School Services Program

School is one of the most important aspects in the life of a child or adolescent. The school services staff in the Hematology/Oncology/BMT Division can provide services to help your student maintain academic progress while they are undergoing treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. There are no fees associated with the services of the school services team. Most families will meet a school liaison at the time of diagnosis or when your child reaches school age. If you need school related support and have not met a liaison, please ask your medical provider to make a referral. Any patient of the Hematology/Oncology/BMT division is eligible for services.

When medically needed, home instruction is provided for your child or adolescent by your home (public or charter) school district and without cost to the family. Private schools are not required to provide home instruction so special arrangements may be necessary. The school services team is available to assist with arranging the home instruction and to support a return to the classroom when your child’s health allows.

The Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation School Services Team includes school liaisons and certified teachers. We believe children and adolescents with serious medical conditions should participate in school as soon as they are well enough. It is important for students who have a serious medical condition to be treated as much like typical children as possible, with accommodations in place to support any special needs they might have. Helping students maintain academic progress while they are out of school will make the transition back to the classroom much smoother.

School liaison services can include communication with the home school district (with parent consent) and facilitation of appropriate services. This may include processing paperwork to begin home instruction, making a visit to the classroom to talk with peers, meetings with school staff to help plan for extra academic services and supports, and other communications between the family, hospital and school to help promote academic progress. The purpose of the school visits is to help peers and school staff understand the experience of the patient and to reduce anxiety that can interfere with relationships. We also have written resources that can be provided to school staff to help their understanding of patient needs in the school setting. When elementary age students with cancer are out of school for an extended time, we can provide a “Monkey in My Chair” and backpack that is used to encourage communication between the classroom and the patient. You can learn more about this program from The Cure Starts Now here.

During a lengthy hospital stay, patients may receive services from the hospital-based school teachers. We have one full time and one half time teachers from Columbus City Schools dedicated to H12. The hospital teachers are available to provide bedside instruction or work in the unit classroom up to one hour for each day school is in session. They will assist with work provided by the student’s home school district. The teachers will also maintain communication with your home school district and your home instructor to coordinate the schoolwork. The teachers may also be available for support if your child has regular stays in the 11A infusion clinic for treatment.

The Columbus City Schools teachers are available to serve students in grades K-12, from any school district. The teachers are certified by the State of Ohio and are employed by Columbus City Schools. Their "classroom" is H12.  Nationwide Children’s Hospital also employs a certified Early Childhood Education teacher who is available to provide preschool services to patients on H12.

How to prepare for a positive educational experience during a bone marrow transplant admission or other extended stay: 

  • If you have not previously met a school liaison or an H12 teacher, please request to do so. Your medical provider can enter a consult for the services. If you are aware of the admission before it occurs, it is helpful to notify your home school district about the upcoming admission and extended school absence.
  • Bring schoolbooks and assignments from the home school to the hospital at the time of admission.
  • Bring a copy of your child’s IEP or 504 Plan if they have been determined eligible for services and have a plan in their home school. Our teachers are certified to address the goals on your child’s plan.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions of the school liaison or the hospital teacher so we can help your child continue with academic progress, even in this time of health difficulty.

Helpful Resource Links for Students and their Families:

Cancer specific resources:

Sickle Cell specific resources: