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Catholic Elementary School Initiative Gets a Shot in the Arm

SXU to provide St. Margaret Elementary School with nurse practitioner

Chicago (Oct. 6, 2008) Saint Xavier University, a champion of high-quality education at Chicago-area Catholic elementary schools, has received a grant to further enhance its ongoing partnership with St. Margaret of Scotland Elementary School in Chicago’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The grant from the VNA Foundation, which is for $101,734 over a two-year period, will fund a part-time nurse practitioner to provide primary care services to students at the school.

St. Margaret’s principal, Earl McKay, said student attendance suffers due to families’ inability to pay for medical care. This includes attendance due to non-compliance with state-required physicals and immunizations, as well as sick days due to acute health needs.  As a result of the on-site nurse practitioner position, students will receive physicals and immunizations, as well as primary health care services.  

SXU Interim Nursing Dean Kay Thurn, Psy.D., RN, said “We anticipate this partnership will mutually benefit the students at St. Margaret’s as well as the graduate and undergraduate nursing students at Saint Xavier, who will develop classroom-based educational presentations on topics such as wellness, hand washing, nutrition, exercise, and dental health.” 

In 2006, a gift from Chicago philanthropist Richard Driehaus established the Catholic Elementary School Initiative at Saint Xavier University. SXU has worked closely with St. Margaret’s on teacher professional development, student enrichment activities, and successful organizational business models. A grant from the AT&T Foundation is underwriting the development of health and fitness programs for the school’s curriculum. Thanks to funding from the Big Shoulders Fund, some of the teacher professional development models developed between Saint Xavier University and St. Margaret’s will be expanded to include teachers at St. Philip Neri and Nativity BVM elementary schools, both in Chicago.



Contact: Rick Ducat

773-298-3325 or ducat@sxu.edu