Methods: The Teach2Reach curriculum and response protocol was developed using a mixed methods, community-based participatory approach. Methods included: (1) Systematic review of the literature on identification of and educational programs targeting youth; (2) Surveys of representative samples of NC school superintendents and principals (n=97); (3) Discussion groups with key stakeholders with expertise in DMST (e.g., anti-DMST advocates, researchers, law enforcement, educators, attorneys); (4) Survey of existing programs focused on educating youth about DMST (n=37); and (5) Feedback and guidance from an expert advisory group, education experts, and survivors of DMST. Overall, the Teach2Reach curriculum and protocol were developed and finalized through a multi-stage iterative process that engaged researchers and practitioners.
Results: Evidence gathered from the systematic reviews, primary data collection, and review of existing programs were synthesized and aligned with relevant NC public school’s essential standards while also using both trauma-informed and youth violence prevention best practice principles. The Teach2Reach curriculum consists of three modules (one for each grade level – seventh, eighth, and ninth), each with five lessons: (1) Foundations; (2) Understanding Sex Trafficking Part 1; (3) Understanding Sex Trafficking Part 2; (4) Finding Help; and (5) Being a Friend. A manual entitled Teach2Reach Program Manual: Partnering with Schools to Educate Students about Sex Trafficking that included the curriculum, model response protocol, pedagogical suggestions, and implementation guidance was developed to provide step-by-step guidance for dissemination in schools.
Conclusions/Implications: Teach2Reach provides a manualized curriculum and protocol for DMST prevention and awareness in schools. In addition to overviewing the curriculum, we will provide recommendations for engaging diverse stakeholders in curriculum development and review and processes for synthesizing multifaceted feedback. We will also offer lessons learned from this project, including strategies for addressing the challenges of implementing of DMST programming in schools, as well as strategies for using best practice violence prevention guidance given the time constraints that public schools often face. We will also offer recommendations for the future including rigorous evaluation of Teach2Reach for adaptation to different settings (i.e., juvenile detention centers).