With plans underway for a school-based health center in Sunnyside, Special Services Director Cody Gardiner has been visiting other health centers in the state.
Last night he told the Sunnyside School Board he also recently attended a summit tied to health centers.
"Oral care is the number one issue affecting attendance," said Gardiner, sharing what was learned in his travels.
Because oral health impacts student performance and attendance rates, he said there is an effort to explore options and services that will help students.
One option, Gardiner said, is to provide dental services at the health center being added to the Sunnyside School District.
Executive Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Brian Hart said providing dental services at the health center will limit the time students are out of the classroom, furthering the opportunity to receive instruction.
Gardiner said, "When services are imbedded in the school, students are more likely to return to class."
He said statistics show students leaving campus for dental appointments often do not return to campus following the appointment.
The request for proposal Gardiner and Hart presented to the school board includes the responsibilities of a dental provider. It states the schools will each have a designated area to support the agreement between the provider and the schools.
The provider would be responsible for communicating with parents of students and ensure confidentiality.
The contract for services will be for Sept. 4, 2012 through June 14, 2013.
The school board directors approved the recommendation to move forward with the request by unanimous consent.