By Kristin Fox
At the December meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education, school officials unanimously approved a Memorandum of Agreement between Mountain Projects, Inc. Prevention Services for an upcoming student wellness survey, known as the Pride Survey, in Jackson County Schools. Laura Cabe, Jackson County School Nutrition Director, presented the agreement and survey for the board’s approval on behalf of the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)/Jackson County Health Department.
To continue the health and safety education efforts at Jackson County Public Schools, SHAC will be conducting an anonymous student survey about school climate, including bullying, violence, alcohol and drug use. The survey information will assist SHAC in making informed decisions by providing the data needed to evaluate and develop safety, bullying and drug education programs for students, schools, parents and the community.
The survey will be given to all 7th, 9th and 11th grade students attending Jackson County schools during the week of February 20, 2023. While all students are encouraged to participate, the decision to participate is voluntary. Survey procedures have been developed to protect students’ privacy and allow for anonymous participation.
Parents may opt to send a refusal for their child’s participation. Alternatively, students will have the opportunity to refuse at the time of the survey. There will be no action against students who decide not to participate in the survey. If a parent prefers that their child not participate in the survey, they need to contact their student’s school office, in writing, before Monday, February 6, 2023.
A copy of the survey will be available in the principals’ offices in Jackson County schools if a parent would like to review its content. A summary of the information gathered will be shared with parents when results are obtained.
The Pride Survey includes questions about students’ personal and family information, tobacco and drug use, safety and bullying. The survey also includes a COVID-19 supplement questions and response section with questions such as if a student prefers online or learning in school or whether a student has adequate access to school counseling services.
SHAC is an advisory group composed of individuals selected primarily from the health and education segments of the community. The group acts collectively in providing advice to the school system on aspects of the school health programs. The members of the council are appointed by the school system to advise the school system.
The goal of SHAC is that a coordinated effort among schools, the community, and parents will help students lead healthy and productive lives.
Local school health advisory councils are comprised of representatives from the eight components of school health (health education, physical education, nutrition services, family and community, mental and social health, staff wellness, school environment, and health services) who can objectively assess the needs of young people and identify the required resources.
The health of young people is directly tied to academic achievement and their potential for school success and overall quality of life. The schools alone cannot solve or prevent health-related problems. However, the schools’ ability to have a positive impact on students’ health behavior and academic gains is enhanced with the help of community resources.