FLASH is unique in many ways. It is a comprehensive science-based sexual health education curriculum designed to prevent pregnancy, STDs and sexual violence. It is designed to be used in school classrooms, as a part of a health unit, although it can be successfully implemented in a variety of environments. It does not require training, and provides substantial teacher support so that it can be immediately implemented by any school that is ready. It includes a strong family involvement component, creating opportunities for families to talk with their children about important sexual health topics. It is an inclusive curriculum, including examples and activities that will resonate with youth from a variety of geographical regions, racial identities and sexual orientations. It is highly interactive and is respectful of students with a variety of sexual experiences.
The FLASH curriculum is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. It is designed to support young people in making healthy choices: abstain from sex, use protection when they do have sex, seek health care when they need it, communicate effectively with their families, and respect others’ decisions not to have sex.
The Theory of Planned Behavior posits that the combination of attitudes toward behavior, subjective norms and self-efficacy shape an individual's behaviors. As such, FLASH includes a variety of strategies designed to create positive attitudes, beliefs and norms, and to build skills and self-efficacy in order to reduce rates of pregnancy, STDs and sexual violence.
The sexual violence prevention lessons are further based on the Social-Ecological Model and the Confluence Model. The Social Ecological Model addresses factors at the (1) individual, (2) relationship, (3) community and (4) society levels that put people at risk of experiencing violence as a victim or perpetrator. FLASH focuses primarily on levels 2, 3 and 4. The use of scenarios, introspective work and social norm re-setting addresses these levels. Visit the CDC's Violence Prevention website for more information.
The Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression has long been used to explain sexual violence, but has only recently begun to be applied in the realm of prevention. This model posits that adverse developmental experiences during childhood have a detrimental impact on the ways in which individuals view themselves and others, and their ability to form meaningful and healthy relationships. In particular, these experiences can lead to a rigid, violent and objectifying view of women, which is a significant risk factor for perpetrating sexual violence (CDC). FLASH addresses this risk factor by focusing heavily on increasing respect for all genders and breaking down harmful gender stereotypes.
FLASH is a science-based promising program. It adheres to the Characteristics of Effective Sex and STD/HIV Education Programs and is aligned to both the CDC’s National Health Education Standards for Sexual Health and the National Sexuality Education Standards, authored by the Future of Sex Education. FLASH has not yet been rigorously evaluated in order to become an evidence-based program.
Feel free to adapt the number of lessons you teach or the order in which you teach them to meet the needs of your students. The goals of the curriculum are to (1) prevent pregnancy, (2) prevent HIV and other STDs, (3) prevent sexual violence, (4) improve family communication, and (5) improve knowledge of sexual and reproductive health. The Lesson Selection Tool available on this site will let you sort lessons by these goals should you only want to impact one of these areas. In order to achieve all 5 goals, all 15 lessons are required.
Training for the FLASH curriculum is recommended but not required. FLASH is designed to be teacher friendly, including ample scripting, so that schools can implement when they are ready. Because of this, FLASH trainings focus on building teachers' skills, and are not simply an overview of the lessons. Teacher trainings build skills in answering difficult student questions, including questions about values, and review best practices in the field of sexual health education and the effective use of key concepts when teaching about sexual health.
For more information about scheduling a training, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.