The Tire Swing
Happenings at High Meadows School
September 11, 2019
Sounds of Joyful Learning Are Heard Throughout Campus
School is off to a great start at High Meadows School. As I visit classrooms and walk hallways, there is a calm but bubbly hum in the air. It’s the sound of engaged, active learning. If it were too quiet, I’d be worried. Similarly, I’d be concerned if I only heard teachers talking. Good classrooms are places where children are questioning, pondering, exploring, and analyzing. This is not quiet work. HMS classrooms have the just right sweet spot that creates that hum of learning.

Here are some of my observations of High Meadows classrooms so far:

·          Community - Our teachers are busy building community in their classrooms. Why is this important? Research is clear. Children learn best if they feel emotionally safe and where they have opportunity to learn from one another. They develop a sense of ownership over their learning when they feel safe and valued. From our class naming rituals to morning meetings to cross-age buddy classrooms, our teachers work to build a deep sense of community every day. 

·          Critical Thinking – Students here are asked to do this type of thinking all the time. Teachers, while committed to the “what’s”, are more dedicated to getting to the ‘why’s’. They challenge students daily to stretch themselves, take risks, analyze data, ponder connections to previous learning, and make predictions. This starts in preschool and crosses the campus at every age level.

·          The Power of Not Yet - Growth mindset permeates these classrooms and this campus. There is no room for “I can’t”, “I never will”, “I’m just not good at”. Everywhere I hear teachers using the language of possibility: “not yet.” They talk of meeting students where they are – not just where they are supposed to be on some arbitrary set of criteria. Making mistakes here is safe – and encouraged. Students know that learning new things can be hard but sticking with it despite frustration and trying again and again yields great results.

·          Laughter and Joy – Good schools intentionally pair joy with learning. I can’t think of a more important goal for schools for children. Of course, our students need to be skilled. I take that for granted. But fundamentally, we want children to love learning and to develop that sense of wonder. When I walk around this school, I hear sounds of laughter, communal singing, and discovery. 

What a healthy environment for kids to grow up in. They are lucky to be in a school with such wonderful sounds.  

-Bud Lichtenstein, Head of School
How Many Cabooses Away is the Tipi? Second and Third Graders Create Campus Maps Using Non-Standard Measurements
Academic study at High Meadows is hands-on and interactive. It’s common to see students outdoors and in classrooms observing, measuring, discussing, and hypothesizing. Students in the McCutchen/Newman 2 nd/3 rd grade class have been doing that as they explore how maps reflect the human perception of the world around them.

In the class' cartography unit, students learned about different kinds of maps - such as political, topographic, and physical - and the elements they contain, including keys, compass roses, and symbols. They discovered that maps are made from a cartographer’s point of view and how turning a globe into a flat map creates distortions in size, shape, and/or area. Finally, they looked at the artistry maps contain and created their own compass roses. Armed with their new knowledge, the students incorporated cartography in their math class by using the fab led High Meadows caboose as a unit of measure!

“The students loved connecting with the campus in a new way,” said Libby McCutchen, one of the class teachers. “They used a non-standard unit of measure – children’s bodies – to find the length of the caboose and then measured how many cabooses away something was from certain points of the map. It was really rewarding to see them engage fully in the learning.”
Students each created a compass rose incorporating their own artistic ideas and designs.
Maps can inspire art! Do you recognize Spaghetti Junction in this Google Maps-inspired piece?
Sixth and Seventh Students Explore Options and Costs of Making Boats to Float Pennies in Hands-On Science Class
At High Meadows, we believe that students learn best when they are engaged and connected through hands-on work. Our teachers encourage inquiry-based learning by guiding students to ask the next question and search for the meaning behind an experience. In Ms. Topper's 6 th/7 th grade Science classes, students worked in small groups to construct boats that would hold the greatest number of pennies.

Students had a variety of materials with different ‘costs’ to work with and 20 minutes to plan and construct the boats. Then, they launched the boats to see if they would float and how many pennies they could hold. Afterwards, they calculated the “cost” of the boat for every penny it was able to float.

The students enjoyed constructing the boats and analyzing the results. Muzyk N., Tanner B., and Jake S. built a boat using two corks and a piece of cardboard with straws around it. It floated and held some pennies. Toby G., Kyle K., Jack S., and Bruno V. used cardboard for their boat, but it didn’t float. “It was a bad design,” they explained. Anna F., Larson C., and Nathan S. used tin to create walls for their boat. It floated and held 61 pennies.

Science teacher Sarah Topper learned about this kind of activity through a Modeling Instruction workshop she attended this summer. Its a form of teaching that starts from investigating science phenomena and asks students to construct a model with drawings on whiteboards. After reviewing the models, class members try to develop a common understanding of the phenomena. Learn more about Modeling Instruction
Where Are They Now? Spotlight on 2018 HMS Graduate Katie Griffin
Katie Griffin graduated from High Meadows in 2018. She is now a sophomore at North Springs Charter High School. Below, she shares some favorite memories about her time at HMS and guides students about how to take advantage of their time at the school.

One of my favorite memories of my time at High Meadows was more of an ongoing thing than a singular moment. Mr. Wolf had asked me and two of my friends, Owen and Sydney, to put up the flag every morning and take it down every afternoon. It was so simple, but we had so much fun pulling it up, folding it, and tying the knot. We even made it into a race to see who could get there the fastest (I usually forgot). It was something so simple, but it always made my mornings a little more fun, and that was because High Meadows had all of those little opportunities for freedom and leadership. 

For me, my favorite place on campus was always the barn theatre. I was involved in theatre throughout almost my entire 11 years at High Meadows, and the barn theatre became like a second home. I have so many memories of shows and friends and classes in there. I really grew as a person through theatre at High Meadows. I’ve continued doing theatre - acting and tech – in high school, and the HMS theatre department definitely sparked that interest. 

High Meadows prepared me in so many ways for high school. In many ways, I was over prepared, which ended up helping a ton in a lot of my classes. The leadership and cooperation skills we worked so hard on in middle school especially helped me in theatre and in class group projects. Having those study skills that they drill into your head, especially during eighth grade, helped me easily keep on top of my work, even in sophomore year where classes have gotten harder. 

I would advise current High Meadows students to make the best of their time with teachers and friends. Things can get hard and drama happens, but High Meadows offers so many chances to get close with people, and I would take advantage of those. Use school trips to get closer to people, help your teachers, and enjoy the campus. If you pay attention and make the most of your time, you’ll do just fine in high school.
Katie (center) was on the HMS Tech Team for the Hobbit in 2016.
Katie as the character named "The Ordinary" in a play titled "The Boy".
Katie (right) and other HMS "Untold Stories" cast members performing at an independent schools conference by request.
Come See Us!
Family Farm to Forest Tours
We invite you to this child/family-centered introduction to our beautiful outdoor campus, showcasing locations including our tipi, gardens, tire swing,
and animals. All family members are welcome. Please plan to arrive no later than 10:00 a.m. We will meet at the flagpole (top of the driveway by the parking area) and head out on our tour from there shortly after 10. Feel free bring a picnic style snack to enjoy on the meadow following the tour.
Held the following Saturdays from
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.:

  • September 28
  • October 26
  • December 7
  • February 28
More Admission Events

Fall Open House
Sunday, November 17, 2019
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Pre-K Preview
Thursday, December 12, 2019
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

An Evening with Alumni
Thursday, January 23, 2020
7:00 p.m.

Winter Open House
Sunday, January 26, 2020
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Pre-K Preview
Thursday, February 13, 2020
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Early Years Festival
Saturday, March 21, 2020
12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Please register for Admission events in advance by logging in to  (new users will need to create an account). From the Dashboard, select School Directory. Click High Meadows School, then click Upcoming Events. Select the Event you are interested in and provide registration information.
Center for Progressive Learning Events

September 12, 2019
9:00 - 10:30 a.m. and
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Positive Discipline for Parents
September 25-26, 2019
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Beginning the High Meadows Journey
October 3, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Blessings of a Skinned Knee
October 10, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Community QPR: Empowering Gatekeepers with Mental Health Crisis Training
October 16, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

November 5, 2019
9:00 - 10:30 a.m. and
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

An Evening With Dr. Wendy Mogel
November 14, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Learn more and register for any CPL events at the High Meadows Center for Progressive Learning website.
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.
Connect with High Meadows School
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