by Jim Armstrong, Board Chair, Hilltop Children’s Center

In the weeks since the recent presidential election, Hilltop faculty and Board members have been considering possible impacts of the changing administration on our work at Hilltop, and on our profession as a whole. Hilltop’s Board of Directors chose to write an open letter describing Hilltop’s ongoing commitment “to create a more just and joyful world.”

As the parent of a former Hilltop student, and as a Board member, I’m proud to be part of an organization that values collaboration and reflection in everything we do. The Hilltop Board welcomes your comments and questions about this statement, and we’re curious to hear more about whether and how other programs are formally responding to the election.

Please respond below to share your thoughts!


Hilltop Board of Directors

Statement on Hilltop’s Commitment to Equity and Social Justice

In the remaining days of 2016, we look back at the year and think about our hopes for 2017. We, as Hilltop’s Board of Directors, are taking stock of what has transpired this year on the national level and how to keep moving forward as an organization. This message is for our community – parents, educators, partners – both within Hilltop and throughout the wider early learning community.

The Board recognizes that our community is feeling the impact of election results and has met to discuss Hilltop’s approach to this unprecedented social and political environment. Our vision is to “honor and trust children, engage families, and inspire educators, to create a more just and joyful world.” The Hilltop Community is not immune or indifferent to children’s fears of deportation or acts of discrimination that have surfaced since Election Day. Today, and every day, we stand together as a community to ensure all children feel seen, heard, and valued.

Hilltop is taking a stand. We stand for protecting everyone’s individual rights and liberties as human beings. We stand for creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic community of all socio-economic classes and races. We stand for embracing and protecting women, people of color, the LGBTQ, Muslims, people with disabilities, and immigrant communities that enrich our lives. We stand for love: for all children, families, and our environment.

The Board acknowledges that our path toward the most impactful and appropriate action is not clear, and yet we know we must take steps in this new social climate. Hilltop is a leader in early childhood education locally and nationally, and we must be intentional, now more than ever, to live our mission and values.

The Board will further focus our efforts on goals in our strategic plan that advance diversity, social justice and partnership within and outside Hilltop. And, we will leverage the rich internal knowledge of our children, families, and faculty and invite our community to consider and propose action steps within our own walls and in the broader community. Our teachers have their ear to the ground, and we will work with them to develop a robust ongoing response. Additionally, we would like to support the wider Seattle community in building a web of safe environments for all children.

We invite you to talk to us, pose questions, and suggest actions. Thank you for your dedication to every child’s right to a curious and joyous education.

Yours,

Jim Armstrong, Zach Morgan, Kari Lester, Iqbal Mohammed, Tracy Amin, Norma Andrade, Sarah Bilton, Greg Bjarko, Ashley Dixon, Kelly Dylla, Natasha Fedo, Jeff Miller, Aren Sparck, and Dan Vogel

 

Jim Armstrong is the parent of a Hilltop alum, and Chair of Hilltop’s Board of Directors. His children are now 8 and 11 years old.