The first Teen Living program in Utah was originally developed in 1977 under the direction of Phyllis Woodbury, the home economics supervisor for Granite School District. It was field-tested and refined by Chris Moore at Eisenhower Junior High School in Salt Lake City. What started out as one small foods class turned Teen Living, developed into a districtwide implementation and eventually, statewide adoption.
Throughout the years, the Teen Living curriculum has earned awards from the American Vocational Association, Kellogg Foundation, and the American Association of Protecting Children. This is due to the fact that Teen Living addresses timely issues through a curriculum that is upbeat and positive.
In the fall of 1993, under the direction of Mary Monroe Shumway, Family and Consumer Science Specialist for the Utah State Board of Education, a statewide committee was formed to update the existing curriculum and address current needs for both rural and urban districts. The input received by the committee was that teachers wanted a curriculum that was visual, easy to follow, fun, and complete, with a focus on the issues related to students of the 90s. Chris Moore and Leigh Ann McCann, Granite School District, were designated as the co-coordinators of the project.
Because getting a driver's license and being able to drive are events junior high students look forward to and dream about, symbols of driving, e.g., highways, cars, and road signs form the basic theme used throughout the curriculum. Emphasis was placed on the developmental tasks students need to master in order to become successful, productive adults. These tasks serve as milestones on the highway of life. Some of the tasks include: personal development, preparing for a career, identifying personal values, critical thinking, meeting challenging times, taking a stand, and making responsible decisions in family and personal relationships.
Statewide field testing took place in the fall of 1994, and the results of the test were resoundingly positive. The curriculum was found to be innovative, timely, and user-friendly for both the student and the teacher. Because of these factors, the new Utah Teen Living Curriculum received a 1995 Healthy Lifestyles Award from What's New in Home Economics, a nationwide publication that is highly esteemed among Family and Consumer Science educators.
Our committee loved working together on this project, we're proud of the result of our efforts, and we hope the teachers who implement this curriculum enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!