The County of Union supports the creation and continued sustainability of Gender and Sexuality Alliances, or GSAs, in middle schools throughout Union County. It is incumbent of New Jersey school leaders and education policymakers to provide safe learning environments for all students. Gender and Sexuality Alliances are student-led and student-organized school clubs that aim to create a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Research indicates that Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSAs) programs improve school climate, individual well-being and educational outcomes for LGBTQ+ youth. Participation in GSAs is related to stronger school connectedness and improved academic achievement for LGBTQ+ youth, and regardless of whether LGBTQ+ students themselves participate in their school’s GSA. Just having a GSA in their school can create a more positive school climate for LGBTQ+ students.
To assist with the creation of GSAs, the County of Union will provide oversight and guidance to four (4) middle schools in different school districts in Union County.
If successful, the grant will provide each newly created GSA with:
- Monthly oversight, training and guidance for each school approved and sponsored GSA faculty advisor
- Inclusive materials and resources such as LGBTQ+ themed books for school media centers, safe space kits from GLSEN, LGBTQ+ accessories and web resources, etc.
- Guidance to assist in meeting compliance with legislative mandate A4454 and incorporation of Social, Emotional, Learning core competencies.
- Monthly evening student Zoom meetups with participating districts
- Bi-weekly mentorship for LGBTQ+ students- “office hours” in the evening
- LGBTQ+ Movie Screening with discussion at each location
- Two virtual rainbow career awareness nights in order to promote visibility with guest speakers who identify as LGBTQ+
- A Parental Education workshop or event at each participating school and Support Nights open to families in all participating schools
- Professional Development programming for faculty and staff for each district
- Assistance with school-wide LGBTQ+ awareness programming such as pride activities and the national “Day of Silence”
- Inclusion of best practices supported by various advocacy and educational organizations such as Garden State Equality, GLSEN and others.
The grant awardee will be required to fulfill the following requirements:
- The advisor will conduct one to two GSA meetings a month.
- The advisor will meet with the County of Union’s designated grant coordinator, whether in-person or virtual twice per year.
- The advisor will attend the movie night event, parent workshop and one virtual rainbow career awareness night.
- The advisor will promote the GSA club through outreach to the greater school community.
Applications are due by Friday, October 14, 2022
Please fill out the application below.