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April 09, 2021

Philly school district staffer named 'Pennsylvania School Nurse of the Year'

Eileen Duffey-Bernt was recognized for her 'outstanding service' at The Academy at Palumbo

Education Awards
philly school nurse award Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Eileen Duffey-Bernt, who works at The Academy at Palumbo in South Philly's Bella Vista neighborhood, has been named Pennsylvania's 'School Nurse of the Year.'

A longtime employee of the School District of Philadelphia has been awarded for her work as a school nurse. 

Eileen Duffey-Bernt, who works at The Academy at Palumbo in South Philly's Bella Vista neighborhood has been named Pennsylvania's "School Nurse of the Year" by the National Association of School Nurses.

Duffey-Bernt has worked for the district for more than 25 years, including the last 12 at Palumbo. She has spent time working as both a nurse and a teacher, and also worked as a pediatric nurse for the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

She was selected as the winner from a group of seven finalists.

"We are honored to have someone as skilled, knowledgeable and passionate about her work as Nurse Eileen Duffey-Bernt. I am glad to see her leadership, dedication and work ethic recognized across the state and among her peers," said Karyn Lynch, the district's chief of student support services. 

Nurse Eileen Duffey-Bernt
"Throughout her career at the School District of Philadelphia, Eileen has demonstrated the true meaning of advocating for children, making a lasting impact on the health and lives of our students," Lynch added.

The finalists, who were all certified school nurses, were chosen by the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners. The national organization then picked the top nurse, as it does for each state.

The school district said Duffey-Bernt was being awarded for her "outstanding service to the students and staff of the School District of Philadelphia."

Duffey-Bernt was formally recognized Friday evening during the NASN's annual awards ceremony. The event took place virtually this year in light of COVID-19. 

Last month, the School District of Philadelphia began welcoming some elementary students back into classrooms for hybrid learning. With more students re-entering school buildings, the district launched its own COVID-19 dashboard Thursday to track cases and outbreaks. 

The school district also said it plans to expand summer school options for its students. 

The expansion aims to help with the typical learning loss that occurs over the summer and aid students who have been enrolled in remote classes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic catch up.

"After a year of virtual learning, we understand that more than ever, our students will be seeking academic support, opportunities to connect with their peers over the summer, and help in preparing to return to in-person learning in the fall of 2021," the district said. "We have designed our summer programming to meet the challenges we know our students face right now."

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