Well-Ahead Louisiana and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) have partnered to form Louisiana Healthy Schools and work alongside school systems on ways to improve student health and academic achievement through nutrition, physical activity and management of students’ chronic health conditions.
The Lafayette Parish School System worked with Louisiana Healthy Schools to identify the system’s strengths and weaknesses around those three priority areas. Schools were encouraged to complete the School Health Index and identify areas for improvement. What resulted was a school garden initiative and culinary cook-off at 10 schools. Students reported eating more diverse and greater amounts of vegetables and fruits after the activities.
The Calcasieu Parish School Board focused on enhancing the management of chronic conditions. School nurses faced barriers in coordinating the care of students with chronic conditions. Funding through the Louisiana Healthy Schools allowed the district to implement an innovative electronic health record system specifically for school nurses in 2019.
The Calcasieu Parish School Board went on to establish a protocol for the management of chronic conditions for students and to create a plan of care for each student’s needs. Before Hurricane Laura, students were receiving comprehensive management of chronic conditions district-wide.
These two school systems are a prime example of the meaningful leadership from individuals at the school and district level working together to move Louisiana’s health forward!