In addition to hiring a principal to oversee grades K-2 at Brook Park School next year, school officials also plan to expand the number of health aides in order to provide one per grade-level grouping.

Presently, District 95 employs one certified school nurse at S.E. Gross Middle School and one health aide at Brook Park Elementary School. About four years ago, the state of Illinois mandated that each school district had to employ at least one certified school nurse.

The health aide at Brook Park School, according to Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski, holds credentials as a registered nurse, but is classified as an “aide” under the terms of her employment agreement.

Kuzniewski said the person who serves as the health aide at Brook Park School is not being rehired for the 2019-20 school year. 

Instead, the school district will hire two people who will be classified as “health aides,” one for S.E. Gross Middle School and one of Brook Park School. The district’s certified school nurse will also return in 2019-20 and be located at Brook Park School.

Kuzniewski said the district will be searching for health aide candidates with experience in the health care field. He said he could not guarantee that one or both health aides would hold LPN or RN designations, saying he did not know who would be applying for the job. But those types of designations are preferred, he said. The jobs have not yet been posted.

“Will it be our preference those people have those type of credentials? Absolutely,” Kuzniewski said.

The health aides, said Kuzniewski, will be trained to meet the needs of students, including overseeing students self-administering medication, process paperwork and help educate school staff on medical processes.

Kuzniewski said the health aides and the certified school nurse will work out of specific school offices, S.E. Gross, Brook Park K-2 or Brook Park 3-5, and that those will be permanent stations. The only time a health aide or the certified nurse might assist elsewhere is when one of the other health professionals is on vacation or otherwise absent.

“At no time did we talk about [health officials in District 95] not having a permanent home,” said Kuzniewski in response to some parent concerns that the school district’s health officials would be floating from school to school.

“Once the search process [for the two new health aides] is over, then we can make some placement decisions of where people go.”