Gender Support Vision Statement

As stated in our mission, at Fayerweather Street School (FSS), we believe in truly knowing each child, valuing individual differences, and celebrating diverse perspectives. We are committed to developing a strong sense of community in which every member feels valued. One way FSS commits to these ideals is by recognizing, supporting, and celebrating each student’s gender identity and expression.
Gender is complex, and everyone is deserving of acceptance, belonging, and celebration. As part of the mission of FSS, we seek to support students with their understanding of themselves, and to provide as safe and welcoming a space as possible to allow students to live and learn as their authentic selves.
At FSS, we recognize that gender is a central part of each person’s identity and deserves to be honored alongside other aspects of our students’ selves. FSS has created specific guidelines and policies related to gender support, such as the school’s name and pronoun guidelines , our bathroom use policies , and our gender support plan.
Understanding of gender identity and expression, along with many other aspects of a person’s identity, can grow, shift, and change as individuals explore themselves and their world. Research* supports the approach of letting each student set the pace and direction of their gender exploration. FSS acknowledges that communication and collaboration between school and home is the best way to build a strong and supportive environment for all students.
This statement is designed to be an overall vision in regards to gender support, and the guidelines and policies referred to are meant to help support individual students and situations. FSS will work with students and families directly with each circumstance that warrants support. As always, families are encouraged to contact the school with any questions.

FSS Gender Support Guidelines

List of 2 items.

  • Bathroom Policy

    As part of Fayerweather’s commitment to supporting all aspects of our students’ identities, it is the school’s policy that students may use the bathroom(s) that correspond with their gender identity. Bathroom use is not something that should lead to stigmatization, ridicule, or any other form of harassment.
    In some cases, a student may choose to use one of the single-person gender-neutral bathrooms. This may be for various reasons, and we will always accommodate this choice. We will never require that a student use one of the single-person bathrooms. We understand that some people might have questions or concerns about who uses what bathroom.
    We want to emphasize that comfort is not the same as safety and that kids are not made unsafe by someone else using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Students’ choice of a bathroom is a personal decision and one of the ways they can be their authentic selves here at school. If a student or a family member has questions about our bathroom policy, we welcome them to reach out to the school.
  • Pronoun and Name Guidelines

    Gender identity and gender expression are central aspects of a person’s overall identity. FSS believes gender identity is a continuous developmental process and part of normal childhood exploration and development, and we are committed to supporting all students across the diverse gender spectrum.
    Our mission and work with students informs us that it is best practice to listen to, respect, and affirm each child’s gender identity. This includes the pronouns they wish to be identified with and any name changes they make. We understand that explorations and understandings of gender can shift (and with that, name and pronouns), so we will honor what each child is telling us at the moment.
    We will also respect and support each student’s right to privacy. Coming out, whether in regard to gender, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of identity, is a personal journey. Some students will be comfortable with the whole community being aware of their identity, while others will not. We encourage students to notify us when they want to communicate any changes or updates. We will support and encourage students to talk with their caretakers about their identity development and journey, and we will work with students’ families to ensure that each student feels safe, supported, and fully seen in their school life.
    FSS school policies are in accordance with the Massachusetts DOE guidelines for creating safe and supportive schools. As always, if you have further questions, please reach out to the school administration.

Gender Support Books

Transgender Students’ in Elementary School: Creating an Affirming and Inclusive School Culture, by Melinda M. Mangin (2020)

The Gender Identity Guide For Parents: Compassionate Advice to Help Your Child Be Their Most Authentic Self, by Tavi Hawn

Safe Is Not Enough: Better Schools for LGBTQ Students, by Michael Sadowski

Organizations that Support an Affirming Approach

  • Gender Spectrum
  • Journal of Adolescent Health
  • NAIS (National Association for Independent Schools)
  • Massachusetts Department of Education
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • American School Counselor Association
  • American Medical Association
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Psychiatric Association
Fayerweather Street School | 765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-876-4746
Fayerweather is a private PreK, kindergarten, elementary and middle school. We engage each child’s intellect.