Conferences & Workshops

 FAQ about Registration

Sex, Gender and Sexuality: Educating Students, Supporting Families, and Creating Safer School Communities

Date: Wednesday - January 17, 2018
Time: All Day
Location: Mohonk Mountain House

Wednesday, January 17 - Friday January 19, 2018
Speakers: Jennifer Bryan & Deborah Roffman
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, NY
Phone 845-255-1000


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In today’s world, and now, especially, in the public and political arenas, issues of gender and sexuality are ever-present.  Increasingly, students from pre-school to high school need quality age-appropriate education and caring guidance from the immediate adults in their lives around these topics. Teachers and parents, too, need ongoing education and support around these ever-changing, complex and often confusing issues in order to help today’s students:

  1. understand their own and others’ development
  2. relate knowledgeably and comfortably to various aspects of gender and sexuality diversity and
  3. feel safe and fully included within our school communities.

A blend of theory and practice, this program is designed for

  • PreK-12 classroom teachers
  • administrators
  • diversity coordinators
  • counselors
  • sexuality educators
  • health and wellness coordinators, nurses
  • other interested school personnel

Sexuality Educator, Deborah Roffman, and Educational Consultant, Jennifer Bryan, provide the language and the conceptual frameworks educators need to understand the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual aspects of gender and sexuality development. This didactic, experiential and interactive program will afford hands-on opportunities for attendees to apply these core concepts to real-life school scenarios as well as classroom-based teaching. The workshop will support participants’ abilities to:

  • Frame issues of sex, gender and sexuality using Gender and Sexuality Diversity (GSD), a broad, inclusive construct
  • Define language and clarify concepts related to GSD
  • Use School Mission and Pedagogical Philosophy to guide practice
  • Apply effective pedagogical principles in creating best practices
  • Recognize and respond to behaviors, structures and programs that reinforce binary definitions of sex, gender and sexuality
  • Recognize and respond to behaviors, structures and programs that reinforce heteronormativity
  • Understand the core developmental needs of children and adolescents as they relate to gender and sexuality diversity
  • Engage families and schools as meaningful partners around gender and sexuality education
  • Anticipate and manage potential conflict and controversy around school programs that address gender and sexuality
  • Devise truly age appropriate curricula around gender and sexuality topics
  • Articulate clearly the values and beliefs that underpin comprehensive Human Sexuality Education
  • Understand the myriad connections between bullying, heterosexism, and binary gender role expectations

 Schedule (Tentative)

All general sessions and home groups in Parlor. Breakfast and lunch in the Main Dining Room. Dinner in West Dining Room.



Registration and Tea in Lake Lounge

4:30 – 5:00



Session 1: Jennifer Bryan

  • Introduction to Conference
  • Introductions - Jennifer and Deb
  • Temporary Learning Community

5:00 – 6:30


Gender and Sexuality Diversity

  • GSD: A New Paradigm for Considering Sex, Gender and Sexuality
  • Biological Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression
  • Sexual Attraction, Sexual Behavior, Sexual Identity
  • Old Language, New Language, Labels, Narrative

6:30 – 6:45

Stoplight Assessment 1


Cocktails and Dinner in West Dining Room


7:00 – 8:00

Breakfast  in Main Dining Room

8:15 – 9:45


Session 2: Deborah Roffman
The 5:5 Paradigm: Five Core Development Needs, Five Corresponding Roles for Adults in Nurturing Healthy Children and Adolescents

  • Information
  • Affirmation
  • Clarity About Values
  • Limit Setting
  • Anticipatory Guidance

9:45 – 10:00

Stoplight Assessment 2

10:00 - 10:15


10:15 - 10:45

GSD Spectrums - Jennifer

10:45 – 12:00


Session 3: Jennifer Bryan and Deborah Roffman
Gender and Sexuality Diversity/5:5 Paradigm Review

  • Small Group Application (45 minutes)
  • Small Group Debrief (30 minutes)

12:00 - 12:15

Stoplight Assessment

 12:20 – 1:20

Lunch in Main Dining Room

1:30 – 2:45

Concurrent Sessions: choose one

Session 4D: Deborah Roffman

Values? Whose Values? What values?

  • Identifying the different kinds of values with which schools interfaces
  • Determining appropriate roles for schools in relation to each kind
  • Common sources of parental reluctance/resistance/opposition, and how to diffuse them
  • Naming and reinforcing “Universal Values” vs. processing “controversial value–laden issues”
  • How and why true tolerance does not mean “to tolerate," nor does acceptance mean promotion

Session 4J: Jennifer Bryan
Creating an Educational Response to GSD in PreK-12

  • GSD Across Contexts (Legal, Political, Religious, Medical, Social)
  • What should your Educational engagement w GSD look like?
  • Classroom & Co-Curricular Scenarios
  • School Mission meets GSD

2:45 – 3:00

Stoplight Assessment 3

3:00 – 3:20

Session Share Out

3:30 – 5:30

Free Time

5:30 – 6:30


Facilitator: Barbara Swanson, NYSAIS

Explore topics and challenges that interest you, either within the conference theme or not.


Cocktails and Dinner in West Dining Room


7:00 – 8:00

Breakfast in Main Dining Room

8:15 –  8:30

Writing Workshop

8:30 – 9:20


Session 5: Jennifer Bryan and Deborah Roffman
Questions and Answers

9:30 – 11:30
Concurrent Sessions: choose one

Session 6D: Deborah Roffman
Lower School: Sexuality Education, PreK – 6

  • Thinking Pedagogically--Not Emotionally--about Sexuality Education for Young Children
  • Age Appropriateness: How to Think about Scope and Sequence, PreK-6th
  • How to Notice and Intervene Around "Subtle" GSD Dynamics in Lower Schools
  • 18 Ideas for Growing and Protecting Lower School Sexuality/GSD Education

Session 6J: Jennifer Bryan
Gender and Sexuality in MS and US

  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • GSD Across the Currirulum
  • Hands-On/Project Learning for Students
  • Education, Ethics, Entertainment (HGSE)
 11:30 - 11:45
 11:45 – 12:15

Share Out

12:15 - 12:45

Questions and Answers/ Wrap – Up


Lunch in Main Dining Room and Departure


Deborah Roffman, MS, a nationally acknowledged expert on human sexuality education in independent school settings, teaches this topic in the lower, middle, and upper schools at The Park School of Baltimore, and has taught as well at several other schools in the Baltimore/Washington area. She has consulted nationally with more than 300 private and public schools and is the author of three books for parents and teachers, most recently Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become your Kids’ Go-To Person About Sex (Perseus, 2012).

Ms. Roffman is in constant demand as a speaker and workshop leader for PreK-12 parents, teachers, administrators, counselors, and trustees. She brings decades of classroom experience to her presentations and her trainings and consultations around such issues as: barriers to implementing truly age and stage appropriate PreK-12 sexuality education, and how to diffuse them; families and schools as authentic partners in nurturing sexually healthy children and adolescents; the application of values education (including religious values) to sexuality curricula; sexuality education scope and sequence; and best-practice classroom approaches. She presents on a full range of topics connected to sex, gender, and reproduction, including such timely issues as sexual assault and consent.

Debbie is widely known for her ability to help parents and school personnel embrace comprehensive sexuality education from the earliest grades, through her laser focus on clear and present development needs, our collective adult responsibilities in meeting them, and the common ground of values that parents and schools deeply share but often overlook.

Jennifer Bryan, PhD, is a psychologist and consultant who specializes in helping schools and organizations create inclusive communities by understanding and addressing gender and sexuality diversity. As founder and principal of Team Finch Consultants, she works primarily with preK-12 schools to help them explore gender and sexuality as these issues relate to school life. She uses psychological and pedagogical frameworks, skilled group facilitation, and a lively sense of humor to help administrators, teachers, staff, parents, trustees and students explore the complex terrain of gender and sexuality identity development.

Dr. Bryan began her career as an English teacher and counselor at The Hotchkiss School and then worked as a psychologist in a variety of clinical settings. In addition to her private psychotherapy practice, she taught at the Smith College School for Social Work and Teachers College, Columbia University. Over the years she has provided clinical and organizational consultation to a variety of schools and social service agencies.

Dr. Bryan is a frequent speaker on gender and sexuality diversity at education conferences nationwide and is the author of From the Dress-Up Corner to the Senior Prom: Navigating Gender and Sexuality Diversity in PreK-12 Schools a book for educators and parents. Her children’s book, The Different Dragon, was recently translated into Spanish by a middle school student!

She earned her masters and doctorate in counseling psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, a BA in creative writing from Princeton University and studied for a year at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Transportation - busses from Port Authority to New Paltz run frequently.

Registration is a 2-step process. Be sure to do both. 
1. Reserve your room with Mohonk - do one of the following.
  • Reserve online
  • Click here to download the Mohonk Residential Reservation Form (room and board)
  • Click here if you will be a day guest at Mohonk (meals only)
  • Or reserve by phone: 800-772-6646
  • Need car service? Please give the Mohonk 24 hours notice, or call a local taxi.
2. Conference Registration and Credit Card Payment*

Regular Registration Fees apply within 2 weeks of the event
    •    NYSAIS Members - $420.00
    •    Non-members - $455.00

Early Discount of $50.00 will apply until 2 weeks before the event
Late Fee of $20.00 will apply within 2 days of the event.

Questions about registration? Email
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