The Buzzer

The Student News Site of Hastings High School

The Buzzer

The Buzzer

Tell us your thoughts!

What types of articles would you like to see next publication?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The Hillside Parent Gender Workshop

The Hillside Parent Gender Workshop

On February 7th, a parent-gender workshop took place at Hillside Elementary School with a goal of informing parents of the new gender curriculum. The new curriculum was created to create an inclusive school environment and to adapt to New York State’s recent gender education advancements. According to the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which was passed in 2019, “this update will assist public schools in cultivating an educational environment for all students that is safe and free from discrimination regardless of sex, gender identity, or expression.” 

Hillside administrators and teachers took this initiative to heart by creating a curriculum in collaboration with Center Lane, an organization that provides support for LGBTQIA+ youth. Elementary school students now learn about gender identity and expression in age-appropriate but effective ways. The curriculum also teaches how to embrace differences.

Although the new curriculum is recent, it’s already shaping the Hillside environment in a positive way. According to Amy Cazes, the Hillside principal, there has already been distinguished improvement in students’ knowledge of gender and gender identity. “This is evident in the way that students respectfully interact and appreciate each other’s differences,” said Ms. Cazes. 

Additionally, Juliann Snyder, the Hillside counselor, shared that when she comes back to teach again a year later, students display a vastly greater understanding of gender and gender identity than when she came in the previous year to teach about gender. “[Students] will have their hands raised when I ask questions based on learning from last year,” said Ms. Snyder. “They recall correct pronouns to use and how to respectfully learn one’s pronouns if they are unsure.”

Students have not only displayed an understanding of gender and gender identity, but they also actively try to make Hillside an inclusive environment where everyone is welcome to be themselves. For example, Ms. Snyder said: “I hear students reminding classmates that toys, colors, and careers are for everyone.” She also noted that since introducing the curriculum, students have more openly shared their experiences with gender and gender identity. “During lessons, students share that they have friends or family members on the gender spectrum. Some students have affirmed their gender identity with their class,” she said. 

In addition, students’ knowledge of gender and gender identity is beneficial beyond Hillside. Ms. Cazes stated that students who have moved up from Hillside have been interviewed and reported feeling “valued and safe in our school.” Insight from Farragut Middle School and Hastings High School teachers also provided confirmation that efforts in Hillside have affected students beyond, with Ms. Cazes sharing that “FMS and HHS teachers have also shared anecdotal evidence further affirming our work at Hillside.”

The goal for students to leave Hillside with fundamental knowledge of gender and gender identity was a crucial idea built into the curriculum. “We recently revised the differentiated, developmentally appropriate gender lessons to build upon each other so students can accumulate knowledge over their five years at Hillside,” Ms. Cazes explained. This allows fourth graders to leave with a crucial understanding of gender, as well as an “appreciation for the uniqueness of others.”

The curriculum took a lot of time and effort from all members of the Hillside gender team and specialists from Center Lane played a huge role in that. According to Ms. Cazes, “We leaned on our consultant partners to guide us in the gender knowledge that was appropriate for elementary students.” Having a variety of people on the Hillside gender team also helped by sharing “diverse perspectives based on their professional roles and varied experiences,” according to Ms. Cazes.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Buzzer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *