The aspirational goal and legal responsibility of every school district is to provide an environment where all students feel welcomed, accepted, safe, and supported regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation so that they can achieve success and thrive. Advances in medical science continue to evolve and inform our understanding of gender identity and the complex daily challenges transgender and non-binary student populations face from pre-school through high school graduation. How school buildings are constructed with regard to gendered toilet room and locker room configurations significantly impacts the psychological and physical wellbeing of this significantly at-risk student population. This presentation analyzes the rationale for and current barriers to implementation and proposes solutions for future school construction projects to embrace the concept of all-gender facility design.
The MSBA looks forward to continuing this conversation at an upcoming Roundtable meeting this Fall.
- Roger Bourgeois (he/him/his) is a recently retired school superintendent with 38 years of experience in public education. He has served on the MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth since 2013 and currently serves as an elected vice chair. He is a strong advocate for schools fostering positive climates and cultures that welcome, accept, and support ALL students, especially identity-based at-risk student populations. Mr. Bourgeois has spoken widely to school communities as a parent of a gay son. His family’s story was featured on WCVB TV’s Chronicle: Growing Up Gay in February 2011.
- Dr. Elizabeth Homan currently serves as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in Waltham, MA, where she oversees all aspects of teaching, learning, and assessment for a diverse PreK-12 school system. She is originally from the midwest, where she earned her doctorate in English Education from The University of Michigan and worked as a secondary and post-secondary teacher of literacy and English Language Arts. In Waltham, she has participated in all aspects of the High School building project design; from the initial team to develop the Educational Plan and Vision for the New Waltham High School to her current role as a member of the High School Building Committee, she has advocated for a equity-focused and student-centered facility that meets the demands of the innovative educational plan. Dr. Homan looks forward to becoming the new Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools on July 1st.
- Jeff Perrotti is the founding director of the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students, an antibullying initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He is the co-author, with Kim Westheimer, of the book, When the Drama Club is Not Enough. Jeff has conducted workshops on gender, sexual orientation, and school climate for school administrators, counselors, teachers, nurses, parents, and students. Jeff facilitated the development of Massachusetts’ pioneering Guidance on Gender Identity and has assisted numerous schools where students have transitioned their gender. Jeff also teaches and advises students at Harvard University, where he has received several awards for excellence in teaching.
- Matthew Rice AIA, ALEP, LEED AP BD+C, MCPPO is a Senior Project Architect and Principal at SMMA located in Cambridge, MA, and co-leads the K12 Studio. Matt has over 20 years experience designing educational facilities and finds joy in helping schools envision and realize dynamic learning environments that are simultaneously forward-thinking and well-integrated into their communities.