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Program Continues to Bolster Love of Reading, Community Inclusion

Jeff Nicholas, Highland retired teacher and artist, with Sharon studentsHHS senior Elly Ciesinski guides Hinckley 2nd grader Sophia Schidowka as she creates her own mini artwork.Over the past several years, the One District, One Book program, sponsored by The Highland Foundation, has proven extremely successful in fostering a love of reading for students in grades K-5. Each January, students and staff enjoy a whole-school “book reveal” assembly. This year was no different as students could barely contain their excitement to start reading the book “Masterpiece” by Elise Broach. 

To supplement this month-long program, “Masterpiece” author Elise Broach was invited to each school to offer a presentation on her book and explain what it takes to become a children’s author. 

2018 Hornet Dash is 6/24

The 3rd Annual Hornet Dash, sponsored by the Highland Alumni Association in conjunction with The Highland Foundation, is set for Sunday, June 24. The 5k Run/Walk and Kid’s Fun Run will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Highland Stadium. Onsite registration and packet pick-up begins at 8 a.m. Cost is $15 per adult and $5 for students (includes t-shirt). The Fun Run and Kids Obstacle Course, hosted by Premier Fitness and Performance, is FREE! To guarantee a t-shirt, please register by June 8 through the following link: http://register.chronotrack.com/r/39582. Proceeds benefit The Highland Foundation.

Coming Up: All the Waves We Cannot See

Many students find it difficult to understand waves in science and technology. Highland Middle School students will begin to see and understand those waves through a program that will take place over the course of two weeks in May. 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 knowledge of different frequency ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum and how they are used to communicate and decode information to perform a task. Students will compare these technologies to community-used technologies such as cell phones, radios, remotes and satellites. Cost of this Foundation-sponsored grant, which focuses on STEM studies, is $3,017.

Piazza Serves as Hinckley Principal for the Day

Chase and Mr. CarpenterHinckley Elementary 3rd grader Chase Piazza served as Principal for the Day on March 7 and learned the ropes of being a principal with Mr. Jim Carpenter (Hinckley Principal). He had several duties to take care of throughout the day including helping with morning announcements, office duties, inspecting the building, eating lunch with the principal, and of course, having his picture taken with the principal! This day was one of the many items auctioned off during the 13th Annual Highland Foundation Dinner & Benefit Auction held on November 4. Each elementary school participated in the auction. Chase is the son of Mike and Heather Piazza of Hinckley Township.

Pictured with Chase is Mr. Carpenter.

Sincere Appreciation

Diane Thomas and Theresa WrightThe Highland Foundation for Educational Excellence presented Diane Thomas (left) with a special gift of appreciation for her many years of service to The Foundation. Diane has served as the Highland Board of Education representative on The Foundation Board of Trustees for the past 7 years, but has been involved with The Foundation since its inception in 2000. Theresa Wright, Executive Director, personally thanked Diane for her generosity throughout the years, as well as her unwavering commitment to Highland students, staff and the community-at-large. Highland BOE member Chris Wolny will now assume the role as representative on the Foundation Board.

Children's Book Author Visits Elementary Schools

Book Author with Sharon StudentsElise Broach, author of Masterpiece is visited each Highland elementary school on February 9 and spoke to students about her book, the writing process and what it takes to become a successful author. All Highland elementary students are currently reading Masterpiece as part of the One District, One Book program, sponsored by The Highland Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Pictured with Ms. Broach are Sharon Elementary 3rd graders from left, Kandes Penn, Jenna Parry, Ethan Derr, Chloe Falconer and Jacob Akins.

Yoga, Mindfulness, Relaxation Training Returns to HMS

Thanks to a generous support of The Highland Foundation for Educational Excellence, the Yoga & Mindfulness Training has returned to Highland Middle School. Yoga techniques are taught regularly in physical education classes at HMS, 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.

Foundation Congratulates STAR Award Winners

The winter wonderland display arrived just in time for teachers and staff members to be honored with The Highland Foundation’s holiday STAR awards before winter break commenced. The Staff and Teacher Award Recognition (STAR) awards program proudly honors a Highland teacher, staff or community member for their outstanding achievements and commitment to the district. Each award recipient is presented with a certificate, and a box of bonbons from The Bon Bon Cakery or the Highland Diamond sun catcher etched by Carrie Rischmiller. 

Proceeds from the STARS program are used to fund unique and innovative learning opportunities for Highland Local Schools and the community. The Highland Foundation awards grants for classroom innovation, special needs, musical enrichment and artist-in-residences. Grants are awarded for projects and programs that demonstrate creative teaching practices, seek to engage students and explore new and imaginative curriculum ideas.

Congratulations to the STAR Award recipients for the 2017 Highland Winter Campaign:

Save the Date: 2018 Annual Dinner

Please mark your calendars now for the 14th Annual Highland Foundation Great Gifts Dinner Auction set for Saturday, November 10, 2018, at Weymouth Country Club. As always, it promises to be a wonderful event! If you or someone you know is intersted in becoming a member of the planning committee, please email Jill Hennessey, event chairperson, at 

Annual Dinner Event is Record-Breaker!

Highland Foundation for Educational Excellence extends a sincere thank you to the Highland community for a record-breaking, 13th Annual Great Gifts Dinner on November 4 at Weymouth Country Club. The theme for this year’s event was A Vintage Soirée...Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future. Guests enjoyed a 1920’s theme and each neighboring township was represented at 1920s-style stations. Guests were given passwords to “enter” into the different township stations to try to win a prize.  

Welcome to Our New Website!

Foundation LogoThe Highland Foundation for Educational Excellence has completed a redesign of its website. The site will further enhance functionality and improve communication with parents, students, donors, staff and the community. The site features an updated and consistent design, easy-to-read content and user-friendly navigation. 

“Much like our partners at the Highland Local Schools, The Foundation is continuously looking for ways to more effectively connect and communicate with members of the school community,” stated Theresa Wright, Executive Director of The Highland Foundation. “The new website allows our organization to more efficiently provide information regarding our mission and vision, as well as grants and programs, our successes, financial reports and future goals.” Additionally, the new site is ADA compliant and offers accessibility features for those with disabilities.

Visitors to the website will notice that the design and functionality mirrors that of the Highland District site in an effort to maintain consistency. The Foundation has added the ability to register for e-communication updates, as well as an updated calendar of events. One important change to note is that all Highland alumni information, updates and alumni database registration is now being filtered through the Foundation site. “For the past year, this information was located on the school district website, but since the Highland Alumni Association works in conjunction with The Foundation, the migration of the information to the new site made the most sense,” explained Mrs. Wright.  

The Foundation will continue to review the web site on a regular basis to ensure that it meets the needs of all users.

Time to Honor Your Highland 'Star'

It’s that time of year to honor your Highland STAR and make their day brighter. The holidays will be here before you know it, and many of us are searching for that perfect gift for teachers or community members who have made an impact on our child’s academic success.

The Staff and Teacher Award Recognition (STAR) program proudly honors a Highland community member of your choice for their outstanding achievements. Each recipient is presented with an award certificate and either a box of bonbons or the Highland Diamond etched with our Highland Hornet and date. A personal note from the donor can also be included with the STAR award. Just fill out the STAR Awards form found online or in any school office, and the Highland Foundation will do the rest!

Each award presented requires a $10 minimum donation for a mini decorated box of bonbons, a $30 donation for a large decorated box of bonbons, or a $30 donation for the Highland Diamond hanging ornament. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, December 13.  Awards will be distributed December 14 and 15.

There are two easy ways to place your order:
1. Pay online with a credit card at highlandfoundation.org
2. Mail your completed form with payment to the Highland Foundation, 3880 Ridge Road, Medina, OH 44256. Please make checks payable to the Highland Foundation.

For more information, contact Michelle Cottrell at 440-935-4223 or email at moonshei87@gmail.com.

College Now Program in Full Swing

College Now LogoThe Highland Foundation has funded the "College Now Great Cleveland" initiative for the past five years. The mission of College Now is to increase college attainment through college access and success advising, financial aid counseling and scholarship services. On-site appointments are held at the high school for parents and students.

During the 2016-17 school year alone, College Now served 116 HHS students, aided in the completion of 170 FAFSA applications and offered 89 individual sessions.

The Highland Foundation is proud to underwrite the College Now program, the first to be offered in Medina County, to our Highland School District. To learn more, visit the College Now web site. To schedule an appointment, please contact CARMEN DANIEL at (330) 485-9364 or via email: cdaniel@collegenowGC.org.

Coming Up: One District, One Book

Photo of Past Program BooksElementary students at all three schools will received a common book to read during a month-long reading celebration beginning in January 2018. The new book will be announced to the schools in January and students will celebrate with a kick-off event. The, throughout the month, students will participate in related activities. This initiative, now in its 4th year, encourages students to engage in reading outside of the classroom.

Coming Up: Beo Strings Residency

Beo String QuartetA young and innovative classical string quartet (2 violins/viola/cello) from Pittsburgh, PA, Beo Strings specializes in a traditional classical repertoire, as well as exploring new musical styles and boundaries. They will work with the 410 students of the Highland orchestra program during a two-day workshop on March 7-8, 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 HHS orchestra students on March 8 in the high school auditorium.

Committee Inducts First Group into Alumni Hall of Fame

The Highland Alumni Association, in partnership with The Highland Foundation for Educational Excellence hosted the Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame on October 6 at Highland Middle School. The committee honored the first Hall of Fame class and recognized the 50th Anniversary of the Class of 1968. It was a special evening, as Highland Board of Education member Chris Wolny read each inductee’s impressive list of accomplishments.

The Future of Education at Highland Schools

All those things you wish your local public school could provide your child in terms of enrichment, the Highland Foundation strives to deliver. 

  • More exposure to the arts and music. 
  • More hands-on science-related activities and programs. 
  • More options for teachers to enhance learning with creative thinking.
  • More technology for a deeper educational experience.

From funding educational tools and programs to sponsoring college scholarships, the Highland Foundation’s non-profit goal has remained the same throughout our 17 years: to acquire and distribute unique and innovative resources to Highland Local Schools – resources that otherwise wouldn’t be available. We are independent from the District, yet we work together to deliver a more enriching experience for the district’s students and staff. 

Contact us for more information: The Highland Foundation, 3880 Ridge Road, Medina, Ohio 44256
E-mail: information@highlandfoundation.org

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