Case Study Assignment #3: School Assessment

Description: This case study provides you with an opportunity to put into practice your learning about LGBTQ youth in educational contexts by conducting an assessment of a school. It also provides you with experiencing in different types of information gathering and research methods. Specifically, you will select a school and assess this school’s policies, practices, and climate in regard to LGBTQ inclusion (or exclusion). The assessment includes three parts:
– Interview with one member of the school staff
– Analysis of school’s or school’s district related policies
– Paper that reports on, analyzes, and synthesizes and your findings

Requirements: First, you must select a school that you want to assess. It must be K-12 school (e.g. elementary, middle, and/or high school) and can be located anywhere in the country. It could be a school you attended or a school where someone you know works. (note: the person that you interview must be someone who works at this school).

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Policy Analysis: You will review the website of the school and/or school district (if public school) to locate the following policies:
– Bullying/harassment policy
– Transgender and/or gender nonconforming student policy
– An LGBTQ-related policy of your choice
If you cannot find these policies online, you will ask about them in your interview.

Interview:
Conduct an in-person or telephone interview with school staff member (teacher, administrator, counselor, etc.). This can be someone you know – a friend, relative, former teacher or else see me for recommendations of someone you can interview (note: if you are interviewing someone that I give you, you will need to choose that person’s school for your policy analysis). You will create a list of questions you plan to ask (see options on following page, and/or create your own)

Paper:
Write a 4-6 page (10 or 12 point font, double spaced) paper that documents your research -responding to the all questions for all three policies you analyzed (see next section) and provides questions and responses to your interview (see next section), and synthesizes your findings, and provides your assessment of the school in terms of its climate for LGBTQ youth. See “DETAILS ON ASSIGNMENT COMPONENTS” below for specifics.

Due Dates:
• School and Interview Subject Selected: November 14 before class on BB
• Policies Selected and Searched For (provide weblinks or other documentation of policies): November 21 before class on BB

Grading Rubric:
Possible Points
Requirements (completion of all elements on time and completely) 3
Writing and mechanics (including spelling, punctuation, grammar) 2
Policy Analysis (all three policies, all components) 3
School Staff Interview (include list of questions asked) 3
Synthesis and Conclusion 1
TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS 12

DETAILS ON ASSIGNMENT COMPONENTS

Bullying/Harassment Policy
Identify whether your school or school district has this policy by searching online or obtaining copy from your interview subject.
1. Is there a policy, and where/how did you access it? (include a link to the policy or include the policy as an attachment/appendix to your paper)
2. If there is a policy, answer these questions:
a. Does it enumerate protections based on specific characteristics (race, religion, etc.)? If yes, which characteristics?
b. Does it explicitly include protections based on sexual orientation, gender expression, and/or gender identity (or state protections against anti-LGBTQ bullying/harassment or protections for LGBTQ students explicitly?)
c. What other content does the policy include (or not include) that you think is important? (consider procedures for reporting bullying, guidelines for school personnel of how to handle, training or education, etc.)
d. Overall, what is your opinion of the quality of this policy (or lack thereof) in relation to providing protection and support to LGBTQ youth in school?
e. If you could rewrite this policy, what would you change to improve it?
3. If there is not a policy, answer this question:
a. What are the potential consequences of not having this policy?
b. If you were creating a transgender and gender nonconforming student policy for the school, what would it say or include?

Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Policy
Identify whether your school or school district has this policy by searching online or obtaining copy from your interview subject. Examine what in includes and answer the specific questions:
1. Is there a policy, and where/how did you access it? (include a link to the policy or include the policy as an attachment/appendix to your paper)
2. If there is a policy, answer these questions:
a. What components does the policy address? Specifically create a table or some other way to indicate whether this policy incorporates the 9 areas presented in Table 2.4 on p. 63 of the NSCS excerpt reading from Week 9.
b. What other content areas does the policy address (in addition to the ones on Table 2.4 as noted above), if any?
c. Overall, what is your opinion of the quality of this policy (or lack thereof) in relation to supporting transgender and gender nonconforming youth in school?
d. If you could rewrite this policy, what would you change to improve it?
3. If there is not a policy, answer this question:
a. What are the potential consequences of not having this policy?
b. If you were creating a transgender and gender nonconforming student policy for the school, what would it say or include?

Policy of Your Choosing
Identify another LGBTQ-related policy that you want to examine. This should be a policy that is relevant to LGBTQ issues in education or LGBTQ youth and could be written down in an official school or district policy.
1. Search online (school or district website) for this policy, or for a policy that might include mention of the policy you are interested in. If you don’t find it online, you can also ask your interview subject if their school has such a policy. If so, try to obtain it, if they do not have the policy, then get as much information about the policy during your interview as you can.
2. Note what the policy you were searching for is. If there a policy, and where/how did you access it? (include a link to the policy or include the policy as an attachment/appendix to your paper)
3. If there is a policy, answer these questions:
a. Overall, what is your opinion of the quality of this policy (or lack thereof) in relation to supporting LGBTQ youth, families, or staff in school?
b. If you could rewrite this policy, what would you change to improve it?
4. If there is not a policy, answer this question:
a. What are the potential consequences of not having this policy?
b. If you were creating a policy about this for the school, what would it say or include?

Staff Interview
In preparing to speak with an educator on topics related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth in schools, here are some things to keep in mind…..
Explain to the educator that you are a student at Brooklyn College and that this assignment is for a course you are taking, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Youth in Education Contexts. Explain that the purpose of the assignment is to gain knowledge and information about the situation for LGBTQ youth in schools today. Assure the person you are interviewing that the information they share is being kept confidential, no names will be included in the paper and the knowledge you gain is only being shared with the course instructor and colleagues in your class.
At the beginning of the interview, gather some basic information about the educator you are interviewing….How long have they been in the field of education? How long at their current school? What’s their role in the school, i.e., teacher, counselor, administrator?
Here are some questions to consider as a part of the interview – you can also add your own and amend these as you like! I’d recommend asking about 10-12 questions. Take good notes on equestions you ask
POSSIBLE OPTIONS FOR QUESTIONS (select 10-12, can change these or use your own):
• How would you describe the overall situation for LGBTQ youth in your school? What’s the school climate like for LGBTQ students?
• Would you consider your school to be LGBTQ inclusive? (Explain)
• Specifically, do you consider your school to be inclusive of transgender or gender nonconforming students? (Explain)
• What kinds of supports are available for LGBTQ students? Are there any counseling and or support groups for LGBTQ students?
• Does your school have a GSA (Gender-Sexuality Alliance, Gay-Straight Alliance)
• Are there incidents of LGBTQ-related bullying in your school? (Explain)
• If and when bullying of LGBTQ youth occurs, how is it handled by teachers and administrators in the school?
• Are there any consequences for educators who refuse to respect a transgender student’s chosen name or pronoun?
• Are there resources for the LGBTQ educators and/or allies? Do LGBTQ educators feel safe and supported being out in school?
• Does your school ever have complaints from parents on LGBTQ-related topics? What are the policies and procedures for handling parent complaints regarding LGBTQ issues?
• Are LGBTQ people, history, or events addressed or included in the school curriculum at all? (if so, what are some examples?)
• Does the school provide any training or education for school staff on LGBTQ student issues? (if so, does it focus on issues beyond bullying?)
• Is your school welcoming of LGBTQ parents and families? (if so, how?)
• Are health classes in your school LGBTQ inclusive?
• Does your school have a dress code? How does the dress code impact transgender or gender nonconforming students?
• What are some ways that students are separated by gender in school (e.g. sports, bathrooms, “line-ups”, health class, others?)
• If you were not able to locate one or any of the policies (bullying/harassment policy, transgender and gender nonconforming student policy, the other policy you choose), ask the educator if their school has a policy. If so, ask them if they could give you a copy or know where to find it. If not, ask them if they know what is in it.
This section of the paper should include:
– Information about the staff person you interviewed, including their role at the school and how long they have worked there
– A list of the questions you asked and their responses to each question.
– A brief general overall assessment of the knowledge, experiences, and opinions of the staff person you interviewed in regard to LGBTQ youth at their school. For example, were they knowledgeable about their school’s policies? Did they have positive or negative attitude about their school’s climate for LGBTQ youth? Etc.

Synthesis and Conclusion
Based on the findings from your policy analysis and interview, provide an overall assessment of the school’s climate for LGBTQ youth. Specifically, what do you think it would be like for an LGBTQ student to attend this school – think about both the positive aspects (e.g. available supports) and negative aspects. Consider the diversity within the LGBTQ youth population – do you think all members of the LGBTQ students have similar supports or challenges in this school – or would some youth be more supported or face (specifically think about transgender and gender nonconforming youth compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer youth; also think about issues of race, economics, disability, ethnicity, etc. that might result in different school experiences for LGBTQ youth. But discuss this in terms of your findings about this school specifically from your policy analysis and interview.

You are basing these conclusions on findings from analysis of three policies and interview with one staff member. If you could do more, what other research or what other pieces of information could you do in order to gain a more complete picture of climate for LGBTQ youth at this school? (note: you won’t actually do this research, but I want you to think about what other pieces of information or data would be helpful to better understand the climate for all LGBTQ youth at the school).

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