Highlands Blog

Kathryn McDonald

Thirty-something years ago I was a student at Highlands, and now my three daughters are in school here. My preschooler's classroom is where the Head of School's office used to be. My kindergartener's classroom is where the school library was. And my third grader goes to the STEM lab in a building that didn't exist then. I studied French at Highlands, and my girls will work on Chinese, Spanish, and French this year. They help lead Community Meetings and perform in plays on the well-lit stage of the Spencer Center while the other students watch from neat, graduated rows of chairs. My Highlands assemblies and plays took place on a stage that was on the back wall of the gymnasium with students sitting 'criss cross' on the gym floor to watch. My children are dropped off and picked up daily by the Learning Center, but when I was a student all traffic flowed through what is now the Quad.

There are many things that have changed at Highlands in the last 30 years, but there are important things that haven't. Highlands is still a school that provides a rigorous, innovative academic program and insists on building character in its students. It is still a school that values question-asking and risk-taking. It is still a school that fosters a sense of community and instills a love of learning.

I hope that when my daughters are adults they will know the names of almost every Highlands teacher they had - as I do. I hope they will remember specific classroom projects and hands-on experiences - as I do. I hope they will still enjoy friendships that started in Highlands classrooms - as I do. The foundation of what I know about academics, leadership and how to be a successful learner was laid at Highlands. It's a foundation that has served me well, and I watch with interest and excitement as, day by day, my children build their own foundations right here at Highlands.
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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.