Paul Cuffee School is staffed with two registered nurses who provide services to students at all three schools. In addition to providing health care to students as needed, the nursing staff conducts health screenings, teaches the health curriculum, and provides a range of other services.
The school nurse is able to house and dispense prescription medications brought in from the student’s home, provided there is a note from the parent and the student’s health care provider. Over-the-counter medications can be given by the nurse with parental permission. School nurses administer state-mandated annual screenings for hearing, vision, and dental health, as well as scoliosis screening for students in grades 6-8. In addition, flu clinics are provided for students, staff, and parents each fall.
The health curriculum is based on the RI Health Standards. The curriculum for grades K-5 uses Great Body Shop, a nationally recognized comprehensive health and substance abuse prevention program used by schools throughout the United States. The nurse’s office also conducts special programs such as TAR Wars, a national anti-smoking poster competition.
Middle and High School students also receive ongoing instruction on health and wellness. The Wellness Program, taught during advisory for one hour a week, offers students in grades 6-8 instruction on social, emotional, and sexual health. Students in grade 9 and up have instructional units on personal health, mental and emotional health, injury prevention, nutrition, sexuality and family life, disease prevention and control, and prevention of substance use and abuse.