Social Entrepreneurship Education

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.

Featured Projects


Pillars: Systems, Agency, Design, Story

Inspired by a story seen at the Tech for Global Good exhibit at the Tech Interactive, 8th grade students dug into the the topic of sustainable agriculture through aquaponics and hydroponics. Following this Capstone project and in collaboration with the Hillbrook science team, the Scott Center hosted a summer fellowship for faculty members at Ouroborough Farms in Half Moon Bay to learn more about sustainable farming practices. This experience turned into two 6-week aquaponics Reach Beyond Blocks, in which students built their own mini-aquaponics systems.

AQUAPONICS: any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

Island School RBW

Pillars: Systems, Civics, Agency, Story

In April 2019 the Scott Center hosted an international Reach Beyond Week at the Island School in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas to connect students to the frontlines of ocean preservation, sustainability and local community impact projects.

Ethical Fashion RBW

Pillars: Agency, Design, Systems, Finance, Story

In April 2018 the Scott Center hosted a Reach Beyond Week focused on sustainable shopping, conscious consumerism and supply chain management. Students visited Patagonia headquarters in Ventura, CA as well as Poco Farms in Ojai, CA and Santee Alley in Los Angeles. Students also had the chance to meet with B Corp business owners and spend time with the owner of a Refille Shoppe. Check out a student created video of the week long experience here (can you imbed the video on the website?).

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.

WIFTTY (Women in Finance and Tech Teaching Youth)

Pillars: Systems, Civics, Agency, Story

The first ever student designed, teacher supported Reach Beyond Block was called WIFTTY. 8th grade girls gathered over the summer at the Scott Center to design a 6-week RBB that focused on sharing stories from women who have navigated careers in finance and tech. You can listen to an episode of the podcast series here.

Money Matters Elective

Pillars: Finance, Systems, Civics, Agency, Design, Story

This annual 6th grade Scott Center elective focuses on understanding how money and the system of finance can be used as a tool for social change. In the inaugural year, students learned about the history of currency and then embarked on a design challenge to create a social capital currency of our own which was later named Hillbucks.

Water Warriors

Pillars: Story, Design, Agency

A lower school Scott Center summer camp hosted on campus in partnership with H204Life. Students explored ways to protect our oceans, rivers, lakes and water sources and imagined what life as a superhero Water Warrior would be like! On the final day, students chose a school through H204Life to receive a donation from the Scott Center.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

Pillars: Finance, Story, Design

Doing good can also taste good! This was one of the first lessons of social entrepreneurship education during the inaugural Scott Center middle school elective. Students were tasked with using a B Corp mindset to design and pitch a new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor that is “best IN the world and best FOR the world.” Examples included Honey You’re So Sweet; Run Forest Run; and Rainbow Rights.

SDG Podcast

Pillars: Systems, Civics, Agency, Story

In collaboration with the 8th grade integrated studies team, all 8th graders embarked on a Sustainable Development Goals project, choosing a goal of their choice and connecting it to a social enterprise or non-profit that is working towards that goal. Listen to students reflect on their projects via podcast episodes found here!

Teal Pumpkin Project

Pillars: Civics, Finance, Story, Design, Agency

The Scott Center partnered with the 3rd grade for a special Halloween project during Reach Beyond Block in October to dive deep into ways to make Halloween more equitable for all. This included learning about the Teal Pumpkin Project, which allows homes to be allergy and autism friendly by providing allergy-friendly treats and low-noise trick-o-treating. Students also had the chance to use their Halloween Hillbucks to donate to an organization of choice that provides support to families during the holiday season, such as Mexican Heritage Plaza, Uplift Family Services and San Jose Family Shelter.