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PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL HEALTH PROGRAMS: A REPORT FROM THE NATIONAL PTA

In January of 1998 the National PTA conducted a study (with funding from the Centers for Disease Control, through the American School Health Association) on parental involvement in school health program at the local school level. Questionnaires were mailed to a sample selection of local school principals, local PTA leaders and state PTA leaders.

In summary, the findings show that Coordinated School Health Programs are widely seen as a positive way to reduce school problems such as absenteeism, teen pregnancy, low test scores, lack of attention in class, alcohol and drug use and discipline problems. There was strong agreement on what needs to be addressed and all agreed that the delivery of student health services and mental health counseling are areas of greatest need that are not being met.

The highest level of satisfaction was in physical education. Parents' involvement in long-term problems and issues needs to be stronger. All agreed working toward getting more parent involvement was necessary.

The survey indicated that about 70% of schools surveyed do not have a school health coordinator, even at the district level. Principals and parents were asked to name the biggest health-related need in their school during the past year. State PTA leaders were asked to select the biggest health-related need for their state as a whole.

Results of the Parents Surveyed

1. Sick children sent to school when ill - 16%
2. Head lice - 13%
3. Absenteeism due to illness - 11%
4. Traffic/pedestrian safety problems - 10%
5. Inadequate health staff coverage - 9%

 

Results of the Principals Surveyed

1. Head lice - 14%
2. Absenteeism due to illness - 14%
3. Sick children sent to school when ill - 12%
4. Attention Deficit Disorder - 12%
5. Inadequate health staff coverage - 11%

 

Results of the State PTA Leaders Surveyed

1. Tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use - 28%
2. Children without primary medical care - 20%
3. Inadequate health staff coverage -10%
4. Absenteeism due to illness - 8%

 

For a full report contact the, Kentucky PTA at 502-564-4378 or E-mail .

 

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