SBHC Story: Elev8ing School and Community Health in New Mexico

This story comes from a submission to our #BacktoSchool contest in August. We’ll post similar stories over the next several months.
Wilson Middle School students dance at the May 2015 SHAC-a-thon school health day.

Wilson Middle School students dance at the May 2015 SHAC-a-thon school health day.

At Grant and Wilson Middle Schools in Albuquerque, NM, 68-82% of the students live in poverty, depending on which neighborhood they reside. It draws from one of the most densely populated areas in the entire state. But students and parents alike were excited and energized about the coming school year at Elev8’s community schools registration night at Wilson Middle School this fall.

“At registration, what I saw were happy and excited kids, glad to be back in school while a bit sad that summer was nearly over. I also saw teachers and school staff who were happy to see them, too, and ready for a successful year of learning,” said Ruth Williams of Youth Development Inc.

As one little girl bounced in front of Elev8’s table, an Elev8 staff member complimented her enthusiasm and positive outlook. Her mom predicted that she would hear her daughter repeat the compliment again and again in the coming weeks.

For Elev8, registration is where the rubber hits the road; it launches the process of building or renewing relationships with students, parents, and families and doing everything possible to remove barriers to learning.

Elev8, the organization that runs the school-based health centers (SBHCs) at Grant and Wilson, coordinates a variety of programs aimed at increasing student wellness and parent involvement. Elev8 seeks to engage parents and families in student learning and help families through the rough patches. A total of 239 individual parents signed up to receive a consent form for their children to receive care in the SBHC while attending the school’s registration event.

Each child’s registration packet included forms to participate in extended learning and critical information about health insurance. Elev8 staff spoke with all parents about the Family Resource Center (FRC), which is a hub for family engagement and supports Wilson’s families. Parents also learned about Watch DOGS, a school-based father involvement program that works to support education and safety.

Elev8’s hope is to even the playing field by ensuring students have access to quality health care at school and a safe after school environment to explore what’s learned in the classroom. This initiative highlights two of the School-Based Health Alliance’s core competencies: school wellness and access.

We’d like to extend a big thanks to Ruth Williams at Youth Development Inc. for submitting this story.

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