Jeffco Schools utilizing taxpayer funds to increase school safety and go high-tech

Posted at 11:17 AM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 13:17:52-04

GOLDEN, Colo. — Taxpayers approved a mill levy and bond measure in Jefferson County in 2018 and the school district is putting that money to use.

Nine full-time nurses were hired ahead of the 2019-20 school year. That means, for the first time ever, there is one nurse in every high school. There are now 70 nurses total within the district.

Another first: Nurses are trained to stop bleeding during an emergency. There will be Stop The Bleed kits available to to all the nurses in each school.

"Bleeding is the number one thing that we can stop from preventing death after an injury," said Jeffco Director of Health Services Julie Wilken. "This is a lifelong skill. People can bleed out in five minutes. We want to make sure that we are teaching people the skills before EMS arrives on how to stop a bleed."

Jefferson County is one of the first in the nation to implement a nurse response team. They will actively collaborate with fire and medical in times of crisis.

"Our nurses in schools, our educators in schools, they’re not first responders...they’re immediate responders," said Executive Director of School Safety John McDonald. "What we do in a moment in time really matters."

Nurses are also putting a focus on mental health. They're trained on drug prevention and intervention for students. The district wants students to treat nurses as their trusted adult.

"We can do a lot on the prevention side," McDonald said. "If we work at the prevention side, hopefully we don’t have to work on the response side and the ability to have that nurse as a strong partner promotes that early intervention."

The district also acknowledges that students are addicted to vaping. The district hopes nurses will provide the help they need to quit.

$3 million from the mill levy and bond measure went to purchasing Google Chromebooks and other digital tools for students district-wide.

This year, Chromebooks will go to 5th and 9th graders. In four years, all students in 5th through 12th grade will have one.

"We feel like part of our strategic plan is to help kids thrive in a digitally connected world," said Director of Educational Technology Mary Beth Bazzanella.

Annual parent fees also help pay for digital tools in the district.

The Chromebooks have a one-year warranty. If a student breaks the device after the warranty is expired, they're responsible for the repairs.