Highlands parents said ‘Let there be (natural) light’

After two years of construction, the new Highlands School is set to open in just a few weeks — and the students who will sit in its brand new classrooms have their parents to thank for a number of features.

A foundation established by parents with kids at the school raised money that funded the inclusion of additional windows to allow for more natural light, the construction of a math and science lab, and the use of sustainable and non-toxic flooring to replace carpeting in many areas.

Mary Sinclair, who was among the parent leaders who facilitated a vision process for the foundation, said the parents wanted to identify areas where their spending could lead to actual improvements in learning. She cited research showing that natural light improves student performance as a prime motivator for the parents’ decision to pay to double the size of the windows used on the building.

“We realized that it was going to be a lot easier to add these enhancements while the building was being constructed, as opposed to trying to make additions once the building was done,” Sinclair said. “We asked ourselves, ‘What can we add to the building to enhance the kids’ learning experience?'”

In total, the foundation has contributed approximately $39,000 to enhancements to the facility so far, and has another $4,000 set aside to equip the science lab.