High school to be site for new health center?

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Lebanon School Board members discussed plans for establishing a school-based health center, which will be established at Lebanon High School, during its meeting Dec. 9.
Rachel Cannon, director of alternative education for Lebanon Community Schools, told board members that the district earlier this year formed an advisory committee for a new Mental Health and Wellness Program with other entities around the county to determine how they can better serve students in Lebanon through their partnerships.
The committee has been meeting twice a month since April 2021, she said.
Members include Samaritan Health Services, Linn County Alcohol and Drug Prevention Specialists, Linn County Juvenile Department, Linn County Mental Health, Trillium Family Services, Greater Santiam Boys and Girls Club, Jackson Street Youth Services, Linn Benton Lincoln ESD, Western University of Health Sciences, a community faith-based organization. LCSD staff, including Superintendent Bo Yates, Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Meckley, other administrators, mental health specialists, a school nurse, and social workers, have participated as well.
After streamlining their services together and looking at data, the team determined sub-groups that should be created to figure out ways to best help support students, Cannon said.
“Part of that, from what we found, is that Lebanon would greatly benefit from a certified school-based health center,” she said.
There are a lot of school-based health centers in Oregon, but there are none in Linn County, she noted. The team determined that Lebanon High School would be the best location for the center, and that would be the first in Linn County.
School-based health centers are not new to schools across the nation, Cannon and board member Tom Oliver noted. They are clinics on school campuses that provide services such as primary care, mental health care, dental health, nutrition education and health promotion. They usually operate in a partnerships between the school district and a health organization.
Cannon showed data from Samaritan Health and the district that showed indicated only 10 percent of 12 to 18-year-olds in the Lebanon School District have had a well-child check in 2021.
She said the school-based health center would “provide a place for families and students to come and be able to get on Oregon Helath Plan, and see a medical provider.”
The district already does through its Family Support Liason, she said, noting that thus far this year it has helped 62 kids get on the OHP.
Cannon will be submitting a request for a $90,000 grant to help get the program started.
“We haven’t been able to meet the needs of our kiddos, and we want to be as aggressive as we can in meeting their needs,” Yates said. “We’ll try to do everything we can to make sure every student has access to the medical care they need.”
In other business, the board:
♦ Accepted the resignation of board member Todd Gestrin. His decision to resign came after determining that upcoming surgeries might affect his ability to continue serving on the board, explained Chair Mike Martin.
“I know how passionate he is for Lebanon and making sure our kids get educated,” Yates said. “It’s sad to see that he’s not on the board, but I’m so thankful for what he’s done in both of his stints (on the board).”
His resignation is effective immediately. Information for those interested in filling the vacant seat for Zone 5 can be found by contacting Executive Assistant Ruth Hopkins at (541) 451-8458.
♦ Awarded a contract to HMK Company for project management services for the Seven Oak Middle School classroom addition project, and additional projects as needed.