Sexual Health Education
Districts that choose to offer sexual health education must comply with the Healthy Youth Act, which is based on the legislature’s finding “that young people should have the knowledge and skills necessary to build healthy relationships, and to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection.” The law defines comprehensive sexual health education that is age-appropriate, medically accurate and evidence-informed.
- Advocates for Youth – sex education resource center, fact sheets, tools, data on evidence-informed and exemplary sexual health education, school health equity, and training.
- Answer – Sex Ed, Honestly, Rutgers University– website for professionals, teens and parents; training (online and in-person), lesson plans, publications, Sex, etc. magazine and website for teens.
- “The Case for Condom Education,” ACT for Youth Center of Excellence (2016).
- The Center for Sex Education – sponsors a national professional conference and develops resources.
- Exemplary Sexual Health Education (ESHE) – Rationale and definitions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Future of Sex Education (FoSE) – national initiative providing resources to support sexuality education, including National Sexuality Education Standards and teacher preparation standards.
- Healthy Teen Network – resources for school-based sexual health education, including tip sheets, tool kits, professional development and other resources.
- Let’s Talk: Teens, Sexuality & Media (College of Education - University of Washington) – media literacy resources for educators and parents.
- Peer Education Institute – resources and support for the development of sexual health peer education groups.
- ReCAPP (Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention) – evidenced-based resources, tools, research summaries on sexuality education programs.
- Sex and HIV Education Programs for Youth: Their Impact and Important Characteristics (PDF) – 2006 report summarizing research on effective sexuality education.
- Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) – resources, tools and policy information on sexuality education.
- WISE (Working to Institutionalize Sex Education) – national initiative providing resources and a tool kit to support schools in implementing sexuality education.
Health/Sexual Health Education Standards
Instructional Materials, Reviews, Scope and Sequence
- 2015-17 Reviewed SHE Instructional Materials List – a list of sexual health instructional materials reviewed by OSPI and DOH in 2015 and 2017, and found to be consistent with WA State requirements for school-based instruction (Healthy Youth Act and AIDS Omnibus Act).
- HIV and Sexual Health Education Resources (OSPI) – guidelines and recommendations for curricula and supplemental materials (e.g. DVDs, websites) for teaching HIV prevention and sexual health education in WA schools.
- Instructional Materials Reviews and Supports – tools for assessing curricula for use in WA schools, curriculum review reports.
- Sexual Health Education - Non-fiction Texts – elementary and secondary book list aligned with WA sexual health education Student Learning Outcomes (see Health and Physical Education K-12 Standards).
- Developing a Scope and Sequence for Sexual Health Education from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Health and Physical Education Booklist, District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Annotated list, K-12, aligned with DC Health Standards, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, includes sexual health titles.
- School-Based Sexual Health Education Guidance Tool, ETR – curriculum planning tool offering a step-by-step process for implementing an effective curriculum.
- Advocates for Youth – free online K-12 Sexual Health Education curriculum (Rights, Respect, Responsibility), aligned with National Sexuality Education Standards.
- Public Health Seattle & King County – free sexual health education curriculum for teachers in King County, WA (FLASH), aligned with National Health Standards and National Sexuality Education Standards. Available for purchase by schools outside King County.
- Teaching Tolerance – lesson plans and other resources to promote diversity, equity and justice in the classroom. Includes K-12 lesson plans on a variety of sexual health topics: family, gender equity, gender expression, school climate, sexual orientation; and a tool for selecting diverse texts (“Reading Diversity”).
Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Programs
Population-specific Education (also see resources below on “Support for LGBTQ Students”)
- “Exemplary Sexual Health Education in Alternative Schools,” Fact sheet from Advocates for Youth.
- "Families Talking Together," a brief parent-based intervention to prevent/reduce adolescent sexual risk behaviors, is available from the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health and National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
- FLASH, Special Education edition for self-contained classes, ages 11-21. Public Health – Seattle & King Co. Free download.
- Healthy Native Youth – health promotion materials, including sexual health curricula for American Indian and Alaska Native youth.
- LiFT (Linking Families & Teens), sex education/prevention program for rural families from Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest and Hawaiian Islands.
“Respecting the Circle of Life,” a research program from the Johns Hopkins
University Center for Native American Indian Health, teaches comprehensive sex
education for teens ages 13-19 in the tribal community.
- "Sexual Health Education for Young People with Disabilities," resources from Advocates for Youth, one version for educators and one for parents and guardians.
- Teen Talk Adapted for All Abilities curriculum from Health Connected. Aligned with CA state requirements for grades 7-12, but applicable for WA State.
WeRNative – Includes relationship/dating and sexual health information for
Native American Youth.
Washington state law requires annual HIV/AIDS Prevention Education beginning no later than grade 5 (AIDS Omnibus Act).
- Advocates for Youth – fact sheets and resources, including sponsorship of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day
- AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families – education, training, advocacy, resources.
- AIDSinfo (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) – education materials and information primarily related to medical treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS
- AIDSvu.org – interactive maps with local/state data on HIV and AIDS, links to testing sites and resources.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – resources, data, policy reports, training, research
- HIV.gov (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) – resources on prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, including “Tools to Promote Gender Responsiveness in HIV Prevention Programs for Women and Girls”
- What Works in Youth HIV (DHHS Office of Adolescent Health) – data and resources related to sexual health and HIV information/education.
- 2011 Guidelines for Implementation of School Employee Training on HIV/AIDS and Other Bloodborne Pathogens
- 30 Years of AIDS Moments to Remember: A Slideshow from CNN.com
Research shows that positive communication between parents and their children can help young people establish individual values and make healthy decisions. A major study showed that adolescents who reported feeling connected to parents and their family were more likely than other teens to delay initiating sexual intercourse. Confident, loving parent-child communication leads to improved contraceptive and condom use, improved communication about sex, and fewer sexual risk behaviors among adolescents. (from “Parent-Child Communication: Promoting Sexually Healthy Youth,” Advocates for Youth)
- Advocates for Youth – communication tips, fact sheets and articles
- AMAZE – videos for parents and youth
Girls Inc. – tips for parent-child communication and other resources to support girls.
- Healthy Teen Network – tips for parent-child communication on pornography and other topics.
- Hey, What Do I Say? A Parent to Parent Guide on How to Talk to Children About Sexuality,” (Planned Parenthood of NY City), in English and Spanish.
- I Wanna Know! (American Sexual Health Association) – “Be an Askable Parent” resources
- Let’s Talk: Teens, Sexuality & Media (College of Education - University of Washington) – media literacy resources for educators and parents
- Let's Talk Month
– a national public education campaign held each October to encourage parent/child communication about sexual health.
- National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy - fact sheets, data and videos on communication, including some resources in Spanish.
- No Mas – resources for parents (“Start Talking: About Healthy Communication; About Healthy Relationships; About Healthy Sexuality”), in English and Spanish
- PFLAG – support, publications and toolkits for families and friends of LGBTQ youth
- Planned Parenthood – fact sheets and communication tips
- Possibilities for Change – book, tips and videos on communication
- Sex-Positive Families – blog, tip sheets, resources for talking to kids about sexuality, consent, healthy relationships, including a reading list for parents and children.
- Stop Sexual Assault in Schools – resources and video for parents, students and community organizations (“Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School”)
- Talk With Your Kids – resources for parents to encourage healthy relationships and sexual health. In English and Spanish. A project of Essential Access Health.
- “Talking About Consent and Healthy Relationships at Every Age,” (Planned Parenthood), in English and Spanish.
- "The Talk: How Adults Can Promote Young People's Healthy Relationships and Prevent Misogyny and Sexual Harassment," Making Caring Common Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
- Why Sex Ed? A website and toolkit (“A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex Education in Your School”) for parents who are interested in improving their communication with their children and in improving school-based sexual health education, sponsored by Future of Sex Education (FoSE).
Safe and Supportive Schools
Safe and Supportive Schools - All students deserve to learn about all subjects in settings that are safe and supportive, free from sexual violence, bullying and harassment. Providing a safe learning climate is especially important when teaching sexual health education.
Dating Violence/Sexual Assault Prevention
- "100 Conversations: Promoting Respect, Consent, and Healthy Relationships both On- and Off-line," from The Power of Prevention.
- Child Abuse
Reporting Poster in English and
Spanish, from the
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Washington.
Coaching Boys Into Men – evidence-based program that trains and motivates high school coaches to teach young male athletes health relationship skills.
- Date Safe Project provides
resources for parents, schools and colleges on consent education and sexual
- Dating Matters, free, online course from the CDC, available to secondary educators, school personnel, youth mentors, and others dedicated to improving teen health and reducing teen dating violence. Follow a school administrator throughout his day as he highlights what teen dating violence is and how to prevent it through graphic novel scenarios, interactive exercises, and information gathered from leading experts.
- Futures Without Violence – resources to prevent teen dating violence, sex trafficking and sexual assault; includes resources for high school coaches and athletic directors, professional development events, toolkits and more.
- In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence – classroom training kit to
support discussions about dating violence and healthy relationships in one class
period. From WA State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
- King County Sexual Assault Resource Center – offers resources for parents
and teachers on prevention, consent, reporting, services, etc. A pocket “Consent
Card” for teens includes WA laws related to sexual assault/consent.
- National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments provides resources on how to create and maintain positive school climate, including a "Safe Place to Learn" resource package, focused on eliminating peer-to-peer sexual harassment and violence.
- Promundo Manhood 2.0– curriculum for adolescent boys and young men ages 15-24.
- School Safety Center, OSPI – resources on sexual violence prevention, internet safety, sex trafficking, etc.
- Sexual and Domestic Violence, WA Dept. of Health – resources on sexual violence prevention, including the Rape Prevention Education Program, which supports education in schools.
- StopBullying.gov – anti-bullying resources for schools and parents from the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services.
- That’s Not Cool.com –
resources for youth and adults to decrease teen dating violence, including a
mobile app, “Respect Effect.”
Support for LGBTQ Students
- “Best Practices: Creating an LGBT-Inclusive School Climate” and other school climate resources (Teaching Tolerance)
- Center for Sex Education provides
resources for educators on teaching about sexual orientation and identity.
- “Furthering the Adaptation and Implementation of LGBTQ-Inclusive Sexuality” Education, from Trust for America's Health, includes summaries of research and data, as well as concrete ideas for providing inclusive education.
- Gender Identity and Expression in Schools – guidance on laws and policies for WA State schools, students and families (OSPI Equity and Civil Rights)
- Gender Inclusive Schools Tool Kit (Gender Spectrum)
- Gender, Sexuality, and Inclusive Sex Education - tip sheet and other resources (Healthy Teen Network)
- LGBT Youth resources
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Resolution on the Recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Individuals as a Protected Class National PTA resolution encourages states "to incorporate standards regarding age-appropriate, medically accurate and culturally sensitive information on LGBTQ issues into existing health and other appropriate curricula."
- Safe Schools Coalition provides speakers, trainers, resources and intervention services in support of LGBTQ students in WA
- "Safe Space Kit: Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students," and other resources, GLSEN.
- School Safety Center, OSPI – resources to support LGBTQ students.
- School Safety and Educational Opportunity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students" American Federation of Teachers resolution recognizing higher rates of violence and hostile school environments among this population of students
- "Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools," NEA, ACLU, HRC, NCLR and Gender Spectrum.
- Teaching Transgender Toolkit, a facilitator's guide to increasing knowledge, decreasing prejudice, and building skills. From ETR, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, and Out for Health.
- TransActive Gender Center - based in Portland, provides resources and training to schools and other organizations in order to meet the needs of gender diverse youth and families.
- Transgender Students in Schools: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Public School Boards and Staff, 2016, National School Boards Association (NSBA).
- Welcoming Schools, professional development program that promotes respectful and supportive elementary schools by providing training and resources.
- Youth in Motion provides free films and lesson plans for educators and GSAs to
support safe schools for LGBTQ students and allies.
Sexual Health Services
Helping students change risk behaviors requires providing information, skills, motivation and access to services. Youth in Washington have the right to confidential, youth-friendly sexual health services in the school or community setting.
- Addressing Sexual Health in Schools: Policy Considerations, from Advocates for Youth, addresses sexual health education and access to sexual health services.
- American Public Health Association's Center for School, Health and Education provides resources for and about school-based health centers
- “Developing a Referral System
for Sexual Health Services: An Implementation Kit for Education Agencies”
Organizational Partnerships to Increase Student Access to Sexual Health
Services: A Resource Guide for Education Agencies.” CAI and National
Coalition of STD Directors.
- Keys to Youth-Friendly Services: Adopting a Sex Positive Approach, International Planned Parenthood Federation.
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – data, resources and recommendations for schools and parents.
- National Coalition of STD Directors - resources for education agencies to increase student access to sexual health services.
- Providing Health Care to Minors under Washington Law: A summary of health care services that can be provided to minors without parental consent,” Columbia Legal Services.
- School-Based Health Alliance – resources and training to support school-based health care
- Sex Etc. , website, magazine and other resources, written by teens, for teens, sponsored by Answer and Rutgers University.
- Youth-Friendly Services Assessment Tool and Guide, and other resources, Healthy Teen Network.
- What Helps in Providing Contraceptive Services for Teens, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.