An understanding of good health and fitness concepts and practices is essential for all students. Research has revealed the extent to which poor health practices can undermine a student's post high school education and career success. Teaching our students good health and physical education principles can lead to a lifetime of healthy practices, resulting in more productive, active, and successful lives. The Washington State Health and Physical Education Standards establish the concepts and skills necessary for safe and healthy living.
Washington State Health and Physical Education Standards
Click here to view the Health and Physical Education Learning Standards posted on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website.
Sexual Health Education
Introduction to Sexual Education and Frequently Asked Questions
In 2020, the Washington legislature approved SB 5395, requiring all school districts to, “provide comprehensive sexual education instruction that is medically and scientifically accurate, evidence-informed, age-appropriate, and aligned with the state’s health and learning standards.” The bill specifies standards to be taught, at what grade level, and the frequency of the instruction. Click here to review the state's learning standards by grade span.
What curriculum is WWPS using to address this state requirement?
Sexual/health education is introduced at the 5th grade level, beginning with introductory, age appropriate topics. The materials the School Board selected (Rights, Respect and Responsibility) come highly recommended, is a state-reviewed and endorsed curriculum, and have been used since 2018. Prior to adoption in 2018 by the School Board, the materials were deeply vetted. To ensure engagement and community/parent transparency in the selection process, the district posted ads in the Union Bulletin, called all families, had the materials on display for two weeks for public review and input, and sent individual letters home to parents inviting participation in the Board's public curriculum selection process. Dozens of stakeholders including district faculty, parents/community, the Community School Health Advisory Committee and the district's Instructional Materials Committee, actively participated in the selection process.
I have heard sensational stories about what is being taught. Where can I learn more?
While WWPS can not speak to other school district's curriculum and materials, what is being taught in Walla Walla Public Schools is likely not represented in what one may read and/or hear about through social circles. To combat misinformation, the district has continued to make available every single lesson taught, from 5th grade through high school, on our website for public review (see below). Additionally, any parent or patron is encouraged to contact our Teaching and Learning Department (see contact below) if they wish to physically review the same materials or seek additional information.
Will I be informed ahead of time when this instruction will take place and what my/my child’s options are?
Yes. WWPS provides 30 days advance notice to all parents, allowing them an opportunity to preview the specific materials and a process to opt their child out of the instruction. See below for more information.
K-4: Sexual education is not taught in grades K-4. Rather, the lessons are focused on social and emotional learning, a process of building awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, and making good choices. The curriculum used is called Harmony SEL and is accessible for free from their website.
Grade 5: Lessons focus on helping students understand and respect personal boundaries, develop healthy friendships, and gain a basic understanding of human growth and development (puberty) and ensure that students get age-appropriate instruction on affirmative consent and bystander training.
Grades 6-8: Lessons focus on helping students understand and respect personal boundaries, develop healthy friendships and dating relationships. Students gain a deeper understanding of human growth and development, enhance skills to support choosing healthy behaviors and reduce health risks, understand the influence of family and society on healthy sexual relationships, and ensure that students get age-appropriate instruction on affirmative consent and bystander training.
Grades 9-12: Lessons focus on helping students understand and respect personal boundaries, develop healthy friendships and dating relationships, gain a deeper understanding of human growth and development, and develop skills to support choosing healthy behaviors and reduce health risks. Health care and prevention resources, understanding the influence of family and society on healthy sexual relationships, and ensuring students receive age-appropriate instruction on affirmative consent and bystander training are also included.
Asking Questions About Lessons and Opting Students Out
After reviewing the lessons, please take a moment to fill out this form. We want to respond to any questions or concerns you may have. If, after you have viewed the materials, you wish to opt your student out of the lessons you may do so on the same form.
If you have questions about any of the lessons please contact Casey Monahan, Curriculum Coordinator. 509-526-6783 or firstname.lastname@example.org