Dean of Students, Brooks Johnson and Susan Schorr of McLane Middleton, presented at The Association of Boarding Schools Annual Conference on November 30th on 'Gender Identity and Evolving Dynamics on Campus'. As an increasing number of high school students have struggled with issues of identity - according to surveys some 20% of millennials identify as something other than strictly straight or cisgender (someone whose gender is in line with the sex they were assigned at birth) compared with less than 7% of baby boomers. The presentation explored the legal ramifications and practical steps that schools have taken in supporting these students.
Johnson's part of the presentation was to talk about Dublin's approach in supporting students wrestling with these questions. His focus was on our efforts in building an inclusive and supportive culture - not just for students confronting these questions - but for all students of differing backgrounds and understanding. In particular, he focused on a couple of key themes that guide our efforts in supporting students at Dublin. These are:
Celebrating the individual;
Establishing a growth mindset;
Maintaining a safe place to fail;
Supporting student empowerment; and,
Emphasizing our common experience.
He then discussed specific examples of changes made to support the differing experiences of students today such as changes to our dress code; living arrangements and new dormitory design; athletic participation; and, designing and building single-use unisex bathrooms wherever possible.