Before funding was made available by the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, Blue Ridge School and Early College was faced with the difficult task of meeting the needs of their student’s physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing without a school nurse or a school social worker. While the courageous teachers were glad to help their students in any way, much of their time was spent attending to the healthcare needs of their students, taking them out of the classroom.
With a grant from the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, Blue Ridge School and Early College was able to hire a School Nurse and a School Social Worker. By mid-February there were a total of 845 Nursing Encounters and 515 Social Work Encounters.
These encounters are keeping our students in the classroom by providing them the opportunity to see a nurse or social worker AT school rather than having a parent leave work, losing a day of pay, to take their child to a medical appointment.
A message from Dr. Tracie Metz (Blue Ridge Early College Principal) and Teri Walawender (Principal Blue Ridge School):
There has not been a moment when we have not had the resources and/or the staff to take care of the needs of our students and families, and we are beyond grateful to our Blue Ridge community and our Glenville/Cashiers community at large.
Highlights include the following:
- Each day, we are sending home over 200 packages that include breakfast and lunch. This requires a minimum of 14 essential staff to prepare, package and distribute meals each day on our buses—5 for food preparation, and three for each of our three buses. We are serving well over a 1000 packages each week and are adding additional meals to support two meals for every day of the week.
- Our nurse and social worker have been instrumental in filing in the gaps for families in need, including facilitating medical appointments, which sometimes includes gas cards for appointments, and providing additional support for a variety of family concerns.
Blue Ridge School and Early College has created these online resources:
- Health and Wellness Information Page – created by Danielle Rice, BR Nurse
- Student Support Information Page – created by Erica Smithdeal, BR Social Worker