Whitley County High School students thinking about going into the medical field as a career will now be able to get a taste what the profession is like, and get real life training in the process.
During its monthly meeting Thursday, the Whitley County Board of Education approved a new medical career pathway for students at the high school.
“If they have any interest in the medical field after high school, they can go in and get experience and foundational classes, plus get time in a lab situation where they are learning to take things like blood pressure and sugar tests,” noted Superintendent John Siler. “To be a phlebotomist (someone who draws blood), I think they have to have 40 live sticks before they can complete the class.”
Siler noted that there is a certification test at the end of the classes, and students that pass it can go onto get jobs at nursing homes and hospitals right out of high school.
If students go into the classes and pass out the first time they draw blood, then they can probably quickly eliminate this career choice, and not waste money on taking similar classes in college too.
While some Whitley County High School students can now take similar training at the Corbin Tech Center, they have to get on a bus and ride there each day, then spend three hours before riding a bus back to school.
In addition, there are only seven slots for WCHS students in that program. The new medical career pathway at WCHS will enable more than 125 students to experiment with such classes annually.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, the board approved a change in graduation requirements at WCHS from 22 credits to 24 credits.
WCHS Principal Bob Lawson said that exceptions could be made for seniors, who simply can’t reach that new benchmark.
Lawson said he would like to move that requirement to 26 credits next year.
Lawson also outlined other changes that the high school is making, such as replacing Advanced Placement (AP) classes with dual credit classes.
In order to receive college credit with the AP classes, students have to pass a test at the end where with dual credit they automatically get the credit hours if they pass the class.
Over the last several years, the school has dramatically increased the number of graduates with college credit hours, which in turn represents a savings in thousands of dollars in college tuition for students.
For instance, during the 2011-2012 school year, 31 students graduated with 414 credit hours, compared to the 2017-2018 school year when 115 students graduated with 1,149 credit hours.
Lawson said that overall educators at the school are trying to set the achievement bar higher for students so that even if they don’t reach some new goals, they are still learning more than they would have in previous years.
In other business, the board:
- Heard a presentation from Technology Director Kevin Anderson about a new telephone system that will be installed over the next two weeks that officials hope to have completed before the start of school.
Anderson said that the existing system is so old that many replacement parts can’t be ordered, and if some major parts went out, then the district might have to turn to EBay and other similar sites to find parts.
Among other things, the new system will greatly reduce the price for fax lines with faxes now going to individuals computers rather than being printed out on paper.
- Recognized newly hired teachers for the upcoming school year and handed out t-shirts to new teachers in attendance at the meeting.