After a brutal sexual assault on campus, the school health center at Richmond High School was able to work more closely with administrators to try to meet students’ immediate needs, improve school climate, and prevent future violence. This tragic event brought the health center closer to school leadership and campus security.
Now, school health center leaders meet monthly with the principal and vice principals. These meetings foster collaborative problem-solving to address student disciplinary and health issues, and provide opportunities to share information about program implementation and impact. The health center has recently been given a walkie-talkie—allowing the health center coordinator to stay in close contact with site administrators and security, and to respond directly to crises. In addition, as part of a district initiative to help centralize community partners and health services on campus, site administration asked the health center to coordinate all student support services on campus. This allows the school health center to ensure that multiple providers work together in effective, efficient ways. A new full-time case manager is now co-funded by the school district and the Y-Team, a local community-based mental health services provider. The case manager works with students who are ineligible for Medi-Cal—meaning that the school health center can serve more youth.
The school health center begins each year with a school staff event that includes a health center orientation and open house, food, staff appreciations, and an open dialogue to ask questions and learn more about the health center. The health center has been sending out an annual newsletter that highlights health center successes; this will be increased to a quarterly release to keep staff informed about services and resources in the health center.
Because of its closer relationship with the administration, the school health center is better integrated into the school and able to respond to student health and safety needs. School administrators and staff are working more closely with the health center and are referring more students for services. By helping shape the school’s student support policies, the school health center staff is working to ensure that all students have the services that they need to be successful in school.