The Kyrene School District Governing Board approved changes to the seventh-grade health curriculum last week, which includes more in-depth and engaging materials when teaching sexual education, one administrator said.
The program is called "Worth the Wait," and the materials will go into effect this year for Kyrene seventh-graders. The time spent on the subject will almost double from last year - up from 30 minutes per day for four days to 50 minutes. It will also be administered by employees of Pima Prevention Partnership, rather than classroom teachers, as it had been in the past.
Moira Turner of the Kyrene Health Steering Committee, the group of parents, teachers and community members that decided upon the "Worth the Wait" material, said having someone who isn't their everyday teacher talk about the subject matter will have a positive impact.
"Kids might hold back questions they have because it's their teacher, it's who they see everyday," Turner said. "With a trained instructor, they might feel a little more open to ask more questions."
The Health Steering Committee had designed the presentations and topics that teachers gave in previous years. The materials, which were on a 60-day review at the district office starting in September, were developed by the Pima Prevention Partnership. Turner said the material is more topical, with sections going more in-depth in the emotional side of entering into a physical relationship.
"We are offering current, most up-to-date information for kids," she said. "These materials talk about what can happen on both sides, for boys and girls, and how they can get hurt both physically and mentally. It talks about what constitutes a healthy relationships."
The materials are abstinence only, but a separate health section that takes place later in the school year for seventh-graders, is abstinence-plus. As has been the case in the past, sexual education is "opt-in" for Kyrene families.
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