Page 1

March 3, 2008

From the Desk of Mrs. Barr:

Take Note

Dear Parents,

Spring Fling

May 4th 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Volunteers are needed Please contact Mandy Vinyard at or Tanya Nix at Basketball Games & Bake Sale Please support Highlands School Basketball teams and the Kindergarten Daisy Scouts Troop #32 on Saturday, March 8 from 8:0012:00 noon. This will be the last games of the regular basketball season and the Daisy Scouts will be having a bake sale during the games. Yummy!

Last week I had the honor of being with 6000 of my closest friends at the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools with the theme of “Embracing the Educational Renaissance.” I also attended a one-day “Global Education Summit.” The speakers were name brands on my bookshelf – Daniel Pink, Faith Popcorn, Malcolm Gladwell, as well as some authors and experts I had not experienced. Two themes echoed throughout the conference Music, art, world languages and culture, problem solving, and critical thinking have an important role in shaping our children’s development and preparation for the future. The Three R’s are essential but not enough. We must prepare students for their future, not their past. Their future looks different from our present, so their educational experiences should not look exactly as ours did. I was heartened to hear speakers who support Highlands School’s practices from the technology, arts, and Chinese to the problem solving and critical thinking present in mathematics. Education is traditionally slow to change, but Highlands School began with the future in mind. With attention to the individual, an eye on the future, and an appreciation for the arts and world languages and cultures, Evalina Brown Spencer laid the foundation for our students to thrive and make a positive difference in this changing world. How she knew in 1958 to think in such a bold way, I do not know. I do know that our students and our community continue to benefit from her vision fifty years later.

Kathryn Woodson Barr P.S. Be on the lookout for a recommended reading list in next week’s Highnotes based on my experiences at the NAIS conference.

Calendar Highlights Mon. March 3 Tuesday 4 Thursday 6 Friday 7 Friday 14 Mon.– Fri.17-21

1/2 Day for students – Teacher Workday Bridge Night Learning Center 6:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. 5th grade play– parents 6:30 p.m. 5th grade play– students 10:00 a.m. Pi Day! This is a regular school day Friday 2:00 Dismissal Spring Break Holiday


Page 2

The Egg Drop On Friday, February 22, twelve souls went to egg drop with ten devices (two groups worked as a team). One winner was chosen from each of these four categories: High School, Middle School, Elementary and Overall design. Highlands qualified for three of the four categories and WON TWO! Fifty percent of our designs did not break! Congratulations to Elizabeth Anne Brown for winning Overall Design and Cori Mazer for being the Middle School winner.

Optimist Club Essay Contest Highlands School students were the top three winners of the Optimist Club of Birmingham Essay Contest for 2008! The winners were Mary Shelton Hornsby (1st place), Paul Styslinger (2nd place) and Claudia Styslinger (3rd place). The title of the essay was “Today’s Choices Shape My Future,” and specific stringent guidelines had to be followed for each essay submission. Over sixty essays were submitted to the competition, and Highlands middle school students competed against other participants who were in high school. All of the winners were recognized at a luncheon hosted by the Optimist Club of Birmingham on Thursday, February 28th, where they were asked to read their essays for the club members. They were awarded medals, certificates, and monetary prizes for their accomplishments. Mary Shelton’s essay will be submitted for the next round of competition in the Optimist Club contest! We are so fortunate to have such fantastic representatives of Highlands School!

Countries of Interest On Friday, February 29th, the 2nd grade spent the day presenting their country projects. Students spent 3 weeks researching a country of their choice. They made a book about their country, created a PowerPoint presentation, and wrote two paragraphs about what they learned. Each student gave a ten minute presentation and dressed in clothing that represented their country. We are so proud of the hard work and efforts the 2nd grade put into this project!

Creativity Convention 2008 th

On Thursday, February 28 , Highlands School welcomed two authors to our campus. A former 8th-grade English teacher, Susan Campbell Bartoletti (pictured left) is the author of picture books, novels, and nonfiction for children, including the Newbery Honor book Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow, and the Sibert Medal-winning Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850. Laurie Friedman (pictured right) is the author of many critically acclaimed chapter and picture books for children. She is best known for the popular Mallory books, a series of chapter books for 7-10 year olds. The students were thrilled to finally meet these authors and responded to the presentations with excellent questions and a lot of enthusiasm. Both Ms. Bartoletti and Ms. Freidman had fun getting to know the students of Highlands School and had wonderful things to say about our students at the end of the day. A huge thank you to all the members of the Parents Auxiliary Creativity Convention Committee for all their hard work and long hours!

Carpool Reminder

In the interest of our children’s safety, please remember to observe the following carpool rules: • DO NOT USE YOUR CELL PHONE IN THE CARPOOL LINE • Pull forward as teachers direct • Remain in your car; teachers will assist with backpacks, etc. as needed • In the morning, please drop off your children on the same side as you pick up in the afternoon. Doing so avoids congestion on the Learning Center side and allows everyone to get to class safely and on time. Thanks for your help in this important matter. Any questions, contact Amy Mendel or Shelby Hammer.


Page 3


On Friday, March 14, Highlands School will be celebrating Pi Day! On this day in which we celebrate mathematics, we will be having fun while we investigate mathematical concepts which relate to one of the most fascinating of numbers…3.14, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. One of the activities which will take place will be the Pi Recitation Contest for grades 3-8. In this contest, we will find out which of our Highlands students is able to memorize and recite the most digits of Pi! For those students who would like to go ahead and get started, the following website might be helpful: If there is anyone for whom the first ten-thousand digits are not enough, you might want to check out The Joy of Pi, by David Blatner. In this humorous and insightful book, you will be able to find the first one million digits of Pi! Good luck!

Grandparents and Special Friends Day Friday, April 11, 2008

This year we will only have one Grandparents/Special Friends Day and it will include all students (grades PS—8th). As a reminder, we will mail invitations to all grandparents whose addresses we have on file from the Student Information Forms. If a grandparent’s address is not on file, and you would like an invitation sent to them, you will need to provide their contact information. Also, if your child’s grandparents are not able to attend please take a moment to let us know if there is someone special your child would like to invite in their place. Please email Peggy Darby ( the following contact information by Monday, March 3rd: Your child’s name Guests name Relation to your child Guests complete mailing address Thank you for your help in making this day special for your child and his or her grandparents and special friends. Invitations will be mailed on Monday, March 24th.

Highlands Summer Camp Information The summer catalog was emailed to all parents for whom we have an email address. I also have hard copies available at the front desk and by the EDP room in the Spencer Center building. Please take time to look over the information, especially if you’ve never really considered Highlands as an option for the summertime. We have a lot of new camps this year and some returning favorites including Basketball, Soccer, Bike Safety, Art, Technology, Caving, Teambuilding, Geocaching…I could go on and on. I particularly concentrated on adding some camps for older students this year. I am also pleased to announce that quite a few of our very own teachers will be leading camps this summer including Bo Garret, Lee Smith, T’Ola Winston, Cara McMillin, Fontaine Haskell, Brennda Caro, Elizabeth Foster, Stephanie Davis, and Tynley Baker. Feel free to call if you have any questions. Thanks! Gabe McCool Director of EDP 956-9731 ext.105

Highnotes: March 3, 2008  

Highlands: March 3, 2008

Highnotes: March 3, 2008  

Highlands: March 3, 2008