Highlands @ Home: A Higher Degree of Connection

Your children are at the forefront of every decision we make at Highlands. Over the past couple of weeks, the Highlands team has worked tirelessly to devise a thoughtful and meaningful approach to navigating these uncertain times while continuing what we do best – delivering a highly personalized and nurturing learning experience to every child.

Why Distance Learning?

Structure and routine are especially critical for pre-school through middle-school children during this ever-changing situation. We believe our online distance learning model affords our students the least amount of disruption in their daily instruction while ensuring natural opportunities for our teachers to connect with them each day.
 
Our dedicated educators use a combination of live (synchronous) and recorded (asynchronous) lessons along with a mix of instructional tools that are developmentally appropriate for each age group. It is of the utmost importance for our teachers to reach every child and our synchronous lessons are a way to virtually interface with the students while simulating a live classroom setting.

Our Commitment to Connect

highlands at homeEach 4K-8th grade teacher, including our Encore group and Learning Specialist, have live office hours each day. They are available during this time to answer questions and conduct regular check-ins with students. Middle school advisory sessions will also be scheduled weekly as an additional touchpoint. We are aware that many of you are juggling personal schedules with your work obligations. Please rest assured – our teachers and administrative team will be flexible and available throughout the day!
 
While our students’ health and safety are our top priorities, it is critical that our students are in the best position possible to finish the year strong and well-prepared for the next year. There are certainly a host of unknowns right now, but we are confident in our incredible, dedicated educators who will do all they can to help our students and families through these unprecedented and challenging times.

Our Highlands Parents Say it Best

"So thankful for Highlands Schol - for their excellence and organization and for keeping our kids learning. We have seen our son grow and learn so much this year.. and to know our highlands at homeschool has such a thorough gameplan makes us feel so good that his progress won’t be halted!"

"We are so thankful for y’all! Our nieces and nephews are at home with zero plan and no direction. Thank you so much for all your hard work, for your excellence, and for keeping our kids learning and growing. We are having a blast this morning with Ms. Bartee’s class!"

"During a crazy time, I’m so so grateful for our magical school. The admin was so ahead of this that today is our first day of online class through Highlands at home. After 2 days of being “teacher,” I’m grateful to have Ms. Rachel and Ms. Angela back at the helm. Thank you to everyone at Highlands School for all your time, sacrifices and dedication to our kids." 

"Thank you, Highlands School! Our kids NEED their teachers, and you know how to meet their needs."

"Thank you for all your time and effort during this craziness."

"Woohoo! I beat Corona and technology today...this is the new success story of the day!"

"What an impressively seamless transition into virtual learning!"

FAQs

Do I need to cancel school lunches this week?
Yes, please go online to cancel your students’ school lunches for this week. That is the best way to ensure your account is credited timely.
 
How do we pick-up medications, supplies, take-home binders?
Teachers have been very efficient in pulling together the Highlands @ Home student materials, and they are ready to be picked up today – Monday, March 16th. Parents can pick-up both materials and prescription medications from the Learning Center. We have organized the pick-up schedule based on last name – see below:
 
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM: Abernathy – Good
4:45 PM – 5:30 PM: Goodrich – McEwan
5:30PM – 6:00 PM: McGinis- Zuberi
 
What is the difference between Google Meet and Google Classroom?  
Google Meet is for video conferencing, which is what the teachers will be using to interact and teach lessons with your student “live.” Highlands Pulse is where all your students’ classwork will be located - your teacher will be sending out additional information about that. Google Classroom is another platform that other teachers are using to post their assignments.
 
Assume that you have disabled the necessary privacy and tracking settings for each child’s Google log-in or do we need to go in and do that? Google is notorious for gathering and sharing our information.
When you are logged into your child’s account, it is grouped under our Google Education suite, under which ALL our student accounts fall. Here is a link to their privacy policy and how student data is protected by Google Privacy. In short, Google abides by FERPA and COPPA laws so there is NO selling or sharing of data.
 
I have some concerns about the security profile that is required to be installed on our personal tablet in order for my child to be able to use Google Classroom. If I were to agree to the device policy profile, it would allow the school’s Google Apps admin to manage settings on our tablet and even erase data on it. 
I realize that there is almost certainly no nefarious intent here, but I don’t understand why I’m required to give up so much control of my data to the school. Why would Highlands need the ability to wipe my data on a personal device as a prerequisite for remote learning? 
Each student and teacher account is part of a Google Educational Suite. Part of Google's policy is to ensure that we (Highlands School) have the ability to wipe them from a device, if needed, because they contain student data. Giving the school this permission ONLY means that we have the ability to pull that account off the private device should that be necessary. We DO NOT have the ability to wipe anything else from the device where the security profile is installed. Each time a “@highlandsschool.org” account is loaded on a “private" device, the user is required to load this security profile so that our organization has the ability to remove the account should the need arise. For example, this would apply if a student withdrew from the school. We would then have the ability to log into Google admin and remove the child’s account from whatever device it was installed on. This policy is about keeping the child's data safe .

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Looking for additional resources? Highlands @ Home is a gathering place for helpful resources created by Highlands faculty and answers to questions you have about distance learning.
Do you have any tech or general COVID-19 questions? Reach out to your Highlands team here: Highlandsathome@highlandsschool.org 
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.