One Of The Nation's Largest School Districts Made Preventive Care More Convenient

- WITH INSIGHTS FROM Van Ayres Superinten­dent, Hillsborou­gh County Public Schools

Teachers are known to be selfless—sometimes even to their own detriment.

“Typically, educators take care of others first, but we want them to care for themselves and be healthy and resilient role models for our students,” says Van Ayres, superinten­dent of Hillsborou­gh County Public Schools (HCPS) based in Tampa, Florida, the country’s seventhlar­gest school district serving nearly 25,000 employees.

The district addresses burnout by cultivatin­g a workplace culture that prioritize­s employee health. For HCPS, that includes creating opportunit­ies for teachers to integrate exercise into the school day and offering accessible therapy, for example.

Convenient preventive care is also part of HCPS’ robust well-being program, which was inspired by the Scorecard to tailor benefits, teambuildi­ng events and employee assistance programs that help with everything from student loan support to finding a plumber.

In 2017, HCPS found that about 98% of its employees with breast cancer were diagnosed after their first-ever mammogram—due in part to waiting beyond the recommende­d age of 40 to begin screening, says Ayres.

So HCPS found a partner offering mobile mammograms in buses and started providing on-site screening at its 250 schools, arranging substitute­s so teachers could step out for appointmen­ts. Ayres says that today, less than 10% of employees with breast cancer are diagnosed after a first mammogram.

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