Highlands School students are embarking on a global learning adventure as the school launches its inaugural Country of Study Program.
Throughout this school year, students will participate in an in-depth study of one country. The inaugural country of study is Japan.
The Country of Study Program is being funded with a three-year commitment from the Highlands School Parents’ Auxiliary. An initial grant of $24,000 was made June 30.
These funds, along with money raised by the Parents’ Auxiliary group over the next two years, will enable two faculty members to travel to a different country each summer for a two-week period to study, visit schools and immerse themselves in the culture.
After the faculty travelers return to Highlands, they, along with a Country of Study Committee, will integrate aspects of the chosen country’s culture and innovations across all facets of the curriculum.
Faculty travelers are selected based on an application process. All full-time lead teachers are eligible to apply.
Head of School Kavita Vasil said the Country of Study Program is an important component of the global education students in all grades at Highlands School receive.
“We are excited to partner with local arts organizations, government representatives and various museums to plan and implement exciting Japanese initiatives,” she said.
Over the summer, two Highlands faculty members, fifth-grade teacher Brittany O’Brien and school librarian and technology specialist Tynley Baker, spent two weeks traveling in Japan.
By choosing Japan as the inaugural country of study, school officials said, students will be exposed to a culture very different from their own that will help them understand cultural traditions and innovations from another country.
School officials said they are working to make the program relevant to the students by focusing on making connections between the Highlands School community and Japan. To that end, a group of students from Hitachi, Japan, recently visited Highlands School as part of the Birmingham Sister City Student Exchange Program. Highlands students had a chance to meet and learn from the Japanese students.
A community-wide celebration of the inaugural Country of Study Program at Highlands School is planned for March 26.
For more information, visit www.highlandsschool.org.