The following statements are in response to recent national news coverage concerning the Essex Westford School District.
At 2am on April 27th the EWSD board received a statement request from Fox and Friends with a deadline for response by 5am. We were unable to respond in that time frame but provide the following statement in response to recent coverage about the elementary health curriculum.
The EWSD continues to utilize the same AOE approved standards with language updates in alignment with the Vermont Agency Education recommendations. Per the EWSD Equity Policy, we remain committed to utilizing inclusive language and practices to ensure all students grow and thrive.
We also strive to model kindness, respect, and civility to our students. As we engage with transparency with our community, the Board will not tolerate vitriol, hateful or threatening language, or other mistreatment of our staff. As a board, we fully stand behind our educators, administrators, and their work ensuring academic excellence in adherence to state standards.
EWSD Board Chair
Essex Westford School District
Statement Regarding the Health Curriculum in the Essex Westford School District:
The EWSD has a health program for students in grades K-8 called The Great Body Shop. This program is in alignment with our District Equity Policy and it aligns with the K-8 Vermont Agency of Education Health Standards.
The Great Body Shop guides our instruction in puberty/growth and development. The program helps us ensure that our instruction and methods are inclusive of all students in our schools. This means that the instruction will not associate puberty with any identified gender but rather be clear about the differences in bodies and how that changes the experiences of puberty. This is designed to be LGBTQIA+ affirming, and a guide to supporting all students in understanding their own bodies without separating students by identified gender.
The Great Body Shop is a comprehensive health education curricular resource that is developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive, and medically accurate. The Great Body Shop is aligned with the National Health Education Standards, the National Sexuality Education Standards, and many state standards, including Vermont’s.
The Great Body Shop’s primary purpose is to provide families and students with the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy life choices (https://thegreatbodyshop.net/curriculum/k-six).