Vetting Sex Education Resources when Abstinence Only Funding is Increasing

Are you looking to vet sexual health education content for your educators, organization or an event? During the time of increased Abstinence-Only funding, sometimes it is hard to navigate what programs and practices are healthful, safe and based in best-practice for youth. Advocates for Youth and Cairn Guidance have partnered to create a simple checklist to help you navigate selecting sex education materials for your classroom, educators or event. Download the free, easy to use checklist for your needs here.

A systems approach to integrating health in education

Cairn Guidance was contracted to write this publication for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Students who are healthy, present, and engaged learn better. At the same time, those with more education tend to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. In short, the relationship between health and education is reciprocal: higher education has been found to improve health, and better health supports learning. But despite these connections the education and health sectors have largely worked separately.

Key Findings

  • A systems approach is needed to better integrate health and education.

  • There are many policy avenues for doing so, including the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act at the federal level, as well as myriad state policies.

  • The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model can help build a shared framework for health and education leaders.

  • To build a true systems approach, we will need to confront challenges and opportunities related to operations, quality, and implementation

This publication is located here


Cairn Guidance was a contributor to this publication for the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

School Improvement Plans provide a systematic opportunity to address the needs of the whole child, as reflected in the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model, incorporating physical, social, emotional and/or behavioral health priorities into schools. The purpose of this guide is to explore that opportunity. The guide has two distinct aims: 1) To provide public health agencies and other partners an understanding of improvement plans and their purpose and role in schools and districts, and 2) To outline the opportunities to incorporate health and wellness-related goals and aligned activities into improvement plans, highlighting examples from schools and districts that have done it. The primary focus of the guide is school-level improvement plans, with an understanding that improvement plans are often developed at the district level also. The guide was designed to be useful for a broad array of readers, including both education and health leaders at the local, state and national levels. 

You can find this publication here


The whole school, whole community, whole child model; ideas for implementation

Cairn Guidance was a contributor to this document for ASCD.

Since its release, more than a dozen states, two dozen large school districts, community-based groups, and many organizations across the fields of education, public health, and school health have put the model into practice. ASCD has sourced and compiled these diverse entities to showcase how they have implemented the model, and how they are using it to ensure the well-being of each child. If your organization is seeking ways to approach children’s education and health holistically, the WSCC model can help. Read on for concrete examples, provided by professionals across all sectors and all levels, for applying the model to real-world problems. To help you visualize your own approach, many contributors provided examples of support documents they successfully used in their implementation efforts—these resources can be found at Use their stories to start dialogues, engage stakeholders, and spur ideas for developing environments that support the health and education of each child, in each school, in each community. 

You can find this tool here


Connecting health and learning; health is vital for student success: An overview of relevant research

Cairn Guidance was contracted to write this publication for the The Colorado Education Initiative.

Use this resource to help make the case about the connection between health and student and staff success.

Publication includes an overview of relevant research and literature, including key facts, quotes, and references — and success stories from Colorado schools and districts that have seen the benefits of addressing health and wellness.

“If we are going to see significant improvement in the learning success of Colorado students, we must pay careful attention to research that is making the clear connection between student health and academic performance.”

You can find this publication here



Cairn Guidance was an author for these National Content Standards.

The National Health Education Standards (NHES) were developed to establish, promote and support health-enhancing behaviors for students in all grade levels—from pre-Kindergarten through grade 12. The NHES provide a framework for teachers, administrators, and policy makers in designing or selecting curricula, allocating instructional resources, and assessing student achievement and progress. Importantly, the standards provide students, families and communities with concrete expectations for health education.

First published in 1995, the NHES were created in response to several model standards being developed for other areas of education by educational leaders across the United States in the early 1990's. With support from the American Cancer Society, the Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards was formed to develop the standards. Committee members included

You can find this publication here


HEALTH EDUCATION Curriculum analysis tool

Cairn Guidance was a contributor to the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) for Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


The Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) can help school districts, schools, and others conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards and CDC's Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum .

Results of the HECAT can help schools select or develop appropriate and effective health education curricula and improve the delivery of health education. The HECAT can be customized to meet local community needs and conform to the curriculum requirements of the state or school district.

You can find this publication here


National sexuality education standards

Cairn Guidance was a reviewer of this national document.

The goal of the National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K–12 is to provide clear, consistent and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades K–12.The development of these standards is a result of an ongoing initiative, the Future of Sex Education (FoSE). 

This publication is located here


Getting Students active through safe routes to school

Cairn Guidance was an author for this publication for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership presents Getting Students Active through Safe Routes to School: Policies and Action Steps for Education Policymakers and Professionals. The intent of this publication is to equip more education policymakers and professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to implement and sustain successful Safe Routes to School programs and supportive policies.

You can find this publication here


Congregational health index

Cairn Guidance was a lead contributor to this tool for Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.

The Congregational Health Index (CHI) is a self-assessment tool and planning guide that will enable you to:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your congregation’s facilities, policies, and practices for promoting health;
  • Develop an action plan for improving your congregation’s facilities, policies, and practices, and;  
  • Involve your faith community in implementing this improvement plan. 

You can find this publication here