Why Highland?

At Highland School, a Pre-K to Grade 12 independent school in Warrenton, Virginia, we know that every child is unique. Our students get the tools and opportunities they need to find themselves and the world around them in an academically challenging yet supportive, engaging, and friendly environment.

What makes you unique? We'll help you find it
What makes you unique? That's often a difficult question for a young student to answer. At Highland School, a Pre-K to Grade 12 independent school located in Warrenton, Virginia, it is one of the most important questions that drives us every day. We work tirelessly to make sure that each student has every opportunity to find out what makes him or her unique.

We provide our students with the tools and opportunities they need to discover themselves and to discover the world around them. To achieve this, we strive to create an academically challenging yet supportive, engaging, and nurturing environment. 

Blending academics, athletics, and the arts
Highland School takes seriously this commitment to balancing academic, athletic, and artistic excellence while encouraging leadership and community service among our students – from our Kindergartners to our graduating seniors. Each member of our faculty and staff works hard to help every one of our students participate and excel in as many ways as possible. 

Read more about some of the things that make Highland – and its students – unique. And what makes Highland a great choice for your student and your family:


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.

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


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, fine and performing arts, as well as team sports and lifetime fitness activities, allows students to develop in a balanced way.

2. The School strives to discover the promise and potential in each student.
Highland enrolls students who demonstrate the potential to benefit from the Highland program. We provide an environment that fosters intellectual and personal growth.

3. The student-teacher relationship and community responsibility are at the center of the learning experience.
The Highland experience is built on small class sizes and a caring community that provides attention to the individual. 

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 personal growth.

'The Five C's'

The foundation of a 21st century education
At Highland, we believe that the essential elements of a quality education are much more than the traditional three r’s of reading, writing, and arithmetic. That’s why we’ve identified the Five C’s of Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and Leadership, and Character to serve as the backbone of a Highland education.

Critical Thinking

  • Identify, manage, and solve complex local and global problems
  • Evaluate validity of information by filtering for bias and reliability
  • Ask meaningful questions
  • Analyze, synthesize and apply knowledge 


  • Understand and analyze diverse points of view; listen carefully
  • Argue a point persuasively and substantively, orally, and in writing
  • Use technology effectively to present information
  • Engage with the ideas and language of more than one culture

Collaboration and Leadership

  • Contribute and initiate new ideas
  • Fulfill team duties and share the workload
  • Listen to and cooperate with others
  • Use technology to share ideas and stimulate intellectual growth 
  • Build trust and provide support for others
  • Facilitate group discussions, forge consensus, and negotiate outcomes

  • Foster integrity, honesty, fairness, and respect
  • Exhibit moral courage in confronting unjust situations
  • Act with sensitivity/empathy to individual differences and cultural backgrounds and with the interests and well-being of the larger community in mind
  • Make reasoned and ethical decisions in response to complex problems

Small class sizes

Highland School offers class sizes that typically run between 12-14 students per class. For some of our more specialized courses, class sizes can be significantly smaller.

We currently boast a student to faculty ratio of 5:1 across all divisions.

Individualized education

At Highland, we value the different types of intelligence in every student and every student has the opportunity to develop and nurture each of these intelligences. Students in our three divisions are encouraged to embrace the concept of a growth mindset, to try new experiences, and to strengthen and develop new intelligences. 

In our Learning Centers, which are located in each division, our development and educational experts recognize that, along with varied intelligences and the need to develop them, students also have diverse learning styles and possibly learning differences. Our students are taught to understand learning styles, how to learn according to their style, and what it means to have a learning difference.

Traditional and non-traditional teaching methods

At Highland School, we combine the best of traditional and non-traditional education. Students grow and develop, bound only by their energy and interests. Field Studies make research real. A highly evolved experiential learning program introduces students to the wonder and majesty of the natural world.

Across all of our divisions, Highland’s courses are as much active as academic. For example, students of drama, literature, and media use digital tools to tell their own stories. Field study trips to environmental centers underscore classroom science lessons. Students of Shakespeare read plays, act out the roles and attend professional performances.

Challenging curriculum focused on college preparation

From the first days of Pre-Kindergarten to the end of Grade 12, our college preparatory education is academically challenging yet 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.

Highland's Upper School students, who come from all across the region and from countries around the world, experience challenging college preparatory academics. Of the 213 students enrolled in our Upper School, 79% take at least one Advanced Placement (AP) course per year. The maximum number of AP courses you can take during your time in the Upper School is nine with an average of four during your four-year career.

Great athletics

At Highland, athletics is kind of a big deal. We’ve found that sports – both participatory and competitive – are a great way to bring out our Five C’s of critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and leadership, and character beyond the confines of the classroom. 

Highland School fields 20 Varsity teams for boys and girls across three seasons. We also offer Junior Varsity and Middle School teams across all three seasons to give more students the opportunity to participate, compete, and grow as both students and athletes. Athletics at Highland is as much about participation as it is excellence. Each year, 78% of our Upper School students participate in at least one varsity-level sport. over the past 13 years, we've won 11 state titles.

Invested in the arts

At Highland School, we are deeply committed to and invested in the fine and performing arts. Our state-of-the-art Michael A. Hughes Center for the Arts features The Rice Theater, the Lise Hicklin Black Box Theater, a dedicated gallery space, and studio spaces our faculty use to offer a wide variety of art and music classes including ceramics, 2D and 3D Design, guitar and jazz.  

The arts are part of our core curriculum. As a central element of our mission, arts education distinguishes Highland from other public and private school alternatives. In a time when school systems around the country are cutting funding to arts programs, our steadfast commitment to arts education sets Highland apart from our competitors.

All Lower and Middle School students participate in visual art and music as regular parts of their daily curriculum. Programs for our youngest students include the violin, cello, xylophone, and chorus.These students enter the Upper School in Grade 9 eager for more creative exploration. 

Dedicated Learning Center

In our dedicated Learning Center, educational specialists deliver a range of support services to Pre-K through Grade 12. The center is available to students in need of extra attention, advocacy, remediation, and individualized instruction. On campus resources help ensure that each Highland student develops confidence, competence, and academic independence.

Global perspective

Through direct experience, travel, and study, Highland’s Global Studies Program allows students to acquire a deeper understanding of world cultures and global issues. 

The capstone of Highland's Global Studies program is an experiential, service or academic project demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a global issue or problem. The Global Studies Program allows students to earn a certificate in recognition of their achievement.

College counseling

At Highland School, college counselors work closely with our Upper School students to explore, identify, and select colleges and universities that meet their academic, emotional, and social needs. Highland's counselors work directly with every student and their parents to assist in a variety of highly individualized ways throughout the search process.

Starting in 9th grade, Upper School students meet regularly with our staff of college counselors. While freshman year is too early to start looking at specific schools, it's exactly the right time to start preparing students for what could very likely be a highly competitive selection process.

To help these students build a resume that stands out from the crowd, we encourage all of our Upper School students to constantly challenge themselves with new courses, to explore new areas of interest, and to become more involved in the rich fabric of our campus and in their own communities through leadership and community service opportunities.

As they progress through the Upper School, we encourage our students to seek out opportunities for valuable work experience and to reflect on their own goals and desires. Through programs like our Junior Internships and Senior Projects, students gain real-world insights that further refine their search and selection process.  

Every step of the way, our counselors work hand-in-hand with students and their parents to provide individual and family assistance in the college search and application process. Our goal is simple: to help every Highland student find their passion and follow their dreams. 


Strong sense of community

There's a real sense of community that surrounds Highland – its students, faculty, families, and alumni. Every day, we come together in ways that are small and large, formal and informal, and intentional and unintentional. And remember, once you're a Hawk, you're always a Hawk!

Fully accredited
Highland School is fully accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, or ethnic group in the administration of our educational, employment or admission policies, and our scholarship, athletic, and other school-administered programs.

Schedule a personal visit
We encourage you to schedule a campus visit to fully appreciate what our community will offer your child. Tours and half-day student visits are scheduled daily by appointment. Financial considerations should not deter you from applying, as we have a comprehensive financial aid program for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. We also offer merit-based scholarships to students entering Grade 9-12. Click here to find out more.

You can reach Donna Tomlinson, our Director of Admission and Tuition Assistance at 540-878-2740 or admission@highlandschool.org. Thank you for considering Highland School. We look forward to having you as part of our growing and vibrant community of students, families, and alumni.

Register for our Next Open House
Click Here to Schedule a Tour
Click Here to Get Started
powered by finalsite