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Scan Current Efforts and Policies

The purpose of this phase is to gain an understanding of the sex education landscape to inform an action plan for sex education institutionalization.

About This Phase

Scanning activities provide essential context, such as state and local policies and available resources. A great place to start is with the SIECUS State Profiles. A key part of this phase is identifying school districts, or individual schools, who want to implement sex education or improve existing programs but need some guidance and resources in order to do so effectively. This phase helps answer the questions: “What policies, partners, and resources can support this work?” and “Which districts show promise for sex education readiness?”

Steps to Scan Current Efforts and Policies

Step Results
  • Clear understanding of the sex education components that are allowed, mandated, or restricted.
  • Identification of potential sex education funding streams as well as the currently funded efforts already underway
  • List of promising school districts that show strong readiness for sex education institutionalization


The long-term sustainability of gains made during this phase of the work is supported by:

  • Creating linkages between relevant state and local programs, including mechanisms for ongoing sharing about successes and strategies, to maximize impact.


State Profiles

SIECUS State Profiles is a state-by-state resource that describes sexuality education and abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in each state.  Each state profile includes a summary of state laws and policies related to sexuality education.  It also includes information about a variety of federal funding programs that support sexuality education and/or abstinence-only-until-marriage programs as well as how much money each state is receiving from each federal program (if applicable) and a summary of how it is being used. 

State School Health Policy Database

The NASBE State School Health Policy Database contains brief descriptions of laws, legal codes, rules, regulations, administrative orders, mandates, standards, resolutions, and other written means of exercising authority. It also includes guidance documents and other non-binding materials that provide a more detailed picture of a state’s school health policies and activities. Hyperlinks to full written policies are provided whenever possible. The database is searchable by state, topic, and keyword.

State Policies in Brief, Sex and HIV Education

The Guttmacher Institute’s State Policies in Brief provide state-by-state information on key issues affecting sexual and reproductive health and rights. The publications are updated monthly to reflect the most recent legislative, administrative, and judicial actions. The Sex and HIV Education brief summarizes state-level sex and HIV education policies, as well as specific content requirements, based on a review of state laws, regulations and other legally binding policies

School Health Profiles

The School Health Profiles are a system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts, territories, and tribal governments. Profiles are conducted biennially by education and health agencies among middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

The YRBSS monitors six priority health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults including sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and STDs/HIV, alcohol and other drug use as well as violence. Annual and trend data is available.  


Division of Adolescent and School Health  (DASH)

DASH supports 19 state and 17 local education agencies to support schools and school districts in implementing exemplary sexual health education, increase adolescent access to sexual health services and establish safe and supportive environments for students and staff.

School Health Advisory Council

This sample presentation discusses the role and function of School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) as well as tips for successful recruitment and retention of SHAC members.


Sample School District Stakeholder Message Development

Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (GCAPP), a WISE lead partner, developed a simple tool to document the various needs of key constituency groups. This sample shows the different school district stakeholders they engaged and how they tailored their message to distinct stakeholder needs. GCAPP staff would reference this document before conversations with these key stakeholders to ensure they were connecting their efforts to each stakeholder’s needs during every interaction.


Preliminary Assessment


Based on a similar tool developed by SHIFT NC, this preliminary assessment provides an early gauge of whether or not a school district shows promise.