Updated: Apr 21, 2020
As a classroom teacher, Anna* was in the first group of freshmen that Kristin taught. Anna was quiet, shy and always smiling. “I had 200 kids that year, but Anna was special,” said Kristin. Two weeks into the school year, Anna began missing class and by Christmas was absent two to three days a week. She loved school and friends, but kept getting sick and missing. Kristin offered academic support and make up work, but Anna’s name continued to show up on the docket at truancy court.
As Anna continued to miss school Kristin could tell that there was a serious reason. No one would come this far to quit now, but it was apparent that she might. Frustrated and scared, Anna’s mother confided in Kristin that at this point, she may just get Anna to get her GED to stay out of court.
As her teacher, Kristin attended meetings and supported her family as best she could but Kristin was a full time teacher, not equipped or able to provide the nonacademic supports Anna needed.
Three years later, it was Anna’s senior year and Kristin’s role had changed. She was now a CIS coordinator and could really delve into Anna’s situation. After becoming a CIS coordinator, Kristin received parental permission to begin helping the family with Anna’s medical care. Anna’s family lacked transportation so Kristin drove them to her doctors’ appointments. Together they started with Anna’s primary doctor and received referrals to a specialist. At the appointment, they learned that Anna’s medical records had never been centralized, making her healthcare almost impossible. She was born with many complications and had many surgeries in different hospitals across the state. Her specialist explained that she needed her records centralized before they could begin evaluating her for treatment.
Kristin received permission and began calling the hospitals to have Anna’s extensive medical records put into her primary physician’s hands. As soon as they were in one location, Anna was able to be diagnosed and properly treated. For the first time in her high school career Anna was taken off of the truancy list.
Anna is on track to graduate high school in May 2020. She will be the first person in her immediate family to walk across that stage. “We started this journey together and I am so blessed to end it with her,” said Kristin.
*Student's name has been changed to protect identity.