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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
April 15, 2015     Hays Free Press
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April 15, 2015

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Novice local author gets book deal. - Page 1C Hays Free Press April 15, 2015 Page 3B Macie Walker, right, is the Hays CISD health services director. She took over the position in January. Since then she has been getting with everything from lice and the flu to vaccinations and coordinating a new private health provider for the district's WELL Clinic. PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK up to speed and dealing BY KIM HILSENBECK Going from a hospital background to a public school setting keeps Hays CISD's new ..... Director of Student, Health Ser- vices hopping. Macie Walker, RN, BSN, joined Hays CISD in January and has spent the past few months in what she called the "information gathering" phase of any new job -- the who's who, what's where and how things get done. Walker comes to HCISD from Lakeway Regional Medical Center, which she opened more than six years ago. "Going from the private sec- tor to public sector is certainly different, and so I'm II romp on a learning It curve there," || she said. "The U other thing is 1$ administra- tively.., you still lead, you still assess the problems, you still find where your gaps are and learn where your strengths are and tighten up the things you need to tighten up." Walker, a Macon, Georgia natiVe, said she has been meeting with school nursing staff to identify areas and internal processes that can be strengthened. For example, she's work- ing on the district's electronic charting system. Over time, Walker said, staff developed their own templates for the information they collect. "They did what worked for them," she said. Walker's goal in this area is to revamp the system so reporting is consistent across all cam- puses. In addition to medical records, she is also trying to spread the word about immuni- zations and is working on issues such as lice and the flu. She is also the district liaison for the Student Health Advisory Com- mittee (SHAC), which meets monthly. The SHAC, required by Texas Education Code 28.004, helps public school districts make decisions about health issues -- physical activity, sex education and nutrition. Walker said SHAC is an excel- lent way to get community What is the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and what does it do? The Hays CISD SHAC is a committee comprised of parent, district personnel and community members. The group meets monthly and provides recommendations to the district On issues related to student health. SHAC served a critical role in the development of a district Wellness Policy. Recent topics include how to address issues uncovered with the health study, the best way to provide mental health services to students, and encouraging a climate of healthy eating on campuses. Want to get involved or just learn more? Visit and search SHAC. a child isn't to date [on cannot come to school." -Macie Walker, Hays CISD Director of Health Services on why it's important to have student's vaccinations up to date members involved and parents to make recommendations to district officials. "Those recommendations carry weight," she said. While the group lost a few members over the past year, she said she is actively recruiting parents and others in the com- munity. Walker is also overseeing a planned transition to a private health provid- er firm, Com- municare, at the Hays CISD WELL clinic. As that pro- cess wraps up this month, she said she's look- ing forward to helping parents un- derstand what health care services will be available at the clinic and howto access those services. The Hays Free Press will follow up with Walker later this month. Regarding immunizations, Walker said she hasn't had to deal much with th~ topic yet, although there are always ques- tions when students transfer mid-year. But the season for immuni- zations is coming up and she thinks in August there will be a lot of questions from parents. Some parents opt to not get vaccinations for their children, . despite research and data showing the benefits. The chil- dren without vaccinations are protected, in a way, because of the "herd mentality." With the higher rate of protection from the vaccinated children and fewer contact diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, around, the chil- dren without vaccinations are less likely to come in contact with the diseases. But more and more parents are opting out of vaccinations. Outbreaks, such as the measles outbreak originating in Dis- neyland this year, means more unvaccinated children are be- ing exposed. Measles was practically immunize or sign a Reason of eradicated in the United States Conscience or have a doctor's just 15 years ago, according to note. If you're coming from a the Texas Medical Association Texas school, we give you 30 Council on Health Promotion. days to get us those records." Walker said parents can use Students coming from other the Reason of Conscience, states have to produce the re- which is a law in Texas, to not cords upon enrollment. immunize their children even Walker said school nurses though public schools require review all student files to ensure vaccinations for enrollment, they are either up to date on Religious beliefs and cultural immunizations or have signed norms could be reasons why a the objection. Would she or any parent signs the Reason of Con- nurse discuss a Reason of Con- science form. Those forms are science with parents in an effort reviewed every two years, to change their mind? A medical reason is not con- "We're always looking for sidered Reason of Conscience. opportunities to educate "We get physician's note and [parents]," she said. "But would have to have some specific we sit a parent down and talk statements in there, such as the about it? Probably not." child has allergies or illness that She respects a parent's right would prevent him or her from to opt out of vaccinating their being vaccinated," Walker said. child because the law allows it. And if a child is not up to Would she change the law? date on his or her shots? "Let me put it this way. I "If child isn't up to date, believe in immunizations. I they literally cannot come to believe they've saved countless school," she said. "You either lives," Walker said. WHY IMMUNIZATIONS ARE IMPORTANT: Here is an excerpt of an article from the Texas Medical Association Council on Health Promotion on why immunizations are important. As an example, measles was used in the story. "It's hard for Texans under a certain age to remember, but measles is a serious, highly conta- gious disease. It can cause serious complications in children. Some will die. This is not an exaggera- tion. This is reality. Thanks to a very effective vaccine, we declared measles completely eliminated in the United States just 15 years ago. But we were wrong, in large part because not everyone gets vaccinated anymore. The measles vaccine is safe and effective. It provides almost complete immunity to the dis- ease. Let me repeat that. The measles vaccine is safe and effective, and it provides almost com- plete immunity to this terrible disease. That means children can be spared the effects of disease and do not need to die." --Ernest Buck, MD, Chair, Texas Medical Association Council on Health Promotion, from "The Next Disneyland Could Be Kyle; Be Wise - Immunize" school board The Hays CISD Board of Trustees will hold its regular meetings this month at Lehman High School. The dates are April 20 and April 27. Both meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and take place in the cafeteria. The public is always welcome to attend board meet- ings. To see the agenda, visit and click on the district drop down menu, then select board of trustees. Take a moment to nominate a district staff or community partner for an Ambas- sador Award honoring outstanding customer service. These awards are designed to motivate, recognize and reward the people who serve as the district's ambassadors to parents, students, and the community. Anyone may nominate some- one for an Ambassador Award during the open nomination period. A committee appointed by the superintendent se- lects the winners in each category. These employ- ees are considered the district's employees of the year for their catego- ries. From the individual winners, the selection committee will also choose an "Ambassador of the Year." The last day for nominations is April 17. Winners will be hon- ored at the third annual Ambassador Awards reception on May 11 at Chapa Middle School. Relay For Life May 9 Join others in the Kyle and Buda commu- nity in the fight against cancer. The event will raise funds to support the American Cancer Society's mission to save lives. It is a way to celebrate the lives being saved from cancer and to remember those who have been lost. Form teams and raise money prior to the event. On May 9, the community will come together to enjoy activities, enter- tainment and celebrate life. To register a team, purchase a luminaria, or participate as a cancer survivor, contact Sarah Teeter at (512) 468-4909 or Takes place from 4 p.m. - midnight May 9 at Barton Middle School. + + i i;|i]fll lli i II | } I iii I[ II li I