Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! After a year and a half of virtual learning and hybrid learning experiences, we are very excited to offer the opportunity for all high school students to return to full-time, in-person learning this fall. This school year brings some significant changes to our daily schedule. The start time for Highland High School beginning this school year will be 9:00 AM with an end time of 3:30 PM. This change in time aligns with research that has shown that a later start time for secondary aged students has a significant positive effect on student achievement. It should also be noted that this is the same start time that was used last spring during our hybrid in-person learning model. Data shows improved student attendance as well. We believe this change will be a positive for students moving forward. Our late-start day will be on Thursdays, with classes beginning at 10 AM on those mornings. This change is district wide. Lastly, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, our classes will be blocked. This means that class periods will be reduced from 6 classes to 3 classes on those days but the time the class meets will increase. Extended class periods on these days will provide greater opportunities for deeper application and synthesis experiences, cooperative learning, and activities that appeal to students’ different learning styles and multiple intelligences.
Due to continued concern regarding rising COVID cases in our county and state and a desire to minimize transmission, the Department of Health and OSPI require that specific safety protocols and procedures continue to be followed. We will begin this school year with a requirement that all staff and students, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings while indoors. We will have these for students that do not bring one of their own. Additional layered mitigation will also be followed, such as distancing of 3 feet to the degree possible in classrooms, proper ventilation and cleaning of school facilities, proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and staying home when you are sick. Contact tracing and quarantine guidance has been updated to reflect these requirements, which will reduce exclusions of staff and students compared to prior guidance. We want parents and students to feel comfortable with the return to in-person learning and know that we will do all we are required to provide the safest learning environment possible. Please know that Highland High School is committed to our mission of providing a quality education for all students. We anticipate that this will be a great year!
We are excited to welcome a few new staff members to our building this fall. Ashley Weaver and Shelly Peterson are joining our special education department. Olga Bautista is our new Student Assistance Professional (SAP) and Danielle Watkins is our Highland Community Coalition Coordinator. I know they are anxious to get to know the students and parents of HHS and will be a positive addition to our teaching and support staff. Please help us welcome them to our school community.
Our annual Orientation Night for the High School will be held on Thursday, August 19th. It will begin in the gym at 7:00 PM. Face coverings will be required. It is very important to attend this meeting, as we will be sharing important information regarding our changes with parents and students. As in the past, students will have the opportunity to meet their advisor and teachers and receive their class schedule. We also anticipate students collecting their laptops, cases and power cords that evening. Those unable to attend can pick up their schedule Friday morning, or they will receive their schedule on the first day of school.
High levels of attendance continue to be one of our main priorities this year. Remember that research shows that parent support and consistent student attendance are two of the most important factors in overall student academic success. Parental involvement in their child’s education has one of the highest positive effects on student achievement, even more so than school resources and programs. Students that attend school regularly have stronger bonds to their school and have much higher graduation rates. Good attendance also creates a habit that can carry over into work later. Being out for even a day or two a month can hurt your child’s academic performance. If a student has to miss school, please make sure to notify the office within 48 hours to verify that you excused the absence. Unverified absences become unexcused and carry further consequences. Thank you for your help in this matter.
We have been through a lot the past year and a half. I know it has been difficult for all our students, families and community. No matter the learning model, please know that we want to see all our students experience success and reach their educational potential. We strive to do this daily at Highland High School. Your feedback is important to us. You are welcome to contact me anytime to ask questions or give feedback by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 678-8805. I look forward to an excellent school year of fostering relationships and helping all students enjoy school and be successful. Be proud to be a Highland Scottie!
-Brandon Jensen, Principal