STAR Program

School is one of the most important aspects in the life of a child or adolescent. The school services staff on H12 can arrange educational services to help your student maintain academic progress while they are undergoing treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

When medically needed, home instruction is provided to your child or adolescent by your home 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 will also be available to assist with arranging the home instruction and return to the classroom when your child’s health allows.

The Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation School Services Team is known as the School Transitions and Re-Entry (STAR) Program and includes school liaisons and certified teachers. We believe children and adolescents with serious medical conditions should be in school as soon as they are well enough, and treated as much like typical children as possible. Helping students maintain academic progress while they are out of school will make that transition back to the classroom much smoother. School liaison services 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 and answer questions, 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.

When elementary age students 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. Middle school students also sometimes find a visit to the school helpful. In that case, we visit the school and spend the day with the science teacher, providing a basic science lesson about cells and treatment side effects. 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.

During a lengthy hospital stay, patients will 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 will provide bedside instruction up to one hour each day (or 5 hours per week), using 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 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 school teacher, please request to do so prior to the BMT admission. Your medical provider can enter a consult for the services. There is no cost to you for school services. Notify your home school district about the upcoming admission and extended school absence.
  • Bring school books and assignments from the home school to the hospital at the time of admission.
  • Bring a copy of the IEP or 504 Plan if your child has been determined eligible for services and has a plan in their home school.
  • 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.

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