Six Pillars of Social Entrepreneurship
These pillars guide our work and help define this newly emerging commitment to educational excellence.
Seen, Valued, and Celebrated
Social impact leaders often emphasize how the stories they remember from childhood (of experiencing an injustice, observing an act of kindness, or facing a hard-to-solve problem) became a formational tool for making a lifetime of difference. We ensure our students receive early exposure to all forms of story—reading, telling, and listening. We challenge them with interactive platforms like StoryCorps and Better World Ed. We line our bookshelves with literature centered around social impact. And our Grandparents' Day Story Lab and alumni interviews—held in the Scott Center podcast studio—connect us across generations. Together we’re building the skills to be responsible storytellers and empathetic story listeners because we know story is the entry point to a deep, meaningful partnership.
Find Your People
Civics is about knowing what communities you’re a part of and understanding how day-to-day participation shapes those communities. Here at the Scott Center, some dedicated 4th-grade leaders—along with a crew of determined lower school supporters—find their roles as community changemakers through our Social Impact Lunch Club. During working-lunch meetings, we’ve created a pop-up stationery studio and sent cards to students returning to school after the California wildfires. We’ve counted the trees on campus—and affixed “These Come From Trees” stickers to campus paper towel dispensers. As a club, we take action, and we also create a safe place for students to grapple with the core questions of “What matters to you?” and “What are you doing about it?”
Your Money is a Vote
Talking about money can be difficult because it illuminates complexities around privilege, race, geography, and family. We believe because we live within a shared system of finance, all of us—regardless of age—should understand our life-long agency to shape that system and the way it assigns value locally and globally through social, economic, and cultural capital. For our JK to 8th-grade students, studying finance means making Kiva loans and interviewing B Corp business owners. It also means planning fundraisers, practicing “Fair Trade”-style playground negotiations, and starting a financial literacy podcast series. As part of a design challenge in a sixth-grade elective, students even created an original social capital currency called “Hillbucks” to assign value to the causes that matter most to us.
Sustaining the Changemaker
Agency requires taking steps to address the local and global effects of your actions. When we took 14 students to the Island School in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas, we brought both individual and community agency to life by observing the impact of people on the planet. We learned the practices of sustainability: everything from aquaponics to green architecture to two-minute cold showers. We delved into the field of ocean preservation research, examining the impact of tourism and the best fishing practices for invasive species. Some students were so moved by their experience that they began projects of their own, like a social media movement to save our seas or a proposal for Disney World: BLUE, an experience focused on sustainability through play and imagination.
Ideas into Impact
Designing for good is about finding specific, inventive ways to make people feel valued, respected, honored, and seen. We strive to transform ideas into action by channeling the imaginations of our students and educators. When we joined forces with the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation to create a half-day workshop at the Savannah College of Art and Design, more than 40 representatives from 15 different schools and organizations rolled up their sleeves, grabbed their post-its, and created original social impact curriculum prototypes. Scott Center educators had a chance to design with people, planet, and our own students in mind! Several of these prototypes ended up in our Reach Beyond Block offerings back on campus, including “Fashion for People and Planet,” which explored the world of ethical fashion.
Reshaping the World
Systems change means reshaping social and environmental structures that perpetuate injustice. During the Reach Beyond Block “Sports Beyond Borders,” 5th to 8th graders considered the question, “How can the system of athletics be used as a tool for social change?” To deepen our understanding, we visited San Jose State’s “Power of Protest” exhibit featuring famous Olympic protesters. Later, students interviewed Hillbrook alumna Aly Wagner about being the first female Men’s World Cup broadcaster and an equal pay advocate. They also presented about current events in which athletes used their status to challenge systemic biases. Lively class discussions intersected topics of race, gender, ethnicity, ability, and equity. The takeaway? As long as we make the systems in which we live and work, we all have a role in shaping them.
Holiday Shopping Guide
Pillars: Finance, Story, Design, Agency
7th and 8th grade students in the Social Entrepreneurship elective class researched businesses with a social impact focus and created a guide of gift recommendations that benefitted people and the planet. Many of these companies were B Corps and/or used Fair Trade products.