Why should you choose ESTEEM as your student character development, adolescent safety, and sexual risk avoidance curriculum?

ESTEEM helps to improve student awareness of and tendency toward making healthy decisions. The more teens are aware of dangers and consequences of risky behaviors, the more prepared they will be to avoid such situations.

Teens that “wait” stay in school longer, and ESTEEM has been proven effective in helping teens understand the impact of their choices! Sex tends to cut education short. Studies show that sexually active teens — whose numbers grow by 7,000 a day — are more likely to drop out of high school and quit college than are teens who abstain from sexual activity.

Teaching abstinence in schools, proponents say, counters not only lower academic achievement but greater risks of depression and disease. 1, 2 The curriculum was designed with help from the Virginity Rules leadership students, dedicated abstinence facilitators, classroom teachers, SHAC members and parents.


  • One in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).3
  • Research shows that teen sex can deflate self­esteem, erode optimism, and spoil the quality of intimate relationships.4
  • Sixty­six percent of teens who have had sex wish they had waited longer 5

ESTEEM is a peer ­reviewed-6 curriculum which teaches the same core topics throughout all four grades/levels while appropriately increasing the maturity level of the content each year.

Topics include:

  • Goal setting for improved academic outcomes
  • How media and cultural influences impact self­-esteem, character development and sexualit
  • Explanation of the major sexually transmitted diseases
  • The true cost teen pregnancy
  • Legal consequences of having underage sex
  • Importance of fatherhood to a child
  • Friendships and dating relationships­ what is healthy and what is not
  • Creating clear boundaries and priorities
  • The importance and benefits of marriage
  • Reviewing goals and planning for the future

The ESTEEM curriculum includes 10 lessons which can be delivered in 45 min - 1hr segments. Each student receives their own workbook which they use as a personal journal and which becomes an incredible resource they can take home after the course.

Teachers are trained in a fun, and interactive 6 hour certification training.

For more information, to order curriculum, or to schedule a facilitator training call 903.758.2762, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tonya Waite


1. National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), 2001.
2. Note: “Abstinent teens” means teens who didn’t have sex before age 18; “sexually active teens” means those who did. Respondents were 19 to 25 when surveyed.
3, 4, 5. http://www.hhs.gov/opa/initiatives/psunc/speakup_campaign1.pdf.
6. Tobin, T. (2011). ESTEEM and FACTS: Creative Ways to Teach
Healthy Lifestyles to Youth from Diverse Backgrounds. Creative Education, Vol. 2, No. 3, 193-198.Tonya Waite

ESTEEM Evaluation Excerpt

Excerpts from a longitudinal evaluation of ESTEEM conducted by Tary Tobin, PhD, University of Oregon:

Proportion of adolescents who understand that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The list below shows the combined percentage of youth, after the ETAP program, who “Agree” or “Strongly agree” with the following statement: "The best way for teenagers to avoid unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to wait until they are married before having sex."

2001-2002: 76%; 2002-2003: 78%; 2003-2004: 84% in Grades 7 and 8, 78% of high school students; 2004-2005: 83%; 2005-2006: 78%; 2006-2007: 83%; 2007-2008: 90%.

“Proportion of participants who report they have the refusal or assertiveness skills necessary to resist sexual urges and advances. Agree” or “Strongly agree” with the following statement: "If someone tries to get me to have sex, I feel confident I can say no." 2001-2002: 64%; 2002-2003: 77%; 2003-2004: 70%; 2004-2005: 76%; 2005-2006: 77%; 2006-2007: 78%; 2007-2008: 77%.

Proportion of youth who commit to abstain from sexual activity until marriage. The list below shows the combined percentage of youth, after the ETAP program, who responded “Yes” to the following question: "Whether or not you have ever had sex, in the future do you plan to wait until marriage?" 2001-2002: 59%; 2002-2003: 59%; 2003-2004: 56%; 2004-2005: 67%; 2005-2006: 64%; 2006-2007: 65%; 2007-2008: 64%.

Proportion of participants who intend to avoid situations and risk behaviors, such as drug use and alcohol consumption, which make them more vulnerable to sexual advances and urges. The list below shows the combined percentage of youth, after the ETAP program, who “Agree” or “Strongly agree” with the following statement: "My friends and I can have fun without sex, drugs, or alcohol." 2001-2002: 75%; 2002-2003: 84%; 2003-2004: 80%; 2004-2005: 84%; 2005-2006: 84%; 2006-2007: 84%; 2007-2008: 85%.

What students have said about the ESTEEM program:

“I stand strong in my virginity…its great to know someone out there shares my feelings.” Nathan - 17
“I really appreciate the messages virginity rules sends out to teenagers.” Casey - 17
“I think it is really important to tell teens that just because your friends are having sex doesn’t mean you have to, there are other options.” Melissa - 19

“Abstinence means not being sexually active, being safe, and doing what’s right.” Roxanne - 13

“To me it means when you hold off on having any sexual contact of any kind because of values and personal preferences.” Andrea - 13

“It means that I can have a future with a good career, and no STD’s or STI’s.” Erica - 12
“Abstinence is choosing not to engage in something, despite how good it might look because you know that it is better not to.” Larry - 18
“My boyfriend and I both have chosen to be abstinent (…) because it helps us keep a strong relationship.” Amanda - 17
“I choose to be abstinent because I don’t want to end up pregnant, with a sexually transmitted disease, or have to deal with the emotional effects of sex.” Roxanne - 13
“(…) I want sex to be a gift shared only with my future wife after marriage.” Larry - 18
“I want to be a coalition member because I want to tell other teens how I choose to be abstinent, and they can too, all they have to do is trust in themselves.” Andrea - 13