Sexual Health Information

Sexual Health Information
Posted on 04/18/2023

We want to provide information for families about the sexual health units, primarily taught in our schools through our health and fitness classes starting at grade 4.  We value our partnerships with families and have some frequently asked questions and answers below around these important lessons.     

When do sexual health lessons start and what is included?

In Tahoma, sexual health starts in grade 4 with lessons about maturation. In the linked document we provide an overview of our lessons. Overview of Sexual Health Lessons at each grade level

What changes are there in the sexual health curriculum in Tahoma?     

We convened a team that worked over two years (from 2021-2023) in reviewing the state standards, identifying an articulated alignment of priority standards across the grade levels from grade 4 through high school, and reviewing new resources to support student learning. While we have taught sexual health lessons for the last 20 years in Tahoma most of our resources were 20 years old and needed to be updated. The review team included health and fitness teachers from all levels, district nurse coordinator, school counselor, special education representatives, and parents/community members. After two years of hard work the review team brought new resources for approval to the instructional materials committee and then the school board in January 2023.

When a curriculum review happens, is there opportunity for parent involvement?

In our curriculum review process, once the team has the top two resources identified, there is a community information meeting where the top two resources are shared.  Representatives from the review team provide an overview of the process and an overview of the top two curriculum materials being considered. Team members share their insights into the curriculum and pluses and minuses they see for each.  The materials will be made available to families for 1 month, with opportunity for community members to submit written comments on either or both curriculum.  Those comments go to the review team to factor into the review process.  Team members will recommend a curriculum that will then go to the Instructional Materials Committee for their review and recommendation to the school board.  There are approximately 12 community members on the Instructional Materials Committee.   

Can I see all the lessons and materials that will be used in instruction with our students?

Yes, we provide access to all the lesson materials and an overview of all the sexual health lessons to families at least one month prior to any of the lessons being taught. Our K-12 Health and Fitness coordinator and some of our teachers also host a family information meeting at each level (elementary, middle and high school) to provide an overview of the lessons and answer all parent questions. Information about those spring meetings are linked here. Families will find all the lesson materials provided for each level.

What is the opt-out process for parents to not have their student participate in the sexual health lessons?

At least one month prior to the sexual health lessons being taught, parents are invited to a parent information night where our teachers provide an overview of the lessons being taught and parents can look at the specific resources that will be used with students.  Parents then have the option to complete a form letting us know they would like to opt their child out of those lessons that year.  Students are provided with an alternate activity and location for the time the lesson is being taught in the teacher’s classroom. 

What is Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE) and what is the requirement from the state?

Comprehensive Sexual Health Education is defined in Senate Bill 5395 as recurring instruction in human development and reproduction that is medically accurate, age-appropriate and inclusive of all students. All public schools must provide comprehensive sexual health education to students by the 2022-23 school year. In Tahoma we have been providing sexual health lessons beginning at grade 4 for more than 20 years so we were well positioned to meet these requirements.

Is there information at the state level about the sexual health requirements?

Yes, families can go to the OSPI website and search for "sexual health" and find all the most current resources. Some helpful information can be found from the state level in their frequently asked questions document.
The OSPI website for Sexual Health Education may also be helpful.

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