Back to School Programs for Parents, Professionals and Youth

Aug 20, 2018

All children are affected by the messages they receive about gender: from simple things like “blue is for boys, pink is for girls,” to the ways we encourage youth to pursue activities and academic subjects consistent with society’s notions about gender.  Children and youth are flooded with these messages and school is no exception. Our work has shown that all children benefit from discussions that focus on and challenge these messages and that gender-inclusive schools create a more effective learning environment for all students.

As we continue to work with young people, parents and schools nationwide on strategies for gender inclusion, we are pleased to find that many schools are excited about approaching gender more intentionally. Gender Spectrum offers trainings to school districts, professional organizations, and other groups interested in working on gender inclusion. Click here to receive more information. Also, educators, parents and youth can check out our online community The Lounge, and find our ongoing online discussion groups on our groups page.

Approaching gender with kids can be challenging – but it can also be immensely rewarding and fun! Our programs and resources below can help you engage with all children around gender. Check them all out!

New Video! Back to School Tips for Parents

Going back to school can raise all sorts of questions around gender for all parents and children. Hear Gender Spectrum Executive Director Lisa Kenney and Family Support Director Pamela Wool offer their tips and strategies for understanding and supporting your child’s gender journey throughout the school year!

You can also listen to our audios with “Helpful Hints for Parents” on working with schools, and review the Gender Support Plan, a document that creates shared understanding about the ways in which a student’s authentic gender will be accounted for and supported at school (see a slideshow on using the plan below). More resources and information on gender for all children include Understanding Gender, our video series on the Dimensions of Gender, and more on our parenting resources page.

Gender Spectrum Video: Creating Gender Inclusive Schools

Watch the award-winning documentary Creating Gender Inclusive Schools! See the trailer below and purchase the full documentary here.

Creating Gender Inclusive Schools Trailer from Jonathan Skurnik on Vimeo.

Hear more about gender inclusive schools in our video below.

New Videos: Schools, Sports and Gender

Our new videos feature prominent national voices on navigating gender and sports: Helen Carroll has been a national leader for decades in the movement for gender equity in sports, she spoke to Gender Spectrum’s Joel Baum about Transgender and Non-binary athletes and how parents and young people can work with schools so everyone can participate in athletics. We also heard from Harvard student-athlete Schuyler Bailar, who discussed his journey as the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer on Instagram Live with Gender Spectrum intern Sone Yun. Watch the videos below!

(see the playlist with all three videos with Schuyler here – apologies for some poor video quality).

For Educators: Navigating Gender and Schools — Record Keeping and The Gender Support Plan

Dr. Kelly King is Assistant Superintendent with the Glendale Unified School District in Glendale, California. For the past five-plus years she has been working on affirming policies for transgender and Gender-expansive students, and in this video she shares tips on record keeping for educators. For transgender students, record-keeping is a lot more than paperwork: it is a key factor in helping to create a gender-affirming environment at school. Dr. King shares her years of experience and lessons learned in this vital topic.

The Gender Support Plan is a document that creates shared understanding about the ways in which a student’s authentic gender will be accounted for and supported at school.

See our slideshow describing the plan and how it is used below, and download the document here.

Videos: Youth on Gender at School

Hear young people describe how their schools respond to their need for a gender-affirming environment. Follow @gender_spectrum on Instagram to see more youth videos!

New Video: Using Chosen Names

In this compelling video, Professor Stephen Russell describes his recent research showing the incredible importance to transgender and gender-expansive youth of using their chosen names. Check it out!

Gender Spectrum has many more resources and tools for parents on working with schools, and for educators who are looking to introduce gender inclusive work in their schools. Teens and young people can also get help from Gender Spectrum on ways to advocate for yourself (and with others!) at school.