The Warren Easton Charter Foundation is looking for ways to make the school’s health clinic permanent, board president David Garland said at a meeting Wednesday evening.
The clinic, which serves all students in Warren Easton Charter High School for free, offers medical care, dental care and even some mental health care. The clinic is financed under a five-year grant from the GE Foundation, but board members are trying to find monies to sustain the clinic after that grant runs out, Garland said.
According to Garland, the clinic has been in operation for 2.5 years, but the board is hoping to find funding before the beginning of the next calendar year.
“It’s an extraordinarily successful program,” Garland said, adding there are only a few clinics like it in New Orleans.
The clinic was a Warren Easton Foundation project, not something backed by the Orleans Parish School Board, Garland added. The health care is provided by Tulane Medical Group, he added.
Garland said that school clinics were becoming popular around the country, especially in cities with substantial low-income populations. An article in the Health Care Journal of New Orleans underscores the expansion of school-based healthcare centers, which were launched about 20 years ago with a grant that opened five pilot centers.
The idea behind school clinics is preventive health care, the article said.
“By giving kids access to care right in the school, proponents believe that children will not only be healthier, leading to greater academic achievement during elementary and high school, but will also form good habits in terms of active self-care that will stay with them for life,” author Claudia Copeland wrote.
To help figure out how to sustain Easton’s clinic, Garland said he met with Dr. Marsha Broussard, program director at the Louisiana Public Health Institute and director of the School Health Connection, a non-profit designed to improve health of students in New Orleans.
“There are opportunities out there,” Garland said.
In other news, board member Timolynn Sams said she has begun work with the Orleans Parish Education Network to encourage more parental involvement at Warren Easton.
“There is a need for community engagement with this school,” Sams said.
She suggested surveying parents and school officials at the end of the year to determine how they would like to engage with one another.
At a recent Parent Teacher Student Organization meeting, some parents volunteered to serve as an advisory committee, Sams said.
The next step is to put together a budget estimating how much the survey would cost and present it to the board, Sams said.
All board members were present at the meeting.