It’s been a while since I have written a conference reflection piece. It’s time for #njahperd20 day one to be reflected upon.

Glow: The keynote to the conference was Michelle Carter and Yasmeen Taji-Farouki. Together they shared their stories growing up Puerto Rican and Muslim in America. Their stories made you want to cry. They were vulnerable and authentic. The crowd was introduced to privilege in a way that wasn’t attacking or dismissive. They talked about privilege being, “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.” We all have various privileges and most have identities of marginalization. The idea is how do we use the privilege that we have to help our students and how do we shine the light on the marginalization that our students are having imposed on them.

Glow: Health Moves Minds. This is the future of SHAPE America and NJ AHPERD. Not only does it teach SEL it will also be lifeblood to sustainability. Check it out and get signed up.

Glow: Dr. Irene Cucina’s session on consent. Consent is more than tea. It is more than physical touch. One newer idea that was presented was about enthusiastic consent. This is where all parties are willing participants in whatever endeavor they choose. One ironic part of the session is that most students don’t willingly consent to be in our classes. How do we address that while still giving the students the autonomy to have some control over their lives?

Glow: Beyond the Binary: Understanding Gender Identity. Dan Rice took us through a basic vocabulary of sexual and gender identity. The gender unicorn was a really cool resource.

Grow: Communication Skills for Middle/High School students. The session was decent but I need more activities. Show me multiple ideas about what we can do.

Grow: NJ standards are changing. They are being paired down from 6 to 3. Naturally, that means a lot of what is being taught under the standards will disappear. Listen I have to be honest. The newly provided standards need a lot of work. Identity has been completely stripped out of the standards. We have moved away from an abstinence-plus program to a program where drugs and alcohol will give you STI’s. Pregnancy is talked about only once and there is no mention of abortion of other pregnancy prevention methods. The new NJ standards are HOT GARBAGE! Linda P. Eno, assistant commissioner, said to me that the state is not looking to roll back the sexed standards and this was an oversight that will be fixed. I have to be honest. If you do not speak up and email chpe@doe.nj.gov our state will have one of the least progressive curriculums in the union. You need to look at these standards and speak up!! You can find the new standards here. Again our most vulnerable students will be ignored and our sex education will be almost nonexistent. Speak up, people!!! This is an attack on our children!

Glow: The backyard bbq was amazing! The band and the food rocked.

Glow: Literally the bonfire glowed! What a fun time to hang out and connect with our peers.

Day one in the books.


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