History of TISSAM
TISAM: Take It Seriously: Abstinence and Media
In 2004, with support from the Washington State Department of Health, teens in five different pilot sites across Washington worked with Teen Futures Media Network, College of Education, University of Washington to develop a curriculum. The goal of this curriculum was to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among Washington State teenagers by taking the first important step of impacting their knowledge and attitudes about abstinence education. The curriculum was designed to reach middle school age youth.

Teen Curriculum Development Teams
During the development phase for TISAM, high school age teens gathered in groups across the state were asked to select all the video clips and other images that they felt would be most effective in a media literacy-based abstinence education program. In addition they designed the activities that would be presented by high school age presenters to their middle school age audience.

Piloting TISAM
Following the development of the curriculum unit, teams of high school age presenters were selected by adult leaders at each of the sites to serve as the first TISAM presenters. Over the summer and fall of 2004, these teen teams presented TISAM to audiences of middle school age youth in both classrooms and community group settings. The results were extremely positive. The program received excellent reviews from all of the teen audiences, the teen presenters and their adult coaches.

During the two subsequent years, high school age youth presenters, their teachers and adult group leaders piloted the TISAM curriculum with several thousand youth across Washington State. Research conducted by Washington State University over the two years indicated that the TISAM curriculum was having a significant impact on its middle school audiences. In addition, a significant number of the middle school youth indicated that TISAM was one of the very best sex education programs they had ever had.

Funding For TISAM
Funding for TISAM was provided through the federal Abstinence Education Grant of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. The TISAM project was administered by the Washington State Department of Health through an interagency agreement with the University of Washington’s College of Education.

TISSAM. Take It Seriously: Sex, Abstinence & Media
With the passage of Washington’s Healthy Youth Act in 2007, the Washington State Department of Health sponsored the effort to continue the development of this very promising program. The revised program, TISSAM, has been expanded and enriched to present a comprehensive approach addressing its goal of reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among Washington State’s teenagers.

Developing TISSAM
In order to critically analyze and evaluate the original TISAM program with the intent of developing a new comprehensive program, it was important for Teen Futures to remain true to its original vision of the curriculum as one developed by teens for teens. For this reason, teens across the state were involved throughout all stages in developing the TISSAM program.

Teen Involvement
In the development phase (2007-2008), Teen Futures worked with six groups of high school age teens across Washington State. These teen groups included original TISAM presenters in the curriculum development groups. Other teens also included in the groups had no knowledge of the previous program and were learning about its contents for the first time.

All the teen groups were asked to revisit every aspect of the TISAM curriculum, culling the very best material for the revised curriculum and making decisions about new material that was now needed. Their suggestions, ideas and choices for images and other materials that needed to be retained, changed or added have guided all the development efforts of the new revised TISSAM. The curriculum was successfully field tested with 8 groups across Washington in 2008-2009.

TISSAM Booster Lessons
During this same period 14 booster lessons for TISSAM were designed with the help of teen groups across the state. These lessons are intended for use during the high school years. See Booster Lessons for more detail.