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Moving Toward Gender Inclusive Environments – New VT-HEC Offerings Announced

Gender Diversity, Identification and Expression in Children & Youth

Gender diversity, identification and expression are raising many questions and challenges for those that work with children and youth. VT-HEC is pleased to announce our first offering on this topic to be held on March 28, 2017 in Montpelier, VT, titled: The Gender Spectrum: Gaining Understanding and Moving Toward Creating Gender Inclusive Environments.

This introductory workshop will be targeted to educators and other professionals who want to learn more about gender expression and/or identity differences; how to discuss the issues with parents, students and colleagues; and become more aware of how to support and nurture different gender identities and expressions.

The workshop will be led by Lisa Estivill from Washington County Mental Health. Lisa has been Director of Therapeutic Education in Barre, VT since 2010 and has many years experience in the field of mental health and gender diversity.  Lisa will discuss how gender difference can manifest at different developmental stages and some distinct challenges for gender different/trans kids at different ages (i.e. boys playing dress up in kindergarten, middle school communal changing in lockers, sports teams, dating, etc.)

The emphasis will be on an introduction to the concept of gender diversity, being cognizant of the messages we are sending kids and families about gender diversity, engaging families with gender-different kids, and establishing an inclusive culture.

VT-HEC is planning a series of offerings on gender-related topics that will include a focus on challenges for leadership, additional supports for developing gender inclusive environments, and ways of supporting all students related to this topic.

Watch for more information and registration details on


Dennis has been the Director of the the VT-HEC since it was founded in 2000. He spent 16 years at the VT-DOE as Director of teams with various names that included: special education, Title I, health and wellness and other family and education support services. Prior to that Dennis worked at the Barre Town School (VT) starting as a special educator and serving many years as the Director of Student Support Services. He also spent 6 years as a classroom teacher grades 5-8 in NJ.

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