Completing the Biannual Report

The Biannual Report (BAR) form is now available through the online reporting system (ORS)! This form requests the same information you sent in during the last reporting period, but it’s in a new format – everything is submitted through the ORS.

A few things to know

  • The current report is due January 30 and includes the period July 1 – December 31, 2017
  • Only CAPP/PREP Health Educator Supervisors can access the BAR through the ORS
  • Draft descriptive responses in an offline text editor (like Microsoft Word) and then copy/paste your responses into the online BAR


We’ve created some short videos to demonstrate how to access and complete the BAR through the ORS.

Demo: CAPP Components 1 and 2 – Biannual Report

Demo: CAPP Component 1 Only – Biannual Report

Demo: PREP – Biannual Report

 Have questions?

  • For content questions, reach out to your DOH Program Advisor
  • For technical questions, contact me at

  – Mandy


Educators: How confident are you with sex ed content?

How much do you know about the menstrual cycle and fertility? How about the way different contraceptives work? Do you know how the major STDs affect the body? Can you explain the difference between sex and gender? Many CAPP and PREP projects are based in organizations that do not specialize in human sexuality. If you are not sure that you could comfortably and confidently answer a wide range of questions on sexual health, you may want to take advantage of the many resources available for your professional development.


Self-assessment is an excellent place to start. Healthy Teen Network has developed a self-assessment tool (PDF) for sexual health educators, much of it focused on content. Rate yourself so that you have a good sense of where your weaker areas are – the content areas where you could use a booster.

In-Person Training

Planned Parenthood of NYC Training Institute
A wide variety of topics are offered in PPNYC’s Training Institute. Continuing education contact hours, including Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) contact hours, are available at no additional cost. Your local Planned Parenthood affiliate may also be able to provide in-service training.

National Sex Ed Conference
Sponsored by the Center for Sex Education, this annual conference offers workshops for new and seasoned sex education professionals. (Were you there last week? Tell us how it was!)

CAI (Cicatelli Associates Inc.)
CAI is a training center for NYS DOH AIDS Institute.

Online Training and Webinars

Answer (Rutgers University)
Answer offers online training and capacity building for sex education professionals, including topics such as “Sexuality ABCs” and “Sexual Anatomy and Response,” among many others.

CAPP and PREP Webinars
Find recorded webinars here. Remember to check the CAPP and PREP Training Calendar for upcoming webinars.

Cardea eLearning Courses
While Cardea’s online courses are primarily for clinicians, educators may find value in courses such as “Family Planning Basics,” “Gender Diversity 101,” and “STD 101.”

Office of Adolescent Health: Online Learning Modules
OAH offers several online learning opportunities for organizations in the teen pregnancy prevention and expecting and parenting teen fields, including “Talking with Teens about Reproductive Health” and “Adolescent Development.”

Brushing Up: Brief Reading and Videos

For a more comprehensive list, download the Directory of Professional Development Opportunities in Sexuality Education (Word) from Future of Sex Ed.


If you have resources to suggest, please comment (or you can email me directly at


Karen Schantz   – Karen

ORS Reminders

With the increasing volume of cycles these past few months, we thought this was a good time to share some reminders about common issues we’ve noticed when reviewing entries in the online reporting system. In this post we clarify exactly what counts as a session, and review the process for adding participants after a cycle is already underway.

What exactly is a session?

A single date is a single session, even if you cover more than one module. Keep in mind that a session is defined by date, but it can include multiple modules and activities. So, even if you cover more than one module, or parts of more than one module, on a single day, it is considered one session.

Why it matters: Showing multiple sessions for a single date will artificially inflate the number of sessions required to complete a cycle. We need accurate information in order to diagnose problems correctly (for example, attendance drop off).

We have modified the ORS so it will no longer allow you to create 2 sessions with the same date in a single cycle.

When and how should a participant be added after a cycle has already started?

Add new participants (those who join after the first session) to the cycle before you record the first session they attended. Keep in mind information should be added to the ORS on a rolling basis; the order in which you enter information should reflect what happened in the cycle.

Why it matters: Entering information about a participant in any other way will negatively affect your attendance rate because the system will not reflect the total number of participants correctly.

To add information about a new participant:

  1. Before entering the session data, go to “Update an existing EBP cycle”
  2. Select “Add a new participant”
  3. Select the cycle the participant should be added to
  4. Fill out the demographic information (note: don’t check the “attended” box for the session dates listed, because the participant did not attend those sessions)
  5. Hit save

Next go to “Update an existing EBP cycle,” then “Record a session,” and select the cycle.  Now you can enter information about the specific session.

Overall we are very impressed by how well entries into the ORS are going. We just thought we’d send a few reminders before you submit all the cycles started this academic year. Please reach out to your evaluation support team member with any questions!

   – Jenny

Farewell, Beth

As you’ve heard by now, Beth Mastro — trainer and TA provider extraordinaire — will not be returning to ACT for Youth. Beth, we will miss you so much! You make everything more fun. You took on tough projects. You are a true collaborator with a wise voice. And then there’s karaoke…

Please stay in touch!

Use Your Power(points) for Good, not Evil!

Many of you are using PowerPoint slides to support implementation of BPBR or MPC. We’re seeing a lot of positive uses of PowerPoint, but also some uses that concern us. So your TA Team brainstormed a few DOs and DON’Ts for your consideration.

DO use PowerPoint:

  • To help you keep the program on point and structured. Having PowerPoint slides up in the background of the action can help you and participants stay on track.
  • To display instructions for an activity so that you don’t have to repeat the instructions 40 times!
  • To make images – such as birth control methods — more visible (but see below about STDs!)
  • To reinforce messages or information – displaying answers to certain activities, such as Calling Koko or condom use steps.

DON’T use PowerPoint:

  • To replace interacting with participants. Think about how you feel when you’re in a workshop and the presenter starts reading a lot of text from PowerPoint slides. Personally, we’d prefer to stick our collective head under a blanket and have a nice nap. PowerPoint is usually not very engaging! Your interaction with young people, and theirs with you and with each other, is what makes the program engaging. When programs are less interactive, they’re less effective, too.
  • For group agreements. The group agreements should be brainstormed together, and posted where they can be seen and referenced at each session–a great technique for keeping group sessions on track (PDF). Putting them on a PowerPoint slide as part of a longer presentation keeps them hidden from view for most of the session.
  • For brainstorming. You don’t want to pre-fill a slide representing a brainstorm–that could undermine the participants’ sense that what they say matters. We recommend sticking to good, old-fashioned flip charts. If you can’t use a flip chart, project a blank page (such as a Word document) for the brainstorm and type the ideas in, then return to the PowerPoint when the brainstorm text is no longer needed.
  • To project photos of STDs. Gross and scary photos of STDs may get a big reaction from participants, but are not effective as a way to motivate healthy behaviors in the long run (see #3 in this ETR post for more on this topic). They also shame and stigmatize people who have STDs.

In short, PowerPoint can be helpful as a supplement, keeping things moving where you want them to go, but your students will thank you if you do NOT use them as a primary teaching tool.

Friendly reminder: Using PowerPoint is an adaptation, so be sure to run it by your TA support person.


– Divine, Beth, Michele, Heather, & Jutta

Contraception Basics for Educators: New Resources, Inclusive Language

Earlier this summer, Dr. Taylor Starr presented the information-packed webinar “Contraception Options for Adolescents: Basics for Educators.” While you can find the full recording (including extensive Q&A) on the Shared Resources page, we thought it might be helpful to also break it into bite-size pieces.

To find JUST the method information you are looking for, visit our Contraception page and scroll down to “Methods.” There you will find an edited version of the webinar, along with short excerpts on each method covered.

Remember, these videos are intended for YOU, not for your students. They give background on each method, including how it works, duration, effectiveness, and side effects, all from a clinical perspective. Our hope is that you can use these resources to build your base of knowledge so that you can confidently answer young people’s questions.

Another reference we’ve just updated for your use is Birth Control Methods in Brief (PDF) – just the basic facts, minus side effects. In this new edition I’ve attempted to use language appropriate to all genders. Did I succeed? What would you change or recommend? Do you have resources to share on gender-inclusive language in sex education?

Share your thoughts and resources in the comments, please! You can also direct them to me at Your feedback is helpful and much appreciated.

Karen Schantz   -Karen

How Effective Is Peer Education?

I have been struggling with this question for a while. From a positive youth development perspective, I totally support peer education as a way of engaging young people in meaningful ways and giving them a voice. But if I look at peer education as a strategy to affect behavior change in other young people, in particular with regard to sexual health behavior, I am not so certain that this is creating the positive outcomes we want to see.

In a recent Research Facts and Findings, we took a look at the research on the effects of peer education in the area of sexual health. We see different outcomes for peer educators and for the young people they are engaging and trying to educate. Basically, the research to date reports a range of benefits for young people who take on the role of peer educators. But here’s the catch: peer education is less beneficial for the young people they are reaching out to. There we see potential benefits in changing attitudes and norms, but not to the point of changing behavior.

The research also points out the need for clearly defining what we mean by peer education: the type of responsibilities we give peer educators and how we build their capacity to do the work.
Still, I see positive outcomes and growth for youth peer educators or advocates. Maybe we need to re-define goals and scope of peer education? What do you think?

  – Jutta

My Sex Education

Cornell student Hadiyah Chowdhury, who has been working with the ACT COE this summer, has a particular interest in how students from different cultures do or do not benefit from the sex education they receive in schools. Although her own high school sex ed was not evidence-based, we asked her to share her experiences of sexual health education in a small upstate city.

I was born and brought up in Corning NY, a town of approximately 40,000 people, 92% of whom are white. My parents immigrated to the United States as graduate students from Bangladesh in 1987. I grew up speaking fluent Bengali until the time came for me to go to school and I forgot all my Bengali. The specifics of my upbringing may not resonate with too many people, but I have a feeling that many people reading might be feeling a sense of familiarity. When I was 11 my family and I moved to Paris where we lived for three years before moving back to Corning. The culture shock I experienced when I moved back to the States at age 14 was confusing to say the least.

In order to get a sense of what I was feeling, it becomes necessary to understand Corning as a town. Corning is a company town, meaning that your parents either work for Corning Incorporated (a company that produces glass) or they do not. The rich and poor of Corning, New York can be described as simply as that. This very visible and obvious distinction led to an extremely stratified high school experience: you had the honor’s kids on one hand, who only took AP classes and whose parents exclusively worked for Corning, and the regents kids (or “dirts” as they were called by some) whose parents did not. Because of this distinction, I pretty much cycled through the same group of 15-20 kids in all of my classes in high school. The only exceptions to this rule were PE and health class.

My health class had a total of seven students, only three of which I had interacted with before. As was the case in most of my other classes, I was not only the only South Asian person in the class, but also the only person of color. I remember being apprehensive of the class (as many teenagers are) not only because I thought some of the discussions in the class would be uncomfortable, but also because I didn’t know how my thoughts and ideas would be perceived by others based on the color of my skin. See, the problem was not that my parents were conservative when it came to sex, the problem was that I was not. Despite my apprehension, I found health class to be a place where I could express my thoughts about relationships, sex, and health more generally in a fairly intimate way. I remember my teacher had us sit on the floor in a circle and led us into rather unstructured, facilitated discussions. This method worked well because of the small class size and the way the instructor facilitated conversation between us, even though we definitely disagreed about many of the topics she had us discuss. I never felt attacked because of my skin color or my more liberal opinions about relationships and sex. This was pleasantly surprising to me since I was uncomfortably aware that I was perceived as different by most people at school. Not a day went by that someone wouldn’t make some comment about how my liberal opinion on some topic was no doubt due to the “chocolate” color of my skin. Health class was something of a refuge from these kinds of comments.

I must give credit to the instructor: she worked at a rape crisis center and a rehabilitation center for individuals addicted to meth and cocaine before coming to my high school. She obviously had to be able to manage rooms full of people from different backgrounds. She was easily able to contact Planned Parenthood to come and do two workshops for us, one on different forms of contraception and another on abusive relationships.

I looked forward to health class every day because I knew the instructor would handle disagreement well while also allowing us to be honest about our opinions. It was only when I came to college that I realized that this was not everyone else’s sex ed experience. Many people had to deal with instructors who would slut-shame, or preach abstinence only to classrooms. Some people told me that they were terrified of engaging in sex for fear of becoming pregnant or getting an STI after going through sex ed in high school. Others told me they had no kind of sex ed at all in school. While sex ed wasn’t perfect in Corning, I at least felt that I had access to useful resources. My health class focused on the mechanics of heterosexual, penetrative sex and tended to ignore topics around gender (specifically gender-non-conforming people) and attraction. However, since I felt that I knew where to go if I had questions, I think my sex ed ended up being quite comprehensive. In addition, my instructor made it clear that sex can be really emotionally or physically painful for some people, forcing me to conceptualize my ideas about sex in a different way. This class also became the beginnings of my interest in feminism and gender theory more broadly.

So in general, I am very grateful for the way health class was conducted in my rural, upstate high school and I recognize I was very lucky to have such a good instructor. The way she handled cultural differences in the classroom was respectful and allowed me to feel very comfortable while discussing topics that weren’t necessarily very easy to talk about.


– Hadiyah Chowdhury

Hadiyah Chowdhury is studying Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as Anthropology at Cornell University.

What is Consent?

Consent: an informed, sober, freely-given, ongoing, enthusiastic YES.

Seems simple, right? Not quite.

Consent has become a hot topic over the past several years as many sexual assault and rape cases have gained heavy media attention. The notion of rape culture on college campuses has also been a major discussion for some time now, and rightfully so. Sexual assault and rape are illegal, traumatizing, and far too common. But for some youth and young adults, it is not easily understood. Fully understanding what is meant by sexual assault and rape is important, but understanding what obtaining and providing consent means and looks like is critical.

We have gathered some great resources that explain, show, and provide language around these difficult and sometimes confusing issues. Let us know in the comments what you think of these resources and please share any others you may have!

Teaching Young People about Consent (PDF)
In this article from ACT for Youth, Elizabeth Schroeder discusses the need to talk about consent with youth “early and often,” and offers tips for educating children and youth on the topic.

What Consent Looks Like
In this short Q&A, RAINN outlines how consent plays out in real life.

What is Consent? discusses the meaning of consent, what it looks like, what consent does NOT look like, and red flags.

Consent: It’s Simple as Tea
This video by Blue Seat Studios, Emmeline May, and Rachel Brian illustrates the need for consent through the clear and humorous metaphor of tea.

How Do You Know if Someone Wants to Have Sex with You?
Planned Parenthood produced this video to demonstrate what consent looks like, giving examples of ways to find out if your partner wants to do what you would like to do.

This video for middle school students is part of the AMAZE sex education video project.

These resources and many more are posted on the Dating Violence page.

Divine Sebuharara  – Divine


Return to the ACT COE website

BWIAH Provider Days – What did your colleagues think?

It’s always great to have face-to-face time with all of you, and for us that was certainly a highlight of the 2017 Bureau of Women, Infant and Adolescent Health (BWIAH) Provider Days. Amy has compiled the evaluations to give us a sense of how it all went for you, and how we can improve in the future. Here are some of our takeaways.

Registration and communication before the event was more difficult or confusing for people whose agencies work with more than one Center of Excellence.

  • If we have this opportunity again, we should work on clarifying the audience for each day and streamlining the registration process across COEs.

The hotel itself received mostly positive reviews – but the few who had a bad experience had a very bad experience. Your comments ranged from “Beautiful” and “Love it!” to “Horrible.” However, there were many comments on the location and size of the hotel, and despite our own positive experience with the conference planners at this hotel we will explore other options.

  • Many noted that the distance from the train station and lack of a shuttle made for expensive taxi rides.
  • Food options were limited by the location, and meant that many of you had to brave crossing the highway. As one participant put it, “Street crossing was like the video game Frogger.”

We were unable to provide lunch, coffee, or snacks because of the terms or our funding, and we were unable to negotiate an affordable lunch buffet or boxed lunch option for you with the hotel. Some of you found the 90-minute lunch break a waste of time, others appreciated the breather.

The May 9 plenaries, meetings with program advisors, and workshops were all rated as valuable with very few dissenters. Nearly all of you seem to have found the content useful. (Or are you just trying to make us feel good?)

The May 10 evaluations tell us you thought the day overall did a good job of meeting its objectives, especially the goal of “recognizing the opportunities for collaboration among community providers.” The speakers—especially Tom Klaus—were appreciated and presented useful information.

Community meetings got mixed reviews. Some of the groups were bigger than anticipated, so the noise level in the ballroom was a real problem. Some providers noted that they have limited opportunities for collaboration in their own regions. But some regional groups were excited about meeting each other, and we’ve heard of at least two regions that are already planning to meet again. In general, opportunities to network were rated highly, and 88% of you agreed (or strongly agreed) that the community meeting will enhance collaboration in your community.

Thank you for coming and sharing your opinions! What else do you want us to know? Has any part of Provider Days stuck with you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 – Jutta