August Newsletter: BACK TO SCHOOL means #Healthy2Learn!
As a parent of two, August means summer is winding down and it’s back-to-school season. As we think about school supplies and finish up summer reading, I’ve also completed all of their medical appointments, including their annual check-ups to the pediatrician, dentist and optometrist. I prioritized these checks, not only because documentation is required for school enrollment, but because like all parents, I want my children to be healthy so they can get the most out of their time at school.
Last school year, over 87,000 children attended DC Public and public charter schools. Many of these children struggle with chronic conditions that affect their ability to learn — conditions like diabetes, ADHD, allergies, and others (to name some of the most well-known). Last year alone over 12,000 students in District’s schools had an asthma diagnosis. When health conditions such as these are not managed, they can often lead to children missing school. Health issues are major contributing factor to chronic absenteeism.
That’s why annual health checks are important — not only because they are required for school enrollment, but also because they equip parents with the ability to monitor their children’s health and share vital health information with teachers and school nurses so that children can be best supported in the classroom.
As the new year school year begins, we are working with our partners towards a more holistic model that leverages assets in both the school and community to improve health outcomes for students so that they can learn and thrive. I am reminded over and over again that our children come with all sorts of social and health needs that can impact how they engage in the classroom. In order for children to reach their full potential, they must be healthy to learn.
Last month, I wrote about our efforts to lead change – to ensure that we work to improve outcomes for DC children and youth by supporting meaningful changes in policy and practice. We have been implementing our new strategies for the past few months and are thrilled to share how our new projects will contribute to positive change for all DC children.
#Healthy2Learn this August!
With back to school around the corner, we have the link between student health and school attendance + achievement on our minds.