Health Education Framework Information for Families
UPDATED: December 20, 2019
How do I have a say about what is taught in Health Education?
At the end of the 2018-2019 school year we provided information on the Health Education Framework that had recently been released by the California Department of Education, which included an outline of differences between the California Healthy Youth Act, the Health Framework, and our curriculum. Para español, haga clic aquí. We also sent out a district-wide survey so we could better learn what questions and concerns our families had, surrounding sexual education.
In an effort to continue a two-way conversation on this subject, in the fall we posted a schedule of Health Education Parent Forums taking place at each elementary school from August through October. Click here for last fall’s schedule of Parent Forums.
At the Parent Forum we talked about the current 5th grade curriculum Always Changing and Growing Up, had the opportunity to see one of the videos, Always Changing -- Co-ed, that is shown to 5th graders, and collected & shared your feedback with us in a guided activity. This feedback will be shared with the Board and may result in a recommendation for the district to explore newer elementary school health education curriculum. If new curriculum is recommended, and upon Board approval, it would be implemented in the 2021-22 school year or later.
***To preview the curriculum we are using for 5th grade sexual ed instruction, please visit the site: Always Changing and Growing Up
***To view the video we showed at the Parent Forums, please visit this link: Always Changing -- Co-ed
Note: We want to emphasize that there is no sexual education taught in Kindergarten - 4th grade. The curriculum we use in 5th grade, Always Changing and Growing Up, has been in place for over 10 years and we are under no compulsion from the state to change it. The Health Framework from the state is a guideline of suggestions. Any adoption of new elementary health education curriculum for 2021-22 or later, would only be made after careful review, which would include parent input.
We understand this is a sensitive and important topic for many. We consider parents our partners in education and value your involvement and input. If you have questions in advance, please reach out to your student’s teacher, principal or one of the Parent Forum organizers listed below. You can also stay informed by visiting this website for updates.
Background Information, Common Concerns and FAQs
On May 8, 2019, the State Board of Education approved a new framework for health education, including recommendations for teaching sex education that aligns with the California Healthy Youth Act, the state’s comprehensive sex ed law.
Since then, many of our families have asked questions or expressed concerns to our schools about what this means for health education in Folsom Cordova. In an effort to provide channels for open, two-way communication, the District is reaching out with some answers to the most common questions we’ve fielded to date.
What’s the difference between state law, the new framework, and our curriculum?
State Law: Education Code is the law of what must be taught in public schools in California. Specifically, the California Healthy Youth Act (which became law in 2016) requires schools to provide students with comprehensive sexual health education, including HIV and STD prevention education at least once in middle school and once in high school.
The Framework: This is a guidance document that districts may use, but are not required to use when developing health education programs for students.
Curriculum: This is what our schools will actually teach. Folsom Cordova’s curriculum is not changing for the 2020 – 2021 school year, and any recommended changes will not be proposed until after an extensive public input process.
The California Department of Education has created a helpful guide to understanding the differences between the California Healthy Youth Act and the new framework. Click here to view it.
What is currently taught in Health Education, and how can I see the materials?
The District’s Family Life program includes a comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention education, once in middle school and once in high school. These programs are taught by District personnel, and reproductive organs and their functions are described, illustrated, and discussed.
The District is required at the beginning of each school year, or at the time of enrollment for a new student, to inform each parent about instruction in comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention education planned for the coming year. Written and audiovisual materials are available for inspection at our school sites. A parent or guardian of a pupil may request in writing that his or her child be excused from all or part of the comprehensive sexual health education, HIV/AIDS prevention instruction, and any assessments related to that education.
Our curriculum for middle school and high school is called Positive Prevention Plus and can be previewed at the following link: Positive Prevention Plus parent preview. If you would like more specific information please reach out to your school site.
Our curriculum for elementary school (5th grade) is called Always Changing and Growing Up and can be previewed at the following link: Always Changing and Growing Up parent preview. Parental consent is required for 5th grade participation. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your school site.
Is health education being taught in all elementary grades?
In elementary, we teach health education in 5th grade only.
Will there be curriculum changes next year?
Any changes in curriculum and/or instruction would be reflective of parent input and open to parent review and comment. All curriculum must be approved by the Board of Education and if changing the curriculum is recommended, the earliest new curriculum could be implemented would be during the 2021 – 2022 school year.
Does the District have to adopt a new health education curriculum, because of the new Health Framework?
We do not. Our current curriculum is compliant with state law.
What if I don’t want my child participating in health education at all?
Parents must give active, signed consent for their child in elementary school to participate in health education.
How do I know what is being taught in middle school?
Our curriculum for middle school and high school is called Positive Prevention Plus and can be previewed by visiting the link. You are also welcome to preview the middle school health ed curriculum at your middle school. Please contact the school directly to arrange a time.
I don't want my student taught details about sex.
Our 5th grade curriculum focus is on changes that boys and girls experience during puberty. There is no discussion or information provided about sexual intercourse or the process of reproduction.
Does the District’s health education curriculum address gender identity?
Our elementary health education curriculum does not provide instruction on gender identity.
*Our school communities are made up of students, staff, and families from diverse backgrounds. All students achieve when they can learn in an environment that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve and respects each others’ differences.
*FCUSD Equity Advisory Committee commitment statement:
The Folsom Cordova Unified School District fosters the safety, success, and wellness of all students by creating a positive school culture and celebrating the power of diversity and differences. Our schools, students, families, and employees will treat each other with respect, and refuse to tolerate behavior that causes harm. Hateful and discriminatory actions or words – which target a person’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, culture, heritage, gender, sex, sexual orientation, immigration status, socioeconomic status, physical/mental attributes, or religious beliefs or practices - will not be tolerated in our school communities.
*Excerpt from FCUSD Nondiscrimination Statement:
District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discrimination against an individual or group based on race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or genetic information; the a perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.
You can reach us at 916-294-9000, and ask for either Curriculum and Instruction, Health Services or Communication and Community Engagement. Or, send us an email at one of the addresses below.
Jim Huber, Asst. Superintendent, Secondary Education, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerri Kaye, Coordinator of Health Services, email@example.com
Angela Griffin Ankhelyi, Director, Communication and Community Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org