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Welcoming Schools

NEA is committed to creating public schools that embrace the diversity and differences of students, families, educators, and staff.

NEA supports educators interested in creating welcoming schools by providing access to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program. 

Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier professional development program providing training and resources to elementary school educators to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.

Johanna Eager at conference table
At the 2019 Conference on Racial and Social Justice, Welcoming Schools Director Johanna Eager explained how to answer questions about LGBTQ, gender and family topics. Credit: NEA

The Welcoming Schools training cover numerous topics, including: 

  • Embracing all families: Learn the importance of seeing and embracing family diversity. Be able to answer questions from students and families about the importance of welcoming all families in your school community.
  • Creating LGBTQ Inclusive Schools: Be able to better answer questions from students and families related to LGBTQ topics. Learn how to develop LGBTQ inclusive classrooms and become familiar with LGBTQ terminology. 
  • Preventing Bias-Based Bullying: Be able to foster ally behavior among students, staff and other adults. Understand the critical need to proactively address the biased behavior that can lead to bullying. 
  • Creating Gender Inclusive Schools: Develop a framework for creating a gender inclusive school, and be able to respond to challenging questions related to gender.
  • Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students: Understand the critical need to create safe and supportive schools for transgender and non-binary students, and to create policies and best practices to support transgender and non-binary students.
  • Welcoming Schools Law and Policy Review: Become knowledgeable of federal, state and school district level laws and policies, and how to strengthen current policy and advocate for enumerated protections for all students.
  • Intersectionality: School Practices with an Intersectional Lens: Explore the concept of intersectionality and how to use it as a framework to create school climates that are affirming and welcoming for students’ whole selves, including intersectional identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, ability, faith, LGBTQ identity, family structure, etc. 

I honestly believe that it’s been lifesaving for some of the kids and their families. It’s just made an enormous difference in terms of how safe they feel at school, and that they’re just fine to come to school just the way they are. –Liz Lusk, social worker

Ready to get involved? Learn more and request a training.

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.