Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016 YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY

On Tuesday, March 8, 2016 Burlington High School, in cooperation with the Burlington Youth and Family Services, will conduct the 3rd round of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). This anonymous survey is conducted every two years and is based on the Massachusetts YRBS, which is developed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Further information regarding the survey can be found on the reverse side of this letter.  

The survey will be administered to all high school students during an extended period 8, and will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. A copy of the YRBS is available in the Main Office at Burlington High School for any parents/guardians that wish to review it.

There is an opportunity for your child to opt out of the survey seeing that it addresses potentially sensitive topics. Survey administrators will assume that parents consent to their child participating unless I have been notified. Parents do not have to do anything unless they do not want their child to participate. Students may opt not to participate in the survey and/or skip any questions that they do not feel comfortable answering.

IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR CHILD TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS ACTIVITY, PLEASE SIGN AND RETURN THE PORTION OF THE LETTER THAT WAS SENT TO YOU VIA EMAIL THROUGH THE PARENT PORTAL AND RETURN TO THE MAIN OFFICE AT BHS BY FRIDAY FEBRUARY 12, 2016.


2016 BHS YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY


What is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey?  The YRBS was developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with other federal agencies and state departments of education. The survey is designed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all participating students while measuring the level of certain risky behaviors.  The YRBS has been administered to a statewide sample of Massachusetts high school students on a biannual basis since 1990.  

What is the topic of the survey?  The YRBS focuses on priority health-risk behaviors. These include: (1) behaviors that result in unintentional and intentional injuries; (2) tobacco use; (3) alcohol and other drug use; (4) sexual behaviors that result in sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies; (5) dietary behaviors; and (6) physical activity.

How can YRBS results be used?  Students participating in the YRBS respond to questions measuring actual health-risk behaviors, not simply attitudes or beliefs. For example, while it is commonly known by youth that use of seat belts saves lives, over one-in-nine students (12%) indicated that they do not wear a seat belt at all times.  This demonstrates the need to measure actual health-risk behaviors.  Information learned from the YRBS can help the Burlington Public Schools develop and implement programs to support youth and meet the challenges that affect their futures. Tomorrow’s healthy outcomes are the result of today’s healthy choices.

How is the data analyzed?  The survey data will be managed, analyzed, and reported only in total by an external consulting firm. Information from the survey, which has been conducted every other year since 1998, will be made available to all community members. It is used to develop better prevention and intervention programs, curricula that address the health needs of our children, and to provide data for the Burlington Public Schools.

How accurate are the results?  The YRBS has been extensively field-tested, and is determined to be valid and reliable.  Research indicates that students answer the questions on anonymous surveys truthfully and that data of this nature can be gathered as reliably from adolescents as from adults.

THE SURVEY IS ENTIRELY ANONYMOUS.  Students will not put their names or any other identifying information on the survey.   All results from the survey will be presented only in group summary form.   Additionally, your child’s participation in the survey is completely voluntary. Each student may leave questions blank if he or she prefers not to answer.

You may decline to have your child participate. A copy of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is available in the main office at Burlington High School for parents to review.  If you choose to not allow participation, your son or daughter will participate in some other alternative activity while the survey is being administered.

What if I have questions?  You are welcome to contact Christine Shruhan, LMHC, at the Burlington Community Youth and Family Services or Principal Mark Sullivan with any questions about the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  Christina can be reached by phone at 781-270-1961 or by email at cshruhan@burlington.org or Mark at 781.273.7662 or sullivan@bpsk12.org.

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