Program Success Center

for Sexual & Reproductive Health

Get Real

Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works is a 3-year middle school curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and published by ETR. Get Real emphasizes social and emotional skills as a key component of healthy relationships and responsible decision making. It promotes abstinence from sex as the healthiest choice for adolescents; provides a comprehensive understanding of sexual health, sexuality and protection methods; and supports parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children through family activities that encourage dialogue between students and the caring adults in their lives about sexual health topics. A 1-year evidence-informed high school curriculum is also available.

Category Program Features
Setting School based

Program Length

Middle School
7 hours/year | 3 years
27 sessions total | 9 per year
High School
8 hours/1 year | 11 sessions
Age Group Middle School—Ages 12–14
High School—Ages 14–18
Look Inside

Middle School Table of Contents
Middle School Sample Lesson

High School Table of Contents
High School Sample Lesson
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Overview | Description | Population | Author | Who's Using

Overview

Get Real is a 3-year middle school curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and published by ETR. Get Real emphasizes social and emotional skills as a key component of healthy relationships and responsible decision making. It promotes abstinence from sex as the healthiest choice for adolescents; provides a comprehensive understanding of sexual health, sexuality and protection methods; and supports parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children through family activities that encourage dialogue between students and the caring adults in their lives about sexual health topics. It is a school-based program evaluated in a largely urban setting with a diverse student population, and is suitable for all teens, regardless of their sexual experience or sexual orientation.

The Get Real program also offers a 1-year high school curriculum, which is available from ETR. However, please note that the high school component was not evaluated as part of the research study and is therefore not on the official OAH list or eligible for OAH funding.

Description

Get Real Middle School consists of 27 sequential lessons taught across the middle school years—9 lessons each in Grades 6, 7 and 8.

The following four premises are built into the curriculum:

  • Sexual health is an integral part of health education.
  • Parents and other caring adults are students’ primary sexuality educators.
  • Relationship skills are a key element of a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum.
  • While abstinence from sex is the healthiest choice for avoiding sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy, adolescents require a comprehensive understanding of sexual health, sexuality and protection methods, which they will need when they become sexually active.

Get Real is framed with the concept of social and emotional learning, or SEL, and teaches five SEL skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making as key elements in learning how to negotiate relationships. These skills are integrated into the content of the lessons through activities and process questions.

The Get Real program recognizes parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children, and encourages students to talk with a parent or other caring adult about the material covered in class. Every lesson includes take-home Family Activities that encourage this dialogue between students and their parents and other caring adults. Parents are supported through:

  • Informational letters that explain material covered in class and the corresponding Family Activity
  • Strategies and tips for talking with their children about topics covered in class
  • Additional education resources

As a result of participating in the Get Real program, students will be able to:

  • Connect self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills to responsible decision making.
  • Name reasons abstinence is the healthiest choice for youth their age.
  • Describe consequences of sexual activity and ways to reduce the risk of negative consequences.
  • Apply a decision-making model to real-life situations.
  • Demonstrate assertive communication and refusal skills for delaying sexual intercourse and avoiding unprotected sexual activity.
  • Increase their opportunities for conversations with their parents and other caring adults about personal, family and community beliefs about sexual health. The program is delivered through class discussion, role plays, worksheets, practice of skills and assessment activities.

Get Real is also available as a 1-year high school curriculum created using the same evidence-informed foundation that incorporates social and emotional learning skills, parent engagement and the Get Real Approach throughout. The high school component can be delivered as a stand-alone curriculum of 11 lessons, but it is most effective as a follow-up to Get Real Middle School. Get Real High School has not yet been evaluated.

 

Population Served & Setting

Get Real Middle School is designed to be implemented with 9 sequential classes per year for 3 years while students are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, and the lessons are designed to be medically accurate and age appropriate for these particular grades. The program encourages the development of safe and inclusive classrooms, and lessons are culturally and linguistically sensitive and appropriate for use with youth of any race or ethnicity, as well as LGBT youth. The curriculum features a robust family engagement component through family letters and family activities paired with each lesson throughout the three years of middle school. The curriculum also includes resources for linking students to youth-friendly health services. 

Get Real High School is designed to be implemented with 11 sequential classes in a single year with students in ninth or tenth grade.

 

About the Author

Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care and education provider in Massachusetts. PPLM provides trustworthy, medically accurate, age-appropriate education to young people, parents and professionals. Ninety percent of PPLM services are preventive, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for STIs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information. For nearly 90 years, PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.

 

Who’s Using?

ETR's effective, award-winning, evidence-based resources are used by schools, departments of education, youth groups, government agencies and clinics nationwide.

Middle School (Length, Elements, Staffing) | High School (Length, Elements, Staffing)

Get Real Middle School

Length of Program

Get Real consists of 27 sequential lessons taught across the middle school years—9 lessons each in Grades 6, 7 and 8.

Each lesson is designed to be taught in 45 minutes. If classes are taught during longer blocks, the lessons can be expanded through prolonged discussion, use of additional acctivities and process questions, or review of anonymous questions. However, it will be difficult to implement the classes with fidelity in less than 45 minutes each. If necessary, two lessons may be taught in a 90-minute block.

 

Program Elements

The Get Real Middle School program comes as a full-service package for effective implementation. The program package includes a teacher’s guide and a classroom set of 30 student workbooks for each of the targeted grades (6, 7 and 8); an activity kit with scenario cards, wall signs and posters; and a Protection Methods Demonstration Kit.

Student workbooks are required for every student. Additional workbook sets of 5 and 30 are available for purchase.

All Get Real Middle School educators are highly encouraged to participate in the Get Real Training of the Educator (TOE) process. Regional trainings or on-site trainings are available. For more information on Get Real training see the Training & TA tab.

 

Staffing Requirements

Educators planning to implement Get Real Middle School are highly encouraged to participate in training through the Get Real Training of the Educator (TOE) process specifically for middle school educators. This process consists of a 10-to-12-hour, self-paced online course followed by a 2-day, in-person training.

The Get Real TOE trains educators to implement the curriculum, ensuring that they are familiar with the program content and have the necessary knowledge and skills to become competent and comfortable teaching skills-based comprehensive sexuality education to middle school students. Educators are also trained to use the Get Real Approach, a unique way of teaching comprehensive sex education to youth. Participants who complete the training are eligible for continuing education credits.

The Teacher’s Guide for each grade provides teachers with additional facts, ways to address potential challenges, strategies for engaging students and useful resources. Ongoing support through an online community, updated materials, videos and additional resources is also available.

 

Get Real High School

Length of Program

Get Real High School consists of 11 sequential lessons taught in the early high school years, ideally grade 9. These 11 lessons scaffold seamlessly from the knowledge gained in the middle school curriculum, yet the high school curriculum can also stand on its own, as a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum for ninth or tenth graders.

Each lesson is designed to be taught in 45 minutes. If classes are taught during longer blocks, the lessons can be expanded through prolonged discussion, use of additional activities and process questions, or review of anonymous questions. However, it will be difficult to implement the classes with fidelity in less than 45 minutes each. If necessary, two lessons may be taught in a 90-minute block.

 

Program Elements

The Get Real High School program comes as a full-service package for effective implementation. The program package includes a teacher’s guide, a classroom set of 30 student workbooks, and a Protection Methods Demonstration Kit.

Student workbooks are required for every student. Additional workbook sets of 5 and 30 are available for purchase.

All Get Real High School educators are highly encouraged to participate in the Get Real Training of the Educator (TOE) process. Regional trainings or on-site trainings are available. For more information on Get Real training see the Training & TA tab.

 

Staffing Requirements

Educators planning to implement Get Real High School are highly encouraged to participate in training through the Get Real Training of the Educator (TOE) process specifically for high school educators. This process consists of a 10-to-12-hour, self-paced online course followed by a 2-day, in-person training.

The Get Real TOE trains educators to implement the curriculum, ensuring that they are familiar with the program content and have the necessary knowledge and skills to become competent and comfortable teaching skills-based comprehensive sexuality education to middle school students. Educators are also trained to use the Get Real Approach, a unique way of teaching comprehensive sex education to youth. Participants who complete the training are eligible for continuing education credits.

The Teacher’s Guide provides teachers with additional facts, ways to address potential challenges, strategies for engaging students and useful resources. Ongoing support through an online community, updated materials, videos and additional resources is also available.

Theory | Logic Model | Evidence Summary | References

Theory

Get Real is framed with the concept of social and emotional learning, or SEL. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

“SEL is a process for helping children and even adults develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. SEL teaches the skills we all need to handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work effectively and ethically. These skills include recognizing and managing our emotions, developing caring and concern for others, establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, and handling challenging situations constructively and ethically.”

Get Real incorporates five SEL skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making as key elements in learning how to negotiate relationships. If young people can negotiate relationships, they can better negotiate sexual relationships. These skills are integrated into the content of the lessons through activities and process questions. Teachers are trained in the SEL framework during Get Real teacher training.

 

Logic Model

The program is based on a behavior/determinant/intervention (BDI) logic model. The health goal of the curriculum is to promote positive sexual health behaviors and beliefs among students who have participated in the Get Real middle school comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, resulting in a delay of sexual initiation, a reduction of unintended pregnancies, and higher use of protection methods.

The behaviors targeted are delaying initiation of sex and increasing correct and consistent use of condoms and/or other protection methods. Each behavior has corresponding risk and protective factors. Lessons in Get Real are mapped to these determinants, which are listed on the first page of each lesson. It should be noted that if lessons are altered or activities are omitted, some lessons may no longer address a particular determinant, which may alter the intended behavior-change outcomes.

The program logic models can be found here:

Middle School Logic Model (pdf)

High School Logic Model (pdf)

 

Evidence Summary

Research Design

In 2008, Wellesley Centers for Women began the process of conducting a longitudinal impact evaluation to study the effectiveness of Get Real. This evaluation was a scientifically rigorous study featuring 24 middle schools in the greater Boston area. Half of the schools were randomly assigned to have Get Real taught by a trained educator to a cohort of students for 3 years, and half continued with their usual sex education programs. A total of 2,453 students participated in the evaluation. Of the participating schools, 22 were located in an urban area, 13 were traditional public schools, 9 were public charter schools, and 2 were private middle schools. The sample was 52% female and 48% male, and 33% were of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. With respect to race, 53% were Black/ African American, 28% White, 6% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Native American and 11% biracial/multiracial.

Data Gathering

During the evaluation, students completed surveys that measured knowledge, attitudes, and sexual behavior. Surveys were given at the beginning of sixth grade before beginning the program, and follow-up surveys were conducted in seventh, eighth and ninth grades. Researchers also conducted focus groups with students, and interviewed parents about parent-child communication relating to relationships and sexuality.

Findings

The ultimate aim of the evaluation was to establish whether Get Real had any impact on students’ first vaginal sex. The sixth–eighth grade analyses showed that there was a significant difference between students attending the treatment schools compared to those in the comparison schools, with students in treatment schools reporting lower levels of sexual activity. The research findings show that Get Real works to delay sex among students who received the program, empowers parents to help their children delay sex, reinforces family communication and improves communication skills for healthy relationships.

In terms of delaying sex:

  • There was a significant effect for both boys and girls, with 16% fewer boys and 15% fewer girls who received Get Real having had sex by the end of eighth grade compared to boys and girls who had sex education “as usual” in comparison schools.
  • For boys, family involvement showed an additional effect, with boys who completed Family Activities in sixth grade being less likely to report having had sex in eighth grade than boys who did not complete these activities.

In addition to delaying sex, the research study found that Get Real also:

  • Reinforced family communication through family activities and empowered parents to help their children delay sex.
  • Improved communication skills for healthy relationships. Both boys and girls who received Get Real identified that they were more prepared to assert themselves and communicate in a relationship, including saying ‘no’ to sex.

Schools that can implement the program as intended are likely to reap significant benefits from exposing their students to a relationship-skills-based comprehensive sexuality education program with a Family Activities component.

 

References

Charmaraman, L., C. McKamey. 2011. Urban early adolescent narratives on sexuality: Accidental and intentional influences of family, peers, and the media. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 8 (4): 253-266.

Erkut, S., J. M.Grossman, A. A. Frye, I. Ceder, L. Charmaraman, A. J. Tracy. 2013. Can sex education delay early sexual debut? Journal of Early Adolescence 33: 479–494.

Grossman, J. G., A. Frye, L. Charmaraman, S. Erkut. 2013. Family homework and school-based sex education: Delaying early adolescents’ sexual behavior. Journal of School Health 83 (11): 810-817.

Grossman, J. M., A. J. Tracy, L. Charmaraman, I. Ceder, S. Erkut. 2014. Protective effects of middle school comprehensive sex education with family involvement. Journal of School Health 84 (11): 739–747.

Adaptation Guidelines | Other Tools | Pre/Post Tests | Help | FAQs

Adaptation Guidelines

ETR is a leader in developing adaptation guidelines to enable professionals to adapt evidence-based intervention programs for implementation in underserved communities, while maintaining fidelity to the intervention's core components. To produce the best adaptation tools, ETR works directly with the developer of each intervention to ensure that these tools are of the highest quality and meet the different needs of the field and end users, e.g., teachers, trainers, program mangers/staff, research teams, and funders.

Click the links below to view Adaptation Guidelines for Get Real Middle School.

Adaptation Green/Yellow/Red Guidelines (pdf)

Core Components (pdf)

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about program adaptations, please visit our Program Support Help Desk.

Read ETR's Adaptations Policy.

 

Other Implementation Tools

ETR also produces other tools to facilitate implementation. Click the link to view.

Fidelity Log (pdf)

 

Questions?

To speak to a Get Real representative about questions related to adaptations or implementation, please contact training@pplm.org.

Training & TA

Training of the Educator

Educators planning to implement Get Real are highly encouraged to attend training through the Get Real Training of the Educator (TOE) process. Get Real developers believe in the importance of preparing and fully training educators who teach Get Real to youth, thereby increasing the efficacy of the program to impact youth behavior.

Those attending will engage in a rigorous, interactive and research-based learning process in a fun and supportive environment. Educators will be trained to implement the curriculum using the unique Get Real Approach to comprehensive sex education. Upon completion, participants will have the advanced skills needed to successfully teach Get Real with a high degree of comfort and fidelity.

The Get Real TOE includes:

  • Online course—pre-work in the form of a self-paced online training (approximately 10 to 12 hours over 3 weeks), which is a prerequisite for in-person training.
  • Two-day, in-person training—skill-based instruction with a Get Real Trainer using a professional learning process that builds the knowledge and skills required to implement Get Real with fidelity.
  • Technical assistance follow-up sessions—two 20-minute, one-on-one meetings with a Get Real Trainer designed to provide support as educators put their training to work and take their skills into the classroom.
  • Access to the Get Real Teacher Resource Center—full e-access to the curriculum, training materials, FAQs, Get Real Training Institute blog posts and videos, as well as the Teacher Forum where educators from across the country can share their thoughts and ideas on teaching Get Real.

You can learn more about this and other training opportunities, as well as get registered at getrealeducation.org/teacher-training after purchasing the Get Real curriculum.

See the schedule of upcoming Get Real trainings >>

Request more information about training >>

 

Training of the Trainer

Get Real developers also offer a Training of the Trainer (TOT) process. This 5-day training opportunity is open to those with advanced training skills who have successfully completed a Get Real developer-facilitated TOE process and have implemented the curriculum in a classroom setting. The TOT is a high-level professional learning process that builds the knowledge and skills required of qualified trainers to provide Get Real TOEs and technical assistance/capacity-building assistance to adult learners who intend to implement Get Real.

Please contact training@pplm.org for more information.

 

Technical assistance (TA), coaching and ongoing support

Technical Assistance (TA) is provided by Get Real developers. It is available for Get Real educators or trainers who have gone through the Get Real TOE or TOT process, respectively. Please contact training@pplm.org for more information and pricing.

 

Coaching and Professional Development

Coaching and professional development may be provided by Get Real developers if needs fall outside of the regular TOE, TOT or TA opportunities. Please contact training@pplm.org for more information.

 

 

Get Real Pricing

Middle School Curriculum – $499.99 BUY NOW

  • Get Real Middle School Curriculum/Teacher's Guide
  • Classroom set of 30 Student Workbooks for each grade (6, 7 & 8)
  • Activity Kit
  • Protection Methods Demonstration Kit

Additional Student Workbooks


Get Real Training of the EducatorLEARN MORE

The Get Real TOE for Middle School or High School includes:

  • Online course—pre-work in the form of a self-paced online training (approximately 10 to 12 hours over 3 weeks), which is a prerequisite for in-person training.
  • Two-day, in-person training—skill-based instruction with a Get Real Trainer using a professional learning process that builds the knowledge and skills required to implement Get Real with fidelity.
  • Technical assistance follow-up sessions—two 20-minute, one-on-one meetings with a Get Real Trainer designed to provide support as educators put their training to work and take their skills into the classroom.
  • Access to the Get Real Teacher Resource Center—full e-access to the curriculum, training materials, FAQs, Get Real Training Institute blog posts and videos, as well as the Teacher Forum where educators from across the country can share their thoughts and ideas on teaching Get Real.

Have a large group and want a Get Real trainer to come to you?

Groups with 10 or more participants can schedule an on-site training for their educators. Please contact training@pplm.org for more information and pricing.

Training of the Trainer LEARN MORE

The Get Real Training of the Trainer (TOT) is open to those with advanced training skills who have previously completed a PPLM-sponsored TOE and are candidates for becoming trainers of educators on Get Real. The TOT is a 5-day high-level professional learning process that builds the knowledge and skills required of qualified trainers to provide training and technical assistance/capacity-building assistance to adult learners who intend to implement Get Real. TOT participants must have previously completed a Get Real Training of the Educator.

High School Curriculum – $299.99 BUY NOW

  • Get Real High School Curriculum/Teacher's Guide
  • Classroom set of 30 Student Workbooks
  • Protection Methods Demonstration Kit

Additional Student Workbooks