Latest News from SPS

Welcome To The New STEM Academy Health Office

Mrs. Gallagher, assistant and Mrs. Macdonald, nurse, welcome and care for STEM Academy students

by Jennie Macdonald, Nurse – STEM Academy

My name is Jennie Macdonald and I am the STEM nurse.  It is a pleasure to be working with your children.  I have worked as a pediatric nurse for over 30 years, most recently at the HT Wing School.  I am excited to share the middle school years with your children.

The health office is a very dynamic place.  The myth of school nurses applying Band-Aids and ice packs all day has certainly been replaced in recent years.  Our days are filled with  caring for the physical needs of students, as well as the emotional and social needs.  A healthy child learns better and that health includes all aspects of a child’s life.

As a Massachusetts public school, many of the school nurse’s responsibilities are governed by the MA. Department of Public Health (MDPH).  This includes the health screenings that are performed each year. All seventh grade students will be screened, beginning in December, for postural screening (scoliosis), vision, hearing, and body mass index (calculated by current height and weight).  Eighth grade students will have their posture screened only.

Any screening that does not fall into the normal range will be shared with the parents/guardian in writing directly from the nurse.  Screenings are done confidentially and results become part of the student’s health record.  If you do not wish to have your child screened, please send me a note in writing excusing your child from the screening that you do not wish him/her to participate in.

I am also involved in other responsibilities outside of the health office.  Some of these responsibilities include:

  • attending IEP and 504 meetings for students with medical needs,
  • attending weekly student assistance meetings with STEM support staff,
  • BERT (building emergency response team) trainings,
  • field trip coordination for students with health concerns,
  • staff trainings for specific medical conditions including diabetes, concussions, life threatening allergies, seizures, and infection control.

The district nurses also spend time out of district during the summer and occasionally during the school year, attending school nurse conferences and training workshops designed to keep nurses up to date on all issues that impact student health.

It is very exciting to have a health curriculum in the STEM Academy.  Your children will be exposed to many important age appropriate topics.  I am available to support the learning that the students receive in class.

Currently, the seventh grade students have been learning about the warning signs of suicide and depression.  This program, called SOS, has been very successful in other districts and we are fortunate to be able to share it with our students. The eighth grade students will also be participating in this program later in the year.  You can read the article announcing the SOS program here.

Please feel free to contact me 508-888-5301, jmacdonald@sandwich.k12.ma.us, fax 508-833-1003.