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Gender-Based Identity & Belonging in International Schools

Four interconnected sessions for engaging in the work of building an identity-affirming lens




STRANDS: DEIJ • Deep Learning • New Pedagogies • Wellness / SEL


NOV 2 & 30, 2022, JAN 11 & FEB 1, 2023











National Geographic Learning
Data Classroom
Curriculum Associates


Professional educators are increasingly recognizing the scope of gender-based diversity amongst their students, but may feel unprepared to support or even address these topics. Hesitation may be compounded when working in contexts where LGBTQ+ identities are highly stigmatized, or even criminalized.

This course is designed for teams of educators and related professions working in international schools who are ready to engage in the work of building an identity-affirming lens to foster equity and belonging for all students and school community members. Teams of between 2-15 participants per school are welcome, and leadership is strongly encouraged to take part. Legal and cultural restrictions will be taken into account, and safety will be prioritized.

Session 1: Unpacking Identity and Positionality

This session is an interactive workshop that lays a foundation for equity and belonging work by inviting participants to consider their own relationship to privilege and marginalization, as well as grapple with the basics of intersectionality. It serves as a primer to discussions around identity in education, with a focus on historically-marginalized identities within the school context. This session will also serve to establish norms and build relationships amongst the cohort.

Session 2: Identity Affirmation as a Safeguarding Measure

International schools have upped their child safeguarding measures in recent years, understanding the value of deliberate systems to protect student wellbeing and security. LGBTQ+ children are amongst the most vulnerable students in our care, but have often been neglected when it comes to safeguarding. This session considers equity and belonging through a number of lenses, including harm reduction and child safeguarding, and strengthens participants’ knowledge and skills around child wellness and safety.

Session 3: Gender Identity & Development

Understanding gender is the foundation of LGBTQ+ inclusion, and the topic of this session. Participants of all experience levels are invited to consider gender norms, current research in child development, and related themes in international schools today. This session serves as a thought-provoking primer on the concept of gender, and offers practical insight on how to build a more equitable and affirming school.

Session 4: Identity Affirmation & Belonging in Practice

This session guides participants in decision-making exercises around LGBTQ+ matters in school using an ethical framework designed for international educators. The framework recognizes the weight of these issues, and serves as a practical tool for conscientious educators seeking guidance when making complex decisions around gender-based matters in their work. We will also use this session as an opportunity to reflect on our time together, and build an ongoing commitment toward equity and belonging moving forward.


      • Increase familiarity with terms and concepts related to LGBTQ+ identities
      • Unpack the ways that our own values, identities, and experiences influence the work we do in schools
      • Gain practice engaging in discussion on relevant gender and sexual identity themes amongst professional colleagues
      • Consider possible LGBTQ+ equity & belonging applications within a range of cultural and legal contexts
      • Connect and learn with and from peers working in the region
      • Deepen understanding of why and how equity and belonging work is connected to child safeguarding


Participants who commit to actively participating in all of the sessions will benefit the most from this course.

      • Engage with potentially challenging content through a growth-oriented mindset
      • Prioritize the safety of self and others
      • Acknowledge the dignity and humanity of all people, and refrain from identity-based harassment or invalidation
      • Accept the ongoing nature of this work and commit to continued development of equity-based practices

Readings and reflection prompts for school teams will be provided between sessions.


Schools are encouraged to send a team of participants in order to build community understanding, support, growth, and accountability. Coalitions may be made up of faculty, staff, and other employees working in any discipline and any grade level.


Sessions will take place on Wednesdays, from 3:00-4:30pm Athens, Greece time (GMT+2):

      • Session 1: November 2, 2022
      • Session 2: November 30, 2022
      • Session 3: January 11, 2023
      • Session 4: February 1, 2023

Emily Meadows


Dr. EMILY MEADOWS (she/her) is an LGBTQ+ consultant specializing in international schools. In addition to her doctoral degree, Emily holds master’s degrees in both Sexual Health and Counseling, and has worked as an international school counselor for over a decade, including at the American School of Kuwait. She researches, publishes, and trains school communities on equitable policy and practice, while also teaching for the LGBT Health Policy & Practice graduate program at George Washington University.

Emily is a Council of International Schools affiliated consultant and an International Schools Services affiliated consultant, and has developed inclusion standards, referenda, and trainings for professional organizations such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), The Fulbright Commission, the Association for International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC), the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) and the American Psychological Association (APA). Having spent more than half of her life in international schools, Emily specializes in culturally-relevant solutions to promote equity and belonging worldwide.

Registration Fees

NESA Member & Affiliate Schools

  • School teams of 2-5: $1500/school
  • School teams of 6-15: $2000/school (Large Teams Add-On)

Non-Member Schools

  • School teams of 2-5: $2000/school
  • School teams of 6-15: $2500/school (Large Teams Add-On)

Note: NNLS DEIJ Level 1 and Level 2 participating schools are eligible to receive a 10% discount on registration for this offering. Please contact to request your special promo code.

All fees quoted are in US Dollars (USD).

Please review the Cancellation Notice before registering.