Welcome Back Highland Families!


We hope you and yours enjoyed a summer filled with special memories!  If you are new to Highland - we are thrilled to have you join our outstanding community.  On behalf of the PTO Board, we welcome you to the new school year!

During these unprecedented times we understand the ever changing new normal, challenges, opportunities and hopeful silver linings that each individual family is experiencing.  Throughout these unique circumstances, the feeling of community and togetherness means more than ever. We hope the opportunity to experience this school year together as a community will offer a measure of comfort as we navigate this uncharted journey.  Community will be a continued focus of the PTO in effort to best enhance Highland Elementary this year.

We welcome each of you back to the Highland PTO!  Our Parent Teacher Organization is a non-profit organization in which every parent, teacher, and staff are automatically a member. The role of the PTO is to support and fund storyline curriculum, provide additional resources and enrichment for teachers and staff, and strengthen the Highland Community.  Each member has many opportunities to help with and enhance each students’ education and experience at Highland.

We are a dynamic Storyline community while sharing a commitment to high academic standards and unique learning experiences.  The PTO works hard to support our Storyline curriculum to ensure our teachers and staff are equipped for success throughout the year.

Our monthly PTO Meetings offer specific insight about our school, its happenings and progress.  Typically, they are held in person at Highland.  The first meeting of the school year will be held virtually on Tuesday, September 29th at 4pm-5pm. We will introduce the board, discuss the role of the PTO, describe the Storyline concept, and discuss our decision regarding the Giving Campaign for the 2020-21 school year. Our budget for this upcoming school year will also be presented and voted on. Please join us and look for a communication to come with meeting details. 

Acknowledging our atypical year ahead and to be cognizant of the global pandemic, please know we will not have a formal Giving Campaign at this time.  As the year progresses and we are potentially able to move back to the classrooms we will reassess the Giving Campaign and necessary school supplies and support for the school community.

For those able and interested, we invite you to contribute to Family Access Network (FAN). FAN is providing financial and other support to families in need across our school district.  Donate to help families in our community, by visiting the FAN Donation Page at Family Access Network.  

Our website, www.highlandpto.org offers a substantial source of information where you will find anything and everything Highland related.  In addition, please remember to “like” us on Facebook at Highland School PTO.

The level of parent involvement at Highland is remarkable.  Being involved in your child’s education can offer a multitude of opportunities and meanings.  An important aspect of parent involvement is volunteering. As we learn more about how we can best serve the teachers / staff as the year progresses, we will be sure to share these volunteer opportunities with the community via the PTO website.  We are beyond fortunate at Highland to have such an amazing and constant community of parents, teachers, students, volunteers, and businesses.

The PTO appreciates and values every members’ individual contribution to our school.  Truly, it could not be done without each of you and your efforts. Your feedback and insight are of great value! It will continue to offer the foundation of our great sense of community - which is more imperative than ever. Please know we are here for any suggestions, ideas, and contributions.  We look forward to sharing the 2020-21 school year with each of you. 

Warmest Welcome Back!

-Highland Elementary PTO Board


Meet your 2020-21 PTO Board!

Sigourney Guilford - President 

I am honored for the opportunity to be your Highland PTO President.  This will be my second year in the position and served two years prior as a PTO Event Coordinator.  My husband Troy and I have identical twin daughters, Remy and Tatum in 4th Grade.  I enjoy adventures with my family, traveling, camping, hiking, a good book, quality time with friends and singing and dancing with my daughters.  Highland has been a great gift to our family and we are grateful to be a part of this outstanding community.  I look forward to continuing to foster the growth and strength of Highland Elementary.


Tarra Ha - Vice President 

I have 2 daughters at Highland - Samantha in 4th grade and Charlie in 1st grade, and one Golden Retriever named Elsa.  I currently work as a FAN Advocate for the Bend La Pine School District.  I am looking forward to serving the Highland community this coming year.  When I am not at Highland, I enjoy running, reading, camping, and fly fishing. 


Amanda Franklet – Treasurer

Amanda is staying over as Treasurer in a temporary capacity until an official election can be held (delayed due to COVID).  She is currently employed as a Project Manager at St. Charles Health System.  Amanda has a background in non-profit management and accounting from a past position as the Executive Director at the Education Foundation for Bend-La Pine Schools.  Amanda loves spending time with family and friends, mountain biking, skiing, traveling, camping, and enjoying the Central Oregon life.  She has Marleigh in the 4th grade.


Denise Hewes - Secretary

I have two children, Xavier (entering 3rd grade) and Sierra (entering 2nd grade) who love Highland and storyline.  This is my second year on the PTO board which I joined to help Highland and the Highland Community be as amazing as possible.  I work part-time as a market research consultant and love to ride my bicycle and xc ski for fun.


Stephanie Wilhite - Giving Campaign Coordinator

 Stephanie Wilhite is in her second year as the Giving Campaign Coordinator. She has a 3rd grader, Fischer, in Mrs. Greene's class, and a new kindergartner to Highland, Reid. Stephanie enjoys using her experience from her past career as a speech pathologist to help in her kid's classrooms and support the PTO community at Highland. She also enjoys biking, camping with her family, skiing and reading.


Rebecca Alstott - Event Coordinator

I was born and grew up on the island of Trinidad and Tobago. My husband Joe and I have two boys, Jaden 9 and Jace 7. We moved to Bend in 2013 and it was the best decision for our family. !  I am honored to say that this will be my second year on the Highland PTO Board and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing events for the past year and am ready to embrace the challenges that this year will bring.  I look forward to continuing to work with an amazing group of people to serve our Highland community.


Jess Ardelijan- Volunteer Coordinator

Jess is serving her second year as Volunteer Coordinator.  She is mom to Roman (entering 6th grade) and Bennett (entering 5th grade). Jess is a real estate broker and designer for Dream Home Building and Design.

Lauren Grigsby - Enrichment Coordinator

Lauren Grigsby is in her 2nd year as our Enrichment Coordinator. Mom to Connor (4th grade) and
Dagne (3rd grade).  She has spent the last five years supporting the Highland community as an in-class volunteer and with school clubs. When she isn't working on ways for students to connect outside of academics, and now virtually, she works with her husband, Walt, on their business, Grigsby Truck Company. She has lived in Bend almost 10 years -- moving here after living in San Diego where she worked with the Marine Corps, both as a military member and then as a civilian, for nine years.  


Carina McCarthy - Storyline Liaison

This is my seventh year as a Highland mom. My son, Wyatt, has moved onto Pacific Crest this year and my daughter, Sadie, is now a kinder in Michelle Watt's class. In addition to serving on the board, I assist with the Scholastic Book Fair and volunteering in the classroom, on field trips, basically where ever needed and that time will allow. The Highland community has led to friendships that have become more like family, and when I get a break, you'll likely find me with another Highland parent. I look forward to serving on the board again this year, even though it is under very different circumstances than I would have liked!