Identity Safe Classrooms, Grades 6-12: Pathways to Belonging and Learning

In identity safe classrooms, students facing negative stereotypes or viewed as different are “seen,” accepted, and valued for who and what they are. Their identity is embraced as an asset not a barrier for school success. Identity safety is a research-based set of practices that counter the harmful effects of stereotype threat and allow our students to reach their full capacity for learning, foster positive relationships, and better appreciate the full spectrum of human differences.

Co-authored by Alexandrea Creer Khan, Alder’s Senior Director of Academic Programs, Identity Safe Classrooms, Grades 6-12, is a call for educators to come together and realize a vision of schools as transformative places of opportunity and equity for all students. Inside you’ll find:

  • Design principles for promoting belonging and a welcoming classroom environment
  • Compelling evidence from identity safety research on ways to mitigate stereotype threat along with counter-narratives that challenge societal biases about gender, race, and other differences
  • Pragmatic strategies for student-centered teaching, including trauma-informed practices, that hold high expectations and validate each student’s background as a resource for learning
  • Vignettes with concrete examples and try-it-out activities and prompts for self-reflection