Growing the Good

A Capital Campaign for Highland Community School


Over fifty years ago, parents with a shared vision worked to create our school rooted in social justice and equity. A school where developing character, a sense of fairness, and being empathic are just as important as academics. In partnership with parents, our founders wanted a school where skin color or lack of means did not prohibit a child from a holistic Montessori education in a nurturing environment. Each generation of parents, each family, and each building has built upon that vision.

From a school of fewer than ten children to now a school with over 420 children, Highland’s impact is expanding rapidly. When we moved into this building eight years ago, we knew that eventually, our student population would exceed the capacity of the space. And today, even while being incredibly resourceful, we are often scrambling for space for our growing adolescent program and the afterschool programs.

The three-story expansion adds 3,820 square feet to our current building’s northwest corner and has the following:

  • A secure, warm, welcoming entrance for all families to come together when they can gather again. The new secure entrance will welcome families each day at pick-up and drop-off. Families and visitors will be greeted by a two-story lobby and a donor acknowledgment wall.
  • A relocated main office. Ms. Brenda and Ms. Qwandis, our amazing office staff, will move to the front of the school and be there for some of the best moments in the school day from the adjoining front office. Their presence will offer not only additional security but also a caring adult for all Highland students.
  • Two new 765 square feet classrooms. In addition to the current adolescent program rooms – the Lyceum, Situation Room, AP Ecolab, and Kathy’s Community Cafe, these two new classrooms will better prepare our 65 to 80 Adolescents for their high school experiences. They will be able to move from class to class, being good examples for the younger students. The classrooms are also flexible enough to adapt to any evolving curricula and be used as additional afterschool programming providing a safe space for more children.
  • New artwork to be designed and created by Highland students with the guidance of Ms. Amy and other local artists.
  • An outdoor teaching garden located on the roof and a sedum green canopy. Together with new prairie landscaping, these two elements will continue to lessen the amount of run-off going into our sewer and aligns with our commitment to environmental sustainability. The building also features vertical metal fins at the windows, which serve a dual purpose ‐ they help control the western sunlight and introduce a dynamic, colorful element that changes visibly as you move around the building.

“Adding the two classrooms will allow for the expansion of our program adding 24 more seats. These spaces will allow for increased independence and responsibility as the students will be required to move across the school between classes, somewhat mimicking high school, and better preparing them for their futures.”

Ryan Schuettpelz, Adolescent Program Director

We need thoughtful, compassionate, and action-oriented leaders as there are so many challenges in the world. And when Highland students and alumni go out into our community and say, “I can be a part of the solution,” we know we have done our jobs well.

Your support will guarantee that our school grows with our children, ensuring that they will fall in love with learning and know they can make a difference. You can, also, make a difference by:

1. Donating to the current operating fund and help to fill the funding gap for the current school year.

2. Pledging to donate or donating to the building fund/

3. Getting involved in raising funds for our capital campaign – contact Michaela Humpal, our Director of Community Resources at, with ideas and to volunteer.

“We have a lofty goal for our fundraising efforts, but I know with the help from our community, local foundations, and businesses who share our values, we can reach it. Our parents are involved in every aspect of the campaign and are willing to support the expansion in whatever way they can. It is a community effort.”

Leana Nakielski, President of the Board and Current Parent