SBHC Spotlight: KIPP Baltimore: The Ruth and Norman Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education

School Based Health Centers are a change agent for students all across the county. Students that attend schools with an SBHC have increased access to and use of primary care services, have better attendance and lower rates of disciplinary problems. Starting this school year, students at two KIPP Baltimore Schools (Harmony Academy and Ujima Village Academy) will have access to a new and innovative SBHC model. They will be the first schools to pilot the Rales Educational and Health Advancement of Youth program (READY).

READY is a new pilot that will launch this year by the Johns Hopkins Ruth and Norman Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education . The Rales Health Center is the school-based health center co-located within Harmony Academy 
and Ujima Village Academy that is part of  the READY program. The overarching goal of the READY program is to unite health care providers, teachers and parents, all to benefit children. A unique piece of the Rales Center 
model is that it will operate both traditional school health services as well as the School Based Health Center at the site. Collectively, the two participating KIPP schools enroll more than 1,500 predominantly African American students in grades K-8 living in under served communities.  

The READY Program takes on a population approach which may differ from the traditional SBHC model in which services are based on enrollment and students having to seek out services. Traditional SBHC programs often have little capacity to seek out and follow those children most in need of health services. Staffing constraints limit their ability to provide a stable source of primary care. READY, by contrast, fully integrates health into the school environment, curriculum and activities that engage students on a daily basis and also has the resources to have a more robust staff.

The READY program will provide a full service health and wellness program. This health center will be staffed by a physician, nurse practitioner, school nurses and a medical assistant. Health center services will include:
  • Routine assessment of  students' health and developmental progress
  • Screening for behavioral problems
  • Monitor children with chronic conditions and teach them to self-manage symptoms of asthma or diabetes, for example
  • Prescription medication delivery to the school for patients in the health center
  • Future implementation of individual and group mental health counseling.
  • Nutrition education including incorporating healthy and appealing foods into school and home menus and encouraging healthy eating.
The READY model will bring health to the students in the form of health and wellness curricula, increased physical activity opportunities and other health campaigns; including dental and vision screenings and services and preventative mental health services. The READY program will also provide professional development to teachers and staff on health issues. Teachers and staff wellness will include stress reduction, yoga, and mindfulness.

A parent advisory group has been instrumental in the design of the READY program. The program will also include parent education on health issues and stress reduction activities.  In order to engage parents and families, the plan includes parent - teacher conferences with an individualized student health review, led by a health center professional who knows the student. Student families will have access to a "parent liaison" in the school that will conduct home visits and will be responsible for connecting families with supportive community resources such as adult health programs, mental health services, pharmacies, community athletic facilities and healthy cooking classes.

In preparation for the first year of the READY program, the health center underwent major renovation and expansion. The READY program is made possible by strong partnership with the schools, the parent advisory group, and generous funders.
Back to School Health: Oral Health Tips for Teachers and School Health Providers
By Katy Battani, RDH, MS

Children  are back to school and keeping them healthy is a top priority to ensure a 
good  academic start. Unfortunately, nearly 1 in 4 U.S. children start kindergarten with a history of at least one cavity. The pain associated with tooth decay can lead to difficulty concentrating, learning, eating, and smiling. The good news is that most oral health problems can be prevented.  

Here are a few tips for promoting oral health during the school year.
  • Ask students about their personal oral hygiene practices (e.g., brushing and flossing their teeth) and what they can do to maintain a healthy mouth.
  • Stress the importance of good oral hygiene, including brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day (in the morning and at night) and flossing at least once a day.
  • Encourage students to drink fluoridated water (from the faucet/tap) throughout the day instead of sweetened beverages like sports drinks, fruit drinks, and soda.
  • Encourage students to use mouth guards and other protective gear when participating in physical activities or sports such as biking, skateboarding, or in-line skating or when playing baseball, basketball, football, hockey, or soccer.
  • Teach students and parents what a healthy mouth looks like, how to recognize early signs of oral disease, and what can be done to reverse or treat oral disease.
  • Conduct outreach to parents to improve their knowledge and understanding of the importance of oral health, oral hygiene, healthy eating practices, and regular dental visits.
  • Offer school-based oral health care services (e.g., fluoride varnish, dental screenings, dental sealants) delivered by oral health professionals.
  • To find public dental services, see the Maryland Oral Health Resource Guide developed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Oral Health. 
Join MASBHC's Annual Conference Planning Committee

Have you attended MASBHC's Annual Conference? 

Did you have any recommendations that you thought would make the conference that much better? 

Then consider joining our 2016 Annual Conference Planning Committee. As a member of the planning committee, you will be required to take part in monthly planning calls, assist with development of the agenda, help recruit speakers and attendees, and assist with fundraising activities. Planning Committee conference calls will begin in September.

If you are interested please fill out this  interest form by September 15th. 
Join the 2015 Maryland School Breakfast Challenge
Maryland Action for Healthy Kids is a proud supporter of the 2015 Maryland School Breakfast Challenge.
  • Did you know? Kids who eat a healthy school breakfast do better in math, have higher attendance and are more likely to graduate.
  • School breakfast fuels academic success. Yet, each day too many Maryland students miss out.
  • Make this school year the best one yet: join the Maryland Breakfast Challenge!
  • Take action to connect more students with breakfast, and win cash and prizes for your school.
Any MD schools interested in more information should visit the website  and click on the big green button that says "Join now" Contacts will be directed to a short form that will connect you directly to assistance.
School Based Health Alliance Webinars 

As the school year begins, be sure to take advantage of the  plethora  of technical assistance and professional  development  
resources provided by the School Based Health Alliance.  The School Based Health Alliance has webinars on a variety of topics that pertain to school based health centers and child and adolescent health. Be sure to peruse the list of upcoming webinars and sign up for those that interest you as well as take a look at their many archived webinars.  Click here for a list of upcoming webinars