La Casa to provide new health center to Valencia

By Mike Linn

The Portales School Board at Monday night’s meeting voted to accept in-house health services for students and teachers at Valencia Grade School.
A nurse practitioner from La Casa Health Center will work at Valencia to provide the services, which will allow students and teachers quick diagnosis and treatment rather than having to make appointments with doctors outside of school, according to Rhoda Sparks, who oversees a similar program with Clovis schools.
“Students and teachers can get treated in a more timely manner,” Sparks said. “What we know in our area is that our medical shortage is critical. This new program will allow them to get seen in a timely manner, and be in and out quickly.
“And for many children who don’t have a primary care place, this provides a medical home for them.”
Students must be accompanied by an adult if they are to receive the services. Teachers can use the services while working, instead of having to miss classes to go off campus for treatment.
“Teachers with a sore throat who don’t want to miss a day of school can go to the clinic, get a prescription and be back to work,” said Helen Clabaugh, who presented the program to the school board.
Neither Clabaugh or Sparks knew how many days a week the health services would be available at Valencia.
Portales Schools Superintendent Jim Holloway said he would like to see the program running as soon as possible.

Also at the meeting:
• The board approved the $46,108 purchase of a new sound system for the Portales High School gymnasium. The current sound system was built in 1964, and PHS Principal Melvin Nusser said it has outlived its life expectancy.
The new system may be operational by early January, as Nusser said he would like start on the project between the volleyball and basketball seasons.
• Steiner teacher Marea Smith earned three grants totaling $6,890 to help with instruction for her science class and with oral language development for her first graders. She received $2,890 from the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), $3,000 from PNM and $1,000 from Wal-Mart.
Glenda Meeks of James Elementary also received $3,000 from CTE.