King County Executive and SPS Working Together
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is announcing a renewed emphasis on partnerships with King County Public Health, the City of Seattle, Group Health, HealthPoint, International Community Health Services, NeighborCare Health, Swedish Medical Center, and the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic who, combined, provide and fund School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) at 29 Seattle schools and help eliminate opportunity gaps.
The announcement comes on the heels of King County Executive Dow Constantine’s unveiling of his Best Start for Kids Initiative designed to improve the health and well-being of King County by investing in prevention and early intervention for children, youth, families, and communities.
Representatives from the City of Seattle, SPS, and various partners joined Constantine during a tour of the SBHC at World School in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood.
SBHCs serve more than 6,000 elementary, middle, and high school students each year with more than 25,000 health care visits annually. They are operated by community health agencies and are typically staffed with coordinators, nurse practitioners, and mental health counselors. To the extent possible, staff at the centers reflect the diverse ethnic, language, and cultural backgrounds of the students and families served. Interpretation and translation materials are provided as needed, including language support for non-English-speaking families so they can access health services without asking their children to interpret. SBHCs provide:
• Sports physicals
• Preventative health care
• Evaluation and treatment of common health problems
• Individual and group therapy
• Counseling for depression, trauma, stress, and problem-solving
They also serve as another example of the district’s mission to eliminate opportunity gaps.
Eliminating opportunity gaps is the social justice issue of our time. SPS has the 5th largest academic achievement gap in the nation between white students and black students. We are making progress, but not fast enough.
SPS recently announced a new awareness campaign to eliminate opportunity gaps called #CloseTheGaps. The district kicked-off the #CloseTheGaps campaign the week of October 16-22 with a special emphasis on October 19.
To help people engage in that work SPS also recently launched a new webpage dedicated to eliminating opportunity gaps.
Here is more information on the district’s webpage detailing initiatives to eliminate opportunity gaps.
Look for #CloseTheGaps #EOG #SPSUnited on social media and join the conversation.