The Lavaca School District, located in rural western Arkansas, noticed that both students and faculty were missing school so they could visit doctors in Fort Smith or because they had chronic health issues. When they learned about an opportunity from the state to apply for start-up funds for a school-based health center, they jumped at the chance.
The district opened the Lavaca Wellness Center Clinic in January 2011. The number of student days absent dropped from over 10,000 in 2010 to 7,300 in 2012. Students can now walk down the hallway for a well-child check-up or to see a dentist and be back in the classroom in minutes. Staff absenteeism also dropped by 20 percent.