I have recently been working with a group of Black families in neighborhood schools to ensure they have systems and structures in place to ensure they are safe and affirming for our kids. In an effort to support the work of SFUSD educators dedicated to equitable and inclusive schools, the following are helpful lessons, videos and resources. As I speak with educators and families across the district, I am struck by how little information is shared with schools to support this important work. (Stay tuned…) I am also amazed at how many site leaders report their staff feel are uncomfortable discussing issues of racial and gender bias with students.

With that in mind, I am posting a list of resources I’ve put together. Please share with like-minded educators and families and share any great resources you know about in the comments below.


Curriculum Development and Lesson Planning

Social Justice Teaching Standards

These anchor standards, available for download in PDF, serve as “age-appropriate learning outcomes divided into four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action (IDJA).” Educators at all levels can use them to guide lesson planning, and foster safe and inclusive schools. Standards are leveled by K–12 grade levels and include school-based scenarios which illustrate how anti-bias behaviors and attitudes might look like in the classroom.

Social Justice Vocabulary

It would be great the district could develop student and family-friendly definitions to share with school community members at all grade levels (ES, MS, and HS). This could be a good collaborative project for a team of teachers, district staff and community partners (And, lead to some potentially great learning conversations!)

In the meantime, here are some sites with lists I like:

School-Wide Events

Mix it Up Day – (Usually in late October)

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is an international campaign that encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. While schools can register to host a Mix It Up event on any day of the year, millions of students around the world participate on the official Mix It Up at Lunch Day, held on the last Tuesday of each October. Click the link for information and resources.

Inclusive Schools Week(First week of December)

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) held each year during the first full week in December. Inclusive Schools Week offers school communities the opportunity to celebrate and expand efforts to create welcoming and supportive schools, especially for students marginalized due to “disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference,” etc.

Video Resources

#WhoWeAre (grades 4-12)

StoryCorps Animated videos showcasing StoryCorps stories that exemplify hope, compassion, empathy and optimism. There are a lot and not all are appropriate for all student audiences. I’ve taken the liberty of selecting those that I think would be most appropriate, and added suggested discussion questions and recommendations. 

World Trust

World Trust Education Services produces equity and diversity filmscurriculum and workshops “that open minds and hearts while deepening the conversation about race. Films are geared toward adult audiences. Nonetheless, films clips could be used to start or inform conversations about race. One helpful film:

Cracking the Codes (grades 6-12)

This film asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity. Designed for dialogue, the film works to disentangle internal beliefs, attitudes and pre-judgments within, and it builds skills to address the structural drivers of social and economic inequities. 

Groundspark Respect for All Project

The Respect For All Project offers a series of films and curriculum guides to support K-12 discussions of diversity and anti-bias. All films are available close captioned in English and with Spanish subtitles. Groundspark also offers excellent professional development and community workshops to schools and school districts. Films in the Respect for All Series include:

That’s a Family (grades K-4)

Video and curriculum guide examining various family structures; including single-parent, mixed race, LGBTQIA, adoptive etc. This video offers young children the opportunity to discuss identity, family and community.

Let’s Get Real (grades 4-8)

Video and curriculum guide which provides a social context for bullying (e.g. racism, homophobia, sexual harassment, etc.) It presents an alternate framework to understanding bullying, moving out of viewing bullies as “bad” to humanize bullying behaviors and we can all take action to create safe classrooms and schools.

Straightlaced – How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up (grades 7-12)

Video and curriculum guide showcasing candid interviews with more than 50 teens from diverse backgrounds. This film illustrates how popular ideas of gender and sexuality create pressure for American teens. Students explore the relationship of gender role expectations and homophobia, and discuss ways these expectations connect with culture, class, and race.

Online Lessons

Circles of My Multicultural Self (grades 4-12)

Students examine identity and membership in multiple communities. They also push back on stereotypes that define them. This is a great way to introduce the concept of intersectionality and highlight the fact that we are all mem

Gender Role Boxes (Grades 6-12)

Students examine gender expectations and discuss ways that societal stereotypes based on gender confine us. This lesson asks students: What does it mean to be a “boy”? What does it mean to be a “girl”? How do societal expectations around femininity and masculinity reinforce bullying, sexual harassment and homophobia and ultimately restrict us all from being our full selves?

Escalation of Hate (Grades 6-12)

Lesson in which students learn how hate escalates and discuss ways to stop its progression. It has a great list of terms and definitions and used the Pyramid of Hate model to highlight how random acts of hate that go unchecked can escalate to systemic violence.

Curriculum Resources

Anti-Bias Resources – Anti-Defamation League

Links to “tips, tools, strategies and lessons for K-12 educators, administrators, students and family members to promote diversity and anti-bias behavior in learning environments and society.”

Teaching Tolerance – Diversity, Equity and Justice

This site is jam-packed with resources from professional articles, to lesson plans to videos. Topics include racism, gender bias, xenophobia and more.

The Southern Poverty Law Center

And information and advocacy powerhouse. This organization has been actively tracking and mapping hate crimes and bias using the #Hatewatch hashtag campaign. The SPLC monitors the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists across the U.S. It is also the parent organization supporting Teaching Tolerance. Check out their website for the most up to date information and for articles on discrimination and efforts to fight bias in the context of our schools.


*This blog is focused on supporting San Francisco parents and educators in public schools. Nonetheless, this is NOT. JUST. A. PUBLIC. SCHOOL. PROBLEM. Even our “highest performing” schools, public or private are wrestling with this problem. (Just Google “Saint Ignatious” or Lowell and “racist” and see what comes up.) Any school system that doesn’t systematically address issues of race, class, language, immigration status, gender, and sexual identity, will invariably have to confront bias in the classroom at some point in time. And with all the bile coming out of the White House these days, it’s actually getting WORSE day by day.

What resources is your school community using to encourage a safe and inclusive school climate? Please share in the comments below.

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About alimcollins

Ali Collins is an educator, community organizer and mom. She lives with her husband and twin girls in San Francisco, CA.

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Boys vs. Girls, LGBTQIA, Race & Racism, Teachers

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