Academics at Highland

Since our founding in 1928, Highland School has prepared students for life-long success. Today, this means that we challenge our students with a rigorous curriculum focused on preparing our students for college and beyond. 

A Highland education is individualized and student-centered
From the first days of Pre-Kindergarten to the end of Grade 12 at Highland School, our college preparatory education is individualized and student-centered. Mapped across all grades, Highland’s curriculum is cohesive, expansive, and solidly skills-based. Teachers are trained to adapt their teaching to a wide range of learning styles. 

For students who need more individualized attention, Highland School offers the Learning Center. The Learning Center is comprised of a staff of full-time educators who train, tutor, challenge, and advocate for students of all abilities. 

Where do you fit in?
As a Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 independent school, Highland serves the academic needs of a wide range of ages and an even broader range of abilities. Our students quickly discover that there are no limits to what they can achieve. With a supportive and student-centered environment, all of our students needs are met. Where do you fit in?  

Early Childhood – Pre-K2 through Pre-K4

The Early Childhood Program at Highland is built around a developmental curriculum that promotes creativity, exploration, decision making and choice. Each child, from our youngest two-year-old to those preparing for our Kindergarten program, is encouraged to express his or her individuality while learning to function as an effective member of his/her peer group.

Our Early Childhood program provides a warm and supportive learning environment. Each child is nurtured and encouraged to develop socially, emotionally, and academically at his or her own rate of growth.

• Learn more about our Early Childhood Education program for our youngest students

Lower School – Kindergarten through Grade 4

Designed to nurture and direct every child’s innate curiosity and wonder, Highland’s Lower School program is filled with fun exploration, confidence-building public performance, and character-building community service. Experiential math, social studies, language arts, and science classes form the foundation of the Lower School curriculum. Learning support and speech and language therapy resources are available. 

Highland’s Lower School teachers apply the principles of the ‘Responsive Classroom’ to foster a positive and supportive learning environment. This nationally-recognized approach emphasizes the students’ social and emotional growth, in addition to academic growth, as being essential to a child’s development. 

As part of the core curriculum, all Lower School students gain a working knowledge of the fundamentals of visual arts, music, and technology. Each year, field studies take students beyond campus to explore and grow. 

From food and book drives for local causes, to raising money for a sister school in Kenya, and adopting endangered animals, Lower School students are full participants in the School’s community service program.

• Learn more about our Lower School program from Lower School Director Lise Hicklin

Middle School – Grade 5 through Grade 8

With the Middle School years come many intellectual and personal changes. We provide these young learners with an age-appropriate and varied program that challenges them academically, athletically, socially, and artistically in a nurturing environment. They feel safe to try new roles as they mature beyond childhood. 

Regular school assemblies; wellness, computer literacy and programming classes and overnight field studies projects are also part of the Middle School experience. 

Core academics—including foreign languages—are emphasized, as are visual and digital arts, theater, and music. Competitive sports are available beginning in Grade 6.

Leadership opportunities including Blue/Gold Captains, Student Hosts, Student Council, and National Junior Honor Society are available in the Middle School. All students participate in community service projects throughout the year.

• Read more about the Middle School philosophy and curriculum from Director Matt Ormiston

Upper School – Grade 9 through Grade 12

Because there is so much to do, the toughest challenge an Upper School student faces is time management. Challenging college preparatory academics are the norm. They often include Advanced Placement and Honors courses in math, sciences, English, foreign languages, history, and the arts.

There is also exposure to the fine and performing arts in our Center for the Arts. Opportunities flourish for full participation in athletics throughout the year. In the Upper School, there are many paths to excellence and a supportive environment in which to achieve at the highest possible levels. 

Here, challenge and support go hand in hand. A low student-teacher ratio ensures that students receive the individual attention they need to develop independence and confidence—skills essential for success in college and in life.

Through such avenues as the Honor Code and a well-developed community service program, high ethical standards permeate Upper School life. Leadership opportunities exist through the Prefect Board, class officers, National Honor Society and our own Leadership Certificate program.

Our Global Studies program is a Highland signature piece. The program combines the study of language and history with world travel. Students participate in service or academic projects that demonstrate an understanding of a global issue or problem.

• Read more about our Upper School and some of its signature programs from Upper School Director Cassin Bertke

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