A charter school in Indianapolis is using data on visits to the school nurse to improve student academic performance. Paramount Schools of Excellence, which has three campuses on the city’s east side, found students who visited the school nurse more frequently had lower academic performance. The statistic led to the creation of the Paramount Health Data Project.
In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta, Paramount Executive Director Tommy Reddicks said data on school nurse visits hadn’t really been used before.
“When we took that data and correlated against academic achievement for our kids, we realized it was really telling a major story, something that would allow us to move proactively to help that child and help them get through whatever health condition might be taking them down or making it hard for them to succeed academically,” said Reddicks. “So for us, it’s a very meaningful process to say that health is really a strong part of school readiness for a child and if we pay early attention to that, we can be really impactful in their futures.”
Dr. Azure Angelov, an independent researcher contributing to the project, says giving schools the ability to be proactive is key for the project. She says schools are federally mandated to have what is known as Multiple Tiers of Systemic Supports, or MTSS, in place.
“It’s really a process in place where schools review data to see what’s going on with a child so that we can intervene appropriately,” said Angelov. “When we started adding information, or one piece of data around the social determinants of health from our nurses office, we found that we were able to intervene much faster with kids. So we were able to be more proactive, more strategic and more focused in the interventions that we’re giving kids and we were able to see a change in their academic performance based on our ability to intervene earlier.”
Reddicks says he hopes to expand the project to more schools around the state and country.