Integrating health promoting principles into the context of a standards based high school : an autobiographical action research case study
Reale, Vanessa Nobile
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2011 Vanessa Nobile Reale. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
This thesis documents the evolution of a research journey which remains a work in progress. The primary goal of this study was to collaboratively create and lead a health promoting high school. This study has two distinct but intertwined areas of focus: action research fieldwork conducted to design and infuse health promoting principles into the context of a traditional, standards based high school, and the documentation and reflection of the professional practice and leadership strategies used to implement the study.
This thesis documents the efforts of a school leader to respond to the array of information and research generated by governmental agencies, professional publications and mainstream media suggesting the need for public school educators and school leaders to address national public health goals and the health needs of children within the school setting.
Driven by the dearth of literature related to leading health promoting schools in conjunction with the abundance of compelling research citing the health needs of children and the connection of health to lifelong wellness, this study sought to work collaboratively with students, staff, district administrators, and members of the community to integrate health promoting principles into a traditional, standards based culture. Throughout the study intertwined phases of collaborative action research and reflective professional practice were supported by a continual infusion of a multidisciplinary array of literature resulting in the design and implementation of eco-holistic approaches to promoting health and well-being for staff and students within my school.
The outcomes of this study far exceeded my expectations. For example, the collaborative creation of a site specific coherent, conceptual, health promoting framework for the high school which integrated standards based initiatives and health promoting principles was viewed as a significant milestone. Additionally, the voices of students whose predominant involvement drove the actions and design of the study resulted in creating substantial change to the health, physical education and nutrition as well as to support services leading to an improved school mission and health promoting school culture.
This study has responded to the growing need for school leaders to address the needs of the whole child and the whole school by creating a foundation and framework for change which aligns with standard based expectations and the goals of a democratic society at large. The documentation of leadership strategies utilized for this whole school approach fill a perceived gap in the literature and may have the potential to inspire and assist other aspiring health promoting school leaders gain the courage and confidence to create the deep changes and disruption to the 'status quo' required to infuse health into whole school improvement initiatives.
- Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
- Qualification level
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- 20 MB