Health centers and “full-service community schools”
Oakland Superintendent Tony Smith’s vision of full-service community schools is taking shape on some campuses, thanks to a school-based health center initiative that has picked up steam (and millions of dollars in funding) since 2008.
Oakland Unified’s 12th health center opened this week, at the 1,900-student Skyline High School. The Native American Health Center (NAHC) will operate services at the clinic. The renovated portable building includes two medical exam rooms, a laboratory and three confidential consultation rooms.
Skyline’s renovations were funded by a 2006 school bond measure (Measure B) and seed money from a 2008 Kaiser Permanente donation. Atlantic Philanthropies also donated millions to the OUSD effort to expand health and mental health care to its students.
Other OUSD campuses where students can get check-ups, consultations, mental health counseling and — in some cases — dental care: Calvin Simmons, Castlemont, McClymonds, Havenscourt, Frick, Urban Promise Academy, Madison, Roosevelt, Oakland High, Oakland Tech and Fremont.
Every OUSD student is eligible to receive health care from these clinics. Here are some statistics from an evaluation done during the 2009-10 school year, when there were half as many health centers as there are now:
- The centers at McClymonds, Roosevelt, Oakland High, Oakland Tech, Fremont and Castlemont provided nearly 23,944 visits to 3,913 students (roughly 10 percent of students in the district).
- They served 59 percent of students enrolled in the schools where they were located.
Centers will open at Elmhurst and West Oakland Middle by January. Next fall, another is scheduled to open at the new Downtown Education Complex.
What kind of a difference has it made to have a health center at your school?
Do you think such services are becoming more important than ever in light of recent Census statistics on child poverty? What benefits have you seen or experienced?