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Q & A From Health Listening Sessions

Questions & Answers from the Health Listening Sessions

The Thompson School District engaged the public in two listening sessions the first week of March.  We also collected feedback and questions from an online form.  This document addresses the questions from the sessions and online form.

Q: How will TSD be transparent about Comprehensive Health Education materials, scope and sequence, etc.?

A: Health teachers will notify parents re: scope and sequence with general timing during health class. This will allow parents to know what will be taught and approximately when it will be taught. This will allow ample time for parents to opt their student out if they wish.

Any new materials that will be adopted will follow the policy and procedures for viewing and input by the community. Materials for any class are always available for parents/community to view throughout the year by contacting the teacher and principal. Board Policies IHAM and IHAMB address this question.

Q: How can teachers cover the extensive content found in the comprehensive health standards?

A: Because these are comprehensive, these standards will be covered across content areas in some cases (e.g. integration of social emotional learning in all subject areas, collaboration with mental health providers, etc).  TSD also supports teachers with prioritizing standards as part of the work in building a scope and sequence for the year.  All standards are covered at some point but not with the same depth.

Q: How do I opt my student out of parts of the health curriculum?

A: This process can be found in board policy.  Parents and guardians have the option to opt their student out of parts of their health curriculum as found in Policies IHAM and IHAMB and State Law C.R.S. 22-1-128 (3); 22-25-104 (6)(d) and C.R.S. 22-25-106 (4)(a).  We are currently revising board policy to clarify this process.

Q: Parts of the curriculum do not respect our family’s values and/ or religious beliefs.  How can we ensure that the standards are presented in a neutral manner respecting differences in beliefs and being supportive of all students and families?

A: Teachers are directed to follow the standards without inserting their own personal beliefs.  If families would like to exempt their students from health instruction, they can follow the board policies IHAM and IHAMB and State Law C.R.S. 22-1-128 (3); 22-25-104 (6)(d) and C.R.S. 22-25-106 (4)(a). .

Q:  Guest speakers may be useful in teaching about some health subjects (such as certified nutrition/ dietician experts).  Some could also be considered controversial.  How does TSD handle this?

A: Expert, fact-based guest speakers aligned with state standards can be vetted and utilized in certain areas according to board policy IMC. We are currently revising board policy to clarify this process.

Q: Where will the standards include vaping prevention education?  I’m not seeing it included.

A:  The health standards cover teaching “the dangers of use or experimentation with marijuana, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.”  This would include vaping.

Q: How is the teaching of health standards monitored in TSD?

A: As with all content areas, teachers have the standards and the curriculum and are responsible for teaching them.  Principals are the supervisors of teachers and monitor what is being taught in the classroom.  Concerns should be brought to the teacher first.  If the concern is not addressed, then building administration should be contacted.

Q: What is the requirement in Colorado for public school districts to teach state standards?

A: Under Colorado State Law, public schools must follow the standards set by the state.

Q:  What is the process for determining what materials will be used to teach the Comprehensive Health Education Standards?

A: The process for materials adoption to support curriculum can be found in Board Policy IJJ.

Q: When/how is sexual identity addressed?

A: This topic is not covered in the Comprehensive Health Education Standards. Therefore, neither sexual orientation nor gender identity are part of the health curriculum in TSD.  Students who may have individual questions or need individual support in these areas would receive support from appropriate school staff.

Q:  What is the process/expectation for permissions for health surveys?

A:  Board Policy JLDAC guides school staff in the processes for survey parent/guardian notification and permission. Depending on the survey, notification and permissions vary; details can be found here.