The National PTA (Parent Teacher Association) recently recognized Hillside Elementary in Farmington Hills with its Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award.
The school has a diverse population of students who speak more than 40 languages; for half of the student body, English is a second language. To serve its diverse community, Hillside and its PTA have hosted activities and programs including Cultural Game Night, Lego Robotics, Math Pentathlon, Dream Kings, the Fourth Wall Program, and many more.
Parent Triman Jagdev and PTA President Kristen Aspinall applied for the award.
“Hillside elementary is a beautiful mosaic of students representing diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, different learning abilities, and multicultural backgrounds,” Jagdev said in a press release. “The Jan Harp award is the result of parents and teachers coming together to celebrate and working continuously towards being inclusive. We are excited to be recognized for all our efforts at National PTA.”
According to the award letter, “Hillside Elementary PTA clearly places the PTA mission of making every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children into the forefront, irrespective of race, condition, ethnicity, ability, gender, or culture.”
The note specifically mentions Dream Kings, a program geared toward helping African American men to realize their purpose, and the Fourth Wall program, which is targeted toward students with special needs, as “clearly innovative, inclusive, and needed.”
“Hillside is so proud of our hard-working PTA,” said Robert Kauffman, school principal. “The group committed multiple meetings and events to be more culturally responsive to all families… Hillside PTA has laid a clear foundation that supports the needs of every kid at Hillside. The award represents the genuine altruism and humanitarianism that we need to see more of in our world.”