Encouraging healthy lifestyles
With new Oregon health and education standards taking effect starting in the 2018-19 school year, the West Linn-Wilsonville School District has been hard at work updating curriculum and materials for next fall. A group of WL-WV health teachers, counselors and district administrators have met several times over the past few months to review the new standards, compare to current WL-WV practices, and begin to think about future changes the district might implement across K-12 schools.
As part of that health and wellness renewal, district staff invited parents and community members to take part in a focus group workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 31. A collection of interested school district patrons, ranging from primary school parents to West Linn Safety Task Force members, attended the night of learning. The focus group dug into the new standards and what it means for WL-WV students.
"I'm really thankful for everyone that made time in your busy lives to come and help us think about this important topic," said David Pryor, assistant superintendent of primary schools. "We're really looking forward to getting your help in this process as we look at the new standards and think about our own practices. We're excited to work together on this as one big partnership, as a district, parents and community partners."
Pryor, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Barb Soisson and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Jennifer Spencer-Iiams, introduced the new state standards and recapped the work WL-WV staff have done up to this point. According to the National Health Education Standards, the district's curriculum and instruction should reflect the growing body of work that emphasizes teaching functional health information; shaping personal values and beliefs that support healthy behaviors; shaping group norms that value a healthy lifestyle; develop the essential health skills necessary to adopt, practice, and maintain health-enhancing behaviors; and put less of a focus on teaching scientific facts and instead increase student knowledge.
Spencer-Iiams informed focus group members that the district is focused on connecting the goals and strategies around sexual violence prevention, child abuse prevention, and sexual health promotion. Current and future health curriculum also emphasizes alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention; prevention and control of disease; promotion of environmental health; promotion of healthy eating; promotion of mental, social, and emotional health; promotion of physical activity; promotion of sexual health; unintentional injury prevention; and violence and suicide prevention.
Small groups then spent time digging deep into portions of the new standards that are most important to them, prioritizing aspects of curriculum that most affect their own students and families.
The parent focus group will return for more work and input in coming months, followed by additional opportunities for the entire community to review new curriculum, materials and provide input.
"We really want to hear from families and community members, because this is important work that will impact students throughout their K-12 careers and into their lives after high school," Spencer-Iiams said.
The district's Health and Wellness Curriculum and Instruction Renewal team will meet again on Feb. 12, where staff will review feedback and input provided by Wednesday's focus group. Curriculum and related health materials will be finished in time for implementation starting in the 2018-19 school year.
-West Linn-Wilsonville School District