Garden State Equality: LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum Pilot Program Begins Today in New Jersey Schools

Twelve public schools now piloting LGBTQ-curriculum developed by Garden State Equality

Today, Garden State Equality launched its LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum pilot program in twelve New Jersey public schools, utilizing lesson plans developed and written by Garden State Equality in partnership with Make It Better for Youth. The pilot program will continue until the end of the current school year; New Jersey’s law will go into effect statewide this fall for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Our youth deserve to see themselves reflected in the classroom, and we know the work we’re doing is going to change the lives of LGBTQ students for the better by reducing bullying,” said Ashley Chiappano, Safe Schools & Community Education Manager for Garden State Equality. “The robust curriculum Garden State Equality has developed will ensure that the LGBTQ community’s contributions throughout history are not erased and serve to inspire the next generation.”

“Garden State Equality has been working with education experts over the last year to develop this curriculum in line with New Jersey’s core content standards,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “When our study with Stockton University concludes at the end of the pilot program, we trust the results will unequivocally show that inclusive curriculum results in safer schools and smarter students.”

“Today, New Jersey came one step closer to ensuring that all students are educated through the lens of equality and diversity,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle. “Since the passage of my LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum Law, Garden State Equality and other state-wide partners have worked tirelessly to prepare resources for educators and students across New Jersey. Through Garden State Equality’s Pilot Program, students in 12 schools across the state will get a firsthand look at what a truly inclusive education looks like and come this fall, all public school students will have the same opportunity. I am a firm believer that we cannot legislate morality but I do believe that we can utilize public policy to change our culture for the better – that starts with education.”

The following schools – whose educators and administrators are attending a daylong professional development training today with Garden State Equality — will be participating in the pilot program:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Asbury Park
  • Forrestdale School in Rumson
  • Haddon Heights Junior-Senior High School (middle and high school)
  • Highland Park School
  • Millburn Middle School
  • Newark Arts High School
  • Pinelands Regional Junior High School in Tuckerton
  • Bergen Arts and Science Charter Middle School in Hackensack
  • Bergen Arts and Science Charter High School in Hackensack
  • Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point
  • Unity Charter School in Morristown

Governor Murphy signed LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum into law on January 1, 2019, making New Jersey the second state in the nation to pass such a law and the first with interdisciplinary content. When the law goes into effect this fall, every middle and high school in the state will begin integrating these topics into classrooms, and Garden State Equality will be offering its curriculum to every district across New Jersey at no cost.

Garden State Equality secured $185,000 in grant funding from the Braitmayer Foundation and PSEG Foundation (disbursed over two years beginning in 2019) to support its curriculum development. This was the first time the Braitmayer Foundation awarded a grant to an LGBTQ organization.