The Alpena Public School’s Board of Education met early yesterday morning to discuss changes being made to the 7th graders’ health curriculum.
Previously, health had been taught during P.E. The students would receive abstinence–only education that taught abstinence as the only way to avoid unintended pregnancy and STDs. However the board will be moving forward with abstinence–based education, which will be taught over the course of a quarter–long health class for 7th grade students.
Director of Instruction and CTE, Joyce McCoy, says it will be good to get the students off the bleachers and into a classroom with a topic as serious as this. “We were teaching health within a P.E. class, and we found that …that it’s probably much better and more important if it’s in a classroom. So students are now not taking health in the benches in the gym, they’re actually doing it in a classroom as a class.”
In addition to this, the quarter long class will now teach an abstinence–based approach to health, which will still teach abstinence as the best way to avoid unintended pregnancy and STDs, but will also offer other resources for students to use in a time of need.
The board did hold two meetings where committee members from clergy, health professionals, parents and staff were present and voted unanimously that the health curriculum should be altered to be this way. In a climate of higher than ever rates of STDs, especially in our young people, the board feels emphatically that this change in curriculum is necessary to protect the community’s youth.
Another topic covered was governor Rick Snyder’s request that students be trained in CPR. Superintendent John Vanwagoner explained to the board, “the governor has signed a bill essentially requiring CPR training and AED use.”
APS Superintendent John Vanwagoner says they are waiting for some clarification from the Michigan Department of Education on what exactly to expect, but they do have some information on that what will look like in schools. The bill does not require students to receive certification, although the parameters for what will be taught must follow the guidelines of a nationally recognized evidence–based program such as the American Red Cross.This program will not take effect until next year.