Health Promise for Future Holders: How Florida’s “A” School District Delivers

Since healthy students are better learners and success in school possesses a lifetime of advantages for health, Santa Rosa County School District still sticks to its core of providing the best care for their students with a recent School Health Services solicitation.
Santa Rosa County District School Board Profile Pictures
Courtesy: Santa Rosa County District School
By | 15 min read

There are good reasons why people at school are vulnerable to sickness. One typical explanation is that schools are places where children interact with one another and share supplies or equipment, which can spread germs.  

Another factor is that children are more prone to become ill during the first few months of the school year. A third factor is that young children have underdeveloped upper airways, making them more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.

And understandably, when children become ill, their parents become distressed. That is why providing health services in schools is always at the top of the priority list. Typically, a school will acquire health services from a different company rather than providing them in-house due to the advantages of knowledge and specialization, cost savings, liability issues, and convenience.

The package of service is so big that it appeals to many companies to go for it. Recently, the School Health Service solicitation of Santa Rosa County School District has drawn much attention from bidders that wish to take care of the school district’s students.

Before going deeply into the bid, let’s look at its owner – Santa Rosa County School District.

The Home of Diversity and Future Leaders

Santa Rosa County School District is in the state of Florida, mostly serving Santa Rosa County students and growing into one of the state’s major educational districts.

The State of Florida has designated the Santa Rosa County School District as a High Performing School District and an “A” district. They provide kids with standards-based curriculum that includes Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) as well as a solid reading foundation.

Teachers at the school develop a learning environment that emphasizes the 4 Cs (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity) regardless of subject. Santa Rosa County School District shapes children to be flexible, inquiring, and productive citizens of our community from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade and beyond.

Santa Rosa District School teachers is in a office
Courtesy: Santa Rosa County District School

The Santa Rosa County School District’s mission is to educate, love, and prepare children for a prosperous future.

The school system is well-known for its strong academic standards and has won numerous prizes and accolades for its educational programs. It provides students with a wide choice of academic and extracurricular activities, such as advanced placement courses, career and technical education, and athletics.

Santa Rosa County School District places a high value on technology and innovation – that is exemplified by a number of programs to integrate technology into the classroom and improve student learning.

One thing about Santa Rosa County is the diversity in the student body at the school.

Santa Rosa County District Schools serves 76.4% White, 4.8% Black, 1.5% Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander, 7.9% Hispanic/Latino, 0.4% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.3% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander students. Furthermore, 8.7% of pupils are mixed race, and 0% have not selected their race or ethnicity.

In addition, 48% of students are female, while 52% are male. In Santa Rosa County District Schools, 27.0% of students are qualified for the federal free and reduced-price meal program, and 0.8% are English language learners.

When mentioning this school district, we need to take a look at its test scores.

In the Santa Rosa County District Schools, 65% of primary pupils tested competent in reading and 67% tested proficient in math.

In addition, 58% of middle school students scored at or above the proficient level in reading, and 62% scored at or above the proficient level in arithmetic. In addition, 62% of high school students scored at or above the proficient level in reading, and 60% scored at or above the proficient level in arithmetic.

In recent years, the Santa Rosa County School District has regularly had high graduation rates. Indeed, the district’s graduation percentage in 2021 was 95.6%, which was greater than the state average.

Taking about the school board, it is made up of five members, each of whom is elected to represent a specific district within the county.

The current board members include Dr. Karen Barber as the Superintendent, Linda Sanborn as Chairperson for District 1, Elizabeth Hewey representing District 2, Carol Boston as Vice-Chairperson for District 3, and Charles Elliott representing District 4.

The board is responsible for making policy decisions, approving budgets and ensuring that all schools within the district offer high-quality education to their students.

Being the top school district itself, principals hold an inalienable responsibility of care to students enrolled at and attending their school, which involves facilitating students with health support needs to preserve their wellbeing and engage in learning safely.

The School District that Puts Health Services on Top of the List

Undoubtedly, school health services are an important component of the school community. Students spend roughly one-third of their time at school. Having access to medical support required to maintain their mental and physical health has far-reaching impacts for students, their families, and the community.

In other circumstances, the health experts with whom children come into touch while in school are the ones they see the most frequently. Students build relationships with their school counselors and therapists that allow them to feel comfortable discussing issues they might not otherwise be able to address.

Whilst each member of the school health care team provides crucial services, the school nurse is critical to children’s health. With the changes that are expected in the upcoming school year and those that will follow, school nurses will play an even more important role than they now do.

For almost 6 hours per day and up to 13 essential years of their social, psychological, physical, and intellectual development, schools have direct contact with more than 95% of our nation’s young people aged 5 to 17 years. Schools have an essential role in supporting children’s and teenagers’ health and safety by assisting them in developing lifelong health patterns.

Healthy students learn better, and academic accomplishment has long-term health benefits. Schools are a great environment to teach and offer children with opportunity to improve their nutritional and physical activity habits, as well as manage chronic health disorders.

Santa Rosa District School teachers and staff is in a conference
Courtesy: Santa Rosa County District School

Healthy students can grow into healthy and successful adults when school health policies and practices are implemented.

The Santa Rosa County School District understands these things well. In the letter to parents that informs them and guardians of the various nursing services and health-related education available to students in the Santa Rosa County School District health program for the 2022-23 school year.

The Florida Department of Health-Santa Rosa School Health Nursing team provides a range of services in accordance with the School Health Services Act and other applicable regulations.

These services include conducting health appraisals, assessments, and referrals, conducting state-mandated screenings, providing case management and follow-up for confirmed student health concerns, and reviewing new student health records for compliance with immunization and physical exam requirements.

The Department of Health-Santa Rosa School Health Nursing team also offers in-service training and health-related educational presentations to school staff and students. The team values feedback and encourages parents to contact their school’s administrative office or the Department of Health-Santa Rosa School Health Supervisor to provide comments and suggestions.

That’s just a part of their grand plan to protect their students in a comprehensive way. The school district is not just saying, they are executing more than these claims.

In the first quarter of 2023, with a purpose to fulfill contract school health services for the schools in its district, The School Board of Santa Rosa County solicited proposals from qualified Health Care Providers.

Santa Rosa County School Health Services – Grand Plan to Protect Children Wellbeing

The Santa Rosa County School District maintains a School Health Program that provides health services to all students in grades kindergarten through twelve. The deal is part of the school district’s effort to provide pupils with an optimum environment that promotes their health and well-being.

First, let’s look at what bids should keep in mind before competing for the contract.

Players, Please Read Carefully the Instruction!

Every provider who took their hand into this game already knew what’s the contract was about. However, there might remain some unclear or unprovided information that needed to be clarified.

That’s why the Santa Rosa School County District decided to host a pre-proposal Conference held at 9:00 AM, January 23, 2023, at the Santa Rosa County School Board Dillon Administrative Complex, and virtually through Microsoft Teams

During the pre-bid conference, the host provided an overview of key highlights that participants should take note of. Following this, the host addressed any questions that participants had.

One of the most asked questions was the estimated budget of the contract, but the school board remained silent about this. So, even now, the solicitation is closed, no one knows exactly the cash in the bag. At least, we can guess that it’s a huge fortune.

Besides the concerns discussed in the meeting, there are a few things that bidders need to well note. This information can be easily seen in the Request for Proposal (RFP) of the solicitation.

One of the most important things is the Term of Contract is:

“If funded, the contract will be for a five-year period commencing on or around July 1, 2023, and ending on or about June 30, 2028, with the possibility of five additional and one-year extensions.

Cancellation must be made in writing and received 120 days before the end of the contract year on June 30th. Both sides’ silence will be interpreted as acceptance for another contract year under the same terms and conditions.

This condition does not exclude offering the best price possible depending on current economic conditions. This proposal’s funding is contingent on the availability of allocated money. Invoices must be broken down and itemized according to the elements stated on the proposal form, and they will be audited for the duration of this contract.

If a contractor fails to meet his or her obligations under the contract, the School Board will issue a Notice of Noncompliance to the contractor.

The Notice of Noncompliance will specify the infraction(s), remedy(ies), and the deadline for compliance. If the flaws are not corrected within 30 days of the notice, the School Board will take the steps specified to terminate the contract.

These are two different clauses for terminating contracts between the Santa Rosa County School Board and contractors for goods or services exceeding $10,000. The “termination for convenience” clause allows the Board to terminate the contract, in whole or in part, with written notice if it is in the Board’s best interest.

The “termination for default” clause allows the Board to terminate the contract if the Contractor fails to deliver supplies or perform services as specified in the contract. The Contractor will only be paid for supplies delivered and accepted, or services performed in accordance with the contract.”

That’s pretty much about the instructions for bidders in this contract. But’s what more important is all the demand from the school district that’s going to be broken down in the next part of this piece of writing.

Bring the Best Environment for Students to Become Better Learners

Many health care providers have certain talents that enable them to fulfill their responsibilities as a health service firm. However, in order to service such a large institution as Santa Rosa, the work simply had to be thorough in order to elevate the provider to the next level.

In this contract, the Santa Rosa County School Board in Florida is seeking to create an optimal learning environment for students by hiring various healthcare professionals. These positions include Health Technicians, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), and Orientation Mobility Specialists (O&M). The number of positions may change throughout the school year.

Health Technicians will assist with medication administration, first aid, diabetes management, and other health-related tasks. They require a high school diploma or GED, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and First Aid certifications, and Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification/Training. They will be supervised by a Registered Nurse or other qualified medical professional.

LPNs will have similar responsibilities to Health Technicians but may also provide additional services like catheterization, enteral feedings, tracheostomy suctioning, and diabetic care. They must be licensed in Florida, hold CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certification, and complete Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification/Training. LPNs will also be supervised by a Registered Nurse or similarly qualified medical practitioner.

Santa Rosa County District School Superintendent - Dr. Karen Barber is in a conference
Courtesy: Santa Rosa County District School

Registered Nurses (RNs) will be stationed at various schools, with one RN position at T.R. Jackson Pre-Kindergarten School and three RN supervisory positions at North and South End schools.

Their duties include providing nursing services, creating student-specific Health Care Plans, and supervising Health Technicians and LPNs. RNs must have a Florida RN license, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and First Aid certifications, and complete Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification/Training. They will be supervised by a properly credentialed medical professional.

The Orientation Mobility Specialist (O&M) will offer services to visually impaired students, focusing on independent travel skills, orientation and mobility equipment training, consultation with teachers and parents, in-service training, and other support services.

They require a Bachelor’s degree in Visually Impaired, certification in O&M, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and First Aid certifications, Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification/Training, and a valid Florida driver’s license. O&M specialists must be supervised by a properly credentialed medical professional as per Florida Statute 464.

The provider must comply with various regulations and laws, including 2 CFR Part 200, 45 CFR Part 75, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), and Florida Statute 464. They are also required to submit reports on student numbers, services provided, and outcome measurements.

To be considered a strong player, the provider must be capable of providing these positions. When the health care company makes sure that they have all the instruments, they can compete with the others in the match. But when there are a lot of strong competitors in the game, there will be a standard to pick the winner.

The Line that Filters out the Real Diamond

Choosing a contract winner for the project is challenging due to the multiple factors involved, such as the complexity of the project, the number of qualified bidders, the budget, and compliance with various regulations and standards.

Additionally, the decision-makers must ensure that the selected provider owns the necessary experience, qualifications, and resources to deliver high-quality services, meet project goals and timelines, and provide ongoing support.

The evaluation process requires careful consideration of all these factors, which can make the selection process time-consuming and challenging.

In this School Health Service contract, the committee consisted of Autumn Wright, Director of Student Services, Nancy Haupt, Director of Pre-K Programs, April Martin, Director of Elementary Education, and Floyd Smith, Director of Middle School Education.

Santa Rosa County District School representatives are receiving an award
Courtesy: Santa Rosa County District School

This group will review, and rank proposals based on various factors including, but not limited to, compliance/responsiveness, company history, qualifications, location(s), performance references, and price.

Presentations from the top-ranked contractors may be requested. If required, the committee would enter into negotiations with the corporation that is ranked first. The School District Evaluation Committee has evaluated the merit of the proposals received using the criteria outlined below.

Weighted Categories
TechnicalExperience  20%  Company history, time in business; staff: minimum turnover rate, retention of employees, qualifications, candidate pool
TechnicalPerformance  30%  Performance history, technical approach & capabilities; references; scope of services met
Pricing Pricing50%Invoice/base rate; equipment/services

Based on these criteria, the committee has already picked the final players that are most compatible with the school district demands.

The Duo Extraordinarily Beats up Seasoned Tribes

Before announcing the winner, let’s look at those strong companies that they have beaten up to grab their seats at the table.

The feast includes 12 companies, such as 22nd Century Technologies, Aloa Care Group, Aveanna Healthcare, CSR, EDU Healthcare LLC, RCM Health Care Services, Shore Staffing Inc, StaffEZ of Florida, The Stepping Stones Group LLC, TryFacta Inc, Zentech Consulting LLC, and Pediatric Services of America.

Among them, we can point out the forefronts in the game such as RCM Health Care Services which has been on air since 1975. As a prestigious company, their clients count on their continuing reliability and integrity.

Or Tryfacta, a leading supplier of fully diversified since 1996, end-to-end business solutions and information technology outsourcing solutions to commercial and government clients globally. They are in the business of cultivating relationships via hard work, devotion, and tenacity.

Shore Staffing Inc, Pediatric Services of America are also the skillful players that’s been in the game for more than 18 years. These seasoned hunters will play it traditionally, but the rookies are very hazardous.

In the final list, we can see Aveanna Healthcare which has rocked the game since 2017. With a total of $75M in funding over 1 round, the family of companies cares for medically fragile patients in 23 States through their rapidly growing network of more than 200 branch offices. Not to mention Aloa Care Group which was established in 2017 as an avenue to improve the health of our community.

Santa Rosa County District School teachers is discussing something
Courtesy: Santa Rosa County District School

Those are some outstanding bidders in the contract. We have the years experienced ones, also the newbies that make some headlines. But in the end, those companies had to renounce the throne to this duo – 22nd Century Technologies, Inc., and EDU Healthcare, LLC.

This information was announced on May 4th, 2023, as the school district had already picked up the two finalists.

Let’s meet the first one, 22nd Century Technologies

22nd Century Technologies – The Dominator in the Healthcare Sector

22nd Century has earned the highest industry certifications for quality management and IT service delivery. They are continuously recognized for providing great services, developing new solutions, fostering a positive workplace culture, and expanding their operations. The company takes pride in providing the best services possible and are dedicated to continuous process improvement.

Their strategic collaborations with premier technology providers and open-source software platforms enable the company to provide premium-quality services to clients by providing early access to new technologies as well as priority access to training and technical support.

22nd Century leverages strategic partnerships with innovative technology firms to create the ideal solutions for its consumers, and that’s why they are trusted by the government clients to serve and enhance the lives of Americans.

With a significant emphasis on the public sector, 22nd Century now has federal contracts with 14 of the 15 Federal Executive Agencies, including the Department of Defense, 37 additional Federal Agencies, 50 States, 115+ Local Agencies, and 37 School Districts.

They have expanded their services to Fortune 500 and other commercial clients in the previous three years and assisted 80+ commercial clients.

22nd Century Technologies, Inc., has been named a Forbes “Best Company to Work For” for constantly exceeding the clients’ expectations by focusing on their complete happiness with jobs while keeping our staff motivated.

That’s the first one who sits at the winner table. The next is the other one who shares the same duty, EDU Healthcare

EDU Healthcare – Unites with the Educational System

EDU Healthcare has been offering health services to educational systems in all 50 states since its inception in 2007. They collaborate with customers to provide services to their special and exceptional student groups.

The provider understands firsthand the importance of students receiving educational health-related services in order to grow and progress in their educational goal. They have a wealth of experience and understanding in providing these services to school districts.

This company collaborates with numerous public and private school systems to address their students’ therapy, nursing, and special education requirements. They serve as an extension of the clients’ organizations, working as a strategic partner. They have the same goals and objectives as one another. 

The supplier achieves their goals and objectives through continuous communication and teamwork in order to give quality educational people to the areas in which they operate.

They attract, retain, and manage employees who are at the heart of the firm and provide these services. They endeavor to provide great services to each and every client and learner.

Looking at the finalists, they already had their own competitive advantage, but it will be more powerful when these two share the same duty in maintaining students’ wellbeing at Santa Rosa School County District.

In the healthcare field, collaboration is key to providing the best possible care for patients. When healthcare professionals work together, they are able to share knowledge and expertise, identify gaps in care, and provide coordinated care that is tailored to the individual needs of the patient.

The effective combination of resources, energy, talent and goals paves the way for the success that the partners intend, as well as many unforeseen benefits. This well explained in the final decision of the school district to facilitate comprehensive health care to their students through the holding hand of the two providers.

Bottom lines

School health services support not only pupils and teachers, but also the entire community. Expectations from parents and students will continue to drive growing demand for mental health services, and schools will be expected to provide a variety of high-quality options to their students.

As the prevalence, intensity, and higher demands intersect with changing social norms about getting mental health care, a growing number of students will demand individual counseling.

That’s why in every educational system, student health is always prioritized for the students’ sake. Santa Rosa County School District is not just saying, this contract manifests their effort in improving health service in the school district, not just because of wanting to please parents, but actually come from the heart of true educators.

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