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Table 6 Alignment of COMPASS knowledge exchange outcomes with Samdal and Rowling’s [7] implementation components of health-promoting schools

From: Can knowledge exchange support the implementation of a health-promoting schools approach? Perceived outcomes of knowledge exchange in the COMPASS study

Implementation component [7]

Corresponding COMPASS knowledge exchange outcome

Opportunities for COMPASS knowledge exchange (next phase)

Preparing and planning for school development

Receiving school-specific findings and communicating with knowledge brokers allowed schools to:

-have baseline data of student health behaviours

-identify priorities related to student health (and action items)

-integrate student health as a priority in their School Improvement Plans, create specific action items

-establish a school contact for the COMPASS study and a School Health Committee

• For each student health outcome in the SHP, include the mean for all COMPASS schools so individual schools can understand how their results compare to other participating schools.

• Include examples of interventions COMPASS schools have implemented in the SHP, to provide ideas for how to address student health outcomes.

Policy and institutional anchoring

By incorporating COMPASS findings into strategic planning documents (e.g., school improvement plans, public health unit strategic plans), knowledge users are more likely to commit to school health initiatives because school health is aligned with their organizational goals.

Schools could specifically incorporate the health-promoting schools approach into strategic planning documents and create school health policies.

Professional development and learning

• By providing the opportunity for schools to communicate with knowledge brokers and public health practitioners, school stakeholders can gain support in implementing school health interventions.

• Opportunities for professional learning were provided when COMPASS findings were shared with school staff, which in some cases led to further health education opportunities.

Offer additional professional development opportunities related to student health behaviours and implementing school health interventions (i.e., training at the school or school board level).

Leadership and management practices

Distributed leadership was evident when school contacts shared their results with their fellow staff, public health units, and other community contacts in order to delegate action items.

Increased resource allocation (many schools have limited budgets to allocate to school health initiatives).

Relational and organizational context

• Schools used their COMPASS findings to show need for funding in grant applications, which they used to fund school health initiatives.

• After receiving their COMPASS findings, schools made changes to the physical environment (e.g., new activity spaces, changes to cafeteria).

Increased resource allocation (many schools have limited budgets to allocate to school health initiatives).

Student participation

Students were involved in School Health Committees, health promotion initiatives, and collecting additional data about student health behaviors to expand upon COMPASS results.

Include examples of student-led initiatives and ways to involve students in school health in the SHP.

Partnerships and networking

• Schools shared COMPASS findings with parents and involved school (parent) council in determining action items.

• Schools partnered with researchers, public health practitioners, and other community agencies to implement school health initiatives.

• COMPASS could serve as a platform to create partnerships between schools (e.g., schools sharing intervention ideas to improve student health behaviours).

• Increase understanding of knowledge broker role so schools recognize that support is available.

Increase in-person knowledge brokering opportunities.


• Annual SHPs allow schools the opportunity to monitor student health behaviours over time, assess whether school-level changes had an effect, and identify priorities.

• Sustainability beyond the four-year study would be evident if knowledge users continue to incorporate student health into strategic planning documents, participate in the next phase of COMPASS, and continue to make changes to improve student health in their school.

• Increased resource allocation (many schools have limited budgets to allocate to school health initiatives).

• In order to provide stronger rationale for addressing student health in schools, COMPASS could evaluate the links between school-level changes and academic outcomes.