MIDLAND - Midland ISD officials said they're hitting the ground running this school year when it comes to sex education.
After 154 pregnancies plagued the district last year, they approved a new program for students called "It's Your Game, Keep It Real" earlier this year, to be put into place in the 2011-2012 school year.
"We're looking forward to taking this very proactive and comprehensive approach, and helping children stay healthy and understand the concepts behind sexual integrity," MISD Health Services Supervisor, Tracey Dees, said.
But this new abstinence-plus curriculum which uses online teaching modules giving lessons on abstinence but also how to use contraception requires special training for the teachers and won't be able to be put in until the spring.
"Dr. Warren, our superintendent, was very committed to the fact that he wanted The University of Texas Prevention Research Center, who were the authors of 'It's Your Game, Keep It Real,' to do the training for our teachers," Dees said. "Due to scheduling issues and conflicts, we were not able to have those presenters come and do the presentations for our teachers until January and February."
With that training at the beginning of next year, "It's Your Game, Keep It Real" will be introduced to 7th graders between April and May of 2012 and then 8th graders will be added in the following 2012-2013 school year.
In the meantime, The Life Center in Midland will be hosting programs for all grades in MISD starting the third week of school.
They've even introduced two new sex education programs for 4th and 5th graders.
"In many Texas communities, we're finding that a sexual debut occurs as early as 5th grade," Ryan Loyd, Community Education Director for The Life Center, said. "It's important to start early so we can have a constant, consistent message through all 4th through 12th grades."
The Life Center's 4th and 5th grade programs are called "Mpact 4" and "Mpact 5" respectively, with the "Y Wud I" programs for 6th through 12th grades.
High schoolers will also receive programs from Midland/Odessa Area Aids Support, Inc.
The teachings vary depending on the grade, but Life Center directors are confident decreases in pregnancies will be made, though it may take a few years.
"Starting in 4th grade, we start with the character-based information, and we focus specifically on boundaries, goals, and integrity, and then we move in the 5th grade into sexual integrity, but the message always begins with goals, boundaries, and integrity," Loyd said. "Throughout the journey of this project, we'll see some decreases, but we will not see the large chunks of decrease until probably years three and four."
Based on last year's pregnancies, MISD officials said any improvement is good.
Ector County ISD told NewsWest 9, The Life Center's "Y Wud I" program will also be instituted for their 6th through 12th graders.