Understanding Gender Identity and Development at Collingswood Schools

The November 29th workshop invited Collingswood Elementary School Parents and Caregivers to the Middle School Library to  learn, discuss, and ask questions with the goal of supporting Transgender and Gender Expansive Youth at the Elementary Schools. The event was well- attended with caregivers from many of the schools across the district. The group participated with questions about pronouns, requirements for accommodations in NJ schools, and personal stories.

This event really fit in well with the Collingswood School District’s #bekind initiative. Samantha Taylor, MSW, M.Ed from CHOP’s Gender and Sexuality Identity Clinic shared a comprehensive view of development of gender expression and identity with help of the The Gender Unicorn and other helpful resources:

(click to enlarge) The Gender Unicorn from Trans Student Educational Resources. http://www.transstudent.org/gender

Elisabeth Yucis, the faculty advisor for Collingswood High School’s GSA was also able to tell attendees about what is happening in Collingswood Middle and High Schools and about how educators are practicing more gender inclusiveness and incorporating these progressive ideas in the classroom. Dr. Oswald was also able to answer some questions about the training available for staff and faculty across the schools in the district.

There will probably be more questions that come up over the next days and weeks, so Samantha was kind enough to share her contact information at CHOP with attendees. Inquiries may be directed to the email address for the department at CHOP: genderclinic@email.chop.edu


There were also great online resources shared for more information:


GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”) was founded in 1990 by a small, but dedicated group of teachers in Massachusetts who came together to improve an education system that too frequently allows its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students to be bullied, discriminated against, or fall through the cracks.


Gender Spectrum:

We provide an array of services to help youth, families, organizations and institutions understand and address concepts of Gender identity and Gender expression, including how societal, cultural, organizational and community definitions of gender can be detrimental to any young person that does not fit neatly into these categories.



The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

There is a page that parents and caregivers should really check out on their website. It is full of resources and information for helping a child questioning their gender expression, are transitioning, and for family and friends of these children: http://www.hrc.org/explore/topic/transgender-children-youth

The Family Acceptance Project:

The Family Acceptance Project® is a research, intervention, education and policy initiative that works to prevent health and mental health risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children and youth, including suicide, homelessness and HIV – in the context of their families, cultures and faith communities. We use a research-based, culturally grounded approach to help ethnically, socially and religiously diverse families to support their LGBT children.


The Trevor Project

This website also has important information for youth, allies, and why you should be an ally. Content warning: facts related to self harm and suicide among Trans youth. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/#sm.0001qbc81mjtuddfx5v1hl3yny42d
Jen R

Jen R

Jen Rossi, Vice President Jen Rossi moved to Collingswood with her spouse in 2012. She is a graduate of Georgian Court University with a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Fine Art. She has a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing in Elementary Education (K-5) and as a Teacher of Fine Art (K-12). After a part-time floating position and substitute teaching, Jen returned to the corporate world. Professionally Jen is a Digital Marketing Manager for a privately owned insurance brokerage, providing important information on how to reduce the risks in today's business world: ranging from slip and fall injuries to computer network hacks. Getting the information in the hands of people who need it with the help of guidebooks, webinars, instructional videos, blog posts, social media alerts, and online courses. With this background in education and knowledge of the process for communicating important information to anyone willing to hear it, Jen focuses her energy on making a big impact with small things- making life a little more convenient, helping people get informed, keeping things practical and timely, and encouraging achievable goals for success. In her free time, Jen loves upcycling, improving, and otherwise repurposing materials to the delight of family, neighbors, and Etsy customers. She looks forward to running down questions and getting helpful information into social feeds and inboxes of members of the Collingswood community.