As always, we have a wonderful cast of students from the LA County High School for the Arts( LACHSA). The students audition /interview for a spot in our service-learning class and then use their talent and training to help us train educators. Normally, these students are all theatre majors. But not this year! In addition to theatre students, we have students from Dance, Opera, Music, Cinematic Arts and Visual Arts. It makes for a very interesting group!!
The class is currently studying sexual orientation and how LGBT students experience school in K-12. We will watch the film about Jamie Nabozny Bullied next week and then we will see the Lee Hirsch documentary, Bully the week after. Both of these films are great resources for anyone who wants to learn about homophobic bullying in schools.
We started our first teacher trainings in October (trained 144 teachers over three sessions) and will continue throughout the year. We will keep you posted on the impact
We also had a little fun dressing up for Halloween! I hope our photos make you smile.
As always, thanks for supporting us!
It's that time of year! The teachers we train through the BTSA program are completing the year, graduating from our program and hoping to get their credentials. Most of the students in our service-learning class are graduating as well. Just as we are saying goodbye to them we are holding auditions for our next class.
We are so proud of this class and of the incredible work they have done this year to stop homophobic bullying in schools. It's been an exciting year! We have added some new elements to our project - a Tumblr blog for the teachers to access 24 hours a day to get resources about making their schools safe and inclusive. We also have a private Facebook group for our students - we use it to post and discuss issues related to this work and to give reminders about rehearsals and costumes etc.
Wish us luck on pullling together our next class of dedicated young actors - auditions will be done in June and we will be back training teachers in August. Over the summer, we will be busy planning and writing scripts and preparing for another fantastic year.
Thanks for being a part of it - we couldn't do it without you.
“At first, I did not see why I was required to attend this training, I thought it wouldn’t be relevant for elementary school teachers. But the presenter and the student actors really showed us how much influence elementary school teachers have on student attitudes. I also have to say that the training, even though it was about a serious subject, was a lot of fun. It should be required for all teachers” – 2nd grade teacher
In the past few months, we have been training quite a few teachers from elementary school, even some who teach pre-K. They have been so open to learning about the topic – even when they think homophobic bullying only happens in middle and high school.
We’ve also been training teachers from private religious schools (away from their schools) and have been impressed by compassionate educators who care about all of their students’ safety and mental health –even when the school policies allow for the expulsion of students who are identified as LGBT. Standing up for a student without outing him/her is a real challenge for these teachers.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work with all types of teachers and to help them address the unique circumstances at their schools and create safety for students targeted by homophobia. We are grateful to YOU for helping make this project possible.
A quick update:
A quick update on the Creating Bias-Free Classrooms program:
We’ve had great success training hundreds of teachers in Southern California. Here are a few representative comments:
Listen to a report on KPCC, public radio about our project:
We are developing a new partnership with Lee Wind, the creator of this award winning blog for LGBT teens: http://www.leewind.org/ Look for some exciting new offerings soon!
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