Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Classroom Success, Creating Optimal Conditions for Learning

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Calcutt Middle School’s First Day of SMART Health Services, August 31, 2022

“The pandemic has made it clear to all how health care gaps hurt students and families in Central Falls every day. That is why we are so excited to welcome the SMART Team to our community,” said Central Falls Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Downey Toledo.

“Our bold, new strategic plan is tailor made for this approach to providing focused health and academic support. Our students, families, and school community will benefit from SMART services for years to come.”

“This generous commitment by The Warren Alpert Foundation will have an immediate and long-term positive effect on our most vulnerable students. On behalf of our entire state, I offer my gratitude,” said Rhode Island Commissioner of Education Angélica Infante-Green. “The last two years have only reinforced the need for high-quality health care and academic supports in our school communities, and SMART is a proven, powerful engine for positive change.


Photo Left to Right: Melanie Ginn, CEO, Ginn Group Collaborative and Architect of the SMART Model, Angélica Infante-Green, Rhode Island Commissioner of Education; Jeiny Zapata, GGC Clinical Director, Leeann Benedetti, BSN, Central Falls School District SMART RN;; Katira Perez, Health and Wellness Coordinator; Juliana Zapata, Assistant Utilization and Engagement Manager; Cindy Montoya, National Utilization and Engagement Director; Silvia Perdomo, Integrated Behavioral Health Clinician, and Stephanie Downey Toledo, Superintendent, Central Falls School District.

Welcome to The Ginn Group

Ginn Group Collaborative (GGC), led by President and CEO Melanie Ginn, is a nationally recognized design management firm with a proven track record in delivering exceptional outcomes and incisive analysis for clients. GGC brings objective and insightful perspective and expertise to review, research, develop, and deliver advanced business and legal analysis, strategies, and solutions. The GGC team is comprised of an exceptionally “deep bench” of talented multi-disciplinary professionals. Every aspect of their work is infused with an entrepreneurial spirit, a drive for excellence, a fearless willingness to take the road less traveled, and a passion for solving problems with the most efficacious, cost-effective, and swiftest solutions. As one client exclaimed, “Melanie is like a Corporate Sherpa, providing guidance that delivers incredible results!”

Capital Projects and Facility Development

Planning, Functional Design and Budgeting, Infrastructure, Construction and Architectural Oversight, and Stakeholder Engagement

Socio-Economic Entrepreneurialism through Public-Private Partnership - SMART with Collaborating Partner CVS Health

Advancing and integrating healthcare, education, and workforce development delivery channels, Business Model Analysis, Innovation and Evaluation, Financial Analysis, Expected Value-Return on Investment (EV-ROI), Due Diligence, and Research

Innovative Business Development, Analysis and Planning

Research and Development, Finance, Legal, Business Plans, Staffing and Culture, Contracts, Marketing, and Corporate Communications

SMART (School Health Model for Academics Reaching All and Transforming Lives) is an educational solution that focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty and improving the trajectory of lives by supporting academic achievement through onsite SMART Centers. Our centers identify and address the physical, behavioral, social, and emotional barriers to classroom success through the proactive delivery of on-site integrative health services, in real time.

The SMART Model delivers a comprehensive, system-wide strategy for education-driven health services. The model is built on the numerous, well-documented interconnections between the “Whole Child” factors of physical and behavioral health, wellness, social and emotional learning, and educational attainment.

The SMART approach not only increases the health, success, and overall well-being of individuals; it reaches families and school staff, positively impacting entire communities.

Origins of SMART: Analyzing the Health Center Challenge

  • Ginn Group Collaborative had been evaluating school-based health centers’ lack of sustainability and utilization. Key factors that were identified as undermining their success were reactiveness, a failure to manage costs, siloed operations, and the misallocation of resources away from activities that deliver key outcomes.
  • Poor health outcomes were adversely affecting academic achievement and graduation rates, which in turn lowered competency rates and the ability to meaningfully participate in future workforce opportunities.
    GGC’s innovative solutions quickly increased productivity, increased billing revenue, and broadened outcomes to more stakeholders.
  • In 2012, CVS Health brought their support for this landmark work as a Legacy Sponsor with a long-term commitment to SMART as an innovation in health care delivery that meets unmet needs, closes health equity gaps, and improves outcomes at lower costs for individuals on their path to improved socioeconomic status.

What Our Clients and Partners Say

  • When noting the evolution of the public school system and its hallmark features, I can see the day when SMART Student Health and Wellness Centers are as normative within public education as libraries—one in every school. It is paramount that students in the classroom be physically and mentally healthy, providing each the best opportunity to participate and learn. SMART identifies and reduces the barriers to student success and creates/improves the conditions that maximize the capacity for educators to teach.

    Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh Dean of the College of Education, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • In 25 years of working with schools and communities to improve the lives of at-risk children and youth, I have never seen an approach or intervention with the capacity that the SMART model has to bring about dramatic improvements. By bringing together proven health and behavioral health care methods in a new and unique delivery model, Ginn Group Collaborative and CVS Health has forged the tool we have been looking for to help our children.

    Dr. Karl Hamner Director of the Office of Evaluation and School Improvement, College of Education, The University of Alabama
  • [Melanie] partnered with the communications and marketing unit as a trusted and knowledgeable consultant who provides expert advice and assistance with major projects. She has brought a broad range of valuable skill sets, and her core capabilities include administration, communication, customer service, leadership, planning, analytical skills, professionalism, resourcefulness, dependability, and personal qualities that make working with her very fun, enjoyable, and effective.

    Alberta Olivia Lang Senior Manager of Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health
  • The Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s mission has been expanded thanks to Melanie’s connectivity, strategy, and vision. From working with us to develop a sustainable and measurable track for Latino talent into healthcare fields with CVS Health to spearheading innovative research and models that deliver economic impacts, like SMART, she facilitates and brokers-bringing partners together for the common cause of moving communities and America forward.

    Antonio Tijerino President & CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation
  • If school systems and communities are looking for innovative and effective school-based health solutions, they should look no further than Melanie Ginn and the SMART Student Health Model. Melanie has developed and implemented a model that delivers strong and sustained health and educational outcomes that will have a far-reaching impact on individual students, their families, and their schools and communities.

    Dr. Liza Cariaga-Lo Vice-President for Academic Development, Diversity, and Inclusion, Brown University
  • For too many of our students, the barriers to good physical and emotional health are negatively impacting their capacity to learn and subsequent socio-economic life trajectories. The SMART model’s approach to ensuring the wellness of every student in the building, with the purpose of academic achievement, is unique and yields powerful results.

    Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky 9th District, Illinois
  • CVS is proud to have played a part in supporting and actively participating in the type of public-private partnership that fueled a high impact, lower cost socio-economic solution like SMART that, at its core, aims to break the cycle of poverty and positively change the trajectory of young lives.

    Ernest DuPont Senior Director, Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health