- What question guided your inquiry and action plan?
HMW promote and embed a culture that celebrates diverse identities, including LGBTQ+?
- What did you do and what impact did it have?
Over the academic year, I have metaphorically and literally banged on the door of school leaders, allies, and colleagues. I have pushed for, and been given, the space to have an impact on the whole-school, by leading PD on using picture books to promote age-appropriate discussions around LGBTQ+, promoting child-led learning around DEI within the social justice club, and getting the celebration of PRIDE approved for the first time in the school’s history. I have drawn upon the ideas and support of the allies within my school, previous schools and Cohort21. They reinforced why this work is important and not too big of an ask, as well as giving their time and resources in problem solving and initiative based discussions. I have listened to the, sometimes contrasting, perspectives of colleagues in my school and battled with my thoughts around how I can meet them where they’re at to find a solution that puts the children in the center of decisions. But the impact is all hard to measure. I need to listen and observe the everyday words and actions of staff and students in my school to really understand the successes and next steps.
- What did you learn in the process?
It is difficult to put into words what I have learned; it was mostly about myself and my own confidence and determination in this work. I don’t have physical resources to share, but I am building a catalogue of LGBTQ+ inclusive books and FAQs for staff so reach out if you’re interested and I might have them finished! I am also currently following up on some leads for staff PD from my fellow Cohort21 members:
- What is your big take-away and what questions do you still have?
My main takeaway is that I needed to find my allies in order to lead this work. Without that, I was accepting ‘nos’, ‘it’s too early’, ‘maybe next time’ and I was starting to not want to bang on the door any more. These people, along with my internal voice asking ‘What is best for the students?’, kept me knocking on the door and ultimately succeeding in many goals.
- Is ‘tolerance’ enough? Can I expect all members of the school community to celebrate diverse identities, including LGBTQ+, or should I lower my expectations to ‘tolerance’?
- When I am told students need more foundational knowledge before learning can take place, where is the start?
- How do I measure success? What are the quantitative and qualitative tools I can use to hold myself accountable?