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Family Life (Grades 5, 7 & 8)

About Our Program

The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) requires instruction in Family Life and Human Development to be offered as one of seven components of Comprehensive Health Education.  At the elementary and middle levels, Family Life and Human Development instruction occurs in grades 5, 7, and 8.  A team of traveling resource teachers – one male and one female – teaches classes in Family Life Education.  (Please note – Grade 6 Family Life is taught by Girls’ Incorporated and the Health Department during Physical Education classes.)

The Family Life program in Washington County Public Schools is an ABSTINENCE-BASED PROGRAM.  This means that the recurring theme throughout the program is to wait or refrain from sexual activity.  Research indicates that this type of program is effective in reducing undesirable consequences like sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies.

Washington County Public Schools recognizes that the parent is the primary educator for their child in the area of human sexuality.  This program is not intended to take the place of the parent, but rather to supplement what parents are already doing.  Parent evaluations indicate overwhelming support of the Family Life Education program.  Many parents feel this program helps to enhance communication at home and gives their child a good, age-appropriate foundation in the area of human sexuality.

Advisory Committee and Family Life and Human Development Materials

The Family Life Education program operates under the direction and guidance of the Family Life and Human Development Advisory Committee.  This committee is required by the school system to be in compliance with the regulations of COMAR (Code of Maryland).  The two purposes of the committee are to:  1) Consult with staff in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Family Life program; and 2) Review available instructional materials and recommend to the Board of Education the selection of materials to be included in the Family Life program.

Members of the Family Life and Human Development Advisory Committee are appointed by the Board of Education.  Appointments of members to the committee consider:  parents/guardians, WCPS personnel, physicians, students, legislators, members of community organizations, clergy, and members of professional and civic organizations.  The traveling teachers are also non-voting members of the committee.  The committee reports to the Board of Education when making recommendations for the addition or deletion of instructional materials.

Grade 5, 7 and 8 Parent Letter

Parents and guardians will receive a letter about the Family Life program and when it will be occurring in a particular school.  All students are considered to be taking Family Life unless a parent sends a written request to excuse his/her child from the program.  This policy is in accordance with the Code of Maryland Regulations for Comprehensive Health Education Instructional Programs.  COMAR also requires that if a student is excused from the Family Life program, the student be given alternate learning activities in health education provided by the local school.

Schedule for Family Life curriculum preview meetings for parents and guardians (1 page PDF)

A link is provided for each grade to access the Parent Letter for grade 5 and for grades 7 and 8 Family Life Education.

Grade 5

  • Self-Esteem
  • Puberty and HIV/AIDS 

Grade 5 Parent Permission Letter (1 page PDF)
Grade 5 Curriculum (PowerPoint converted to 12 page PDF)

Grade 7

  • Self-Esteem and Peer Pressure
  • Female Puberty and Reproduction
  • Male Puberty and Reproduction
  • Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • HIV/AIDS/Abstinence/Quiz

Grade 8

  • Decision-Making, Values and Goals
  • Female and Male Reproductive Systems
  • Conception to Birth and Birth Process
  • Challenge of Teenage Pregnancy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS
  • Abstinence
  • Sexual Behaviors and the Law (Sexual Harassment, Date/Acquaintance Rape and Sexting)
  • Contraception/Abstinence/Quiz

Grades 7 and 8 Parent Permission Letter (3 page PDF)
Grades 7 and 8 Curriculum (PowerPoint converted to 76 page PDF)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. ARE GIRLS AND BOYS SEPARATED?

Yes, boys and girls are separated for instruction in grades 5, 7 and 8.  The male teacher teaches the boys and the female teacher instructs the girls.

  1.  ARE STUDENTS TAUGHT HOW TO HAVE SEXUAL ACTIVITY?

Family Life is a “how not to” class, not a “how to” class.

  1. IS SLANG VERBIAGE USED IN THE CLASS?

Teachers do not use slang words the instruction.  However, a student may ask a question which includes slang.  The teacher will explain what the correct terminology is for the slang word.

  1. HOW ARE STUDENT QUESTIONS HANDLED?

Students are encouraged to ask questions in the manner in which they are comfortable.  They may either ask questions during class or use an anonymous question box.  Teachers will answer questions that are asked in an informational, educational manner.

  1. ARE ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLES TAUGHT?

Instruction in alternative lifestyles is not part of the Family Life curriculum.  If a student asks a question in class about alternative lifestyles, the teachers will encourage the students to talk with their parent or guardian about this issue.  

  1.  IS ABORTION PART OF THE FAMILY LIFE CURRICULUM?

Abortion is not part of the Family Life curriculum.  If a student asks a question in class about abortion, the teachers will encourage the students to talk with their parent or guardian about this issue.

  1.  ARE STUDENTS TAUGHT HOW TO PUT A CONDOM ON A BANANA?

There is no instruction during Family Life on how to put a condom on a banana.  This is a rumor that is often spread prior to Family Life coming into a school.

8.      IS CONTRACEPTION DISTRIBUTED?

No, contraception is not distributed.  The main focus on contraception is to explain different types of contraception and their effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness).  Students are told that abstinence is the only 100% effective choice to protect against pregnancy and disease. 

9.      FROM WHAT COMPANIES ARE FAMILY LIFE MATERIALS SELECTED?

Family Life materials are selected and reviewed from reputable educational companies.  Some of these companies include:  Channing-Bete, Journeyworks, ETR, Sunburst Visual Media, Marsh Media and Human Relations Media.

Contact the Family Life Staff

Supervisor: Eric Michael
301-766-2929
michaeri@wcps.k12.md.us

Males' Teacher: Dennis Talbert
301-766-8790
talbeden@wcps.k12.md.us

Females' Teacher: Mary Ellen Butts
301-766-8790
buttsmar@wcps.k12.md.us

 
Washington County Public Schools Student