ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter -- January 2022, Part 1

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter: January 2022, Part 1

Colorful hands

ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter 

January 11, 2022 

Dearest colleagues, 

Sex Ed Pathways Infographic from ODE Sex Ed Webpage

A new year brings a new look for Sexuality Education at ODE! We spent some of the longest winter days revitalizing our Sexuality Education website page into one that more easily organizes the many resources we have created to support K-12 comprehensive sexuality education implementation. Please let us know what you think about the website or this newsletter by filling out our survey

We often remind district leaders that sexuality education is one solution to violence prevention. To honor National Human Trafficking Prevention Month this January, trusted adults can start or continue conversations with the young people in our lives by sharing a short animated video such as this one from Amaze.org. Learn more about the intersection of sexuality education, violence prevention, and Oregon mandatory reporting laws by viewing the Child Abuse & Violence Prevention Resources dropdown within our newly revamped Sexuality Education website page.

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

Sex Ed News & Resources

Teaching inclusive sexuality education is a critical piece in our equity work and we know this work cannot happen overnight. ODE is committed to supporting school districts with implementing Oregon Human Sexuality Education (OAR 581-022-2050), which 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." Our collective goal is for 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


Ending Hair Discrimination Through the CROWN Act

Young girl with braids

The CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is a law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination, which is the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists or knots. The Oregon Legislature introduced HB 2935 in January 2021. Governor Brown signed the Act into law on June 2, 2021, making Oregon the 12th state in the Union to pass its version of the CROWN Act. 

Young boy with locs

Health and sexuality education requires curriculum, instructional practices, standards, and performance indicators related to respecting and affirming cultural differences. Positive representation of the above hair textures and hairstyles in 5th grade might look like sharing ways to prevent bullying and care for hair using a book like Cozbi A. Cabrera's My Hair is a Garden. When bringing in culturally specific information, educators should prioritize uplifting information from within communities or bringing in guest speakers to ensure authentic cultural representation and community support. 

Please visit ODE’s CROWN Act web page for additional reading resources, examples of protected hairstyles and a free downloadable version of the CROWN Act poster.

Sex Ed Data & Research

We have an important responsibility to health and sexuality education by reflecting the lived experiences of students, staff and school communities 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.

LGBTQ Listening Project Logo, BIPOC trans pride flag in the shape of Oregon on top of a light blue background

Oregon Research Spotlight: Rogue Action Center's LGBTQ+ Listening Project

The Rogue Action Center (RAC) is a community-based organization in Southern Oregon that focuses on local issues, including affordable housing, inclusive policy-making, and racial justice initiatives in Jackson and Josephine counties. Their community-based research LGBTQ+ Listening Project gathers information about LGBTQ+ peoples' experiences to improve local services, identify needs and gaps in local resources, and build community in ways that are responsive, inclusive, and accessible.

The LGBTQ+ Community Survey Writeup outlines the need for inclusive educational institutions and curricula as well as the need for general community support. Some of those first-person experiences have been included below for school district leaders to consider: 

  • “I think there needs to be a change in the way the school system teaches sex-ed to be more inclusive and not focus only on straight sex. It would make things much safer for LGBTQ+ youth and also normalize it for kids who are not. Also, even just a small mention of LGBTQ+ history in the curriculum. Just the existence of gay people is treated as taboo and something that can't be talked openly about and it's obvious in our education system.”
  • “While I was in school, I was bullied heavily for things relating to my gender and sexuality, and the schools did not respond in ways that made me feel safe, instead I felt like I was the problem.”
  • “I [work] at the same middle school that I attended ten years ago. I know that me and my friends were bullied for being queer. I have queer students and I try to provide support where I can but I am not confident that their needs are being met.
  • “What is "acceptance," feels like a low bar similar to tolerance. I feel like folks are "accepting," but begrudgingly, not supportive or celebratory.”
  • I wouldn't say I feel super safe in my school. I don't feel blatantly unsafe but I know that derogatory comments or microaggressions or cruel jokes toward the LGBTQ+ community are brushed off by administration & never truly very containable.”
  • “I know kids at the high school who identify with various genders. Not sure about other kids but school seems accepting.” 

For more information, please visit the Rogue Action Center website, the full survey, or this local and statewide LGBTQ+ resource guide. For LGBTQ2SIA+ affirming resources, training, and support from ODE, please reach out to ode.sexed@ode.oregon.gov.

Do you have local resources, data, or student voices to spotlight? Please reach out to ode.sexed@ode.oregon.gov or fill out our Newsletter survey anonymously. Thank you to the newsletter subscriber who suggested this spotlight!


2020 Student Health Survey Cover Screenshot

Oregon Student Health Survey Webinar Spotlight

Join the Oregon Health Authority on Friday, January 14 at 9am for a webinar that will help schools navigate the Student Health Survey reports that were recently released to districts and schools. Please review the short slide deck providing some basic information for reading and interpreting your Oregon SHS Report data.

Register now for the 2020 Oregon Student Health Survey (SHS) Report Webinar.

Paid Youth Opportunity: Teaching Advocacy and Radical Organizing (TARO) for BIPOC Youth

TARO Logo,  purple text on a light blue background

Teaching Advocacy and Radical Organizing (TARO) takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to health education, encouraging youth to engage in dialogue and action to strengthen our relationships to ourselves and each other. This year's six-session cohort will consist of 15 youth between the ages of 14-21 who are passionate about comprehensive sexual and reproductive health. 

Each participant will be given a $200 stipend and gift upon completion of the program and DoorDash meal credits for each session attended. The program will be open to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) exclusively. This year's cohort will be virtual, and runs weekly on Saturdays 11am-2pm from February 12th to March 19th. 

Applications open through January 31st, 2022 at 5pm PST. Apply now!

Feel free to share this opportunity with your networks/any folx you know who may be interested, and as always please reach out to des@apano.org with any questions. 

For updates on TARO, please stay posted on our instagram @ally.pdx.

Upcoming Events, Training & Conference Opportunities

All trainings are listed in Pacific Time zone unless otherwise noted. Opportunities are free 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 opportunities for sexuality education professionals to consider.

Rainbow gradient background with white text that says "We want to hear from you! Take our survey"

How do you like our new look? 

You may notice in the next month that we are sending out our Sex Ed Newsletter in shorter sections, more often. We’d love to know how our newsletters are working for you! Please feel free to fill out this survey

Newsletter 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@ode.oregon.gov.

In an effort to streamline our newsletter, we are now planning to send out our newsletter twice a month, during the first week and again mid-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, for inclusion and consideration in the following month (e.g. submit October 25 for November newsletters). 

Questions? Connections?

Please reach out to us at ode.sexed@ode.oregon.gov.

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!