As required by the “Expanding Student Access to Period Products Act of 2022” (DC Law 24-92), effective March 15, 2022, OSSE must develop menstrual health education standards for all students regardless of gender beginning in grade 4 to ensure that students have the information, support and enabling-school environment to manage menstruation with dignity, safety and comfort. Further, DC Law 24-92 § 38-531.03 states: “The health education standards shall include information on the menstrual cycle, premenstrual syndrome and pain management, menstrual hygiene management, menstrual disorders, menstrual irregularities, menopause and other relevant topics relating to the menstrual cycle.”
The District of Columbia last revised its K-12 health education standards in 2016.
OSSE and the State Board of Education (SBOE) continue to work to review, revise and update menstrual education standards.
- July 2022: OSSE conducted a national literature review to identify existing standards for menstrual health education within other jurisdictions. The findings were very limited, and it was determined that OSSE would be drafting these standards from a blank canvas.
- August-October 2022: OSSE met with various governmental and non-governmental partners to collaborate on model practices and approaches to drafting standards for menstrual health education at all grade bands and across the various strands identified by the 2016 Health Standards.
- October-November 2022: OSSE developed an initial draft of standards.
- December 2022: OSSE casted a wide net to receive feedback from local and national governmental and non-governmental partners, including DC public and public charter school health educators, community-based organizations, university partners and pediatric health care providers.
- January 2023: OSSE presented the draft standards to SBOE at its January working group session and released the standards for public comment.
- February 2023: OSSE will present draft standards and receive feedback from the SBOE Student Advisory Committee at its Feb. 6 working group meeting.
Standards Addendum Priorities
Publishing a set of menstrual health education standards renews the District’s commitment to comprehensive health education and establishes consistent expectations for all District students in public and public charter schools. A comprehensive health education curriculum is essential to increasing student agency and literacy and to creating inclusive school spaces. The standards aim to empower our students to become active participants in their own health, while maintaining dignity and respect for fellow students as they grow and develop.
These are important foci of the standards in summary by grade band:
Grades 3-5: Focus on building a functional understanding of the menstruation cycle, physical and emotional changes experienced by menstruators, communication with trusted adults and peers and product accessibility.
Grades 6-8: In-depth focus on the menstrual cycle, personal decision-making and analyzing influences (period stigma).
Grades 9-12: Focus on menstrual health irregularities, independent management of personal period health and community health implications of period stigma and inequities with product access.
Public comment allows the community to provide input on the draft menstrual health education standards before they are adopted by the SBOE. OSSE will use input from the public comment period to consider changes to the draft menstrual health education standards before submitting the standards to the SBOE for final approval and adoption.
Public comment is open from Jan. 20 until 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 20. All comments can be submitted through the email button below.
If you are interested in submitting a letter, please use the email link and select the option to provide feedback on the entire draft.
View the draft menstrual health education standards here.