She keeps it "real" and "relevant" by providing opportunities to practice what they learn through authentic scenarios that are true to teen-world.
Shafia Zaloom is not only a gold star sex-positive educator, she is also a gold star teen-positive educator. She teaches about consent in a way that assumes good intent, develops trust, and promotes respect - all the key components to meaningful conversation about difficult topics, and all the qualities we hope to instill in our children. Shafia helps teens evaluate, create, and articulate their values, and teaches them how to use their values and keen intuition as a guide in navigating healthy (and unhealthy) relationships. She keeps it "real" and "relevant" by providing opportunities to practice what they learn through authentic scenarios that are true to teen-world. Her ability to lay a foundation and provide a safe environment to practice the application of decision making allows students to be "ready" (and know when they are "ready") for more complicated social interactions. Shafia models what she expects from her students, and in return, she is teaching teens all over the country how to be good citizens, good friends, good partners, and how to develop healthy relationships.
- Amy Killy, High School Counselor, Georgetown Day School, Washington D.C.
“She commands a room with a deep understanding of the real issues teens are facing.”
The first time I met with Shafia, I was riveted by her vast intellectual and emotional intelligence about the world our teens navigate; namely, drugs, sex, and social media. When you combine her expertise with her genuine drive and passion to educate, she is unstoppable. She commands a room with a deep understanding of the real issues teens are facing. Her ability to reach and teach teens with honesty, mutual-respect and trust stems largely from how well she is listening…listening to them, listening to the culture speaking to them. We knew she was the best person to write our Curriculum Guide for teaching the topic of sexual consent, to accompany our award-winning film The Hunting Ground, and did she ever deliver! The guide is being used in high schools and universities across the country. Ideally we could insert her into every classroom in America, but short of that, her 81-page guide is an amazing resource for teachers and faculty.
— Annie Roney, founder & ceo, ro*co films
“She creates by having students create.”
Shafia is a natural when it comes to teaching, and her work in the classroom (and I've seen a number of her classes) is outstanding. She manages beautifully, allowing for a very lively and yet controlled student voice; she creates by having students create; she answers questions with more questions; and she enjoys every minute of her engagement with the young.
— Bodie Brizendine, Head of School, The Spence School, N.Y.
“She challenges teens to think deeply about their values and apply them to scenarios that occur in their lives.”
Shafia’s excellence lies in her ability to create a hip and safe space for teens to discuss sexuality and real life decisions while also maintaining clear boundaries as the adult in the room. She challenges teens to think deeply about their values and apply them to scenarios that occur in their lives. Her combination of straight talk and challenging questions prepares students for life in high school and beyond.
— Charlotte Worsley, Dean of Students at The Urban School, San Francisco, CA
"Shafia understands the process of building community that is essential to every good school..."
Shafia understands the process of building community that is essential to every good school, in fact, she embodies that process. She makes her classroom a safe and non-judgmental environment in which students can respectfully explore some of the more difficult issues of adolescence - issues like sex, sexuality, drugs & alcohol, relationships (home and friends), racism, romance, gender and class. It is wonderful to sit in her classes and watch students genuinely wrestle with the topics and one another as they seek to clarify their relationship to the issue at hand.
-Michael Riera, Head of Brentwood School, Los Angeles, CA
"Shafia’s deep commitment to equity, social justice and creating inspired opportunities for youth make her the ideal trustee."
Shafia has played many roles at Aim High over the past eighteen years: Teacher, Campus Director, Curriculum Consultant, Strategic Advisor, Trustee and current Board President. To say she has made us better would be a huge understatement. She is thoughtful, gracious, wise and respectful. She is a trusted advisor to senior staff and fellow trustees. Shafia’s deep commitment to equity, social justice and creating inspired opportunities for youth make her the ideal trustee.
-Alec Lee, Executive Director of Aim High, San Francisco, CA
"With exceptional care, Shafia studies a school's culture to ensure her program meets the needs of those particular students and teachers."
I have had the privilege to know and work with Shafia Zaloom for over 15 years -- observing her lead Cate School's Education and Student Life Committee working to connect trustees with the lives of students and teachers. Most recently, Shafia was invited to create a safe space for graduating seniors to meet with her to prepare for the many personal challenges of living on today's college campus. With exceptional care, Shafia studies a school's culture to ensure her program meets the needs of those particular students and teachers. She is an expert. However, what is most important is how readily she connects with her audience and how deeply engaged all become in the process.
-Meg Bradley, Head of Santa Catalina School, Carmel, CA
"Shafia is an ardent advocate for education, student safety, and cyber etiquette."
Shafia is a stand-out educator and advocate for all students and youth. Her work as a board member in the non-profit sector benefits and improves the lives of countless inner-city students. Outside of her role with Aim High Academic Summer Program, Shafia is an ardent advocate for education, student safety, and cyber etiquette. She is a model citizen in a time when our students need more guidance than ever about how to navigate a globalized economy and world.
-Danny Chui, Vice Principal of Westmoor High School, Daly City, CA
"She is an invaluable sounding board for anyone who works with at-risk youth."
Shafia is a guiding light for teachers and administrators in and out of the classroom. She has an extensive knowledge of and comprehensive expertise in providing support and resources for teachers and students regarding social-emotional health, sexuality, gender, race, and other complicated areas of personal development and identity that need to be processed in a safe environment. She is an invaluable sounding board for anyone who works with at-risk youth. Her sincerity, sound coaching practices and honest passion for education and youth development truly set her apart. Over the years, Shafia has helped me to step outside of myself and truly meet my students where they are.
-Helana Corda, 6th Grade Teacher, James Lick Middle School, SFUSD Teacher of the Year
"She knows how to create safe and challenging spaces for engagement in difficult topics and conversations."
I have worked with with Shafia as a trusted colleague in multiple capacities: diversity practitioner, program director, classroom teacher, adult educator and counselor. She has a rare skill set of content and intellectual expertise as well as the emotional intelligence to meet people - students, families, and teachers - where they are in their educational journey. A constructivist listener and designer she knows how to create safe and challenging spaces for engagement in difficult topics and conversations. Most notably, she operates from a place of integrity, belief in social justice and equity, and genuinely cares about the people, both young and old, who she provides for and serves.
-Ken Garcia-Gonzales, Coordinator of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL
"I am grateful for her affirmative voice, and for her promotion of clear communication, self-acceptance, and social justice for teens.
Shafia Zaloom is a powerful advocate and ally of The Body Positive, whose mission is to build a world in which young people are liberated from self-hatred, value their beauty and identity, and use their energy and intellect to make positive changes in their communities. Discussions about sexuality and consent are fundamental to healthy relationships and positive body image. Shafia is a leading educator offering positive and practical guidance for these essential conversations. I am grateful for her affirmative voice, and for her promotion of clear communication, self-acceptance, and social justice for teens.
-Elizabeth Scott, Psychotherapist, Consultant, and Co-Founder of The Body Positive, San Rafael, CA