Written by Al Stover
The Wolf Point School District board of trustees held a special meeting, Oct. 28, to vote on participating in the Fort Peck Tribes Health Promotion and Disease Prevention reservation-wide school health program.
One of the purposes of this agreement between the HPDP and the Wolf Point School District is to provide the school with mental, dental, nutritional and mental health services to all students.
The agreement is also to identify additional approaches to the provision of health services, and solicit support of parents and the total community in improving the education system.
Under the agreement, the Wolf Point School District will provide on-site supervision and attendance of HPDP personnel, provide an on-site office area that can be used for program implementation and help develop and promote disease awareness, prevention and early detection.
The school will also partner with the HPDP and other health-related organizations to develop programs that can address school health-related programming and provide oversight and guidance to joint school health programs and participate in program evaluations.
The HPDP will also report to the board of trustees on the parameters of the program with a mutually agreed upon time period, participate in generating new ideas and programs that bear on the health disparities in the school-age population of the reservation and provide educational opportunities for school faculty and for the student body.
Superintendent Joe Paine and the Fort Peck Tribes’ Office of HPDP will meet every other month during the academic year to discuss the program and additional meetings will be held as necessary.
Paine explained that the program would be for all students in the school system. He said the tribe is hoping to bring in a full-time dentist and a full-time nurse. He also said the tribe would bring in a physician to work for one week a month. He said the school only needs to provide two separate spaces.
According to Paine, the HPDP will provide proof of liability insurance coverage to the district and agree to assume legal responsibility for any harm caused by the negligent or willful acts or omissions of its employees. Paine also said that all the other schools on the reservation will be participating.
Paine said the program was submitted by a committee. He spoke with Kermit Smith, who is in charge of the program. He also said the school has worked with the tribe in the past regarding mental health providers.
“They came in the school and worked with our kids,” Paine said. “Our kids benefited from the services.”
“I do believe it will be a great program and it’s something we should participate in,” Paine said. “We have a lot of students that don’t get the health care they need and if it’s something we can offer them [through the program], it is well worth the while.” Board chairman Martin DeWitt said this is a tremendous effort by the Fort Peck Tribes.
“It’s an outstanding opportunity I think,” DeWitt said. “It’s amazing that they have the capacity to do that and the willingness to support all of our kids.”
Paine said he would have to make some clerical changes the memorandum, form changing the name of previous Fort Peck Tribes Chairman Floyd Azure to the new chairman A.T. Stafne’s name, on the form. Once the changes have been made, the memorandum will be ready for DeWitt’s signature.
In other business, the board approved the hire of Brett Scott as an elementary sixth-grade girls’ basketball coach for the 2013-14 school year. Scott’s salary will be funded from the donations given to Wolf Point School District from donors.
The next school board meeting is scheduled to take place, Nov. 12.