Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Jenelle Braun-Monegan

Abstract

The Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program is a federally funded program intended to increase public school students' fruit and vegetable consumption. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to evaluate the implementation of this program at a rural southwestern Title 1 elementary school to determine teacher perceptions of the program and whether the program met federal goals. Social ecological model and social cognitive theory grounded the investigation. The mixed method design included semi-structured interviews with 11 teachers accompanied by an anonymous web-based open response questionnaire and document reviews. Descriptive statistics were reported for Likert scale survey items and invoice documents to determine amount and variety of fruits and vegetables dispersed during the program. Interview data were open coded and analyzed for emergent themes. Teachers reported that the program initially provided a variety of produce, appropriate portions, and curriculum resources, which made the program a success. However, participants also noted that in the second and third years of implementation, their support for the program diminished due to declining quality, variety, and amounts of fruits and vegetables that negatively affected the achievement of program goals. Archival invoices supported these findings with decreased numbers of fruits and vegetables ordered in subsequent years. The findings were incorporated into an evaluation report for the local site. Implications for positive social change include providing the local administration with research-based findings on teachers' perceptions of the program, goal outcomes, and recommendations related to implementation at the local site.