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SPS Receives Magna Award for Telemedicine Services

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star
District Health Nurse Coordinator LaRita Haffey (standing) uses telemedicine equipment to help a TeamClinics provider examine a student remotely. Principal and the student's parent Kim Paxson was able to be in the room during the exam.

The Shawnee Public Schools partnership with telemedicine provider TEAM Clinics has received national recognition, the National School Boards Association announced recently. SPS has received a first-place 2020 Magna Award, one of only five districts nationwide that serve under 5,000 students and one of only 15 school districts total to receive the recognition.

The NSBA Magna Awards honor districts across the country for programs that break down barriers for underserved students. An independent panel of school board members, administrators and other educators selected the winners from more than 100 submissions.

"Focusing on equity requires school leaders to think differently and creatively," said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA executive director and CEO. "The 2020 Magna Award-winning districts showcase the amazing and innovative work going on in public schools to ensure students are supported and provided with the tools and opportunities needed to succeed."

SPS formed a partnership with TEAM Clinics in 2018 to provide prompt, nonemergency medical care to students. TEAM Clinics uses a telemedicine video platform that allows the student, school nurse, parent and health care provider to meet virtually.

"This program has given students access to needed medical care," said La Rita Haffey, district health nurse coordinator. "Most of the time, students can return to class at the conclusion of the telemedicine visit, thus lessening the number of absences for at-risk students."

The district's partnership with TEAM Clinics was described as a model for other districts to follow in the April issue of American School Board Journal.