The Lawrence school board will be asked Monday to begin a complete review of the district's human sexuality curriculum in order to align its courses and material with new national standards.
The Lawrence schools' sex-education courses and materials currently are designed to meet the Kansas state Department of Education standards, which were adopted in 2006. The school board, however, has adopted a policy goal of incorporating additional material to align with national standards that the American Association for Health Education released in 2012.
Health and sexuality teachers in the district met last month to review the current course materials and to identify areas that would need to be updated in order to meet the national guidelines. That group is now recommending that the board start the process of writing new curriculum policies for the district that could be adopted this summer.
Currently, the district teaches basic health topics in kindergarten through fifth grade. There also is a required nine-week health course for sixth grade students, and a required semester class for ninth grade students.
Among the recommended changes:
• More professional development for teachers to learn about the national standards as they relate to sexual orientation.
• Add a two-day lesson in ninth grade to teach about contraception methods other than abstinence.
• Review and update the district's "opt-out" policy for parents who do not want their students taking part in certain lessons.
• Consider incorporating human sexuality material into health courses for seventh and eighth grade students.
• Publish information provided by the Health Department through health classes and the district's website.
Discussion of the human sexuality curriculum is one part of a busy agenda for the board, which meets at 7 p.m. Monday at the district office, 110 McDonald Drive.
The board also will hold a closed-door executive session at 6 p.m. to discuss the progress of contract negotiations with the Lawrence Education Association.
In other business, the board will hear an update about implementation of the new Common Core standards in reading and math. It also will hear a presentation about the district's employee health insurance plan for the 2013-14 plan year.