Students see clearly thanks to community partnership

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Photo by DAVID SWEARINGEN

By AMANDA KIMBLE
TheFlashToday.com

STEPHENVILLE (December 16, 2016) – Students across Stephenville ISD (SISD) are seeing clearer thanks to a partnership between the school district, Moore Eye Center and Stephenville Lions Club.

SISD head nurse Michelle Stilwell, RN, said the vision screenings are more than a community service, they are required by the state. Stilwell explained that she is required to gather data from screenings from all campuses annually and submit it to Texas Department of State Health Services.

“Stephenville ISD screens existing students in odd years (grade levels) and new students when they enroll with the district,” Stilwell said. “We are first required to screen within 120 days of the start of the school year or new student enrollment. If a student fails, we rescreen in two to three weeks, and if the student fails again, we send out a referral, recommending they be taken to an eye doctor for further examination.”

Moore Eye Center is in its first year of full program participation, which began with in-service training over the summer.

“Dr. David Moore’s office has been a blessing to SISD nurses this year in so many ways,” Stilwell said. “Dr. Moore allowed Dr. Emily Smith, O.D. to volunteer her time at the start of the year by addressing eye issues to better help SISD nurses as they see students with eye problems.”

“I joined the practice last September, which provided more time for Moore Eye Center to get out into the community and provide assistance,” Smith said.

Moore Eye Center staff also volunteered to assist nurses at Hook Elementary, Gilbert Intermediate and Henderson Junior High with vision screenings, and Stilwell explained how the local partnership goes beyond state mandates.

“Dr. Moore has given us vouchers for free eye exams and free eyeglasses to use for a number of students in need of assistance,” she said.  “He has also supplied school nurses with contact lens cases for students to use when they are having problems with their contacts.”

Meanwhile, Moore Eye Center took over as provider for a vision assistance program sponsored by Stephenville Lions Club following the recent passing of Dr. Monty Banks, who operated TSO.

“We only have a limited number of vouchers to provide to students, but the Lions Club is available when those run out, the club has said they want to help all students in need,” Stilwell said. “SISD nurses provide Lion’s Club (application) forms to students in need when they fail their second vision screening.” 

Stilwell said the vision screening and assistance program is operating smoothly, and attributed the success to the joint cooperation and newfound partnership she expects to continue into the future.

“Dr. David Moore, Dr. Emily Smith and their staff have gone above and beyond to help SISD and our community,” Stilwell said. “They also have great plans for possible future ways to help SISD with students who have trouble with vision. We are blessed by them and their generosity and want to thank them for their willingness to assist us”

In addition to vision screenings, SISD performs others throughout the year, evaluating hearing, height, weight, spinal development, and a precursor to possibly identify someone with Type II Diabetes. All findings are reported to the state at the end of the year.     

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