243636 A healthy school community: Observations from a predominantly African American public high school

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Susan Lorentz, PhD , Research and Evaluation, HCD International, Columbia, MD
Research has suggested that a healthy school community can promote student achievement and the well-being of students and staff. Underserved students placed at risk for school failure are especially in need of a healthy school environment.

Evans High School (pseudonym) has a 95.9% African American student population. Evans is a public school in a jurisdiction where 26% of schools are listed as “Identified for Improvement” by the State Department of Education; however, Evans is not on the list.

The purpose of this session is to present case study observations of a school that is “beating the odds” in the level of attainment of school health. The researcher is an outside observer. School health is measured by academic achievement and student attendance. Healthy school community is indicated by the quality of interactions and morale.

Sources of observations, interactions, and data include:

Information presented in Instructional Management Team meetings from October 2009 to May 2010;

Meetings and interactions with the Principal, Instructional Coordinator, and other school faculty and staff;

Observations in several classrooms; and

Data from the State Department of Education.

Findings include observations regarding the methods, actions, and interactions of school Principal and staff that appear to contribute to school health and a healthy school community.

Improvements in the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program including the In-School Suspension component seems to be an area of need which could support and strengthen school health, and yield substantial overall benefits to the school.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how school principals and staff contribute to school health and a healthy school community

Keywords: Education, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have conducted studies on aspects of school health in underserved schools, such as the academic learning environment (school community and climate), academic achievement, instructional methods, measuring time-on-task, school safety, and bullying.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.