10-Meeting Jump Start Curriculum

Rainbow Chalk

Start Your GSA Off on the Right Foot

It’s wonderful to have your GSA approved, your sponsor in place, and to begin planning your first meeting.

GSAs can have different goals, and yours is probably defined in your mission statement. But all GSAs serve certain functions – creating a safe and welcoming space for students, and helping students flourish in their families, schools, and communities.

The downloadable 10-meeting curriculum guide is designed to touch upon various aspects that are vital to LGBTQ+ youth and to GSA success. These include getting to know each other and establishing group norms, recognizing and agreeing upon preferred terminology, understanding and navigating peer relationships, understanding roles in families, churches, and other connected institutions, assessing personal strengths, developing a personal support network, connecting with the broader LGBTQ+ community, and more.

Whether your group’s primary goals are advocacy to promote change, the gathering and sharing of information, socialization, mental health support, or, more likely, some combination of those, starting your GSA off touching on the topics in the 10-meeting curriculum guide can create a strong foundation for future meetings.

Curriculum Guide Topics

Meeting 1: Introductions, ground rules, determine GSA mission and goals, elect officers

Meeting 2: Discuss current and preferred LGBTQ+ language and terminology

Meeting 3: Examine peer and school relationships

Meeting 4: Explore dynamics within families and non-school institutions

Meeting 5: Discuss personal strengths and support networks

Meeting 6: Learn about the broader LGBTQ+ community

Meeting 7: Connecting with the broader LGBTQ community

Meeting 8: Advocacy in the school

Meeting 9: Advocacy in the community, state, and nation

Meeting 10: Small group support

However, in the end your GSA is for you, designed to meet your needs within your school. Therefore, feel free to adapt/adjust the suggested curriculum as needed for your members’ and school’s individual circumstances.

GLSEN created a comprehensive GSA Jump-Start Guide that goes far more in-depth on many of the topics covered here. This site is intended to be easy to explore, but exchanges thoroughness for ease and brevity. For a much more detailed examination of the topics covered here, check out the GSA Guide’s: Part 1, Building and Activating Your GSA; Part 2, Tips and Tools for Organizing an Action Campaign; Part 3, Strategies for Training Teachers; Part 4, Understanding Direct-Action Organizing; Part 5, Examining Power, Privilege, and Oppression; Part 6, Creating Youth-Adult Partnerships; Part 7, Where’s the “T” in GSA?; and Part 8, Evaluation, Continuation, Celebration!

Many GSAs start each meeting with every attendee introducing themself with their name and preferred pronouns.

It can be helpful to start each meeting with a review of the group’s ground rules, which should be established during the first meeting.

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