HOME PAGE: News - February 24, 2015




Health Supervisor for Stowe & Mo'town School Districts?

    By Andrew Martin

    If voters approve the proposed school district budgets for Morristown and Stowe on Town Meeting Day they will be authorizing the funding and creation of a new school health services supervisor position. The creation of the position, which will be filled by an individual who will oversee the health service programs in the Morristown and Stowe school districts, is funded in large part by a reallocation of existing resources, but will also necessitate a slight increase into the proposed budgets.
    “The responsibilities of schools in terms of health services are much expanded,” explained Lamoille South Supervisory Union Superintendent Tracy Wrend, “They are now designed to improve and strengthen education by improving and strengthening student wellness and health.”
    “School nurse responsibilities are no longer just giving out Band-aids and taking temperatures,” she continued, adding that new responsibilities of healthcare professionals in schools include administering medications to students, reporting possible child abuse or neglect, preventing disease, and collecting and reporting data about students such as immunization records.
    “We want to ensure that students with health needs are able to attend school as normally as possible,” Wrend added, “There is a long list of health needs that can impact students that need to be addressed so those individuals can come to school, learn, and enjoy all the other aspects of school that are important.”
    “We need to improve and strengthen our system,” Wrend concluded.
    In order to meet this change of what is required by healthcare professionals in schools, the Stowe and Morristown school districts will be creating the health supervisor position. The creation of such a position is being recommended by the Vermont Department of Education and the Vermont Department of Health. The two departments created a pilot program related to this position in 2009, and while creating a school nurse supervisor position is not mandatory, more and more school districts are doing so.
    In a release dated December 2010, the two state departments explained that a school nurse supervisor should “manage the total school health service program, providing nursing leadership within the school system.” Included in the work that individual would conduct would be the development of a needs assessment list, the planning and implementation of new programs, and the continued monitoring and evaluation of all health related school equipment in order to assure all such equipment was working properly and up to date.
    According to Superintendent Wrend, one example of work the nurse supervisor could do concerns the automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that several schools in the district have onsite. In the past Wrend has had no single individual to ask if the AEDs are all being properly maintained. The new nurse supervisor would be charged with not only keeping records of whether or not the AEDs are being property maintained but would also be in charge of ensuring that any components that must be changed regularly are, in fact, replaced.
    “Rather than each individual nurse having to do that work the school nurse supervisor would create a system that did all the necessary work,” Wrend added, also explaining the individual would also supervise, document, and/or conduct the necessary training so that staff at the schools in the district are qualified to run the AEDs.
    “They would also serve as a liaison with emergency responders during times when those individuals are called to campus,” Wrend added, further emphasizing that the position will require that the individual be onsite at the schools the majority of the time and will not be simply an administrative position.
    “The position will be staffed at the supervisory union level but will be supervising the health services onsite in the schools on a fulltime basis,” stated Wrend.
    She explained that along with supervising the comprehensive health services program, the person filling the position will also be overseeing the multiple healthcare officials present in all the schools in Stowe and Morristown. Wrend emphasized that none of the associate school nurses, LNAs, and health care aids would be losing their jobs as a result of the creation of the new supervisor position and that there would still be healthcare staff onsite at each of the schools in the two districts.
    “We are still going to have school health staff in every building,” Wrend explained, “We are just looking to build a strong and deep healthcare system.”
    “The change actually reflects an increase in staffing across the supervisory union,” Wrend stated, “We are simply restructuring existing staff and resources while adding the supervisor.”
    That restructuring of resources means that while the addition of the new position does not necessitate a large increase in the overall health services budgets there is a slight increase of roughly $16,000 in the Morristown school district budget to help cover the new position. The addition of the supervisor is budget neutral in the proposed Stowe school district budget. The Elmore school district decided not to take part in the funding of the supervisor position and will not be taking part in the program at this point. However, according to Wrend, the Elmore School Board can decide to opt into the program at any time when it becomes more feasible for them financially. Until that time the Elmore School will continue to operate with a part-time nurse on staff. 
    According to Wrend if both of the proposed budgets in Stowe and Morristown pass, then the district will move forward with hiring an individual to fill the position in order to implement the proposed changes for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.


This Week's Photos

A heated bingo game kept some warm during Johnson’s Winter Carnival on Saturday, February  21.  Johnson Elementary and Legion Field were filled with activities for kids of all ages as the folks of Johnson celebrated surviving another bitterly cold winter.  - Smith photo

Valentines Day was Cindy Lowell’s 15th and Final Sweetheart’s Dance.  Records were broken.  $28,000 was raised for Lamoille Area Cancer Network.  In the last 15 years the dance has raised well over a quarter of a million dollars.  With just an idea to have a dance!  Peg Demars, president of LACN is presenting Cindy Lowell with flowers and gifts of appreciation.

The looks on everyone’s faces serves as a reminder of how cold it was Saturday, February 14, at the Morrisville Rotary Lake Elmore Polar Splash.  A record number of jumpers turned out and according to Lamoille Restorative Center’s Heather Hobart (they were co-recipient of funds along with the Rotary) over $25,000  have been raised from the event.  - Smith photo





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