And this year we are going. super. extra. Welcome to our Birthday Extravaganza.
We have so many announcements for you — so many big contributions to the Safe Zone Project, new resources you’ve been asking for, and improvements that have been in the works for years — that it would be ridiculous to try to cram them all into a Birthday announcement.
Nope. We’re doin’ Birthweek.
Think of it like Shark Week, but with more curricula. And fewer sharks.
Today, we are thrilled to announce the 5th Edition of our Foundational Safe Zone Curriculum, and this almost-too-shiny new website you’re reading this announcement on.
All of that will be happening in the next few days. So if you’re a Sexuality / Gender / LGBTQ+ / Safe Zone educator, or otherwise a fan of our stuff, and you’re not already getting blog posts by email, now would be a good time to start. But for now, let’s just focus on what we’re announcing today, shall we?
Update: Scroll down and read all the announcements for our 5th Birthday!
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Download the 5th Edition of our Foundational Curriculum
If you’re one of the 25,000+ people who are using the Foundational Safe Zone Curriculum (what we used to refer to as our “2-Hour Ready-to-Rock”), you’ll be excited to know that it was not neglected in this makeover.
Here’s the short version of what’s new:
- Accessibility overhaul, including higher contrast and more legible body text typefaces
- Every activity and handout links to a parallel document on the SZP website (using a super fun szp.guide shortlink), where you can find more tips, context, and help
- Added multiple training timelines, a training set-up guide, and “about this curriculum”
- Reworked lectures and example framing for most activities
Sprinkled more facilitator advice throughout, including new“Unlock the Magic” tips
- New vocab terms, updated definitions, and rewrote facilitator steps in activity walkthrough
For the longer version, you’ll have to dive in yourself.
Here are some things that haven’t changed:
- It’s still totally free, uncopyrighted, and yours to improve/change
Head over to the curriculum page, or click any of the gigantic rainbow buttons around the site, download the new edition and get started.
You’ll get a .ZIP folder with everything you need to start some meaningful conversations about sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ identities and experiences.
Let us know if you find any tpyos. There are definitely a few sprinkled in there, ready for that 5.1 update.
And Meet our Shiny New Website
Our old website was more than dusty: it was slow and difficult to navigate.
That was a big problem for us.
As you might know, we’re all about accessibility here.
It’s why “free online resource” is part of our mission, and we don’t construct pay barriers preventing you from accessing of our work (i.e., why we operate in the gift economy).
It’s why we’re constantly tweaking our materials based on educator feedback. To make the lessons work better, include more people, not leave important voices out.
Educators in over 100 countries use our curriculum, and a lot of you are accessing the site from places where bandwidth is tough to come by. So slow loading times, and heavy page loads in general, were making it tough for a lot of people to use this resource.
And despite us having hundreds of little nuggets of helpful content here, most of which is designed to preempt your need to reach out and ask us for help — or permission — we would frequently get asked the same questions. It was because navigating site was more like a maze, and less like a map.
But building new websites is difficult, and a huge investment of time and effort, so we kicked the can down the road. Well, no further!
The new site:
- Scores two letter grades faster on Pingdom’s speed test (from a C to an A);
- Has a totally re-worked navigation that we’re hoping will help you find what you need (and enhanced search to make that even easier);
- Features more fun bells and whistles than the old one (seamless Google Drive integration anyone?); and
- Is (somehow) even more rainbow-packed.
That’s what we call a zero compromise website.
Actually, now that we think of it, calling this a website is like calling a book a stack of paper.
This isn’t a website. It’s a Digital Experience®.
Just kidding, y’all.
(But our new hosting company, WPEngine, un-ironically calls it that. Please don’t get mad at us, WPEngine. We lurve yew!)
Oh, and speaking of new website: we hid some presents 🎁 for you
If you poke around the site, you might stumble upon an empty box with a dashed border where one of our newly-created, soon-to-be-released-in-this-birthday-extravaganza projects will eventually live.
If you find one, and you guess what’s going to be published there (before we publish it — so, like, within the next few days), we’ll enter you into a pool for a literal present from us: we’ll send you a goodie box full of our stickers, shirts, books, and some super-secret surprises.
In the meantime, we hope you dig the new digs, and see the Foundational Curriculum 5th Edition as a worthy successor to the 4th (at least worth of an update in your printing routine).
We’ll be in touch soon. In a couple of days, actually. When we release our next surprise here on the blog 😘
– Meg & Sam
Birthday Extravaganza Update #1: New Spanish-Language Curriculum, and Safe Zone 201: Race + LGBTQ
You can read the full announcement in the blog post, but here’s the short version:
- We have a Spanish-language translation of our Foundational Curriculum READY, but we don’t want to publish it widely until we get some feedback from more people. Email us and we’ll send it along for review.
- We announced a Safe Zone 201: Race + LGBTQ curriculum that’s currently in development. We’re hoping to have it out by Winter.
Birthday Extravaganza Update #2: online LGBTQ+ Courses
Check out the full announcement in the blog post, or read on for the nuggets:
- We now have a self-guided online course that mirrors our Foundational Curriculum (best we can). And you can enroll in the course right now! (We’ve already had 5 people graduate from it)
- We’ll be adding more courses to the site in the coming months.
Birthday Extravaganza Final Update #3: starlab & train-the-trainer clearinghouse
You can read the full announcement in the blog post. Here’s the short version:
- STARLAB is an academy for people who want to be Safe Zone Trainers. We will be using the platform we created to launch our online courses this week to power this new initiative, which will be cohort-based, and facilitated by us. (Meg & Sam) — sign up here!
- The Train-the-Trainer Clearinghouse (cuter name in the works) is going to be a resource people who want to start Safe Zone programs, with a train-the-trainer curriculum, tools for planning & rollout, and more.