Schools are key spaces for promoting healthy behaviors vital for student achievement. School-community partnerships can deliver resources, but are hindered by challenges to organizational integration. This study examines collaborative efforts by 7 SNAP-Ed nutrition education community partners working within a large, urban school district.
The overall study provides an in-depth understanding of how SNAP-Ed partners collaborate with schools to address complex health problems. This paper provides insight into participant understandings of program components that might be included in shared measurement systems to achieve collective impact (Kania and Kramer, 2011).
Study Design, Setting, Participants
The authors used case study methods in 19 urban public schools: 120 interviews with program and school staff, 7 student focus groups, and 91 school observations.
We coded data in Dedoose and met regularly to discuss emerging themes. Codes included the taxonomy of implementation outcomes (Proctor et al, 2010). This analysis draws from codes that focus on what program participants and staff see as the most successful and valuable parts of the program. We mapped our findings onto the Theory of Planned Behavior (Azjen, 1991), which posits that before behavior can change, 3 factors must shift (attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norms).
Participants indicated that the most important aspects of the program are “exposure” to new foods (attitude change), access to healthy foods (shift in perceived control), and school culture around health (change in subjective norms).
We propose creating a new conceptual model for evaluating SNAP-Ed programming in a school, particularly for Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) work, that aligns outcomes to participants’ own understandings of program impacts. This model would capture changes in attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norms earlier in program implementation. These are vital to sustained behavior change but often overlooked when measuring nutrition interventions.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.