School board focuses on students’ health

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The health of the Portales students was the focus of school board members on Monday night as they dealt with mental health, physical health and nutrition.

Shirley Chatterton, food service director, said breakfast will be offered to all students of four schools in the district: Brown Elementary, Steiner Elementary, James Elementary and Valencia Elementary.

Chatterton said the plan is to incorporate the breakfasts to the four schools on different dates in January so she can monitor each one for a smooth transition. She said the plan is to start breakfast meals for all students at Steiner Elementary on Jan. 4, Valencia Elementary on Jan. 9, James Elementary on Jan. 12 and Brown Elementary on Jan. 17.

She said the school district qualified for $22,445 from the state for equipment and the lost revenue from paid meals.
Currently, only some of the students receive free breakfasts.

Chatterton said for example approximately 50 percent of Valencia Elementary students eat breakfast. She said the breakfast time frame will probably be the same, about 7:30 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.

She said they have two options to choose from as to where the breakfast meals will be served. Chatterton said they can serve the meals in the cafeterias or in the classrooms. If they decide to serve them in the classrooms, the teachers would be responsible for serving the meals.

Chatterton said if they are served in the classrooms they will deal with the issue of cleaning up after spills as best they can. Chatterton said pancakes on a stick, cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, bagels, French toast on a stick and breakfast pizzas would be some of the meals offered.

Chatterton said school officials would keep nutrition in mind when serving the breakfasts.

School board members approved to go out for request for proposals for a mental and physical services provider.

Currently, La Casa de Buena Salud provides physical health services on two days out of the week to the school district. Helen Clabaugh, Portales School District nurse, said the proposal would require mental health services, such as counseling, two days out of the week and physical health services two days out of the week.

The school district officials would go out for RFPs and a new provider or La Casa de Buena Salud would provide those services in the spring. The school district is receiving $65,000 to pay for the services from the state.

Clabaugh said the program works and staff and students get use out of it.

In other business at the meeting:
• School board members Inez Rodriguez, David Brooks and Alan Garrett were recognized with certificates of exemplary work from a conference meeting in Albuquerque the previous weekend. School board members attend training sessions throughout the year accumulating training hours.

• Becky Flen, Steiner Elementary principal, recognized Garrett Hatch and Dave Reiser for Eagle Scout projects at Steiner Elementary.

Hatch and Reiser helped put up the Steiner Elementary sign, which is located off of Chicago Avenue and 3rd Street.
“I wanted to recognize Garrett Hatch and Dave Reiser,” flensaid. “They put together a great sign for our school.”