About K-12 Standards

“We are excited to share with you the new K-12 Standards for Optimal Sexual Development! These standards will be a needed guide for educators, parents and policy makers as they guide students toward wholeness and optimal health. Given the many threats to their current and future health, K-12 Standards empower today’s young people to develop positive character and healthy relationships that will protect them and give them freedom to reach their fullest potential. The goal of K-12 Standards is thriving students!”

– Lori Kuykendall, MPH, President and CEO


Medical Institute for Sexual Health was founded in 1992 and has been committed to advancing research and education that promote sexual health. In 1997, a national team of experts led by Medical Institute published “National Guidelines for Sexuality and Character Education.” This first publication was updated in 2007 with the publishing of the “Guidelines for Sexual Health Education (K-12).” Since that time, many public health and cultural factors have evolved, as have other available standards for sex education. 

In the summer of 2018, a national coalition working to promote optimal sexual health identified a key priority of developing a new set of sex education standards. The coalition tasked a group of leading national educators and researchers to begin this collaborative project. This content development team first established a working framework for the new standards, then worked from the previous Medical Institute guidelines to update and adapt them for the new framework. Many national publications and current state educational standards were consulted as were resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see “Alignments” and “References” in the publication).

K-12 Standards for Optimal Sexual Development

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