Jeffco schools moves toward opt-out model for Health Kids CO survey

2017 participation not enough for representative sample of district

Posted 2/20/19

Jefferson County Public Schools will be moving to a passive consent, or opt-out model, for Healthy Kids Colorado surveys moving forward. The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is the state’s only …

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Jeffco schools moves toward opt-out model for Health Kids CO survey

2017 participation not enough for representative sample of district

Posted

Jefferson County Public Schools will be moving to a passive consent, or opt-out model, for Healthy Kids Colorado surveys moving forward.

The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is the state’s only in-depth survey on the health and well-being of young people. The purpose of the survey is to better understand youth health and the factors that help young people make healthy choices. The survey is widely used by schools, districts and communities in their efforts to grow the healthiest youth in the country.

Survey topics include alcohol, tobacco and other substance use; bullying, school safety and physical fighting; physical activity and nutrition; risk and proactive factors; sexual behaviors; suicidal ideation and mental health; and unintended injuries and violence.

Results from 2017, which sampled approximately 56,000 young people from 190 selected middle and high schools statewide, were released in mid-July of 2018. However, there was not enough student participation in Jeffco to yield representative data.

The 2,205 students that did participate in 2017, chose to opt-in through the districts active consent policy. While this was more than the 410 students that participated in 2015, it still was not enough to represent the area statistically.

Jeffco students did not participate at all in 2013 or 2011.

At the Feb. 13 board of education study session, the board discussed the importance of the study and changing the consent model.

“It is extremely important for us to have data and good data as we plan programs,” Dr. Mark Johnson, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, told the board, explaining that right now, they have to use surrogate data.

The board unanimously agreed that it was important for more students to participate in the survey.

“I really think that it is a big mistake for us to not participate, to not collect the data,” said board member Brad Rupert. “The data empowers us to react to what is happening in our schools.”

Dave Kollar, director of student engagement, for Jeffco schools told the board that the creating a waiver to district policy that would make the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey an opt-out survey, is something they were considering.

This was also a request in the school safety task force recommendations last year.

The board did acknowledge parental concerns in regards to privacy of information, but pointed out that these same questions are asked at the doctors office and that the information in this survey cannot be traced back to individual students.

Creating the policy waiver was not a vote by the board, but Superintendent Jason Glass said he wanted to have a conversation around the policy before enacting the change.

“I have authority to waive the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey out of the active consent model, which is what I intend to do,” Glass said.

The next healthy kids survey will be conducted in 2019 with results released in 2020.

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