South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Building and Maintaining Relationships with Schools to Ensure Program Success
Founded in 1994 to combat increasingly high rates of teen pregnancy in South Carolina, the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign) is the only organization in the state working in all counties, entirely focused on the reduction of teen pregnancy.
Supported with funding from the Office of Adolescent Health, in 2010, the organization began to implement the evidence-based program It’s Your Game…Keep it Real (IYG) in a randomized controlled trial in 24 middle schools throughout the state. The goal of the program is to reduce unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections by encouraging teens to delay the initiation of sex.
IYG is a classroom and computer-based program focusing on HIV/STI and teen pregnancy prevention for 7th and 8th grade students. It consists of twelve 50-minute lessons delivered in 7th grade, and twelve 50-minute lessons delivered in 8th grade. Participating schools are in both rural and relatively urban areas of South Carolina; enrollment in 7th and 8th grade range in size from 83 to 975 students in 2014. Over the past four years, the SC Campaign has reached over 9,000 students with IYG.
Implementing the program on such a scale is a large undertaking, and the SC Campaign had to determine how to retain schools in the face of frequent staff transitions at the school and district levels. They employed several strategies to build and maintain relationships with teachers and schools, including:
- Conducting annual summer meetings with school district administration as a way to check in, answer any questions about the program, and ascertain what the SC Campaign project staff could do to assist with program implementation.
- Monitoring school district news and staff transitions and connecting with new district leadership and staff as soon as possible.
- Offering teachers interested in implementing IYG with scholarships to cover the cost of IYG training, travel, accommodations, and a substitute teacher stipend, if necessary. These trainings allow SC Campaign project staff to foster relationships with IYG teachers and schools, helping to increase each school’s capacity to effectively implement the program.
- Conducting continuous quality improvement (CQI) meetings with implementation schools throughout the year. CQI meetings are conducted by regional technical assistance specialists who are well-trained in IYG and adolescent development, and who live near the schools they serve.
- Sharing process data with school districts when available.
These efforts have paid off; the SC Campaign has retained 100 percent of participating schools and is confident that the IYG curriculum will continue to be used in all schools after grant funding ends.
The SC Campaign’s success is evident not only in its school retention rate, but in feedback from youth participants and teachers. Nine out of 10 students reported they believe they will use information and skills learned from the IYG program. One student said:
I thought that at first it would be really awkward talking about [sexual behaviors] with my IYG teacher, but it was actually a great learning experience and I've learned a lot more than I thought I would. Plus if you are ever in a situation where you don't feel comfortable, you can use the advice that was given to you in the lessons.
One hundred percent of teachers implementing the IYG program agreed that using a medically accurate, evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program in their middle school has influenced their students to make healthier choices. Outcome data from a randomized controlled study being conducted by ETR Associates, an independent evaluator, will be available in February 2015, and the SC Campaign is hopeful that the outcomes will reflect this positive feedback.
Name: Forrest Alton
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Organization: South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Content last reviewed on December 15, 2016