Montabella school board reviews new sex education curriculum


By Meghan Nelson • Last Updated 2:49 pm on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

EDMORE— Montabella Junior/Senior High School is following suit with neighboring school districts by introducing a sex education curriculum aimed at special education students.

From left, Montabella Community Schools Board President Jann LaPointe, Superintendent Shelly Millis and Trustee Eylie Foster review and discuss the agenda for Monday night’s school board meeting, which included a first reading of a sex education curriculum. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

In January, the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) was awarded a Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Grant for schools within Montcalm County.

“Montcalm (Area) ISD asked schools if they were interested in being a part of our grant, and I was excited about the opportunity,” Montabella Junior/Senior High School Principal Shane Riley said during Monday night’s school board meeting.

The grant would provide three years of funding for the curriculum to be taught by presenters in Montabella and other participating schools. The program also includes training for teachers to be able to take over and teach the curriculum in the future.

“Right now our special education students don’t take sexual education (classes) with our regular students,” Montabella Superintendent Shelly Millis said. “Unfortunately, cognitively impaired students can be in situations they aren’t prepared for, and this would help educate them on those kinds of situations.”

The curriculum is an evidence-based, abstinence approach to teen pregnancy and HIV/STD prevention curriculum for special education students.

From left, Montabella Community Schools Board of Education trustees Sherri Miel and Ivan Renne, Student Representative Jacob Korte and Trustee Katie Ludwig review details of the proposed sex education curriculum. School board members unanimously passed the first reading at Monday night’s meeting. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

“It goes along with the Michigan Model recommended curriculum, just at a little slower pace and some spots are more in depth, other spots not as much,” Millis said.

According to Riley, the presenter would teach 12 specific lessons to students, which includes modifications for the information to be taught an appropriate level. That might mean spending more time on one topic and less time on another.

Riley wanted parents to know that the program would allow special education students to learn about how to make informed decisions in an area that could have a lasting impact on their life.

The school board unanimously approved the first reading of the proposal Monday, and will likely approve the curriculum at the next school board meeting on March 20 at Montabella Central Office, 302 W. Main St., Edmore.

If the curriculum is approved, the program will start immediately and will conclude later this spring.

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