To support approximately 24,000 Portland Public Schools (PPS) middle and high school students reaching adulthood in the healthiest possible way, Schools Advancing Youth Wellness (SAY Wellness) is a proposed Component 1 and Component 2 project. PPS is the largest school district in Oregon, serving over 49,000 students in 79 schools in the urban core of Multnomah County, which has higher rates of youth health disparities, teen pregnancy, STD/STIs, and sexual risk behaviors than any other county in the state.
SAY Wellness proposes increased surveillance through implementation of the Youth Risk Behaviors Survey and School Profiles survey in Component 1. Under Component 2, SAY Wellness will increase teacher preparedness to teach sexual health education; increase the number of students receiving effective sexual health education; increase access to sexual health services; and increase safe and supportive environments in schools. The intermediate project outcomes include increased student knowledge, skills and behaviors to avoid and reduce sexual risk, increased student awareness of sexual health needs and services, increased student STD/HIV testing, increased parental monitoring and communication about sexual health, and increased student connectedness to their school. Long term project outcomes include delayed onset of sexual activity, decreased rates of sex without condoms, increased contraceptive use, decreased pregnancy rates, decreased STD/HIV infection, decreased youth risk behaviors among the target population, and increased student academic success.
SAY Wellness programming will follow the Future of Sex Education Initiative (FoSE) National Sexuality Education Standards — Core Content and Skills, K-12 (January 2012) and Oregon’s Health Education standards and performance measures (2016). The project will utilize a protective factors approach via established resources available through the CDC, Advocates for Youth Protective Factors toolkits, and state and local community partners. The Student Health Advisory Council will support the integration of the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community (WSCC) model districtwide, and leverage PPS’ membership into the Urban School Wellness Coalition supported by Action for Healthy Kids.
PPS is a partner for the Adolescent and Communities Together (ACT) grant provided by the federal Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program for Multnomah County. PPS is also a current CDC sub-awardee of Advocates for Youth to “Build Local Capacity to Prevent HIV and STDs in Adolescents (10-19 y.o.)”. In the first year of the grant, PPS will work with current partner and Component 3 applicant Advocates for Youth to maximize project reach and impact.