rbr lgbtq summitPictured are the organizers of the first LGBTQ Curriculum Summit held at RBR on March 23. They are: Aaron Potenza, Director of Programs @ Garden State Equality; Michael Emmich, Summit Moderator, RFH, Kate Okeson, RFH and Make it better for Youth co-founder; Stacy Liss, RBR SOURCE  Clinical Supervisor, and Risa Clay, RBR Principal.

LITTLE SILVER, NJ – Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) hosted the first Educational Summit for Monmouth County Educators on Friday, March 23. The summit was planned in partnership with, Garden State Equality; Make It Better for Youth and GLSEN Central NJ.  The Summit represents the first of future programs with a goal to create an LGBT inclusive curriculum model to be used in New Jersey Schools.  All educators are welcome to participate.  For future program registration, visit the website:  www.makeitbetter4youth.org.

This educational summit included a diverse group of educators, educational administrators, and counseling/support professionals who work with students spanning pre-kindergarten through college and are representative of most content area, in all subject areas.

 Rumson Fair Haven High School Educator and Make it better for Youth, co-founder, Kate Okeson, comments on the importance of what will be an on-going project, “As a high school art teacher and GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) Advisor, I have experienced my students have a more positive and expansive view of themselves after encountering LGBTQ individuals in their studies – especially those that contributed to important parts of history and culture.” Inclusion, respect and empathy are natural products of an education that is itself inclusive in its instruction and materials.


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Stacy Liss, RBR, Clinical Supervisor of The Source, GSA Advisor, and one of the planners of this event, comments,  I am thrilled to have the support of the RBRHS administration to have hosted this Summit and for the development of curriculum to be inclusive of the LGBT experience. She adds, “We hope to develop curriculum that reflects the achievements and contribution of people who identify LGBT, which will benefit all students regardless of how they identify. It is necessary and, in some cases, life saving for students who identify as LGBT to feel seen and validated. All students will benefit from a more inclusive curriculum, that will reduce stigma and prepare them for a diverse world.”

For more information, contact Stacy Liss (732) 842-8000 x363 and Kate Okeson @ [email protected]

GLSEN Central Jersey’s mission is to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.. (www.glsen.org/chapters/centralnj.)

Garden State Equality is New Jersey’s statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.(https://www.gardenstateequality.org/).

Make it Better for Youth is an umbrella organization of concerned and determined educators, community leaders, arts and cultural organizations, businesses and individuals who are pooling resources and ideas to make it better with education, outreach, and social opportunities for our LGBTQ youth.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...