Our Professional Development Day Was MORE Meaningful than Ever

Our Professional Development Day Was MORE Meaningful than Ever

We are so grateful for having an invigorating day of professional development and wanted to share with you a bit about it as we are always deeply committed to  continually learning, as well as enriching and growing our curriculum.  It’s always a well-thought-out opportunity that does so much more than ‘recharge our batteries.” This year, we were thrilled to bring Deborah Roffman, a nationally acknowledged expert on human sexuality education in independent school settings, to lead a day-long workshop, “Getting it Right from the Start: Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education in Elementary School.”  We recognize that this is an important area of learning that needs more thoughtful attention. We saw this as a wonderful opportunity to build our own foundational understanding, and then determine how to address human sexuality with our students based on their development and age. 

Deborah has guided us on how educators can have meaningful conversations around issues of sex, gender, and reproduction.  Deborah’s mission is to help educators look at the topic of sexuality through the eye of young children. “When adults put off, avoid altogether, or water down this process, they virtually guarantee that other sources, including peers, older children and teens, social media, the Internet, marketers, and mass media, will “get there first.” In a world where the lines between the adult world and the child’s world continue to vanish, the default option of deferring to these sources becomes increasingly harmful. Conversely, when adults engage young children directly around these issues, they significantly impact the course of healthy sexual development.” 

Engaging our children directly around important issues is something we do best. In order to make sure this is an ongoing and thoughtful process, our Clinical Head- Jenna Stogsdill- will be leading a human sexuality committee for our faculty. Its purpose will be to continue learning and implementing sound educational principles coupled with the best available science. We will continue our work with Deborah as we develop a carefully considered curriculum for our students. Something we hope our parents will take advantage of is the opportunity to learn from Deborah themselves.  We will be sharing when and how soon, but expect a parent workshop so you too can learn how to best understand and apply some of these principles at home. 

Here are some key topics we covered and look forward to integrating into our programming at WEDS:

  • Educating around sexual and gender diversity 
  • Creating classroom environments supportive of safe and open discussion 
  • Articulating the universal values at the base of a sexuality program 
  • Designing a spiraling, developmentally based curriculum 
  • Establishing and incorporating crucial and truly age and stage congruent sexuality education benchmarks for children ages 3-12 
  • Responding to children’s spontaneous questions with age and stage congruent content and context 
  • Utilizing language about sex, gender, and reproduction comfortably in the classroom 

We look forward to continuing important work that incorporates themes of acceptance, belonging, and understanding.


About the Speaker: 

Deborah Roffman, MS, a nationally acknowledged expert on human sexuality education in independent school settings, teaches this topic in the lower, middle, and upper schools at The Park School of Baltimore, and has taught as well at several other schools in the Baltimore/Washington area. She has consulted nationally with more than 300 private and public schools and is the author of three books for parents and teachers, most recently Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become your Kids’ Go-To Person About Sex (Perseus, 2012). In February 2022, she will publish her first children’s book, The Science of Babies. 

Ms. Roffman is in constant demand as a speaker and workshop leader for PreK-12 parents, teachers, administrators, counselors, and trustees. She brings decades of classroom experience to her presentations and her trainings and consultations around such issues as: barriers to implementing truly age and stage appropriate PreK-12 sexuality education and how to diffuse them; families and schools as authentic partners in nurturing sexually healthy children and adolescents; the application of values education (including religious values) to sexuality curricula; sexuality education scope and sequence; and best practice classroom approaches. She presents on a full range of topics connected to sex, gender, and reproduction, including such timely issues as sexual assault/consent and sexual and gender diversity. 

Debbie is widely known for her ability to help parents and school personnel embrace comprehensive sexuality education from the earliest grades, through her laser focus on clear and present development needs, our collective adult responsibilities in meeting them, and the common ground of values that parents and schools deeply share but often overlook. 

Debbie Roffman is one of Time Magazine's 16 Top Parenting Experts for the 21st Century