Providing students with options and the space to explore careers while in high school is increasingly important in terms of cost, time and knowledge. Out of the 16 Career Clusters in the National Career Clusters Framework, South Harrison Community School Corporation has offered up to 11 pathways since the inception of the College & Career Readiness Center back in 2017. One of those clusters that is still around today and flourishing is Health Sciences.
“There have always been elements of career pathways incorporated into students’ curriculum, mainly in the seventh and eighth grade,” Jennie Capelle, director of the College & Career Readiness Center, said. “But once the state shifted graduation requirements to support career pathways along with college preparation, that’s when we were able to build out a diverse and connected program alongside community partners. It took a couple of years for the first class of eighth graders to progress through the coursework, but now that they have we can see just how beneficial this new framework is.”
Career pathways help learners discover their interests and their passions, and empower them to choose the educational pathway that can lead to success in high school, college or their career. Capelle said one of the pathways that showcases this best is health sciences, taught by Katie Broom and Sharon Grimes.
According to Broom, students explore careers in the healthcare field, learn medical terminology and basic anatomy and physiology, and can walk away with tangible credentials allowing them to work in a health care setting as seniors. To prepare students, the classwork is rigorous, but also hands-on. Broom said students use the in-school laboratory to practice taking vitals, drawing blood, measuring medication, CPR and other tasks expected of a medical assistant or nurse.
“While this pathway is not for everyone, it’s better for students to know now before going to college than your first semester in, completely stressed, and confused about what you want to do,” Broom said. “Even if a student starts out in the health science pathway and decides it’s not for them, I don’t consider it a loss or setback because they learned that about themselves and have time to try a new one.”
More than 45 Corydon and South Central students are Certified Nursing Assistants through the pathway and could enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.