Highland High School

Back to School 2020-2021

Melinda Murphy


Dear Highland Families,

Welcome to the 20-21 school year! Although our start looks a bit different this year, we are looking forward to another great year at Highland and are anxious to open our doors to welcome students into the building. In the next few days, students will be contacted by their teachers and given information about their courses and log-in instructions for class on Wednesday, August 5th. Please ask your students to watch their emails for information. Parents have also been sent information on our online learning platform, technical support, and expectations for student behavior while we are online. That information is included here as well as the schedule for online learning. Please reach out to the school or your child’s teacher if you have any questions.

The first day of school will look a bit different as we enter the virtual classroom. On August 3rd the Infinite Campus student portal will open at 7 am so that students can view their schedule. Due to the shift of students to Global Academy, your child's schedule may look different than it did in mid-July, so please make sure they check IC. Ask your child to check their email early next week so that they are prepared for the first day of school. As school begins on Wednesday, August 5th, teachers will focus on ensuring that students can navigate through the Buzz platform and understand how to access their courses.

Highland has a tradition of excellence that we are incredibly proud of. Over the years a combination of dedicated staff and talented students have shaped the culture of Highland. As a staff, we stand by our mission statement: The Hawk Family provides an accepting, positive learning environment where growth and success happen. As GPS Governing Board president, Dr. SantaCruz said at a recent board meeting, “The struggle for equality and justice has been a part of this nation’s history since its inception. As a society, we must continue to strive to become that more perfect union we all desire. Gilbert Public Schools is not immune to the challenges that have sparked the protests that have occurred throughout our country. We must always seek to establish a climate and culture that is inclusive and just. We must become a community that honors and respects the contributions of all people regardless of their social and economic status. A community is rich when it embraces its capacity to utilize the skills and talents of all individuals.” We are fortunate to be part of a community where skill and talent are in abundance. Our theme for the year, "Building a Better Nest Together #onebranchatatime "is focused on working toward a community free of discrimination, prejudice, and racism. Monthly site council meetings are open to all community members and we would love to have you join us as we focus on this important work, discuss topics of interest to parents, and come together to continue building the excellence Highland is known for.

This school year is certain to be a challenging time for many families and we are here to support you along the way. We are fortunate to have a talented staff who are invested in our community and our students. We look forward to working with you throughout the 2020-21 school year.

Go Hawks!

Reese Neal

Assistant Principal, Seniors

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year, Class of 2021!

As we head into the final stretch of your high school career, I want you to know I look forward to working with you as your administrator. If you need anything at all or have questions, please feel free to reach out at any time--I am here to help and want to see each and every one of you succeed!

I realize that at this point, you would normally have dates for all or most major upcoming events, but until we have a date to return to campus for in-person learning, everything else is tentative. I understand it is difficult not knowing what we will get to do or when, but rest assured, as details become available for these various events, dates, etc., we will share them with you. Please keep a close eye on your email and read information carefully so you do not miss out on any important updates, such as this one regarding Senior Portrait for Yearbook and Yearbook Information.

Seniors, this is an exciting time for you, and even though it is not happening as you may have always imagined it would, I still believe there is much fun to be had, many wonderful memories to be made, and great feats to be accomplished. To quote Thoreau, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Class of 2021, pandemic or not, keep chasing those dreams! Now is your time to shine. Your time to show us all what it means to rise and soar.

Be wonderful. Life is now.

-Mr. Neal

Dr. Lauren Harmon

Assistant Principal, Juniors

Welcome Back Hawk Families! We are excited to get the school year started! Although this beginning is unlike any other, our counseling team has been working harder than ever before to ensure that the learning model of your choice is reflected in your student’s schedule. It has been a daunting task for counselors to change almost a thousand schedules to Global, Flex, address the typical schedule requests, in addition to their other counseling responsibilities, at the beginning of the school year! Our counseling team rocks! The high volume of schedule changes has impacted our ability to respond within our standard two business day turnaround time. We wanted to acknowledge and thank all of our families for your support, understanding and patience during these unexpected circumstances. We appreciate you!

Monday, August 3rd, at 7am, all of the adjusted schedules will be released. Please know that many schedules will not look the same, including the traditional in person learning model choice. This is due to our staffing and course offerings shifting temporarily while we offer full time instruction at Gilbert Global Academy. Again, our counseling department worked incredibly hard to honor the original course requests and ensure graduation requirements are met, but there are some instances where your student’s teachers, course and/or period of the day may have changed to fulfill the demands of a changing, robust, and complex master schedule that meets the needs of over 3,000 students. Again, thank you for your understanding and your flexibility with the ongoing changes.

On another note, Highland High School will still be providing an Open House virtual experience on Tuesday, August 11th, from 6:00 p.m to 7:30 p.m. More formal details will be sent out shortly. We look forward to “seeing” you there!

Brandon Larson

Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, Sophomores

I hope that everyone has had a great summer! Summer is the time to make great memories and to enjoy your family and friends before you engage on the next school year ready to go. Over this summer I was able to travel to some areas of the country that I have never seen before with my family. While on my travels I was talking to my wife and expressing to her how much I missed our student body and seeing all of them on campus. I know this last year was a crazy one and ended with a twist, but I can't wait to get back to seeing all the kids on campus. In the mean time, stay safe and enjoy this time because when we come back we are going to hit the ground running!

In regards to athletics, the District and State are working hard to try and make sure that we have meaningful seasons coming for fall and winter sports. As of now we are anticipating a start date of August 17th for fall sports, but that is subject to change with new information. To get the latest information, please visit our new athletics website at www.athleticshawks.com.

I look forward to seeing all of you soon!

Stacia Cantrell

Dean of Students, Freshmen

Welcome, Class of 2024! We are so excited that you are joining the Hawk Family! Here are some helpful tips to get you started off on the right foot with your high school career:

1) Make sure you and your parents know how to log into Infinite Campus. Teachers will update Infinite Campus about once per week, and it is important that students and parents check frequently so they are aware of student progress throughout the year. Here is a link to the district website with information about how to log into Infinite Campus: https://www.gilbertschools.net/Page/882

2) Get Connected with Link Crew. Link Crew a team of Junior and Senior students who are here to support students who are new to Highland. They traditionally host Freshman Orientation prior to school starting, but unfortunately we had to cancel this event due to COVID. Don't worry though, Link Crew is still here to help you get connected during your freshman year. Your link leader will be reaching out over the next few weeks to welcome you to Highland. They will also be sending out a campus tour video prior to in-person school resuming so that you are more familiar with important locations and people on campus. Once school resumes, your Link Leaders will be checking in with you periodically throughout the year and also hosting fun events for freshmen. Check out the Link Crew welcome letter in the Back To School Guide for more information.

3) Reach out if you need help! Don't be afraid to reach out to an adult if you have any questions or need help with something. We have an amazing team of teachers and staff here at Highland who are extremely supportive of our students. Feel free to email your teacher if you have a question about your classes. Here is a link to our Staff Directory.

I hope you have an amazing freshman year and look forward to seeing each of you when school resumes!

Mrs. Cantrell

Dean of Students - Freshmen

Online Learning Schedule for Highland High School

Below is the schedule Highland will follow while we are in remote learning. We will begin on Wednesday, August 5th with a full day where every class will meet. Students should review and post the schedule so that they are aware of what classes meet each day. Teachers are available in the afternoons for office hours, additional help, etc.
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Emergency Contacts & ‘Annual Update’ Instructions for 2020/21 School Year

If you haven’t already, it is time to complete the online ‘Annual Update’ to prepare for the new school year. The ‘Annual Update’ in Infinite Campus allows you to tell us of any updates to your contact information, address changes, and updates to emergency contacts.

In order to ensure we can communicate with you regarding your student, or in case of emergency, it is essential that we have your up to date contact details. Please log in to your Infinite Campus parent portal and complete your student’s ‘Annual Update’ today.

Click here to log in to the Infinite Campus parent portal.

Click here for instructions on how to log in to Infinite Campus and troubleshooting resources.


Students who attended a Gilbert Public School last school year should have kept their Chromebook over the summer. Click HERE if you are having any issues with your Chromebook.

New to Gilbert Public Schools? Click HERE for information about picking up your student's Chromebook from Highland High School


f your teacher contacts you and says that you will need a textbook for the first day of school, you may come pick up the designated textbook from the HHS Bookstore August 3rd - 7th between 7 AM - 3 PM. Not all courses will need physical textbooks during online learning, so only come down to pick up a textbook if directed by your teacher.

First Day of School - August 5th

While school buildings are closed, learning continues! Students will begin the school year online August 5th. For the most up-to-date back to school information, check out the GPS Back-To-School website.

Getting Started Online August 5th

As all of our students will begin the school year online, there are some key resources our parents should be aware of:

  • During online learning students will be using the Buzz platform, our official district online learning platform, to connect with their teacher(s), and to access the Florida Virtual curriculum.

  • Students will use the GPS Portal to access Buzz on a daily basis while learning online.

  • Our GPS Parent Technical Support website is now live, providing parents with all the information they need to be successful online including login information for our district online platform, Buzz.

  • Click here to view a ‘Parent Onboarding’ video for Buzz.

  • Student orientation for Buzz will be available prior to having access to their courses on August 5th.

  • Communication will continue to be sent out from your school(s) with information regarding schedules, meet the teacher etc.

  • Please reference www.gilbertschools.net/backtoschool for clear expectations regarding online learning, for our students, and our parents.

Student Behavior Expectations for Online Learning

COVID-19 school closures have significantly impacted all our lives. This situation, however, has not altered the Gilbert Public Schools’ desire to provide a quality educational environment for students. It is extremely important that all students remember that, while utilizing online learning opportunities, it is still their responsibility to interact appropriately with teachers and other students at all times. This means that, although we are not physically together, students must follow established teacher online classroom rules, including treating each other with respect. Students are accountable for their own behavior.

If a student is determined to not be following appropriate behavioral expectations as listed in the link below, they are likely to receive consequences. Please be a team player and help us work together through this challenging time!

Parents and guardians, please review the student expectations below with your child.

GPS Student Expectations During Distance Learning

Student Club Information is Coming Soon!

Even in the world of virtual learning, Highland is a community. One of the ways that we bring students together is through clubs. Look for information about virtual student clubs coming soon!
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