Caring for emerging transgender and gender non-binary students and faculty offers schools the opportunity to create communities based on unconditional love, mutual support and shared vision. We know that every school has trans and gender non-binary students and faculty hiding in plain sight. We know that every school values inclusion and the lessons of diversity. We know that every school is committed to social justice and preparing students for the world they will inherit. We know that when schools are collaborative, students and faculty maximize their potentials. We know that when schools overtly value developing emotional intelligence, students and faculty are able to live authentic lives.
My work as a consultant on transgender and gender non-binary issues in schools will facilitate your school’s examination of their core values and how they influence day-to-day life in the community. As we learn to take care of and include trans and gender non-binary students and faculty, we also learn to better take care of and encourage each other.
Framework for Schools to Address Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Issues
Mission, Vision and Core Values:
Does the day-to day life of the school reflect mission, vision and core values? Does the emergence of transgender and gender non-binary students and faculty insist on a reexamination of mission, vision and core values, particularly in light of assumed hetero-normative expectations and policy? Does your school’s mission and vision call for inclusion, collaboration and learning from and supporting each other as essential values? If the answer to these questions is no or maybe, perhaps it is time to reassess mission in light of the emergence of transgender and gender non-binary students.
Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice:
How does the school’s diversity statement reflect diversity of all kinds? How has the work of the diversity department been effective in integrating multi-culturalism into the day-to-day life of the school? How does the day-to day life of the school reflect a commitment to social justice and the school’s responsibility to be involved in social change? Where does gender identity fall into the work of the diversity committee?
Strategic Plan and Critical Success Factors:
How does the school’s current strategic plan and concurrent critical success factors specifically reflect support for the changing notion of gender identity and encouraging personal authenticity?
Community Education and Participation:
How are we educating the various constituencies of our community on our efforts to develop emotional intelligence and gender identity issues in particular, as essential components of curriculum? Are there ongoing substantive discussions about mission, vision, diversity and inclusion among trustees, parents, faculty and students?
Policy and Procedures:
How are we specifically examining all of our policies, traditions, language and behaviors in light of the emergence of transgender and gender non-binary students? Do our policies in admissions, athletics, dress code, bathroom and locker room use reflect our mission, vision and core values relative to gender identity? Are our policies in step with NAIS best practices?
Outreach and Service:
How does our community service program reflect mission, vision and commitment to diversity of all kinds? How do we continually educate our constituencies about the essentiality of service and emotional intelligence development to our mission?
A few notes: Schools that get out in front of the issue are significantly more likely to avoid anger and conflict when students or faculty “come out of the closet.” By proactively indicating support, schools can encourage students and teachers in the closet to emerge and live authentic lives and at the same time offer the community an amazing opportunity to be supportive and grow. As leaders in the school, are you confident the school is a safe place for transgender and gender non-binary community members?
Finally, as a former head of school, teacher, counselor, community service coordinator and coach, I am uniquely prepared to assist schools as they approach these issues. I understand, speak the vocabulary of and have lived the uniqueness of independent school cultures.
Ongoing consulting and multiple school visits to include student body conversations, meeting with school LGBT group, counseling and supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students, faculty training, board training, administrative group training, crisis management assistance, parent education and shared resources. Often paired with school, trustee, departmental or divisional strategic planning.
Single day visits:
May include any iteration of the following: assembly or community meeting talks, faculty training, meeting with student affinity groups, parent and/or board education, faculty training. Includes follow-up conversations.
On an hourly basis, comprehensive conversations with school community members about best practices and crisis management. May include how to counsel, work with parents, conversations with transgender and gender non-binary students and the faculty and administration that work with them.
Testimonials: “Most of the board members realized our need for greater inclusivity…Thank you so much for all of your support, encouragement and help navigating things. You are a rock star!”