DCSD’s new director of Health & Wellness impressed by diversity of District’s programs
CASTLE ROCK – The new director of Douglas County School District’s Health and Wellness Department says she was excited to learn about the many different programs offered by the District—all of which are focused on supporting the physical and psychological health of DCSD students.
“In preparation for my interview, I began digging through the website to learn as much as I could about the District. I said, ‘oh my gosh, they’re already doing that,’” Kantor said. “To walk into this place, was nirvana.”
The former pediatric nurse practitioner and clinical instructor for the University of Colorado says she was impressed by the comprehensiveness of the department, which includes:
- School Nurse Consultants
- Prevention and School Culture, including Team U.P. (Universal Prevention)
- Intervention & Support, including suicide and threat assessments and school counselors
- Healthy Schools Team
- Homebound Program for temporarily ill children
- Homeless Student Liaison
- Traumatic Brain Injury Team
- School Medicaid Reimbursement Program
“Truly, we are trying to build a house of health care in a house of education,” Kantor said. “My heart is in this whole department already. These people are so incredible and I’m honored and privileged to be a part of it.”
After less than two months on the job, she is already a passionate supporter of her staff, ensuring, for instance that people understand the true work of the District’s School Nurse Consultants. She says they do so much more than the stereotype. They don’t just bandage scraped knees.
“These ladies are a highly educated, highly experienced group of women. Most of them have ICU backgrounds. One of them is an attorney. Many of them have their master’s degrees. It is an impressive group of women,” Kantor explained.
Each nurse consultant covers a handful of schools, providing training to staff so that they can handle the daily healthcare needs of their students, including administering prescriptions and responding to emergencies.
The Healthy Schools team picks up the effort from there, supporting schools through activities that encourage students to eat well and stay active.
“They provide a menu of options for individual principals and administrators to pick from, whatever fits the culture and climate is at that school,” Kantor explained.
Team U.P. provides a similar menu, but focuses on the psychological health of students.
Kantor says her team is committed to taking care of the whole child.
“If you can provide a child with that safe feeling and happiness, you will create a better citizen for society,” Kantor said.
Kantor says she understands, first hand, the importance of personalized learning and one-size-fits-one education, because of her son’s experience. He is now 21 years old, but struggled throughout school with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
He attended a different school district, which tried to force him to fit within their system, rather than focusing on his strengths. Kantor says she is excited to be part of an organization that is building systems to support students, like her son.
“It is fabulous,” Kantor said. “Of course there is work left to be done, but it is great that so much already in place.”