#AISDProud of #AISDPride

Last week (Oct. 10th-14th), Austin ISD celebrated its annual AISD Pride Week, timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day on October 11th. Once again, schools from all over our city showed up to celebrate and honor the LBGTQ+ faculty, staff, students and families that are members of our vibrant education community!

The Akins High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA-formerly Gay Straight Alliance) started mass producing ally stickers and buttons for distribution across the entire campus!

Reagan High School teachers and students filled the #AISDPride photobooth in the library.

Consuelo Mendez Middle School students created a pledge committing to help generate a safe, respectful, and welcoming environment for all, and got as many of their peers to sign it as possible–resulting in hundreds of signatures collected and courtyard lunch privileges! 8th Grader Corey collected 74 signatures just by himself.

Cowan Elementary made a welcoming billboard full of love for the school community…

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And Patton Elementary had their own bilingual display of love and welcome!

These four schools are just a few glowing examples of how AISD showed our pride!  Twitter blew up with all kinds of celebrations of AISD Pride Week:

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We are #AISDProud of our school district working to serve and celebrate our whole community in all its beautiful diversity…#AllMeansAll!

#AISDPride Week 2015 an Iridescent Success!

pridestickerThis past week (Sept. 21-25 2015), Austin ISD observed #AISDPride Week in celebration of inclusiveness and in support of our students and staff who identify within the LBGTQIA rainbow spectrum.  And celebrate we did! From pre-K to high school, all over our city, campuses showed off colorful evidence of safe, welcoming cultures.patton21

This marquee proudly notified Patton passers-by of #AISDPride Week plans…

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…while Patton counselors showed off their official #AISDPride Week posters, stickers–and, of course, spectacular spectrum socks!

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Chihuly-inspired rainbow art adorned the halls at Blackshear Elementary…

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…Gullett Pre-K created a handy dandy welcoming rainbow…

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…And TA Brown had all hands on deck for diversity and inclusiveness!

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Bedichek Middle School Cheerleaders cheered us on to cheer ourselves…

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…Small MS put up a bulletin board celebrating students, faculty and staff…

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…and Martin MS put their hearts where their tweets are to spread the word about welcoming, inclusive language.

Speaking of hearts,

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McCallum High School students in the campus’ Gay/Straight Alliance spread this message of love all around their campus, recruiting heart-givers along the way until nearly every McCallum student either gave or got a Pride Week Heart!

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Bowie HS counselors showed their #AISDPride with this fabulous United, Welcoming and Inclusive States of America Flag…

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And Reagan HS teachers put a twist on football spirit facepaint to show their #AISDPride!

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Reagan also hosted a FABULOUS photo booth where everyone could show their #AISDPride self-expression.

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Basically, the #AISDPride hashtag blew up all last week from all corners of AISD, as schools showed the world their commitment to creating safe, welcoming and inclusive learning environments for every student and staff member.  And of course, the Social and Emotional Learning team couldn’t help but  take their #AISDPride and SOCK it to ’em…

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…and need we say more about Chief Schools Officer Edmund Oropez and Superintendent Paul Cruz?

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We are #AISDProud of our #AISDPride, and all the schools across our district who participated to make a brilliant Pride Week 2015!  Can’t wait for next year!

September 21st-25th is AISD Pride Week!

Next week, the Austin Independent School District will embrace the LGBTQIA rainbow by celebrating Pride Week, unequivocally supporting our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual-identifying members of the AISD community.  Rainbow stickers will abound!  Students will engage in thought-provoking, community-building activities!  LGBTQIA allies will come out of the woodwork, panels will speak on local LGBTQIA issues, and schools will show their pride in diverse ways that represent the multitude of campus cultures across our city.  AISD’s Number 1 Core Belief from our Strategic Plan Framework is that “All students will graduate college-, career-, and life-ready.” And, as Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz often reinforces,

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Studies show and people know that students who feel heard, seen, and safe at school learn more and enjoy better academic and personal outcomes.  This safety and inclusiveness is critical for students who identify as LGBTQIA–these are the students who suffer the most bullying, miss more school days due to fear of harassment, and tragically represent high rates of attempted and completed suicide.  Since some reports suggest that as many as 1 in every 9 American students identify as LGBTQIA, intentional focus on creating safe, welcoming and inclusive school environments is a critical issue.  In the wise words of our own Pam Martin, Social and Emotional Learning Parent Support Specialist,

“As humans we all have a need to belong. When students don’t feel as though they belong, they do one of two things: they act out or retreat. Sometimes they retreat in the ultimate way, and none of us want that for our children.”

This year, the Austin Independent School District debuts an online Pride Week Toolkit full of resources and activities, like this lesson plan from the Anti-Defamation League addressing this “Love Has No Labels” video by AdCouncil:

There are posters to put up all around campus:

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And helpful resources from the Human Rights Campaign‘s Welcoming Schools program about learning how to handle negative language toward the LGBTQIA community:

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We are #AISDproud to be a school district that leads the way in creating welcoming, safe, inclusive educational environments for every single student, every single day.  Stay tuned to the #AISDpride hashtag on Twitter, and your favorite AISD Social and Emotional Learning blog, for AISD Pride Week updates from around the ATX!