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ST LOUIS - Today, TIME named Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri’s (PPSLRSWMO) Education and Support Specialist, Willow Rosen (they/them), one of the Innovative Teachers — TIME’s first-ever list highlighting U.S. teachers who are improving their field or making a difference for their students in a unique way.

To compile this list, TIME reviewed hundreds of nominations from across the country — for teachers at public schools, public charters, private, and parochial schools — and selected the teachers who stood out for going above and beyond to improve the learning experience for kids who need it, or solve a problem facing schools today. Willow’s work is breaking ground outside of traditional educational institutions that have historically excluded Planned Parenthood’s innovative curricula in the state of Missouri. 

This curriculum, which focuses on transgender and non-binary individuals is part of a partnership between the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG), and PPSLRSWMO to bring gender-affirming care, no matter a person’s insurance status or ability to pay. The TRANSforming Community TRANSforming Care (TC2) program is a first-of-its-kind program in Missouri. 

Statement from Yamelsie Rodríguez, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri

“I’m extremely proud of Willow and their team for the work they’re doing to bring accurate, inclusive information to the community. At a time when too many politicians - including those in Missouri - are pushing discriminatory policies against LGBTQIA+ people, it is vitally important that we lift up populations often pushed to the margins. Every person deserves access and resources —  sex education included.”

Statement from Willow Rosen, Education & Support Specialist, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri

“The majority of the TC2 team members identify as gender-expansive, which helps us to live our mission —  ‘nothing about us without us’. We are proud to represent our diverse identities in the communities we serve.   Our program works to heal some of the wide-reaching disservice and stigma related to sex education. Our education prides itself on honesty, evidence-informed or evidence-based practices, and the TC2 curricula, a program centering on gender-expansive humans. Being recognized by TIME is an honor and important step to recognizing  gender expansive folks in educational systems.”

Read more here: www.time.com/innovative-teachers.