Among the most recognizable faces on campus are Jen Brannon, Student Support Specialist, and School Nurse Dawn Murphy. Both work with students in elementary, middle, and high school.
Mrs. Brannon works with students and staff to meet social-emotional needs as well as basic needs and community referrals to resources such as counseling services, food and housing resources, and develop personal skills for success. Mrs. Brannon coordinates the October Blue Shirt Day (anti-bullying) and Red Ribbon Week (drug awareness) initiatives. She seeks out focused resources to campus to address current social trends and concerns. For example, during this school year she is bringing a presenter to share dangers of drug use with middle and high school students (matthewsvoice.org). As September is National Suicide Prevention Month, it is a good time to remind everyone of a resource that went live in July of 2022. If someone is in crisis, experiencing emotional distress, or worried about someone they know, calling or texting 988 or chatting at 988lifeline.org/chat is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Nurse Murphy works with students and staff to meet medical needs. She also does classroom presentations to promote healthful living, including bringing guest speakers to campus and coordinates several other health-related initiatives. Recent initiatives include campus American Red Cross blood drives, an annual JDRF campus walk, and the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge (formerly Jump Rope for Heart). In addition, Nurse Murphy supports Mrs. Brannon’s efforts in social-emotional learning. Nurse Murphy reminds everyone to continually practice good personal hygiene habit (hand washing, covering coughs, isolating when sick, etc.). One of the goals of school nurses is to assist as many students as possible in being able to return to the classroom setting. During the 2022-2023 school year, Nurse Murphy documented 827 consults with students. Of those, 617 returned to the classroom immediately.