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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around at a dinner party recently, there were parents of seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth graders and, like me, they had not seen any materials come home nor had any discussions with their kids about the curricu- lum," said one parent who wanted to remain anonymous. Another mother of a sixth grader lamented a missed opportunity saying, "It's unfortunate because it would have been so helpful to me as a parent to know what was being covered so we could have more dialogue about the subject matter." Joanne Grant provided WellesleyWeston Magazine with an outline of outreach to parents that includes a letter that is sent home with students. "At the beginning of the sixth grade "Working on Wellness" (W.O.W.) course, the students receive an outline that they have to take home to their parents or guardians," she says. "On this out- line, the three modules are explained, and parents have to sign this out- line before the W.O.W. course begins." There are other ways to learn about the curriculum like on "Back to School" nights. Note that every parent receives a letter in the mail giv- ing him or her the option under Massachusetts State law to opt out. It is evident that many students are skipping potentially embarrassing sex education homework and are missing out on opportunities to con- nect with parents. "We had a lot of discussions about this; it wasn't an easy decision," says Sciera, "but not every kid has what I would call an 'askable' parent or guardian." So what's a parent to do? Children may jam their sex education homework in the bottom of a backpack, be too focused on their mobile device, pay more attention to friends and the media than parents, or just be hard to talk to. "Parenting is hard. It's worth the struggle to get the conversation started, because our kids benefit," acknowledges Grossman. The experts say start early and often. It should be a series of short, small conversations, not one big planned sit down with charts and graphs. "Yes, it's mortifying," Grossman continues. "Kids are awk- ward and embarrassed but parents and kids can learn together." Grant thinks that the Get Real message is important for kids to hear. "Ultimately, we are trying to give our kids the skills they need to be productive citizens in the world. Sexuality and health education are components of that," she says. "It's not an 'extra,' it's not a 'special,' it is something necessary and important to educate the whole child." 118 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 "Get Real" About Sex Education SOURCE: Planned Parenthood M E D I A B A K E R Y Get Real has been selected by 200 Schools and out-of-school-time programs… reaching 56,000+ Students across seven states (FL, MA, NY, OH, RI, TX, UT)

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