WISE is a national initiative that supports schools in implementing quality, sex education in order to prepare our nation's youth for life-long health and well being. Each WISE partner works directly with school staff using the WISE Method to create a sustainable, sex education program that meets the local needs of the school and the students they serve. The WISE Method, detailed in the toolkit, is a flexible approach, based on years of best practice research, that helps schools identify, select and implement a curriculum of their choosing. The goals of WISE are two-fold: 1) to support the implementation of sex education; and 2) to help expand what we know about implementing sex education by sharing important lessons, successes, challenges and resources.
Ultimately, sex education is institutionalized in a school setting when it becomes an ongoing part of a school’s curricula. Once sex education is institutionalized, the necessary supports (e.g., policy, community, human resource, financial, etc.) exist to sustain sex education over time.
There have been three key phases of WISE. The first phase of the WISE Initiative implementation (2009 – 2011) funded projects in seven locations (California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, New York, Oregon, and Washington State) and sought to identify best practices related to institutionalization. Additional sites were added in Phase Two (2011-14) including Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, and West Virginia. In 2015, Lousiana joined WISE. Phase Two sought to capitalize on the lessons learned from Phase One, as articulated in the WISE Toolkit, and support scale of their efforts. Phase Three (2014-2017) continued the momentum of WISE and sought innovative approaches to scale, including in states with more challenging policy climates and in non-WISE states. During Phase Three, Texas joined WISE as did Advocates for Youth who is engaging directly with school districts with demonstrated readiness in non-WISE states. Phase Four began in 2017 and will continue for three years.
Over the ensuing years, some WISE states also became legacy sites. Legacy sites are those that continue to be part of the WISE learning community but are no longer funded. Legacy sites include Oregon, Washington, and North Carolina.
Led by the Grove Foundation, the WISE initiative is supported by a collaboration of regional and national funders.
Many organizations and individuals have shared their experiences and expertise to contribute to the accomplishments of the WISE Initiative and the development of this toolkit. WISE Partners’ willingness to share their successes, challenges, and tools and resources greatly contributed to this toolkit ensuring it is grounded in the tireless, everyday work of sex education champions. WISE has also benefited from the advice and assistance of countless national organizations and advisors, including from among the WISE funding community.