What Do We Value?

By Liz Thorne

I have always worked in a job dedicated to service to others that is mission-driven. Here at Cairn Guidance, our mission is to create places of health and well-being where all youth are healthy, connected, educated and reaching their full potential. I’m willing to bet most people would agree this is a shared value. But how we get there is where we see so much divergence.

The recent decision by the Administration to cut $213 million dollars in programs and research to prevent teen pregnancy is a recent example of a policy that is not based in evidence or reason, and moves in the opposite direction of what we know works in preventing teen pregnancies. Here’s what we know.

Most young people will have sex before they are married. Regardless of whether you talk about it or not, young people will have sex before they graduate high school. Nearly half (41%) of high schoolers in the US have had sex.[1]

The teen pregnancy rate has been dropping for years. While rates of sexual activity have been stable, the teen birth rate has dropped precipitously for years. So what has changed? Studies point to increased use of contraception, including more effective methods like long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).[2] The American Academy of Pediatrics put out a policy statement in 2014 recommending LARCs as the first line contraceptive choice for youth who choose not to be abstinent. Another policy support- the Affordable Care Act required that insurance companies cover contraceptives like LARCs to make them more accessible and lessen the burden on publicly funded family planning programs.

Learning to navigate relationships, intimacy and romance is part of growing into an adult. Being in a healthy relationship takes skills and skills take practice. Plus, too many young people find themselves in unhealthy relationships that can derail their potential. Many of the programs funded through the Office of Adolescent Health focused on helping young people identify healthy relationships, including consent and how to make healthy choices aligned with their values.  Quality comprehensive sexuality education covers healthy relationships (including consent and how to get help if you are in an unhealthy relationship); abstinence as a healthy choice for our young people, contraception and building skills (like communication and negotiation). However, many young people in schools across our country do not have access to comprehensive sexuality education.

We have too far to go to head in the opposite direction. Even as teen pregnancy rates declined for all populations, there are still differences based on race and class that must be addressed. At least 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college. Young people must have access to information, health services, and opportunities to develop skills to keep themselves safe, healthy and able to learn.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2015.

[2] Lindberg L, Santelli J, Desai S. Understanding the decline in adolescent fertility in the United States 2007-2012. Journal of Adolescent Health http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(16)30172-0/pdf

The Energizer Bunny!

Written by Heather Deckard, our new Dove Self Esteem Program Coordinator.

Did you ever see the commercial with the energizer bunny?

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The bunny kept going and going due to the amazing batteries it was running on. Well that’s me, Heather Deckard. I’ve been a tireless champion for physical education and wellness for over 20 years. I currently teach middle school physical education in the morning and in the afternoon I serve as the District physical education coordinator. I teach in an urban school district with 47,000 students and have been leading the charge to revive and standardize the physical education programming on the ground and among my peers. As a result, I’ve created systems change in my district that has elevated the importance of student physical education as a pillar of a complete educational experience and curriculum.

I’ve served in many leadership roles in the California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD), including as President in 2014. I have served as a National Ambassador for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and I am a current Let’s Move Active Schools (LMAS) Physical Activity Leader (PAL) trainer. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and teaching credential from California State University, Sacramento. Next stop was West Virginia University to obtain my Master of Science in Physical Education- Teacher Education. I chose to attend West Virginia University to see if there was a difference between west and east coast philosophy in physical education and health. Ask me sometime what I found out!

I am extremely excited to begin my role with Cairn Guidance. I first met Director Jess Lawrence at the very first Urban Physical Education Summit during her session on systems change. I will be serving as the Dove Self Esteem Ambassador Program Coordinator. Some of duties include providing support to the 18 selected Dove Ambassadors, representing 14 states, including coordinating travel for Ambassador training events; facilitating Ambassador applications to state conferences for exhibiting and presenting; technical assistance/support for training events, tracking of outreach for reporting purposes, social media engagement strategies; writing newsletter and blog posts even networking/building strategic partnerships with a variety of key associations.

On top of all of this I am a mom of two amazing boys, I play competitive slow-pitch softball and I’m part owner in a Nutrition Club.

Next week... SHAPE America, in Boston!

Next week, 5500+ health educators, physical educators, dance educators will be coming together for SHAPE America's annual convention, held in Boston this year. It's not only SHAPE's biggest annual event, but it's March Madness & St Patrick's Day. Let the craziness begin. 5500+ fellow educators creating, learning, facilitating, presenting, sharing, networking and advocating for the whole child. 

The Cairn Guidance team will be there in full force... we will be exhibiting for the Dove Self Esteem Project, booth #519, so come see us for free give aways! We are also thrilled to be sponsoring the General Session on Wednesday morning-

“Creating a Kinder and Braver World”
Maya Enista Smith will discuss Born This Way Foundation’s (founded by Lady Gaga) commitment to supporting the wellness of young people, and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world.  Working together with SHAPE America members, the foundation wants to see a world of people whose decisions and conversations are driven by kindness, acceptance and compassion.

We are presenting the following sessions:
Tuesday, 8am-noon - Systems Changing; Systems Changing simulation: In an engaging skill-building team session, participants will be confronted with realistic decisions and experiences, be compelled to consider new ways of looking at their goals and their work, be challenged to review what they consider legitimate indicators of success, try proven methods for making system-wide changes in their school setting related to their health education, physical education or school health initiative/program, distill their experience into action-oriented learnings and have fun! 
Wednesday, 3:30-5:30pm - Facilitating Role Plays in the Health Education Classroom: Role Playing is an effective skills-based learning strategy in the health education classroom, as it aligns to most of the National Health Education Standards. This session will guide participants through a variety of activities to increase their comfort and confidence facilitating role plays as well as give ideas on how to overcome challenges. Scoring rubrics will be shared aligned to role plays if using as an assessment tool in the classroom.
Thursday, 3-4:15pm - Enhancing Assessment in Health Education: an update and history of the Health Education Assessment Project and how SHAPE America is updating/revising and supporting this resource for teachers.

We have some other commitments- we are sponsoring the health education track and will be doing a 20 minute Dove Self Esteem Demo on Wednesday from 2-2:20 in the Exhibit Hall.

Can't wait to connect with colleagues, friends, cadre members, clients and partners in Boston! 

 

 

 

Upcoming HECAT Training of Trainers in Washington DC

After a much- needed vacation this upcoming week, I will be facilitating a Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool training for the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Twenty lead educators supporting school health/health education will participate in a two-day training of trainers (ToT) to equip them with the skills and knowledge to effectively train, teach, and utilize the tool to write lessons, units, develop a scope and sequence, analyze current curricula programs, align program to health education standards and determine feasibility of implementation of programs. 

We are looking forward to facilitating this ToT again and excited to meet new teachers in the DC area!

Follow along @cairnguidance #DCHealthEd January 31- February 1, 2017

Dove Middle School Self Esteem Project

UPDATE: Participate in this week's free SHAPE America webinar to learn more about the program and win a chance to attend a national conference of your choice, at no cost! You may watch the webinar at a later date as well, however, register here

Why is body confidence and self-esteem important for students?

The early teen years are one of the most dynamic in terms of development- physically, emotionally and socially. Fitting in and being accepted by peers is central. In fact, brain science tells us that during early adolescence social acceptance by peers may be processed by the brain similarly to other pleasurable rewards, such as receiving money or eating ice cream. In most cases, affinity for peer groups leads to the healthy identity development and an increase in social connections. However, the drive to be accepted socially can lead to issues like disordered eating, engaging in risky behaviors (like drinking and drug use) or depression. Young people need the support of caring teachers and adults to help them build skills to make healthy choices. Among high schoolers in the US:

•One in five reported being bullied on school property, and is more common among girls than boys (25% vs 15%). Young people are bullied for a number of reasons, but appearance, including body shape, weight, and skin, are common.

•30% were depressed in the past year. Again, more girls reported being depressed than boys (40% vs. 20%).

There is growing acknowledgement that social/emotional and mental health of students is a vital ingredient to success in school and beyond the classroom. Self-esteem works in concert with other personality traits, like openness, conscientiousness and belief in one’s ability to overcome obstacles (self-efficacy). Research has found that self-esteem positively impacts academic self-efficacy and belief that school is important, which in turn impacts academic success (like grades).                          

What is the Confident Me curriculum?                            

Dove’s Confident Me is designed to promote body confidence in a classroom setting. The lessons are aimed primarily at 11-14 year olds, but can also be used with older girls and boys if you think it’s appropriate for your students. The free downloadable materials include a range of curriculum-relevant teaching resources, developed in collaboration with teachers and students. Research has shown that students who participate in Dove Confident Me workshops have improved body image and self-esteem, and they feel more confident to participate in social and academic activities.

The core themes covered in Confident Me include: Appearance Ideals, Competing and Comparing Looks, Media and Celebrities, and Body Talk.  There are presentations, teaching guide and student worksheets available to facilitate discussions around body confidence issues.            

How can the Confident Me curriculum can help me meet accountability standards for high-quality health education?

The Confident Me program is currently going through a national pilot implementation process to inform how to update and revise the current single-session and five-session programs to be most relevant in the US classroom. This means alignment to the National Health Education Content Standards (NHES), the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) and the effective practices in health education.  

The instruction within Confident Me will support building student knowledge and skills, including analyzing influences, accessing information and advocacy. The HECAT Healthy Behavior Outcomes and knowledge and skill expectations are still to be determined, based on the outcomes of the pilot process.

Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), formerly No Child Left Behind, offers new opportunities for states and schools to focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of students. Provisions allow schools to use funding to develop school-wide health programs, such as implementing positive behavior and social-emotional support strategies. Within Title I, II and IV of the new federal legislation, there are opportunities for during and after-school for programs focused on the social-emotional well-being of students.

How can I download the Confident Me curriculum?

The curriculum is currently being updated for use in schools across the country. The link to the single session program is here and the link to the five session program is here.  Both programs may also be found at http://selfesteem.dove.us/

Incentives

Health and PE teachers, school nurses and school counselors may Implement the 1-session or 5-session Confident Me! Middle School Program by December 15, 2016 and win a chance to attend the state conference of your choice or attendance at the SHAPE America Convention in Boston, March 2016—all expenses paid! 9 lucky teachers in total will be selected to win.

To be eligible to win, email Samantha Lowe at Samantha@cairnguidance.com and share the following information with her:

Full Name 

Work Email 

School(s) Name

District

State 

Current Number of Students

References: 
McNeely C, Blanchard J. 2009. The Teen Years Explained: A Guide to Healthy Adolescent Development. Center for Adolescent Health at John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. High School Survey, 2015. Retrieved from https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Default.aspx

Di Giunta L et al. 2013. The determinants of scholastic achievement: The contribution of personality traits, self-esteem, and academic self-efficacy. Learning and Individual Differences, 27, 102-108.

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