Enabling teachers to inspire and engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.

Annual Report 2012

Download this Annual Report as a PDF

Letter from Executive Director and Board President

When students want to talk about science outside of class, you know you’re doing something right. Over 1,600 students attending schools in the Highline and Seattle School Districts will tell you that the Robotics-based classroom activities that they participated in during 2012 were so fun that they almost forgot that they were actually learning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)! We know that learning STEM is important to every student’s education, but creating excitement about STEM subjects is what can turn a passing interest into a life-long passion.

Building student interest and engagement in STEM is what Technically Learning (TL) is all about, and we work hard to engage students traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields (females, students of color, and economically-disadvantaged students) so that we can bring greater diversity of ideas and perspectives to our workplaces.

This is critically important because King County is a STEM innovation hub—many software, aerospace and biotechnology giants call it home and provide tens of thousands of living-wage jobs to local residents. Yet, they have to import a huge portion of their workforce because there is simply not enough home-grown talent available to meet employer needs. The widespread adoption of TL programming in King County schools planned for the next few years will help inspire excitement in STEM and contribute to the type of systemic change necessary to provide our region’s STEM employers with a robust local pool of qualified job candidates and our region’s students with the skills necessary to obtain rewarding, living-wage jobs.

We could not make this level of impact without the support and dedication of our committed board of directors, phenomenal staff, motivated teachers and administrators, community partners, grantors, and our many donors and volunteers. We are deeply appreciative of the investment you have made in TL’s success to date. As you read this report, we hope that you will see how you have supported our growth this year and helped position us for even greater success in 2013.

We need your help now more than ever to continue to expand TL’s reach. How can you help? Donations to support our work in the community are always needed; because we are careful spenders, your donations go far. There are other ways you can help, too:

  • Do you have a flair for social media and a desire to share stories about how our work impacts local students with your business contacts, friends and family to build awareness about the value of TL’s work?
  • Can you introduce us to local employers and/or potential donors who may have an interest in STEM education so we can tell them more about the needs of students in our community and ask for their help?
  • Are you a graphic or web designer who could help us update the look and feel of our curriculum modules or enhance our marketing and communications materials?
  • Do you have a few hours to volunteer with us during community engagement events planned for 2013?
  • Are you adept at diagnosing and repairing laptop computers?
  • Do you have photography and/or video documentation talent to spare?

Please contact us at if you are interested in assisting us with any of these needs.

2012 Highlights

Through the efforts of our committed board and staff and with vital financial support from a variety of grantors, corporations, and generous donors, TL grew significantly in 2012 at a pace we hadn’t thought possible just one year ago. We started 2012 with three school-based partnerships and by December, we were managing active partnerships with 12 schools and one community non-profit organization, each of which is using TL’s curriculum and professional development for educators to provide hands-on classroom-based STEM activities to diverse, low-income public school populations in the greater Seattle area.

Our first successful district-level partnership was piloted in the Highline School District in January in five schools and three more were added in September. Several additional Highline schools are scheduled to begin in early 2013 as we work toward full integration in all Highline elementary and middle schools by 2015. We continue to provide ongoing support to partnerships we began in 2011 with three Seattle schools and one elementary Montessori program.

We launched a partnership with a community organization called IGNITE (“Inspiring Girls Now in Technology Evolution”—see their profile below). This partnership and others in the works for 2013 increase our ability to reach more students in engaging out-of-school time activities that complement our STEM-based lessons being utilized during the school day.

Since hiring Michelle as Executive Director in September, we have completed the development and documentation of our strategic plan which will guide our work through 2016 and increase our communication with our stakeholders. Michelle’s focused leadership and tireless enthusiasm for TL’s work provides structure for our organization and an inspiring vision for the future.

Thank you for allowing us to share this publication with you. As our first Annual Report, it represents a significant milestone in the development of our organization. It allows us to share with you—our current and future supporters, volunteers, and partners—details about our accomplishments and impact, and a glimpse into our bright future. We hope that it will inspire the same level of excitement in you as it does us!

Michelle PageRebecca Deutsch

Meet Technically Learning’s Dedicated Team

Staff Profiles

Michelle Page

Executive Director

Before joining TL, Michelle was a non-profit consultant for over nine years, including seven years specializing in STEM fundraising and organizational development, and has nearly 20 years experience volunteering in education and youth-serving organizational capacities. Michelle performs all executive oversight and fundraising for the organization, promotes the organization to new potential partnering organizations and supporters, and works with the Director of Educational Programs to launch new program sites.

Katie Apone

Director of Educational Programs

Katie has worked and volunteered in education and youth programs for over a decade and honed her teaching skills while volunteering in the Dominican Republic with the Peace Corps from 2009-2011. There she worked in Information and Communications Technology and was placed in a high school computer lab in a small, rural town. She led computer courses, LEGO robotics classes, and a reproductive health education group, and she co-created a manual on how to start service-learning youth groups that focus on technology-based projects. Katie is responsible for launching all new Technically Learning program sites, conducting professional development training for teachers at partnering sites, and providing support as necessary to ongoing partners.

Board Profiles

Rebecca Deutsch


Rebecca is a Senior Program Manager Lead at Microsoft and holds a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. She is passionate about improving public education and increasing the representation of women in STEM fields, and brings a highly-focused sense of direction and organization to help Technically Learning fulfill its mission.

Joe Basirico

Founder/VP of Technology

Joe holds a degree in Computer Science from Montana State University and is the VP of Services at Security Innovation, a well-respected consulting firm in the field of application security. He manages the Services team at Security Innovation and is a frequent presenter at regional and national security conferences.

Eric Hilton, Ph.D.

Founder/VP of Education

Eric holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Washington and works as a Software Developer and Astronomer for Giant Army, creator of the Universe Sandbox interactive astronomy software. He helped found Technically Learning to help increase diversity in higher education and STEM career fields.

Daniel Apone


Dan has a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and recently joined Starbucks as a Product Architect. His engagement with Technically Learning is motivated by his interest in creating an educational culture where the majority of students are literate in, and excited by, science and math.

Adriel Tam


Adriel handles Corporate Development, Strategy, and Planning for Viridian Investment Management and holds a degree in Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University. He comes from a family of engineers and has always had a fond passion for science and technology.

Beth Boatright, Ph.D.

Board Member

Beth is the Associate Director for Teacher Leadership Programs at University of Washington’s College of Education and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from University of Washington. She has authored a number of books and articles on professional development topics; her current work focuses on the leadership development and instructional expertise of mid-career teachers.

Eric Oemig

Board Member

Eric is a software engineer, high-tech startup enthusiast, and former Washington State Senator (2007-2011). While serving in the Senate, he actively advocated for and helped expand public school technology and science programs throughout Washington State through his role as Vice-Chair of the Education K-12 Committee and as a member of the Ways & Means Committee. He is currently the CEO of Omega Labs Inc.

Chris Rogers, Ph.D.

Honorary Board Member

Chris is the Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) and Professor of Engineering at Tufts University. He earned his Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate degrees in Engineering from Stanford University. As an award winning researcher, educator, and sought-after presenter, Chris also shares his passion for STEM education with students in K-12 classrooms, where he strives to build excitement about science and math.

What do we do?

A look at Technically Learning’s programs and philosophy

TL works with local schools and out-of-school programs to provide professional development for educators, state-aligned curriculum and ongoing support for hands-on STEM activities.

We had no idea that the volunteer project embarked on in 2006 to develop and implement a small, robotics-based summer enrichment program would become so successful that it would lead to the creation of TL, or that it would grow to reach 1,600 students annually by 2012. Over the past few years, TL has created a model designed to help classroom educators become more confident and innovative in their STEM offerings while collaborating with them to incorporate their educational expertise and knowledge of the classroom. Educators use our programming to motivate students to become enthusiastic, lifelong learners by showing them that science and math are fun and exciting, particularly when they incorporate hands-on creative components.

Organizational Accomplishments

Our growth in 2012 exceeded our expectations, fueled by increased staff and funding, and new partnerships. We started 2012 with three school-based partnerships. By December, we were partnering with 12 schools and one community organization:

  • Seattle Public Schools:
    • Martin Luther King Elementary School
    • Denny Middle School
    • Hamilton Middle School
  • Highline School District:
    • Des Moines Elementary School
    • North Hill Elementary School
    • Madrona Elementary School
    • Bow Lake Elementary School
    • Cedarhurst Elementary School
    • Gregory Heights Elementary School
    • Pacific Middle School
    • Cascade Middle School
  • Montessori Children’s House
  • IGNITE: a non-profit organization focused on showing girls the opportunities presented by STEM careers

We worked with a total of 27 teachers to engage 56 classrooms, two after-school programs, and one hands-on workshop this year. Over 1,600 students learned about and were inspired by our Robotics activities.

We also completed a five-year strategic plan which will guide our efforts through 2016 as we strive to reach several thousand students annually across all current and future programs. This will be accomplished through increases in fundraising activities, staffing, and programmatic diversification (see “What’s Next?” section for details).

Alignment with the Road Map Project

Technically Learning is focused on the core geographic area in South King County that includes the seven school districts comprising the “Road Map Region” which was recently awarded a $40M Federal “Race to the Top” grant to improve educational outcomes. Districts include Seattle (south end schools only), Renton, Tukwila, Highline, Federal Way, Kent, and Auburn; see In this region, 54% of students are low-income, 60% are students of color, and 17% are English Language Learners (ELL) who speak 167 primary languages. TL’s programming that supports Road Map Region educators will contribute to this success of this endeavor.

Professional Development

Professional Development is one of the critical components of the TL model. By training classroom educators who in turn take the TL lessons and activities back to their students, TL is able to offer its programming to many more partners than would be financially feasible if we placed a TL staff member in each classroom. It allows students who attend TL’s partner schools to participate in STEM activities led by their own teachers in familiar classrooms to ensure that those who would not normally self-select into a STEM-based after-school program are able to benefit.


Because TL’s curriculum has been developed in part by STEM professionals, the activities are closely aligned with industry need and real world situations. Feedback from educators has allowed us to enhance the curriculum over the years. We currently have seven curriculum modules which span K-8th grades and can be easily adapted to support high school classroom needs. Much of our curriculum is Robotics-based, using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT equipment and coordinating programming software. We also have curriculum that incorporates creative storytelling activities through computer programming and animation using programs such as Scratch and Alice. Teachers can use these tools to integrate the STEM activities with their Language Arts and Humanities objectives for greater impact. We plan to expand our library of curriculum modules in 2013.

Community Engagement

We know that the most important and influential role models in a child’s life are also the most accessible: teachers and families. These are the role models that we seek to engage and inspire with our curriculum, educator training, and community engagement activities.

We strive to engage students and families directly through science night demonstrations at our partner schools, hosting family-friendly Robotics exploration activities, and co-hosting Robotics-themed field trips for girls at thriving local STEM companies like Microsoft. These types of activities are designed to make informal STEM activities accessible to families so that they can embrace and encourage their child’s interests.

What’s Next

We are looking forward to a productive and exciting 2013, during which we will:

  • Grow from our 12 current sites and our partnership with one community organization to over 20 sites and three community partnerships in 2013
  • Begin selling our curriculum module licenses online starting in May to enable educators worldwide to bring quality STEM activities to their classrooms
  • Begin offering curriculum and professional development to Seattle-area teachers outside our current partner schools through community-based professional development workshops (educators will earn Washington State continuing education clock hours)
  • Continue to work to raise awareness of our organization’s mission and work in the community through additional community engagement events such as the Seattle Science EXPO at the Seattle Center in June

Program Evaluation

On a survey given to students after they participated in a TL Robotics unit, we asked them:

“What is your favorite part of science class?”

Here’s what they had to say:

“Building the robots and testing them to see what models would work”

“Working with the robots and learning/exploring new things I haven't yet learned about”

“Robotics, it’s really fun and challenging”

Partner Profile

IGNITE (“Inspiring Girls Now in Technology Evolution”)

Details of Partnership

Co-hosting Robotics-themed, career exploration workshops for middle school girls Most girls have few, if any, female role models with careers in science and technology. IGNITE is a Seattle-based non-profit organization focused on showing girls the opportunities presented by STEM careers. By bringing girls into the workplace through job shadows, field trips, and workshops, and connecting them with women professionals who work for local companies and agencies, IGNITE reframes the image of STEM careers and firmly puts it within their reach.

In late 2012, Technically Learning began working with IGNITE to co-host Robotics-themed workshops for girls from low-income, diverse Seattle middle schools. The girls travel to the Microsoft campus to attend these fun, hands-on workshops that introduce them to our Robotics-based programming. The girls work in small groups to complete the activities and are guided by IGNITE volunteers. These female volunteers with careers in STEM also present their personal stories to the girls over lunch. The girls find the volunteers’ powerful stories of hard work, perseverance, and professional success to be inspiring and motivating.

We are pleased to be working with IGNITE to bring our programming to girls who otherwise might have few opportunities to develop a passion for STEM subjects and careers. We look forward to sharing more stories about the impact of our combined efforts in the coming year.

Financials at a glance

Statement of Income & Expense*

In-kind Contributions$30,686$14,900
Other Income$-$1,000
Total Income$107,280$83,737
Salary, Wages & Benefits$34,094$25,527
Professional Services$6,135$3,881
Facilities (in-kind)$12,000$6,000
Other Expense$19,621$17,182
Total Expense$71,850$52,590
Net Ordinary Income$35,430$31,147

*Unaudited Financial Statements

Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet)*

Total Assets$88,134$68,038
Liabilities & Equity
Total Liabilities & Equity$88,134$68,038

*Unaudited Financial Statements

Corporate Donor Profile

The Boeing Corporation

Details of Donation

40 Laptop Computers (In-kind donation of surplus equipment valued at $16,000) The Boeing Company was founded in Seattle and has long been one of Puget Sound’s largest employers. Boeing has a reputation as a generous corporate citizen and supports a wide variety of organizations that are collectively working toward systemic public school reform in Washington State.

In 2011, Technically Learning worked with Sam Whiting, Boeing’s Community Investor in Primary and Secondary Education, to coordinate a donation of surplus Boeing laptop computers. When we received 40 units in July 2012, we committed to using many of them to support our school-based partners implementing our Robotics curriculum in a number of Highline School District elementary and middle schools. Other units are being used for community outreach work we have launched that involves Robotics-based workshops for middle school girls attending under-served Seattle schools and other hands-on training, demonstration and STEM awareness events planned throughout 2013.

We are exceptionally grateful to Sam and The Boeing Company for their investment in the future growth and development of our organization; their support came at a critical time in our expansion.

Thank you to our supporters

Technically Learning would like to thank the generous foundations, corporations, and individuals who supported our work in 2012:

  • Harvest Foundation
  • Charis Fund
  • Mannix Canby Foundation

Special thanks to our volunteers

  • Jessica Cohen
  • Anne Freeman
  • Devin Howard
  • Joey McFarland

Individual Donors by Level

  • $1,000+
    • Rebecca Deutsch & Daniel Apone
    • Eric Oemig
    • Cynthia Tee
  • $500 to $999
    • Joe Basirico
    • Jeff Berry
    • Ben Krasnow
    • Kevin Lam
    • Adriel Tam
  • $250 to $499
    • LuAnn & Joe Basirico
    • Dave Coleman
    • Khoa Dang
    • Stacy Deutsch
    • Daniel Green
    • Mike Romanchuk
  • $100 to $249
    • Monica Achury
    • Ashley Averett
    • Peter Bernard
    • Tushar Bhatnagar
    • Beth Boatright
    • Mike Brewer
    • Leo Bushkin
    • Yen-Ming Chen
    • Jessica Cohen & Craig Christian
    • Jo Cohen
    • Istvan Cseri
    • Richard Flynn
    • Jeremy Herbel
    • Eric Hilton
    • Larry Krasnow
    • Lance Lindberg
    • Lucas Longley
    • Michael Moroney
    • Ashiwin Selka Padmanabhan
    • Michelle & Greg Page
    • Shirley Page
    • Jeffrey Paul
    • Chris Rogers
    • Mark Saltzman
    • Katherine Sather
    • Sharon Schweizer
    • Chris Sitzman
    • Michael Snow
    • Nancy Speer
    • Brad Syputa
    • David Treadwell
    • Michelle Zeidman
  • Under $100
    • Anonymous (8)
    • Katie Apone
    • Paul Baer
    • Sarvani Bhamidipati
    • Lindy Brown
    • Laura Brown Kittredge
    • Mark Boyce
    • Elan Cohen
    • Charles Cox
    • Tony Cox
    • Kumar Dandapani
    • Minh Dang
    • Charles Denny
    • Kent Dietz
    • Ted Dinklocker
    • Chani Doggett
    • John Doggett
    • Don Drake
    • Michael Edmonds
    • Dave Gierok
    • Naveen Goli
    • Alex Grach
    • Doug Hall
    • Jon Harris
    • Magnus Hedlund
    • Jeremy Hill
    • Susan Hilton
    • Mark Hogan
    • Jeffrey Howlett
    • Ryan Hylland
    • Julian Jiggins
    • Jonathan Johnson
    • Ajay Karanam
    • Alex Keng
    • Suyash Kshirsagar
    • Linden Klein
    • Shriram Lakshmi
    • Glen Langer
    • Doug Levy
    • Miguel Pereira Lopes
    • Tracey Lovejoy
    • Jesse Low
    • Aaron Lower
    • Kent Lulich
    • Rita Marwood
    • Jeffrey McGlynn
    • David Mebane
    • Kourosh Mehrain
    • Antonio Melis
    • Jorge Meza
    • Mila Mihova
    • Reid Miller
    • Paul Mineiro
    • Keith Mort
    • William Moy
    • Joshua Mula
    • Jessica Murray
    • Tony Neal
    • Erin Ostrander & Emily Irwin
    • Ozer Ozdemir
    • Makenna Page
    • Joao Paiva
    • Marco Palos
    • Rakesh Parida
    • James Parsons
    • Makarand Patwardhan
    • George Peckham
    • Kevin Perry
    • Larry Phillips
    • Satish Kumar Regavajjula
    • Mark Salerno
    • Ananda Sarkar
    • Mark Schreffler
    • Meir Scmouely
    • Benjamin Smith
    • Michael Smith
    • Scott Stadum
    • Cynthia Starr
    • Mark Suddon
    • Jeff Sult
    • Joshua Tessier
    • Gordon Tsai
    • Kalimuthu Vinayagamoorthy
    • Martin Wahl
    • Benjamin Walker
    • Kurt Weber
    • Tomer Weisberg
    • Amanda White
    • Weerapan Wilairat
    • Jim Wilson
    • Howard Wolosky
    • Baris Yazici
    • Ken Yip
    • Minghua Zheng