Resources for Teachers
North Carolina has the 6th highest rate for infant mortality in the nation and the statistics for pre-term birth, low-birth weight, neural tube defects, and other indicators follow the same pattern. The state also has the 9th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. These statistics suggest that we are not doing enough to ensure that our youngest citizens will have healthy futures.
Our mission of improving health outcomes for women and babies and reducing health disparities cannot be met without reaching all populations in North Carolina, and that includes our school-aged citizens. With this in mind, it is critical to start educating teens and young adults with health education messages. These messages will help shape their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the importance of health. We are focused on helping students gain an understanding of what they can do now and in the years to come to take control over their own reproductive lives.
The Healthy Youth Act
In 2009, the Healthy Youth Act (HYA) was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly. This landmark legislation requires that all 7th-9th grade students in North Carolina public schools receive age-appropriate instruction about both abstinence-until-marriage and comprehensive sexuality education unless their parents remove them from one or both parts of the curriculum. There is no standard curriculum provided by the state; local school districts determine what will be taught in their district.
As a result, many educators, school boards, public health agencies, nonprofits and other stakeholders have been working hard on creating new curricula that will fit within the broader parameters of the HYA. The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina has put together an Implementation Guide Book for schools to use when implementing the new changes.
Our “Healthy Before Pregnancy” curriculum compliments the principles of the HYA but is not in and of itself a comprehensive sex education curriculum. It does, however, meet many objectives in the N.C. Standard Course of Study objectives for Family and Consumer Sciences. It aligns with both the HYA and our mission of improving women’s wellness, improving reproductive outcomes, and reducing health disparities.
Reliable information on maternal and child health
- March of Dimes
- March of Dimes PeriStats®
- North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics
- Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition Statistics (Now Sexual Health Initiative for Teens – Shift NC)
- Action for Children North Carolina Research and Publications
Other curricula to improve health
- Kids Health in the Classroom by the Nemours Foundation
- NC Healthy Schools
- Educational resources from Shift NC
- Eat Smart Move More North Carolina
- Sybershop – an interactive CD for youth ages 13-19 that focuses on physical activity and healthy eating. Available through your Cooperative Extension.
- The Poe Center
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies