On Thursday, April 30, officials from Toledo Public Schools and ProMedica announced plans to fund 12 additional school nurses in the district's TPS elementary schools.

The plan calls for ProMedica to fund nine of these positions -- at a cost of $600,000 over the next three years -- with TPS paying for the other three. Once all of the hiring is done, all 40 TPS elementary schools will have a full-time nurse on site.

The increased staffing was announced at a news conference held at Sherman Elementary, 817 Sherman St. Making the announcement was TPS CEO/Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant, Randy Oostra, ProMedica's president and CEO and Ann Cipriani, health services coordinator for the school district.

In the last 10 years, the number of students with health conditions has increased. Due to limited funding, school districts throughout the country face a continual challenge in filling the growing gap of school nurses. Studies have shown that full-time nurses have a positive impact on health and academic outcomes.

During the news conference, Dr. Durant said the TPS school nurses are at the front lines to address the health and basic needs of students.

"They are instrumental in the identification and referral to community resources for health risks and are often the only health professionals who see students on a regular basis," he said. "By providing a full time nurse in each building, TPS will make a significant impact in the health outcomes of our children -- thereby improving their academic outcomes by keeping them in school."

Previous research done by the University of Toledo and TPS found two key trends: 

  • Students with asthma missed 23% fewer days of school if they attended a school with a full-time nurse than did their counterparts at schools with part-time nurses.
  • Those in buildings with full-time nurses accessed health services more often than the expected 2.5 times of schools with part time nurses -- suggesting there is a significant unmet need for health services.

District leaders said they plan to set wellness benchmarks and track data related to improved academic performance, increased attendance, decreased discipline, immunization compliance and earlier intervention for serious health needs.

To have all the nurses in place when school starts in August, TPS will be holding a Job Fair on Wednesday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the French Quarter hotel in Perrysburg. In addition to nurses, staff members will be interviewing for teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and all support staff.

Posted on May 1, 2015