A Lower School student greets Principal Angie Crabtree on a Monday morning.

New members join Health Team

During COVID-19, the Colorado Academy Health Team worked tirelessly to monitor the health and safety of CA students. Now, new members of the team will continue those efforts, at the same time maintaining CA’s traditional high standard of daily health care for students.

Kelli Bernier

Kelli Bernier

Kelli Bernier, RN, BSN, has joined the Colorado Academy Health Team as Nurse Consultant. She is affiliated with the School Health Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In addition to her credentials as a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she also holds AE-C certification, meaning she is Asthma Educator-Certified.

“My job is to deal with common and uncommon health needs,” Bernier says. “I will work to make sure everyone at CA is healthy, safe, and able to attend school.”

As a consultant, Bernier will spend 20 hours a week serving as a resource for CA parents and teachers. Her duties include:

  • Overseeing CA’s compliance with state and federal requirements for schools;
  • Developing health care plans for individual students;
  • Educating teachers so they understand students’ needs;
  • Answering questions from parents and teachers;
  • Supporting the full-time Health Assistant and School Nurse at CA;
  • Monitoring the big picture, as she acts as a liaison between the health care community, parents, teachers, and students.

“In most cases, parents will reach out to the CA staff on site for general day-to-day health questions,” Bernier says. “If parents want more information, they can contact me.”

Bernier had five years of experience as an elementary school teacher before she switched careers to nursing. She has been at Children’s Hospital Colorado for 12 years, moving to the School Health Program in January.

“This position brings the two worlds of teaching and nursing together,” she says. “I wanted to go into school health so I can help students in our community.”

Holly Clapp

Holly Clapp

Health Assistant Holly Clapp is in her fourth year at CA. That means that, for half the time she has worked at CA, she has been dealing with COVID-19, often on days that stretched “from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.”

Clapp has a BS in Science with a minor in Psychology. At CA, she considers herself a member of a “team of health care providers,” but her focus is on the needs of Middle and Upper School students.

During the pandemic, she has spent her days contacting parents about positive tests, collecting information about the history of a child’s illness, advising parents on quarantines, tracing other students who may have been exposed, and advising parents on when a student can return to school.

If a child becomes ill during the school day, Clapp will be the person calling parents. In addition, she handles relatively minor daily health issues like scraped knees or “jammed” fingers.

At the beginning of the year, she collects health information and medication from parents. Throughout the year, she provides packets of information about students’ health needs to any teacher who will be taking students on a trip off campus, including field trips and Interim. And for special occasions featuring school-wide treats, she consults with administrators about the provision of alternative treats that will not trigger food allergies.

Kisa Owens

Kisa Owens

Kisa Owens, RN, BSN, has joined Colorado Academy as our School Nurse, focusing on students in the Lower School. She has nursing experience in surgical, orthopedic, home health care, and in an ICU caring for COVID-19 patients. Her home health care work introduced her to providing care for children and led her to the position at CA.

“Working with children is such a different type of nursing,” she says. “They want to know what I am doing and why I am doing it. Teaching is something I enjoy, and this position gives me the opportunity to engage with curious minds.”

Owens will carry out many of the same duties as Clapp: collecting health information; educating teachers about children’s health; preparing packets of health information for teachers who are taking students off campus; and dealing with everyday bumps and bruises. But Owens sees an opportunity to also educate young students.

“I want them to understand that this is the one and only body you get,” she says. “And I want to show them ways they can take care of themselves and the people who can help them.”

Owens grew up in Evergreen and had friends who attended CA. Her impression of the school on her first visit is that it is “a very joyful place.”

“It seems like a team and family environment,” she says, “where everyone is celebrated for who they are.”