ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter -- June 2023

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter: June 2023

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ODE Sexuality Education Newsletter 

June 12, 2023

Dearest colleagues, 

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Schools often plan sexual health & healthy relationships education in April, May, and June, when educators and students have had many months to get to know each other and establish community norms around safe and inclusive classrooms. Many educators engage families and their school community and are ready with their lessons and their anonymous question boxes. While any time is a good time, spring is often devoted to discussing the information youth need about their reproductive health, healthcare options, access, and rights. 

According to data just released from the 2022 Oregon Student Health Survey, nearly 1 out of 2 11th graders and 1 out of 15 8th graders have had sex or sexual contact. However, only half of middle and high school students reported learning about how to use a condom, and even fewer were taught about contraceptives (only 30% of 8th graders). Moreover, more than 34% of middle and highschool respondents on the survey had never learned about healthy relationships in school. 

Age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education provides information and tools that match students’ lived experiences, and builds skill helpful in navigating the real-life changes, challenges, and joys of adolescence in alignment with their values and life goals.

In this newsletter, we share 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.

Section photo by Jas Min on Unsplash

Header photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash, Newberg, OR

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ODE Sexuality Education Update

Spotlight: Centering Joy in Pride Month

As spring turns to summer, Pride Month gives educators and schools another moment to center the joy of adolescence, self-discovery, and belonging. To do this, educators may need to examine the sexuality education materials used and practices they use. Do materials cover human reproduction in a way that is inclusive and affirming? Do conversations with students analyze how gender norms influence healthy relationships? Is content on puberty and anatomy inclusive of a variety of bodies and identities?

When Oregon students were asked about their sexual orientation, over 22% of 11th graders identify as LGBQ+. Research shows that inclusive sexuality education benefits these students– and everyone– by reducing homophobic bullying, adverse mental health, and identity-based violence. However, only 29.5% of Oregon students reported receiving education on healthy relationships inclusive of LGBTQ2SIA+ identities. 

Educators work tirelessly to support their students all year. Pride Month gives us an extra opportunity to reflect on sexuality education materials and instruction. Check out ODE’s LGBTQ2SIA+ Resources page and sign up for the LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Listserv for more resources.

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Report Release: In Their Own Words, the results of the SEED Survey

New Data Brief Examines Student Feedback About Their Learning Environments

The SEED team is excited to announce the release of a new data brief focusing on student short answer responses to an open-ended survey item. Students shared feelings of belonging or disconnection, described ways they could be better served in terms of both academics and mental health, and gave us a window into their experiences in school and what they would need in order to feel safe, comfortable, and supported. ODE encourages school and district leaders who read this brief to examine their own institutions for similar experiences, and to review best practices included for opportunities to enhance their connection to and services for students. To learn more about SEED and administering it within your district, visit this ODE webpage

Update Released: ODE Addressing Challenged Materials in K-12 Education

Guidance to School Districts 

In December 2018, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) first released “Guidance to School Districts: Addressing Challenged Materials in K-12 Education” and published an update in May 2019. Among other things, this 2023 update includes clarifications about the laws and rules that apply to instructional materials selection and an expanded section of recommendations for addressing challenged materials. The goal of this guidance is to help classroom teachers, school library staff, school administrators, and district leaders fulfill their important roles in maintaining a welcoming and enriching learning environment in the context of instructional materials.

Sex Ed News & Resources for Educators

ODE is committed to supporting school districts with implementing Oregon Human Sexuality Education (OAR 581-022-2050). Please see below for related news and resources for K-12 educators. 

Research & News Articles for Educators

Pride Month News & Resources for Educators

Upcoming Events, Training & Conference Opportunities for Educator

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 education professionals to consider.

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Youth Opportunities

Deadline Extended: My Future- My Choice Teen Advisory Board

The My Future- My Choice Program is currently seeking motivated teens across the state of Oregon who demonstrate an interest in sexual health equity and a desire to make a difference in their community and possess the right qualifications to serve on the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) for the 2023-24 school year. 

Please review the flyer, email Andy Dettinger at andy.dettinger@odhs.oregon.gov or visit the application form to learn more and apply by June 24. 

Apply to the Teen Advisory Board

PPCW Teen Council

PPCW is recruiting members for its 2023-24. Teen Council is made up of high school students from Portland Metro, Woodburn and Central Oregon areas. Teen Council members work actively to build a group of Peer Health Educators that will work to create equity for people of all races, sex, gender, and sexual orientations and educate their peers with the knowledge necessary to make safe and healthy sexual decisions. 

 Apply to the Teen Council

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Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Youth Advisory Council (YAC)

OHA is looking for youth leaders to join a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for the 2023-2024 school year. The YAC has been working to support schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) in partnership with schools in their recovery from the impact of COVID-19. During the 2022-2023 school year, 20 youth from across Oregon informed OHA on how to spend $1,000,000 in COVID-19 Recovery Funds for schools.

During the 2023-2024 school year, the YAC will:

  • Support the community-based organizations and schools/school districts that were funded to carry out their projects.
  • Work with the public health department to develop program and policy recommendations that impact youth all over Oregon. The policy recommendations will be youth-led and driven.

Youth who serve on the Youth Advisory Council will receive a $45/hr stipend for all time spent on council activities, community service hours, and more. For more information on eligibility and expectations, visit OHA’s website and access the application. Please contact lev.schneidman@oha.oregon.gov with any questions. 

Apply to the Youth Advisory Council

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