School board expected to approve LGBTQ course Tuesday

School board expected to approve LGBTQ course Tuesday

10 schools to pilot class over two years

| Published:
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PHOTO VIA BENSON KUA, FLICKR.

The Montgomery County Board of Education unanimously approved the pilot LGBTQ class during a business meeting on May 12, 2020. 

The Montgomery County school board on Tuesday is expected to approve a pilot course exploring LGBTQ issues and history.

The first-of-its-kind elective will be tested in 10 high schools over the next two academic years. It will include studies about LGBTQ history, its representation in film and art, current events and sociology.

“The LGBTQ+ community faces enduring discrimination that has resulted in a rise in hate crimes against them, higher rates of depression, suicide, and addictive drug use,” school board documents explaining the course say. “The course aims to bring acceptance, support, and a stronger sense of shared community among our students of all sexual and gender identities.”

The class is designed for both students who identify as LGBTQ and those who do not, according to the course description.

If approved by the school board during its meeting on Tuesday, two schools will offer the course to juniors and seniors during the spring semester of the 2020-21 school year, according to school board documents. Eight others will offer the class during the 2021-22 school year.

The schools planning to test the class were not listed in school board documents, and a school district spokesperson couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.

MCPS Chief Academic Officer Maria Navarro said in February it is uncommon for so many schools to express interest in testing a new class.

“That shows there will likely be a variety of students in that pilot group,” Navarro said at the time. “We’re very excited about that.”

The course will have four units:

  • Unit one will focus on factors that determine people’s identity
  • Unit two will explore the historical narrative of LGBTQ issues
  • Unit three is about the cultural contributions of the LGBTQ community and their representation in the media
  • The fourth unit will focus on contemporary LGBTQ issues locally, nationally and globally.

Teachers, students and parents will be surveyed about the success of the course after its implementation, according to school board documents. Feedback for suggested revisions and improvements will be accepted, and a social studies instructional specialist will observe each of the teachers during the pilot.

If the course is successful, it will be available for each county high school to offer.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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