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February 23, 2024

GLPS Families,

As we enter the last weekend of February, it feels more like spring than winter outside. However, as spring approaches, so too does the opening of our new Grand Ledge Public Schools Health Center, in partnership with Sparrow-Eaton. I have shared information about the health center throughout the last year, but with an opening date tentatively scheduled for April 1st, the planning process is nearing its completion as we look ahead to the implementation of all of those plans. 

Over the next month, more specific information will be provided as we approach the opening, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a couple of reminders with you.

  1. The Grand Ledge Public Schools Health Center is a school based health clinic, operated by Sparrow-Eaton, and funded through a grant from MDHHS. GLPS has partnered with Sparrow-Eaton, Michigan State University’s Office of K-12 Outreach, and Eaton RESA to launch the clinic, which will be one of well over 100 around the state.
  1. The center will offer health care services, including mental health supports, to youth ages 5-21, or up to 26 with an IEP. While we anticipate Grand Ledge High School students will be the primary users of the health center, it is open to all Grand Ledge students or any students who fall into that age range from outside of the district.
  1. The health center will be located in room 118 at the high school, and accessible during the school day. It will be open outside of school hours as well. During the day, students can visit the health center directly from the halls of the high school; after school hours, it will be accessed by an exterior door (door 20), which is at the back of the school near Gorman Baseball Field.
  1. The center will be staffed by a medical assistant, an advanced practice provider, and a mental health specialist. Parental consent forms will be sent home in the coming weeks; all of the laws that govern parental consent in a medical facility outside of the school building apply to the health center as well. It is truly a Sparrow-Eaton run medical facility within the walls of GLHS.

The response to this new health center has been overwhelmingly positive, as students, families, and community members understand that when students have their basic needs met and feel good, that leads to better outcomes, socially, emotionally, and academically. While the health center is meant to supplement care from primary physicians, for many families, it may be the most convenient way to meet their students’ health care needs. In particular, a couple of the most exciting health benefits are as follows.

  1. Students can be seen at the health center for conditions that may otherwise remove them from school to go to a doctor’s office. In most cases, they will be able to be seen immediately instead of needing to wait or leave school.
  1. Students can access regular mental health appointments right in the school building, allowing them access to care without having to leave and go somewhere else.
  1. The health center can handle regular checkups, including sports physicals, right on site.
  1. Whether families have insurance, Medicaid, or no insurance coverage, all students will be able to get care at the health center.  No students will be denied care because of their inability to pay.

As I mentioned, in the coming weeks, more information will be coming out to help your family decide how you may want to utilize this wonderful resource in our community. The construction process has started to convert room 118 to a health center, and the April 1st opening date will be here before we know it. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, please reach out to me. 

I want to close by thanking our partners, Sparrow-Eaton, MSU, and Eaton RESA for their support in this endeavor, and for helping us provide this opportunity for our families. And, thank you, as always, for your support and for giving us the opportunity to work with your kids every day.

I am #proudtobeacomet!

Dr. Bill Barnes
Superintendent of Schools

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