Highland High School

August 2020

Melinda Murphy


Dear Highland families,

It has been a long time coming, but we hope you are as excited as we are to welcome students back to campus. We begin in a hybrid fashion on September 8 (the daily schedule is below in the newsletter). If the projections for the continued decline of our COVID numbers hold we will resume school fully in person on September 21.

The hybrid return splits students into two groups. Students with the last name A-L will attend school on Monday and Thursday. Students with the last name M-Z will attend school on Tuesday and Friday. All students will participate in remote learning on Wednesday. Teachers will let students know what the plan for the Wednesday meeting is on Monday or Tuesday. Questions about the groupings should be directed to your student’s counselor.

Students returning to campus can expect a few things to look a bit different, so please review and discuss these with your students so that we are on the same page as we begin.

  • Masks will be worn in classrooms and indoor spaces. (Masks are not required while students are eating or engaging in strenuous activities.)

  • The cafeteria will have a limited capacity. Students will be able to eat throughout the campus, but seating in the main cafeteria and extensions will be limited to a small number of students at each table.

  • Students arriving on campus will proceed directly to their first-hour teacher’s classroom.

  • Hawk Hall will be shut down to limit large gatherings of students indoors. Students will be directed to exit their classroom through the nearest outside exit and enter the building again through the door closest to their next class.

  • The Commons will have limited capacity to limit large gatherings of students.

  • Release times will be staggered with students proceeding directly to their next class.

  • Handwashing instructions and reminders about wearing masks are posted around campus. Teachers will have hand sanitizer accessible as well as cleaning supplies that may be utilized between classes.

  • Classroom seating will be forward-facing in rows with assigned seating in all classes.

  • Prior to Fall Break, we will not be running sweep. Students arriving late should check in with the attendance office for a pass. Parents will not be required to physically come into the office.

This newsletter is full of information and a few other changes (pay attention to the section on changes to parent pick-up and drop-off) that will be in place when you return. Please read carefully and look for additional information to be coming your way prior to our return.

We are very excited to welcome the Hawks back! We know that there will be challenges ahead, but we also know that the Hawks know how to rise and soar. We are counting on all of you to help us Build a Better Nest this year and can’t wait to see you on campus soon!

Melinda Murphy


Highland High

Reese Neal

Assistant Principal, Seniors

Welcome back, Senior Hawks!

Who's ready to rise and soar?!

It’s time to show that you’re the best,

a class they can't ignore!

Class of 2021, it has begun,

your legacy starts right now.

How will you be remembered?

Don't stop until you're proud!

Class of 2021, as we approach the return to campus for in-person instruction, please remember that 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 as we return to campus. 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!

I am looking forward to a memorable year as your administrator and can't wait to see what amazing things you accomplish. No matter what the challenge, we will always overcome when we remember that we are #strongertogether!

Students, keep soaring! Parents, thank you for your continued teamwork and support.

Be wonderful. Life is now.

-Mr. Neal

REMINDER: 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!

Dr. Lauren Harmon

Assistant Principal, Juniors

Hello Hawk Families! I am certainly looking forward to seeing all of our students back on campus sooner than later! Since students had the opportunity to change their learning option recently, our counseling team is currently updating schedules. Schedules will be finalized by September 3rd, by 3 pm. That being said, it is important to review your student’s schedule before we return September 8th. There is a chance that the hour of the class may change or the teacher of the class may change. Our counselors are working hard to ensure the least amount of disruption to your student’s current schedule. However, due to shifts in staffing and the number of students returning, our master schedule will have to be adjusted accordingly. Due to the necessary modifications, some schedules may look different after September 3rd.

Speaking of changing schedules, at this point in time, the only schedule changes counselors are addressing, are level changes. Students have until October 1st to submit a request for a level change. They must reach out to their current teacher and notify them of their desire to change the level of their class. The teacher will then direct them to the next appropriate steps. In addition, when we return on the 8th, counselors will only be available to address schedule changes if it involves a hole in their schedule or the addition of a Teaching Assistant (TA). Only juniors and seniors can be TA’s. No other schedule changes will be made at this time.

Beginning next week, juniors and seniors will be able to pick up their parking passes in the Bookstore. Please adhere to the schedule below in order to pick up your parking pass:

Date Time Alpha Split

August 31, 2020 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. A – E

September 1, 2020 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. F – J

September 2, 2020 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. K – Q

September 3, 2020 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. R – Z

September 4, 2020 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Make -up

Students should park in the student lot in order to pick up the parking pass. Please remember to wear a mask or face covering when entering the Bookstore. Students that won a personalized parking pass at the end of last school year should also pick up their parking pass at this time. More information will be sent out separately today about personalized parking spaces.

Brandon Larson

Athletic Director/Assistant Principal, Sophomores

Sports are back!!! With the AIA approving the Modified Fall Calendar and the GPS Board approving our move forward, we are full steam ahead! Different sports will be starting at different times as part of those modifications is a phased in start. Some of the sports may look a little different as well with some modifications to each sport so that we can make sure our athletes and coaches are protected and safe. Sports will be following guidelines on masks, hydration, and social distancing when possible. Just in case you see it, please know that when kids are in practice or games and are moving around, they will not be wearing masks as there are safety concerns that prohibit those being worn. The buy in from the kids and coaches has been great, as well as the excitement from the community has been great to see!

As we begin to talk about what attendance at events will look like and any changes that come forth, we will continue to update the community. The best way to get access to all of our information including updates, schedules, camps, etc is to visit our new athletics site at www.athleticshawks.com. You can also follow us on social media @athletics_hawks. We're excited to get these sites fired back up with photos and announcements. We even have student media specialist this year helping us creating content for our sites!

We look forward to seeing kids back on the campus soon! Until then, continue to Rise and Soar!

Stacia Cantrell

Dean of Students, Freshmen

Hey Hawks!

We are so excited to welcome students back onto campus. Please check out the important information below. If you have any questions regarding Clubs & Activities or Testing, please reach out to me!

Stacia Cantrell

HHS Hybrid Learning Schedule

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Students whose last names begin with A-L will attend Monday and Thursday. Students whose last names begin with M-Z will attend Tuesday and Friday. Wednesdays will be used for remote learning.

Staggered release times will allow smaller groups of students to move from one class to another creating less log jams around campus. Students will be instructed to move directly from one class to another rather than lingering in groups on campus.

Changes to Drop Off/Pick Up Locations for Buses and Parents

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Changes to bus drop off/pick up locations

Due to state regulations regarding bus drop off locations and public traffic, changes have been made to the drop-off and pick-up locations for buses and parents.

Buses will enter the campus from Hawk Drive (northwest entrance off Guadalupe) and turn left to drop off and pick up along the curb in the front (north) lot of the school.

The east side of campus (near the seminary building) will be used only for staff parking, Toybox drop off/pick up, and special education drop off/pick up. Parents should NOT drop students off on the east side of campus.

Parents arriving for 504 meetings or IEP meetings in the morning should arrive by 6:55 am and park in visitor spaces in the front (north) lot.

Parents arriving for 504 meetings or IEP meetings after school will be given start times that account for bus pickups in the afternoon. Parents should park in visitor spaces in the front (north) lot.

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Changes to Parent Drop Off/Pick Up Location and Student Lot Procedures

Parents will enter the campus from Hawk Drive (northwest entrance off Guadalupe) proceed south to the student lot, entering the lot at the third entrance, proceed around the outer traffic lane past the football field and drop off/pick up students along the east curb in front of the basketball court/gym or along the north curb in front of the auditorium exiting the lot back onto Hawk Drive and proceeding north toward Guadalupe.

Students will enter the campus from Hawk Drive (northwest entrance off Guadalupe) proceed south to the student lot, entering the lot at the second entrance, and proceeding into the lot to an open parking space.

Clubs and Activities

Clubs & Activities

Encourage your student to get involved on campus by joining a student club. There will be a Virtual Club Fair on Tuesday, September 1st 3:00 - 3:30 PM. Students will find a list of the participating clubs with links to the virtual Webex rooms in their GPS email. They can click the links to check out as many clubs as they would like during the fair. For a complete list of student clubs visit the HHS website: https://www.gilbertschools.net/Domain/445

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ACT Testing

All HHS Seniors will have the opportunity to take the ACT Test on October 20, 2020. More information will be shared as the date approaches. Check out the ACT Test Prep Website for study materials and free resources.

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Walk Your Schedule

Students and families may come onto campus September 3rd and 4th between 3:00-5:00 PM to walk their schedule and find their classes. We ask that all 9th grade students and all students that are new to Highland this year attend on September 3rd as we will have Link Crew members available on campus to direct and assist you. We ask all returning 10th-12th grade students to attend on September 4th. Please follow the alpha split below to avoid over-crowding and assist with social distancing. All visitors must wear masks while on campus per Maricopa County Health Guidelines. 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 Webex meeting.

September 3rd - 9th grade and NEW students

September 4th - Returning 10th-12th grade students

Please follow the schedule below for both days:

Last Names A-L 3:00 - 3:45 PM

Last Names M-Z 4:00 - 4:45 PM

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HHS Spirit Store Hours

The Spirit Store will be open soon! Students can purchase Hawk Swag, PE Uniforms, and even healthy snacks during the school day. See hours below.

August 31st - September 18th

Monday 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Tuesday 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Wednesday CLOSED

Thursday 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Friday 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM

September 21st and beyond

Monday 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Tuesday 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Wednesday 7:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Thursday 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Friday 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Annual Notifications and Resources for Parents

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