ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter -- July 2021

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter -- July 2021

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ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter 

July 6, 2021 

Dearest colleagues, 

We hope that you’ve been able to stay cool over the past few weeks! Unless you’re lucky enough to live on the beautiful Oregon coast, these last few weeks must have certainly been warm for you. Along with the warmer temperatures, we also hope that the summer is bringing you some time for rejuvenation.

In this July newsletter, we are beginning a new content section, the “Sex Ed Spotlight”, where will focus on one angle of sexuality education every month for our collective learning and reflection. If you have any topics you’d like us to explore together, please email us at ode.sexed@state.or.us

In this newsletter, we will share with you some announcements, research, resources, and opportunities for training by ODE, as well as other offerings by statewide and national colleagues that may be of interest to you. 

ODE Sexuality Education Updates

Red woven heart coming together over crack on wall

*New* Sex Ed Spotlight, a feature by ODE staff and partners

Sex ed can help students cope & heal 

As many students return to school buildings over the Summer and in Fall, we wanted to emphasize the importance of teaching health and sexuality education-- now, more than ever. Health & sexuality education creates a special place for young people to reflect on and honor their own identities, boundaries, and needs (and those of others). This is essential for students as they heal and reconnect with each other and their school communities.

Students will be coming back while still navigating through a whirlpool of many real and profound challenges. Many will be experiencing loss, grief, and a sense of constant fear that will follow them into the classroom. Some of these students will have confronted the death of loved ones due to COVID and, since many students will still be unvaccinated, are now feeling afraid of becoming sick or spreading illness to vulnerable family members. Some will be experiencing the effects of increased racial vitriol in the national sociopolitical landscape, mirrored in our own local communities, and will feel unsafe, targeted, and/or isolated at school for their racial and/or ethnic identities.

How can sex ed help? Sexuality education, when done right, recognizes the actual, lived experiences of students and supports them with body literacy and healthy relationships skills. It helps students understand and practice skills related to boundary setting and communication, building up relevant skills that support students to say things like, “I’d rather not hug, thanks!” or “Since we’re outside without masks on, I’d still like to keep a physical distance”.  It also will give young people the skills to make, renew, and maintain friendships and relationships after a year when many felt disconnected from each other.

Students will now have more questions than ever. Whether it’s about disease prevention (including COVID), relationships, or about puberty-- students may have been many months without the opportunity to ask questions or to be affirmed in their natural and normal experiences. Now, more than ever, students will need skilled health & sexuality educators to support them.

Similarly, sexuality education helps young people in a school community understand and practice empathy with others that look, live, and/or love differently than they or their families do. In these times when students with marginalized identities are feeling more and more vulnerable, it’s essential that we teach and model inclusivity and respect for all. As students come back to school after an intense year that was all-too-often drenched in divisive messages, it’s essential that we give students space to reconnect and heal at their own pace and at their own direction. Health & sexuality education can support us to meet this moment.

Image source: Photo by Ante Gudelj on Unsplash  

ODE Sex Ed Office Hours Thumbnail

ODE Sex Ed Office Hours: Planning for 2021-2022 Sex Ed Implementation

The sexuality education specialists at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) host regular office hours in order to better support districts in implementing K-12 comprehensive sexuality education.

The topic for July is Planning for 21/22 Sex Ed Implementation. We will cover topics such as: developing a plan of instruction, selecting curriculum, and more. Join us on Wednesday July 28, 3:30-4:30pm PDT. Register today!

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. 

Upcoming Events, Training & Conference Opportunities

All trainings are listed in Pacific Time zone unless otherwise noted.

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

Grants, Job Openings, and Youth Opportunities


My Future-My Choice Logo

My Future My Choice is seeking Teen Advisory Board applicants

The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) is a statewide leadership opportunity for teens wanting to develop leadership skills and act as the youth voice of the program. TAB members work with a local mentor to carry out a leadership project over the school year as well as provide program feedback. Check out their flyer and application process here!

Become an Amaze Youth Ambassador

Virtual information sessions for the Amaze Youth Ambassador Program will be held on July 13 and July 14. Sign up here

Join Oregon’s VISTA Team to build healthy communities and your career

Positions are now open for the August 2021 cohort in the Oregon Health Authority AmeriCorps VISTA Partnership Project. Learn more here.

Join the COVID19 Student Corps

The federal government just launched the COVID19 Student Corps, a program within COVID19 Community Corps specifically focused on students.

As a member of Student Corps, you’ll get resources to help you build vaccine confidence in your community. Sign up here and note that you are a student in the drop down to receive student-specific communications.

Job Opening: Center for Gender Equity Director

The Director for CGE provides coordination and administration for an array of activities and programming that implements retention strategies, develops and grows programs, identifies objectives and strategies, and ensures the success and support of the well-being of marginalized student populations.Online application can be found here.

Job Opening: Transgender Training Institute Educator

The Transgender Training Institute (TTI) is a small, trans-owned company that provides training and consulting services by transgender and non-binary educators for a wide range of clients and learners around the United States. TTI is currently seeking to hire 2-3 additional educators for our Training Team, to start in September 2021. Find more information on this website.

Job Opening: Shelter Support Advocate

Helping Hands Oregon is hiring a Shelter Support Advocate. Helping Hands Oregon is a non-profit which serves sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and their children through shelter, advocacy and education.

Job Opening: Education and Training Coordinator

Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW) is hiring for a Full-time Education & Training Coordinator is responsible for supporting the training and skill-building of grant-partner staff to be equipped to effectively deliver youth sexual health programming.

Online application can be found here. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.  The position is open until filled.


Listserv Submission Process

We welcome your submissions to ODE's Sexuality Education ListServ! If you have announcements, job postings, or general questions for your colleagues, you can submit them to ode.sexed@state.or.us

In an effort to streamline Listserv messages, we are now planning to send out ListServ messages once a month, during the first week of the month. To accommodate this change and to ensure that we can equitably share announcements from everyone, we're now asking that you submit your Listserv posts no later than the 25th of each month. 


Questions? Connections?

Please reach out to us at ode.sexed@state.or.us.