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Conferences and Workshops
(Click here for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Series PDF)


Gender And Sexuality Diversity in PreK-8th Grades: Exploring Frameworks, Values and Practice
Jennifer Bryan

Friday, April 26, 2013
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

Latin School of Chicago
Chicago, IL

Children and adolescents naturally adopt a range of identities, expressions, and roles as they grow and navigate the personal, social and academic world of school. Gender identity and sexual identity are at the heart of this developmental process—for pre-schoolers on up to 12th graders—yet many educators are unsure about how to engage with these aspects of their students’ experiences. This workshop will offer participants an opportunity to  learn a highly effective framework for understanding sex, gender and sexuality; clarify the educational and pedagogical values that guide programs, policy and curricula in this domain; and, apply the framework and values to actual practice.
This workshop will provide: 
  • interactive didactic material 
  • film clips of real PreK-8 students talking about their experiences in school
  • small group work with school-based scenarios
  • live consultation for issues/situations participants present
Throughout the session we will focus on defining and using current, accurate “language” for discussing Gender and Sexuality Diversity (GSD), and explore the developmental concepts that dictate “age-appropriate” practice. In addition, we will grapple with critical questions about teaching methods, curriculum design and policies that relate to GSD in the school setting. 
The workshop is open to any administrator, teacher, residential life staff, counselor or trustee working in a PreK-8 school. Participants are encouraged to bring questions or specific situations from your own school for consultation.
  • Sammy consistently dresses up as a girl during Pre-K imaginary play; is this a cause for concern? 
  • How can a first grade teacher effectively challenge the gender role stereotypes—Pink is for girls!! Kickball is for boys!—that constantly shape behavior and interactions in the classroom?
  • If second-grader Sally insists she is a boy, refuses to wear “girl clothing,” and wants to be called “Jack,” are these early signs of an identity problem? 
  • Third grade boys are calling each other “gay”; are they reacting to concerns about Gender? Sexuality? Both?! 
  • Should middle school students be allowed to form a Gay Straight Alliance or are they too young?
  • How can middle school teachers successfully counter the highly sexualized and gendered stereotypes the media offers to adolescents daily?
Jennifer Bryan, PhD, worked as an English teacher, dorm parent, coach and counselor at The Hotchkiss School before becoming a psychologist in full time practice. For many years she worked with adolescents and adults in university, hospital, school and private practice settings. In addition to doing clinical work, she taught at Smith College School for Social Work and provided clinical and organizational consultation to various schools and agencies. In her current work as an educational consultant Jennifer specializes in helping schools explore gender and sexuality diversity in PreK-12 school life. Her book for educators and parents on this topic, From The Dress Up Corner to the Senior Prom: Navigating Gender and Sexuality Diversity in PreK-12 Schools was published in 2012 She holds a master’s and doctorate in counseling psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA in creative writing from Princeton University. She is the author of a children’s book, The Different Dragon.

She uses psychological and pedagogical frameworks, skilled group facilitation, and a lively sense of humor to help administrators, teachers, staff, parents, trustees and students explore the complex terrain of gender and sexual identity development. Professional workshop attendees and student program participants have found that her breadth of knowledge, personal insights, and ability to foster a truly interactive dialogue create a non-threatening learning environment. This allows people to consider critical questions about why, how and when gender and sexuality diversity should be engaged in schools.  For more information, visit

This workshop will take place at the Latin School of Chicago, 59 West North Boulevard, Chicago. The Latin School is conveniently accessible by public transportation and taxis. Click here for directions and parking information for The Latin School.

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS recommends the following hotel and has secured special rates based on availability. Attendees must make their own hotel reservations; please contact the hotel directly to make your reservations.

The Hotel Indigo
1244 N. Dearborn Parkway
Chicago, IL 60610

For reservations, please call the Hotel Indigo directly at 312-787-4980, ask for reservations and request the "Independent Schools Association" rate to receive discounted rooms. Rates vary depending on date of stay; space and availability are limited. To book your room online (and receive the ISACS discounted rate), click here.  The Hotel Indigo is just 3 blocks from the Latin School.

Click here for directions and parking information for The Hotel Indigo.

Registration Fee
  • $175 Member Fee
  • $225 Non-Member Fee
  • First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
  • Workshop includes lunch

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund.

Questions? Please call 312-255-1244.

Member Cost: $175     Non-member Cost: $225


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