Superintendent’s message: Middle school health – sexual health adoption

July 29, 2021

Dear families of Battle Ground Public Schools,

I’m writing to share with you an update on the status of the middle school health and sexual health curriculum adoption, on which many of you have provided input. At Monday night’s school board meeting, we paused the adoption of the HealthSmart curriculum so that our Middle School Sexual Health Advisory Committee could consider another curriculum that we recently learned about as a possible option.

This is timely. As many of you know, I took over as superintendent of our school district on July 1. One of my goals is to work better together with our parents and community. As part of that, we are going to always look for ways to improve our customer service, increase transparency of our operations, and offer more opportunities for parents and community members to partner with us in our endeavor to connect every student to a positive future.

Pausing our middle school health curriculum adoption is a great example of this goal in action. At the last board meeting in June, one of our parents made us aware of a brand new sexual health curriculum out of California called Check the Facts, which is close to being published. Our curriculum directors contacted the developer of the curriculum and asked to review it. A preliminary review revealed that had it been available a few months ago, it would have been presented to the Advisory Committee for review and consideration as a middle school sexual health curriculum.

We asked our review committee of 20 parents and staff if they would be willing to meet again and evaluate this new curriculum. They have agreed. We appreciate the many hours that this group has already dedicated to finding a curriculum that most closely aligns with the values of our families and matches the state’s definition of sexual health education. We trust that this committee, which comprises a broad range of voices from our community, is doing their best work for all of our students.

The committee will use the same rubrics to evaluate this curriculum as it did for the four others that it reviewed. If the Check the Facts curriculum is selected over HealthSmart to recommend to the board, it will need to continue through the entire curriculum adoption process, including a process review by the Instructional Materials Committee, a community review, and then a first and second reading by the board. If HealthSmart is still the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, it will come back to the board for a second reading. The other thing to note is that Check the Facts is only a sexual health curriculum, and that the district would still need to choose a curriculum or textbook for middle school health. 

In the meantime, if you would like to read answers to the questions that we received about the HealthSmart curriculum during the community review, those are available online: battlegroundps.org/curriculum-adoption.

This pause is a direct result of our effort to seek input and partner with our community to work better together for our students. It will take additional work from our committee and our staff, and the review may lead the committee back to its original recommendation, but it will be worth it to have the best curriculum in place for our students. It is only by working together that we will be able to connect every student to a positive future. 

With that in mind, please watch for additional opportunities to partner with us so that we can work better together. We will be inviting community members to apply for our upcoming Citizen Advisory Committee, and we will be launching a new Let’s Talk website to seek feedback on various issues facing our schools.

We look forward to working with you for the success of our students!

Take care,

Denny Waters, Superintendent
Battle Ground Public Schools

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