LITTLE ROCK —A school-based health center grant the Booneville School District learned it would be receiving is one of five awarded across the state.

The Arkansas Department of Education, in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health and Medicaid in the Schools, will award $540,000 over a five-year period to the five to implement the health centers.

Besides Booneville schools receiving the grant are Chicot Elementary School in the Little Rock School District, Fouke Elementary School in the Fouke School District; Ida Burns Elementary School in the Conway School District; and Rose Bud Elementary School in the Rose Bud School District

“There is a clear, distinct connection between good health and academic achievement,” ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. “These five schools are providing the necessary services to treat not just academic needs but the needs of the whole child. They are to be commended for taking on this effort and serve as another example of how Arkansas is leading the nation in student-focused education.”

The schools join 31 other schools around the state that have School-Based Health Centers.One of those is located in Magazine.

The centers remove physical and mental health barriers for students by offering these services on campus. The goal is to help students remain healthy, thus, improving academic achievement and reducing the number of absences due to health issues.

To be selected, applicants undergo a comprehensive, competitive application process, which includes internal and external reviews and an onsite visit. Those awarded grants partner with local health providers to implement three main components of School-Based Health Centers: physical health services, mental and behavioral health services, and school health outreach programs. Many centers also offer additional services such as oral health and optometry services.

To learn more about the School-Based Health Center program, visit https://bit.ly/2Rw2oit.