Increased school attendance comes with healthier students and families. Grades go up, school suspensions and expulsions go down, and graduation rates increase -- it's a win-win-win!
But wishing it to happen isn't enough to make it so.
A trending way to get students in school more, and to medical attention at the right place and time, is to put the doctor's office at the school itself. It's called School-Based Health Care.
As the director of support services and community relations at Whitehall City Schools, I have to come up with ideas at least as big as that job title I just typed out. Having physical- and mental-health offices inside Whitehall-Yearling High School is just such an idea.
In fact, it is a reality in 60 schools in Ohio, through rare around central Ohio. Cincinnati leads the way in this area, just like they introduced the world to chili on spaghetti.
So who wants to do this for our students and families? Heart of Ohio Family Health will provide the physical-health piece, and Ohio Guidestone will provide the mental-health assistance, in the part of the high school where the Enrollment Center has been.
The Educational Service Center of Central Ohio also is a vital partner in this valuable program. During school hours with students in attendance, it will serve as an additional health resource for students in all of the district's buildings.
At all times when open, it serves as a community clinic for health care. The Wellness Center will be open during regular business hours, even during school off-days, holiday breaks and during the summer.
Another big plus is that the custodians will have company in the building during that lonely summer break!
The Wellness Center is in addition to, not a replacement for, existing services such as mobile units coming to the schools, our nurses and athletic trainers, etc.
After all, you don't go to the doctor to get your ankles taped or to get an ice bag on the third boo-boo of the day in elementary school, do you?
Why the mental-health thing? Because your head is attached to your body. Like love and marriage, you can't have a head without a body -- unless the prom has a zombie theme, of course.
We have a goal of opening this facility in early 2020, assuming we hit all of our targets to open it on schedule. If we don't, my job title could be shortened quite a bit.
To combine our district tagline with our middle school principals' mantra, this is another example of Whitehall City Schools "Achieving Together" and "Dreaming Big."
Doug Shoemaker is director of support services and community relations at Whitehall City Schools.