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Children’s Hospital and Jefferson Parish Schools Partner to Improve Student Health and Academic Performance

With the start of the new school year, Children’s Hospital New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Schools will launch a novel partnership between the Greater New Orleans healthcare and education sectors, expanding access to specialized pediatric healthcare services for Jefferson Parish Schools’ students and staff.

NEW ORLEANS – As mission-aligned organizations serving the children and families of Jefferson Parish, Children’s Hospital New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Schools (JP Schools) are proud to announce a partnership designed to improve both student health outcomes and academic performance by bringing specialized health services directly to the school setting.

Through the formal partnership, providers associated with Children’s Hospital’s ThriveKids Student Wellness Project will provide pediatric general and specialty care, mental health services, and complex care coordination to Jefferson Parish students. ThriveKids school nurses and social workers will staff JP Schools to assist children with both physical and emotional healthcare needs. The partnership also includes pediatric health and wellness-related professional development for the staff of JP Schools.

“This is the kind of big thinking and collaboration that will build a healthier future for our kids,” said John R. Nickens IV, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “By delivering health services directly to kids at school, we are standing in the gap to improve the health and wellbeing of the next generation – together with our schools as linked community partners and stakeholders.”

The ThriveKids-JP Schools partnership also involves access to a Medical Director, nurse navigators to help coordinate care, behavioral health counseling and medication management, screenings and other baseline health services, and virtual specialty care.

“At Jefferson Parish Schools, we believe in developing the whole child – mind, body and spirit. This collaboration with Children’s Hospital will help us to manage the diverse health needs of our students while giving them the holistic support they need to succeed both in the classroom and in life,” said JP Schools Superintendent Dr. James Gray.

“The partnership between Children’s Hospital New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Schools will be transformational,” said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng. “Close management of complex conditions and direct support for physical and mental wellbeing will allow for improved student health.”

Leveraging data to address the health and wellness needs of students at-scale in this diverse district is one of the primary focuses of the partnership. To that end, the organizations plan to develop data-driven district-level health, wellness, and academic goals to track progress and measure success. Student wellness-related research and quality improvement projects will help drive further improvements over time.

This foundational partnership builds upon ThriveKids’ statewide vision for school-based health – a customizable model that can be implemented across the region, meeting each district’s unique goals for addressing health conditions while keeping kids in the classroom.

“Schools are so much more than a place of learning; they are where our children go to grow and thrive,” said Edna Metcalf, Executive Director of Health and Social Services for JP Schools. “We estimate that at least a quarter of students across Jefferson Parish have chronic health conditions and behavioral health needs. This innovative partnership will embed health care staff directly on campus, making it easier for families to access the health resources they need to be successful.”

In the fall of 2020, Children’s Hospital launched ThriveKids, the Student Wellness Project, a multispecialty program intended to increase access to healthcare for kids where they spend most of their time – at school. The program aims to improve both academic and health outcomes through community partnerships, clinical excellence, data and research, and shared learnings. Standing on a foundation of services like sports medicine, behavioral health, virtual care, and professional development, the program has rapidly expanded over the last year by supporting schools throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, Children’s COVID-19 school support initiative served schools in 59 parishes with its technical support resources, providing over 50 hours of town hall guidance and receiving over 12,000 calls on its school-dedicated nurse hotline. The initiative also closely involved Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish Schools, facilitating a total of 4,600 school staff members’ COVID-19 vaccines, about 1,000 of which were direct JP Schools employees who received vaccines at convenient mobile clinics.

The ThriveKids Team is growing! For employment opportunities, email or visit Learn more about ThriveKids, The Student Wellness Project, at

About Children’s Hospital New Orleans
Children’s Hospital New Orleans is a 222-bed, non-profit academic pediatric medical center that offers comprehensive healthcare services, including over 40 pediatric specialties, delivered just for children. With more than 400 physicians trained in more than 40 pediatric sub-specialties, Children’s offers a comprehensive array of pediatric healthcare services in Louisiana and the Gulf South. In addition to its main campus located in New Orleans, the hospital operates a network of specialty clinics across Louisiana and in Southern Mississippi, including in Covington, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette. Children’s Hospital offers primary care services at 15 convenient locations throughout Southeast Louisiana and remotely via its Virtual Care app. Children’s Hospital is a proud member of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit hospital system which also includes New Orleans East Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center New Orleans and West Jefferson Medical Center. Learn more at

About Jefferson Parish Schools
Jefferson Parish Schools is the largest and most diverse public school system in Louisiana and the 98th largest in the nation. Our system of 80 schools serves over 50,000 students on both banks of the Mississippi River. With approximately 7,000 employees, JP Schools is one of the largest employers in Jefferson Parish. Our district exists to provide the education our students deserve to succeed in life and make our world a better place. Click here to read our strategic plan, 2024: The Future Our Kids Deserve.


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