Collaborative Research Partnership
to Transform School Health

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Student Outcomes: What's Health Got to Do With It?

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Student Outcomes: What's Health Got To Do With It?

On October 2nd we convened a meeting to share what we‘ve been learning about student health and academic outcomes in Seattle.

Five Priority Health Areas
Reponses from the District & Community
Meeting Evaluation
Next Steps

Meeting Goals

  • Provide school policymakers and health professionals with an introduction to the kinds of health data that are available;
  • Raise the understanding of the role that health has in academic success; and
  • Get useful feedback that can be used for strategic planning as the project moves forward.

Meeting Agenda

Superintendent Banda greeted attendees, and emphasized the importance of this work in helping to assure that students are healthy and ready to learn. Download agenda (pdf).

Meeting Participants

Over 65 people:

  • School nurses
  • School and district administrators
  • University of Washington researchers
  • Representatives from state and county agencies, community health care organizations and non-profit groups

Five Priority Health Areas

Five priority health areas have been identified by district administrators and leaders, researchers, health professionals, community members and other school health advocates. Experts in the five topic areas presented the results of their analysis of relationships between health and academics (attendance, MAP scores in mathematics and reading and academic risk score) in Seattle’s students::

  • Health Risk Behaviors: Cari McCarty, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Director of Research, Adolescent Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Social/Emotional Health (initial focus on bullying): Karin Frey, PhD, Research Associate Professor, College of Education
  • Chronic Health Conditions (initial focus on asthma): Gail M Kieckhefer, PhD, PNP-BC, AE-C, ARNP, The Joanne Montgomery Endowed Professor, School of Nursing and Mayumi A Willgerodt, PhD, MPH, MS, RN, Associate Professor, School of Nursing
  • Nutrition: Donna Johnson, PhD, RD, Associate Professor, Health Services, Nutritional Sciences Program, Center for Public Health Nutrition
  • Physical Activity: Glen Duncan, PhD, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Nutritional Sciences Program.

Analyses were conducted by Wes Bignell, PhC, Sociology and Jason Williams, PhC, the Evans School of Public Affairs.


Responses from the District and Community Representatives

A panel of SPS administrators responded to the information about health and academics:

  • Phil Brockman, Executive Director of School Operations;
  • Patricia Hunter, Principal of Maple Elementary School; and
  • Susan Wright, Executive Director, Department of Technology Services

Meeting participants also provided feedback and ideas for future work. Some examples:

  • Analyze associations between school-based resources (the number of health professionals, such as nurses, counselors, and family support workers, and health initiatives or programs) and school attendance, health, and academic outcomes.
  • Create an individual student wellness index to add to the other metrics that are used to monitor student progress, and consider of adding this information to  student report cards. Also consider providing information on aggregate student health indicators for each school.
  • Investigate the difference that a coordinated school health approach vs. individual programs has on attendance, health, and academic outcomes.
  • Identify the factors that affect student engagement. Which interventions improve student engagement?
  • Evaluate the impact of individual programs or interventions.
  • Build statistical models that can be used to examine relationship between socio-economic disparities, health concerns, and academic outcomes among schools.
  • Increase communication with students, parents, school practitioners and legislators about research findings and recommendations.

Meeting Evaluation

Participants overwhelmingly agreed that attending the meeting was a worthwhile use of their time and that the meeting’s goals were achieved.

Next Steps

Data analysts are currently exploring ways to use existing data to address questions raised by participants during the meeting. Plans are underway for organizing research teams to develop grant proposals for future research and for the sustainability of the work of the Collaborative Research Partnership.

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