Conferences & Workshops

 FAQ about Registration

Gender and Sexuality Competencies in PreK-12: Enhancing Skills and Understanding for Faculty, Students, & Parents in our Diverse School Communities

Date: Wednesday - January 16, 2019
Time: All Day
Location: Mohonk Mountain House

Wednesday, January 16 - Friday January 18, 2019
Speakers: Jennifer Bryan, Deborah Roffman & Ricco Siasoco 
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, NY
Phone 845-255-1000


Register Here

Students from pre-school to high school need quality age-appropriate education and caring guidance from the immediate adults in their lives regarding every aspect of their development.  Issues connected to gender identity and sexual identity development will be foregrounded in this program, with ongoing attentiveness to the highly intersectional nature of all identity development.(e.g. Race, Religion, Culture, SES). Helping today’s students thrive also means that ongoing education and support for teachers, staff, and parents must be part of school programming. 

The ways in which we understand our own and other’s gender and sexuality development is ever-changing, complex and sometimes confusing. This conference focuses on helping participants to: (1) relate knowledgeably and comfortably to various aspects of gender and sexuality diversity, and (2) be attuned to the interconnectedness between gender and sexuality and other identity characteristics.

The overarching goal of the workshop is to impart the knowledge, self awareness, and skills needed to create school communities where everyone feels safe and fully included, regardless of how they identify or express themselves .

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

  • PreK-12 classroom teachers
  • administrators
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion staff
  • residential life staff
  • counselors
  • sexuality educators
  • health and wellness teachers and coordinators
  • nurses
  • other interested school personnel 

This didactic, experiential and interactive program will afford hands-on opportunities for attendees to apply 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
  • Explore the intersections of gender and sexuality with other primary identifiers: Race, Ethnicity, National origin, Religion
  • Use School Mission and Pedagogical Philosophy to guide practice
  • Apply GSD skills to individual school situations using case studies and culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Understand the core developmental needs of children and adolescents in regard to gender and sexuality diversity, and how to incorporate GSD education into comprehensive Pre-K-12 human sexuality programming.
  • Engage families and schools as meaningful partners around gender and sexuality education
  • Anticipate, diffuse, and manage potential conflict and controversy around school programs that address gender and sexuality
  • Articulate clearly the universal 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. All meals in the Main Dining Room. Cocktails and tea in Lake Lounge.



Registration and Tea in Lake Lounge

4:30 – 5:00



Session 1: Jennifer Bryan, Deb Roffman, Ricco Siasoco

  • Introduction to Conference
  • Temporary Learning Community
  • Learning Goals Worksheet

5:00 – 6:30


Gender and Sexuality Diversity  Jennifer and Ricco

  • New Diagram of Intersecting Identities
  • GSD: One Paradigm for Considering Sex, Gender and Sexuality
  • Old Language, New Language
  • Labels vs. Identity Development
  • Intersectionality (Race, Religion, Culture)


Cocktails in Lake Lounge followed by Dinner in Main Dining Room


7:00 – 7:45

Breakfast  in Main Dining Room

8:00 - 8:15

Introduction to Affinity Groups

  • Pedagogy, Research, Practice

8:15 – 8:40

Affinity Group 1

8:50 - 10:15


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

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




Session 3: Ricco Siasoco
Mapping Intersectionality onto GSD and 5 Core Needs

  • Kimberle Crenshaw and #MeTo0
  • Multiple Perspectives, GSD & 5 Core Needs
  • Intersectionality in Classrooms, Policies, and Practices

11:50 - 12:15

Affinity Group 2

 12:20 – 1:20

Lunch in Main Dining Room

1:30 – 2:40

Session 4 Case Studies

  • Gender and Sexuality Diversity/5:5 Paradigm/Intersectionality Application
  • Small Group Case Study Work
  • Share Out: Application of Paradigms; Biggest Challenges
  • Practice; Role Play Biggest Challenges

2:45 – 3:00

StopLight Assessment: Reflection; Synthesis; Questions

3:00 – 5:30

Free Time

5:30 – 6:15


Facilitator: Barbara Swanson, NYSAIS
Explore topics and challenges that interest you, either within the conference theme or not.

6:15 - 6:40

Affinity Groups 3


Cocktails in Lake Lounge followed by Dinner in Main Dining Room


7:00 – 8:00

Breakfast in Main Dining Room

8:10 –  8:40

Session 5: Questions and Takeaways

8:45 – 9:15

Session 6: Ricco Siasco
Moving From Affinity Groups to Justice & Action 

9:15 - 9:30

Break / Transition

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

Session 7A: 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
  • 20 Strategies for Growing and Protecting Lower School Sexuality/GSD Education

Session 7B: Ricco Siasoco
Middle School: Middle School Dilemmas, Bodies, Independence

  • Effective Models of Ethics and Science Collaboration in Human Sexuality Curriculum
  • QSA’s, GSA’s, and Developing Diversity Student Leaders
  • Parent Education around Gender, Puberty, and Sexuality Education

Session 7C: Jennifer Bryan
Upper School: Facilitating Critical Conversations

Since the 2016 election teachers (in certain contexts) have become cautious about “getting into” hot topics in the classroom, on the athletic field, at lunch. What content knowledge, skills, and mindsets do you need in order to frame these critical conversations in your educational setting? Some questions/issues we will explore

  • How is your content/subject area connected to sexuality, gender, and reproduction?
  • How do you create a container to hold these intellectually and emotionally complex conversations?
  • Talking The Talk (re sex, gender, sexuality) while Walking The (professionally bounderied) Walk
 11:30 - 11:40
 11:40– 12:00

Assessment of Learning

12:00 - 12:45 Q and A; Plans for the future?


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.

After graduating from Princeton, Dr. Bryan began her career in 1983 as an English teacher and counselor at The Hotchkiss School. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University and has worked as a psychologist in a variety of clinical settings. Over the past 25 years she has provided organizational consultation to schools, social service agencies, and businesses, focusing on group dynamics, critical conversations, leadership development and systemic change.

Dr. Bryan is a life-long educator and a life-long student. She cares about pedagogy, practice and passion in equal measure. 

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco has more than 17 years of educational experience as a diversity practitioner, faculty member, and senior administrator in K-12 independent schools, undergraduate colleges, and a graduate school of education. He is currently the Director of Equity & Inclusion at the Chadwick School in Los Angeles. 

Prior to joining Chadwick, Ricco served as a diversity practitioner and middle/upper school English teacher at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School (go Eagles!). He has also served as the Director of Undergraduate Affairs at Prep for Prep, where he assisted students of color in navigating financial, academic, and logistical concerns. His research interests are anti-bias education, critical pedagogy, gender studies, and indigenous literature. 

Ricco received his MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and has taught at Columbia University, Boston College, and the Massachusetts College of Art. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Center for Fiction, and Lambda Literary. His short story collection, The Foley Artist, is forthcoming from Gaudy Boy in 2019. He is a board member of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. Ricco is completing an Ed.D. in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. 

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.
2. Conference Registration and Credit Card Payment*

Regular Registration Fees apply within 2 weeks of the event
    •    NYSAIS Members - $425.00
    •    Non-members - $465.00

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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