Innovative education program helps remove
barriers to learning
New Orleans, La. - A kindergarten teacher greets her
students on the first day of class. They are excited, fidgety, eager to learn
and a little anxious. She sees a class full of potential. But what she does
not see is that as many as 57 percent of her students have undiagnosed vision,
hearing or dental problems. As many as 22 percent suffer from chronic health
conditions such as obesity, hypertension, mental illness and behavioral
problems. These are conditions easily addressed, but left untreated they are
barriers to learning.
Thanks in part to a $100,000 grant from Entergy, the
Childhood and Family Learning Foundation is able to remove these barriers by
making sure students receive health screenings and services to address such
needs. During the 2012-2013 school year, the Childhood and Family Learning
Foundation partnered with 10 New Orleans schools. Eight of the schools serve
at-risk children in areas with the highest poverty rates, including Central City
and Treme. Partnerships with approved day-care centers made the program
available to very young children.
Almost 5,000 children received comprehensive health
screenings and follow-up services as needed. For schools participating in the
program at least two years, school performance scores have increased by as much
12 percent in every school but one. Louisiana Education Assessment Program
scores also showed significant gains in almost every testing group.
Virtually all of the children served by the foundation
are eligible for Medicaid, but many do not receive the screenings and services
that they need. The Childhood and Family Learning Foundation helps the schools
file for Medicaid provider status, enabling the schools to bill Medicaid for the
services provided and ensuring sustainability for the program.
Using a health team model that includes parents, primary
care providers, teachers, administrators and school staff, the foundation
ensures each child receives a comprehensive health assessment. Individual plans
of action and intervention are developed for each student. Actions can range
from providing a child with glasses or hearing aids to offering intervention
services to a child with previously undiagnosed autism.
Entergy Corporation, which celebrates its 100th birthday
this year, is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power
production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power
plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity,
including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the
nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million
utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has
annual revenues of more than $10 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.