Prevention Education Through the School Curriculum
Mandated Instruction For Public Schools
New Jersey public schools are required to provide instruction that meets state Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS).
Included in the six standards for Comprehensive Health and Physcial Education are four, 2.1 – 2.4, that specify content knowledge and health skills related to human sexuality and prevention of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. The standards and student progress indicators are reviewed and updated every five years. Development of and technical support on the standards is provided by the Office of Academic and Professional Standards.
New Jersey statutes and regulations related to school instruction in human sexuality and family life education are explained in the FAQ on Health Education and Family Life Education.
For more information on statutes affecting health instruction in schools, see the introductory chapter of CCCS for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education.
Effective Instruction To Influence Student Behavior
The New Jersey Department of Education does not endorse any specific instructional materials, but does promote use of researched curricula and research-based best practices. Through review of multiple studies, researchers have identified characteristics of programs with behavioral impact. These characteristics address program duration, intensity, content and methods. Read more about these program characteristics:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Division of Adolescent and School Health has created a tool for analyzing school health curricula in relationship to research findings on effective programs across multiple content areas including sexual health. This tool is most useful during the curriculum development or selection process.
Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) is available for download or order.
Effective school health instruction maintains a focus on building health skills as well as content knowledge from grades K-12. Cross-cutting health skills are emphasized in the National Health Education Standards, Second Edition (2007), available for purchase at http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/. Health skills in the national standards are integrated into New Jersey CCCS for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education.
Evaluation findings of specific HIV, STD and pregnancy prevention programs for youth, some of which are suitable for use in schools, are published online. The Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the most comprehensive source for targeted and evidence-based HIV prevention interventions in the United States. These behavioral interventions have been rigorously tested and found to increase protective behaviors or reduce sexual or drug-related risk behaviors for acquiring HIV infection.
See below for links to this and other lists of evaluated programs.