Ida Burns Elementary in Conway has been named as one of five schools across the state which have recently been selected to implement new medical centers on the campuses. 

In partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas Department of Health and Medicaid in the Schools, each elementary will receive $540,000 over five years to establish the school-based health centers, which is made possible due to Gov. Mike Beebe and the Arkansas Tobacco Excise Tax created by Arkansas Act 180 in 2009, funds required to be used to promote health, wellness and academic achievement in the schools across the state. 

“The centers [...] will provide health and wellness services to students, staff, and families beginning in the 2019-2020 school year,” a news release from ADE reads. 

The five chosen schools include:

• Booneville Elementary School in the Booneville School District.

• Chicot Elementary School in the Little Rock School District.

• Fouke Elementary School in the Fouke School District.

• Ida Burns Elementary School in the Conway School District

• Rose Bud Elementary School in the Rose Bud School District.

“There is a clear, distinct connection between good health and academic achievement,” ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. “These five schools are providing the necessary services to treat not just academic needs but the needs of the whole child.”

Key commended the districts for taking on the efforts, which serve as “another example of how Arkansas is leading the nation in student-focused education.”

The five selected will join 31 others across Arkansas, all of which currently have the medical areas. 

“The centers remove physical and mental health barriers for students by offering these services on campus,” the release states. “The goal is to help students remain healthy, thus, improving academic achievement and reducing the number of absences due to health issues.”

According to the ADE website, the medical additions provide services beyond the school nurse practitioner’s scope and is not intended to replace the school nurse.

“The school-based health center is required to maintain a working relationship with the physician of a child’s medical home, to ensure that individual patient health plans are executed effectively and efficiently,” the website reads. “Students can apply for ARKids and local resources connected to the health center for students and family convenience. The intent is for the center to act as a resource center for wellness and prevention.”

Typical characteristics of a SBHC:

• Located in the school or on school grounds.

• Work cooperatively within the school to become an integral part of the campus.

• Provide a comprehensive range of services that meet the specific physical and behavioral health needs of the young people in the community.

• Employ a multidisciplinary team of providers to care for the students: nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physician assistants, social workers, physicians, alcohol and drug counselors, and other health professionals.

• Provide clinical services through a qualified health provider such as a hospital, health department, or medical practice.

• Require parents to sign written consents for their children to receive the full scope of services provided at the SBHC.

• Have an advisory board consisting of community representatives, parents, youth, and family organizations, to provide planning and oversight.

To be selected, applicants had to undergo a “comprehensive, competitive application process,” including both internal and external reviews as well as an onsite visit. Those awarded partner with local health providers to implement the three main school-based health center components: physical health services, mental and behavioral health services and school health outreach programs.

Many centers also offer additional services like oral health and optometry services.

To learn more about the school-based health center program, visit www.arkansased.gov/divisions/learning-services/school-health-services/school-based-health-center.