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Foundation-Supported Projects Help Enrich Highland's Learning EnvironmenSmiling Kids, Stock Photot

Distributing resources to Highland Local Schools to enhance, enrich and supplement learning opportunities is at the heart of what The Highland Foundation provides. We underwrite a diverse mix of educational programs and experiences each year and focus on six core areas of need including:

  • Literacy
  • Fine Arts
  • Community Enrichment
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)
  • Special Education
  • Intercultural Studies

These platforms help our students advance on many levels, both in and out of the classroom. At the same time, these core areas closely align to the interests of our generous donors.

Projects are reviewed and funds are allocated each spring and fall through a grant application process.

To learn more, or if you are interested in joining the Projects committee that is responsible for reviewing and awarding projects, contact Kimberly Braver at: kimberly.braver@highlandfoundation.org.

In April 2018, Board Approved $57,541 in New Grants

  • Switchover Instrument – 7th grade band students are physically large enough and have had enough musical training that they can begin switching to “color” instruments (ex. Tuba and Euphonium). These instruments are important in creating a mature and well balanced concert band sound. This grant helps to cover the cost of instruction with specialists hired to work with the 7th and 8th grade students 10 times throughout the school year. 
  • Accompanist Grant – Each year, Highland High School instrumental music students have the opportunity to participate in adjudicated solo events. Each piece typically requires an accompanist. This grant will help fund accompanists to work with these students two weeks before their event takes place and accompany them at the event. The accompanist will be required to meet with each student three times before their solo event. 
  • Private Lessons – Many Highland High School band students participate in private lessons given from a specialist on their instrument for one half hour each week. The cost of lessons is up to $20/half hour lessons. Students who cannot afford to take lessons but desire to do so may have may receive assistance through this grant to cover half and, in some cases, 100% of their lessons.
  • Great Lakes Theatre Festival – Students read Shakespeare plays three out of four years of high school. Many 9th and 10th graders struggle with reading and connecting to text. This hands-on, creative and interactive residency includes acting, discussion and theatre exercises to help them gain an appreciation for the art and writing style of Shakespeare. The grant, as proposed, would involve three-quarters of the high school's students via regular and honors 9th, 10th and 12th grade English.
  • Highland Intercultural Program – This grant provides additional funding to enable the cultural exchange with Highland High School’s Sister Schools: Nanwu High School in Guangzhou, China; La Salle San Ildefonso High School in Santa Cruz Tenerife, Spain; and Lycée Privé Jean Cassaigne High School in Saint Pierre de Mont, France. These schools have become an integral part of Highland’s Intercultural program. The program helps prepare students to excel in global competence in the interconnected world of the 21st Century by putting faces to the cultures students learn about in history, geography, art, science and language classes. A google classroom is offered that any teacher can join and tailor to meet their needs.
  • Sensory Rooms at Highland Middle School – This grant funds renovations for two spaces at Highland Middle School, a new/relocated sensory room and the Learning Center to provide appropriate spaces for students with learning challenges and sensory issues. The enhanced spaces will help students calm down and learn self-regulation, allowing students to focus and spend more time on academics. The new sensory room location, the guidance office “VIP Room,” will allow for the ability to provide supervision to students with anxiety to take a break without having to have someone sit at the sensory room. 
  • Sensory Garden & Greenhouse – Students with special needs are partnering with The Environmental Science Club to clean up and renovate “Mrs. Gleeson’s Garden” space so that the students can use the area as a sensory garden. The new sensory garden will include wind chimes for sound, specific plants for smell and touch, and a greenhouse for more experiences for all the science classes and the special needs students and will be designed so that everyone can use it.
  • Keys for Success – This initiative will feature three keynote speakers, a career exploration event and opportunities to further explore coding through Ozobot technology to build upon Granger’s Elementary School's Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports program (PBIS). These activities will provide students with ongoing instruction, modeling and tools throughout the 2018-19 year to build upon Granger’s 3 R’s (Respectful, Responsible & Ready to Lead) and further student support in Striving for Success, Acceptance for All and Focusing on the Future: “Keys for Success at GES.”  
  • Hornet Makerspace – Highland Middle School does not have a program, class or option for students to explore STEM-related interest beyond their math and science classes. This grant will create a technology focused Hornet Makerspace  in the middle school media center, transitioning the quiet space to a hub of different activities where students can explore, create, converse, experiment and get inspired. The makerspace will accommodate up to 48 students at one time. Together, with the introduction of a technology class at each grade, it will provide students the opportunity to learn, explore and grow their interests in STEM-related fields.
  • “Retro Bill” – Retro Bill will present eight assemblies, two in each elementary school with K-2 and 3-5 character, boosting self-esteem and keeping kids safe. These presentations will be an addition to the school DARE program, reinforcing the messages that help students make wise decisions and stay safe.
  • College Now – 87 percent of Highland graduates continue their education with post-secondary college plans. This honorarium secures scholarship and financial aid counseling from College Now Greater Cleveland for 15 designated days. On-site appointments are held at Highland High School for parents and students to receive financial aid counseling and scholarship services. Year-to-date (September 20, 2017 to March 2, 2018), 203 unduplicated students were served at Highland High School by College Now. This includes 137 seniors, 63 juniors, 2 sophomores and 1 freshman. 

In November 2017, Board Approved $44,189 in New Grants

  • One District, One Book – We have funded this elementary school, district-wide reading program for several years. This is a shared reading experience between students, families and the community.  Students are all actively engaged in reading the same book and participate in the same activities throughout the month-long program beginning in January. This year, there will be an author visit to supplement the program.
  • 21st Century Sound – This grant includes funding for 20 wireless microphones, 6 antennas, and other items to support the microphone system for Added Attraction and Highland High School and Highland Middle School musical productions. Microphones will be used by the leading characters in these performances, as well as in the orchestra pit. Additionally, elementary students who use the HHS auditorium for performances will be able to use the new equipment.
  • Accompanist Grant – Each year, Highland High School instrumental music students participate in adjudicated solo events. Each piece typically requires an accompanist. This grant allows for an accompanist to work with these students two weeks prior to the event and accompany them to the event. The accompanist is required to meet with each student three times before their solo event. 
  • National Players – In conjunction with ORMACO (Ohio Regional Music Arts Cultural Outreach), National Players are scheduled to conduct workshops and a performance at Highland High School on May 1, 2018. The workshops would take place during the school day. One workshop (all regular college prep and honors 11th grade English students) will focus on “The Great Gatsby” and how this great American novel was brought to the stage. The other workshop (drama students) will focus on actor training and advice for a career in the arts.
  • The Chemistry of Art – The Highland High School Art Department will collaborate with the chemistry teachers to deliver three project-based units. The objective will be to teach students the relationship between art and chemistry through a mix of lecture, lab experiments and art activities. The grant is designed to meet some of the objectives in the new chemistry textbook, “Active Chemistry – Project-Based Inquiry Approach” and Ohio’s Standards of Art Education, especially in the areas of creative and critical thinking and will allow students to demonstrate flexibility and reflective habits for creating visual art forms in a variety of artistic contexts. The grant includes a variety of items necessary for creating Raku pottery, a fireworks beginner’s bead making kit and a guest artist who will run a Raku kiln for two days. 
  • All the Waves We Cannot See – There is a great deal of difficulty getting students to understand waves in science and technology. Through this grant, Highland Middle School students will begin to see and understand those waves. This program will take place over the course of two weeks in May 2018. Ozobots are miniature infrared sensors using robots that respond to different color-coded sequences, as well as other stimuli to perform a task. In addition, using a Microwave Optics System to indirectly observe invisible microwaves, students will develop a deeper understanding of different frequency ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum and how they are used to communicate and decode information to perform a task. Further applications will be paralleled as students compare these technologies to community-used technologies such as cell phones, radios, remotes and satellites.
  • Yoga, Mindfulness & Relaxation Training –  Yoga techniques are taught regularly in physical education classes at Highland Middle School, and this time around, a “relaxation” component has been added to supplement the program. The goal of this initiative is to increase the physical and emotional health and wellness of students at the middle school level. As part of the newly introduced relaxation component, Eden Koz, mindfulness consultant and founder of “Just Be,” will offer parent and student workshops on the topics of knowing the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, basic ways to reduce and manage anxiety, healthy coping skills for teens and adults, as well as an overview of mindfulness and meditation practices. Workshops for students in grades 6-8 will be held in January 2018, followed by a free workshop for parents and community members. Beginning February 1 through May, Koz will also offer student meditation groups during lunch and recess times at HMS.

In April 2017, Board Approves $19,280 in New Grants 

  • Private Lessons Grant – Many Highland Band students participate in private lessons given from a specialist on their instrument for one half hour each week. The cost of lessons is up to $20/half hour. This grant is for students who cannot afford to take lessons but desire to do so. This grant covers half and in some cases 100% of their lessons.
  • Switchover Instrument Enrichment – Seventh grade band students are physically large enough and have had enough musical training that they can begin switching to “color” instruments (ex. Tuba and Euphonium). These instruments are important in creating a mature and well balanced concert band sound. This grant covers the cost of hiring specialists to work with the 7th and 8th grade students ten times throughout the school year.
  • Beo String Residency with the Highland Schools Orchestra – The Beo String quartet is a young and innovative classical string quartet (two violins/viola/cello) from Pittsburgh that specializes in traditional classical repertoire as well as exploring new musical styles and boundaries. Through the Foundation Grant, they will work intensively with the 410 students of the Highland Orchestra program during a two-day workshop in March 2018 on chamber music, technical precision and making artistic decisions as independent performers. The project will culminate with a performance featuring Beo in concert with the orchestra students.
  • Stand Your Ground by Joel Penton – “Stand Your Ground” is a program put on by speaker Joel Penton. Joel is a former OSU football player who uses a positive approach to help students see firsthand how their actions have consequences. “Stand Your Ground” aligns with both the Middle School and High School goals and character education programs.  This program was held in September 2017.
  • Great Lakes Theater School Residency Program – Using an interactive, hands-on approach, a team of two specially trained actor-teachers will visit the High School for five consecutive days. The actors will bring scripts, props and costumes to turn students into an acting troupe, exploring classic literature from an actor’s point-of-view. 
  • Highland Intercultural Program – This is a continuation of Highland High School’s three international Sister School relationships. Highland High School students have the opportunity to host students from and travel to China, France and Spain to learn and explore first-hand the history, culture and language of each country.

  • View the grants awarded during the FALL/WINTER 2017-18 academic year: download flyer
  • View the grants awarded during the FALL/WINTER 2016-17 academic year: download flyer
  • To view grant and scholarship giving history by year, click here.


Contact Us
The Highland Foundation 3880 Ridge Road
Medina, OH 44256