2017-2018 Social Justice Program

SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), a peer-led professional development program that creates conversational communities to discuss personal, organizational and societal changes to toward greater equity and diversity, is now in its second year. The group meets monthly to discuss key concepts including curricula, teaching methods and practices that are gender fair, multiculturally equitable, socioeconomically aware and globally informed to create the most effective environments for all to learn and flourish.

Faculty Speaker: Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson, founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, visited Tower Hill for the opening faculty meeting in August 2017. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. He is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller “Just Mercy,” which was the faculty summer read.

Courageous Conversations Series for Students and Faculty
The Courageous Conversations series introduced students and faculty to thought-provoking presentations, workshops and discussions, providing occasion to reflect on one’s own beliefs and consider the perspectives of others.
  • 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, visited Tower Hill on Oct. 10 for an Upper School Assembly on Hidden Biases and for an after school presentation on Culturally Responsive Teaching. Drawing on her experiences in the classroom and the independent school world, her dynamic presentation covered various aspects of diversity and equity.
  • Dr. Adam Foley, program coordinator for the Office of Equity and Inclusion at the University of Delaware, participated in workshops with students on Oct. 10.
  • Alden Habacon, University of British Columbia Diversity and Inclusion Strategist, gave a presentation to faculty on Nov. 10 about "Intercultural Essentials for Thriving in a Multicultural Community." Habacon is an accomplished diversity and inclusion strategist with over ten years of experience in leading the development, implementation and staff engagement of strategy towards diversity and inclusion, organizational culture change, interculturalism and social sustainability.
  • Rosetta Lee, Seattle Girls’ School Diversity Speaker and Trainer, spoke to students, faculty and staff on Jan. 16, advancing Courageous Conversations with age-appropriate discussion of topics such as stereotypes, cross-cultural communication, inclusion and welcoming ways.
  • Dr. Carol Henderson, Vice Provost University of Delaware Office of Equity and Inclusion, spoke at PAATH’s (Parents of African-Americans at Tower Hill) second annual Black History Month program on Feb. 7. Her presentation, “My Soul Is A Witness: Art and Social Activism in the Civil Rights Era and Beyond,” highlighted the occurrence of African-American civil rights movements throughout our country’s history into the present day. She also examined how literary and musical artists continue to be bold and provocative voices who “speak truth to power.”
Faculty Professional Development

MCRC/ADVIS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference
In October, all faculty attended the MCRC/ADVIS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia. The conference offered educators and school leaders knowledge, skills and experiences to advance and promote equitable and inclusive practices and policies in all areas of school life.

Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conferences

Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)
Rory Britt ‘18, Lauren Formanski ‘18, Kennedy Medley ‘18, Jasmine Minhas ‘18, Hudson Pepper ‘18 and Destiney Skinner ‘19, accompanied by Director of Social Justice Dyann Connor and Assistant Head of School and Dean of Student Life Art Hall, attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), which is hosted by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of Upper School student leaders from across the U.S. SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies and building community.

MidAtlantic Regional Diversity Conference (MARD)
Samantha DuPree ‘21, Gabrielle Jackson ‘20, Destiney Skinner ‘19 and Avani Vasudevan ‘20, accompanied by Director of Social Justice Dyann Connor and Upper School English teacher Maxime Sinal, attended the Mid-Atlantic Region Diversity Conference held by Abington Friends School and Perkiomen School in October. The conference included racial and cultural affinity groups, student-led discussions and a keynote address from noted activist and speaker Rodney Glasgow.

Springside Chestnut Hill Diversity Conference (SCHout)
Samantha DuPree ‘21, along with Upper School English teacher Maxime Sinal and Middle School Music Department Chair and Middle School music teacher Scott Zeplin, attended the Springside Chestnut Hill Diversity Conference (SCHout), which serves students from a variety of schools to discuss identity, inclusion and equity.