Masters Thesis

Developing and implementing a school wellness plan at Buttonwillow School through community partnerships

To improve health literacy in an agricultural region, Kern Family Health Care has funded Buttonwillow School and community partners to inaugurate a school wellness committee (SWC) and implement a school wellness plan (SWP). The purpose of this SWP is to help children stay healthy, prevent future chronic diseases, and improve academic performance. Prior to the 2017- 2018 academic year, the school did not have a school wellness plan but was in the process of working with community partners to implement an updated school wellness policy and related strategies that promote school and community health. The SWP implemented six objectives that may evolve through ongoing formative assessment by the SWC. The investigator focused on the parents’ perspectives on how effective the SWP is through take-home surveys provided for each family. For this study, the investigator provides insight from the parents’ perspective that covered six areas of measurements in the surveys, including: family engagement, family support, family efficacy, school climate, barriers to engagement, and roles and responsibilities. The investigator’s length of service at Buttonwillow School is from August 14, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The investigator assisted in assessing the wellness program, factors that impact school health issues, and the progress in implementing a school wellness policy. This study demonstrates the benefits and impact of community partnerships in an agricultural community and recommends family engagement practices from survey findings. Findings of the study showed that the 2017-2018 SWP have reached families and engaged them to be more active in their child’s health. This is significant as there is a better understanding for parents in the development and implementation process of school wellness policies and plans in a small rural school district through community partnerships.

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