Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Raisbeck Aviation High School

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Type  Public; STEM
Principal  Therese Tipton
Enrollment  Approx. 400
District  Highline Public Schools
Colors  Black, White, Red, Gold
Established  2004
Faculty  24
Phone  +1 206-631-7200
Mascot  Phoenix
Raisbeck Aviation High School
Motto  "The Sky is not the Limit"
Address  9229 E Marginal Way S, Tukwila, WA 98108, USA
Similar  Highline High School, The Museum of Flight, Chief Sealth Internatio, Highline Public Schools, Kennedy Catholic High Sch

Raisbeck aviation high school internships 2013 the intern perspective

Raisbeck Aviation High School (or RAHS), part of the Highline School District, is located in Tukwila, Washington. The school is an aviation- and aerospace-themed STEM school and one of the Highline School District's small schools. It is focused on preparing students for college, careers, and citizenship. The school serves about 400 students in grades 9-12 from around Puget Sound. Until 2013 it was known as Aviation High School. It is located adjacent to the Museum of Flight's airplane static outdoor exhibit near King County International Airport.


Raisbeck aviation high school


The school’s approach to learning is project-based with an additional emphasis on the students presenting and defending their learning in front of industry experts. Each student is paired with a mentor from one of the school’s industry partners who is assigned to the student in Grade 9 or 10 and continues with them through graduation. The mentor advises the students on course and career paths and assists with selection of internships where students work in local industry before graduation. To assist with guidance of the various programs, RAHS has both a Board of Governors and a 5-person Advisory Council with representatives from local industry, businesses, and the county.


RAHS offers a full spectrum of academic programs in addition to specialty and programs unique to this school, including:

  • Satellite Team Team members are designing and building a 1U Cubesat that will be launched into low earth orbit. Students work with mentors from Planetary Resources, Blue Origin, and Boeing throughout the design process.
  • Skunkworks Robotics: The RAHS robotics team is registered as Team 1983 Skunk Works with the FIRST Robotics Competition. Skunkworks styles itself as the school’s "football team", the premier competitive team of RAHS.
  • Community Service: Students are required to complete 10 hours of community service each year for a total of 40 hours. Acceptable services range from working at a local food bank to working as a Space Shuttle Trainer Tour Guide for Museum of Flight
  • Mentor Program and Internships: Sophomores are paired with an industry mentor to assist them with college and career readiness.
  • Museum of Flight’s ACE: An American Camp Association (ACA) accredited day camp with an aviation and aerospace theme.
  • Airline Career Experience (ACE) Club:
  • Science Olympiad:
  • Speech and Debate:
  • Career readiness

    RAHS offers students a range of career readiness programs:

  • Aviation Careers: a course for 9th graders to understand careers in the aviation and aerospace industries, including participation in job fairs and shadowing of professionals at SeaTac International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Mentorships: industry professionals are paired with 10th graders to assist with clarifying goals, establishing timelines, and networking.
  • Industry internships: real-world employment for 10th & 11th graders in aviation related industries.
  • Senior projects: optional for 12th graders, integrating the students' career readiness program experience.
  • Athletics and physical education

    RAHS does not offer Physical Education (PE) classes or athletics teams but all students must earn state-mandated credits in Physical Education and Health to meet in order to graduate. Students participate in athletics at their "home" high school or school district. Credit is offered for legitimate athletic participation and individual fitness programs where a student participates in a club or intramural sport or develops his/her structured fitness program. Health classes are offered by the school and are available on-line. There are no on-site outdoor play areas or playfields and there is no gymnasium; the indoor Commons space does convert into basketball practice courts. On a side note, the gravel field outside is informally used as a two-hand-touch football field during lunch. The school offers an after-school Ultimate Frisbee team, led by parents and volunteer staff.


    Since the 2016 student admissions, an Admissions lottery process used in charter schools was implemented in order to improve ethnic diversity among the student body.

    Before the Class of 2020, admission to RAHS was based on grades, 7th grade MSP scores, interest in the theme of aviation, student behavior and family. Each applicant is interviewed by a panel for 90 minutes and must complete a 12-page application where they demonstrate their writing abilities. Only 100 students are accepted yearly (approx. >30% acceptance rate), although in the 07-08 year 124 students were accepted. In many ways, the process was like that of a private institution, except without tuition. According to former principal, Bruce Kelly, greater consideration is given to an applicant’s passion for aerospace than to previous grades. "

    Students must volunteer for 10 hours per year in order to graduate. Students say that this goal is easily met by volunteer opportunities offered by such student-run clubs such as INTERACT and the National Honor Society.


    The school was designated by the Washington State legislature as a "lighthouse model of STEM education", which recognizes the school's best practices and student achievement results. RAHS has been designated by the State of Washington as one of a select few Designated Existing Innovative Schools that have implemented "bold, creative, and innovative" ideas. RAHS was ranked #1 among best high schools in Washington state by U.S. News & World Report in April 2016.


    From 2004-07, the school was located at the South Seattle Community College - Duwamish campus. From 2007-2013, it was housed at the former Olympic Elementary School, the previous (temporary) location of Mount Rainier High School. Construction of new facilities commenced in August 2011 and opened on September 9, 2013, renamed Raisbeck Aviation High School after major donors James D. Raisbeck and Sherry Raisbeck.


    The new 3-story, 72,000 square foot facility was designed by Bassetti Architects. The key design feature is the building’s form, with a curved cross-section inspired by the leading edge of a wing. The design received the 2011 People’s Choice Award and Polished Apple Merit Award from the regional chapter of Council of Educational Facilities Planners International.

    The facility is located on land owned by the Museum of Flight. Of the $44 million cost for the new facilities, 35% was through donations by individuals and private foundations, 32% by the school district, 23% by the Port of Seattle, 9% by the State of Washington, and 1% by the federal government.

    Designed as a teaching tool and to support a rigorous education in "STEM" subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math), the building offers direct views to the adjacent Museum of Flight's airplane static outdoor exhibit which includes a Concorde and pioneering Boeing jet aircraft. The location of the school was selected to provide ready access to the Museum of Flight's resources, located across the street at Boeing Field, and to the approximately 200 flight-related businesses nearby.

    The museum has a long-term plan to enclose the Museum’s Airpark with a roof, covering the currently exposed aircraft from the weather, which will span the gap between the high school and the newly built Space Gallery. The cover will also allow aircraft which are seasonally brought out, such as the Museum's B-17 and B-29, to be put permanently on display.


    Raisbeck Aviation High School Wikipedia