Alumni Share Wisdom About High School and Life
How do we know that a High Meadows education is effective? Measuring educational outcomes is not the easiest thing to do; test scores and grades offer an extremely limited (and arguably invalid) view of what schools do well. But there is one area of evidence that we can always point to: the success of our outstanding alumni.

Rather than just taking my word for it, read the articles below and watch the video of our recent Alumni Night, filmed by our own alumna, Charli Shapiro, who also happens to be an Emmy award-winning filmmaker. How's that for a measure of success?

Enjoy,

Jay Underwood
Head of School
Graduates gather for the 2019 Alumni Night dinner and panel discussion.
In late January, about 50 former students returned to High Meadows for Alumni Night which features a panel discussion open to the school community. Middle Years Teachers Anne Lovatt and Issac Wolf, both High Meadows graduates, moderated the panel in which 10 alumni shared honest insight about how to prepare for life beyond the meadows. See the list of panelists and highlights of their advice below.
 
Class of 2018
  • Katie Griffin, North Springs Charter High School
  • Ryan Peacock, The Galloway School
Class of 2017
  • Drew Finarelli, The Walker School
  • Mackenzie Paschal, Roswell High School
Class of 2016
  • Judy Denning, Walton High School Stem Academy
Class of 2015
  • David Hauser, Chattahoochee High School
  • Foster Ellis, The Paideia School
  • Anna Cave, Centennial High School
College
  • Class of 2012: Elisabeth McDonnell, Roswell High School, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Class of 2011: Mattie Worsham, Rivers Academy, Emory University
Read below for some key pieces of advice from the panelists and check out this video of highlights from Alumni Night.

High Meadows School Evening With Alumni
High Meadows School Evening With Alumni 2019

Who Turned Out the Lights?
Panelists shared some things that surprised them when they went to high school.
  • Anna: It took time to adjust to being inside all day and having less light coming from High Meadows where we were outside so much.
  • Elisabeth: At High Meadows, everyone has an appetite for learning. Not all people in high school have that. It's hard to adjust to that.
  • Mackenzie: At High Meadows, kids respect teachers and have a strong work ethic. That's not all the same in high school.
  • David: I was surprised that kids care about grades. That can come at expense of learning. Don't get caught up in grade grubbing.
Develop Relationships with Your Teachers
Get to know your high school teachers and advocate for what you need were resounding messages from panelists.
  • Elisabeth: At High Meadows, I learned the importance of developing relationships with my teachers. If you are respectful of teachers and learning from them, they are respectful of you.
  • Mackenzie: High Meadows helps you know how to advocate and talk with your teachers if you don't understand something.
  • Mattie: My key takeaway is don't be afraid to ask questions. I'm able to tell teachers I don't know what they're talking about and ask them for help.
All I Need to Know for High School, I Learned at High Meadows
Panelists overwhelmingly said that High Meadows gave them a desire to learn and prepared them well for ninth grade and beyond. Several noted that they still use some of the study guides they prepared in eighth grade!
  • Anna: Ninth grade covered a lot of what I learned in eighth grade. The outlines Mr. Wolf makes you do now will help you later too! Listen to your teachers in eighth grade about what you should take in high school.
  • Judy: High Meadows helped bolster my confidence in public speaking through Exhibition, Learning Museums, and Emphasis. They all help you learn to how to research and practice speaking. This helps you in high school.
  • Katie: The study skills you are learning now in eighth grade will help you in high school.
  • Drew: Keep your old tests and quizzes! They are very helpful.
Finding Your High School Tribe
Audience members' questions focused in part on how to best transition to high school and navigate a new social scene. The alumni members gave reassuring advice on how to meet friends and the importance of trying new activities.
  • Mattie: Remember that everybody's new.
  • Judy: When you first start out, it's going to feel weird. I challenged myself to talk with one new person a day. Remember to put yourself out there.
  • Drew: Get into extra-curricular activities in eighth grade; try them out. The people I met in those are my friends now.
  • Katie: If you find something that you're passionate about at High Meadows, look for that in high school.
Balancing Academics and Extra-Curricular Activities
Part of the discussion centered around how to balance classes, clubs, and sports.
  • Elisabeth: Your extracurricular activities should be your time to breathe, not a burden. Find activities that are for you and that bring you joy.
  • Foster: Develop efficiencies early in high school so you can handle the logistics challenges and workload.
  • Ryan: Make sure you're conscious of what you're spending your time on.
  • Mackenzie: Work at your own pace. Don't follow the pressure of what everyone else is doing. Get involved in activities. Try some out at least.
Pearls of Wisdom
The panelists and moderators shared a few final pieces of advice.
  • Issac: Learning is relational. Cultivate those relationships.
  • Foster: You need a strong sense of self when it comes to peer pressure. Present who you genuinely are.
  • Judy: Look for STEM and Honors programs in high school. They have a hands-on learning approach like High Meadows does.
  • David: Care. If you are in a place where you don't care, try to figure out what got you there and get out.
  • Mattie: Don't lose sight of who you are as an HMS eighth grader. You'll come back to this time and see how it formed who you are.
  • Anne: When you have a high level of learning and a passion for learning, you can do anything.
Focus on High Meadows' Guiding Principle: Communication and Constructive Dialogue

We commit to open communication and constructive dialogue. The broad-based participation and support of families is essential to fulfilling our mission.

A Parent's View: "You Truly Learn What Your Kids Get Out of High Meadows After They Leave"
 
Kelly and George Cave know the value of a High Meadows education. For the past 13 years, they have had at least one child at the school. For five of those years, all three of their children attended at the same time. Along the way, they have seen their children thrive, learn, and have fun.

"We learned of High Meadows before we even had kids," said Kelly. "Once we stepped on campus to tour the classrooms and saw how engaged the children were in what they were doing, and saw them running freely across the meadow, we knew immediately this was a place our children would thrive.   Our children all started in Kindergarten.   It's been incredible to see them grow and become independent thinkers as they moved into each new grade."

 

High Meadows teachers helped Will, Anna, and Kate Cave learned to think critically, be risk taskers, and be problem solvers.

The Cave's two oldest children graduated eighth grade from High Meadows and now attend Centennial High School in Roswell. Anna is a senior, and Will is a sophomore. The youngest Cave child, Kate, is in eighth grade at High Meadows this year. Kelly noted that she continually sees her children apply the skills and strengths they learned and practiced throughout their years at High Meadows.

 

"You truly understand what your kids get out of High Meadows after they leave," she said. "High Meadows teachers taught our kids to think critically, be risk takers and problem solvers, and become life-long learners in addition to their academic learning. Those are the skills that they need to succeed in school and life."

 

She noted that her two oldest children quickly began demonstrating these skills when they transitioned to high school.

 

"Anna and Will were totally prepared for high school academically," she said. "What impressed me more was how they began to apply the life skills High Meadows taught them, like self-confidence, self-advocacy, and a joy of trying new things. Anna took charge of her learning by trying new classes and clubs. In her junior year, she completed a Directed Study class to delve into a subject she wanted to know more about. She used the skills she learned through the Emphasis unit each year at High Meadows to do that successfully. Will also has tried out new classes, clubs, and sports teams, while striving for balance. He knows who he is as a person and a learner and doesn't worry about what other kids are taking or doing, which I know came from what he learned at High Meadows."

 

Kelly emphasized that there will always be trends and buzzwords in education, but that progressive education like what High Meadows offers doesn't follow trends.

 

"The school has always incorporated science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) learning into the classroom because they teach children holistically," she said. "I have heard many times that the jobs my kids will have probably haven't been invented yet. To be successful in this rapidly-changing world, kids need to be able to think critically and problem solve in order to face new challenges in whatever field they end up pursuing. High Meadows gave my children those skills."


"High Meadows Instilled in Me a Passion for Learning"

Remember the name 'Charli Shapiro'. You're likely to see it someday at the movies! Ch arli, a 2017 High Meadows graduate, is a sophomore at Roswell
Charli (center) is in an anti-gravity camera at Pinewood Atlanta Studios. 
High School and  an accomplished filmmaker.  She recently earned a Student Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in the Best Short Form - Fiction category for the film Brute Force. She directed, edited, and co-wrote the film. She credits High Meadows teachers for in stilling a passion for lear ning and helping her get comfortable speaking with people. She used those skills in 2016 to introduce her film In Our Eyes  at the Atlanta Jewish Film  Festival, where she was the youngest director.  Read wh at she says below about High Meadows and visit her website to learn about her work.
 
Meadow Memories
"I attended High Meadows from sixth - eighth grade, and  it was a gift I appreciated every day," Charli said. "I was excited to wake up to see what's happening and be in nature to learn. The teachers were very helpful. I enjoyed looking out on the Meadow at carpool seeing the sunrise and  kids walking. I also loved class m eetings each week because I connected with the group and knew what was going on. The eighth grade Colorado trip was amazing because we got to bond with classmates without the stress of school." 

Charli's family gathered at her High Meadows Recognition ceremony in 2017.
Things I Learned at High Meadows
"High Meadows instilled in me a passion for learning, and I have used that in high school and in my work," Charli said. "I got support from High Meadows teachers and Ms. Wolf to explore my interest in filmmaking. They also helped me be more comfortable speaking with people, which was great because I had to make a speech at the Emmy's last year to accept my award."

Transitioni ng to High School
"It was very interesting going from a place where everyone knew me to one where people didn't ," she said. "But I was prepared for the academics which gave me space to figure out the learning style. Through High Meadows, I had a background on most subjects and was able to advocate  for myself if I needed more.  I'm in the film club at Roswell High School and got to film t he 11 football games this year. I also designed my own curriculum in t wo classes. For one, I wrote a film script and produced it. Now, I am in a Directed Study. I love the freedom to learn about what interests me."
 
My Next Ro le
"I am in the sc ripting phase for my first feature film," Charli shared. "It's about drug addiction, the teenage mind, and how it affects a family. One day, I hope to be the youngest director of an Academy Award-winning film. One of my favorite directors was 32 when he won the Oscar for La La Land . I want to beat that!"
 
A Parent's Perspective of High Meadows

Dave and Ilene Shapiro are Charli's parents. Dave shared his thoughts about how High Meadows fostered Charli's learning and growth.

Why We Chose High Meadows
"We chose High Meadows because it had a more nurturing environment than our public middle school, but soon realized it offered much more," Dave said. "There are many amazing teachers there who supported and encouraged Charli. I heard them  talk many times about students becoming self-advocates and wondered how they expected that would develop. Now, I know. Charli uses those skills at school and in her work. I saw it in other graduates at this year's Alumni Night. I was very impressed that they were so eloquent and confident in themselves."
 
Charli's Tenacity
"Charli, her mo m, and I went to a film screening in Los Angeles of  La La Land (now  among her favorite films), which was directed by one of Charli's idols, Damien Chazelle," Dave said. "For this film, not only was he selected as the
Charli (right) shadowed Academy Award-winning director of photography Linus Sandgren (left) during the filming of "First Man" in Roswell.  
youngest person to win an Oscar for Best Director,  but Linus Sandgren, his Director of Photography, also won that year's Academy Award for Cinematography. So smitten was Charli by this movie that, for the rest of the school year, we listened to its soundtrack almost every day on our ride to HMS. Later that year, we watched the movie First Man being shot in Roswell, on which the director and director of photography again collaborated. By personally introducing herself to the two of them and their production assistants, Charli was asked to help on set. She got to listen on the production headset and learned how to load film. She was asked to work side-by-side with Damien and Linus and had the opportunity to discuss why they chose various options for the film. I have to believe that because they were so impressed with her overall knowledge of production, they chose her to shadow the two of them on set. She was 14 years old. Moral of this story: when it comes to self-advocacy, High Meadows has taught her well!"
Apply Now for the 2019-2020 School Year

High Meadows is accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. Below are important dates for the Admission Process. For more information, visit https://highmeadows.org/admission/apply/  or contact Director of Admission Laura Nicholson at  lnicholson@highmeadows.org  or 678-507-1170.
  • FEBRUARY 2019: Applicant visit & assessment dates scheduled
  • FEBRUARY 15, 2019: Preferred Application Deadline
  • FEBRUARY 22, 2019: Financial Aid Application Deadline
  • MARCH 1, 2019: 2018 Tax Information Deadline for Financial Aid Applicants
  • MARCH 31, 2019: Common Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools (AAAIS) Admission Notification Date
  • APRIL 11, 2019: AAAIS Response Deadline
Fourth and Fifth Graders Had a Blast At Space Camp

Fourth and fifth graders got to do many hand-on activities at Space Camp.
Our fourth and fifth graders journeyed to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama in late January.  On this much-anticipated three-day trip, they learned about energy and innovation, 
Students experienced how to command a mission.
studied the history of the U.S. space program, and experienced how to command a mission, among many other fun activities like climbing a rock wall.

They also had the opportunity to participate in many hands-on, fun learning activities, including wearing a space suit, simulating what it feels like to be in a weightless environment, and getting a taste of how astronauts train. 
Explore High Meadows
Come Experience the Magic of High Meadows

High Meadows classrooms are alive with inquiry, exploration, and meaningful learning - come visit us! Below are opportunities to explore what makes High Meadows special. RSVP through the Ravenna system or contact Director of Admission Laura Nicholson

Private Tours - Mondays, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Schedule a private tour to observe any of our grade levels, learn about their daily schedule and curriculum, and connect with teachers and principals. 

Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten Preview - Thursday, Feb. 14, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Come spend time in our Pre-K classrooms (ages 3, 4, and young 5). Observe classes in action, meet parent ambassadors, ask questions of our principals, and meet our teachers. This event is geared towards a parent audience.

Family Farm to Forest Tours - Saturday, Feb. 23, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
This child/family-centered introduction to our beautiful outdoor campus showcases special locations including our gardens, tire swing, and animals. All family members are welcome. Feel free to bring a picnic style snack to enjoy on the meadow following the tour.
OUR MISSION

The High Meadows community celebrates and perpetuates each individual's quest for knowledge and skill, sense of wonder, and connection to the natural environment. We empower each to be a compassionate, responsible, and active global citizen.

(770) 993-2940 | www.highmeadows.org
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