Evaluation of the Spartanburg Healthy Schools Initiative

Creating healthier school environments to prevent and reduce youth obesity in Spartanburg County, SC

shs1The Spartanburg Healthy Schools Initiative is a partnership between the University of South Carolina, Furman University, the Mary Black Foundation, Partners for Active Living, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and four Spartanburg County school districts. This four-year, multi-level intervention (2016-2020) aims to create healthier school environments and empower youth to develop lifelong healthy behaviors in order to prevent and reduce childhood obesity within Spartanburg County, SC.

After a preliminary application process, nine schools within Spartanburg County were selected for the Healthy Schools Initiative (seven elementary schools and two middle/intermediate schools). Starting in Fall 2016, each school will be implementing new practices and policies related to nutrition, physical activity, and other important dimensions of student health. In order for the evaluation team to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of the intervention within the schools, each health dimension will be assessed on an annual basis at both the school and student level using tools such as the School Health Index (SHI), a school policy and environment audit, student FITNESSGRAM data, and a student health behaviors survey.

The BEACH Lab has composed an evaluation team to shs2work with the school districts and school administrations in assessing school- and student-level outcomes. The team is responsible for the collection of the annual assessment data and will analyze the schools’ results throughout the four-year intervention. By implementing healthier environments within cafeterias, gymnasiums, playgrounds, and other school facilities, programs, and policies, we hope to create and better understand how academic settings can promote an active and nutritious lifestyle for all youth.


The Spartanburg Healthy Schools Initiative is supported by the Mary Black Foundation.

Project Team

Andrew Kaczynski, University of South Carolina
Melissa Fair, University of South Carolina
Sarah King, University of South Carolina
Julian Reed, Furman University
Natalia Swanson, Mary Black Foundation

For more information about the SHSI Evaluation project, please contact:

Melissa Fair, MPH
Project Manager, SHSI Evaluation
Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
University of South Carolina