Montgomery Co. schools developing an LGBTQ history class

Maryland’s largest school system is developing a unique class for high school students that will focus on LGBTQ history, officials revealed during a School Board committee meeting this week.

It would be the first such class in Montgomery County Public Schools, and would be rolled out as a pilot course in 2021.

“It’s a history focus but it also has current issues that are really relevant to the LGBTQ community,” said Siobhan Alexander, a curriculum implementation director with the school system.

Alexander said the curriculum for the course is being “co-created” by teachers and students.

“We’re working on what a professional learning plan might look like and what kinds of supports we can give teachers,” said Alexander. “One of the pieces that we need to make sure to do as we move this work forward is make sure we’re hearing from a large number of parents in our system.”

In documents released by school board officials, the class is described as “an LGBTQ history/studies elective for high school students.”

“We had 10 of our high schools actually request to pilot the course,” said Maria Navarro, the school system’s chief academic officer.

Typically, only two or three schools step forward and ask for a pilot course when it is being offered, she said.

“There’s going to be a variety of students that are likely to be in that pilot group, representative of many of our student demographics, so we’re very excited about that,” she said.

The plan for the class was laid out Tuesday during a meeting of the board’s Committee on Special Populations, which is examining things schools and teachers can do to create safer and more inclusive environments for LGBTQ students and families.

The pilot course still needs to be approved by the full Board of Education before it can be offered to students.

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