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Seguin R.A.,Cornell University | Folta S.C.,Tufts University | Sehlke M.,Boston Public Schools | Nelson M.E.,Tufts University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Environmental and Public Health | Year: 2014

Introduction. The epidemic of obesity is a multifaceted public health issue. Positive policy and environmental changes are needed to support healthier eating and increased physical activity. Methods. StrongWomen Change Clubs (SWCCs) were developed through an academic-community research partnership between researchers at Cornell University and Tufts University and community partners (cooperative extension educators) in rural towns in seven U.S. states. Extension educators served as the local leader and each recruited 10-15 residents to undertake a project to improve some aspect of the nutrition or physical activity environment. Most residents had limited (or no) experience in civic engagement. At 6 and 12 months after implementation, the research team conducted key informant interviews with SWCC leaders to capture their perceptions of program process, benchmark achievement, and self-efficacy. Results. At 12 months, each SWCC had accomplished one benchmark; the majority had completed three or more benchmarks. They described common processes for achieving benchmarks such as building relationships and leveraging stakeholder partnerships. Barriers to benchmark achievement included busy schedules and resistance to and slow pace of change. Conclusion. Findings suggest that community change initiatives that involve stakeholders, build upon existing activities and organizational resources, and establish feasible timelines and goals can successfully catalyze environmental change. Copyright © 2014 Rebecca A. Seguin et al.

Banks G.,Boston Public Schools | Clinchot M.,Boston Public Schools | Cullipher S.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Huie R.,Boston Public Schools | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Chemical Education | Year: 2015

Making decisions about the production and use of chemical substances is of central importance in many fields. In this study, a research team comprising teachers and educational researchers collaborated in collecting and analyzing cognitive interviews with students from 8th grade through first-year university general chemistry in an effort to map progression in students' ability to make decisions about the consequences of using and producing chemicals. Study participants were asked to explain their reasoning about which fuel would be best to power a small vehicle. Data were analyzed using a "chemical thinking" lens to characterize conceptual sophistication and complexity of reasoning. Results revealed that most reasoning was intuitive in conceptual sophistication and relational in argumentative nature, driven by the consequences of using the fuels based on their composition. Implications are discussed for the design of learning experiences and assessments that better support students' development of decision-making using chemical knowledge. © 2015 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

Szteinberg G.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Balicki S.,Boston Public Schools | Banks G.,Boston Public Schools | Clinchot M.,Boston Public Schools | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Chemical Education | Year: 2014

Professional development that bridges gaps between educational research and practice is needed. However, bridging gaps can be difficult because teachers and educational researchers often belong to different Communities of Practice, as their activities, goals, and means of achieving those goals often differ. Meaningful collaboration among teachers and educational researchers can create a merged Community of Practice in which both teachers and educational researchers mutually benefit. A collaboration of this type is described that centered on investigating students' abilities to apply chemical thinking when engaged in authentic tasks. We describe the design-based principles behind the collaboration, the work of the collaborative team, and a self-evaluation of results interpreted through a Communities-of-Practice perspective, with primary focus on the teachers' perceptions. Analysis revealed ways in which teachers' assessments shifted toward more research-based practice and ways in which teachers navigated the research process. Implications for affordances and constraints of such collaborations among teachers and educational researchers are discussed. © 2014 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

Cradock A.L.,Harvard University | Barrett J.L.,Harvard University | Carter J.,Boston Public Schools | McHugh A.,Boston Public Health Commission | And 4 more authors.
American Journal of Health Promotion | Year: 2014

Purpose. To test effectiveness of Active School Day policy implementation on physical activity outcomes and estimate school-level implementation costs. Design. The design of the study was quasi-experimental (pretest-posttest matched controls). Setting. The study took place in six elementary schools with three matched pairs in Boston, Massachusetts, February to June 2011. Subjects. Subjects were 455 consenting fourth- and fifth-grade students among 467 eligible. Intervention. Active School Day policy implementation provided equipment, curricular materials, and training to physical educators and school wellness champions to promote 150 weekly minutes of quality physical education, recess, and physical activity integrated into classrooms. Measures. Accelerometer assessments of accumulated minutes and bouts of moderate, vigorous, and sedentary physical activity on 5 school days before and after implementation were used. Implementation costs were collected by record review and reported resource utilization. Analysis. Analysis was conducted using multivariate mixed models estimated with repeated measures of daily physical activity, adjusted for student demographics and other confounding and design/clustering variables. Results. Accelerometer data were provided by 201 intervention and 192 comparison students for an average of 4 days per period (84% response). During school time, students in intervention schools demonstrated greater increases in minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (3.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8-6.0; p < .001) and vigorous physical activity (1.8, 95% CI .7-3.0; p < .001), and greater decreases in minutes per day of sedentary time (-10.6, 95% CI -15.3- -5.8; p < .001) than controls. Ongoing annual implementation costs totaled $4,523/school ($14/student). Conclusion: Active School Day implementation increased student moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels by 24% and decreased sedentary time during school at modest cost. Copyright © 2014 by American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.

Kenney E.L.,Harvard University | Gortmaker S.L.,Harvard University | Carter J.E.,Boston Public Schools | Howe M.C.W.,Boston Public Schools | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2015

Objectives. We evaluated a low-cost strategy for schools to improve the convenience and appeal of drinking water. Methods. We conducted a group-randomized, controlled trial in 10 Boston, Massachusetts, schools in April through June 2013 to test a cafeteria-based intervention. Signage promoting water and disposable cups were installed near water sources. Mixed linear regression models adjusting for clustering evaluated the intervention impact on average student water consumption over 359 lunch periods. Results. The percentage of students in intervention schools observed drinking water during lunch nearly doubled from baseline to follow-up compared with controls (+9.4%; P < .001). The intervention was associated with a 0.58-ounce increase in water intake across all students (P < .001). Without cups, children were observed drinking 2.4 (SE = 0.08) ounces of water from fountains; with cups, 5.2 (SE = 0.2) ounces. The percentage of intervention students observed with sugar-sweetened beverages declined (-3.3%; P < .005). Conclusions. The current default of providing water through drinking fountains in cafeterias results in low water consumption. This study shows that an inexpensive intervention to improve drinking water's convenience by providing cups can increase student water consumption.

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