Middle School at Highlands

The Highlands Middle School experience focuses on leadership, decision-making, and autonomy. During their 6th, 7th and 8th grade years, students are presented with a variety of opportunities to think critically about their own trajectory in addition to coursework. As a 4k-8th grade program, we believe that creating a supportive environment in which our Middle School students can take risks, test personal limits and develop lasting values and interests is essential to producing valuable, change-making members of the community. By instilling a love of learning as well as a sense of perseverance and determination in every student, Highlands produces graduates that are prepared and eager to take on new challenges and succeed in rapidly changing environments.
Program Overview

Academic Rigor

Middle school students are encouraged as they rise to the challenge of more rigorous academics. In preparation for high school and college, we emphasize solid foundations across core subject areas, as well as excellence in special subjects such as world language and fine arts. Our academic program is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills while discovering their unique talents and interests. A strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) emphasis provides 21st-century learning skills while preparing students for some of today’s most exciting career opportunities. Additionally, our elective program offers activities such as yearbook, public speaking, art, robotics, greenhouse science, music, drama, technology, and various academic competitions.

Leadership Skills

Leadership positions are not limited to the most outgoing students on campus. We believe every child has the potential to lead. The Highlands Advisory Program encourages students to pursue leadership in their own ways. Our school offers a variety of opportunities for middle school students to lead their peers. In fact, as a K-8 school, all middle schoolers assume natural leadership positions in our learning community. Rather than being “stuck in the middle,” between elementary and high school, they are looked upon as role models, fostering remarkable maturity and strong character development.

Future Planning

It’s never too early to start thinking about the college and career opportunities that excite and inspire your student. As students move toward high school, their academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities prepare them for the future they desire. Highlands students have the unique opportunity to choose a high school environment that aligns with their strengths and passions. Upon completing the K-8 experience on our campus, we help your family thoughtfully select the right high school with their bright future in mind.

Exceptional Support

Our middle school program was designed with great intention. These critical years can make the difference between excelling in high school or falling behind. At Highlands School, we channel all resources toward ensuring students have the tools they need to thrive. Passionate teachers, coaches, counselors, and staff serve as mentors for students. Our learning environment is nurturing, supportive, and filled with resources to ensure the long-term success of our middle schoolers.

Middle School Curriculum Snapshot

What Makes the Middle School Experience at Highlands Unique?


Nationally, Highlands is one of few Middle Schools offering a Capstone program to graduating students. Our Capstone program is a year-long, individual thesis project centered around a particular passion or curiosity of each 8th grade student. It is a culmination of all of the skills each student has developed in their tenure at Highlands, including public speaking, research, writing, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Capstone exemplifies our approach to Project Based Learning, linking ideas and concepts to practical application at each interval. Students are given autonomy over their projects while maintaining accountability with individual advisors, replicating activities they will encounter throughout their academic and professional futures. The program provides students with the opportunity to leave their Highlands experience with a tangible reflection of the knowledge, interests and character they have cultivated during their time.

Click here to see the Class of 2020 Capstone Projects 

Advisory Program

Highlands Advisory program extends to all Middle School students and is a cross-grade program that gives students an opportunity to work with fellow students and an assigned faculty advisor on areas such as self-image, building on strengths, increasing confidence, risk-taking and other qualities central to Highlands’ whole-child philosophy. The program reinforces the concept of community throughout Highlands by giving students the opportunity to work with students across the Middle School student body, mentor students from lower grades, and identify opportunities for leadership and service learning within and outside of the Highlands campus.

Community Meetings

Middle School Community meetings are conducted on Thursdays and are an opportunity for students to consistently practice public speaking in a supportive environment. At each meeting, a different homeroom class presents on a topic of importance to their class, the Middle School or the school as a whole. As an added leadership opportunity, Highlands All School Community Meetings (taking place at least once per month) are led by Highlands 8th grade students. They control the agenda of each meeting and ensure that all students and faculty are given the opportunity to make relevant announcements.


Starting in Middle School, we offer a rotating group of electives to empower students and enable them to pursue a passion or try something new.
  • Drama
  • Art Soup
  • Competitions
  • Yearbook
  • Junior United Nations Assembly
  • Debate
  • Math Team
  • Varsity Math
  • Robotics
  • Science by Design
  • Science Outside
  • Frisbee Golf
  • Music Appreciation
  • Serve to Learn

Strong Outplacement

The goal of outplacement services at Highlands is to fulfill the student’s “launch” by providing parent information sessions, student discovery experiences, and application support for the variety of opportunities and options that exist after the eighth-grade year.

Outplacement at Highlands is a collaborative process facilitated by Trey Adams, the Director of Admissions and Enrollment, and Robert McGehee, Director of Student Services, and made possible through the efforts of the entire middle school teaching team.

Highlands School, 4901 Old Leeds Road, Birmingham, AL 35213, (205) 956-9731
Highlands School's 'whole child' approach to education and commitment to academic excellence, creative expression, and leadership development prepare and motivate students in grades 4k through 8 to make a positive difference in an ever-changing world. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Highlands School holds dual accrediation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Associations of Independent Schools (SAIS).

For more information, visit www.highlandsschool.org.