ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter -- October 2021

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter -- October 2021

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ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter 

October 8 2021 

Dearest colleagues, 

This newsletter is being sent with warm and heartfelt thoughts to all school districts during another Fall season serving students. We have been centering care and connection by encouraging time for honest check-ins about how things are going, practicing active listening, and engaging in more 1:1 connections with one another. Another way to do this is to support positive identity development and mental health in the classroom, using identity-specific displays of support. How we care for each other-- all students, all families, all identities-- is a wonderful marker of a healthy school community.

Hispanic Heritage Month is in full swing, and we have been celebrating by learning about 11 Hispanic people who had an impact on LGBTQ rights in America. How are you celebrating this month in your classrooms and buildings?

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. 

Header photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash, Newberg, OR

ODE Sexuality Education Updates

Three fat people smiling and taking a selfie on a rooftop

Sex Ed Spotlight: Uprooting Diet Culture and Fatphobia in Sexuality Education

Comprehensive sexuality education offers an opportunity for students to feel safe and affirmed in their bodies, for exactly who they are. However, for fat students, affirmation and safety can be interrupted by systemic discrimination due to fatphobia and diet culture. 

Studies have shown that:

  • Nearly half of 3- to 6-year old girls worry about being fat.
  • Girls as young as 5 have been taught to restrict eating. Kids as young as 3 describe their larger classmates with words like “mean,” “stupid” and “lazy.”

Children are not born believing that their worth is measured by their body size, but cultural messaging reinforces these notions at every turn. This happens through food and diet product advertising that link morality with weight-loss; perpetuated racist stereotypes; and persistent unrealistic body-image standards represented in media that kids consume. These cultural messages negatively impact connectedness, wellbeing, and belonging of students in the classroom. 

As educators and adults who students trust, we must raise our awareness of fatphobia and diet culture’s negative influence in order to adjust our language, instructional practices, and adapt our lessons and curricula to be more affirming. The children's book Bodies Are Cool reminds us how every single person has a good and cool body, all the way down to the body parts that make us unique and special, including: jiggly-wiggly fat bodies, fuzzy-lip-and-chin hair, blind and wearing-glasses eyes,  dark-skin-swirled-with-light-skin bodies, wrinkly fingers, flat or sticky-outy tummies, marks-that-tell-a-story scars, and more. These counter-messages are important to nourish positive self-worth and body acceptance for students. And we must think about systemic and school-wide culture changes, too.

Please review the inclusive practices listed below and this #DitchingDietCultureatSchool Digital Resource Library to learn how Health and Sexuality education materials and instruction can be adapted to better support fat students and reduce disordered eating, discrimination, and bullying based on weight and body size.

Inclusive Practices in Health & Sex Ed

Body Size

  • Normalize sexuality & identities of fat people (love, joy, relationships, respect, pleasure)
  • Interrupt messages of weight-based self-worth and bullying based on size (thin ⧣ good/healthy and fat ⧣ bad/unhealthy) 
  • Examine thin privilege & microaggressions about size 
  • Acknowledge lack of access for fat people (clothing, public transit seating, furniture design, towels, etc.) 
  • Include and celebrate diverse bodies through instructional materials, guest speakers, and videos 
  • Acknowledge harm & history of the BMI 
  • Encourage body acceptance for ALL bodies, while also addressing systemic harm 
  • Normalize hygiene practices of fat bodies (e.g. cleaning and moisturizing between folds of skin) 
  • Teach historic perspectives of medical racism, fatphobia, and fat resilience


  • Acknowledge and complicate moralistic food values (while honoring cultural differences) 
  • Examine adults’ relationship with food & dieting (intuitive eating model) 
  • Teach about harms of the “obesity” movement, disordered eating, and diet culture 
  • Connect food and eating with joy & pleasure 
  • Remove activities that promote weight loss or value appearance 
  • Encourage exercise for reasons like increased fun, mental health, pleasure, energy, and strength (not weight loss)  
  • Include & validate many dimensions of wellness beyond size/weight (e.g. occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and intellectual)

A feature by ODE staff and partners that shines a spotlight on one aspect of K-12 comprehensive sexuality education. If you have a topic request for a future Spotlight, let us know at ode.sexed@state.or.us

Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

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ODE Sex Ed Office Hours: Civil Rights, Title IX, and Sex Ed Connections

The sexuality education specialists at ODE host regular office hours in order to support districts in implementing K-12 comprehensive sexuality education. Our next topic is Civil Rights, Title IX, and Sex Ed Connections. We’ll discuss the important intersections between these topic areas, as well as opportunities to link and leverage these opportunities for student safety and inclusion. The event will be on October 26 from 3-4pm PST. Register here.


Menstrual Dignity for Students Program

Menstrual products on blue background

*New* Menstrual Dignity for Students: Oregon Administrative Rules

In their September meeting, the State Board of Education passed four temporary Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) that provide guidelines for local implementation of the Menstrual Dignity for Students Program. Short descriptions of each rule are included below.

OAR 581-021-0600  Menstrual Dignity for Students: Definitions

This rule provides for key definitions of the rule, including “bathroom”, “dispenser”, “products”, “public school building”, and “student bathroom”.

OAR 581-021-0603  Menstrual Dignity for Students: Requirements

This rule describes dispenser and product requirements, including technical  implementation components necessary for privacy, accessibility, and gender inclusivity.

OAR 581-021-0606  Menstrual Dignity for Students: Education

This rule explains the education requirements that accompany product access and center positive attitudes towards menstruation and health.

OAR 581-021-0609  Menstrual Dignity for Students: Reimbursement Program

This rule clarifies the statutory requirements for how districts, ESDs, and charter schools may receive funding from the Department for program implementation, describing eligible expenses and the process for reimbursement.

Menstrual Dignity for Students: Grants

We’re working on creating grants in the Electronic Grant Management System (EGMS) to provide funding for your implementation of the program. If you are an ESD or school district that plans to apply on behalf of other institutions as a consortium, please complete the Consortium Reimbursement Pre-survey by October 12, 2021. If we don’t hear from you, a grant will be created for your individual education institution in the amount listed in the furthest right column (column I) of funding calculator table and not in a consortium.

Menstrual Dignity for Students: Reimbursement Forms

Individual education institutions or consortia of institutions will be asked to fill out a reimbursement form in order to claim grant funds. This form will ask for your total spending in the categories of eligible expenses: menstrual products, dispensers, installation costs, and trash receptacles. Please stay tuned: this form will be distributed and published in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, for other information about the Menstrual Dignity for Students program, please visit the Menstrual Dignity For Students Program dropdown on Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) Sexuality Education Resources page.

Questions? Reach out to ode.menstrual-dignity@state.or.us. 

Spotlight photo by Natracare on Unsplash


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, heard, and valued.

Please see below for related news and resources that may be relevant as you consider how to implement K-12 comprehensive sexuality education.

News Stories


Sex Ed Data & Research

Health and sexuality education holds an important responsibility to reflect the lived experiences of students and staff in Oregon and in the United States. Below, please find some local and national research and data that tell the stories of young people, especially as it pertains to experiences within educational environments. 

Upcoming Events, Training & Conference Opportunities

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

ODE Hosted Events and Training Opportunities

Other Relevant Opportunities 

  • My Future- My Choice Fall Workshop Series
    • Sexual Decision Making, October 13, 3:30-5pm 
    • LGBTQ2S+ Identities, October 27, 3:30-5pm 
    • Emotional Intelligence & Sex Ed, November 10, 3:30-5pm 
    • Latinx Inclusive Sex Ed, December 1, 3:30-5pm
    • Sex Ed for Youth with Disabilities, December 15, 3:30-5pm 

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.

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Oregon Open Learning Institute

New Grant Opportunity! 6-12 Emergent Bilingual Student Focus

Are you an Oregon secondary teacher who has experience working with students who are emergent bilingual? The Oregon Open Learning team invites you to apply individually or as a part of a team to participate in a new grant opportunity for the 2021-22 school year focused on developing open educational resources (OER) to support students who are emergent bilingual. Grant award: $5000. More information and the grant application can be found on ODE’s OER Grant & Professional Learning Opportunities webpage.

Grants, Job Openings, and Youth Opportunities

Job Opening: LGBTQ2IA+ Success Coordinator (Operations & Policy Analyst 4)

The Oregon Department of Education is hiring a LGBTQ2IA+ Success Coordinator (Operations & Policy Analyst 4) to join our Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Oregon Department of Education. This position will support the implementation of the LGBTQ2IA+ Student Success Education Plan. This position will conduct research and analyses of best and promising practices for LGBTQ2IA+ youth and students; sharing findings with districts and schools. This position will identify ways to make systematic changes through grants to school districts, education service districts, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and Tribal governments. Apply by October 10 on Workday

Job Opening: Social Emotional Learning Specialist (Education Specialist 2)

The Oregon Department of Education is hiring a Social Emotional Learning Specialist (Education Specialist 2) who will provide technical assistance to school districts to support their implementation of comprehensive social and emotional learning and mental and behavioral health education, as required by state laws and instructional requirements. Apply by 10/24 on Workday.

Job Openings: Equity & Access Program Coordinator and Accounting Manager

The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (OCADSV) is hiring an Equity & Access Coordinator and an Accounting Manager. OCADSV is a feminist statewide nonprofit corporation comprised of 52 member programs. OCADSV believes that the root of all violence is oppression. Thus, engaging in anti-oppression work is prevention work. All positions at OCADSV are rooted in this theory. To apply for either position, submit a resume and cover letter to Jobs@ocadsv.org

Job Opening: Trainer/Instructional Designer

Healthy Teen Network seeks a part-time, remote trainer/instructional designer, for 20 hours a week, who has a passion for and strong commitment to our mission and guiding principles. The Trainer/Instructional Designer will design and facilitate in-person and virtual skills-based trainings for professionals working in the field of adolescent health. This position requires knowledge in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and best practices for instructional design. Apply online.

Job Opening: School-linked Mobile/Telehealth Program Coordinator (Program Analyst 3) 

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Public Health Division (PHD), Adolescent, Genetic and Reproductive Health (AGRH) section in Portland, OR is recruiting for a School-linked Mobile/Telehealth Program Coordinator, as part of the Adolescent & School Health Unit (ASH), to provide leadership and operational oversight of the School-linked Mobile and Telehealth Programs. This position will be responsible for the development and implementation of the school-linked mobile grants and telehealth pilot programs based on the 2021 legislatively passed House Bill 2591. Apply on Workday

Job Opening: Shelter Support Advocate and Volunteer Coordinator

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

Newsletter Submission Process

We welcome your submissions to ODE's Sexuality Education Newsletter and 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.

Did someone forward you this newsletter? Want to stay connected with sexuality education at the Oregon Department of Education? Visit our website or subscribe to the ODE Sexuality Education ListServ today!