SOGI Education Initiative
Catalyzing Momentum for SOGI-Inclusive Education
We Believe the Time Is Right
Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) is topical now for all of us: School principals and teacher unions, grassroots community organizations and globally-recognized universities, policy makers and industry leaders, parents and neighbours.
Numerous formal meetings and casual conversations over the last two years indicate that multiple stakeholders and influencers believe in a vision of safer and more inclusive schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) youth. All sense that now is the moment to address SOGI in our education system here in British Columbia and across the country.
ARC Foundation is pleased to be collaborating with champions in SOGI-inclusive education that are sharing their leadership voice on this important issue. We know that positive work is being undertaken in various districts within the province and are excited about this opportunity to consistently impact all students throughout B.C. and support the 64% of LGBTQ students who report that they feel unsafe at school (Egale, Every Class in Every School, 2011).
A Practical Roadmap to Shared Vision
The SOGI Education Initiative aims to catalyze today’s momentum into action leading to safer schools. The SOGI Education Initiative facilitates collaboration, programming, and funding to realize the vision of every school in British Columbia providing a safe, inclusive environment for every child. Specifically, the SOGI Education Initiative has identified four collaborative projects to address change at multiple levels within the education system, including provincial leadership, school district operations, educator SOGI competency training and educator SOGI resources.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION SOGI EDUCATION LIAISON
Just Announced - ARC Foundation has partnered with the Ministry of Education by funding a new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Education Liason position to support school districts and independent schools to develop their policies and voluntary anti-bullying programs, to be inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. This position will be funded for the first year by ARC Foundation starting September 2016 with the Ministry of Education providing implementation support.
SCHOOL DISTRICT OPERATIONS
Just Launched - Expanding on the success of the Delta School District Pilot (2015-2016), the School Districts SOGI Pilot is providing a peer network, onboarding, and training tools, including an online district-wide toolkit, to 6-8 SOGI Coordinators within BC school districts in 2016/17.
SOGI Resource Development
Just Launched - The new SOGI Resource Development Lead at the UBC Faculty of Education is focused on developing and distributing a robust set of SOGI content and resources throughout the university and its academic network across Canada. A key responsibility of this dedicated, full-time role is the review of curriculum for UBC’s Teacher Education program to incorporate SOGI education.
SOGI COMPETENCY TRAINING FOR BC TEACHERS
Just Launched - Addressing the present need for SOGI competency training among the province’s teachers, ARC Foundation is working with the Ministry of Education, BC Teachers Federation, UBC Faculty of Education and Out in Schools to deliver the SOGI Education Leadership Summit, a day-long professional development conference for teachers in October 2016. The Summit is an opportunity for SOGI stakeholders and educators in pilot districts to come together and explore opportunities for increasing SOGI capacity and enhancing the student experience within schools.
Data further makes the case
- Sexual and gender minority youth are now identified as a vulnerable population requiring special attention - Child and Youth Mental Health in British Columbia: Concrete Actions for Systemic Change (2016)
- 64% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school - Every Class in Every School (2011)
- Nearly two-thirds of trans youth turned to self-harm in the past year and more than 1 in 3 have attempted suicide – Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey (2015)
- Only 48% of Gen Zs aged 13-20 identify as exclusively heterosexual, compared to 65% of millennials aged 21 to 34 – J. Walter Thompson Intelligence (2016)
- LGB and heterosexual students in bc have lower odds of discrimination, suicidal thoughts and attempts in schools with GSAs than in schools without GSAs – University of British Columbia (2014)
- While 85% of educators approve of LGBTQ-inclusive education, only 37% participate in related education - The Every Teacher Project on LGBTQ Inclusive Education in Canada’s K-12 Schools (2016)