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Leadership Insights

Why Faubion’s Support System for Students is the Example to Follow

By Julie Smith, PhD August 15, 2018

As educators, we know all too well the challenges our students bring into the classroom every day. Homelessness, poverty, health issues, bullying, child abuse, and neglect — these are just some of the issues that many students and educators must face on a daily basis.

A plethora of research exists showing the link between these issues and poor academic outcomes.

Consider the following:

  • Elementary and high school students who do not have access to oral health care are three times as likely to miss school as those who have access to care (National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center).
  • Living in poverty is associated with low achievement scores, increased likelihood of repeating a grade, and dropping out of school; in 2016, 19% of all children under the age of 18 lived in poverty (National Center for Education Statistics).
  • Approximately one in six school-aged children suffer from some type of mental illness, including ADHD, behavioral problems, anxiety or depression; more than half of these children do not receive treatment. Mental illness is associated with an increased risk of suspension, expulsion, and credit deficiency (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
  • Nearly 18% of all school-aged children experience food insecurity and 74% of educators report seeing students come to school hungry; hunger prevents students from focusing and performing well in school (No Kid Hungry).
  • Availability of school-based health services is positively related to increased grade point averages, increased graduation rates, and decreased dropout rates (Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis).

Call to action

Faubion School in Portland, OR

Faubion School + Concordia’s College of Education, a 3toPhD® community, in Portland, Oregon

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to improve both learning and health and to reduce the opportunity gap, “government agencies, community organizations, schools, and other community members must work together through a collaborative and comprehensive approach.”  Since approximately 95% of five to 17-year-olds are in school for six hours per day or more, schools are the most logical place to develop and implement a collaborative and comprehensive approach.

Recognizing their own community’s assets and needs, Concordia University-Portland and Portland Public Schools’ Faubion School collaborated with the goal of creating safer, healthier, and more educated communities. The result of this public-private collaboration is a new, innovative 3toPhD® model of education that can be replicated anywhere, everywhere.

Holistic approach

Faubion School's Welcome Hall

Faubion School + Concordia’s 3toPhD® Welcome Hall, a family room that returns school to the heart of the community

Community-centered, 3toPhD® is a holistic educational model that connects students, families, and neighbors. Understanding the relationship between individual, family, and community health and educational outcomes and opportunity, Concordia University, Faubion School, along with three other core providers (Kaiser Permanente, Trillium Family Services, and Basics food store) recognized the need to educate the whole child, including the whole family and community as well. Furthermore, community assets and services needed to be extended more equitably.

In addition to academics, the 3toPhD® model at Faubion School incorporates comprehensive wraparound services for both students and their families, integrating health, wellness, and education via their public-private collaboration with core providers who stepped up to offer their services.

Kaiser Permanente’s 3toPhD® Wellness Center offers comprehensive on-site services for students and their families, and Concordia students, faculty, and staff. This includes physical exams, evaluation, and treatment of non-urgent, acute, and chronic health conditions, and comprehensive dental care. According to Jodeen Callaghan, DMD, a dentist at the Kaiser Permanente’s 3toPhD® Wellness Center, by providing the on-site dental care, they have “the ability to decrease the number of school days missed because of dental pain.”

Part of Kaiser's Wellness Center in Faubion

Part of Kaiser Permanente’s 3toPhD® Wellness Center in Faubion School + Concordia University

Trillium Family Services, another 3toPhD® core provider and Oregon’s largest provider of mental health services for children and families, provides on-site mental health and wellness prevention services. Rather than parents having to take time off from work to take their child to see a doctor, dentist, or therapist, the student can be seen while at school.

With over 80% of Faubion students eligible for free and reduced lunch and a large homeless population, food insecurity was of paramount importance. To address this need, a local, organic grocery line named Basics created, and now maintains, an on-site food club and pantry. Families can purchase healthy and nutritious low-cost products. They can also sign up for the free backpack program where students are provided with backpacks of food for the weekend. In addition, monthly community cooking classes are offered in an on-site demonstration kitchen so families and older children can learn to prepare healthy meals.

3toPhD® – Setting the example to follow

Dr. Callaghan recognizes the importance of individual, family, and community health and wellness; by providing comprehensive on-site services, “we reduce the number of missed school and work days and make the community stronger by treating individual families.”

When policies and practices are put in place to support healthy schools and communities, students thrive and opportunities are endless.

More information

Julie Smith, PhD, RN has over 30 years of nursing experience and 15 years of experience in K-12 health services, serving as a School Nurse and School Health Administrator for one of the largest 9-12 school districts.  Dr. Smith also has over 20 years of experience in higher education, including serving as a Dean of Nursing and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

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