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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Expanded Elmbrook Human Growth & Development review hours

Culture, Education, Elmbrook

Subject: expanded HGD review hours

A recent change in school board policy, combined with the dedicated efforts of several active members of the Human Growth and Development Parent Advisory Committee provides a unique opportunity : 
 
Parents and community members are welcome to preview all Human Growth and Development videos, DVDs, books, materials, lessons, handouts, worksheets - everything - under consideration for presentation to our children, before it is approved by the board and implemented.  Your input is welcome on every aspect. This is the time to act - while the lessons are in the formative stage.
 
Because more time is needed to thoroughly review the HGD materials K-12 than the three, 2-hour sessions originally scheduled, I understand the district was flexible in creating open review this week (Mon Dec15 - Fri Dec19, during regular CAO hours). Unfortunately this open review is unadvertised. Please spread the word. People may call Dr. Stewart (262-781-3030 ext  1112) or Dr. Stewart's secretary Mary Tagliavia  (262-781-3030 ext  1117) for details.
 
Due to being in the midst of the busy Christmas and holiday season, several have requested open review of the HGD materials to be extended throughout January.  We will keep you posted.  If you would like to have evening hours or a Saturday scheduled for open review, please feel free to contact Dr. Stewart or Mary Tagliavia with that request. 
 
Why review HGD lessons and materials? 
  • Quite simply, the district does not have the personnel. A thorough in-depth review requires many eyes and viewpoints. 
  • Providing valuable input to the district at this stage is an important opportunity to partner with the district, while lessons & materials selection is in progress.
  • It is important for parents to understand what their children are being taught, and evaluate whether these lessons are what is desired for their children's education in this area.
  • Even if your child(ren) is/are "opted out" of the district's HGD program:
    • Other students may share the info with your student(s) over lunch, at extracurricular events, parties, sleepovers, etc.
    • There are portions of the program which are considered "mandatory" and from which your requested exemption will not apply.  We are working with the district to have these lessons & materials plainly identified, for transparency.
  • Once approved, lessons/materials are in play for three years before an HGD advisory committee is reconvened.  The work of the committee can take 2 years.  Lessons/materials approved from this session may be used for 5 years.  Even if your child is in First Grade, s/he may be in middle school before lessons & materials are reviewed in their entirety again.  If your child is in 4th grade, s/he may be in high school before lessons & materials are reviewed in their entirety again. 
Some examples of things you may notice and think about when reviewing lessons & materials include:
  • Would you want your child asked, or have them watch a video in which male students are asked, whether they have had erections?  wet dreams?  Does this set a positive precedent or work against empowering students to maintain their modesty and not discuss sexual matters with others who may inquire about them?
  • Would your child named Chad or Jenny feel comfortable watching a video with their classmates depicting drawings of male genitals on a rendering named "Chad"?  on a female rendering named "Jenny"? 
  • Would you want your child to have the understanding that penis and breast size do not matter in being able to give and receive sexual satisfaction?  (Should sexual satisfaction be discussed with children?) 
  • IF we are educating children regarding the penis, should they learn the correct vocabulary (flaccid) as opposed to common terms ("in a relaxed state", "just handing there")?
  • IF we are education children regarding the vagina, should they learn there is a hymen, not just a "vaginal opening"?
  • The above examples are from one grade level and resource.  
  • If we are teaching our children about what the materials refer to as the sex act, do we want them to know that condoms do not cover the entire area and prevent safe contact, but may still pass STI's?  That viruses and bacteria producing STI's may wreak havoc internally but not produce obvious outward symptoms until it is too late?  That many STI's are "treatable" but not "curable"... students will have them for life?  That virus/bacteria are many times smaller than a sperm cell and can easily pass through a condom?  That oral sex can lead to oral cancer?  That kissing a person who has participated in oral sex can transmit the virus for oral cancer?  That there are negative emotional consequences to premature sexual behavior?  
We are working diligently to create a transparent process and provide HGD content which serves the best interests of our kids.  We encourage reviewers to list specific strengths and deficits they may find so that the committee, the board, and any future lesson developers / package screeners will have these observations as tools to work with.  (A general thumbs up or thumbs down statement doesn't provide these tools.)
 


 

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