Dear Coworkers on Mission,
Recently, the Department of Catholic Schools, in collaboration with the Office of Family Ministry, announced that the Teen STAR curriculum on Holistic Formation in the Human Person and Sexuality is expected to be implemented in all archdiocesan schools over the next three years. The partnership between the Archdiocese of Detroit and Teen STAR USA will provide training to schoolteachers on a yearly basis at no additional cost to the schools.
The Family Ministry Office was recently awarded a grant from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to help fund this training opportunity. As such, any parish leaders, including DREs, Directors of Discipleship Formation, Directors of Family Ministry, Catechists or Youth Ministers interested in attending this training are invited to attend free of charge.
Please see below for an overview of the program, and information about training, and complete a brief questionnaire about your interest in training to bring Teen STAR to your school or parish.
Teen STAR stands for Sexuality Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility. Teen STAR can best be described as Catholic formation on human sexuality for teens that partners with parents. The five points of the star represent the five categories of the human persona: Spiritual, Intellectual, Social, Physical, Emotional. The curriculum uses these categories as a foundation for understanding how the human person develops and maintains health in each of these areas.
Teen STAR utilizes experience of the body’s fertility patterns to discover the values and derive the norms. Additional objectives of the program include:
- teaches responsible decision-making and communication skills in the area of sexual behavior.
- enhances teens’ self-understanding and self-esteem.
- moves teens from being victims of their hormones to being in control.
- demands self-discipline – which is counter-cultural.
- offers methods to reject peer, as well as media pressure.
- affirms virtues but is not moralistic.
- treats sex as a gift to be respected and valued.
The program can be offered to Catholic middle school and high school students as part of their daily coursework in Catholic schools, an after-school program, or a faith formation opportunity through parish faith formation. Content is presented over twelve units total. Each unit may take 1-3 sessions to complete, depending on age and maturity of the students. Topics covered include:
- understanding gender and identity and social/cultural views of sexuality
- anatomy, signs of fertility, hormones and behaviors
- decision making and executive functioning
- the sanctity of life
- relationships and dating, body language
- living a moral life, arriving at what their learning means for how they live in the world (this includes sexual morality, STDs and pornography)
Teachers are trained by Teen STAR directly and do not need to be certified schoolteachers. In training, teachers learn to use the Socratic method, inviting students to ask and answer questions and arrive at truth through discourse and personal reflection.
Teen STAR’s use of questions, discourse, and personal reflection separate this curriculum from popular Theology of the Body courses available from mainstream Catholic publishers. The program is designed around personal, relational encounters between students and the student and teacher. This style of teaching and learning differs in appearance and experience from the “typical” religion or theology class found in our schools and faith formation programs. Students who have completed the program describe this course as “a very fun, easy going way to learn about how to be a Christian in the modern-day world.” This type of classroom interaction lends itself to students’ more honest interactions and more engaged interactions with their teacher and peers.
In addition to building relationships and discussions in the classroom, students are assigned homework that involves conversations and interviews with parents/guardians and other members of their families and communities. These exercises can encourage communication in the home and ask students to consider how society and culture influence their understanding of human development and sexuality.
Finally, the integration of reproductive anatomy and fertility awareness for both male and female students sets this program far ahead of others in its holistic approach to accompanying teens through a challenging phase life. Students are given a solid foundation in understanding not only how their reproductive system operates, but how their development may influence their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Students learn tools and practice exercises in how to apply what they’ve learned to their real-world experiences. Methods for learning this material include role-playing, exercises in assertiveness, discussions on modesty of language, and other applications. To complete their formation in this area, only after they have gained this understanding, are they invited to consider and uncover the truths that lie within their own bodies, and what they reveal about their relationships with others, with God, and with themselves.
The emphasis on the scientific and practical aspects of this curriculum could potentially complement or lead directly into a more in-depth study of Theology of the Body or other existing faith formation programs, however these real-world lessons and tools lay a necessary foundation for students to be open to learning more in-depth theology.
- A study conducted over 4 years in Chile showed a decrease in teen pregnancies in students enrolled in the program
- A 2014 worldwide study show virginity was maintained by 97-99% of participants, and 40-50% of previously sexually active males discontinued sexual activity.
- Parents reported increase in communication between teens and parents, and that they felt encouraged to take a more active role in educating their children in areas of sexuality and morality.
- Teachers of other subjects observed that teens were more engaged in class.
- Teens reported they believe the course is practical in helping them navigate their teenage years and preparing for adulthood.
Teacher training is free to all Catholic school and parish staff and volunteers working to bring Teen STAR to their communities.
Training Dates | Click here to register
- Wednesday, April 26 - 4:30-6:30 p.m. (online)
- Thursday, April 27 - 4:30-6:30 p.m. (online)
- Wednesday, May 3 - 4:30-6:30 p.m. (online)
- Thursday, May 4 - 4:30-6:30 p.m. (online)
- Wednesday, May 10 - 8:30-3:30 p.m. (in-person at Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
- Thursday, May 11 - 8:30-3:30 p.m. (in-person at Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
Please note that it is required that teachers attend all live Zoom sessions and in-person training sessions to be certified to teach Teen STAR in the Archdiocese of Detroit. If you are unable to attend one or more of the dates below, please contact us before completing the registration.
To learn more about Teen STAR, join us at one of our scheduled Virtual Come & See Events (click on your preferred session to register):
- Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 4:15-5 p.m.
- Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - 4:15-5 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 4:15-5 p.m.
If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Joyce, Associate Director of Family Ministry, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (313) 237-5776.