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Spotlight on Career and Technical Education Programs at Pleasant Ridge High School

Posted Date: 02/06/2017

The health care field is ever expanding and individuals who have some academic background in this area are at an advantage when it comes to finding employment. Pleasant Ridge High School has a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) Pathway this year-Principles of Biomedical Science. This is our first year with this particular class and the success of the Advanced Chemistry/Physics students in Glenda Connelly’s class last year, winning the Burns and McDonnell sponsored Battle of the Brains, has helped fund the program this year, as well as funding the second course, Human Body Systems, which will be taught next year. Sam Preston is teaching the Principles of Biomedical Science class this year, after time spent this summer at a conference where he was introduced to the curriculum used in the class. He will also teach the Human Body Systems class next year.

There are students in the Principles of Biomedical Science class who also attend Highland Community College Technical Center (HCCTC) in Atchison. They are in the Medical Office Assistant (MOA) program at HCCTC and are also part of a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) program, also offered through Highland Community College. Two such students are Grace Wagner and Abigail Wiehe.

In the MOA program at HCCTC, the students, during the first semester, have had lessons on insurance, coding and emergency preparedness. In the CNA class the students are learning a variety of techniques to prepare them for the certification test they must take, and, after successfully passing the test, they become a certified CNA and can be employed in a nursing home. The second semester of the MOA program will have them in more of a “hands-on” approach, as they learn how to take blood pressure and find a pulse. The second year of the program at HCCTC finds them learning about the body structure and vital signs, something that goes hand-in-hand with the Human Body Systems class that is offered at PRHS.

The classes at the high school, Principles of Biomedical Science (for first year students) and Human Body Systems (for second year students) are project-based, student-centered classes. The students learn laboratory skills that they would not learn until their second or third year of study in an undergraduate program at a college or university.

Funds from the winning Battle of the Brains competition have been used to purchase equipment so that students can use in the classes-equipment that may not have been purchased without the success of Mrs. Connelly’s class. Those funds have made it possible to offer classes that are of interest to and that excite our students. The health care field continues to expand and through the classes offered at PRHS and HCCTC are assisting our students in finding vocational interests that excite them and lead to career choices that may not have previously been available to them. Both of the students featured this month are planning on continuing their education, after leaving PRHS, as Grace has a goal of being a mid-wife and Abi wants to be a neo-natal nurse.