My daughter completed K-5 here.6 yrs ago I was looking for a walkable urban school with diversity.I fell for the warmth & professionalism of the staff & their level of experience (all of our teachers had MAs,often 10+ years exp - AT Highlands).Beyond class,my child cultivated interests in music (this teacher=FANTASTIC!!), technology,extras like Odyssey of the Mind,Girls onthe Run,Safety Patrol,Lit Circles.Highlands is rated LOW due to high poverty depressing AVG test scores, but having poor kids there didn't negatively impact my child.Her grades & social life were great; many peers, no bullying. While avg Highlands students struggled, her scores (& others') were in line w/those at the best schools.I respect the principal's ability to make a special atmosphere-children sense he values them for what they bring to the table-EVERYONE belongs!I'm pleased my child experienced such a rare environment.TAG was a weak spot-as in all Red Clay Title I schools,& our parent org was tiny...but mighty - as evidenced by election of a Highlands PTA mom to school board in 2013.I have confidence in the academic foundation my daughter got, & we found lifelong friends and lessons transcending academics!
This school positively oozes a warm, caring, supportive, close community feel. The principal is just simply amazing, dedicated, motivated, personal, part best friend, part positive role model, part educator. He knows all the kids by name and gives them high-fives in the hallway each morning. I've been through many schools (public and private) with my 3 kids, but my son has never experienced the same sense of belonging. The teachers are also dedicated, motivated, caring and professional. I guess a great principal attracts great teachers, and Highlands teachers tend to stay! The student body is diverse, because kids come in all kinds, just like real life. With the strong leadership of the principal, the strong support team of the faculty, and the sense of belonging that Highlands provides, everybody is given a great chance to make it at school, and in life. Plus a school experience I doubt anybody who went to Highlands will ever forget.