Location

Vernon

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This session aligns with several conference strands including safety and violence prevention, social and emotional skills, mental and physical health, and family and community. In addition to providing background information on the school experiences of LGBT students, the session will review a strategic framework that covers standards of practice in each of these areas.

Brief Program Description

This session will review research-based information about (1) conditions for learning that are necessary for students to thrive; (2) the school experiences of LGBT students; (3) challenges LGBT students may experience; and (4) strategies and resources educators can use to foster more supportive, safer schools and improve school outcomes for LGBT students. Each participant will receive a strategic planning tool.

Summary

Today’s schools work under increased expectations for developing learning environments that support college and career readiness for all students. School leaders and staff know that increasing academic achievement requires attention to school climate and culture so all students have the opportunity to learn and succeed in school. Yet, recent research studies indicate that LGBT youth are at higher risk than the general youth population for lower academic achievement and higher rates of dropping out prior to graduation from high school. LGBT students report that victimization at school including physical and verbal assault and harassment interferes with their learning and is often the reason behind skipping classes and missing days of school, resulting in lower academic performance, increased levels of depression and anxiety for some students and even creating a trajectory of poor outcomes that can include increased risk for suicide and homelessness. Students also report that supportive school staff members, student groups, including gay-straight alliances and inclusive curricula make a significant difference in their school success. The most promising evidence of school success among LGBT students comes from school settings where comprehensive anti-bullying policies and programs are in place, along with programmatic and curricular approaches that feature positive examples and accomplishments of individuals who are LGBT. School climate research points to risk and protective factors that contribute to positive student outcomes as well as frameworks upon which to build safe and supportive schools. This presentation will highlight these strategies and approaches, in addition to providing participants with research-based evidence about conditions for learning that improve outcomes for students and the experiences of LGBT students in schools. These outcomes include academic success, positive mental health, and social-emotional development. Each participant will also receive a strategic planning tool organized around 10 standards of practice, to plan related action steps in their schools and communities. These 10 standards relate to: 1. Assessment 2. Nondiscriminatory policies 3. Staff knowledge 4. Processes 5. Safe, supportive, and culturally and linguistically competent environments 6. Practices that affirm identity 7. Peer connections 8. Family connections 9. Access to affirming services and supports 10. Community outreach and engagement

Evidence

The session content will draw from research-based evidence on conditions that enhance learning for students: academic rigor, emotional and physical safety, social-emotional development, student support. It will also provide information and strategies from national organizations and literature on improving outcomes for LGBT students, including a book chapter the presenter wrote.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Poirier is a principal researcher at AIR, where since 2000 he has studied and written about equity-related education and social issues, evaluated policy/program implementation, and delivered technical assistance and training. Among his roles at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), he leads the Health & Social Development Program’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth Practice Area. He delivers LGBT trainings and provides related technical assistance across the country. This includes building the capacity of behavioral health, child welfare, education, health care, juvenile justice, and runaway and homeless youth systems to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth and their families. His dissertation examined conditions for learning for LGBT high school students, conducting a case study of a gay-straight alliance in a Midwestern high school. He has served as coordinator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Are LGBT, Questioning, Intersex, and Two-Spirit and Their Families since its inception in 2008. He is also co-editor of a recently published book, Improving Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes for LGBT Youth: A Guide for Professionals, which provides research-based information for professionals to understand the needs and experiences of LGBT youth and strategies to effectively address needs. In addition to serving as book editor, he contributed to four chapters and wrote a chapter on how educators can improve LGBT youth school experiences and outcomes. Dr. Poirier also co-authored the federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs topical page on LGBT youth (http://findyouthinfo.gov/youth-topics/lgbtq-youth) and is leading technical assistance to two communities participating in a federal initiative to prevent LGBT youth homelessness, including through local school system efforts.

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-2-2015 1:15 PM

End Date

3-2-2015 2:30 PM

Included in

Education Commons

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Mar 2nd, 1:15 PM Mar 2nd, 2:30 PM

A Strategic Framework for Improving Conditions for Learning for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Students

Vernon

This session will review research-based information about (1) conditions for learning that are necessary for students to thrive; (2) the school experiences of LGBT students; (3) challenges LGBT students may experience; and (4) strategies and resources educators can use to foster more supportive, safer schools and improve school outcomes for LGBT students. Each participant will receive a strategic planning tool.