This week I participated in the annual CASE/NAIS advancement conference in Austin, Texas, and attended a Tower Hill alumni gathering in Florida. Watching news coverage in airports and hotels in different parts of our country before returning to Delaware yesterday, I was able to reflect on the myriad perspectives and opinions held by Americans right now. As I shared with our faculty earlier in the week, please do not underestimate the complexity of emotions, opinions, questions and anxiety that come part and parcel with our students (of all ages!) each day to school. As a result of our country's recent inauguration, the significant demonstration of activism in our nation's capitol, incessant media coverage and the discussions we trust are happening in respectful and open-minded ways—at family dinner tables, our lunch tables, in classrooms and in-between classes—this is an incredibly fertile time to be a parent, teacher and part of a school community.
We will continue to challenge ourselves to be a school in which each student, faculty and staff member feels comfortable being fully who they are. This does not mean squelching a student's interest in sharing or discussing his/her opinions and questions, but rather making especially clear the manner, tone and guidance necessary for such. Tower Hill teachers are skilled at ensuring our students can voice their thoughts and opinions. Academic excellence and top-level rigor happen best in a community in which all feel respected, heard and supported. At Tower Hill, we are indeed a school community with high standards for academic and human integrity. To this end, we are committed to teaching our students how to listen, share and respect the opinions, cultures and hopes of others. Ultimately, families and schools provide the bedrock of our future.