Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools consultant

HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools knows the importance of partnering with local organizations to get professional development on LGBTQ topics into the hands of educators who desperately want it -- especially when schools cannot or will not fund the training. Recognizing this need in the Twin Cities was the impetus for holding the second annual K-6 Educator Summit Supporting Transgender Students in Minneapolis on Aug. 13. 

The day-long training was a collaboration between Welcoming Schools, Transforming Families MN and the Minnestor Transgender Health Coalition, with special thanks to Welcoming Schools facilitator Dave Edwards. Edwards created a Facebook event for the summit, provided a sliding scale and sponsorships from local organizations to cover the registration fee for people in need.

The response was overwhelming, and the event completely sold out. Teachers, administrators, counselors, social workers and support staff all showed up at Hamline University for a day of engaging and transformative training to learn best practices for creating affirming, supportive and caring school climates for students of all genders.

The day began with remarks from the St. Paul Public Schools Chief Equity Officer and Rep.  Angie Craig, who highlighted the vital importance of the Equality Act. Participants were then trained in the Welcoming Schools module “Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students.” During lunch, educators heard from a panel of queer and trans people of color about their journeys and capped the experience off with a poetry slam. They left prepared and inspired, proudly wearing their “LGBTQ Safe Educator” badges.

After this event, all the funds that were brought in through registration were then donated back to Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition to support their work on the ground. Welcoming Schools is proud to partner with local grassroots organizations, and we hope this summit inspires others to host similar events in their own areas. For more information, contact Welcoming Schools.

HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools is the nation's premier professional development program providing training and resources to elementary school educators to: 

  • Welcome diverse families;
  • Create LGBTQ- and gender-inclusive schools;
  • Prevent bias-based bullying;
  • Support transgender and non-binary students.

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