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Professional Learning Standards for Sex Education


EyesOpenIowa is part of a team of 14 national, regional, and state leaders in adolescent sexual health called the Sex Education Collaborative (SEC)*, and we are excited to share our first product Professional Learning Standards for Sex Education (PLSSE)!

What are the PLSSE?

The PLSSE are a set of professional sex education standards available that are designed to improve educators’ and schools’ ability to effectively address sexuality in the classroom. The Professional Learning Standards closely align with the National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES) and the National Teacher Preparation Standards for Sexuality Education (NTPSSE).

What do the PLSSE mean for Sex Education?

Sex education should be taught in each year of school by a trained educator. Many classroom teachers assigned to teach this subject report they did not receive adequate pre-service training to feel confident effectively implementing sex education. The Professional Learning Standards provide the guidance needed to effectively implement sex education in the classroom.

Teaching sex education is different than teaching other school-based topics. Educators must navigate the diversity of their students’ opinions and experiences, as well as that of parents, schools, and communities. And sex education is often done with limited time and resources. Many teachers and educators report that they did not receive adequate training to feel confident effectively implementing sex education.

The PLSSE is an important guide in helping teachers and schools to discern what is needed to implement effective sexual health education.

The PLSSE are divided into four domains:

Domain #1: Context for Sex Education

Domain #2: Professional Disposition

Domain #3: Best Practices for Sex Education

Domain #4: Key Content Areas

The domains are then divided into topics and indicators that relate to educators’ knowledge of content, familiarity with teaching methods, or understanding of best practices.

Can I become trained?

Yes you can! EOI’s training academy provides leading-edge training for professionals who work with teens in any capacity.  EOI’s current trainings are aligned with the PLSSE. To see how EOI’s trainings reflect the high PLSSE standards, click here.  To see the full PLSSE standards click here.

There is also an assessment tool available that educators can use to assess their programming. Please email shari@eyesopeniowa.org for this tool.


*Members of the Sex Education Collaborative: Advocates for Youth, Answer, Cardea, dfusion, Elizabeth Schroeder Consulting, ETR, Eyes Open Iowa, GCAPP, Healthy Teen Network, MOASH, Planned Parenthood, South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, SIECUS, and SHIFT NC.