Haukeness: School district committed to all-around student well-being

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 5:27 PM
Lori Haukeness

When people think of school, they think mostly of classroom teaching. Other factors, though, can prevent a child from being safe, healthy and fully focused on learning.

Throughout Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1, we strive to serve our students as whole individuals, not just as classroom learners. We have several programs that focus on the whole child. In this column, I want to briefly describe four of them: nutrition, health services, counseling and safety.

The RE-1 Nutrition Services Department is a busy place. During the 2016-17 school year, staff members prepared and served 236,750 lunches and 87,038 breakfasts. Those meals are carefully planned to meet nutritional requirements, and they include fresh local produce. Our nutrition employees have to complete professional standards training every year.

RE-1 has implemented a new way to pay for lunches so that students aren’t responsible for bringing a check to school. Instead, parents can pay online securely by using a debit or credit card or electronic check, and set up electronic payments. MySchoolBucks also allows parents to monitor their children’s cafeteria purchases and receive low-balance alerts so a student never runs out of lunch money. To check out this new service, go to www.myschoolbucks.

As part of our commitment to the whole child, we are pleased to offer nursing and health services in all of our schools. School nursing makes a critical difference in students’ lives in four important ways:

School nurses identify health factors that could create barriers to student learning;School nurses support students with chronic health conditions such as asthma or diabetes;School nurses provide support for students who are injured or fall ill during the school day;School nurses can help connect parents to community-based health services.So far this year, our nurses have provided vision, hearing and other screenings to close to 1,900 students, and have had nearly 3,700 office visits with students, of whom 82 percent were treated and were able to return to class.

We are so proud of our nurses and grateful for the level of care and support they provide our students.

February included school counselor week, and it gave us a chance to recognize and thank our school counselors. School counselors are critical members of our teams. They help students address emotional or behavioral barriers to academic achievement, provide bullying prevention, social-emotional support, and conflict resolution skills training.

They also help our older students in the areas of career exploration and development. Our counselors help our students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.

Finally, student safety is always at the forefront of our minds and efforts to support students. We have comprehensive school safety plans in each of our schools and trained school safety teams. We offer bullying prevention and other social-emotional support programs to students in all schools and we always encourage our students and community members to share any concerns they may have about student safety with us directly and by contacting the state hotline Safe-2-Tell at (877) 542-7233.

These are just a few of the ways RE-1 is working to help students make the most of their school time. If you have questions, call the administrative office at (970) 565-7282 or email me.

Lori Haukeness is superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1. Contact her at