Exemplary Districts and Schools – Commerce City, CO
Adams County School District 14
Keeping Kids in School by Keeping Them Healthy
With childhood obesity and chronic disease rates soaring in the United States, the emphasis on school districts as wellness education centers has increased.
Colorado’s first school-based health center was built in Commerce City in 1978. That’s when the city’s school district partnered with Community Health Services to provide health care for students. Jeannette Lewis worked in Adams County School District 14’s special education department at the time and helped secure a grant to open the district’s first health clinic.
“Access to health care was poor for our students for two reasons,” says Lewis who now serves on the district’s school board. “Families couldn’t afford it, and it was growing less available because doctors were leaving the area.”
Today, Adams 14 and CHS continue to build on their early success and have expanded to five clinics across the district, many of which are housed in schools.
The need for health care is greater than ever. About 80 percent of students in Adams 14 come from low-income families with little access to health care. District leaders know keeping kids healthy means keeping them in school.
“I truly believe school-based health clinics have improved our attendance rate,” says Lewis. “It’s critical that all school districts support school-based clinics. They improve the quality of students’ lives, the quality of their education and they have a huge, positive impact on the community.”
Pediatric medical services, mental health counseling and prescription services are available to students and their families. Health education extends into schools, too. Students learn about pregnancy prevention, the dangers of tobacco use, the importance of staying physically fit and AIDS/HIV prevention.
In September 2009, the district and CHS opened a new, full-scale health clinic at its state-of-the-art Adams City High School to serve 1,600 students.
For more information, contact John Albright, Adams 14 Director of Communications, at PIO@adams14.org.
The Colorado Legacy Foundation believes that increased student achievement for all Colorado students requires effective leaders in every school, effective educators in every classroom, and healthy and engaging environments that ignite a passion for learning in every student.