Our Mission and Philosophy

Our Mission

Highland School prepares students to thrive, lead and serve in a diverse and dynamic world, developing essential skills and character by challenging them with a demanding academic and co-curricular program.

All the Tools Needed to Carry Out Our Mission

To carry out this mission, Highland School has assembled thoroughly modern facilities, a large, diverse, and highly qualified staff, a student body ready to meet the challenges, and an academic philosophy and strategy that makes maximum use of these resources.

Highland provides an environment that fosters both academic and personal growth. Students at all grade levels are offered a rigorous and varied academic program, exposure to the fine and performing arts, and the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of athletic endeavors.

Highland's curriculum includes English, mathematics, all of the social sciences, all of the physical sciences, romance and classical languages, and computer science. A diverse range of electives is available in the Middle and Upper Schools, and include music, studio art, drama, journalism, and photography. Team and individual sports are viewed as integral to each student's development.

Our Philosophy

At Highland School, our philosophy is informed by the Mission and rooted in four core beliefs:

1. A well-rounded education delivered in a nurturing environment is the best preparation for college and life beyond.

A program comprised of challenging academics, exposure to fine and performing arts, and the opportunity to participate in team sports and lifetime fitness activities allows students to develop in a balanced way. Educational experiences emphasize cooperation and problem-solving while developing essential skills of literacy, creative thinking, and critical inquiry. A variety of experiences including competitive athletics and non-competitive activities challenges students to extend their physical limits and develops self-discipline.

A nurturing learning environment is achieved by measures that provide physical, emotional, and intellectual safety. Physical safety is maintained by properly designed facilities, policies, and community standards. Time devoted to small and large group assembly and interaction helps build an emotionally safe environment. The encouragement of intellectual risk-taking and differentiated instruction designed to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners create a safe intellectual environment.

2. The School strives to discover the promise and potential of each student.

The School enrolls students who demonstrate the potential to benefit from the Highland program and provides an environment that fosters intellectual and personal growth. Each student is recognized as having unique gifts and is appreciated as a valued member of the school community.

A fundamental expectation is that all students have the potential to be successful and will be meaningful contributors to school life. To that end, Highland offers a wide range of opportunities where students may discover and develop their potential.

3. The student-teacher relationship and community responsibility are at the center of the learning experience.

The Highland experience is based on small class size and a caring community that provides attention to the individual. Faculty value working closely with the individual student and use a variety of methods to empower all kinds of learners.

The relationship that begins in the classroom is developed into a broader connection to other adults and students across all divisions. Students are taught that the quality of school life depends upon the unselfish contributions of every community member. Parents are an important part of our learning community and are expected to work in partnership with the School. Highland believes in the power of community service to remind students they also have a commitment to people outside our immediate community. 

4. Character development is equal in importance to academic development.

At the heart of character is self-knowledge. As a community of learners, Highland believes in reflective practice and the importance of knowing oneself, as this becomes the basis for growth.

One of the most important ways our students come to know themselves is through the interaction with students of diverse views, abilities, interests, and life stories. A sense of personal responsibility and the appreciation for the dignity of hard work are key tenets of a Highland education. By providing leadership and character-building activities, Highland ensures that each student receives the instruction and experience necessary to become a responsible citizen.

We define leadership broadly so all students can see potential in themselves as a leader. The honor code and the school-wide character themes are the covenants necessary for students to participate in the Highland community where trust and integrity are essential.


Highland School is a co-ed independent Pre-K2 to Grade 12 day school located in Warrenton, Virginia.