Poplarville School District reviews end of year health reports

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Poplarville School District nurses presented end of the year health reports to the School Board during Monday’s meeting.
Funded in part by grants through the Mississippi Department of Education, Assistant Superintendent Konya Miller said the program is heading into its fourth year of the five-year grant.
She said the program could lose half of its funding if another grant is not found next year.
However, the school’s nurse program has been funded through various grants for over 20 years, Poplarville Upper Elementary School Nurse Julie Tyner said.
The program has helped fund the new Parent University at Poplarville Lower Elementary, staff immunization clinics, health council meetings and other initiatives at each of the District’s four schools.
The needs vary at each school, Tyner said, adding that many of her students need her services to administer ADHD medication. At PUE, over 3,000 medications were administered daily, more than 4,000 were given at PLE and 1,380 were administered at the Middle School of Poplarville.
At the beginning of each school year, families are asked to fill out a health history form so nurses are more informed about possible issues or conditions, Tyner said.
The nurses are also included in academic planning with teachers to ensure the success of each student, she said.
Working with parents and teachers, the nurses can determine if health factors inhibit a student from being successful, Tyner said, and make a joint decision for each student.
One obstacle the program faces involves splitting one nurse between the middle and high schools.
Melissa Darden said she spends her mornings at the middle school before helping students at Poplarville High School in the afternoons.
That fact skews the numbers because students treated for illnesses or administered medication when a nurse isn’t present are not recorded on the health report, Darden said.
Board President Tommy Strahan asked Darden if splitting her time between the two schools was adequate.
“In a perfect world, we would have one nurse at each school,” she said.
Another advantage of having a healthcare provider on campus is the ability to send students back to class and monitor them when they aren’t feeling well in an effort to keep attendance numbers high.
Poplaville Finance Director Samantha Sandifer said the District dealt with two flu seasons that affected attendance rates.
Miller said this year’s attendance rate was just above 94 percent, below the district’s goal of 96 percent.
In a separate matter, Sandifer said the consolidation of the Lumberton School District into the Lamar County School District will happen, and Poplarville has no “final say-so” in the matter.
Strahan asked her if the District was prepared to take in additional students as a back-up scenario.
Sandifer said she and Miller have looked over the numbers and preparations are in place should the consolidation plan not go forward as proposed.
Sanidfer later said the District’s budget was “very healthy,” but the Board would see some reductions soon due to decreased state funding.
The District will hold a budget hearing Monday, June 19 at 5 p.m. at the superintendent’s office.
The next Board meeting will be held July 14 at 6 p.m.

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About Julia Arenstam

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