Human Growth and Development (HGD) Curriculum Overview
Why do schools teach Human Growth and Development?
Spokane Public Schools (SPS) has a commitment to providing a quality, well-rounded education to its students. As part of that commitment, the Board of Directors has chosen to offer sexual health education to help children understand the physical and emotional changes that occur as they enter puberty. We recognize that sex and sexuality are sensitive, personal issues, yet they are natural, important concerns of all human beings at all stages of life. We take the position that sex and sexuality should be approached calmly, rationally, and without guilt and embarrassment. Find the SPS School Board Policies here:
As part of Washington state law, any school district that chooses to offer sexual health education must assure that the instruction follows requirements outlined in the Healthy Youth Act. Such instruction must:
You can find more information about The HIV and Sexual Health Education program here: OSPI HIV and Sexual Health Education Program.
- Be medically and scientifically accurate;
- Be age appropriate;
- Be appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, or sexual orientation;
- Include information about abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases;
- Be consistent with the 2005 Guidelines for Sexual Health and Disease Prevention.
What does the curriculum consist of?
Spokane Public Schools’ Human Growth and Development (HGD) curriculum has been carefully developed over many years in partnership with parents and community organizations. Ongoing review ensures the curriculum is medically accurate and age-appropriate.
At the elementary level, the HGD curriculum involves approximately 10 days of instruction during the fourth, fifth and sixth grades designed to help students understand the basic biological, psychological and sociological concepts associated with human development and sexuality.
During middle school, the curriculum is designed to help students understand human development, the reproductive system, rules and responsibilities of individuals, and aspects of healthy interpersonal relationships.
In high school Health and Biology classes, the HGD curriculum aims to help students understand biological, psychological and social aspects of sexual development.
Additionally, Washington state law requires that all 5th-12th grade students receive yearly HIV/AIDS education. This curriculum may also be viewed at the student’s local school. Personal Safety curriculum, including Internet safety, is taught to students in grades K-8 and in high school Health classes.
Puberty, Reproductive system, HIV/AIDS education
Reproductive system, STDs/STIs, Social development, HIV/AIDS education
High School Health, Biology
STDs/STIs, Social development, Biology of diseases, HIV/AIDS education
High School Juniors and Seniors
HIV/AIDS educationSchools provide factual HGD information and families can then discuss the information in the context of their own values and priorities.
Can parents preview the HGD materials?
Washington state law requires that parents and guardians be notified at least one month before the HGD curriculum will be taught to their student and that parents and guardians are given the opportunity to review the materials that will be used. Material previews are scheduled by each school, in addition to curriculum previews done at the SPS district office each fall. A letter is typically sent home from the child’s school that includes information about when the materials are available to preview at the school. Video materials may only be viewed at the school site due to copyright laws.
Parents and guardians always have the right to have their child excused from participating in the HGD lessons or HIV/AIDS education. However, Spokane Public Schools encourages parents to review the specific HGD and HIV/AIDS materials prior to requesting an "opt out" form for their child.
How is the community involved with the curriculum?
Curriculum development is facilitated by the Instructional Programs department of Spokane Public Schools. The HGD Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) reviews materials and curriculum updates. This committee is made up of representatives from diverse agencies such as YWCA, Life Services, Spokane Regional Health District, Planned Parenthood, Catholic Family Services, Childbirth and Parenting Assistance, Lutheran Community Services, Northwest SAFeT Response Center, Spokane County Medical Society and Odyssey Youth Center. In addition, the HGD CAC includes up to eight members-at-large who reside within the school district’s boundaries. Find the list of current members here.
The committee meets four to six times each year to review potential HGD instructional materials for classroom use. Find the committee's bylaws here.
Cooperation among schools, parents and community organizations is important in providing students with the information they need to help them make good decisions and choose healthy lifestyles. This committee represents an ongoing partnership between Spokane Public Schools and the community in providing a balanced, high quality education for our students.
Contact Kymberly Larson at 354-7355 or KymberlyL@spokaneschools.org