Position: School Nurse
School: Rumford Elementary School
School District: RSU 10 Western Foothills
City, State: Rumford, ME
Music that Describes Tracy
Tracy Pinkham was nominated by her principal, Jill Bartash.
When you think of people at a school who make a difference for kids, you typically think of the teachers. At Rumford Elementary School, there's another person in the school community who is a Life Changer: school nurse Tracy Pinkham! She goes way above and beyond to make sure her students are cared for so they can learn and grow.
For more than seven years, Ms. Pinkham has supported families by making sure no one is hungry. Initially, she helped run the food pantry. She realized the pantry wasn't reaching every family who needed help, so she revised the initiative and created a weekend backpack program in order to get food directly to the students who needed it. She and her colleague order the food, take delivery, and pack about 35 bags a week! Anytime a family requests food, Ms. Pinkham provides them with an additional bag. In a school with poverty approaching 90%, she provides a safety net for hungry families.
Ms. Pinkham keeps students healthy through the services she brings to them. She organizes fluoride varnishes twice a year to keep kids’ teeth strong, and she also provides sealants for some grades. Additionally, she organizes the Lion’s Club, which performs a vision screening on all students. With these two programs in place, families are able to receive additional dental services, and several students were able to get the glasses they needed.
Ms. Pinkham has the utmost respect and compassion for kids and families. She is diligent about protecting their dignity across all situations. Many of her students struggle to bathe and wash clothes consistently. Because of this, Ms. Pinkham gives students the opportunity to shower at school and to put on clean clothes, while washing the students’ clothes for the next day. She has also been known to personally buy additional clothing for students.
As a member of the Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (AWARE) Team, Ms. Pinkham leads her colleagues to think about how students’ health and wellness benefit their learning and living. She always keeps these two things inextricably linked.
"Our school community is incredibly fortunate to have such a leader in the profession as our very own," said Bartash. "Tracy ensures students’ health at school goes far beyond band-aids and boo-boos!"