BFA Students Analyze Data To Improve Student Health

Target 2 Leadership in a Student Centered Learning Environment: FWSU will foster development of teacher & student leaders who provide innovative opportunities for local and global student-centered learning.

Action Step: Provide multiple avenues for students and staff to lead, advocate, and serve within the school and community.

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Last Friday, 15 students from BFA Fairfax spent the day together analyzing the VT Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data with the assistance of BFA Student Support Counselor Kelly Mahnensmith and FWSU Curriculum Coordinator Mary Lynn Riggs. This was a follow-up to an earlier “Getting to Y” training held back in October. The YRBS is given to Vermont students in grades 6-12 every other year. The survey is sponsored by the VT Department of Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs and the VT Agency of Education Student Health and Learning Team.

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The purpose of the YRBS dialogue training was to familiarize students with the survey and and facilitate conversations about the data. Discussion also included how the data is compiled as a result of this survey and how it relates to our community.


The YRBS measures the prevalence of behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, and injury among our youth. In addition, the survey is part of a larger effort to help communities increase the “resiliency” of young people by reducing high-risk behaviors and promoting healthy behaviors.

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The statewide report is based on representative samples of high schools and middle schools and is weighted to reflect all public school students in Grade 6-12. The reports by each local education agency are the results for the students who took the survey in each participating supervisory union, school district, or public/private institution. The reports by county are results based on students’ counties of residence.

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BFA students looked at the assets available in our community and talked about their strengths and concerns. Students were excited about the many activities and supports BFA Fairfax has to offer. They will be using the information learned in this training to conduct a Community Dialogue Night on March 20th.

photo (4) copy 2“The 15 students that were involved with this training were all actively engaged with the process and were a joy to work with!” – Kelly Mahnensmith

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