ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter -- August 2022

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter: August 2022

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ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter 

August 12, 2022 

Dearest colleagues, 

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Welcome to bright and balmy August. We hope that you all found time to recharge a bit for the school year that’s just around the corner– we are looking forward to providing continued support for you during the 2022-23 school year. 

Since our last early-summer newsletter, so many things have happened that students, educators, and communities will be holding as they start the new school year: Oregon’s newest state holiday, Juneteenth; landmark Supreme Court decisions; school gun violence in the news and in our communities; the historic summer heat. As educators reflect on what this moment means for ourselves, our school communities, and our students, the words of poet, Amanda Gorman, captures the importance of inspiration and hope:  

 All of us bring light to exciting solutions never tried before

For it is our hope that implores us, at our uncompromising core,

To keep rising up for an earth more than worth fighting for.

Amanda Gorman, Earthrise

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

Section photo by Panos Sakalakis on Unsplash

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ODE Sexuality Education Updates

Sex Ed Spotlight: Sexuality Education and Reproductive Choice

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24th, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. This does not change the law in Oregon, which ensures the legality of abortion. Governor Brown issued a statement reaffirming Oregon’s commitment to accessing safe health care. Similarly, the Governors of Washington, Oregon, and California have come together to publish a Multi-State Commitment to Reproductive Freedom

However, many young people in Oregon still face barriers when accessing sexual and reproductive health care, especially young people in rural communities, young people of color, and young people with disabilities. Educators can support these students with comprehensive sexuality education that is empowering, supportive, not fear- or shame- based, and rooted in reproductive rights. 

Research shows that sexuality education empowers students to make decisions about their health that align with their individual, familial, and cultural values. Sexuality education provides information on sexual decision-making, relationships, identities, birth control, and pregnancy options. This information, in combination with opportunities to practice communication, boundary setting, and advocacy skills, helps students prevent pregnancy and access medically accurate information and care when they need it. For example, the Oregon Health Education high school standard (HE.3.12.6) requires teaching that young people skills to access medically-accurate information and resources about pregnancy, pregnancy options, including parenting, abortion, and adoption, prenatal care and services.

Young people, alongside their family and community, are capable of making decisions about their bodies and their lives, which is why we need to listen to their stories to better understand their perspectives, experiences, and questions. Whether it’s through an anonymous question box, or raised hands in the classroom, educators will be getting more questions than ever– and will have more opportunities to provide medically accurate, comprehensive, and affirming answers, resources, and guided discussions. 

Teaching sexuality education is not always easy, but it is important– and it is supported by parents and caregivers. Studies find that a vast majority of parents support sexuality education and agree that comprehensive sex education is important and effective at lowering youth rates of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Working alongside all parents and caregivers ensures that students have the support they need.

This feature by ODE staff, 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@ode.oregon.gov. 

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

Feedback requested: Health Education Standards

As a group of statewide educators work on revising the Health Education Standards, ODE is seeking your feedback. We hope to gather input from individuals with diverse identities and experiences. Please note that the personal information requested in this survey is optional and will only be used to ensure representation of diverse voices. It will not be used or shared for any other purpose.

Take the Health Education Standards Survey

Menstrual Dignity for Students Program Update

On June 21st, ODE’s Director, Colt Gill, sent an important update regarding the Menstrual Dignity for Students Program, reminding school leaders about the new requirements. 

Additionally, please make sure that all reimbursement requests for 2021-22 are submitted by September 1, 2022 and funds have been claimed on EGMS. If your claim was rejected in EGMS, please submit a corrected claim also by September 1. After that date, fund balances will be liquidated. A new grant amount will be distributed to your district, ESD, or consortia for the 22-23 school year in an approximate amount, listed in the 2022-23 funding calculator

Sign up for the Menstrual Dignity Listserv to stay up to date on the details of the program and its implementation.

Sign up for the Menstrual Dignity Listserv

Sex Ed News, Research, and Resources for Educators

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 responsive.

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

News & Research for Educators

Resources for Educators

Upcoming Events, Training & Conference Opportunities

Aug. 15-16, 11-12:30 daily, Parent Engagement Training for Educators, Advocates for Youth

Sept. 13-15, 11-12:30 daily, Rights, Respect, Responsibility Educator Training, Advocates for Youth

Oct. 12-13, YTH Live Global, ETR

October 31- November 2, Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Annual Conference

September 19-22, CDC National STD Prevention Conference

October 17-18, Oregon Public Health Association Conference

October 17-19, Healthy Teen Network Conference

December 13-15National Sex Ed Conference

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.

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!