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Mission & History

Our Mission

Using innovative education practices as a catalyst for social change Highlander Institute is working to ensure that all children have the educational opportunities and support they need to achieve their full potential.

We design and provide research-based, quality educational services.  We strive to make these accessible to all learners, as well as to their teachers and families.

Highlander Institute works to further the causes of accessibility, empowerment and excellence in education.

Our History

Founded in 1990, the Highlander Institute was more of an idea than an organization until 1999 when philanthropists David and Kim Dunn committed multi-year gifts to help the emergent Institute develop programs and expand services.

In 2005, a dynamic collaboration with the Highlander Charter School (an urban K – 8 school in South Providence), was the catalyst for our new mission-driven strategy of supporting “all kids”, expanding our target audience from students with diagnosed learning differences (LD) to all students performing below grade level. Recognizing that proven interventions for LD students are also effective for a large percentage of struggling students, we expanded programming for students, teachers and families.

In 2006, the launch of the Hasbro Center for Teaching Excellence (through generous multi-year support from Hasbro, Inc.) established the Institute as a credible regional provider of high quality professional development.

Over the past six years, we have expanded our programs, designing and providing research-based, quality educational services that are accessible to all learners, as well as their teachers and families.

The Institute’s methods are based in the latest research from centers and universities nationwide as well as projects and programs created within the Institute and Highlander Charter School’s unique collaborative efforts.   Institute services are directed at both students and educators, focused on helping students gain ground in language, reading, and math through ‘arms of service’ that include Blended Learning, Expanded Learning, and Diverse Learners.  Each year, the Institute supports more than 300 students through afterschool and summer tutoring programs, and more than 1,500 educators through professional development and school change initiatives.

Our experience facilitating professional development projects for thousands of teachers across the region has helped us develop programs and school reform efforts that dramatically improve teacher practice and increase student proficiency levels.  When possible, our professional development efforts are site-based, aligned, focused, intense and continuous.  The Highlander Institute has supported school and district initiatives around Orton-Gillingham, Integrated Technology, Response to Intervention, Literacy Reform and Data Use, as well as in-house innovation efforts piloted and perfected at Highlander Charter School.