About Morgridge Academy at National Jewish Health
Morgridge Academy is a unique, day school program for approximately 90 students in grades K-8 who require medical assistance during the normal school day. The school is approved by the Colorado Department of Education and is located on the grounds of National Jewish Health in Denver. Children who attend the school have medical problems, which have caused frequent absences from regular school.
The children at Morgridge Academy suffer from serious respiratory diseases, including asthma. Others have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia or heart problems. Because of their serious illnesses, these children require immediate access to medical attention. The majority of the children are from low-income and minority neighborhoods in Denver's inner city.
There is no charge for students to attend Morgridge Academy; National Jewish donors and the Colorado Department of Education provide funding. Morgridge Academy is an accredited school and follows the Colorado State curriculum in order to make the transition back to public school easier for the student. Children from all economic, racial and ethnic groups are eligible to attend Morgridge Academy. The school is non-sectarian, and students come from throughout the Denver metropolitan area.
Students enrolled in Morgridge Academy follow a rigorous academic program augmented by arts and athletic offerings. The curriculum is designed to provide a broad-based education. State standards are emphasized while encouraging advanced work for students in areas of special interest and competence. Small classes of 12-15 students encourage both group and individual learning experiences.
Morgridge Academy demonstrates that school absences due to asthma and other chronic illnesses can be reduced. Physical, social and emotional needs of students are met while addressing the educational needs of each child. Students know that if they are having a stressful day, they will receive medical assistance, if necessary, and be able to continue with their studies.
The goals of the program are to help students achieve academic and physical excellence and prepare them to become independent, self-reliant and responsible. With appropriate instruction, students can learn specific self-care practices, which will enable them to monitor their own illnesses and lead productive, meaningful, active lives.
Students enrolled take medical education classes. These classes are designed to educate the students and their families about illness and to encourage self-care through learning about treatment and management techniques. Emphasis is placed on the students accepting responsibility and learning to deal realistically with illness.
Because of the specialized programs and services offered at Morgridge Academy, operating costs are much greater than the cost to run a typical public school. The annual budget for Morgridge Academy is approximately $2.28 million each year. Of this amount, about $530,000 is reimbursed through the state department of education and other government sources. To continue to operate Morgridge Academy, $1.75 million must be raised through private contributions each year.