The Michigan Department of Education is offering several workshops focused on supporting LGBTQ students this spring: A Silent Crisis: Creating Safe and Supportive Schools for LGBTQ Students (101-level or introductory) and Planning for Action: Next Steps in Creating Safe and Supportive Schools for LGBTQ Students (201-level or advanced).

The workshops are designed for school administrators, school board members, Title IX Coordinators, teachers, GSA advisors, school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, other school staff, youth workers, parents, and other caring adults.

The Programs

A Silent Crisis: Creating Safe and Supportive Schools for LGBTQ Students (101-level or introductory workshop)
This workshop is designed to help school personnel and administrators understand, assess, and improve school climate and safety for all youth, especially those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ). Research consistently finds LGBTQ students to be at higher risk for homelessness, alcohol and substance abuse, harassment,assaults, suicide, school failure/dropout, and truancy. The good news is that research also shows there are simple, research-based, impactful steps schools can take to mitigate these risk factors. Some of the legal and ethical obligations that school systems and their employees must serve and protect this population will be addressed. A SilentCrisis: Creating Safe and Supportive Schools for LGBTQ Students resource guide ($60 value) is included with registration.

Workshop participants will: State major health and educational risks faced by LGBTQ students; analyze current terminology related to sexual orientation and gender identity; analyze implications of personal beliefs regarding LGBTQ issues on professional practice; assess current school/agency safety and climate for LGBTQ students; state the implications of key legal and policy issues affecting LGBTQ students and a safe school environment; use skills for responding to and intervening with students, staff, and the broader school community to create a safer school environment for LGBTQ students; commit to addressing school safety and climate issues that may arise among students, faculty, staff, and parents in schools/agencies; implement an action plan to address safety and climate issues for LGBTQ students at the individual, collegial, and the school/community levels; use culturally inclusive local, regional, state, and national resources.

Dates and Locations

  • Eaton RESA, February 27
  • Tuscola ISD, March 3
  • Macomb ISD, March 17
  • Kalamazoo RESA, April 17 (registration available soon)
  • Marquette Alger RESA, May 11 (registration available soon)

Planning for Action: Next Steps in Creating Safe and Supportive Schools for LGBTQ Students (201-level or advanced workshop)
This workshop is specially designed for individuals who have participated in the introductory workshop. Building on lessons learned, this more advanced session will strengthen participants’ knowledge and skills to collaborate and foster district-wide impact. The focus will be on practical strategies such as building supportive networks, professional development training techniques, and planning for action. Topics will include impact of law and policy changes, supports for transgender and gender non-conforming students, and best practices for improving academic and health outcomes for all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Participants will: understand the experiences, strategies utilized, and challenges faced by families and schools when addressing the needs of LGBTQ students; discuss implications of unearned privilege and power on professional practice; analyze one framework for understanding gender identity and gender expression; facilitate a 45 minute in-service activity with school personnel; discuss practical implications of recent law and policy decisions regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; identify best practices when responding to common LGBTQ scenarios; practice strategies for establishing common purpose among students, families, and school staff with divergent perspectives; implement a plan of action to achieve one outcome related to LGBTQ issues in their school; and express confidence and intention to reach out to national, state, and local stakeholders to collect and share effective ideas, resources, and strategies to support students and their families.

Details

SCECHs and Social Work continuing education credits will be offered. The workshops are supported by the Michigan Department of Education and Intermediate School Districts, and funded through multiple sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC) and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.  The contents are solely the responsibility of MDE, and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the CDC or the Health Fund.