Creating Gender-Inclusive Schools

The Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Institute and Inclusive Schools Network

Schools today are facing new challenges around welcoming and supporting students who are Transgender, Non-binary or Gender-expansive. Gender Spectrum can equip you and your organization with skills and knowledge needed to respond.

Participation in the two-day Inclusive Schools Institute (ISI) is the first step. Our program has successfully worked for individual schools and entire school systems, and is being used in trainings for leading educational professional organizations nationwide.

Our model recognizes that all students benefit when schools approach gender education intentionally, and when schools plan ahead for managing gender expectations. This approach creates conditions in which the gender diversity of all students is accounted for and supported accordingly, leading to an improved learning environment for all.

Participation in our Inclusive Schools Institute also includes membership in our year-long Inclusive Schools Network (ISN). The ISN will prepare you to facilitate introductory gender diversity trainings in your community, and provide you with the background, tools and resources you need to lead this work at your site.

Learn more about the Inclusive Schools Institute here.

Learn more about the Inclusive Schools Network here.

Issues about gender in our schools are emerging as never before. As schools work to support the learning of every child, gender diversity is an area that is new for many educators. Given the rapidly changing understandings around gender, your school needs to know how to respond when:

  • Students are harassed or bullied for their gender
  • Staff are uncertain about gender terms or pronouns
  • Staff observe gender-expansive students who are depressed or self-harming
  • Parents raise questions about gender inclusive practices at school

Beyond these reasons for creating more gender inclusive climates at school, there are numerous legal and policy considerations as well. But the importance of this work ultimately comes down to something educators do every single day: create safe spaces in which all students can thrive. If you and your school could use help in navigating these challenges, Gender Spectrum’s Inclusive Schools Network is for you.

Gender Spectrum has trained educators at hundreds of schools across the United States and beyond and our work has reached thousands of educational leaders who are now working to create gender-inclusive schools. We work with schools, school districts, state education departments, and leading national professional associations and others.

 

Our approach focuses on:

  • Meeting participants wherever they are in this work, without judgment. We have no agenda, other than to give you the best tools, resources and information needed to serve all students within your unique context.
  • Recognizing the nature of gender and its intersections with other identities. In embarking on a path to expand students’ understanding about gender diversity, schools set a tone in which examining differences is accepted and encouraged. Exploring gender becomes an on-ramp for students to consider complex racial, cultural, religious, linguistic, socioeconomic and other issues in their lives.
  • Emphasizing the value of gender-inclusive work for all children. Every student is impacted by gender expectations and norms; gender inclusive environments allow every child to develop to their fullest capacity and have the opportunity to succeed.

The Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Institute

The Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Institute (ISI) is a two-day training that gives you the background you need to begin serving as a leader in creating a gender-inclusive school environment. A gender inclusive school makes certain that regardless of one’s gender, all students are included in all aspects of the school environment without restriction or limitation. Such schools employ intentional practices, policies and other actions to demonstrate this focus in ways large and small. From systemic strategies to subtle interactions, gender-inclusive schools state clearly, “Students of all genders are welcome!”

The Gender Spectrum ISI two-day training will start you on the way to understanding and implementing gender-inclusive practices. Through hands-on activities, personal reflection, group discussions, and in-depth conversations, you will develop the competency and confidence needed to bring the work back to your school. Whether you are a classroom teacher, a site principal or district administrator, a guidance counselor or any other educator committed to the health and wellness of your students, the Institute will provide you with essential background to begin your work in creating gender-inclusive schools.

Following the two-day training, you will be able to

  • Talk confidently about gender
  • Describe a gender inclusive school
  • Make the case for gender inclusion work in schools
  • Train others about gender diversity
  • Support transgender and gender-expansive students

We are currently planning ISI trainings for throughout the country.

For information on upcoming trainings or to request a training in your area, contact [email protected]  

Fees for the ISI and ISN are based on a sliding scale structure to address your school or district’s financial situation. We are committed to overcoming any financial barriers to your participation in this important and necessary work.

What is the Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Network?

The Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Network is a learning community of educational professionals committed to creating school settings where every child’s gender is seen, understood, and honored. This year-long program of professional development is designed to build the capacity of educators to take ownership of and lead gender inclusion work in their own communities. It begins with the Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Institute, an intensive two-day program that serves as the foundation of the Inclusive Schools Network. Comprised of a cohort of educators from the region, the Institute prepares participants to facilitate introductory trainings about gender diversity in their own community and provides them with the necessary background to lead work at their own sites. The Institute is followed by a comprehensive program of ongoing activities and consultation that will deepen members’ confidence and capacity as they pursue greater gender inclusiveness for all students in their schools.

Click the image to see more of our clients and partners.

Why a network?

Though there are common themes facing schools related to student gender diversity, in most cases the specific questions and challenges schools face may be local. Gender Spectrum provides the perspective of a national organization working with schools around the country; Inclusive Schools Network members bring the expertise of working in their own communities. It is this collaboration that provides the powerful foundation of a community grounded in promising practices and shared learning.

What benefits will I receive through participation in the Inclusive Schools Network?

The Network is a one-year program involving the following activities:

  • 2-Day Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Institute
  • Training and resources to lead gender-related training sessions 

  • Online workshops throughout the year on topics related to gender-inclusive schools 

  • Drop-in office hours with Gender Spectrum staff
  • Access to Gender Spectrum curricular materials and resources
  • Additional Gender Spectrum resources, including up-to-date slides, handouts, tools, videos, 
and communications 

  • Coaching on issues such as policy development, student transitions, parent education and curriculum development
  • Participation in Inclusive Schools Network groups and forums on the Gender Spectrum Lounge 


What commitments are we making by being part of the Inclusive Schools Network?

  • Identifying and supporting a Gender Leadership Team (GLT) representing your institution who are positioned to initiate gender inclusive practices (ideally at least two individuals)
  • Attending both days  of the Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Institute (ISI)
  • Participating in online ISI follow-up activities
  • Providing opportunities for the GLT to facilitate one or more trainings with institution stakeholders (school sites, parent organizations, district cabinet, etc.)
  • Participating in the Network’s evaluation efforts
  • Supporting GLT members to participate in continuing education activities and share best practices with the Network members.

I have more questions. Who can I contact?