Highland High School

August 2021

Melinda Murphy


Adminstrative Assistant:

Katrina Arellano 480.813.0051 x4043

Hello Hawk Families,

Welcome to the 21-22 school year! As I enter my eighth year at Highland I am looking forward to the year ahead. We will be welcoming close to 3,300 students to the campus and have some great things in store for them.

As parents, you are instrumental in guiding your children through the choices they will make over the next four years. Our mission above all else is to provide quality education. We know that you are a critical part of helping us achieve that goal and hope that we can partner with you. We look forward to getting to know you and welcoming you to our campus events. Your first opportunity will be on Thursday, August 12 at our Open House which will be held from 6:00-7:30.

One way to become involved on campus is through Site Council meetings which are held on the last Monday of the month throughout the year. Due to COVID, Site Council's meetings weren't held last year and I am very much looking forward to welcoming parents back to campus and hearing from you. Our first meeting will be held on Monday, August 30 at 6:00 in the Commons. Any parents are welcome to join - this is your invitation!

We anticipate a year filled with all of the things that make Highland a place kids want to be. Dances, games, concerts, club meetings, talent shows, pep assemblies, art showcases - all of the things that make up high school memories. There is always a lot happening at Highland and one way you can stay in touch is by following us on social media. We are on Instagram @highland.hawks and on Facebook. We post pictures of students, classroom activities, information about upcoming events, and recaps of past events - everything you need to know to stay engaged with us.

Thank you as always for your support and I hope to see you on campus soon!

Melinda Murphy


Highland High School

Reese Neal

Assistant Principal

Grade Level - SENIORS

Administrative Assistant:

Tricia Trejo 480.813.0051 x4057

Welcome back, Hawk Seniors!

I can’t tell you just how excited I am about this new school year, and I hope you are too! So many memories have yet to be made, and as your administrator, I am not only looking forward to getting to know as many of you this year as possible but also seeing all of the amazing things you will accomplish along the way.

Class of 2022, this year is yours, so make it count! As seniors, you often set the tone and serve as an example to HHS underclassmen. Many look to you as leaders in terms of what it means to be a Hawk and what it looks like to rise and soar, both in and out of the classroom. Each day, you have the power--and the choice--to either build up or tear down. As Hawks, "we rise by lifting others," so it is my hope that you choose to build up and consider how you might make a positive impact on those around you this year. Whether it is through your ideas, your words, your attitudes, or your actions, even the smallest gesture of kindness or encouragement can make the biggest difference. Thank you in advance for your positive contributions and leadership!

Parents, thank you as well for your continued teamwork and support. Please reach out at any time if you have any questions. Thank you!


  • In addition to checking your school email regularly for important information, be sure to follow us on social media (@highland_hawks or @highland.hawks) to stay up-to-date on everything Hawks!

  • Be on the lookout for the SENIORS ONLY newsletter in a couple of weeks as well--lots of important information and resources coming your way to help ensure a successful and memorable senior year!

Be wonderful. Life is now.

-Mr. Neal

Dr. Lauren Harmon

Assistant Principal

Grade Level - JUNIORS

Administrative Assistant:

Dinah Guhy 480.813.0051 x4067

Welcome Back Hawk Families! We are excited to get the school year started! I am ready to reconnect, collaborate, and celebrate the start of the 2021-2022 school year!

Highland has several back-to-school traditions and celebrations. One of them is that approximately 100 seniors each year win the opportunity to have a personalized parking spot that they personally design and paint as their own to use during the school year. This year's seniors can paint their assigned parking spots on Saturday, August 14, 2021, from 6 am to 11 am and from 5 pm to dusk. Seniors have until August 11th to submit their designs inside the Bookstore for approval. More detailed information will be emailed out to the winners of the personalized parking lottery.

Another tradition and opportunity to connect is during Curriculum Night on Thursday, August 12, 2021, from 6 pm - 7:30 pm. Families are able to walk their student’s schedule and meet their teachers. It's a great way for families to get to know teachers and learn about the curriculum in each of their classes,

Looking forward to seeing students back on campus in just a few days!

Brandon Larson

Athletic Director/Assistant Principal

Grade Level - SOPHOMORES

Administrative Assistant:

Brenda Johnsen 480.813.0051 x4023

Welcome back Hawks! We are excited to kick off the 2021-2022 school year and get moving with the fall season. We are super excited about our new website that was launched last year. We will continue to improve the content, but most of the information you need will be on this site. You can access the site at www.athleticshawks.com.

A few reminders:

1. Mandatory parent meeting for all students trying out for, or participating in a sport this year will be on August 9th in the Auditorium. 6pm 10-12th graders (Parents only) and 7pm 9th graders (Parents and Athletes).

2. All fall athletes will need to be cleared through the Register My Athlete in order to be try out or join an athletic team. Instructions can be found on the website under parent resources.

3. Passes can be purchased on the website for students to be able to attend all regular season home events (in lieu of activity cards since we are moving to E-Ticketing).

We look forward to seeing everyone out at the games!

Tiffanie Pierson

Dean of Students

Grade Level - FRESHMEN

Administrative Assistant:

Tricia Trejo 480.813.0051 x4057

HIghland Hawks!

We are so excited to welcome students back onto campus. If you have any questions regarding Clubs & Activities or Testing, please reach out to me.

Welcome, Class of 2025 ! We are so excited that you are joining the Hawk Family! Here is a quick tip to get you started off on the right foot with your high school career:

  • Get Connected with Link Crew. Link Crew is a team of Junior and Senior students who are here to support students who are new to Highland. They will be hosting Freshman Orientation July 29th and July 30th. Check out the @Highland.Hawks instagram page for more details. Once school begins, 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.

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

Justine Ingram



Hello Hawks!

Welcome back, we are excited to have you here for the 21-22 school year.

This will be my first full year here at Highland High School and I'm really looking forward to seeing you all around campus, getting to cheer you on at your games and watch you all perform!

Parents and students please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you have about supports at Highland High.

Thank you for all your support and have a great year!

Please Check Schedules on Tuesday, August 3rd

Please have your student check their schedule in IC before arriving at campus on August 4. As we have added additional sections and staff, schedules may have shifted since mid July when they were released.

2021-2022 Bell Schedule

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Clubs and Activities

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Annual Notifications and Resources for Parents


Freshman Orientation

Freshman Orientation Info: Thursday, July 29th or Friday, July 30th The orientation will be split by last names beginning with:

A-L attend on July 29 8 am-12 pm

M-Z attend on July 30 8 am-12 pm

*Orientation will start at 8:00 am PROMPT **ALL Marching Band Students will attend on Thursday July 29th, regardless of last name. Orientation will start in the gymnasium.

More Back to School Information

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Walk Your Schedule

Students and families may come onto campus Thursday, July 29th and Monday, August 2nd between 3:00-5:00 PM to walk their schedule and find their classes. Teachers will not be available during this time. If you would like to speak with your child's teacher, please email them directly to schedule a phone call or meeting.

COVID Protocols

Updated COVID protocols can be found on the GPS website at https://www.gilbertschools.net/Page/715 . It is important that parents not send kids who are sick or who have COVID symptoms to school. Masks are not mandated on campus, but students and staff are welcome to wear them.

Student Conduct Expectations

Prior to last year, Highland had clear expectations regarding student behavior. Unfortunately, the challenges presented by COVID did not allow us to address these in a manner consistent with previous years.

The following sections of this newsletter address a variety of student conduct expectations that will be fully in place next year. Please review each with your student. In addition, students will sign the Student Awareness contract after they are shown a short video reviewing GPS policies.

Please remind students that demonstrating respect in all manners and in all parts of the campus - cafeteria, fields, hallways, and classrooms is an expectation of Highland students.

Parking and Students Who Walk Accessing Campus

We always anticipate heavy traffic, but especially in the first weeks of school. It is important that you plan to arrive well in advance of the first bell at 7:25 am in order to assure that students are able to be in their first hour on time and that you have plenty of time to enter and exit our parking lots.

The designated drop-off and pick-up areas for students are in the front (north lot) and back (student parking lot) areas. The exit from the front lot is a right turn only onto Guadalupe.

State regulations require that private traffic is separated from school buses. This means that there is to be NO STUDENT DROP OFF or PICK UP on the east side of the campus (near the portables and seminary). Parents entering this area will be asked to leave.

We always strive to be good neighbors to the residents in the area as they are inundated with student traffic. Please keep in mind that students who are in violation of student conduct policies while in the neighborhood on their way to or from school will be subject to discipline in accordance with GPS policy.

The Highland Park neighborhood park (located south of the seminary building) is private property. The park is patrolled and students who are not residents may be charged with trespassing. Students who park in the area and walk to campus must walk along Guadalupe rather than through the neighborhood. Property damage due to students hopping fences, illegal parking, and other acts of vandalism will be reported to Gilbert PD as well as Highland High. Students who violate student conduct guidelines while in the park or neighborhood during school hours will be subject to school discipline policies.

Parents dropping off students in the neighborhood should avoid using the area of Swan and Barbarita as well as Tremain and Barbarita for drop off and pick up as there have been near accidents with elementary students whose bus stops are in this area.

There are multiple no parking zones in all of the surrounding neighborhoods around Highland, please ensure that your students understand that these areas are patrolled by Gilbert PD and they will be ticketed if they are parked in a no-parking zone.


We will be returning to using "Sweep" for students who are tardy to their first hour this year. If you are unfamiliar with Sweep, students who arrive to class after the first hour bell has rung will be "swept" and will remain in the cafeteria for the first hour of school unless they are signed in by a parent in the front office.

Students who are swept will be allowed to make up work that they missed but will need to meet with teachers on their own time. Last year, due to COVID mitigation procedures, Sweep was not in place, and the number of students who were tardy climbed to record levels. Given our rate of success in reducing tardies in first hour as well as overall tardies throughout the day, we will be returning to Sweep this year.

Sweep will begin a couple of weeks into the school year once students are familiar with the campus, their schedules, parking, and traffic patterns around the school. You can support us by ensuring that your student leaves home early enough to arrive at school on time.

Dress Code Expectations

As students begin back to school shopping please remember that Gilbert Public Schools does have a dress code. Students not wearing school appropriate attire will be sent to change their clothes in the nurse’s office.

As a reminder:

  • Tops must have a 2 inch minimum width strap (no spaghetti straps, tube tops, or strapless shirts including off the shoulder shirts)

  • Clothing should completely cover the midriff (cropped tops which reveal stomachs should not be worn)

  • Clothing should cover underarm, back and chest area

  • Shorts must cover underwear and buttocks completely

  • Clothing that is identified as gang affiliated and/or carries the potential to intimidate or create violence may not be worn

  • Shorts and pants must fit appropriately

  • No clothing with profanity, sexual references, racial slurs, or references to drugs/alcohol/weapons should be worn

Our biggest challenge in terms of dress code last year was with cropped shirts and they are still wildly popular. Please work with us and discourage your child from dressing outside of the guidelines. While some attire is appropriate for some places, it is not always appropriate for others. The school dress code is no different.

Cell Phones on Campus

Cell phones are an enormous distraction to the learning environment that teachers work hard to establish every day. At Highland, all teachers utilize a cell phone pocket holder where students drop their phones at the start of each class period. Students are welcome to use their phones between classes or while at lunch, but may not use their phones during class time without the permission of the teacher. If a teacher asks a student to give them their phone as a result of a student not following the procedure in place, parents may need to come to the office to pick up the phone.

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