Making of a GSA at SEC

#1

In my Being Out thread, a GSA got mentioned and I got immediate support for the idea from my admin, so I’m starting this thread a little as a journal and for future reference if other people are interested in trying to get a GSA going elsewhere.

GSAs started as "Gay Straight Alliance"s but now often stand for “Gender and Sexuality Alliance” to better cover supporting more than just gay people and to explicitly include more of the LGTBQ community while still welcoming and including allies. Traditionally, they are student founded and led in middle and high schools. With the array of students ISD 287 serves, I as a staff member am spearheading and directing the effort at our building (SEC) while trying to keep as much of the direction and work in the hands of the students as possible.

Prep:

  • With admin’s green light, put a blurb in the weekly Principal’s newsletter asking for any interested staff to contact me
  • Got a couple emails from staff, including a link to this Jump Start a GSA guide
  • Leveraged the 2 school psychologists who run the building Student Council since I have little experience with the other programs in the building outside of SECA (alternative HS) where I teach
  • By email with the other interested staff, figured out a date, time, location for first meeting and picked a couple starting activities from the first section of the GSA jump start guide
  • Included a SECA announcements slide about a new GSA forming, describing what it is
  • Put up flyers around the building on Monday for the meeting happening on Friday

First Meeting 11/16:

  • Encouraged the first couple SECA students to arrive to go back to SECA and gather other students they thought maybe would/should come (the students’ idea). We ended up with ~8 SECA students and ~3 students from a couple other programs. We also had about 6 staff there.
  • Started by going over what L, G, B, T stand for and what GSA stands for and is
  • Introduced myself as genderqueer
  • Went around the circle with name, program, and grade (or role if a staff member).
  • From the jump start guide, handed 2 index cards per person. On the first, we wrote why we came there that day. We found just one other person to share that with. I then asked if anyone wanted to share to the whole group and a couple students came out to the group. I did a “thumbs up” check that the group would keep what was shared in the meeting confidential, because it was not clear if the sharing students wanted to be out to the whole building.
  • On the second index card we wrote about our priorities for the group - what we were hoping to accomplish with this club
  • On a large sheet on the wall I made Venn diagram circles for “Advocacy”, “Social”, and “Support”.
  • We went around the room saying what was on the card and then taping it onto the most appropriate area of the chart; a lot of our cards ended up connecting to giving and/or getting support for each other with a few scattered elsewhere.

With that we were about out of time. Everyone seemed to think it went well and was a good experience. Our next meeting is Friday 12/7. I’ll post back here about what we did. I made a new flyer using piktochart.

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So it's National Coming Out day
#2

We just learned on Friday that NEC is starting a GSA. I’m super excited to see where this goes. Staff were given a training on Safe Zones on Friday, in order to develop our understanding & capacity as a school to support LGBTQIA+ students & adults.

#3

Nice! How do I get “Safe Zones” training over here? How many did it at NEC?

#4

The training was conducted by Quinn Meyer (school psych at NEC) and Selah McMath (school counselor at NEC). Our admin made the training mandatory for licensed staff and voluntary for non-licensed staff, so it was a large group. I would reach out to Quinn and/or Selah and you can say I referred you. Perhaps they could bring this to SEC in the future, or coordinate with staff at SEC to be able to provide the training.

Ben

#5

We’re in contact now - thanks!

#6

I’ve never heard of this before, but it seems like a great resource!
https://thesafezoneproject.com/

#7

This fantastic list showed up via the Book Riot newsletter and I thought I’d pass it on here:

12 Exceptional Comics About Trans and Genderqueer People.

Please note: This is not a curated list for children or teens and some of these comics may include adult content. Be sure to preview them before ordering for your students.

Of the titles on the list, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Prince and The Dressmaker , by Jen Wang. It is a sweet story and suitable for students of all ages.

#8

@Christin_Sohns is helping to hook SEC up with a GSA library, so I’m tagging here…

Thanks for the info!

#9

Have either of them been on the innovation forum? If not, would you be willing to sit down with one or both and show them? It would be cool to have shared learning between all of us happening publicly here…

#10

I will definitely pass this along and invite them to share any thoughts that come up on this thread.

#11

There’s a bunch of updates I should post here.

First, teachers, counselors, GSA facilitators are being asked to spread the word to interested students about Youth Pride Day in Minneapolis.


Second, SEC now has a tiny GSA library - I’m very excited to have literacy reinforced for these students.

Finally, 287 staff GSA had an initial meeting at DSC in April and have a follow-up scheduled at NEC on Thursday 5/30. The part I’m excited about is having a logo for that:
GSA%20logo

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