New Student Checklist

At Highland, we want to do everything we can to make you and your family feel like you're a part of the Highland community as soon as you walk in the door.

To help make the transition as smooth as possible, we've compiled a list of resources that we hope you will find helpful. If you have any additional questions or need more information than what we've included in any of the expanding boxes below, feel free to contact our division offices directly: 

Main Office
Savannah Kovac

Lower School Office
Sara Cooper

Middle School Office
Pam Leake

Upper School Office
Carolyn Klares

Click on any of the expanding boxes below to learn more about a range of topics that we think you'll find helpful. And if you have any questions at all, please let us know. We're here to help! 

Calendars and important dates

Calendars and important dates
The beginning of the school year is a busy time – not only for you as a new student and family at Highland – but also for our returning students, their families, and our faculty and staff.

The academic, athletic and arts calendars on our website are a great place to start. They list the big school-wide events like teacher workdays, school holidays, and special events on campus. You can also download a printable copy of our academic calendar here.

Parent/student portal
Our all-new parent/student portal is a complete website dedicated to everything parents and students need in one place. Here, you'll find the most detailed and relevant calendars for you and your family. Calendars in the portal will include key academic dates as well as things that are happening specifically in your division and in your classes. New families will be given portal access at the beginning of August.

Also, don't forget about our main athletics calendar and our arts calendar. These are a great source of information about upcoming school-wide athletics events and future concerts and plays held in the Highland Center for the Arts and around the Highland campus.

Printed calendars distributed in September
Finally, We also distribute a printed calendar that's full of great images from the school year and reminders of key academic dates and some of the big events for our Highland community. They are small, convenient and go great on your refrigerator or in your car. Need extra copies? Extras are available in any of our divisional offices.

Dress code

Dress Code
Our dress code varies based on the age and division of your student. Having a dress code helps us set the stage for a consistent and distraction-free educational environment for our students, faculty and staff.

If you're coming from a school that doesn't have a dress code, dealing with the requirements might seem like a big challenge, but once you get into it, you'll appreciate how simple it can make your mornings – and your entire school day! Below are links to our dress codes by division:

Physical education clothing requirements
We require that students wear Highland-branded athletic apparel for our Lower physical education classes and our Middle School sports programs. Required apparel and gear includes short sleeve or long sleeve shirts, navy blue gym shorts, and when the weather dictates, sweat pants and a sweat shirt or fleece jacket. Athletic apparel should be carried to and from school and class in a Highland gym bag.

The Hawks Nest, which has locations in the Middle School (near the front office) and Upper School (near the entrance to the Upper School gym) sells Highland embroidered uniform clothing, athletic gear and gym bags for physical education class and our Middle School sports. We also offer a complete line of spirit wear, hats, vehicle decals and magnets, and other great Highland School must-haves to show that you're proud to be a Hawk!

Hours vary but both Hawks Nest locations will be open extra hours during our Lower School and Middle School orientations and during the first weeks of school. You can check with your divisional office for more specific dates and times.

Uniform exchange program
Our Parents Association manages a uniform exchange closet that is packed full of new to gently used apparel. Everything meets our dress code requirements and sizes are typically perfect for our Lower and Middle School student. The selection varies but there's always a wide range of items including pants, shirts, sweatshirts and athletic apparel.

Everything in the uniform exchange closet is $1.00. If you find something, just leave a dollar in the box in the closet. If you've got dress code apparel you'd like to donate, there's a box in the closet for that as well.

Field studies

Field studies
Experiential learning is a critical part of the Highland School experience. Throughout the academic year, all students across all three divisions will have the opportunity to participate in some type of off-campus field studies. These trips range from simple afternoon trips to a local farm for our youngest students to multi-day camping and overnight trips for our Middle Schoolers and younger Upper School students. Older Upper School students participate in our Junior internships and month-long independent studies for our graduating seniors.

Some trips come early in the academic year
For some of our classes, field studies trips happen early in the school year to give new and returning students a chance to get acquainted and come together as a class before classwork begins in earnest. This affects our Middle School students as well as our incoming freshman class. If you're in one of these groups, you'll be hearing more from your division director very soon as plans are finalized and details become available.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the unique focus we place on experiential learning at Highland School.

School lunches

School lunches   
At Highland, we don't have kitchens to prepare lunches for students. To be able to offer our students hot lunches, we arrange for the option of purchasing lunches from local vendors. Each day, these vendors deliver lunches based on orders you place through our Parents Association (PA) at the beginning of each semester.  When forms are active they may be found by clicking here.

Order forms with details on specific vendors and choices offered will be available at the beginning of the school year. Please keep in mind that lunches are ordered well in advance so you will have to place your order by a specific deadline and we may not be able to add orders after the deadline has passed. 

Bringing lunches from home
Of course, our students are always welcome to bring their own lunches to school. Lower School students typically eat in their classrooms. Middle and Upper School students have access to microwaves that are available for student use in our cafeteria spaces in those divisions.

While our Lower School students eat lunch in their classrooms, Middle School students eat their lunch in the Arundel Gym made lunch-ready with communal tables. Classes typically sit together under the supervision of Middle School faculty.

In the Upper School, students have more freedom to choose where they eat. Many students choose to eat in the lobby of the Highland Center for the Arts, a beautiful open space served by a catering kitchen. Students are also free to eat on benches in their class hallways. When weather permits students may eat outside on picnic tables or on the Class of 2008 Patio.

Required forms

General Information forms
The General Information Form needs to be completed, signed, and on file for every student before the start of the academic year. In the summer of 2016 we created an online form that can be filled out electronically.  It encompasses several of the forms we ask you to fill out each year. You will receive this form at the beginning of August for the coming academic year.  If you have not received this form contact your division admin assistant.

Other important forms and handbooks
We've also compiled a collection of other important forms and handbooks you'll need by division on this site on our Forms and Handbooks page.  

If your student requires medication to be delivered during the school day, you'll need to complete our Permission to Dispense Medications form and have that form on file with Rosemary Saunders, our school nurse. You can reach Nurse Rosie at 540-878-2705 if you have any specific questions regarding keeping or administering medications at school.

Proof of identification
Please note that a valid proof of identity is required for all new Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8 students who are not coming from a public school system. For more details on acceptable forms of identification, please contact your divisional office for details and options.

Fundraisers and charitable giving

The Highland Annual Fund
Chances are good that you're going to be hearing about our Highland School Annual Fund during the first few weeks of school. The Annual Fund raises money that helps us bridge the gap between the money our families pay in tuition and the cost to deliver all the great programs and services that directly benefit our students. In a typical year, about 85% of our expenses are covered by tuition revenue. The rest comes in the form of generous support of families like yours who value the unique programming and opportunities we strive to bring to our students.

Accordingly, the Annual Fund is one of our most important fundraising efforts throughout the year. If you choose just one thing to be involved in, please consider making the Annual Fund your top priority. You can learn more about the Highland Annual Fund here

Other charitable events throughout the year
Community service is an integral part of the Highland experience and an important part of our sense of community. As such, we sponsor and support many events events throughout the year and we encourage our students to get involved with groups they feel passionate about.

Recently, our students and families have supported the Fauqiuer SPCA with a drive to collect pet food, toys, and supplies. We also organize a big canned food drive at Thanksgiving that benefits the Fauquier Community Food Bank. We collect canned food in all three divisions and, over the last several years, Highland School has donated more food than all of the local public schools combined!

However, with so many opportunities to get involved, there comes a large number of requests for you to donate items or money to support these events. Parents should not feel obligated to participate in every fundraising effort the school sponsors. Choose one, two, or as many as you feel comfortable with. No matter how you get involved, you're support is always appreciated!

Medical and sports physicals

Medical Physicals
All new students must complete and turn in a Commonwealth of Virginia School Physical Form. This form must also include all up-to-date immunization records. 

Middle School sports requirements
We also require that all students in Grades 6-8 complete and return a sports physical prior to the beginning of the school year. The sports physical form is included in a package of Highland School forms that includes the VHSL Sports physical and the Highland School Concussion Waiver and must be returned promptly as our Middle School sports programs kick off shortly after the academic year begins. To be valid for the 2020/2021 year, all sports physicals must be dated after May 1, 2020.

Upper School sports requirements
Students in Grades 9-12 must complete and return a sports physical only if they plan to participate on a school athletics team. Please remember that no student will be allowed to participate in tryouts or practices until his or her completed physical form is turned in. To be valid for the 2019/2020 year, all sports physicals must be dated after May 1, 2019. Students must also complete a baseline ImPact test for concussion management. These are scheduled with the Certified Athletic Trainer.

All applicable forms can be found under Our Community/Handbooks and Forms and click on All School General Information Forms.

Our school nurse

We love Nurse Sharon!
Sharon Fasce, RN, our school nurse, is located in our Lower School. Lower and Middle School students may visit Nurse Sharon in her clinic if they are not feeling well or have a health question. Upper School students who are not feeling well will report to the Upper School Office and Nurse Sharon will be contacted if necessary.

We keep a limited number of medicines on hand but we must have your permission to dispense them to your child. Forms for these medicines and forms to approve dispensing additional medications are available for download here:

Our Community/Forms and Handbooks

Placement testing and schedules

Placement testing helps students get into appropriate courses  
Math placement tests are required for new Middle School students. Upper School students may be required to take placement tests. Students who have enrolled prior to May for the following academic year will attend our Upper School NEW Student Scheduling Night. At this event, we'll discuss requirements for placement tests.

For new Upper School students joining Highland during the summer months, we will work with you to coordinate all required placement tests. If you have any questions on placement testing, please contact Carolyn Klares in our Upper School office at 540-878-2720 or via email to

Class schedules
All class schedules are created over the summer months. Lower and Middle school schedules are created by a standard course matrix. Middle School Students will choose their athletic elective For the Fall season in the first weeks of classes. Lower School and Middle School students receive their schedules during orientation days in August.

Upper School schedules are created based on course requests made in the spring of the previous year and through the summer for new students. Schedules are made available in early August. Upper School students may change their schedule until our Drop/Add period, which ends in the third week of classes.

Summer reading assignments

Summer reading is a way to keep our students engaged
We assign summer reading for students in each of our three divisions. The goal is to keep our students engaged in their learning during the summer while encouraging and fostering a life-long love of reading. 

Summer reading for Grades 1 through 3
Lower School students in Kindergarten through Grade 3 are required to keep a log of books they have read during the summer months. Students are expected to read one book per week and track their progress on our Summer Reading Log that breaks the summer down into weeks. Students are asked to bring their completed log to their teachers when school begins in September.

Rising third graders must also complete a Book Summary Sheet for one of the books they've read over the summer. This summary asks students to consider elements of the story in more detail and to record their observations in the space provided.

Summer reading for students in Grade 4
For our rising fourth graders, we ask that students choose two books from a list of titles selected by our faculty. From the two selected books, students will complete several projects that are due on the first day of school. To be redirected to the Lower School Summer Reading assignments click here.

Middle School summer reading
Summer reading in our Middle School (Grade 5 to 8) emphasizes the importance of selecting relevant and high-quality titles. The freedom to choose reflects the freedoms and responsibilities that students gain in the Middle School. Check out details the Middle School's summer reading program's complete description and requirements here. 

Summer reading by department in the Upper School
Required reading for Upper School students are broken down by department. For a detailed list, click on this link and then check out the expanding boxes that offer more detailed options by department and grade level. 

Upper School summer reading is posted under Academics/Upper School/Textbooks, Supplies & Summer Reading.

Textbooks and school supplies

Lower School textbooks and school supplies
Based on the grade your student is entering, some Lower School students may need to purchase textbooks. Check out our complete listing of required textbooks for Lower School students by grade level.

All Lower School students must bring some required school supplies for themselves while others are purchased to provide needed supplies for teachers to distribute as needed in their classrooms. Check out the complete listing on our Lower School Textbooks, School Supplies, and Summer Reading Page. 

Middle School textbooks and school supplies
Our Middle School students are required to purchase textbooks & school supplies by grade level.  Check out the complete listing on our Middle School Textbooks, School Supplies, and Summer Reading Page. 

Upper School required textbooks and school supplies
Upper School students are required to purchase textbooks & school supplies based on the classes they are taking. Check out the complete listing on our Upper School Textbooks, School Supplies, and Summer Reading Page. 


Bus transportation
At Highland School, we offer an optional bus service to and from school from a range of area locations. Pick up times vary depending on the location of your stop and the number of stops along your route, which includes Culpeper, Gainesville/Brookside, Haymarket, Manassas, Sperryville, Middleburg, and Purcellville.

  • Round Trip $2,075 first child/$1,375 second child
  • One-Way $1,475 first child/$1,375 second child
  • One-Way or Round Trip $650 third child
  • Ten Ride Bus Pass $200

For a complete listing of stops and pick up/drop off times, check out our 2019/2020 transportation schedule. Bus service is available for a wide range of ages. For more information on whether your student can take the bus to Highland based on age, please contact your divisional office.

Interested in bus service for your student? Please download and fill out the bus transportation request form

Lower School morning drop off and pick up
Lower School parents should review the Lower School Handbook for details on morning drop off and afternoon dismissal and pickups. Times and locations vary depending on grade level.

Middle School drop off and afternoon pickup
Middle School drop off is between 7:30 am and 8:00 am. Middle School students are dismissed at 3:30 pm. View the Middle School Handbook for complete details. 

Upper School drop off and pick up
Upper School students can be dropped off between 7:30 am and 8:00 am. Upper School students are dismissed at 3:10 pm or 3:20 pm dependent on the schedule of the day.

Interested in sharing a ride with other families in your area? You need to complete our carpooling permission form.

Website-based alerts and calendars

Website-based alerts
Our Highland School website allows you to receive emergency alerts and notifications, such as school closings due to inclement weather and updates on the latest school news. You can choose to receive these messages via email and/or text message. All you need to do is sign up. Click here for directions.

Sync your calendars
Events listed in our athletics calendar can be downloaded to your personal calendar using a variety of platforms. Click here for instructions.

Highland's Nondiscriminatory Policy

Nondiscriminatory Policy
Highland School does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin. Click here to read our complete nondiscriminatory policy.

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