Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The shape of physical education, health & wellness programs in high-need middle schools
by DiFiore, John G., Ed.D., New York University, 2010, 170; 3404693
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to explore ways in which physical education, health and wellness programs take shape in high-need middle schools. Specifically, I wanted to understand the decisions that are relevant to their place in the school's curriculum, how they are implemented, and the challenges and competing priorities teachers and principals confront. I was also interested in understanding the implications of state and local policies and mandates, especially No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the local school improvement and accountability initiatives for the design and delivery of meaningful physical education, health and wellness programs.

This study used a qualitative research design grounded in an interpretivist perspective to understand the complex dimensions of how PE, health and wellness programs take shape. The initial findings revealed several factors that strongly influence PE, health and wellness outcomes for students. They are: (1) PE facilities, (2) resources, and (3) accountability measures. However, further analysis of the data revealed decision options at the school level to be grounded in a set of complex, interacting issues and circumstances. All participants in this study believed in the benefits of quality PE and health programs at their schools. Those beliefs are insufficient to influence decision-making when schedules, time, competing priorities, and incompatible expectations are also critical influences on decisions. This is less a question of autonomy and more a question of strategic possibilities in light of competing demands.

The findings of this study are useful to PE and health educators, leaders of schools, researchers in the field and policymakers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Astuto, Terry A.
Commitee: Berg, Jennifer, Driscoll, Mary E.
School: New York University
Department: Administration, Leadership, and Technology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Middle School education, Physical education, Health education
Keywords: Childhood obesity, Health education, Health programs, High-need middle schools, High-need schools, Middle schools, Physical education, School wellness, Student health needs, Wellness programs
Publication Number: 3404693
ISBN: 9781124018911
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