Volunteers needed for middle school sexual health advisory group
Feb. 22, 2021
The Battle Ground school district is seeking volunteers to serve on a committee that will evaluate and recommend sexual health curricula for the teaching of sexual health education in middle school (grades 5 through 8) to the district’s Board of Directors.
Last year, Washington voters passed Referendum 90, requiring the teaching of comprehensive sexual education in grades 4-12, and a social emotional focus in grades K-3. The law provides for flexibility in regards to when sexual health is first taught (either grade 4 or grade 5). Battle Ground Public Schools has decided to begin the lessons in grade 5, the grade level in which human growth and development is currently taught. Public schools must begin phasing in the lessons in the 2021-22 school year, and instruction must be consistent with the Washington Health Education Learning Standards. The law allows parents to opt out of sexual health instruction.
Specifically, the new law requires:
- School districts to teach Social Emotional Learning to students in grades K-3 (standards begin on page D-7) by 2022-2023. Social Emotional Learning provides skills to do things like cope with feelings, set goals, and get along with others. No sexual health content or curriculum is required in grades K-3, and will not be taught in Battle Ground schools.
- School districts to provide sexual health education one time in fourth or fifth grade (beginning in 2022-2023). Instruction must be consistent with Health Education K-12 Learning Standards for Sexual Health (standards for 5-8 begin on page 28).
- School districts to provide sexual health education at least twice in grades 6-8 by 2021-22. Instruction must be consistent with Health Education K-12 Learning Standards for Sexual Health (standards for 6-8 begin on page 31).
Districts are responsible for selecting or developing curricula and instructional materials that are medically and scientifically accurate; age appropriate; inclusive of all students, regardless of their protected class (Chapter 49.60 RCW); and consistent with the Washington State Health and Physical Education K–12 Learning Standards and the 2005 Guidelines for Sexual Health Information and Disease Prevention developed by the Washington State Department of Health and OSPI.
Battle Ground Public Schools will form the Sexual Health Community Advisory Group for grades 5-8. This committee of parents, staff and community members who live within the Battle Ground Public Schools boundaries will determine the scope and sequence of standards to be taught in grades 5-8 and select a curriculum to teach these standards. It is the district’s goal that this committee be representative of broad views on this issue to assure equity for and inclusion of all Battle Ground Public Schools students.
The committee will meet every Tuesday (4:30 to 6:00 pm) beginning on Tuesday, March 9 and concluding no earlier than Tuesday, May 18 (at least 10 meetings). The meetings will be held virtually via Zoom unless health restrictions are reduced to allow in-person meetings. Some on-site visits (probably no more than two) to review curriculum materials may be needed. This will happen at the District Office (11104 NE 149th Street). Times for this can vary (including some evening times) and will be available on a sign-up basis. All health protocols (including physical distancing and face coverings) will be followed. Committee members will be expected to attend all meetings and do some independent review of curricular materials.
Apply to participate
Parents and community members who would like to serve on the committee should complete the Sexual Health Community Advisory Group Survey by March 3. The survey information will be used to help select a committee so that a broad section of community views are represented. Committee norms will be developed, allowing members to express these views in a mutually respectful and productive way to meet committee timelines. The ability to consider the viewpoints of others will be an important qualification for this committee.