Determining when sex education will take place and who will teach the class is a job that requires long-term planning on the part of school administrators. To increase the impact of the CHART program, schools must make decisions that are likely to ensure every student has the opportunity to take sex education from a competent and confident instructor. This section provides important information to assist CHART districts in selecting the course in which to teach the sex education program and in selecting the best teacher for the class. While school districts may have unique needs and circumstances, these suggestions are likely to be relevant to most districts.
Assigning competent and confident educators to teach sex education is very important, especially in the initial implementation phase when the school, the students, and the community are adjusting to the new program. House Bill 999, Mississippi’s sex education law, is silent on the qualifications of teachers who may teach sex education. However, the CHART policy requires school districts to select teachers that have specific licensure or endorsements.
The CHART policy specifies that CHART curricula “will be taught by licensed health educators, family and consumer science educators, or educators with a health education and/or science endorsement.” All schools will have at least one staff member with at least one of these qualifications already on payroll. Schools should use existing staff to teach sex education and not feel required to hire new staff or to assign the school nurse to teach sex education (unless the nurse wishes to teach the course).
The CHART curricula are intended to fit into an existing course offered by the school.
The first issue that CHART districts should consider in making this decision is whether the course reaches every student. Placing the sex education program in an elective course that very few students take will significantly diminish the impact that CHART will have, even though all CHART curricula have been proven effective.
Secondly, CHART districts should consider whether the current demands of the course can accommodate a sex education unit. The curriculum in state-tested subjects, for example, may be too carefully structured and paced to allow for additional lessons, especially if the objectives of the sex education course do not align well. Another example might be a class that is only offered for one nine-week period in which the course is just not long enough to absorb extra lessons.
Courses that are likely to meet the needs of most districts are listed by grade level below. Each school district should choose the course that is best suited for their population of students, even if that course is not listed here.
Click here for the CHART Implementation Guide that provides tips, checklists, best practices, and other useful information that will help districts select teachers and courses to teach the CHART curricula.