Posted by Fort Worth ISD on 2/6/2018 9:00:00 AM


The medical staff at the Jo Kelly School is prepared for any emergent issue that arises with the school's more than 40 students.

On campus, are some of the District's most medically-fragile, severe and profoundly disabled students. The students are unable to communicate verbally or walk and many require feedings through a tube. The medical staff assists the students with feedings, medication and other medical needs.

Rita White, the registered nurse at the Jo Kelly School, recently contacted Inside FWISD to offer kudos to her trio of health assistants -- Mona Alonso, Ashley Street and Angelica Marshall. She said that without the staff she has in place, "it wouldn't work."

"The health assistants at Jo Kelly will and do provide medical care to our students with heart and love that I have not seen in my 33 ½ years of nursing in the Army, trauma ICU, ER, home health, and previous school nursing," said Ms. White. "The health assistants' commitment here at Jo Kelly is at the top of the dedication bar.

"My health assistants should and need to be recognized for their hard work and dedicated commitment."

Health assistants must be versatile in their work, Ms. Alonso said. While one moment they're helping a student, the next they're verifying doctor's orders or responding to a crisis. She added that what she enjoys most about her job is seeing her students smile and watching them interact.

Ms. Marshall said the job is ever changing from week to week and requires close attention to detail. Being that the students are unable to communicate verbally, the health assistants must know when their students are sad, what makes them laugh or happy and also what makes them cry. She said it makes her feel good to know that she can be of help to her students and that they know she's there for them.

Harriette Weissenborn, a special education teacher at Jo Kelly, said the work for the school's medical staff is intensive and that they handle it "incredibly well." They know so much about the students, including their breathing patterns and when it's time to intervene.

"They're very sharp in their skills. It can be pretty intense," Ms. Weissenborn said. "A lot of what they do is routine, but there's a lot of things that are not so routine."

The job is more than administering medication and food, said Ms. Street, a health assistant at Jo Kelly. Health assistants also serve as advocates for Jo Kelly students and families.

"You fall in love with the kids. At the end of the day, that's who we're here for. That's who we advocate for," she said. "It's like a second family to them. That's who we are. We have to be the eyes and ears to them at all times."

Know someone who deserves being recognized with Kudos? Email us their story at Inside@fwisd.org.