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Highline district will open maritime-focused high school in the fall

Courtesy of Northwest Maritime Center

Eighth-graders in Seattle and South King County trying to figure out where to go to high school will have a new option to consider.  A regional high school focused on marine science and maritime careers will open in the Highline school district in the fall.

It will be small, with an inaugural class of about 45 ninth-graders. Each incoming class after that will be about 100 students. The school, which will be in Des Moines, is the product of collaboration among Highline Public Schools, community groups including Northwest Maritime Center and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, and the Port of Seattle.

The school will incorporate internships and project-based learning. Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins said students will learn about a range of possible jobs.

“Whether that’s vessel operations or the exciting careers in what we call 'maritime blue’ – the environmental sustainability careers related to ocean and ocean energy and marine biology – it’s an incredibly wide array of potential careers that students will get a taste of at Maritime High School,” Calkins said.

Admission to the school will be by lottery. Fifty-one percent of enrollment will be set aside for students who live in the Highline district. Students from other districts can also apply. Applications are open till the end of this month.

Highline Superintendent Susan Enfield said the district has learned best practices for admissions by operating Raisbeck Aviation High School, another regional magnet school.

“We want to make sure that we don’t create barriers for students to gain admission to the lottery,” Enfield said. “So I can tell you that my goal is that we make it as simple as possible, likely an essay expressing interest, but we’re not going to put up barriers like interviews and recommendations and things like this. We want students to be able to readily have a chance of being part of this wonderful opportunity.”

Magdalena Angel-Cano with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition said her organization tapped the ideas and input of young people involved in the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps as plans for the school were being made.

“Many of our youth were interested in having career opportunities and learning more about marine science and learning more about the Duwamish River,” she said. “They really are enthusiastic about having access to the river, having access to the education.”