School-Based Initiative

Established in 2011, LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative is a model of bringing LYRIC’s 25 years of expertise with LGBTQQ youth directly into SFUSD school communities. LYRIC is educating and building allyship amongst students, school staff, and families to create learning environments where LGBTQQ youth can be successful and truly thrive.

PRESS & MEDIA LINKS
-“LYRIC seeks funds for school program” by Matthew S. Bajko, Bay Area Reporter (5/30/13)
http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=68801
“LYRIC seeks funds to keep its leadership program in schools” by Morgan Welch, dot429 Magazine (6/4/13)
http://dot429.com/articles/2293-lyric-seeks-funds-to-keep-its-leadership-program-in-schools
-“Political Notebook: LYRIC school program received partial funding” (Story Update) by Matthew S. Bajko, Bay Area Reporter (6/6/13)
http://www.cpanel.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=68831
-“LGBTQ Youth Suicide Prevention Program Will Continue At San Francisco Schools Amid Staggering Statistics” by Aaron Sankin, Huffington Post SF (6/6/13)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/lgbtq-youth-suicide-prevention_n_3398035.html
-“Transforming Pride in Our Schools” by Anayvette Martinez (LYRIC School-Based Initiative Director), San Francisco Bay Guardian (Opinion, 6/27/13)
http://www.sfbg.com/2013/06/27/transforming-pride-our-schools

For press inquiries…
Jodi L. Schwartz
LYRIC Executive Director
415.793.3220, jodi@lyric.org

EVALUATION BRIEF [Click to view/download: LYRIC SBI Eval Brief SY2011-12]: LYRIC conducted pre- and post-surveys with students and school staff participating in the School-Based Initiative during the 2011-2012 School Year. Education, Training, and Research (ETR) Associates, a third-party evaluation firm, completed an evaluation brief, LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative – Creating Schools Where LGBTQQ Students Can Thrive, showing “promising evidence of positive outcome,” LYRIC’s work is particularly successful in achieving increases in the the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) Total School Assets Scale, including nine survey items across three domains—caring relationships with adults at school, high expectations from adults at school, and meaningful opportunities to participate in the school community.

INITIATIVE VIDEO


PRESS RELEASE: LYRIC’s daring new approach to safer schools eliminates harm to LGBTQQ students by educating all students, all teachers, and all families. [DOWNLOAD full release here: LYRIC Press Release]

SAN FRANCISCO, June 6, 2013 – Despite advances in school-based efforts to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, approximately 1,000 of the over 3,000 LGBTQQ-identified San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) students attempt suicide annually. For transgender students alone, that number jumps to 1 youth out of every 2. Underlying these grim statistics is a school climate without the safety LGBTQQ youth need to succeed, resulting in truancy rates for LGBTQQ students that are dramatically higher than those of their heterosexual peers, which in turn leads to poor academic performance. The lack of well-being of LGBTQQ students is at a crisis level, requiring a bold, new approach in making schools more inclusive for LGBTQQ youth and their allies.

Spearheading the necessary new, bold approach, the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC) launched an innovative pilot School-Based Initiative in 2011 to transform San Francisco middle and high schools into safe, welcoming communities for LGBTQQ students. Steadfast and engaged student, school staff, and family allies are the most critical components required to build school communities where bullying is curbed, thereby allowing LGBTQQ students to truly thrive. LYRIC brings 25 years of expertise in LGBTQQ youth leadership development, policy advocacy, and allyship education to its work in San Francisco schools. LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative comprehensively nurtures leadership and allyship through: (1) a year-long gender/sexuality-emphasized social justice course taught during the school day; (2) a professional development track for every school staff member; and (3) discussion circles and support groups for families.

According to A New Approach to School Climate Transformation, an evaluation brief prepared by Education, Training, and Research Associates, “LYRIC has demonstrated excellent performance and implementation…and has shown promising evidence of positive outcomes among participating students and teachers.” On surveying student ratings of youth development assets in the school environment, students who participated in LYRIC’s school-day course recorded 12 points higher than the average SFUSD middle school student, and double that of the average SFUSD high school student.

LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative ties school transformation – and the true social change happening deep inside classrooms, schoolyards, and homes across San Francisco – to entire community transformation. By strengthening LYRIC’s partnerships with city policy makers, the SFUSD, and other community-based organizations, San Francisco will prioritize LGBTQQ youth like never before. This alliance means San Francisco can build supportive school environments for all students and reestablish itself as the LGBT movement’s boldest leader.

In support of LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative, San Francisco Superintendent of Schools Richard Carranza, stated, “We are deeply committed to creating safe and supportive schools for LGBTQ youth. Our city is fortunate to have so many agencies that partner with our schools and district to serve our students and families.“

Both San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and District 9 Supervisor David Campos also recognize the urgent need for LYRIC and its School-Based Initiative. “Youth-serving organizations like LYRIC that serve LGBTQQ youth are critical to the fabric of the Castro,“ said Wiener. “By creating innovative programs that build the leadership and capacity of the many LGBTQQ and ally youth in the neighborhood, [LYRIC is] helping today’s youth and building tomorrow’s leaders.“ Campos emphasized LYRIC’s work across communities: “Empowering our students to have thoughtful conversations about gender and sexuality doesn’t stop with our youth, nor does it stop with a single community. We – as people invested in how our schools nurture diversity and acceptance – must deliberately join those conversations.“

LYRIC will continue to deepen its work within SFUSD entering the 2013-2014 school year. Principal Richard Curci of Everett Middle School, where LYRIC successfully piloted the School-Based Initiative model, noted, “LYRIC is giving us a common language, giving us strategies to make a difference. And it will make a difference in the lives of the students, as well as the lives of the adults who are part of our students’ lives.”

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PRESS CONTACT
Jodi L. Schwartz
LYRIC Executive Director
415.793.3220, jodi@lyric.org

Since 1988, the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC) has built community and inspired positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.

FACT SHEET [DOWNLOAD here: LYRIC Fact Sheet]

Established in 2011, LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative is a model of bringing LYRIC’s 25 years of expertise with LGBTQQ youth directly into SFUSD school communities. LYRIC is educating and building allyship amongst students, school staff, and families to create learning environments where LGBTQQ youth can be successful and truly thrive.

Currently in Everett Middle School and Balboa High School (School Year 2012-2013). Previously in Buena Vista Horace Mann (2011-2012) and Mission High School (2012). Continuing in Everett, Balboa, and Horace Mann (2013-2014). Further San Francisco expansion in 2014 and beyond.

BACKGROUND STATISTICS
-Over 3,000 SFUSD LGBTQ students, including over 300 transgender students.
-63% of middle school students report hearing anti-gay remarks; 59% never hear school staff intervene.
-33% of LGB students and 47% of transgender students report skipping school because of a lack of safety (in contrast to 11% of heterosexual students).
-$39,917 = approximate loss of funds per day to SFUSD based on student truancy.
-22% of LGB students receive mostly F’s while the same is true for only 1% of heterosexual students.
-In 1989, queer youth across the US were 2-3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. In 2011 in San Francisco, LGB high school students are still 2 times more likely to attempt suicide while LGB middle school students are 5.6 times more likely. Additionally, 1 out of 2 transgender San Francisco middle and high school students attempted suicide in 2011. These statistics represent over 1,000 LGBT SFUSD students reporting suicide attempts.
*Sources: SFUSD, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, California Healthy Kids Survey & US HHS Secretary’s Task Force Report on Teen Suicide

GOALS
1) Create immediate, practical solutions to eliminate the emotional, psychological and physical harms caused by pervasive and under-addressed LGBTQQ hate speech, threats and violence in the school community.
2) Build the long-term, strategic capacity of the school community to promote the inclusion and wellbeing of LGBTQQ youth by cultivating leadership among students, teachers and families.

COMPONENTS
LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative is built on empowering…
1) STUDENTS: a year-long gender/sexuality-emphasized social justice course with a culminating project where students proactively bring the rest of their classmates into a safer, more loving community;
2) SCHOOL STAFF: a professional development training track for teachers, administrators, and all other school staff on LGBTQQ/gender inclusion strategies and alternatives to punitive, zero-tolerance anti-bullying approaches plus one-on-one technical assistance for any school staff member looking for more in-depth support; and
3) FAMILIES: discussion circles and support groups for families to talk with their school-age children about the gender and sexuality issues arising at home.

EVALUATION
LYRIC conducted pre- and post-surveys with students and school staff participating in the School-Based Initiative during the 2011-2012 School Year. Education, Training, and Research (ETR) Associates, a third-party evaluation firm, completed an evaluation brief, LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative – Creating Schools Where LGBTQQ Students Can Thrive, showing “promising evidence of positive outcome,” LYRIC’s work is particularly successful in achieving increases in the the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) Total School Assets Scale, including nine survey items across three domains—caring relationships with adults at school, high expectations from adults at school, and meaningful opportunities to participate in the school community.

TESTIMONY
[LYRIC is] planting a seed that will eventually grow into very big, beautiful flower that will spread knowledge and keep schools safer places for all students.
-Rexy, SFUSD Student
[LYRIC] gives us ownership and says, “You take it on.” We have to develop it in our own way. It’s not a canned curriculum. You actually have to think.
-Gail, SFUSD Teacher
Our job is to make sure kids feel safe and open and become leaders in their schools so that future generations can have that same benefit.
-Mark Sanchez, SFUSD Principal
Many times families don’t have a safe space to talk about [gender and sexuality], but if schools can create that space, it allows parents to better understand their children and create stronger bonds.
-Anabel, SFUSD Family Liaison