The purpose of health education is to develop health-literate students鈥攕tudents who acquire the knowledge and possess the skills needed to engage in meaningful and health-enhancing lifetime behaviors. The provide a foundation for implementing age-appropriate instruction for all students.聽 Sexual Health Education is a strand of Health Education in Washington state, along with Wellness, Safety, Nutrition, Social Emotional Health, and Substance Use and Abuse.

Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE)

, all public schools are required to provide comprehensive sexual health education (CSHE) to all students. CSHE follows the Washington state .

For grades PK-3, CSHE is taught through the teaching and learning of social emotional learning (SEL) skills and concepts such as coping with feelings, setting goals, and getting along with others.

Beginning in grade 4, other curricula is used for teaching CSHE consistent with the Health Education K-12 Learning Standards. Instruction is age-appropriate, medically accurate, and inclusive of all students. Topics include HIV/STI prevention, human growth and development, consent, bystander intervention, healthy relationships and how to avoid exploitive relationships. To learn more about state requirements, see the page on the OSPI website.

In Bellingham Public Schools,聽辫辞濒颈肠测听补苍诲听procedure 2125 govern CSHE. See below for information on our curriculum at elementary, middle and high school.

Information for parents and guardians

In spring 2022, a Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE) Review and Alignment Task Force formed to select a curriculum and create an implementation plan for aligned CSHE instruction in response to Washington state laws. In December 2022, Bellingham Public Schools Board approved the task force鈥檚 recommendation to use the Advocates for Youth in grades 4-12.

Parents/guardians have an opportunity to review curriculum and materials to be used and may choose to opt their child out of instruction. Our fourth and fifth grade human development and reproduction curriculum and our lessons for middle school and high school are publicly available for review under "Curriculum" below. You may notice some lessons are marked "optional." You will be notified of the specific lessons used in your child's class.

Parent and caregiver informational videos

These videos are available to inform and support families. Please review these videos if you are considering opting your child out of comprehensive sexual health education (CSHE).

  • "": this informational video helps parents and caregivers with these important conversations with children and teens.
  • "": this video provides an overview of CSHE in Bellingham Public Schools, including why, when and how CSHE lessons are taught in our schools (video updated Spring 2023).

Opt-out process

After reviewing the information and videos above and in the curriculum section below, families may wish to not have their child take part in the sexual health lessons at their school.聽 If so, please contact your teacher and principal to opt your child out of sexual health education.


(Updated Fall 2023)

Fourth grade聽

Structure: Fourth grade teachers teach lessons to their classes. Our schools may partner with a community health educator to help present CSHE lessons.

Curriculum: Lessons from the 3Rs curriculum used in grade 4:

Fifth grade

Structure: Fifth grade teachers schedule sexual health education lessons for their classes.聽 Our schools may partner with a community health educator to help present CSHE lessons.

Curriculum:聽 Lessons from the 3Rs curriculum used in grade 5:

Middle School

Structure: In middle school, health and physical educators teach sexual health education to all grade levels as part of health and PE.

Curriculum:聽 The Rights, Respect, Responsibility (3Rs) curriculum is used for middle school lessons.

Sixth grade

Seventh grade

Eighth Grade

High School

Structure: Every student is required to take one semester of Health to graduate. CSHE lessons are taught by teachers and/or peer health educators in Health class. Health is typically taken in 9th or 10th grade.

Lessons: Health (effective 2023)

Resources for parents and guardians

Families sometimes request additional resources to help guide conversations at home. Here are some resources provided by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and/or our CSHE educators.

Preet Singh

Director, Health Services

Clover Martin
Administrative Assistant