High school for teen moms has daycare and clinic on site

Posted at 12:24 PM, Mar 10, 2020

It’s a sound that will change your life.

“It’s magic; it’s the first real sign sometimes that you’re actually pregnant, to hear that heart,” said Elizabeth Madrid, a physician assistant.

She's helping a new mom listen to her baby’s heart. This mom is a student at Florence Crittenton High School in Denver, Colorado. And at this school, all the students are moms or expecting moms. Like Emily Castaneda.

“I never thought that I would go to an all-girls school, so it was kind of weird at the beginning. But I was like, I can relate to all of them, so I like it now,” said Castaneda.

Castaneda is getting ready to graduate in May. She has a 1-year-old son named Eliin. Normally, she’d have to find daycare for him if she wanted to go to high school. That’s if she could afford it.

“I’m like literally so close to him. I can come check him anytime. I probably wouldn’t even finish high school to be honest,” said Castaneda.

This high school has daycare on-site, so new moms like Emily can continue their education. And if they need to see doctor for anything that moms, their kids, or expecting moms might need, they don’t have to go far.

“We do prenatal care, we do their physicals for the children, we offer mental health services, we do dental services, any sick visits. We try to make it as easy as possible,” said Linda Almanza, a medical assistant at the clinic.

The clinic, in partnership with Denver Health, helped Rebecca Roldan get through a scary moment when her second daughter had respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

“She almost passed... I was just scared, and like coming to the clinic, they helped me. Like you don’t have to be afraid, we’re here to help with whatever medical you need,” recalled Roldan.

Roldan’s daughter was in the hospital for a while, but now she’s out and healthy.

Not only is the school helping her with her daughter's health issues and finishing high school, but they’re helping her look to her future. She wants to be a mental health therapist.

“I’m taking phlebotomy and medical office so it gets me like in the doorstep," she said. "I’m getting an internship. I don’t know where yet, but this summer I’ll be doing a medical internship."

That’s high-level training for a high school student. But Florence Critterton provides what they call a MEDConnect program, courses and work-based learning experiences for students interested in a career in the healthcare or biomedical sciences field.

There are a handful of schools that offer daycare across the country from LA to Maine, but the staff here thinks the on campus clinic makes it one of a kind.

“This is the only Florence Critterton with a high school and a clinic attached, and a daycare,” said Almanza.

While they think they’re unique, the people who work at Florence Critterton would love to see this type of school all over the country.

“This could be a role model to a lot of places in America," said Almanza. "You know, teen moms is not a thing we choose, it’s something that happens sometimes. Instead of bashing it sometimes and making it something negative, let’s make it positive."