ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter - July 2020

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves together - follow at ORDEPTED on twitter
Image description: Bright, multi-color painted mural of two diferent hands coming together, with palms facing up.

ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter 

July 15, 2020 

Dearest colleagues, 

We hope this newsletter finds you taking good care of yourself, and one another. These past few months have reminded us of the need for: continued care and connection for everyone impacted by COVID-19; trauma-informed practices in school communities; celebration and solidarity with LGBTQ2SIA+ students and communities; and meaningful anti-racism efforts amid continued violence and anti-Blackness in Oregon communities and nationally. Sexuality education lives at the intersections of all of these priorities and offers unique opportunities to better support all Oregon students, families, and communities. 

In this newsletter, we are happy to share with you some of the newly released guidance, resources, and opportunities for training by the Oregon Department of Education, as well as other offerings by statewide and national colleagues that may be of interest to you. 


ODE 2020-21 School Year Guidance

In response to the changes that COVID-19 has caused in our workplaces, lives, and schools, ODE has published the Ready Schools, Safe Learners back-to-school guidance for the 2020-21 school year. In conjunction, ODE has also released its Comprehensive Distance Learning Guidance to support school districts to redouble down on efforts to provide high quality instruction, acknowledging the challenges that we collectively face. This guidance will be updated throughout the summer in response to the changing context of COVID-19 and the directives from the Governor’s office. 

ODE Erin’s Law Toolkit 

ODE understands that school districts and educators need additional support to provide sexuality education, especially in these times. In April, ODE released the Comprehensive Distance Learning: Erin's Law Toolkit for Districts. Included in this guidance are key tips for sex ed instruction during distance learning, webinars for both school staff and families during distance learning, and sexuality education lessons with both online and offline adaptations. This guidance has been updated to reflect plans for the 2020-21 school year. 

ODE K-12 Sexuality Education Teachers Guide

ODE has also released Sexuality Education Made Simple: A Teacher’s Guide for K-12 Health and Sexuality Education, a guide that accompanies our Oregon Teacher Training Institute (OTTI) professional development series, in order to better support teachers in K-12 comprehensive sexuality education implementation in Oregon. 

ODE LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan

At the end of June, the Oregon Department of Education released the LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan, a framework for creating safe, inclusive and welcoming schools for LGBTQ2SIA+ students. This plan is offered with the expectation that Oregon educators will lead as advocates for LGBTQ2SIA+ students now and adapt as these needs and challenges change. 

Abstract paint pattern of rainbow vertical stripes

Supporting LGBTQ2SIA+ Students and Fostering Inclusive School Communities

One finding from the aforementioned ODE LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan is the need for identity-based groups to build connection and resilience in Oregon schools. 

Gender & Sexuality Alliance or Queer Sexuality Alliance (GSA/QSA) groups and other clubs based on students’ cultural, racial, or ethnic identity (affinity groups such as Latinx Club, Black Student Union, etc.) are vital resources for establishing community, belonging, and connectedness within a safe and supportive school community for many LGBTQ2SIA+ students and students of color in Oregon. Efforts to cultivate more inclusive environments also need to center on teacher experiences, so we can ensure healthy, affirming school communities for all LGBTQ2SIA+ people. 

During this time of physical distancing and reopening planning for the 2020-21 school year, we encourage communities to consider alternate ways to connect LGBTQ2SIA+ students with GSAs and community resources listed below: 

  • For schools who don’t yet have a GSA offering, Gender Spectrum has organized pre-teen and teen virtual groups for LGBTQ2SIA+ students, as well as groups for families and facilitators. Watch this webinar recording for tips for creating safe online spaces, based on their experiences facilitating online groups for youth. 
  • For schools interested in starting a student GSA, resources can be found on GLSEN for planning for next year. 
  • To see and hear students explain in their own words why their Elementary school GSA is so important and why “Words Matter,” watch this video, made by the Randall Elementary School GSA in Madison, Wisconsin. 

LGBTQ2SIA+ Resources for Students 

  • SMYRC virtual drop-in groups for LGBTQIA2S+ youth (via social media platforms @smyrcpdx
  • Trevor Space (affirming community for LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-24) 
  • Q Chat Space (facilitated live online discussions for LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-19) 
  • Gender Spectrum LGBTQ+ virtual groups (audio/video/chat-based groups for pre-teen [age 10-12] and teen LGBTQ+ students) 
  • LYFE (group for QTPOC 16-25; hosted by GLSEN National Student Council member) 

LGBTQ2SIA+ Resources for Families & Caregivers 

  • The Lounge by Gender Spectrum (online community for teens, families, and professionals; anonymous forum structure) 
  • Gender Spectrum LGBTQ+ virtual groups (audio/video/chat-based groups for caregivers, Spanish-speaking caregivers, grandparents, facilitators, and more)

LGBTQ+ Funding Opportunity

  • Mini-grant opportunity for LGBTQ+ supportive projects during COVID-19 by Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide, in partnership with the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs, and with funding from the Oregon Health Authority. Learn more and apply here. Applications due 8/7 at 5:00pm. Contact kbifulco@aocmhp.org with any questions. 

LGBTQ2SIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/non-binary, Queer/Questioning, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Asexual, + (recognizes that there are myriad ways to describe gender identities).

Health & Sex Ed News & Resources

Teaching inclusive sexuality education is a critical piece in our equity work. While we know the Oregon Human Sexuality Education OAR 581-022-2050 requires the use of “inclusive materials, language, and strategies that recognizes different sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expression” that must also be “culturally inclusive,” this work cannot happen overnight. ODE is committed to supporting school districts to provide sexuality education that allows all students to feel safe, seen, and valued. 

Please see below some sexuality and health education news and resources, rooted in equity: 

Oregon Healthy Schools requests your input

As we prepare for school in the fall, health and safety concerns are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Oregon Healthy Schools, a collaboration between the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority, is planning to create a series of short videos to address practical tips on how to stay safe and healthy. Your help is needed to prioritize topic areas.  

Please complete the Oregon Healthy Schools Video Development Survey which should take no more than three minutes of your time.  The survey will provide valuable information as we move forward with this project.  This is a quick turn-around and the survey will close Tuesday, July 21st, at 5:00 pm. 

Upcoming Training Opportunities for Educators

We need your input! Oregon Teacher Training Institute (OTTI)

We are currently adapting and developing virtual sessions of our OTTI sexuality education training series for the 2020-21 school year. Interested in attending an upcoming virtual training? We’d love to hear more from educators, admin, and other school staff about what your needs and capacity looks like in the 2020-21 school year! Please fill out this 3-minute interest gauging form to make your voice heard

Online Trainings/Webinars/Resources for Distance Learning Instruction 

Online Trainings/Webinars for Sexuality Education Professional Development 

Note: Unless hosted or facilitated by The Oregon Department of Education (ODE), these training opportunities have not been endorsed or recommended by ODE, but are being shared as relevant and high quality opportunities for sexuality education professionals. 

Questions? Connections? Please reach out to us: 

Sasha Grenier, MPH, CHES (she/her/hers) 
Sexuality Education and School Health Specialist
Oregon Department of Education | Office of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
sasha.grenier@state.or.us | www.oregon.gov/ode 

Angie Foster-Lawson, MEd (she/her/hers) 
Sexuality Education Analyst 
Oregon Department of Education | Office of Teaching, Learning, & Assessment 
angie.foster-lawson@state.or.us | www.oregon.gov/ode