Adriana Vanbianchi Selected As 2021 Classified School Employee of the Year

Published On: July 13th, 2021|Categories: Awards, News|
Adriana Vanbianchi Selected As 2021 Classified School Employee of the Year

Adriana Vanbianchi was selected by the regional selection committee as the 2021 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year. Vanbianchi serves as the school nurse for all schools in the Methow Valley School District.

From the age of 19 and working at a drug rehab center for homeless kids in Nicaragua, Vanbianchi has dedicated her career to improving the health of other people. Vanbianchi credits her value for human health and equity along with her experience working various jobs — like a wilderness instructor for at-risk youth, firefighter, and an emergency room nurse — have prepared her to lead Methow Valley School District during a pandemic.

“Overall my job is about ensuring the health and well-being of students and staff,” Vanbianchi said. “Being a school nurse during the pandemic is an undertaking that I wouldn’t have wished on anyone, but I have to admit, I have enjoyed the challenge because I know what a difference our school makes in the lives of our students, community, and economy.”

Adriana Vanbianchi, 2021 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year (North Central Washington)

Due to low case rates in the immediate area, Methow Valley School District had the unique position of choosing to open their schools for in-person learning or remote learning at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

“Feedback from our community showed us that we should commit to a safe in-person school year,” Vanbianchi explained. “School staff immediately convened to figure out how we would do this unprecedented work. We all had different areas of expertise and mine was sharply focused on the health and safety of my community.”

Vanbianchi was tasked with keeping students and staff safe, informing the community, developing a COVID testing program, contact tracing, and more, Matt Hinckley, Liberty Bell High School teacher, explained in the nomination form.

“What we’ve been able to do — teach students in-person — would be impossible without Adriana’s competence, hard work, and dedication,” Hinckley added. “When positive cases happened in the community, her diligent contact tracing and the trust that families put in her prevented school outbreak. When questions about vaccine availability swirled, she pushed for access in our isolated, rural community.”

The Methow Valley is one of the largest, rural regions in Washington state, which means healthcare services are often far and few between. Vanbianchi quickly got to work leveraging leadership, resources, and community support.

“In January when the news announced that school staff wouldn’t be eligible for the vaccine, I started with advocacy by writing letters to Washington political leaders championing the argument that school staff should be vaccinated,” Vanbianchi said. “My next step was to lean into the resources, so in collaboration with our local EMS service, hospitals and clinics, I took a leadership role in organizing vaccination clinics for in-phase community members.”

Within four days of school staff becoming eligible for the vaccine, 85 percent of Methow Valley School District school staff received one or more doses of their COVID vaccine. But Vanbianchi credits this effort to the partnerships she has fostered over the past year.

She quickly made partnerships with local clinics to provide testing and medical consultation with their medical directors. With the help of Kiwanis Club members, hand washing stations were built over all three school campuses. In addition, Vanbianchi engaged the local EMS agency through weekly meetings which led to more access to testing and vaccination clinics. To date, these partnerships have resulted in thousands of vaccinations given in school district gymnasiums.

Vanbianchi hopes the past year demonstrated the value of clinical leadership inside school buildings. “During a normal school year it can be easy to forget the importance of the school nurse,” she added. “My hope is that people see my work as a school nurse as something that mobilizes people and resources to tackle tough challenges and thrive.”

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Adriana Vanbianchi Selected As 2021 Classified School Employee of the Year

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