Banner Thunderbird continues learning program with opening of hospital school

GLENDALE, Ariz. –When kids require extensive care in the hospital, it’s easy for them to fall behind in their school work. To keep that from happening to its patients, Banner Children’s at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center and Children’s Cancer Network are opening an onsite hospital classroom on Wednesday, April 26 to help sick children keep up with their studies while they are receiving care. 

The classroom provides a designated space and equipment for teachers and patients to focus on instruction. As part of the learning program, patients have access to laptops, eReaders, and videoconferencing with their classroom while they are in the hospital. 

“When I joined the hospital staff as a child life assistant more than seven years ago, meeting many patients and families, I noticed the stress families revealed while being hospitalized,” said Jodi Rall, hospital teacher at Banner Thunderbird. “We created the hospital school program to help ease that stress and help chronically ill children from falling behind in their studies.”

Since 2013, the Banner Children’s at Banner Thunderbird school program has served approximately 1,000 children from more than 18 school districts in Arizona. Prior to opening this classroom, instruction was conducted either at bedside or in a playroom with laptops sponsored by Children’s Cancer Network. 

In addition to Rall, who holds a degree in education from Arizona State University, Banner Thunderbird has many highly qualified volunteers, some certified teachers that help tutor patients. Local high school students that are members of the National Honor Society also help tutor while earning community service hours for their time. The hospital staff works with the school districts to ensure each patient is receiving customized education, providing onsite classroom or bedside teaching to help patients keep up with their studies. 

The school operates year round for students in pre-kindergarten through college assistance.

Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Arizona, specializes in heart care, surgical services, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency care, behavioral health, cancer care, rehabilitation and pediatrics including the West Valley’s only pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric Emergency department and Level III neonatal intensive care unit. The hospital is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health system with 28 hospitals in six states.