Skip to main content

Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works


About Get Real

PPLM logoGet Real is an evidence-based middle school curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and published by ETR. Get Real is also available as a 1-year high school curriculum created using the same evidence-informed foundation. Both levels of Get Real are suitable for all teens regardless of their sexual experience or sexual orientation, and are LGBTQ+ inclusive and trauma informed.

The Get Real Approach

The Get Real approach emphasizes social and emotional skills as a key component of healthy relationships and responsible decision making. It promotes abstinence from sex as a safe and healthy choice for adolescents; provides a comprehensive understanding of sexual health, sexuality and protection methods; and supports parents and other caring adults 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.

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

The following four premises are built into the curriculum:

  1. Sexual health is an integral part of health education.
  2. Parents and other caring adults are students’ primary sexuality educators.
  3. Relationship skills are a key element of a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum.
  4. While abstinence from sex is the most effective way to avoid 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.

Family Involvement Is Key

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:

  • Online activities, resources, FAQs and conversation starters on the Get Real for Parents mobile website
  • 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

The Goals of Get Real

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 a healthy and safe 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.

Alignment to National Standards

Get Real is mapped to the National Health Education Standards (NHES) using the Sexual Health module of the CDC's Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT).

How Get Real Aligns to NHES

Alignment of Get Real Middle School to HECAT

Alignment of Get Real High School to HECAT

Get Real also meets the National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES), which were developed by the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) initiative to provide clear, consistent, and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades K–12.

Alignment of Get Real Middle School to NSES

Alignment of Get Real High School to NSES