Chatsworth High School nurse Faith Ichida and school psychologist Anita Hoch were honored recently by their peers in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
And both are quick to dispel the notion that school health work in the 1990s might be little more than bandaging a scraped knee or providing tissues for the distraught.
Ichida, a resident of Winnetka, received the districtwide Nurse of the Year award from the Los Angeles Council of School Nurses. She has been with Chatsworth High four years, and with the LAUSD for 17.
“We do a lot more crisis intervention, referrals and triaging for weekend and home injuries than when I first started,” she said. “Families don’t have the insurance or medical care that they had in the past.
“We’re not just talking about recent immigrants. Many middle-class families are having problems as well, especially in the Valley with the aerospace cutbacks.”
Hoch, who lives in Granada Hills, received a regional Outstanding Psychologist award from the L.A. Assn. of School Psychologists. She spent the first nine of her 27 years with L.A. Unified as a teacher. She has been at Chatsworth High, traveling to nearby elementary schools as well, for the past two years.
“My job is supposed to be doing psychological assessment,” she said. “But I do a lot of work with high school students who need somebody to talk to. I do a lot of counseling, deal with a lot of child abuse and make suicide referrals.”
Sharon Smith, assistant principal at Chatsworth High, said the work done by Ichida and Hoch is vital to the educational process. “The teachers appreciate having these professionals among them, because kids have a hard time learning when there are other problems going on.” she said.
“More and more, we look to people like Anita and Faith to pick up the roles that perhaps many of us saw as our parents’ role when we were younger.”