WHY Get Real?

Because it works! A recent study demonstrated that, among students who received Get Real, 16% fewer boys and 15% fewer girls had sex compared to their peers who did not take Get Real.

Get Real is one of only a few middle school programs that reduces risky sexual behavior for BOTH boys and girls. Additionally, boys who completed the Get Real take-home activities in 6th grade were more likely to delay sex in the 8th grade than boys who did not complete these activities.

The Get Real middle school curriculum consists of 27 sequential lessons taught across the middle school years—9 lessons each in Grades 6, 7 and 8. The high school curriculum consists of 11 sequential lessons taught in Grade 9 or 10. Get Real is designed to delay sex and increase correct and consistent use of protection methods when a person becomes sexually active.

The Get Real curriculum is based on state and national frameworks that emphasize social and emotional learning skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

Visit our publisher ETR's website for more about the curriculum and its evaluation.

Involving Parents

A recent study shows Get Real helps parents talk with their kids about sexual health!

Get Real engages parents and other caring adults as the primary sexuality educators of their children.

Research shows that children want to talk to their parents and other caring adults about sex and sexuality. Although we know that these conversations might be uncomfortable for some, Get Real Family Activities give parents the strategies, tips, and tools they need to help facilitate a dialogue with their children. For each lesson in the middle school curriculum, students take home a packet which includes a letter that explains the class lesson, a Family Activity, and additional resources.

The high school curriculum includes Family Activities embedded in introspective journaling assignments for three lessons, which continue to encourage dialogue between students and their parents and other caring adults.

Have you been given access to Get Real for Parents? Please click here to be directed to the appropriate site.

Empowering Youth

Get Real values, supports, and respects adolescents’ rights and abilities to make informed choices about their own health and safety.  Here’s how:

  • Offering factual, medically-accurate, age-appropriate information.
  • Communicating about the benefits of abstinence.
  • Teaching effective communication and negotiation skills to strengthen sexual health decision-making throughout life.   
  • Providing accurate information about safe and effective protection methods that prevent STIs and pregnancy.
  • Believing that young people have a fundamental right to honest, accurate, comprehensive sexuality education. 

Social and Emotional Learning

The Get Real curriculum is framed with the concept of social and emotional learning (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 the five SEL skills of self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills and 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 lesson through activities and process questions.  Teachers are trained in the SEL framework during Get Real Teacher Training.

Be An Advocate

Here are some steps you can take to learn more about the sex education curriculum in your district and to take action to support or change the status quo.

Step One:  Determine what is being offered in your district.

  • Find out if your district has a middle school comprehensive sex education curriculum. 
  • If they do have a curriculum, ask to review it. 

Step Two: Take action based on how well your district curriculum is serving the needs of its students.

  • If you find that your middle school has an effective comprehensive sex education curriculum, take the time to write a letter or two or three:
    • to your local newspaper editor congratulating and thanking your school and community for valuing a comprehensive approach to sexual health
    • to the Superintendent, thanking him/her on ensuring that the comprehensive sex education curriculum chosen or developed is helping to keep his students healthy and focused on their futures
    • to the School Committee, commending them on supporting a curriculum that is sometimes perceived as controversial.
  • If you find that your school district does not currently have a comprehensive sex education curriculum, or has a comprehensive sex education curriculum that does not provide the tools that adolescents need to stay healthy and safe (relationship skills, negotiation skills, information about STIs and protection methods, etc.) and is not medically accurate and age appropriate, spend some time on the ETR website, learning about Get Real.  

Contact us if you have any questions or if you’d like to learn more about advocating for comprehensive sex education in your district.