New Teacher, Curriculum for Health Class


Emma Phoenix, Mirada Staff

The health class is getting a new teacher and a new statewide curriculum with more comprehensive sexual health education.
Carley Nava took over the position following the retirement of Donna Ward who had taught health at Rio since 2011. A 2001 Rio grad, Nava said she is hoping to boost enrollment in health class, which many students now take online.
Taking the class on campus with the new curriculum will teach students to avoid sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy, promote healthy relationships, and help students understand gender and sexual orientation, she said.
“My hope is that kids hear their peers talk about health class and tell them ‘it’s really fun and interactive’ and that more kids want to take it,” Nava said. “I feel like they need the class. This is the last time a lot of these people will be exposed to this information.”
Some of the information students will be exposed to comes from the California Healthy Youth Act, which was enacted in 2015, but gave schools three years to get ready for the new curriculum.
AB 329, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber was the bill that started the process of a new curriculum. Equality California states that LGBT students are stigmatized or ignored in health classes and “ LGBT-inclusive education has been shown to have a positive effect on school climate overall and make LGBT youth feel safer in school.” With more information given to a wider variety of students, AB 329 will “lead to greater understanding and acceptance of LGBT youth and families” says Equality California.
A new addition is the extensive information of other ways to prevent pregnancies and STI’s and STD’s. Under AB 329, abstinence cannot be the only way of prevention taught by teachers, it has to be integrated with other preventions like birth control.
The also law requires that teachers include information explaining that abstinence is the only certain way to prevent HIV, other STIs and unintended pregnancies.
Included in the new curriculum is an automatic “opt-in” instead of “opt-out”. This means that teachers like Nava have to be contacted by students families saying they do not want their child to participate in certain lessons rather than saying they do want their child to participate.
Besides the expansive sexual education in the new curriculum, there is information about adult use of marijuana, alcohol and drug abuse/prevention, and childhood obesity and diabetes.
Nava feels well prepared for the class and she says that in her mind, “it’s more of a comprehensive curriculum, it’s more detailed which I think is a good thing.”

Carley Nava

New Job:

I will be teaching Health this year.


I graduated from Rio Americano in 2001. In high school I was a cheerlead- er and songleader. I received both my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications (2005) and Master’s Degree in Educa- tion with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction (2013) from Sacramen- to State. In college I took part in the Greek system and was an Alpha Phi.


I taught Health for five years in Davis and most recently was working with homeschool families at a charter school before coming to Rio. Before working in education, I worked for a few years in television advertising sales.

Working with homeschool families was much different than teaching in the classroom. I have taught a lot of different classes over the past 10 years: Drama/ Public Speaking, PE, Health, 7th grade English and History to name a few, but Health has been my favorite so far.


I am married with two adorable little girls, ages 5 and 3.


Outside of school my kids keep me pretty busy. We like to go to gelato, go to Tahoe, and hang by our pool. I also love to try new restaurants. I recently started golfing which is really enjoy- able. I like to exercise when I have the time. I also am guilty of watching some reality TV shows.


I was once featured in a fitness maga- zine!


I currently really enjoy the Headspace app. I have been using it on and off before bed to really shut down my mind and inner dialogue, and just relax after a hectic day. It is really awesome and free!!!