Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

A Film About Gender to Engage Students for Ally Week 2017



By | blog, LGBT, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced

We all have a role in supporting students who are LGBTQ. This year, it’s especially important to show that no matter who sits in the White House, school communities will always protect and support students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

That’s why we’re proud to once again partner with GLSEN for Ally Week, which will be September 25 – 29, 2017. GLSEN’s Ally Week is a student-powered program where LGBTQ K-12 students and LGBTQ educators lead the conversation on what they need from their allies in school.

To help you begin that conversation, we’re making our award-winning documentary, Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up available to stream for free for the last two weeks of September. Straightlaced, which explores the pressures that ALL teens face when it comes to dealing with gender norms and sexuality, is the perfect tool for sparking dialogue and community action around these issues.

Sign Up for Free Streaming

Order DVD and Curriculum Guide

Make Connections: Race, Culture, Gender, and Sexuality

You can also purchase the DVD and our comprehensive curriculum guide at 50% off for the entire month just by using discount code AWSG17 when you make your purchase.

Each DVD set comes with a free, 165-page curriculum guide on how to use the film to open up critical classroom discussions for middle, high school, and college students about the gender binary, transgender students, homophobia, dating pressures, and much more.

The activities in the guide are correlated to National Sexuality Education Core Curriculum standards as well.

Two young people smiling, with silhouettes outlined in rainbow. GLSEN Ally Week.

Chasnoff to Address IBPA on Supporting Students in Today’s Political Climate



By | blog, Events, LGBT, Professional Development, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced

GroundSpark’s president and senior producer Debra Chasnoff will be the kickoff speaker at the International Bullying Prevention Association’s upcoming conference in San Diego, Inclusion Through Kindness and Community: One-day summit supporting our LGBTQ youth.

headshot of Debra ChasnoffDebra’s talk, “Culture Change Strategies for Addressing Bias” will focus on how educators can find ways to address the bias issues which have become much more charged for students in today’s political climate.

She’ll be focusing on how we can open up critical discussions about race, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexism, ableism, religion and more to protect our students and encourage everyone to be strong allies.

In an interactive session, Debra will use excerpts from our Respect for All documentaries to model strategies educators can use in their schools.

“Debra Chasnoff was the first person we thought of to kick off the event,” says IBPA executive director Lynn Lonsway.” Her message to confront prejudice, discrimination, and bias is powerful and will be more timely and critical than ever to our attendees.”

Lonsway says the conference will sell out soon, so if you are an educator in the area, register now.

Debra is also available to share her presentation at other conferences. Visit our website to learn more.

 

International Bullying Prevention Association logo

 

Meet Rey and Help Resist Trump’s Exec Order



By | blog, LGBT, Professional Development, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced

This is Rey. When we filmed her, she was a high school senior. Watch this clip from our film, Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, and try to envision Rey being forced to use the boys’ bathroom.

The Trump administration does not have a clue what it is like for students like Rey to navigate the school day and stay safe.

While we are outraged by the administration’s latest action, we know that we have the ability to support teachers and administrators to do the right thing in their own schools.

When we go into school districts, as we did last year in San Diego, and show this award-winning documentary, we see the light bulbs go on. When caring professionals meet Rey on film, they gain new insights into the challenges their own students must be facing. They think about the youth in their own schools and get passionate about ways they can help protect their transgender students.

Trump can issue all the executive orders he wants, but that is not going to stop GroundSpark from connecting with educators and supporting them to stay strong and keep all of their students safe.

We’ve seen an uptick in distribution of Straightlaced since Trump was elected. We know that means that more schools are trying to grapple with how gender norms affect their students.

Will you help?

Please consider buying a copy of Straightlaced, which comes with a comprehensive teaching guide, and sharing it with a teacher or school administrator you know who may not be aware of this important resource.

Buy Now

And we are also on call, ready to send our education team to provide professional development to school districts that want more training on these issues.

Thank you for standing with us to protect every student’s safety.

No Name Calling Week Discount on Our Anti-Bias Documentaries



By | blog, It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Let's Get Real, LGBT, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

We were proud to offer free streaming of all of our Respect for All Project films for No Name Calling Week. This month, hundreds of school social workers, guidance counselors, and teachers signed up for the free streams and showed the films to thousands of students during No Name Calling Week. It’s been exciting to hear the feedback from educators.

Amber Schweitzer, a teacher at Castle Rock High School in Castle View, Colorado told us that because of their screening, the school will be inviting a panel of LGBTQ speakers to speak with students.

“Our school is not very diverse.
Straightlaced opened my students’ eyes to not only gender norms,
but also cultural differences they are not used to considering.”

-Amber Schweitzer, teacher

Jen Cusa, a social worker at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in Brooklyn, NY showed Let’s Get Real to 60 students. The highlight for her was after the film, students shared their own experience with name calling and how they coped. They talked about “how they will support others going through similar experiences and help create a safe/kind community.”

For the rest of January, you can still take advantage of the No Name Calling Week 50% discount on all educational purchases of the full quality DVDs and curriculum guides, or educational streaming licenses of these films. Just use discount code NNCW17 when you place your order.

We know these resources are especially valuable as schools work to counteract the messages of bias and division that the presidential race and aftermath has brought.

RAFP films

The Respect For All Project includes five highly acclaimed documentaries, each crafted for targeted age groups:

All the films have accompanying curriculum guides. The films are available close captioned in English and with Spanish subtitles.

The 50% discount in honor of No Name Calling Week ends on Tuesday, January 31 so order your DVDs or streaming licenses today!

Purchase a Film with the No Name Calling Week Discount

Once you select the films you want to purchase, you will be sent to our distributor, New Day Films, and upon checkout you enter the discount code NNCW17 to receive 50% off! You also can enter a purchase order number during check out.

Free Streaming for No Name Calling Week 2017



By | blog, It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Latest News, Let's Get Real, LGBT, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

As you have probably heard, students across the country have been experiencing increased levels of bias-based bullying connected to the tenor of the presidential race and its aftermath. That’s why this year’s No Name Calling Week is more important than ever.

nncw17-banner

GroundSpark is proud to partner with GLSEN for No Name Calling Week 2017. To help create safe schools free of name-calling, bullying and bias, we’re offering free streaming of all of our Respect for All Project films during the month of January!

Sign Up for Free Streaming

Our free streams allow educators and youth group leaders to preview five highly acclaimed documentaries, each crafted for targeted age groups:

All titles are excellent discussion starters for college students and professional development as well.

Whether you’re an educator, student, or another kind of school leader, these films are excellent resources for organizing transformative events in your community during No Name-Calling Week.

“GLSEN and GroundSpark are long-time partners in promoting respect for all in our schools. GLSEN connects teachers and students with the tools they need to make a difference, and when used leading up to and during No Name-Calling Week, these powerful films can help foster respectful dialogue around issues of bias and bullying.”
                            –Eliza Byard, Executive Director, GLSEN

Help us spread the word about this amazing opportunity! Share the news on Facebook and Twitter or pass this email along to a friend who works with youth.

Why We Give



By | blog, It's Elementary, LGBT, Professional Development, Respect For All Project

The following story is shared by GroundSpark supporter Jackie Kurcz Frett:

When Dan and I make decisions about which organizations to support, we think about the importance of the work and whether the work is effective. And GroundSpark definitely fits the bill!

jackie-and-dan

Jackie and Dan have been supporting GroundSpark since 2009!

We have been married 42 years and have two adult children, a son and a daughter, and two grandchildren. Our son came out to us as gay in 2004. This event changed the direction of our lives. Dan started a second career as a counselor specializing in couples therapy and LGBT issues. I remained in my career as a chemist but became deeply involved with PFLAG. LGBT civil rights became our passion.

We first made a gift to GroundSpark because of It’s Elementary. I have been sharing it with school social workers, and teachers since I first found it. The teacher training DVD is short enough that they can work it into a presentation even if they don’t have time for the whole documentary. I have given away many copies of the DVD and manual to schools and libraries here in suburban Illinois.

GroundSpark’s documentaries show people we can talk about LGBT issues, and that we are talking about sexuality, not sex. We should be having this conversation at our kitchen tables and in our schools starting in grammar school. It is so important because our young gay people have no one to turn to. There is so much at stake—especially now—with bullying, suicide rates, kids being kicked out, the list goes on and on. School social workers are looking for movies and documentaries for younger and younger students all the time.

The need is great and the work GroundSpark does is so important!

Sincerely,
Jackie Kurcz Frett

Please join Jackie and Dan on the GroundSpark honor roll! Help sustain GroundSpark’s effective and important work.

Today, We Stand Up



By | blog, Latest News, LGBT, Respect For All Project

Today is a very sobering day for so many reasons. But it is also a line in the sand over which we will not—we will never—go back.

I am heartened by the map I saw this morning that showed that if the election had only been decided by those 18-25, the outcome would have been dramatically different.

Together, we have been succeeding in supporting new generations to understand that without respect for all, we have no way forward.

We are not giving up. We are standing up.

For 20 years you have helped teachers all over this country bring compassion, inclusiveness, and an end to bigotry into their classrooms.

You have been with us as our Respect for All Project has made it safer for children growing up in all different kinds of families to stand tall with their classmates.

For middle school youth to find smarter ways to be powerful rather than resort to bullying and prejudice.

For teens to redefine what healthy masculinity looks like, to understand how feminism is key to their mental health, to embrace their true nature no matter what the media or those in power try to tell them.

So today, I just want to say thank you, again, for your courage and commitment and big hearts. I hope you get out and get some fresh air and share as much love as you can.

And tomorrow, let’s get back to work.

What’s New for Ally Week 2016?



By | blog, Events, LGBT, Straightlaced

What’s new for Ally Week 2016? This year we are focusing on supporting schools to help students examine how race, class, culture, and ethnicity impact any person’s experience when it comes to gender and sexuality.

Faces of Four Racially Diverse Youth

Faces of Four Racially Diverse Youth

Put yourself in the shoes of these high school students who appear in the film and analyze how their experience of gender norms is affected by their particular backgrounds.

Once again we are proud partners with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Gay Straight Alliances everywhere for Ally Week, which will be September 26 – 30, 2016.

We are making our award-winning documentary, Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up available to watch for free for the entire month.

 

Watch TrailerAlly Week 2016 (1)

Sign Up for Free Streaming

Order DVD and Curriculum Guide

Make Connections: Race, Culture, Gender, and Sexuality

You can also purchase the DVD and our comprehensive curriculum guide at 50% off for the entire month just by using discount code AWGS16 when you make your purchase.

Each DVD set comes with a free, 165-page curriculum guide on how to use the film to open up critical classroom discussions for middle, high school, and college students about the gender binary, homophobia, dating pressures, and much more.

The activities in the guide are correlated to National Sexuality Education Core Curriculum standards as well.

During Ally Week, participants across the country will consider what they can do to become an even better ally to another person, or group of people. Straightlaced, which explores the pressures that ALL teens face when it comes to dealing with gender norms and sexuality, is the perfect tool for sparking dialogue and community action around these issues. What’s new for Ally Week 2016? This year we are focusing on supporting schools to help students examine how race, class, culture, and ethnicity impact any person’s experience when it comes to gender and sexuality.

How We are Helping Reduce Suicide in Georgia



By | blog, Latest News, LGBT, Professional Development, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced

Did you see the recent New York Times article about how difficult daily life is for students who identify as LGBT? It’s alarming.

The Center for Disease Control finally did a study of high school youth who identify as LGBT.

40 percent of them have considered suicide.

Why?

  • They are three times more likely than straight students to have been raped.
  • They skipped school far more often because they did not feel safe;
  • At least a third had been bullied on school property.
  • They were twice as likely as heterosexual students to have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.

That’s why GroundSpark is stepping up our efforts to help prevent suicide among youth and young adults. Our professional development program which is centered around using Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up is proving to be an excellent way for educators to grasp what they can do to make school safer for all students who don’t conform to the so-called norms of gender and sexuality expression.

Mental health professionals who work in colleges and universities across the state of Georgia recently formed the Georgia’s College Suicide Prevention Coalition.

For their very first event, GroundSpark teamed up with our partner, SOJOURN (the Southern Jewish Resource Network), to provide a three-hour training.

GroundSpark Facilitators Serian Strauss and Eileen Nathanson introduce our Pyramid of Peace

Participants

  • learned the statistics about how heteronormativity increases suicide risks;
  • reflected on the early messages they received about LGBTQ people;
  • practiced responding to LGBTQ issues that commonly arise in their work setting;
  • unpacked stereotypes, assumptions, and concepts related to identity and intersectionality.

Scenes from Straightlaced brought youth perspectives into the room and helped jumpstart the dialogue.

Our lead trainer, Eileen Nathanson, knows that these kinds of exercises help mental health providers to understand what their clients may have experienced as well as increase their own self-awareness. “As a psychotherapist,” Eileen says, “I see the ongoing mental health impact of growing up in a world that largely communicates that we must hide or bury ourselves if we are to be safe and loved. Expanding our thinking about the impact of homophobia and rigid gender stereotypes allows us to better partner with students in all aspects of their healing.”

 

Participants stand back-to-back, waiting for their next prompt in our “pair-share” exercise. In this activity GroundSpark trainers present real life scenarios so participants can practice spontaneous responses to provide support or advocacy involving LGBT students or colleagues.

 

Do you want to bring a GroundSpark training to your university or network? For more info or to schedule a workshop or presentation in your area, please email us at info@groundspark.org and tell us a little bit about what you are looking for.

Victory! It’s Now Elementary in California



By | blog, It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Latest News, LGBT, Professional Development, Respect For All Project
We did it! After years of advocating that our schools adopt LGBT-inclusive curricula, I am thrilled to share news of a great victory that just happened in California.

GroundSpark, through our Respect for All Project, is part of a coalition that has persuaded the California State Board of Education to adopt a new history and social science framework that is inclusive of LGBT people. The FAIR Education Act went into effect in 2012, but many teachers and schools have been waiting to comply until they received guidance from the California Department of Education.

The new History­ Social Science Framework provides the guidance educators have been waiting for and ensures that important contributions by LGBT Americans are no longer excluded from history education. The framework includes LGBT content such as key historical figures and essential moments in the struggle for equality for multiple grade levels throughout elementary, middle, and high school. Lessons about people with disabilities will also now be included in the frameworks as well.

GroundSpark has been calling for LGBT-inclusive curricula since the 1996 release of our landmark documentary, It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School. Twenty years later, this is a critical step forward. Now teachers in at least one state will have the official support to teach LGBT history. And we know, as California goes, so goes the nation—eventually!

It’s Elementary is still the go-to resource to inspire educators to address anti-LGBT prejudice with their students. Our pioneering documentary shows that children are eager and able to wrestle with stereotypes and absorb new facts, helping them develop compassion and a foundation for respecting differences of all kinds. Now, thanks to the CA Board of Education, students in California will have the opportunity to do just that.

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