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Stories tagged: student health

SRC renews one charter, postpones two others; goes with Maramont for food contract

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 29, 2014 09:38 PM

The School Reform Commission voted Thursday to grant a five-year renewal to New Foundations Charter School, but postponed a decision on two others.

It also gave a $93 million, three-year contract to Maramont Corp. for school lunch services, but only after extensive questioning of company representatives and the District's food service staff.

Why do schoolchildren suddenly die?

By Eileen DiFranco on May 23, 2014 06:26 PM

In my twenty-four years as a school nurse, I’ve called quite a few parents about all sorts of problems.  There was the boy who dislocated his shoulder while hanging from the doorjamb and the boy who fractured his jaw. There was the little girl with the hundred and four degree temperature and the girl with the nosebleed we simply could not stop.  I’ve called about seizures, asthma attacks, and lacerations needing stitches. Each time I’ve called the parent- even if I’ve called 911- I try to reassure the parents by saying, “Your baby is ok, but I’ve called 911 because….”

Schools have emergency procedures; not all have defibrillators or staff trained in CPR

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 23, 2014 01:07 PM

Accounts of the collapse of a 7-year-old boy at Jackson Elementary School on Wednesday say that at least two first responders -- a library volunteer who was a retired nurse and an employee of a behavioral health organization trained in CPR -- were not regular staffers and just happened to be in the building.

That raises the question of whether Jackson had in place an emergency plan required by the state departments of Health and Education that identifies "specially trained" staff and specifies staff responsibilities. 

"In true emergency situations, the school should do all in its power to render emergency care," say the guidelines. "To prepare for emergencies that can be reasonably anticipated in the student population, the school should have written first aid policies and emergency management practices in place. These policies and procedures should reflect staff responsibilities and district expectations for staff action in an emergency situation, including identifying specially trained and designated individuals who, in addition to the nurse, will render first aid."

The case of Laporshia Massey: Asthma and our schools

By by Eileen M. DiFranco on Dec 3, 2013 04:07 PM

I’ve been a school nurse in Philadelphia for almost 25 years. I’ve seen lots of blood and a finger almost amputated by a door accidentally slammed. I’ve seen head injuries, seizures, and high and low blood sugar levels in diabetics. 

The very worst moments I’ve experienced as a school nurse, however, are those that were spent with children who were having an asthma attack.

6th grader's death adds to fears over Philly layoffs of school nurses

By the Notebook on Oct 11, 2013 11:51 AM

by Sarah-Whites Koditschek for NewsWorks

In late September, a Bryant Elementary School 6th grader died from asthma complications. Her parents and Philadelphia school administrators have offered conflicting accounts of the incident.

In the wake of the child's death, asthma educators are concerned about the impact that reduced staffing will have on medical emergencies that occur at school.

UNITE HERE rally emphasizes student safety staff and fresh meals

By the Notebook on Jun 6, 2013 03:18 PM

by Sonia Giebel

Days after the School Reform Commission approved its “doomsday” budget, about 150 people conducted a noisy protest Wednesday outside District headquarters against two of the budget's consequences: the removal of noontime aides from lunchrooms and less fresh food for students.

The UNITE HERE rally brought together the aides -- also called student safety staff -- who monitor trouble-prone hallways and lunchrooms, with students, teachers, cafeteria workers, and others. They chanted slogans like “break bread, not schools” and banged pots and pans.

“What parent wants their kid eating on a dirty table ... or coming home with a busted nose?” said Migdalia Lopez, a noontime aide at Bodine High School. The cafeteria will not be a safe environment, she said.

Saul teacher receives honor for work with school’s agricultural program

By the Notebook on Oct 24, 2012 11:56 AM

by Charlotte Pope

Every week, the White House recognizes Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities through its “Champions of Change” program. Earlier this month, Jessica McAtamney, a teacher at W.B. Saul High School for Agricultural Sciences, was among 12 teachers, college students, and other educators who were honored for their innovations that are helping to move their neighborhoods forward. 

Students contribute to book on healthy living

By Guest blogger on Jun 20, 2012 05:00 PM

This guest blog post comes from Talia Fisher of Healthy NewsWorks (no connection to WHYY's NewsWorks).


Local students recently published their own book through Healthy NewsWorks, a nonprofit organization that engages elementary and middle school students in creating authentic journalism to promote health and literacy.

Healthy NewsWorks, which was founded by former Inquirer health and medical writer Marian Uhlman and Upper Darby teacher Susan Spencer, works with students in 13 area schools, including four in Philadelphia. Each school publishes a newsletter focusing on making healthy lifestyle choices.

District answers questions about school lunches

By Guest blogger on Mar 14, 2012 03:34 PM

This guest blog post comes from the Philadelphia Urban Food and Fitness Alliance. PUFFA solicited questions from students, parents/guardians, and other community residents and received responses from the Food Services Division of the School District of Philadelphia.


1.  Why can't our children have organic milk to drink?  

The total cost allotted to a school lunch is approximately $2.73, and $1.39 is allotted for food, $1.03 for labor and 39 cents the balance for infrastructure/administrative costs. Within the budget of $1.39 for food, 25 cents is available for milk. At this time, the cost of organic milk would significantly exceed the available funds for this item.

PFT files complaint about untrained personnel dispensing medication

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 1, 2012 05:44 PM

UPDATE: District statement

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is alleging that the School District is violating the school code and endangering children because it has ordered untrained school personnel to administer medication in the absence of nurses.

The District laid off 47 nurses in December, and the ratio of student-to-nurse now exceeds the recommended ideal. As a result, many schools have nurses on site only one or two days a week.

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