32 TEXAS SCHOOL BUSINESS . Bragging Rights . 2012-2013
Hereford ISD
Health Science Technology Education
offers real-world experience, skills
by John Egan
Brady Moberley envisions working someday in an air ambulance as a flight medic/nurse. His career ambition became much clearer to him while attending Hereford High School in the Texas Panhandle. For four years, Moberley took part in the high school’s Health Science Technology Education program, which prepares students for advanced studies and careers in health care. The program combines classroom instruction with experience in real-world settings.
Through the Hereford High School program, Moberley was able to volunteer during his junior and senior years with Hereford EMS. Simultaneously — and apart from his high school coursework — he completed an EMT-Basic course at Amarillo College and earned his certification as an EMT.
“I liked everything about the program,” the 18-year-old Moberley admits, “but the part that was my favorite were the clinicals at various health care locations around the community. Being able to work with and learn from doctors and nurses while in high school was a wonderful opportunity.”
For Moberley, the opportunity to help save lives as a flight medic/nurse is knocking ever louder. With an eye toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing, he enrolled at Texas Tech University after graduating in 2012 from Hereford High. At the same time, he is employed by Hereford EMS. Moberley says the Hereford program was “the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the door.”
Hereford High School’s Health Science Technology Education program has opened the door for hundreds of students to pursue careers in health care — one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the U.S. economy.
The school launched the program nearly 20 years ago. Since then, hundreds of thousands of students like Moberley have gone through the program. The program’s courses include Principles of Health Science, Health Science I, Medical Terminology (taught online) and a two-year practicum that provides nursing assistant certification along with hands-on clinical experience in more than 10 medical fields.
The high school’s program is built on:
• employment needs of the health care sector;
• National Healthcare Skill Standards, which set expectations for people getting ready to work in health care;
• students’ individual needs;
• health care leadership and technical skills; and
• post-secondary education requirements.
Michelle DeLozier, career and technical education director for Hereford ISD, says the program’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) component was resurrected during the 2011-2012 school year after several years of dormancy. Last year, 27 Hereford students received the CNA designation. This year, most of the 41 students in the Health Science Practicum I are on track to become CNAs.
Hereford ISD Superintendent Kelli Moulton says career and technical offerings like the Health Science Technology Education program should reflect the needs and expectations of the community.
“Districts should invest in the perspectives of the parents, business owners and local leaders to generate programs that enhance the strengths and answer the needs of the community,” Moulton says.
Indeed, people trained in health care careers will play a critical role in the future of Texas and the rest of America. As the federal health care reform law continues to roll out and baby boomers grow older, the health care sector is set to explode.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in the health care industry will jump by 29 percent between 2010 and 2020, creating 3.5 million new jobs. Leading the way are registered nurses, accounting for 711,900 new jobs, and home health aides, accounting for 706,300 new jobs. Many of these new jobs will pay well. For instance, the median annual salary of a registered nurse exceeded $69,000 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A 2012 U.S. Department of Education report underscores the importance of career and technical education in helping employers fill jobs in health care, as well as in technology and advanced manufacturing. Career and technical education represents “a critical investment in our future,” the report says.
“Strengthening all aspects of our education system and creating high-quality job training opportunities are necessary to further our economic prosperity as a nation and to keep the American promise alive for all
Michelle DeLozier
Superintendent Kelli Moulton
TEXAS SCHOOL BUSINESS . Bragging Rights . 2012-2013 33
of our students,” the report states. The report adds that students who participate in career and technical education programs “are positioned to become the country’s next leaders and entrepreneurs. And they are empowered to pursue future schooling and training as their educational and career needs evolve.”
Moulton foresees a “glorious” evolution of career and technical education in Texas, including Hereford High’s Health Science Technology Education program. She says conversations with students, parents, business owners and community leaders have demonstrated a need to switch from a “convergent path” of traditional core courses to a “divergent path that honors local control and relevance.”
As such, Moulton expects the health science program to expand by incorporating two-year degrees and adding an array of licensing and certification opportunities. Meanwhile, DeLozier looks forward to the possibility of offering EMT-Basic certification for seniors enrolled in the practicum and boosting the availability of job-shadowing prospects for students.
“We would like to give students opportunities and options to help secure their futures in the medical field, which is one of the few that are actually growing and have jobs available,” DeLozier says. “We will continue to look at student interests as well as the labor market in our area and at the state and national levels to decide what programs could be most beneficial for our students.”
Positioned for growth
John Peters, a health science teacher at Hereford High, has high hopes for the future of the program as well. Plans are in the works to add a second practicum for seniors. That might require hiring a fourth teacher to help with courses for freshmen and sophomores, says Peters, who is a licensed EMT. For the 2011-2012 school year, registered nurse Karen Fangman joined Peters to teach students in the program. Earlier this year, licensed vocational nurse Kathy Whipple was hired to assist Fangman.
When Peters came aboard at Hereford ISD seven years ago, he was the only teacher in the Health Science Technology Education program, which then had 70 students. Until Fangman and Whipple were hired, Peters had to reject about half of the applicants for the junior and senior practicum courses because he couldn’t handle more students by himself. Today, Peters, Fangman and Whipple teach about 220 students.
Fangman says that whether a student is adept at scientific research, clinical laboratory procedures, patient care or communication, health care career options are available to match his or her interests and abilities. The Hereford High program “provides students with opportunities to explore a variety of health careers,” she says, “and make realistic and satisfying career choices.”
In addition to the expertise offered by Fangman and her colleagues, the program relies on technological teaching tools. In 2007-2008, Peters, who admits he is “sort of a computer geek,” set up the HSTE Project. Now all tests and curriculum resources are available online in Wikispaces, and student tests are administered through Moodle, an e-learning software program.
Says Peters: “Both Wikispaces and Moodle are free for educators to use; although, there is some work
John Peters
See HEREFORD on page 34
Health Science Technology Education student Michelle Martinez (left) checks vital signs of fellow student Chantel Montana as instructor Karen Fangman supervises.34 TEXAS SCHOOL BUSINESS . Bragging Rights . 2012-2013
involved and there is a learning curve — just as with any new software or Web 2.0 tool.”
Of course, all students in Hereford High’s Health Science Technology Education program face some sort of learning curve. But for those students who complete the program and decide against heading to college, there are high-quality, high-paying entry-level jobs in the medical field awaiting them, DeLozier says. For those students who do enroll in college, they can begin their higher education equipped with knowledge, skills and perhaps even a health care certification. Moberley fits into the latter category.
Earlier this year, the Hereford High graduate told the Amarillo Globe-News that emergency medicine was his passion and health science was his favorite academic subject. Why health science?
“I love learning about the medical field and being able to help people in their biggest time of need on a daily basis,” he said.
Says Superintendent Moulton: “The voice of the students can guide program development by allowing our emerging leaders of the community to help shape the needs for their future.”
JOHN EGAN is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Austin Business Journal.
HEREFORD continued from page 33
Health Science Technology Education instructor Karen Fangman (at the head of the bed) and Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services instructor Kathy Whipple, LVN, lead students who are practicing skills that will prepare them for the Certified Nurse’s Aide certification exam.Need to grow? Shrinking Budget?We help organizations flourish with cost-saving solutions.Reap the BenefitsTechnology Solutions Streamlined operations, increased efficiency, and leveraged expertiseRisk Management Services 24% average reduction on Workers’ Compensation Medical Care Program (504)Transportation Services Savings through shared administration/support costs plus pooled insurance and purchasing powerInstructional Services Instant access to over 20,000 titles plus 4 online databases for only $0.98 per ADA Helps deter motorists from illegally passing school buses while children are loading or unloadingSchool Bus Stop Arm Camera Programwww.texserve.com • 855-591-2345