Beginning in January 2008 Worth the Wait, a community abstinence education program will start up in the biology classes at Sunray High School. A parent meeting was held in the high school auditorium on Monday night, December 17. We had a good turnout of parents with fifty parents in attendance. I wanted to give the parents and community unable to attend a brief description of this program.
Worth the Wait is a program dedicated to promotion abstinence until marriage. Those who presented the program to parents Monday night stated that their goals are to reduce teen sexual activity and thus reduce teen pregnancy and the rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the Texas panhandle.
The presenters told parents that Worth the Wait is far from being a “just say no” program. The program includes medical education, reality education, and skills training with strategies that include the following:
Ø Medical Education: Community nurses teach teens medically-accurate information about puberty, reproductive anatomy, and sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
Ø Reality Education: Teachers teach teens about the benefits of healthy relationships in society, along with the benefits of abstaining from sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence.
Ø Skills Training: Teachers teach teens a set of skills designed to help them resist these risky behaviors. These skills include setting healthy personal boundaries, peer-pressure resistance, communication and relationship skills, goal setting, and media discernment.
Advocates of Worth the Wait believe that it is this combination of knowledge and skills, along with support from parents, teachers, friends, and community members that helps teen become and/or stay abstinent and reach their full potential as healthy adults.
“Why should teens wait?” the presenters asked of parents in attendance. Then they gave parents the answer. Teen sexual activity is associated with many serious social problems: sexually transmitted infections, depression, suicide, school expulsion, dropping out of school, martial stability, and pregnancy.
The program also has a major component of parental involvement. The Monday night meeting was the one activity of that component—and more parent meetings will be scheduled. Parents are also invited to review the curriculum of the program. Periodic parent meetings are held to give parents important information. A quarterly parent newsletter comes to the homes of students involved in the program. It has timely information for parents on such topics as effective communication with teens. (See the article from the Fall 2007 Worth the Wait, “Good Way To Talk,” parent newsletter in this edition of Paw Prints.)
Sunray ISD is bringing this program to our junior high and high school because of a request from parents and community members. We have seen a growing need in recent years for such a program for our students. We wanted one that was abstinence based and one that teaches students to learn the skills needed to make wise choices. We want students to leave our school prepared academically and prepared socially to meet the challenges that will come their way. We feel that Worth the Wait can help our students be better prepared to lead a healthy, positive life.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call the campus principals at the middle school or high school or to call the superintendent’s office. We want all parents involved in this new program. We are interested in hearing your concerns and in answering your questions.