As Orange County Public Schools prepares to open its doors to its students for the 2023 – 2024 school year, the Winter Park Health Foundation readies to offer our Coordinated Youth Initiative (CYI) for the 27th consecutive year. A partnership between the Winter Park Health Foundation and Orange County Public Schools, CYI is funded by the Foundation in the 13 public schools serving children and youth living in Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park:
K-8 School: Audubon Park
Winter Park 9th Grade Center
Winter Park High
CYI is the Foundation’s oldest and perhaps best-known initiative, serving up to 11,000 students annually since 1997. This initiative is based on the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child, or WSCC model – the CDC’s framework for addressing health in schools. The WSCC model is student-centered and emphasizes the role of the community in supporting the school, the connections between health and academic achievement and the importance of evidence-based school policies and practices.
In the belief that “Healthy Kids Make Better Students and Better Students Make Healthy Communities,” the Winter Park Health Foundation sponsors the following CYI programs aimed at tending to the mental and physical wellbeing of the children and youth in our community:
CHILL Counseling Program – A school-based counseling program for students in sixth through 12th grade who need help with issues such as divorce, grief and loss, low self-esteem, anger management and depression. CHILL Counselors focus on prevention and early intervention programs. There is no cost to students or families.
School Nursing Services – Licensed nurses at school provide a variety of services and can handle emergencies and treat illnesses so children can return to class as quickly as possible, ready to learn and make the most of the school day. Financial support from WPHF helps schools upgrade from a basic school health aide to hiring a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse.
School-Based Health Centers – When the need exists, school nurses can refer students to two health centers staffed by Nurse Practitioners (located on the Glenridge Middle and Winter Park High campuses). NPs have master’s degrees and can offer more advanced care for students from the 13 schools. The NPs provide important services to students whose families don’t have adequate health care coverage or access to a health care provider for their children. NPs can assess, diagnose and prescribe medications and therapies for patients.
Healthy School Teams – A concept developed by the Foundation and piloted in the 13 schools, Healthy School Teams (HST), are comprised of stakeholders from within the schools and community who plan and present activities that promote health and wellbeing among students and staff. The WPHF funds HST programs and efforts at each school. Based on the success of HSTs to ensure the implementation of school district wellness policies, OCPS now requires all its schools to have an HST. HSTs have become commonplace throughout Florida based on this model.
Despite the excitement and possibility that a new school year brings, returning to the classroom can be challenging for some children and teens. During the month of August, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is highlighting resources on stress and anxiety, strategies for coping, and guidance about when to seek help from a healthcare provider.
Click here to access these resources that can help navigate this stressful time.