Step 1: Assess School District Readiness and Capacity to Implement Sex Education
In order to commit to working with a school district, it is important to have a strong level of confidence that the school district truly wants to work on sex education institutionalization, including the ability for the superintendent to support the vision for the project. It is not sufficient to have teacher-level champions without the prospect of support from school district leadership, including the school board. It is critical to ensure that there is a specific commitment of time to engage in the work (e.g., key personnel to champion the work internally, ability for teachers to get release time to attend professional development). A formal assessment of the school district establishes the readiness of a school district. The assessment phase focuses on capturing the: 1) status of current sex education offerings; 2) school district stakeholders’ familiarity with state sex education governance and school-district policy; 3) strength of existing sex education policies and procedures; 4) commitment of key stakeholders to sex education; 5) barriers that are currently interrupting effective sex education; and 6) school district’s goal for sex education.
Use a consistent tool to assess readiness.
The assessment process is a structured conversation, or series of conversations, that maps out the sex education strengths, opportunities, and current state of affairs in the school district. This assessment will inform the final “go” / “no go” decision and will determine the action plan in school districts that meet a basic readiness threshold that indicates that sex education success is possible and likely. The Capacity Assessment and Planning Tool (CAPT) was developed by WISE Initiative leadership, based on the work of Cardea Services, aids in determining how ready a school district is to engage in sex education efforts.
Districts that are not ready for sex education implementation should not be targeted for participation. Doing an assessment of districts’ readiness is important to predict the likelihood for meaningful impact. It is okay to determine that a school district isn’t ready for partnership.