Diversity and Inclusion

 
Diversity and inclusivity, in all aspects of identity, broaden and enhance the educational experience. Varied perspectives are a source of strength, creativity, enrichment and renewal in the Tower Hill community. These values are found in both our mission statement and in our institutional goals:

Mission
Tower Hill School prepares students from diverse backgrounds for full and creative engagement with a dynamic world.  Each student is provided with an educational experience that emphasizes the development of an inquisitive, discerning and critical mind; the value of being creative and aesthetically sensitive; the appreciation of physical well-being; the ability to collaborate and to function as part of a team; and the growth of character.

Institutional Goal on Inclusivity and Student-Centered School Culture
We will continue to focus on inclusivity, both celebrating and challenging ourselves to ensure a student-centered school culture, an exhilarating academic and extracurricular experience, and a community that knows, welcomes and respects all of our students, faculty, staff and families.

Tower Hill School embraces a broad definition of diversity that acknowledges the many ways each of us is unique, including, but not limited to, our various talents, perspectives, goals, ethnicities, identities, and religions. With this broad definition in mind, we hope to create an educational environment in which each person is genuinely valued, respected and included. We believe that diversity and inclusivity enrich the educational experience and strengthen our overall community.

Dyann Connor
Director of Social Justice
Dean of Recruitment

 

List of 1 items.

  • The Symposium - April 2, 2020

     
    The Symposium: Intersectionality of Identities in a Global Society at Tower Hill School will bring Upper School students together for meaningful dialogue about cultural competency, equity and inclusion. 
     
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Celebrating Black History Month

2019-2020 Social Justice Program

Equity and Inclusion Coordinators and Committees
This year, to better support our school community, we have added Equity and Inclusion Coordinators in each division as follows:
  • Anna Correra and Ann Sullivan in the Lower School
  • Carmen Martinez in the Middle School
  • Jessica Douglass and Dr. Anna Miller in the Upper School

These coordinators have worked with Dyann Connor to launch the following committees:
  • Religious and Cultural Committee
  • Curriculum Committee
  • Community Conversations Committee
  • Social Justice and the Environment Committee
  • DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Faculty Committee
The above committees meet regularly to discuss and implement community-building ideas and educational initiatives on equity and inclusion at Tower Hill.

Tower Hill School’s 2019-20 social justice program also includes guest speakers, professional development workshops, conversations and other initiatives that invite students to engage in courageous conversations about build and engage a more inclusive and student-centered community:

Faculty Development
This summer our new faculty and several current teachers attended the ADVIS Multicultural Resource Center’s professional development conference at Episcopal Academy where they learned how to create student-centered, inclusive classroom environments. In addition to this event, our faculty attend Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training throughout the year, including:
  • Faculty SEED: Each year a group of faculty are selected to continue their professional development on diversity and inclusivity through the SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Program at Tower Hill School. This is the fourth year facilitating SEED training at Tower Hill School.
  • MCRC@ADVIS: On Oct. 11, 2019, Tower Hill hosted the bi-annual MultiCultural Resource Center at Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools’ multi-state diversity, equity and inclusion conference. This conference is widely known and attended by independent schools in the multi-state area. Over 60 workshop presentations were available for over 800 faculty/administrators and heads of schools in attendance. 

Social Justice Program in the Upper School
Speakers and Assemblies: 
  • Jason Flom and Piper Kieran are this year’s Forum speakers. Their talks are on civil rights and human rights in the criminal justice system. 
  • Jay Smooth: Former host of The Underground Railroad, New York City’s longest-running hip-hop radio program and the popular video blog, The Ill Doctrine, will be our speaker for February’s Black History Celebration. 
  • Tony Allen: President of Delaware State University will speak with students and parents at the Social Justice Black History dinner co-sponsored by parent groups PAATH and DISTINCT 
  • Rosetta Lee: Diversity speaker and trainer has served several years on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Diversity Leadership Institute
  • Assemblies: Community Conversations this year will focus on identity with gender and socio-economic status. 
  • The Symposium 2020:  This is the third annual diversity, equity, and inclusion conference held at Tower Hill School for Upper School students.  Our entire US community is involved in this event and we also invite area schools to attend. While students attend workshops on diversity and inclusion, our faculty participate in a professional development on educational equity.

Social Justice Program in the Middle School 
  • “LEAD @ Tower Hill School”: Leaning Into Equity Awareness and Diversity Conference is in its second year at Tower Hill School. LEAD is a multi-school conference for students in grades seven and eight. Students from all local independent schools in Delaware as well as some from the Lower Merion and Philadelphia areas, attended.
  • Faculty Professional Development for the Middle School LEAD program will be led by Jenna Chandler-Ward, who has presented at NAIS and ADVIS many times.
  • Lunch and Learns student gatherings for grades 7 and 8 were first established in Spring of 2017 and have flourished each academic year. These lunch-time meetings are open to all Middle School students and are well attended with an average size of 50-60 students for each gathering. The conversations are are student-led with discussions focusing on ways we can work collaboratively to create a more inclusive, kinder community. This year we will extend our Lunch and Learn meetings to grades 5 and 6. 

Also new to Middle School last year was the introduction of social justice themes by grade level. The goal is to increase understanding, inclusion, empathy, and allyship through our existing curriculum. This year the hope is to encourage teachers to further incorporate these themes into their curriculum and the MS community: 

Social Justice Theme for Grade 5: Kindness, Friendship and Allyship 
  • Focus is on how to be kind, respectful and stand up for what you believe is right.
  • Focus on being an Upstander not a Bystander.
  • Focus on how to become an inclusive member of the Middle School community. 
SJ Theme for Grade 6: Gratitude for a Community that includes Respect and Value for Diversity
  • Focus on exploring ways we are the same and different. 
  • Focus on respecting and valuing the strength that diversity brings to a community, athletic team, collaborative work, etc.
SJ Theme for Grade 7: disABILITIES  
  • Focus on the ABILITIES we each have and developing ways to be a more inclusive community. 
SJ Theme for Grade 8: Courage: Design Thinking in Social Justice
  • Focus on working together to make our school community, Wilmington, and the World a kinder,  more inclusive community through communication and problem solving to build bridges across differences. 

Social Justice Program in the Lower School
  • The AMAZE Program is an anti-bias literature curriculum that is designed to enhance socio-learning environments for younger students by engaging them in books and conversations that build understanding and respect across differences. 
  • Lower School Courageous Conversations and Morning Meetings:are planned to foster a dialogue within classroom communities about important topics relating to equity and inclusion. 
These conversations are facilitated by the LS Equity and Inclusion Coordinators.

Social Justice Program and Home & School 
The Director of Social Justice also collaborates with Home and School parent groups: PAATH (Parents of African American students at Tower Hill) and DISTINCT (Diversity and Inclusion at Tower Hill).

Together, Tower Hill, PAATH and DISTINCT host several educational events and socials throughout the year, for our entire family community. This year, our Black History Month dinner will feature speaker Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. 

Parent SEED Program:
Beginning in October, we hosted our first Parent SEED cohort which is similar to the Faculty SEED cohort. Members of this cohort include parents and parent leaders from Lower, Middle and Upper school divisions.

Opportunities:
The Brandywine River Museum has two social justice themed exhibits in 2020:
Votes for Women: A Visual History
Witness to History: Selma Photography of Stephen Somerstein
 
 

PAATH and DIstINcT

PAATH (Parents of African-Americans at Tower Hill)
PAATH sponsors activities and programs that celebrate the African-American experience as a valued and integral component of a Tower Hill education. We also foster an appreciation for diversity, promote cultural competence and help create a supportive environment for African-American families.

DISTINCT (Diversity and Inclusion at Tower Hill)
DISTINCT organizes social and community-building activities to promote the fellowship of parents who advocate for the benefits of diversity in education at Tower Hill School. We also collaborate with Director of Social Justice Dyann Connor to support schoolwide events and programming.

 
To join PAATH and/or DISTINCT, please contact Director of Social Justice Dyann Connor at dconnor@towerhill.org.
 

Diversity and Inclusion Events

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Past Speakers

Dr. Elizabeth Denevi
Associate Director of the Mid West Educational Collaborative, a non-profit agency that works with schools to encourage equity and diversity education
 
Dr. Adam Foley
Program Coordinator for the Office of Equity and Inclusion at the University of Delaware
 
Alden Habacon
University of British Columbia Diversity and Inclusion Strategist
 
Rosetta Lee
Seattle Girls’ School Diversity Speaker and Trainer
 
Dr. Carol Henderson
Vice Provost University of Delaware Office of Equity and Inclusion
 
Karla Fleshman
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, Transitions Delaware