💜💛 We are proud to announce that all Central DeWitt schools recently received the designation of being a Heart Safe School through University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and Project ADAM: Iowa Heartland. Not only are Ekstrand and CDIS the first two elementary schools in the state to become Heart Safe Schools, but we are the first school district in Iowa to have ALL of our schools receive this designation!
Project ADAM helps schools nationwide implement programs to make Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) readily available by preparing schools for a cardiac emergency through emergency response plans, staff CPR and AED training, and sudden cardiac arrest awareness education.
Becoming a Heart Safe School is one more way to keep the students and staff safe at Central DeWitt. Statistically, about 7,000 children and adolescents in the United States experience sudden cardiac arrest each year.
The process of Central DeWitt becoming a Heart Safe Schools began with a group of community members in 2020, but was put on hold when schools closed due to COVID-19. This year we were finally able to achieve this goal.
Program coordinators at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital offered an initial phone review, as well as a written review of the school’s current cardiac emergency action plan (EAP) and an onsite emergency drill. A comprehensive EAP may save the life of a student, staff member, parent, or visitor who experiences sudden cardiac arrest.
Superintendent Dr. Dan Peterson credits the dedication of our current and former nursing staff Ann Bixby, Sarah Berner, Mackenzie Riedesel, Sue Hasenmiller and Jaymie Ransford, as well as the Code Blue Teams and community donors for making this possible.
“They have all gone above and beyond to proactively prepare for a cardiac-related situation in our schools,” Dr. Peterson said. “There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our students and staff, and I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment to making our schools a safe place for all.”
District School Nurse Ann Bixby is proud that our entire district can confidently respond to and care for our students and staff in a cardiac emergent situation.
“Time is life with a cardiac event,” Bixby said. “I cannot give enough gratitude to our outstanding educational staff who have bravely stepped out of their comfort zone of teaching and momentarily step into the medical field. It is an honor to recognize their ability to do so.”
We are fortunate to have 15 AEDs located throughout our district, most of them donated by Jacob Oltman’s family. Jacob was a 2000 Central DeWitt graduate whose life was cut short by a cardiac event while playing baseball in 2010. Recognizing the importance of AEDs, his family has donated several not only to our district but to several locations in our community.
“I am so thankful for our district administrators, teachers, coaches, health coworkers and community members who recognize the need for emergency protocols, equipment and knowledge of how to put everything together to help a student or staff member in the event of a serious cardiac event,” Bixby said. “This award reiterates the fact that we live in a very caring community.”
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