Indian Creek School's commitment to providing a welcoming school experience for all students was strengthened on Monday, October 11, as the faculty and staff spent a professional development day with educator, author, and changemaker Dr. Eli R. Green to learn how educators can best be allies for transgender and non-binary youth. Creating and maintaining a culture of belonging requires the attention, dedication, and work of the entire school community, and the interest and engagement from today's workshops show that the ICS faculty and staff are embracing this important work.
Dr. Green is the founder of The Transgender Training Institute, an educational consulting company providing training to help create more transgender-affirming environments. Dr. Green workshopped with the ICS faculty in staff in order to help them gain a stronger understanding of what it means to be transgender, and how to be effective allies and provide crucial support to help transgender people survive and thrive in today’s world.
During a morning session, Dr. Green helped the entire faculty and staff imagine what the ICS experience is like for non-binary students. He shared some principal guidelines to affirming all students, emphasizing that “You don’t need to fully understand a person’s identity in order to affirm them.” He also shared practices to help teachers do everything they can to avoid misgendering, providing examples of gender neutral language, and enacting scenario training to help the staff correct misgendering when it occurs. Dr. Green also encouraged the faculty to ask questions as they come up in the language that they have, sharing that while trying is important, doing without burden shifting is even more critical.
Dr. Green also spoke about some key components of affirming schools, including a comprehensive educational program (including Human Development courses), members of the faculty and staff who are out, common practices of requesting pronouns about which individuals feel best, gender neutral bathrooms, and a strong Gender Sexuality Alliance affinity group. In addition to these goals, he also shared that the strongest indicator of success for transgender and non-binary students is an affirming family.
After a morning session with the entire faculty and staff, Dr. Green held afternoon sessions with the Lower, Middle, and Upper School faculties separately, to provide expertise geared towards each specific age group. Today’s Professional Development workshops, led by Dr. Eli Green were a valuable step towards Indian Creek’s work to ensure that every student is supported and affirmed.
Other valuable pieces of today's professional development agenda…
After the morning keynote session with Dr. Green, faculty and staff also had the opportunity to learn from their peers at a series of Technology sessions. Teachers learned techniques for Game Based Learning from Esti Uribe, “Using Desmos in a Math Classroom,” from Jenny Leasure, tricks in utilizing OneNote from Stephen Roth and Forms from Tina Alexander, creating Stop Motion Video from Josh Sprague, SmartBoard tips and tricks from Barbara Vazquez, and Photoshop basics from Sara White. Having the opportunity to spend an entire day engaged on learning with and from colleagues was valuable and energizing for the ICS faculty and staff.