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Parent Perspectives with Dr. Henna Budhwani | Week 1

Parent Perspectives with Dr. Henna Budhwani | Week 1
Christina Coffman

Welcome to the first edition of Parent Perspectives.

The goal of Parent Perspectives is to share authentic insights into the Highlands School experience. If you would like to contribute to subsequent posts, please email me at

This week, we will tackle carpool, campus spaces, fundraising, and food.


  • Morning carpool runs 7:45-8:00 AM; kids are tardy at 8:05 AM. There have been a number of times, over the years, when we arrived right at 8:05 AM. As my children hopped out of our super-cool minivan, I yelled, “Run like the wind!”
  • Kids eating in the car or not wanting to get out of the car in the morning does not phase the faculty and staff.
  • If your kid is a bit slow getting to afternoon carpool, you will be directed to pull to the side. Do not sweat it. Many of us have been there.
  • On the Spencer Center side, the non-sidewalk carpool lane moves much slower than the lane by the sidewalk (Karen Eargle has done the calculation of how many cars progress in each cycle per lane), but the non-sidewalk lane is great if you have multiple kids who want to get into the car using both side doors.
  • If you fall asleep waiting in carpool at the end of a long day, a gracious faculty or staff member will knock loudly on your window so that you can drive forward and pickup up your progeny (Shea Seaman, thanks for this insight).


Campus Spaces

  • The Spencer Center is on the back of School. It is adjacent to the larger parking lot. It contains the auditorium, rooms for art, music, and foreign languages, and the Extended Day Program (EDP) office.
  • The Learning Center is at the front of school and holds the front office, administrative offices, mailroom, and library.
  • The Student Life Center holds classrooms, the gym, and The Bistro (lunchroom, but please do not tell Ms. Vasil that I called it anything but “The Bistro”).
  • The Quad is the greenspace in the middle of campus; we have three separate playgrounds, with the largest and most visible one in front of the Student Life Center.



  • Every other year, there is an auction (silent and live) to fund the purchase of wish list items. The monies raised in the 2020 auction were used to buy our amazing playground equipment. Parents often pool funds to buy popular items and experiences. If you have a child who is a Harry Potter fan, it is time to start saving your pennies for the Hogwarts experience, since there is an auction planned for January 2022.
  • Every year, there is a Highlands Annual Fund to fill the operating gap. Meaning, that there is a shortfall between what tuition covers and what it costs to run the school. Contributing to the Highlands Annual Fund ensures that the school keeps running at the current level of service. The campaign is running now, so click here to donate.
  • You may hear some chatter about the capital campaign; this occurred in 2018 to fund the building of the Student Life Center. Families made one-time contributions or committed to paying annually toward a five-year commitment.
  • Parents Auxiliary Pack (PA Pack) is a pre-paid, fast pass system for entrance into Spring Fling and Fall Festival that includes a small donation that goes to the Parents Auxiliary to support year-round teacher appreciation efforts. Click here to purchase yours.



  • Lunch and snack time vary by grade; kids have about 20 minutes to eat lunch. This can be difficult for the little ones. I cannot imagine the number of applesauce cups and ketchup packets that Ms. Gorham and Ms. Horton open every day.
  • Send a water bottle and one snack if your kid is picked up at 3:00 PM. If your child is in the Extended Day Program, then send two snacks. I keep additional shelf-stable snacks in the twins’ backpacks just in case. Doing so ensures that your child always has a bag of goldfish or hello panda to share.
  • Families send all sorts of treats to school for all sorts of occasions. If your kid has dietary restrictions, it is a good idea to let the teacher know at the beginning of the school year.
  • Sometimes the middle school students host an impromptu bake sale. I recommend keeping a few dollars in your child’s backpack to buy these surprise goodies.
  • Christian Catering makes the best buttered pasta, beef tacos, and sesame chicken. Ms. Debbie is a hot lunch goddess; their Friday cookies are made of love and butter.


Dr. Henna Budhwani is an Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; she is married to Dr. Karim Budhwani, CEO of elixir international and CerFlux. Together they have twin boys in the fourth grade: Brahma Mubarak and Khidr Kishan. Dr. Budhwani was born in Chicago; her students know her as Dr. B, and she occasionally signs her emails as The Notorious B.U.D. Dr. Budhwani was previously a Highlands Parents Auxiliary Grade Level Representative and supports the school’s merchandising efforts.

  • Parents