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12/4/2012 12:52:00 PM
Encourage Your Schools to Participate in the 2013 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey
Information provided by the Oregon Public Health Division

This December, schools around Oregon will be asked to participate in the 2013 Oregon Healthy Teens (OHT) Survey. The Oregon Public Health Division is asking YOU to encourage your school to participate in the survey. The OHT Survey is an anonymous and confidential survey of 8th and 11th graders conducted every other year by the Oregon Public Health Division that provides the most comprehensive snapshot of the well-being of youth in Oregon.

Why is participation in OHT important?
Because healthy kids learn better. Students who feel safe at school, are physically and emotionally well, and avoid risky behavior are more likely to be present, engaged learners who succeed academically. The OHT Survey monitors critical risk and protective factors that directly impact students’ health and ability to learn, including:

• New to the 2013 survey- Absenteeism
• School climate including student connection to a teacher and bullying/harassment;
• Positive Youth Development;
• Nutrition and physical activity;
• Tobacco, alcohol and drug use;
• Mental health;
• Sexual activity

How does participation benefit MY school and community?
Schools receive data that provide a picture of the strengths and challenges facing their students. OHT Survey results can help schools and communities make decisions to effectively address health-related barriers to learning.

For example, School Districts are currently required to include attendance for 6th and 9th graders in their Achievement Compacts with the State. This reflects a growing national awareness about the impact student absenteeism has on academic success. Students who are chronically absent (missing 10 percent or more of school in an academic year) are more likely to drop out of high school than their peers. There are many health-related reasons why students miss school including asthma, oral health problems, mental health challenges, substance abuse, pregnancy and obesity. The addition of absenteeism questions on the 2013 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey provides an opportunity for schools to better understand and address this major contributor to student drop-out.

Survey results can also be used for:
• School-wide improvement planning
• Curricular decisions
• Grant writing/reports
• Engaging community partners

Participating in the OHT Survey ensures that county- and state-level results provide the most accurate picture of the well being of youth in Oregon. Accurate local data is vital to the work of your local County Public Health Department and other state and local partners. For more information on the survey and to see how other schools have used their data, go to: http://public.health.oregon.gov/BirthDeathCertificates/Surveys/OregonHealthyTeens/Pages/index.aspx

What can teachers and parents do to help?
Encourage your principal and superintendent to participate in the OHT Survey if your school/district has been selected to participate in the survey. Communicate the importance of participating, and the benefits it provides to your school, community and state.

For more information on the link between health and academic achievement, download the Health and Academic Achievement Fact Sheet from: www.healthoregon.org/hklb.

If you have questions or would like more information on the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, contact Renee Boyd at renee.k.boyd@state.or.us eMail or 971-673-1145.
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