SHAC reviews Life Center curriculum

A review of the curriculum taught to Ector County Independent School District students as part of human growth and development by The Life Center was presented at the Student Health Advisory Council meeting.

Misty Stewart, prevention education director at The Life Center, showed that 11,768 students in grades five through 10 were taught in 2017-18. This does not include Permian High School and George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa.

Stewart said they teach ninth and 10th grade at Permian, so that’s almost 2,000 students with about 100 at New Tech.

Some 13,712 students were taught in 2016-17.

The curriculum comes from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and The Life Center.

Texas Tech’s curriculum is called Big Decisions. The Life Center uses curriculum called M.Pact for elementary; Y.Wud.I for middle school; and No Gray for high school students.

When recommendations go to the ECISD board, Stewart wanted to implement the use of videos for parent meetings and request to teach juniors and seniors for one class period in an auditorium setting.

Many of the students surveyed after the course indicated they wanted to remain abstinent. Some were undecided and some indicated they would not change their choices.

Stewart said The Life Center teaches students about goals and values, healthy relationships and healthy boundaries and abstinence.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin teaches students anatomy and reproduction, abstinence, contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections. But Stewart said they also overlap on the topics.

Michael Neiman, SHAC liaison to the school board and district PE and health coordinator, has said there are classes for boys and girls in fifth through eighth grades.

Boys and girls are separated for human growth and development classes in grades five through eight. Classes for ninth and 10th graders are co-ed, Neiman said.

Parents can choose what class their child goes to and whether they go to classes presented by The Life Center, Texas Tech, both or none. If a parent opts out, the child will be given an alternate assignment to work on, Neiman has said.

On a related topic, Stewart said ECISD, The Life Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin department of obstetrics and gynecology and the Community Health Education Office have been selected as a 2018 Community Partner Award recipient by the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

The award will be presented during the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s seventh Annual Symposium scheduled for April 16 through April 18 in Austin.

On a separate topic, Neiman told SHAC members at the March meeting that he wanted the human growth and development subcommittee to review curriculum he found from Teachers Pay Teachers website. It would update textbooks from the 80s that are being used.

It was decided to have Texas Tech review it further.

Neiman said he also wanted to find out if some of the curriculum could be taken out or edited.

On another item, Neiman said there is a Community Activity Night set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 20 at Nimitz Middle School, 4900 Maple Ave.

It will include a variety of activities including professional Kendama players, a city-wide STAR WARS contest that involves hula hoops and a Jump Rope for Heart.

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