This fall, Albert Einstein Academies of Ohio (AEA) will open an LGBTQ Affirming School for students in grades 9-12. Our schools have a reputation for creating a collaborative educational environment that partners with students and families to help them learn and grow holistically. The schools provide personalized learning plans for all students and attract many special needs students to our schools and help them to thrive. We are currently embarking on a new path—establishing an intentionally and explicitly LGBTQ affirming school.
We provide a quality education delivered by an extremely well-trained, professional, and focused staff. We welcome all students—regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation—and support students with specific learning needs through the development and implementation of Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Learning feels different, better, more satisfying, and more complete. Teaching and learning are always collaborative, conversational, and meaningful.
Currently, some initiatives have begun prior to the opening of our Lakewood campus, including reaching out to LGBTQ-serving organizations all over the region for advice and to build them into our programming. We are preparing a comprehensive and inclusive curriculum that is also aligned with the needs of the students within the LGBTQ community; including competent mental health resources, physical health resources, and social supports. The development of a dress code that is largely undefined to allow youth to express themselves has been completed. Training and professional development opportunities will be utilized for teachers and auxiliary staff.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Bruce Thomas, said, “without unforeseen challenges, the new school will be up and running in August of 2018.” Dr. Thomas and his team of school leaders saw a clear lack of resources for LGBTQ students in Cleveland.
Our Mission Statement:
The AEA Collaborative School strives to create a welcoming and diverse campus community by providing a comprehensive and rigorous educational environment with resources, programming, and support for all students regardless of race, religion, and sexual orientation across the spectrums of gender and sexuality, with an emphasis on intersectional experiences.
The AEA Collaborative School is a campus community made of intersecting identities and multiple histories. We are a strong educational community that is equitable, respectful, and visibly engaged in challenging all systemic oppression. We focus on connecting, retaining, and sustaining our students and faculty. Our work is in collaboration with many community and campus resources to promote cultural sensitivity in all aspects of education and life. We are proactive in providing an environment of emotional wellness and safety for our students and staff.
LGBTQ youth are disproportionately affected by bullying and violence in school. This is a resource school that has not existed in the Cleveland area before. For additional information please visit www.aeaohio.org.
Rebecca Woodson is the director of admissions/recruitment at the Albert Einstein Academies of Ohio.