June 23, 2020
Dear Tower Hill community,
Over the last several weeks, we have engaged students, faculty, parents and alumni in discussion about social justice efforts in our country and at our school. We are proud of the progress Tower Hill has made in recent years
, however, we have ongoing work to do.
While Tower Hill does many things well, we have not done things perfectly and it is important to acknowledge that there have indeed been instances where we have caused pain. As individuals, we can all examine our personal biases and actions to help combat racism and inequity in our daily lives and in our communities. As an organization, Tower Hill will examine our institutional policies and systems to advance social justice in our school community. We must stand united in building a school culture that will never tolerate racism or injustice. To this end, Tower Hill stands committed to: Expanding diversity training
Tower Hill’s board of trustees, administration, faculty and staff will continue to participate in ongoing diversity and anti-racist training. The school will take a leadership position in facilitating local and regional social justice workshops and conferences, collaborating with other schools and organizations. Reinforcing accountability and ensuring support systems
Tower Hill’s administration will make sure lines of communication are clear and open so that students, faculty, parents and alumni can find individual and collective support, including voicing concerns that result in appropriate follow up.Ensuring equity in hiring and compensation
Tower Hill will be proactive and steadfast in hiring faculty of color, establishing a faculty fellow position that will be filled by an African American teacher. Our Director of Social Justice will continue to serve as Dean of Recruitment and Hiring, as we build a diverse pool of candidates during the hiring process. Faculty and staff will be trained in interviewing protocols and made aware of the role implicit bias can play in attracting, hiring and retaining faculty of color. In addition, Tower Hill will continue to review salary equity and retention success.Reviewing our curriculum
Tower Hill will review curriculum in all three divisions to ensure diverse authors and perspectives in historical and contemporary content, providing students with opportunities to examine experiences both similar to and different from their own.
Focusing on admission and community outreach
Tower Hill reaffirms our 2016 Strategic Plan objective to “build and engage a diverse and inclusive community.”
This includes socio-economic diversity through continued investment in financial aid so that qualified students can attend Tower Hill. Meaningful academic and service learning opportunities through engaging with a broad external community will help Tower Hill to truly be a school of Wilmington and the world. Continually investing in our Social Justice Program
Tower Hill’s Social Justice Program has expanded opportunities for students in all three divisions to learn about and discuss race, gender, religion, culture, sexual orientation, age and other aspects of identity. Equity and Inclusion Coordinators in each division will continue to work closely with the Director of Social Justice to foster dialogue, facilitate training, assess curriculum and educate students. Parent affinity groups supporting diversity (DISTINCT) and African American families (PAATH) will continue to support the school’s mission and goals in advancing social justice efforts at Tower Hill.
As Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights lawyer and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, said in this interview
in The New Yorker
, “We need to reckon with our history of racial injustice. I think everything we are seeing is a symptom of a larger disease. We have never honestly addressed all the damage that was done during the two and a half centuries that we enslaved Black people.”
We can and must challenge our school community to be a kinder and more equitable place for all. Tower Hill stands firmly with our Black alumni, faculty, students and families, as we carry out our mission “to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for full and creative engagement with a dynamic world.”
Elizabeth C. Speers
Head of School
Director of Social Justice
Eric T. Johnson, M.D.
Chair, Board of Trustees
Message from Head of School Bessie Speers and Board Chair Eric T. Johnson, M.D. - July 21, 2020 Message from Head of School Bessie Speers about racial justice - June 1, 2020