Post submitted by former HRC Digital Media Manager Helen Parshall
As educators welcome students back to school, youth around the country are counting on schools to welcome and include all their identities and experiences. Educators must cultivate school environments that ensure not only young people’s safety, but also that they have the opportunity to thrive -- especially for the most marginalized students.
The positive impact of making schools inclusive places for all people can’t be underestimated. When students have their stories and families represented in the classroom -- through books, images and lessons -- it leads to a feeling of connectedness in school, improves academic performance and creates an environment of emotional safety.
Don’t know where to start? HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools has tools for making schools and classrooms LGBTQ-inclusive.
This overview of Welcoming Schools’ lesson plans and checklists is a must-have for educators committed to creating a safe and welcoming learning space for all students. Educators will learn to proactively work to prevent and address bias-based bullying, welcome all children and their families, promote gender equity and support transgender and non-binary students.
These picture books showcase stories about all kinds of families and relationships to help kids feel welcome in the classroom. Check out heartwarming books like Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s “And Tango Makes Three” to help your kids to value all kinds of family structures.
Registration is now open for Time to THRIVE, an annual national conference that brings together K-12 educators, counselors and other youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency to better support LGBTQ youth. It provides a comprehensive opportunity for attendees to learn current and emerging best practices and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field.
This book list offers inspiring selections for students in grades as young as kindergarten through middle school to see stories about a wide array of experiences and identities. Books like Arabelle Sicardi’s “Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present!” give students both role models and possibility models for what their future can hold.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a first grader who might not know what the word “gay” means, a sixth grader trying to sound cool or a 10th grader “teasing” a friend. All of these situations have the potential to create an unsafe classroom or school environment and must be addressed. This guide provides intervention strategies for caring adults who overhear anti-LGBQ comments.
For more resources like these, visit WelcomingSchools.org.
Housed by the HRC Foundation, Welcoming Schools and Time to THRIVE are national programs designed to help LGBTQ youth succeed. Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier professional development program providing LGBTQ- and gender-inclusive resources to schools to reduce bullying behavior and establish a positive school climate. Time to THRIVE is an annual national conference that brings together K-12 educators, counselors and other youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency to better support LGBTQ youth.