All students are valued – Episode 17

This episode discusses Orange County Public Schools’ historic decision to proclaim October a month-long annual observance of the history and related civil rights movement of gay rights. 

Listen to our guests Dianne Jones and Clinton McCraken discuss the value of the proclamation and how teachers, parents, community members and other youth can help those in the LGBTQ+ community. By building each other up, it helps people reach their full potential. 

“I’m moved by the generous and loving spirit of so many of our colleagues in OCPS and their desire to make things better for others. I don’t take that lightly and want [everyone] to know I appreciate what you’re doing for our students and also our teachers. I do feel strongly that building up our teachers creates an enormous opportunity for more students to find their voice and know they aren’t alone,” McCracken said.

“Beautiful City” tribute to Pulse victims

HELPFUL RESOURCES

GLSEN – An organization that promotes affirming learning environments for LGBTQ youth. It provides educators with age-appropriate resources and inclusive lesson plans.

One of GLSEN’s most coveted resources is the Safe Space Kit, which is a free download. This 20-page booklet provides helpful definitions, explanations and thoughtful “Check yourself” points to consider. There is a variety of swag available for purchase, like Safe Space stickers, lanyards, composition notebooks, tee shirts, etc… Check out the site to see the options.

OCPS Best Practices and Action Steps serves as a guide to best support LGBTQ+ students.

Orlando Youth Alliance wants all youth (ages 13-23) to realize they are not alone. OYA wants LGBTQ and/or questioning youth to find a safe place to gather and learn from their peers. They sponsor free weekly meetings and provide other services too.

Zebra Coalition’s mission is to support and inspire LGBTQ youth. The Coalition assists young people (ages 13-24) experiencing homelessness, bullying, isolation from their families, and physical, sexual and drug abuse with individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability.

ABOUT THE GUESTS –

Dianne Jones is a Senior Administrator of the Student Services Mental Health department. In this role, she is the district LGBTQ Student Support Coordinator and oversees the Gay-Straight Alliance clubs. She is a former assistant principal at Lockhart Middle School and was a school counselor at Wolf Lake Middle School. She also worked in Brevard County Public Schools for 10 years as an Exceptional Student Education Compliance Coordinator and school counselor (ES & MS). She has a master’s degree in counseling and educational leadership.

Clinton McCracken is a National Board for Professional Teaching certified educator and Visual-Performing Arts Magnet Coordinator at Howard Middle School, where he began his career 20 years ago. He is the 2019 Florida Education Association’s Human and Civil Rights Leadership award recipient; the 2013 Equality Florida Voice for Equality recipient and is a Classroom Teachers Association bargaining team member and the CTA Human and Civil Rights Committee chair. He has his bachelor of fine arts degree from Truman State University and his master’s degree in Art Education from the University of Central Florida.

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