There’s a saying around the halls of HRS. We often repeat it when telling neighbors and visitors about our students.
By Josh Phillips, Head of Middle School
“If you’ve met one student with dyslexia… you’ve met one student with dyslexia.”
This redundant saying expresses a core HRS belief and flips a common refrain on its head (think: if you’ve met one Seattle resident, you’ve met them all – clearly not so). Although dyslexia and difficulty with reading and writing may be the most overt identifier uniting our students and mission, we insist on treating each student’s experience with dyslexia as unique – because it is.
Celebrating our commonality while acknowledging what makes us distinct is a predominant focus at HRS. We regularly find reasons to recognize shared experiences and identities, and we also appreciate the diversity in how we each see and interact with the world.
Embracing individual student experience and fostering a community with diversity and equity is a strategic goal. This includes challenging ourselves and our community to continually engage in reflection, discussion, studying multiple perspectives, and taking action. We model for our students a commitment to examine our own practices in pursuit of ways to celebrate diversity, build equity, and promote belonging.
Last summer, HRS retained the services of Nishant Mehta as the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant. Nishant is a former head of school from the Atlanta area who now works with schools across the country as the head of independent school practice for Storbeck Search. He co-chaired the NAIS People of Color Conference twice and served on
belonging impact schools. He met with our administrative team and board of trustees to help school leadership deepen our knowledge and awareness as we work to make HRS a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
As a next step, a task force to further this foundation will be created. I am honored to facilitate this group of parents, teachers, board and community members.
We are excited to continue celebrating the commonality and difference in our student’s lives and how those individual traits enrich our school.
I look forward to helping ensure HRS remains a place where all students with language learning differences; of different races, genders, sexualities and identities, belong. •
Contact Josh Phillips