HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Awards Two Boston Public Schools with Seal of Excellence

by HRC Staff

Haley Pilot School and Mozart Elementary of the Boston Public Schools received the Seal of Excellence for their dedication to creating LGBTQ+ inclusive school environments

WASHINGTON - This week, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program awarded Haley Pilot School and Mozart Elementary, both part of Boston Public Schools, with the Seal of Excellence for going the extra mile to foster welcoming and inclusive school environments for all families and children. Both Haley Pilot School and Mozart Elementary have demonstrated their outstanding dedication by meeting stated benchmarks and doing innovative work to further equity, diversity and inclusion.

These awards come at a time in which the LGBTQ+ community is pushing back against an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and legislation from those attempting to censor the very existence and history of LGBTQ+ people. This year, more than 70 discriminatory education bills have been introduced in states across the country. That is why the Welcoming Schools mission of working to make school environments and communities safer and more inclusive is critically important to the diverse families, children and educators that it supports.

In the midst of outrageous legislative attacks on families and students across the nation by lawmakers who wish to silence and erase the LGBTQ+ community in our schools, we’re inspired by educators who are going the extra mile to create truly welcoming schools. Creating LGBTQ+ and gender-inclusive schools means embracing and welcoming all students and families as their authentic selves – it is simply the right thing to do. Educators want to create wholesome environments in which students can learn, grow and thrive. Welcoming Schools gives educators the resources to do just that. We’re incredibly proud of Haley Pilot School and Mozart Elementary for their commitment to supporting and affirming all families and students.”

Cheryl Greene, HRC Foundation’s director of Welcoming Schools

Welcoming Schools provides educators with the tools and training to embrace teachable moments, interrupt bias-based bullying, support transgender and non-binary students, and be prepared to answer important questions about LGBTQ+ and gender topics with students and families. The program offers LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive professional development training, lesson plans, booklists and resources specifically designed for educators and youth-serving professionals.

Schools earning the Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence (SOE) demonstrate, with documentation, specific benchmarks, including policies that are in place and enumerated to all aspects of diversity; an established Welcoming Schools leadership team; completing the Welcoming Schools staff development modules; hosting school family nights; and having books from Welcoming Schools bibliographies that are publicly available to all students in the library/media center and classrooms, among other important benchmarks.

The Haley community is proud to be recognized for its efforts and join only a handful of schools across the country to receive this prestigious mark of distinction. Thanks in part to the incredible support and leadership of Steven Chen, Welcoming Schools Certified Facilitator, who over the course of four years, facilitated the Haley community through its work to create an affirming and inclusive environment for all students, particularly members of the LGBTQ+ community. Through our curriculum and daily practice, the Haley strives to create and continuously work towards building an anti-racist and inclusive environment in which students are valued for who they are and the wholeness of their identities are celebrated.”

Kathleen Sullivan, principal of Haley Pilot School

A third grade student who identifies as LGBTQ+ recently said that including everyone is really important at our school. While they are new to our community this year, this student has established strong peer relationships, experienced academic success and articulated their voice as a youth leader. This student's ability to navigate their transition into a new school community so seamlessly and successfully speaks to the intentional ways that Mozart educators affirm the diverse identities that all students bring into their classrooms.”

Michael Baulier, principal of Mozart Elementary

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.

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