Meeting called to order at 6:45 pm.A declaration of ‘no official business’ stated. Budget made available, if interested.
Introductions: 27 parents present with students in grade/number of children as follows: K/3, 1/6, 2/8, 3/5, 4/1, 5/10, 6/6, 7/1, 8/1
Sexuality Education presentation: Ada Dortch
- Students asked for this program and participated in the conversation outlining themes approached. Overwhelmingly embraced, program approved by students, parents, Mr. H and adopted into budget by PTA.
- Pilot program established last year with Ada facilitating most education. Ada in consult role in 2014.
- Program started up again in Jan of 2014 with Counselor Lynn facilitating most of the education. Grades 5, 6 & 7 have covered 1-2 lessons per topic. Would prefer year-long program implementation.
- Challenge has been scheduling especially with 8th grade. Counseling is an elective, not mandatory. More info for 8th grade parents at end of notes.
- Currently, ‘advisory groups’, meet with Counselor Lynn during counsel times for 45 minutes.
Three value exercises presented to parents present. Parents discussed in groups.
- What values are important to you?
- Are your values similar or dissimilar?
- What was the 1st time you had sexuality education?
Some themes mentioned as response to question 1.
- open communication
- mutual respect
- honesty, equality
- factual responses
- consent is a value
Some responses mentioned for question 2.
- Want what’s best for our children
- How Portland is in a ‘bubble’ with different values from the rest of the world
- how values are different in social media
- values change over time, change within the family unity, with generations
Responses to question 3.
- Boys and girls received education separate
- there were limited topics- puberty only, biological only
- no conversation-lectures only
- lectures coming from a place of ‘assuming shame’
- education happened too late (7/8th grade)
- story related of teacher refusing to ‘name parts’
- Abortion film shown (sophomore year?) very dramatic!
- Learned sexuality education was not an approachable topic
How the CSS Sexuality Education program differs:
Ada and Lynn come to discussion with the desire not to change behaviors or values which are defined first by parents who are the best teachers for their children but to provide education with a ‘right space approach’. Topics are discussed as they relate to the student individually. Students are challenged to think critically and to recognize that values may change in the future. Rights-based approach -universal declaration of human rights adopted by many countries including the USA. Examples:
- Right to have education
- Right to feel good about your body, have control over your own body
- Right to your own experiences
It was noted that this outlook differs from public health opinion which often comes from a place of ‘knowing what is right’ for others, with the objective to prevent disease.
Seven comprehensive themes are taught (also see handout attached)
- Self-esteem/communication-examples: feeling good about yourself, being your own advocate, good vs bad communication
- Gender-examples: accepting all genders, gender is not a binary concept,
- Relationship-examples: conversations based on age/grade level beginning with friendships and later discussing love
- Rights: examples-OR Laws, sexetc.com, sexual/reproductive rights
- Health: examples-biology, facts, contraceptive, HIV/STIs/HPV
Two final themes which are interwoven into conversation where applicable:
Workshop to be held Feb 25th from 6-8 pm for more information. Email Ada/Lynn to confirm. Space limited to 20 parents. Learn what is being discussed as well as the practical application of material at home.
How to start to conversation: 1. Be open with yourself about your own personal and family values 2. Be prepared to answer questions 3. Remember what it was like to have questions as a young adult, remember your experience 4. Create an atmosphere that allows open dialogue 5. Grab moments when they present and ask questions