and parent/guardian. The school’s office and nursing staff can arrange storage and dispensing of prescription medication upon receipt of the form. If the student has asthma, they may carry an inhaler after a district medication authorization form signed by a doctor and parent/guardian is on file.  Students with ongoing health issues will be monitored by the assigned school nurse.

Immunization Law: In order to protect the student from a number of childhood diseases, Washington law requires that all children admitted to public school be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), and varicella (chicken pox). If an immunization record is not on file at school, the nurse will contact a parent or guardian. If you choose not to have your student immunized due to medical, personal, or religious convictions, please bring to the school office a doctor signed “Certificate of Exemption”.

ASB Officers & Class Representatives

Upon being elected into office, the ASB Officers and Class Representatives shall:

  • Be a positive role model and demonstrate outstanding leadership skills. Exemplify the four traits of the CHOICE Academy Behavior Expectation: Respect, Responsibility, Excellence and Initiative.
  • Supports all decisions made by Administration.
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA every quarter while in office. A quarter grace period will be given to raise grades to this standard. Two quarters of not meeting GPA standard will result in removal from position.
  • Any failing ‘F’ grade earned at quarter will be cause for immediate removal from office.
  • Violation of school rules/policies which have resulted in an Administration referral or suspension, while in office, will also be cause for immediate removal from office.
  • In the event that any ASB Officer or Class Representative are unable to fulfill or are removed from his/her duties, a new election may be held through third quarter.

Highline CHOICE Academy aims to assure that all ASB officers are working toward a common, higher standard, and that parents/guardians are supporting the expectations and rules surrounding this esteemed position.

Dress Code

Highline Public Schools and school staff believe that learning best occurs in a positive atmosphere. To that end, we expect our students to help create that environment.  Students should report to school each day neat and clean.  Appearance expectations will be enforced throughout the campus. As determined by Highline CHOICE Academy Administration and staff and consistent with Highline Public Schools Dress Code Policy, appearance which causes disruption of the educational process or presents health or safety issues will not be allowed.

  • Shoes are to be worn at all times.
  • Clothing or tattooing with inappropriate language or any reference to tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or gang affiliation, including bandanas, is not allowed.
  • Shorts, skirts and dresses are to be long enough to maintain modesty while standing or sitting. These items should reach mid-thigh.
  • Shirts should meet the waistband of skirts or pants, even when students move or bend.
  • Undergarments are to be covered at all times.
  • Pants should not have to be held up with a hand when walking. The waistband of the pants must be at the waist.
  • Bandanas are not to be worn at school.
  • Piercings must not present health or safety issues to the individual or other students.

In addition, CHOICE Academy expects students to dress for work, not play. Students will maintain good hygiene and wear clothes in accordance with Highline Public Schools Policy with the exception that teachers have the option to ask students to remove their hats.

Dress Code Violations: At the time of violation a copy of the Behavior Incident Form will be sent home with the student. Before the student can return to school, parent/guardian and student signatures will be required on the form. Should violations continue, a meeting with a parent/guardian will be requested to resolve ongoing issues.

Smoking and Vaping

Smoking and vaping are not allowed at CHOICE Academy or on any Highline Public Schools campus grounds.

Drugs, Alcohol & Illegal Substances

The sale, distribution, use or possession of alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, prescription drugs and paraphernalia on or adjacent to district property or at district-sponsored activities is strictly prohibited.  School district policy violations include prescription drug abuse, look-a-likes purported to be illegal substances, abuse of over-the-counter medication, intoxicants which are inhaled, and being under the influence of any of the above. Any student taking prescription medication must turn it into the office and have the school nurse dispense it.

Closed Campus

Highline CHOICE Academy operates a Controlled Closed Campus. This means students must remain on campus during their classes, but are required to leave campus when their own particular school day is concluded. Students who are not conducting business, waiting for a class, or directly involved in an activity are asked to leave the school grounds. Students are not to be in the staff workroom or in the school’s office unless conducting business with or on behalf of campus personnel.  Students are asked to keep these working spaces clear and quiet.

Personal Belongings

Bring to School at Your Own Risk! The following items are allowed on campus and may be used with some basic restrictions. However, please be aware that district security and staff will not be responsible for, or investigate the loss or theft of, such items.

Bicycles, Inline Skates, Skateboards:

For the safety of all, using such items on school walkways is not allowed. Please ride only on the street. No riding or skating on campus. Bicycles must be locked outside.

Cell Phones, iPods, Music Players, etc.:

Cell phones and other mobile technologies are allowed on campus and may be used with some restrictions. Cell phones must be turned off in classrooms. With teacher discretion and direction, students may be allowed to use technology devices for educational and instructional purposes. It is against school policy to use another student’s technology. Earphones (e.g.: ear buds) are not to be worn in class unless they are used to work on school computers. Campus staff reserves the right to collect any mobile technology and related items from students if misused.

Search Policy

The Principal and/or an authorized representative possess the authority to investigate and correct student misconduct. To maintain order and discipline in the school, and to protect the safety and welfare of students and school personnel, school authorities may search a student and his/her effects and may seize any illegal or unauthorized materials discovered in the search.

As used in this policy, the term “unauthorized” means any item dangerous to the health or safety of students or school personnel, any item considered disruptive to the function and mission of the school, or any item described as unauthorized in the school rules cited in this handbook.

A student’s failure to permit searches and seizures as provided in this policy will be considered grounds for disciplinary action. All searches by authorized representatives shall be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive. In other words, a student’s person and personal effects are searched only when a school official has reasonable suspicion (or “just cause”) to believe that a student is in possession of illegal or unauthorized materials.

Visitors

We welcome parents and guardians who would like to visit Highline CHOICE Academy. In order to ensure the safety of staff and students, all volunteers, parents, guardians, and visitors must sign-in at the school’s office and wear a name tag. School personnel have the right to know the identity of all persons in the building. Student visitors are not allowed on campus during the school day unless arranged and approved by school administrator prior to the day of visit.

Breakfast & Lunch Meals

All families need to complete a “Free and Reduced Meal Application” with Highline Public Schools. Students who would like to purchase lunch at the regular price should see office staff.

Unauthorized Sales or Fundraising

All sales and fundraising activities are scheduled through the school’s office. Students are not to buy or sell food or participate in fundraising activities unless the fundraising activity is sanctioned by a school administrator.