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Two Southern Californians Receive ‘Thriving Schools Honor Roll’ Award
Kaiser Permanente recently recognized two individuals with its “Thriving Schools Honor Roll” 2017 award for their extraordinary efforts to build a healthier future for the students, staff, and teachers.
Debbie Wood, school nurse and coordinator, School Health and Neighborhood Support Program, Bakersfield City School District, and Jose Campos, director, parent involvement and community outreach, Jurupa Unified School District, were among the 10 winners selected from eight regions nationwide where Kaiser Permanente provides care.
The Thriving Schools Honor Roll awards program acknowledges individuals who are championing sustainable, healthy school environments. The program celebrates successes, recognizes innovation, and elevates best practices so that we can all be inspired.
Campos received his award at the Jurupa Valley City Council meeting on March 15. Wood received her award as part of a Kaiser Permanente community health recognition event held in Bakersfield on March 22.
Here are more details on each of our Thriving Schools Honor Roll award winners in Southern California whose actions demonstrate their unwavering dedication to promoting healthy school communities:
A strong fabric for health must be woven from many threads. As a devoted school health champion, Wood has demonstrated that the strongest impacts on school health often require a thoughtful weaving together of both policies and program efforts. Her innovations have had a deep and lasting impact in her community.
For more than 27 years, Wood has dedicated herself to supporting students and families in Kern County where she leads, manages, and coordinates exemplary school nursing services and school health programs. Under her leadership, the Bakersfield City School District has been awarded millions of dollars in grants to support innovative programs aimed at increasing student health and reducing student absences. Through her efforts, the district has instituted free dental services, free eye exams and glasses, asthma education, the opening of school-based health clinics and immunization clinics, the installation of water stations, walking programs, and the development of an exemplary wellness policy that guides the district’s wellness efforts.
Wood has shaped a strong team of school stakeholders to support the Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools partnership in her district. Active participants include directors, principals, social workers, nurses, and parent liaisons who are all committed to working together to create healthier school environments. Her efforts have improved the health of students across her district while helping to set the standard for student health care across the state.
School health is often a team effort. Campos knows that the path to achieving school health must be built through strong teams of local support and partnership. Since 2014, he has been working districtwide, and intensively at three local elementary schools, to implement strategies for healthy school change that have resulted from his collaborative spirit.
A health clinic, two dental programs, and a team of traveling mental health clinicians are just a few of the “wraparound” health services that Campos and his team offer students and families in the Jurupa Unified School District. Campos’ drive to help students overcome health and wellness issues, that might otherwise interfere with the learning experience, has become a model for other districts across the state. Campos’ mission to launch a family school health clinic started when he recognized the dire need for free and low-cost health services as a principal at Troth Street Elementary School, which is also in the Jurupa Unified School District.
Years of entrepreneurial leadership and a determined, innovative spirit blossomed into partnerships with Kaiser Permanente, Borrego Health’s network of Federal Quality Health Centers, and other community-based organizations.
Campos’ ambition has led to a plethora of school health program and infrastructure improvements in his district including: the construction of running tracks, the installation of hydration stations, regular food distributions addressing the needs of local students with food insecurities, and implementation of Harvest of the Month, a hands-on program to help children learn about fruits, vegetables, and the importance of physical activity. As director of parent involvement and community outreach, Campos also works closely with parents to engage them in school wellness efforts. Parents he has worked with have become walking club organizers, volunteers, and life coaches who enthusiastically advocate for programs and practices that support healthy lifestyles.
Campos is a great community partner both inside and outside the school district. He has used creative approaches to seek and secure diverse funding and collaborates with internal and external partners to address the complex food, physical activity, and school climate challenges in the district and the schools.
Both Wood and Campos serve as an inspiration to us all and exemplify the extraordinary difference individuals can make in their community.