Health Services Facilitator Heidi Avila explained the school district would provide the space for Georgia Highlands Medical Center to open a school-based health center at the elementary school.
The partnership would provide on-site medical and mental health services to students in need.
Avila said, “This leads to increased attendance and healthier students learn better.”
The partnership will be funded by a federal grant. Cumming Elementary was chosen because of its federal Title 1 status.
The health center will allow students to receive medical treatment at the school without parents having to take off from work if they provide consent for the child to be treated there.
Currently, there are 54 school-based health centers in Georgia and more than 2,500 across the nation.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Bearden said the district would keep parents updated on the center. However, he said he could not provide an opening date, and it could open in stages.
Suicide prevention awareness
In other school news, the Board of Education heard a presentation about East Forsyth High School’s efforts to provide information on suicide prevention.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the staff at East Forsyth High initiated several ways to help students.
Lead Counselor Jeff Owens said the school’s goal is to increase and expand access to mental health resources. For example, the school met with freshmen and talked about signs of suicide and had eight referrals to counselors for mental health help.
In addition, the school has a coffee shop, Bronco Place, featuring a social worker as a barista to help students.
The school is also working toward increasing the percentage of students who feel they have a trusted adult at the school. Currently, 20 percent of the students say they have a trusted adult at the school.
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