WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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112 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 5 Wellesley and Weston " Get Real " About Sex Education A L L I S O N I J A M S S A R G E N T writer M E D I A B A K E R Y there is no subject riper for misinformation, hyperbole, and just plain hogwash than sex. There is also no other subject more important to get right when teaching young people. So when the Weston and Wellesley school systems began dusting off their sexuality curriculums over the past few years, they both came to the same conclusion: It was time for a total overhaul. "Some of it was outdated; there were missing pieces," says Wellesley Middle School health teacher, Kari Sciera. Weston's Director of Wellness Education, Mitch Finnegan, agrees: "The cur- riculum we had been using was about ten years old, and we knew it needed updating." Their search for an age-appropriate and medically-accurate program meant looking no further than their proverbial backyards. The Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) had a nationally-recognized program in place called "Get Real," which emphasized all of the critical components important to Weston and Wellesley educators. "We like that it's thorough, it's com- prehensive," says Joanne Grant, Director of Fitness and Health, in Wellesley. "It is spiraled and sequenced through the grades." Get Real offers school districts a lifeline when it comes to the tricky business of teaching preteens and teens about their bodies, their sexuality, relationships, and wellness. "We felt it was a good fit for Weston because it taught the topic of human sexuality from a comprehensive perspective," says Finnegan. "It places sexuality in the context of emo- tional and social health and grounds it in personal values. And it's evidence based." Both districts were impressed that a Wellesley Centers for Women study determined that middle school students who took three years of Get Real were 15 percent more likely to delay sexual activity than their peers who received another type of sexual education program, which is

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