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Common Ground (CG) High School is a public charter school in New Haven, CT with approximately 200 students. CG’s mission is to cultivate habits of healthy living and sustainable environmental practices within its community. The school maintains an urban farm that provides food for students, staff, and approximately 2,500 residents of low-income neighborhoods in the area. The current literature suggests that CG’s programming should have positive health outcomes for its students and their families. CG has data on these outcomes via an online survey distributed to students, but does not yet have the internal capacity to analyze this data. This project aims to develop a protocol that enables CG faculty to autonomously analyze data and determine key impacts and outcomes. A current YSPH student-led team analyzed data from the student surveys in order to provide feedback on CG’s health-related programs and understand students’ health behaviors. Results from analysis were then used to conduct Community Data Discussion Groups to garner feedback from students and parents about how Common Ground has impacted their health and leadership behaviors. Detailed analysis protocols were created to enable CG faculty to independently analyze data. CG faculty was trained to implement protocol, which will allow for future independent data analysis. Overall, the results suggest that Common Ground’s programming and curriculum has had a positive impact on students’ health behaviors. We recommend that Common Ground expand its health-related and farm-based programming as much as possible, paying special attention to improving school lunch and allowing for physical activity. We encourage Common Ground to continue using a mixed methods approach to evaluate its programs, use the provided data analysis protocol, and work in conjunction with CARE and YSPH as they transition into independent research.

Publication Date



Community Health and Preventive Medicine

Common Ground: A Place to Grow