The Arkansas Department of Education's Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, announced today that the Sheridan School District is one of four Arkansas school districts selected to receive $540,000 over a five-year period to implement a School-Based Health Center.
The School-Based Health Center, which will be located on the Sheridan High School campus, will be fully operational by the 2021-2022 school year. The health center will provide opportunities for students and staff throughout the school district to conveniently access preventative care, sick/urgent care, vaccinations, and other necessary services while promoting health and wellness initiatives within the district.
“I was thrilled to learn our district was selected to receive this grant” said Superintendent Jerrod Williams. “Having a School-Based Health Center on campus will help remove many barriers that prevent our students from receiving the health care services they need.”
The Sheridan School District submitted the grant application during the spring of 2020. Grant applicants undergo a comprehensive, competitive application process that includes internal and external reviews and an onsite visit. Before applying, the district conducted a community needs assessment with the following groups: families, faculty/staff, and community stakeholders.
Many families acknowledged that their child had not received medical care in the previous year due to the following reasons:
42% were concerned about their student’s attendance and missing school,
40% of guardians noted that they were unable to take time off of work,
31% noted that there were no appointments available, and
24% indicated that transportation was an issue and/or the distance to the provider kept them from seeking medical care for their child.
Offering medical services on campus as a part of a School-Based Health Center addresses each of these areas and will help ensure all students will have access to the health care services they need regardless of their family’s financial situation.
According to SSD Mental Health Coordinator Ryane Sorey, who was instrumental in completing the grant application, the school district community strongly supported the idea of opening a School-Based Health Center.
“When the district first decided to pursue the School-Based Health Center grant, we knew that it would have a significant positive impact on the students and families of our district, and the YJ Nation overwhelmingly supported it,” said Sorey. “What we did not know at the time was that there would be a pandemic that reached the doorsteps of our community that makes these services all the more needed. We are blessed and honored to have the opportunity to move forward with a School-Based Health Center. It will be a privilege for our district to serve our students and staff in this capacity.”
The Sheridan School District will partner with The Winston Clinic for medical services. The Winston Clinic is the largest local medical provider and has served the Sheridan community for almost 30 years.
For mental health services, the district will partner with Pinnacle Pointe Outpatient Behavioral Healthcare. Pinnacle Pointe has contracted with the district to provide students with mental health services since 2011, and the program has continued to grow, with appropriate staff expansion, since that time.
It is important to the district and the medical providers that all students and staff are served within the School-Based Health Center regardless of their proximity to the health center in Sheridan. Approximately 40 percent of the district’s student population live in the East End area, which is about 20 miles from Sheridan. Over the coming months the district and medical providers will explore service delivery options to ensure the center is able to meet needs of the students and staff at the East End campuses.
“The health and well-being of our students is and always will be our top priority,” said Williams. “I am grateful for the health care providers who are partnering with our district on this endeavor as well as Ryane Sorey and our other staff who worked hard to complete a competitive application on the district’s behalf.”