At Corwin, we take pride that our stakeholders are learners all over the world: that’s whom we invest in; that’s whom we want to live rich, abundant lives through education. On the eve of profound political, cultural, and social change, CEO David McCune challenged us at Corwin to dream, to dare, and to innovate. So dream, dare, and innovate we did, quickly establishing ourselves as the essential source of what works best, when, and for whom in education.
Keynote: Identity Safe Spaces for LGBTQIA+ Students: Belonging, Inclusion, and Validation
Description:These last two years, the pandemic made it rough for everyone – especially young people.
For LGBTQIA+ youth, returning to in-person school could be a godsend for those whose families are unaware of or reject their sexuality and gender identity. For others, returning to school may be a source of dread, coming back to incessant bullying or exclusion. Recently, there have been new threats that undermine LGBTQIA+ inclusion. In this session, we’ll discuss how to create identity safe spaces that are welcoming and validate all LGBTQIA+ identities. We’ll learn evidence-based practices that lead to identity safety for students of all backgrounds.
Breakout Session I: Upstanders – Strengthening Our Capacity to Speak Up and Stand Up to Bias and Homophobia
Description: An upstander is a person who speaks up or stands up to hate, intolerance, and bullying, to prevent and/or intervene when someone is being harmed. Upstanders also take action when whole groups of people are targeted. LGBTQIA+ students are often subject to teasing, bullying, and harassment. Frequently, they are attacked on social media and exposed to hateful comments in the news.
We can strengthen our personal capacity to speak out against homophobia and help students learn to safely be upstanders. In this session, we will learn useful skills to teach students of all ages. We will also practice strengthening our own upstander muscles using case studies to prepare ourselves to be ready to speak up.
Breakout Session II: Breaking Out of the Binary – Identity Safe Practices for Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students
Description: For all time, there have been people who have broken out of the constrictions of stereotypes about gender and sexuality. Today, we are experiencing a revolution that is breaking open some of these constrictions. While exciting and liberating, as with all major changes and cultural shifts, there is a backlash. In this workshop, we will learn more about non-binary and trans-inclusive identities and how educators can create identity safety for them. We will also discuss some of the recent threats and external pressures on students, their families, and educators and ways to counteract them.
Becki Cohn-Vargas, EdD
Becki Cohn-Vargas, EdD, (she/her) is the co-author of three books about identity safety including Identity Safe Classrooms Grades K–5: Places to Belong and Learn, Identity Safe Classrooms Grades 6–12: Pathways to Belonging and Learning, and Belonging and Inclusion in Identity Safe Schools: A Guide for Educational Leaders (released this summer). She designs curriculum, publishes articles, coaches schools, and produces films for Learning for Justice, Edutopia, Not In Our Town, and many other organizations. She presents internationally at conferences and provides professional development in schools and districts. Dr. Cohn-Vargas began her 35-year career in early childhood education in Sonoma County, California. She lived abroad for five years where she did earthquake relief at a hospital in the Guatemalan Highlands and produced educational films for the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education. She returned to California and worked as a teacher and principal in Oakland, curriculum director in Palo Alto, and as superintendent of a small district in San Jose. She also served as an adjunct professor at University of San Diego, Mills College, and Cal State University, East. Bay. In each setting, she focused on educational equity and effective strategies for diverse populations. She has extensive experience in creating safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ students. Her short film “Our Family, A Film About Family Diversity,” features children introducing their families, including those with LGBTQIA+ parents. Dr. Cohn-Vargas and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have three adult children including Priscilla, Melania, and Luna. Her daughter, Melania and her wife Roya have made Becki the proud grandmother of a one-year-old grandchild, Anteo.