A constructivist grounded theory study of interconnected frameworks of healthy and inclusive schools

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University of New Brunswick


Inclusion of students and comprehensive school health are two important social and public policy frameworks that impact educators on a daily basis. What gets implemented and what makes sense in schools is not without complexity. Implementation of education policies occurs in a high-stakes accountability environment. From a policy and practice outlook, schools in New Brunswick are being asked to implement both frameworks. If schools are to be effective in implementing and sustaining both, it is important to examine how they are connected, to understand the ongoing work to ensure inclusive and healthy schools, and to give a clear direction for realizing both. The purpose of this study is to identify the connecting factors in healthy and inclusive high schools by using a constructivist grounded theory approach to examine the interrelated frameworks. Twenty-one participants from five high schools that performed well on indicators of inclusive education and comprehensive school health were interviewed over a period of six months. Interview and extant data were analyzed to answer the broader question. Findings from this study provide support for a Foundational Relatedness Theory and the intentional and purposeful fostering of teachers’ need for relatedness, contributing to healthy and inclusive schools. This study highlights the responsibility of policy makers as well as district and school leaders to provide the structures and processes to intentionally support the need for connectedness and professional learning to meet the needs of both schools and individual educators. Keywords: inclusive education, comprehensive school health, health promoting schools, constructivism, constructivist grounded theory, relatedness, connectedness, Self-Determination Theory, Foundational Relatedness Theory