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Our Curricula

At Health Connected, we are committed to providing effective and comprehensive puberty and sexuality education programs that meet government requirements and standards. Puberty Talk, Teen Talk Middle School, Teen Talk High School, Teen Talk Adapted for All Abilities, and Teen Talk for Youth in Alternative Settings have been designed to align with best practices in the field and comply with state and federal standards.

Our curricula can be implemented in schools through our in-school Youth Services Program, delivered by our trained team of health educators, or purchased separately and implemented by teachers and youth providers who have received training from our expert team.

Key components of all our curricula include:

1. Tailored to student needs

Our curricula can be customized to meet the unique needs of each student, classroom, and community.

2. Unbiased and medically accurate

We ensure that all our programs provide unbiased, medically accurate information, allowing students to make informed decisions about their health.

3. Interactive and participatory

Our curricula make extensive use of interactive and participatory techniques to engage students actively in the learning process.

4. Effective communication skills

We teach and practice skills for effective communication with parents, trusted adults, peers, and partners, enabling students to make informed health-related decisions.

5. Inclusive language and diverse representation

Our curricula use updated gender-inclusive language and are relevant and inclusive of diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual identities.

6. Boundary awareness and safety

We promote awareness of boundaries, safety issues, and legal considerations related to sex and sexuality, providing students with resources and support.

7. Bilingual resources

All activities and materials are available in English and Spanish to ensure accessibility for diverse communities.

8. Alignment with government requirements

Our curricula meet the stringent requirements for sexual health education outlined in the California Education Code and comply with all applicable California Education Content Standards.

Health Connected’s curricula and materials are intended for use by schools and school districts. If you are an individual or non-profit organization interested in purchasing any of our materials, please get in touch with us.

CurriculA Standards

Effective puberty and sexuality education programming require unbiased, medically accurate programs tailored to meet the unique needs of each student, classroom, and community. Health Connected’s curriculum aligns with California’s Education Code and Health Content Standards and the National Sexuality Education Standards. By meeting some of the most exhaustive sexual education curricula standards in the United States, Health Connected ensures that young people receive accurate, age-appropriate, and comprehensive sexual health education.

California Education Code

The California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA), adopted in January 2016, outlines the requirements for sexual health education in public schools. Key points include:

  • Sexual health education is required twice during a student’s educational career: once in middle school and again in high school.
  • Sexual health education provided in any grade (including puberty education) must be medically accurate and age-appropriate. Materials must be appropriate for students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, pupils with disabilities, and English learners. All instruction must:
    • Affirmatively recognize people have different orientation and include examples
    • Teach about gender, gender expression, gender identity and the harm of negative stereotypes
    • Encourage communication with parents/guardians/ trusted adults
    • Teach about healthy relationships
    • Teach about decision making, negotiation and refusal skills
    • Teach the value of and prepare pupils to have and maintain committed relationships, such as marriage
  • Starting in 7th grade, the curriculum must cover abstinence, effectiveness, and safety of contraception, protection from sexually transmitted diseases, and decision-making. Schools must use trusted sources of information, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, to determine medical accuracy. All pregnancy and STI prevention devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must be covered.
  • Schools cannot provide abstinence-only programs. Abstinence-only education presents abstinence as the only option for preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases; the law requires that other methods be included. Many abstinence-only programs are religious in nature; sex education cannot promote any religious ideas.
  • Parents must be notified that their child will have sexual health education at the beginning of the school year or at least 14 days before classes start and be allowed to see the materials before classes start. If a parent does not want their child to take the class, they must make a written request excusing their child from instruction.
  • Teachers of both HIV/AIDS education and sexual health education must be trained in the subject. Schools may use outside organizations or speakers provided they have the requisite training, but those organizations must also follow the law when they present.
California Health Content Standards

Today, the road to good health can seem increasingly challenging for many Californians. Sexually transmitted infections( STIs) are at all-time highs, approximately one in 7 Californians live with diabetes, and asthma impedes students’ class attendance. Comprehensive health education can help young people to manage their health today and to prevent negative health conditions as they mature.

Adopted in 2008 by the California Department of Education, the Health Education Content Standards aims to ensure all public school students are equipped, well-performing young people who mature into healthy, productive adults. These standards for California public K-12 schools provide administrators, teachers, and support staff guidance on the essential skills and knowl­­edge students should have at each grade level. Recognizing student health’s significant impact on academic performance, educators are encouraged to utilize these standards when developing curricular and instructional strategies for all health and interdisciplinary topic areas.

National Sexuality Education Standards

Studies have long shown the significant positive outcomes yielded from school-based health programs–including increased proficiency in reading and math and overall academic success. Comprehensive sexual health education in particular has the potential to prevent sexual abuse, dating violence, and bullying; help students form healthier relationships; delay sexual initiation; reduce unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV; and reduce sexual health disparities amongst LGBTQ+ youth.

The goal of the National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES) is to provide clear and consistent guidance on the essential minimum, core content sexuality education provided to K-12 pupils nationwide. The standards offer consistent guidance on essential minimum content for sex education nationwide. Key points include:

  • Comprehensive sexual health education promotes academic success and addresses various health disparities.
  • Health Connected’s curriculum for grades 5-12 aligns with these standards.
  • The standards cover anatomy, puberty, identity, reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases, personal safety, and healthy relationships.

CUrriculA Review

Health Connected’s curricula undergo a rigorous review process to ensure medical accuracy, alignment with state requirements, and consistency with best practices in adolescent sexual health and youth development. Below is an overview of the reviews that our curriculum series has completed.

Education Code Compliance

Periodically, the California Healthy Kids Resource Center (CHKRC), along with the Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group (ASHWG), conducts a review of sexual health curricula in accordance with CHYA. This review evaluates 39 items for compliance with the following goals in mind:

  1. Provide school district staff, teachers, and community education providers with information about a number of widely available curricula to inform local processes for curriculum selection;
  2. Provide curriculum publishers and authors input from an outside review group on aligning their materials with CHYA.

In the 2020-21 review cycle, there were 15 curricula submitted for review from nine publishers. Health Connected once again received among the highest marks for legal compliance. These results were made possible through the work of Health Connected’s partners and team, who are committed to sexual and reproductive health of California adolescents.

The review team assessed three of Health Connected’s curricula (Teen Talk Middle School, Teen Talk High School, and Teen Talk Adapted for All Abilities) and several other nationally available curricula. To see Health Connected’s response to each of the recommendations by the review committee, click on the tabs below.

Teen Talk Middle School
Teen Talk High School
Teen Talk Adapted for All Abilities
Medical Content

Health Connected conducts complete medical reviews of all medical content in each of our curricula with our Medical Advisory Council before publication to ensure that all medical information presented in the curriculum is medically-accurate. In addition, Teen Talk Middle School, Teen Talk High School, and Teen Talk Adapted for All Abilities were reviewed for medical accuracy through legal compliance reviews in 2016 and/or 2021 by third-party physicians and health professionals from the California Office of Family Planning.