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Last spring, I communicated with you about a grant we received through a partnership with Eaton Regional Education Service Agency (Eaton RESA) to launch a student health care center in Grand Ledge Public Schools. The grant program is run through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). GLPS, through Eaton RESA, was one of 26 districts to receive a grant last spring, joining well over 100 clinics already in service throughout the state. Along with Eaton RESA, we have partnered with Michigan State University’s Office of K-12 Outreach to work through the planning phase of the process, and throughout the summer, we moved through various tasks to allow us to shift to the implementation phase. This included meeting with our community and youth advisory teams, choosing a location, and working to secure a health care partner to provide the health services.
The goal of the program is to create a space where students can receive health care services, including physical and mental health services, right in the school. While it is located in the high school, the clinic is designed to support youth ages 5-21, or up to 26 with a special education IEP. All laws around parental consent apply, just as they would in any medical facility, and part of our implementation process is to work with our youth and community advisory committees to develop the policies and procedures that will ensure the clinic meets the needs of our students and families while operating within the laws that govern health care and school settings.
One of the key elements of the clinic is that services have to be provided by healthcare partners, not school staff, and when we shared this information last spring, we were not yet ready to announce who that partner would be. Well, after months of collaboration, support, and relationship building, we are pleased to announce that Sparrow Eaton Hospital has agreed to be our healthcare partner in the Grand Ledge Public Schools Health Center! We are very excited about this partnership, as it provides the resources and local community focus that are the cornerstone of Sparrow Eaton Hospital’s work.
From here, we have more work to do. We will be convening our community and youth advisory committees in the coming weeks to review policies and practices, we are working with our architects to convert a classroom space at the high school into the clinic space, and we are gearing up to begin providing more specific information and outreach in January, with a target opening date of April 1st.
We appreciate the support of our partners, Eaton RESA, Michigan State University K-12 Outreach, and Sparrow Eaton Hospital in this endeavor, and we look forward to being able to provide services that help students in our community lead happy, healthy lives.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. Thank you for your support. I am #proudtobeacomet!
Dr. Bill Barnes
Superintendent of Schools