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DEI Success Campaign
"The DEI Success Campaign, organized by the High School Student Council does not signify an end of DEI work at the school. Although there is still so much work to be done, we want to give credit where credit is due and highlight some successes that have changed our experience at Highland Hall for the better. We hope this does not stall the work being done, but rather inspires others to join in our mission with rigor and dedication. Our goals can only be achieved by working together." ~ HH Student Council

If you have a testimonial to share, please email with the subject line DEI Success Campaign.

DEI Success Campaign Testimonials:
   O     IL (Senior), President HHSC
“I’ve had Dan Kotin for four years of high school history. In ninth grade, our Medieval history block was what I’d come to imagine as the Highland Hall standard - well taught, but with an exclusive emphasis on the white, male European viewpoint of the time. Recently, however, I had my last senior history class with Mr. Kotin and was struck by the time and effort he spent diversifying the course. We said a different Native American land acknowledgment every morning, interchanged the morning verse with the Black National Anthem, and read firsthand accounts about everyday Americans in each era. The class was not only diverse and exciting; it was a class I will carry with me beyond senior year into college. I know that this period of time is one of exhaustion, but I hope we can continue to hold ourselves to the highest standard and strive together towards a more inclusive curriculum.” 
   O     PB (11th Grade), Vice President HHSC
“Over the time that I have spent at Highland Hall, I have witnessed the need for change, the want for change, and the change itself. Some of the teachers have made extreme changes to their curriculums in order to be more inclusive, and it has made a big difference in the classroom, whether it be virtual or in person. A great example of this is the change of Parcival to Malcom X. This book provided me with a glimpse into civil rights history, and it was a story of transformation. Other teachers such as Ms. Vrudny have included non-european places in the world to expand the view of the students. They have shifted the Eurocentric view of the class to be more inclusive. I believe that more changes need to be made, but the work done so far is a great start.”

   O     CG (Senior), Treasurer HHSC
“We have had many students leave over the years. Some because of the small community, and some because of the lack of diversity. We may be a small community, but that means that each of our voices means more. The students have fought for change, and have accomplished quite a bit since my first DEI meeting in the summer of 2020. There have been many great ideas from students that may not have been executable in larger public schools. At Highland Hall, these ideas were embraced and acted upon. This includes creating a new, diverse book list, implementing a GSA, bringing in guest speakers, and recognizing the Native Americans that owned the land we study on today.”

   O     TS (11th Grade), Secretary HHSC
"This school year, I have witnessed some really great changes, and although I feel there is still a lot to be done, it is really cool to take new classes such as Malcolm X and Antebellum US History. In general, the steps teachers have taken to diversify their classes and to make the curriculum more all-inclusive across the board has been encouraging to see."

   O     OP (11th Grade)
"I’m pleased and proud that Highland Hall has begun to take steps this year to acknowledge its past mistakes and current issues when it comes to diversity and of the work being done by several teachers to update and diversify their teaching. What I’m most grateful for however, is the chance to work with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee itself. I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to work with other students, teachers, and administrators on issues in the school that are important to me. Since my first meeting last summer, I have felt welcomed and valued in every DEI meeting, my ideas and opinions are always heard and respected, and many of my own and other student-led initiatives have received a lot of amazing support. So, I’d like to specifically say thank you and give credit to everyone involved with the DEI Committee for creating such a nice environment, for welcoming students, and for the work and time that you all put in."

   O     CL (11th Grade)
"I’ve been at Highland Hall for my entire life and never in my wildest dreams would I ever thought that I would have the opportunity to be this much a part of the change that goes on at the school. Being on the DEI committee has been a great experience and getting to really have a voice and a say in my curriculum is a unique thing. Many of the teachers have also worked incredibly hard to make their classes more diverse. For example, our class with Mr. Shifa where we read Malcolm X’s autobiography. When the class started I really knew nothing about Malcolm X but throughout the block I learned a lot about him and his achievements which was a very great learning opportunity that I really enjoyed. I’ve also gotten to start new initiatives, like GSA (Gender Sexuality Acceptance) where students have the chance to come and just talk and have a group to feel safe and bring things they are passionate about."

   O     Ms. Guild (11th Grade Sponsor)
"The highest joy in teaching is watching students grow and learn. I’ve had the pleasure of watching students grow and learn at Highland Hall for several years now, and the recent student initiatives have made myself and other teachers extremely proud! From participation in the DEI committee, to initiating a student-led GSA at school, to researching and bringing speakers to talk to students about various topics, students have shown so much personal initiative and growth over the past year. In a Waldorf school, the whole school is a community, and respect and cooperation between student and teacher is important to the community dynamic. Seeing the positive changes in the whole community driven in part by conversations between students and teachers has been inspiring. These real-life lessons in collaboration, cooperation, and organization will help these students be the change they want to see in the world for years to come."

   O     MR (10th Grade)
“Over the course of this year I have noticed a great change in subject material and even just teachers' attitude towards new, inclusive, and diverse material. Though I have not had any of the new diversified Main Lesson classes yet, I have heard many good things about them. I enjoyed being a part of the Guest Speaker Committee and being able to be a part of something that I am passionate about.  I greatly look forward to taking our new classes in the future as well as helping to add even more diverse material to our Highland Hall curriculum.”

   O     DL (10th Grade)
“I have yet to experience these changes that were put into a variety of classes, but I am very excited to see how they will be. Even though I have not had these classes, I have participated in the Guest Speaker Committee which has brought two very intelligent speakers to our highschool that spoke about microaggressions and immigration in the U.S.  We are also continuing to bring in more speakers to help broaden the minds of our community. So many of my fellow students have worked hard on this and I can’t wait to see what they and the teachers have done.  I have enjoyed helping in any way I can with these new changes and I am also grateful that I can experience them.”

   O     JD (11th Grade)
“I joined Highland hall a little late compared to the other students here, but I have definitely noticed the improvement and change especially in the history classes. One of the history blocks that really stood out this year was the Antebellum block that Mr. Kotin taught. It was very well thought out and I could tell he put so much effort in it. He presented the class in a way that was incredibly informative and engaging. I was really glad to learn about the antebellum south in such depth. History through music was another example where I saw a big shift. Ms. Vrudny taught about all the different kinds of music from all over the world instead of being completely Eurocentric. There are a couple more examples but these were the main ones that stood out for me.”

   O     MK (9th Grade)
“I have been at Highland Hall for a large part of my school life and I joined the High School this year.  Over the course of this year I have seen how much effort the students have put in to bring guest speakers and made the curriculum and reading list more diverse. I look forward to seeing these meaningful changes in my classes. ”

   O     UY (9th Grade)
“I have been in Highland Hall for about 10 years and have seen myself as well as the school grow into what it is today. I entered Highland Hall’s highschool this school year and have heard from the upper grades about the great changes in the curriculum. I am excited to experience and witness the changes along with my classmates.”

   O     SK (12th Grade)
“When I first joined this school, it was already a wonderful community full of bright and kind people. Over the years it has grown to have an even more diverse curriculum, more communication, and more student input.  I hope it continues to grow after I leave, and future seniors have even more praise about it to share.”

   O     Ms. Vrudny (Music and English Teacher)
“I was happy to reconfigure the History Through Music main lesson to include a more balanced “World View” rather than focusing on “European Music.” The changes include studying music from China, India, Africa, America, Europe, African American Composers, Women Composers, and Queer Composers. Additionally, for the benefit of distance learning, those were all on PowerPoint!
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