By Merry Bradshaw

Special to the MLN

On March 12, CCSD officials attended Mesquite’s monthly Community Education Advisory Board meeting.  Asst. Supt. of Instructional Design and Professional Learning, Danielle Miller, led the group of administrators. Also attending was Mary Pike, Director of Curriculum for K-12 Science, Health and P.E. and Dan Wray, Chief Technology Officer. Chris Garvey, CCSD Trustee for Area B, which includes Mesquite and Moapa Valley schools, participated via telephone.

The purpose of the visit was to bring local CEAB members, interested parents and community members up to date on the ongoing sex education curriculum review process. Nearly twenty parents and community members filled the audience from Mesquite and Moapa Valley to learn the current status of the possible revision of the existing curriculum in grades 5, 8 and high school.

Miller discussed the process used in distributing the recent sex education curriculum survey to parents and community. It was made available at parent forums and on the CCSD website in November and December. Parents were notified about the survey through the district’s automated ParentLink system. One parent expressed concern that Hispanic parents may hang up if messages are delivered in English. Wray explained, “ A preference for messages in Spanish could be noted at the time of a student’s registration.”

On December 13, the results of the surveys were tallied. Parents completed 40% of the less than 5,000 surveys returned, Miller stated. It was noted that it was a very small response, but greater than other surveys conducted in the past.  Questions did delineate between an elementary and secondary focus and many were admittedly non-specific. One area parents were overwhelmingly in support of though was maintaining the “opt in/opt out” option when it was time for their student to attend sex education class.

Survey results were presented to the CCSD Board of Trustees on January 22 and to the Sex Education Advisory Committee on February 19.  Future discussions by the Board of Trustees may determine whether they want to see a more inclusive sex education curriculum. Trustee Garvey stated, “Sexting was likely an issue the board would address.” Pike and Miller emphasized that if any changes were directed by the CCSD Board of Trustees it would be a lengthy process that provided numerous opportunities for parent and community input.