Comprehensive School Health Sustainability and Teacher Stress, Wellness, and Retention
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This study explored the extent to which teacher stress management and wellness could be mediated by the comprehensive school health [CSH] model, and in turn, if improvements in staff wellness could strengthen engagement and sustainability in CSH. CSH is a framework for promoting wellbeing within school communities, encouraging lifelong engagement in healthy living practices. The research explored the relationship between decreasing teacher stress, improving teacher wellness, and establishing effective, sustainable CSH. Grounded theory methodology was used to explain phenomena of interest to the researcher (CSH and teacher stress and wellness) through interpretation of the perspective and context of those who experienced it (Birks & Mills, 2011). Grounded in field data collected through constructivist design and focused on participants’ perspectives, feelings, and beliefs (McMillan & Schumacher, 2010), in tandem with relevant research literature and researcher memos, an enhanced understanding of CSH and teacher wellness was constructed. Data collection and analysis uncovered the richness of participants’ lived experiences and built understanding of CSH implementation and sustainability. The study suggests that an interdependent relationship exists between CSH and teacher wellness, and emphasizes the importance of relationship building at all stakeholder levels in education. Relationship building encourages shared responsibilities among stakeholders to address challenges and teacher supports, and inspire action to establish effective and sustainable school cultures of wellness. In combination with connections to passion, purpose and ownership, change possibilities and sustainability are enhanced. Healthy stakeholder relationships may be a prerequisite to not only CSH sustainability, but perhaps the success and staying-power of any change initiative in education. Considering the reports of teacher workload and stress, and minimal evidence addressing improvement and empowerment through wellness supports, the results provide important suggestions for enhancing CSH and addressing the fundamental building blocks of change and sustainability: establishing trust, cultivating ownership, and building mutually respectful relationships across the hierarchy of education. The study opens the door for longitudinal exploration of a comprehensive approach to CSH, from teacher education to K to 12 initiatives, observing teacher health outcomes, student health outcomes, the interplay between those and learner outcomes, and determinants of effective and sustainable school cultures of wellness.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeOrlowski, Paul; Kalyn, Brenda
Copyright DateJune 2014
comprehensive school health