Nurses share survey with Vilonia Board of Education

Six nurses are working hard to keep the students in the Vilonia School District healthy, said registered nurse Megan Dixon, addressing the Vilonia Board of Education, Monday night, delivering the district’s annual Arkansas School Nurse Survey.

“We all stay pretty busy,” Dixon said, explaining there are six nurses covering seven campuses including the daycare. “But, we all love what we do.”

Dixon spoke for about 15 minutes sharing information.  The six nurses for the district include Dixon, an (RN) at the Middle School, Melanie Allen, RN, at the elementary; Jana Sisson, licensed practical nurse (LPN), at the high school as well as Heather Partee, LPN, at the intermediate school; Bobette Foster, RN, at the Freshman Academy and Kayce Morse, RN, at the primary. 

Dixon said the student enrollment for 2015-16 was 3,221 students. There were 17,325 total office visits by students and staff including 2,785 at the elementary; 2,437 at the high school; 3,108 at the intermediate; 2,407 at the middle school; 2,731 at the freshman academy and 3,857 at the primary school. 

The visits, Dixon said, were for various reasons including illness, injury, blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, hygiene needs, head lice checks, state required screenings for hearing vision, BMI, scoliosis and medication requirements.

The nurses are also responsible for monitoring diabetes management on the campuses. There were five students with Type 1 diabetes, four students with Type 2 diabetes and five students with insulin pumps.  Each students needs varied daily. Some required blood sugar checks and insulin dosing at meal times as well as treatment of hyper and hypoglycemia events.

There were 98 students with food allergies; 47 with insect allergies and 30 who require epinephrine for severe allergic reaction. No epinephrine had to be given, Dixon said, during the 2015-16 year.

Dixon said there were students with varied chronic illnesses including ADD/ADHD, 267; Autism, 28; blind or visually impaired, 2; cerebral palsy, 6; Down’s Syndrome, 3; hypertension, 2; psychiatric disorders, 25 and five with renal disease.

She concluded by saying “Students must be healthy to be educated and educated to be healthy.”

In other business:

--The board approved paying a financial incentive to eligible certified employees submitting early notification of retirement or resignation. Those submitting letters prior to the Jan. board meeting will receive $1,000; $750 to those submitting prior to the Feb. board meeting and $500 to those submitting notifications prior to the March board meeting.

--Approved an increase of $5,000 for the district’s portion of pay to the district’s one school resource officer.  Dr. David Stephens, school superintendent, said the last adjustment to the salary was in 2005 with the district paying 75 percent of the officers’ salary. Stephens said he had been contacted by Chief Brad McNew of the Vilonia Police Department, requesting a review of the pay scale. Currently, Stephens said, the amount paid by the school is $31,181.  There was some discussion regarding the pay of SRO’s in other districts. It was said the board will revisit the subject at the end of this school year.

--Approved the purchase of the Classworks software program to be used as a pilot program at Frank Mitchell Intermediate School at a cost of $10,500 as well as training for the software to cost an additional $3,000. This is for a one-year contract. Cathy Riggins, assistant superintendent, said the program is expensive but it is a supplemental program designed to help teach teachers and parents. As well, she said, it will provide students with additional foundational skills that they make take with them to the next grade level.

--Board member Tim Nolan was recognized for completing at least 25 hours of continuing education in 2016.

--Approved a revision to the district’s student handbook stating any student may enter kindergarten if the child is five on or before Aug. 1.

--Stephens updated the board on the track resurfacing project. It is currently on hold, he said, until good weather. The company, Stephens said, began the project but stopped and have picked up their equipment and some materials are in storage.

--Accepted the impending retirements of employees JoLynn Warbritton, Pam Fulmer and Paula Campbell.  Also, accepted the resignation of Sharon Messer as full-time bus driver but added her as a substitute bus driver in that capacity.  Also, accepted Charlie Burgess as a substitute bus driver and changed the contract of Aaron Jackson from a substitute driver to a full time driver.