A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York

Research & Innovation Grants

A Sense of Belonging: Assessing and Building Upon School Supports for LGBTQ+ population at RCDS (2022-23)

A Sense of Belonging: Assessing and Building Upon School Supports for LGBTQ+ population at RCDS (2022-23)

In this project, we will use both qualitative and quantitative approaches to gain a better understanding of the experiences (positive and/or negative) of queer and trans students on campus, as well as the knowledge and comfort of employees in interacting with this community. As societal understandings of the gender spectrum shift, we are likely to see more and more trans and queer youth coming out at younger ages. In order to support this population, we must first examine how our school’s culture and practices around gender and sexuality impact students, knowing that a supportive environment is linked with higher GPAs, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression for trans and queer youth (GLSEN, 2018).
We intend to gather this information by crafting several surveys to engage various constituencies. The employee survey will focus on factors such as readiness to support queer and trans students, comfort with addressing homophobia and transphobia, and navigating family dynamics with a queer/trans child. The student survey will ask about factors such as sense of belonging, policies around physical spaces, pronoun use, name shifts, visibility in the classroom and beyond, and curriculum exposure. The student survey will be offered to all US students. The Alumni survey will ask about similar things, knowing that reflections shift with some distance from the institution. All surveys will be optional but encouraged, and will include an opportunity to join a focus group to continue the conversation about their experiences on campus.


Rebecca Drago
Director of Public Purpose



Rachel Levey
Upper School Psychologist