School-Based Clinics Can Improve Students' Health, Academic Success

By McAndrews, Wendy | The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT), August 21, 2018 | Go to article overview

School-Based Clinics Can Improve Students' Health, Academic Success


McAndrews, Wendy, The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT)


All Billings Public School students and their families can use RiverStone Health’s school-based clinics at Orchard Elementary School and Medicine Crow Middle School. The clinics provide primary medical care, including well-child and adult exams, management of chronic illness, care for minor illnesses and accidents, sports physicals, behavioral health services and some dental services.

The clinics started because schools are a natural and convenient place to identify health problems and care for children, since youngsters spend six to eight hours a day in the classroom. The location also makes it possible for teachers and other staff to help identify and make referrals to care for a child’s medical or behavioral health needs. School-based clinics also have the potential to reach children and families who do not have a primary healthcare provider.

Families, teachers and clinic staff can work together to treat the whole child, caring for medical, emotional and behavioral needs. Parents can connect with supportive services, such as parent groups, groups for children and other wellness education programs. When school staff, clinic staff and parents work together, it encourages a positive, collaborative relationship and promotes a supportive community environment.

School-based health centers can be key partners in tackling chronic absenteeism and promoting a positive school climate. School absences are considered chronic when a student misses 10 percent or more of the total number of school days, whether the absences are excused or unexcused. Research shows that chronic absenteeism increases a student’s risk of poor grades and academic failure. …

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