Healthy Relationships Newsletter

Going to the Heart of the Matter in Dade County, Florida

Miami, Florida - During a visit to the Miami area to visit his grandmother in 1995, Healthy Relationships co-developer and writer Andrew Safer paid a visit to Sema Pollock, Coordinator of the Department of Substance Education for Dade County Public Schools in Miami. This district covers six regions, including 320,000 students.

Sema Pollock and Elaine Pearson

Sema Pollock and Elaine Pearson, Dade County Public Schools

Pollock, who worked as a psychotherapist for 20 years before taking the position with the school board, placed an order for 18 sets in order to carry out a pilot project in 10 middle schools.

Unlike any other jurisdiction in the United States, Dade County Public Schools employs a "trust specialist" at each middle school (grades six to eight). This is a Master's level psychologist or social worker with a minimum of two years' clinical experience, who is on hand to teach students who are referred on account of behavioural problems (drug abuse, family problems, and relationship problems). There are typically 10 to 12 students in these special classes. Healthy Relationships was piloted in this context, and it is currently being rolled out for this application in all middle schools in the district. In support of this, the district ordered an additional 30 sets of the curriculum in March.

"The people I have using it all liked it," reports Pollock. "They felt that it was very beneficial for students to have activities like that, and the students have reported they felt their relationships had improved." She lists the strengths of the curriculum: The State of Florida's Department of Education is just now introducing a new project in 18 middle schools on Peace Education and Violence Prevention, and Pollock says that Healthy Relationships will be one of the classroom materials that will be used in support of this initiative.

Elaine Pearson is Pollock's assistant in the Department of Substance Education. Asked to comment on Healthy Relationships, she said, "The reason your curriculum is so good is because it touches the soul. It goes to the heart of the matter. It is not superficial."


  1. Curriculum Selected for Three-Year Evaluation
    Update February 1997
    "Our research assistants are excited and challenged by what is going on in the classroom, and we are very pleased with the response we're getting from school administrators and teachers."

  2. A Challenge for Educators
    "On the basis of time alone...the entertainment industry is the first curriculum in young peoples' lives."

  3. The Making of this Curriculum
    "We began to look for proactive ways to take responsibility for male violence, and to contribute towards the evolution of a violence free society."

  4. In Ontario, Gender Analysis is Key
    "HRC looks at stereotyping of both men and women as victims of socialization. It's not one half of the population that's at fault."

  5. Educating for Change
    Recommended Materials on Violence Against Women and Children.

  6. Gender Reactions Differ in B.C.
    "From her vantage point, Hill has noticed different gender-based reactions to some of the material she's presented."

  7. Public Health Nurse Uses Healthy Relationships Curriculum
    "I'm going to start a project in junior high schools on awareness, violence, and bullying..."

  8. Multiple Applications in Edmonton
    "This material provides a way to stimulate discussion and to develop strategies for intergenerational connections."

  9. Breaking New Ground With Youth Corrections Programming
    "It's been a real plus for us to be able to go to something that's already out there, and to be able to use it as a source of strength."

  10. Students Promote Zero Tolerance for Violence
    "The $64,000 question remains: Is the curriculum actually making a difference in the students' attitudes and behaviours? MacNeil says it is."

  11. Going to the Heart of the Matter in Dade County, Florida
    "The reason your curriculum is so good is because it touches the soul. It goes to the heart of the matter. It is not superficial."

  12. A Foundation for Other Programs
    "Sometimes Healthy Relationships is not used overtly in program delivery. Instead, it's used behind the scenes."

  13. Children's Aid Uses Healthy Relationships
    "The boys have had problems in relation to sexuality...We have found (HRC) a very useful reference and resource."

  14. Curriculum Supplement: Gender Justice
    Some suggestions which expand this unit of the Grade 9 curriculum.

  15. Organizations that have ordered Healthy Relationships
    Update December 1997

To receive a printed copy of the latest Healthy Relationships Newsletter, please e-mail your name, name of your organization, and full address to: --or use our online request form


Copyright © Men For Change 1996-2004     Design: Sealevel | SiteCare™   2004-11-11

Sealevel sacred space