Healthy Kids Learn Better
Last week I had the opportunity to connect with the Health Kids Learn Better Coalition at Upstream Public Health in Multnomah County. The focus of our convening was the intersection of health and education and included other critical factors like transportation. We discussed the need to support the whole child (and their family) so that they could be ready to learn and succeed at school. I heard about a number of ways that schools can partner with other public, non-profit, and private organizations to help support students and their families, these included programs with proven outcomes like Playworks and Safe Routes to School. But we also discussed missing elements of support within Oregon’s schools. Oregon has well below the recommended ratio of each of these critical school professionals who provide vital support for students and learning: School Counselors- 1 for every 250 students (ASCA), School Psychologists- 1 for 500-700 students (NASP), School Social Workers- 1 for every 250 students (SSWAA), and School Nurses- staffed at levels sufficient to provide the range of health care necessary to meet the needs of school populations: 1 for every 125-750 students depending on the local needs (NASN).
Each community I have the opportunity to connect with adds richness to our dataset and underscores the need for regional flexibility in our approach to policy that will support improvement of Oregon’s graduation outcomes.