Online Learning Collaboratives – Let’s dig a bit deeper!

From time to time many of you have told us that you appreciate our training offerings but you wish that there were more opportunities to delve deeper into subject matters. Experienced providers are looking for more advanced training, but also new educators and supervisors express the need for in-depth training. It has been challenging to chart training opportunities for an initiative that involves professionals with a wide range of expertise and experience.

We would like to tackle this dilemma by introducing Learning Collaboratives. What distinguishes these Collaboratives from our monthly webinars? Learning Collaboratives are interest groups that come together to:

  • accomplish clearly articulated objectives and goals in a particular subject area
  • learn cooperatively by articulating their needs, sharing their expertise, and jointly exploring new strategies and practices

Logistics

Participation is voluntary. You join if you are interested in the subject matter the Learning Collaborative will explore. Participants are actively engaged and committed to doing some extra work such as researching information and resources. Learning Collaboratives meet on a regular basis for a limited time period; for example, the collaborative might meet every other week over three months. Each Learning Collaborative will work out their own schedule. ACT for Youth will facilitate the meetings and provide support.

Benefits

Participants will post challenges, share strategies and practices, and engage in cooperative learning. There is great potential for developing new resources and tools that we can archive on the website and make accessible to the whole initiative.

Start up: February 27, 2018

We would like to focus the first Learning Collaborative on supervisors. Many Health Educator Supervisors have expressed challenges and questions about the responsibilities and tasks of supervisors. To mention just a few potential topics: Hiring and orienting new educators, retaining staff, handling personality conflicts, supervision, negotiating with subcontractors, community outreach… and any other topic you would like to tackle in this area.

Stay tuned for a special invitation with registration information.

Looking Ahead

We are planning a few other Learning Collaboratives focusing on:

  • Parent education and engagement
  • Professional development needs of experienced educators

We would love to hear what you think about this approach. Any suggestions or comments? Is there another topic you would like to dive into with your CAPP or PREP colleagues?

  – Jutta

Educators: Are You Certified?

CHES© and MCHES©, or Certified Health Education Specialist and Masters of Certified Health Education Specialist, are national and international certifications for health educators. CHES is for entry-level health educators and MCHES is designed for specialists with at least five years of experience. These certifications are offered by the nonprofit organization National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), whose mission is to “enhance the professional practice of Health Education by promoting and sustaining a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists.”

To become certified, one must pass an examination that assesses one’s competence in the possession, application, and interpretation of Seven Areas of Responsibility:

Area I: Assess Needs, Resources, and Capacity for Health Education/Promotion
Area II: Plan Health Education/Promotion
Area III: Implement Health Education/Promotion
Area IV: Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education/Promotion
Area V: Administer and Manage Health Education/Promotion
Area VI: Serve as a Health Education/Promotion Resource Person
Area VII. Communicate, Promote, and Advocate for Health, Health Education/Promotion, and the Profession

Once certified, one must pay an annual $55 renewal fee and obtain 75 continuing education contact hours every five years for recertification.

Who is eligible?

Basic requirements to be eligible for the exam include:

  • Official transcript clearly showing health education major

OR

  • Official transcript reflecting at least 25 semester hours or 37 quarter hours with specific preparation addressing the Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists.

Should I become certified?

This national credential lets others know that you have competencies beyond just a degree. You understand the responsibility and accountability in being a high quality health educator. Certification can be appealing to employers looking for health education experts and may be required for some careers in the field.

How can I become certified?

Exams are offered biannually in April and October. Check out the NCHEC exam overview  for more information on registering for the next exam!

ACT for Youth now offers contact hours

ACT for Youth has recently become a Designated Provider of continuing education contact hours with NCHEC. This means we can now help those of you who are already certified get those 75 credit hours! Any webinar or training we offer that addresses at least one of the Areas of Responsibility will be eligible for contact hours (don’t worry – we will make it clear if a webinar or training does not qualify). If you attend and successfully complete these events, you will need to get in touch with me (mas597@cornell.edu) as soon as possible to receive a special evaluation form to be completed. Once we’ve received your evaluation form, we will submit it to NCHEC for you. We are excited to be able to offer this new service to help further your career as a certified health educator!

Divine Sebuharara  – Divine Sebuharara, MS, CHES

Unexpected Situations! What’s an Educator to Do?

So, you’ve gone to all of the ACT Training of Educators, you’ve taken the online implementation training, you’ve even gone to a training on facilitation, but what if the “WHAT IF” happens?  We train educators how to deal with sensitive questions, but what about dealing with sensitive situations that come up in your programs?

Picture this scenario.  While implementing your program in a typical classroom setting, you’re facilitating a module that includes a game centered around STDs.  It’s one of the more engaging activities and participants usually have a lot of fun doing it, but this time, one of the students gets really upset and begins to get teary.  What do you do?

As educators, we can never really plan for EVERYTHING, but we try to be as prepared as possible.  In the case of this scenario, having a participant cry during the session can really rattle an educator, but it’s important to remember that we’re dealing with issues that can bring up a lot for people.  A strategy for dealing with issues like these is to put that out there up front.  Let participants know at the beginning of the cycle what you will be covering, and be explicit.  They may not know when you will cover a particular topic, but at least they know what to expect.

Also, let them know about the different strategies that you’ll be using.  Inform them from the start that there will be role plays involved, but the decision to participate as an actor is completely voluntary.  There will be games involved, but it doesn’t mean that the program or you, as the educator, think topics like HIV/AIDS or negotiating sex are funny or don’t take them seriously.

Without putting them on the spot, check in with them, ask if they’re OK or if they need to take a break (possibly step out of the class/group setting).  This will require you to find out the policy of the school/agency regarding students’ leaving the room.  It’s also helpful if you have another adult in the class (a co-facilitator, teacher, etc.) who can support you so that you can tend to the class and they can assist with the student.  Also, note that checking in with them may require a longer conversation and possibly disclosure of a bigger issue.  Be aware of who the social worker, counselor, or on-site support is, if needed.

Lastly, self-care is important.  Remind them that your workshop is a safe space.  You have to go over all of the material, but if something being discussed is too much for them or hits too close to home, let participants know that they can do whatever is necessary to take care of their needs.  Make sure to give them examples (e.g. step out, take a water break, mentally check out, write/doodle/draw in their notebooks, etc.)

This was one example of a challenging or sensitive situation that may arise, but I’m sure there are many more.  What are some examples you have from the field of difficult situations that have arisen in your programs, and how have you dealt with them?

  – Michele

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

Demos

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 ald17@cornell.edu

  – 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.

Assessment

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.

Recommendations?

If you have resources to suggest, please comment (or you can email me directly at ks548@cornell.edu).

 

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 ks548@cornell.edu. 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